Amazing Women

I just spent two days working with the most amazing, hard-working women I have ever known.  We made 50 graduation caps to send to Belize to go with the robes we made while we were there.  It was fun working with everyone again and it’s exciting that the kids at St. Margaret’s Village will be in matching graduation gowns and caps this year for their graduation ceremonies!

We will be sending them to Belize by way of my hubby and a friend of his who will be going to help with some electrical problems they are having at the Country Barn and Samuel’s Sanctuary.  Will update more when that happens.  And hopefully I’ll have some pictures to share when the kids graduate.

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My Heart

I just returned from a week-long trip back to Belize.  It was wonderful seeing various people from the village and of course, the missionaries we served with for 10 months!  I got very nostalgic driving through the country-side surrounded by God’s beauty.  Even the poor villages we passed were sprinkled with the beauty of God’s creation.

This trip was different in that we stayed off-site from where Randy and I were when we served there.  We stayed at a place called Jaquar Creek and it was absolutely beautiful.  Still no A/C and not too many amenities… but there were screens on the window openings and we all had mosquito nets.  That was claustrophobic and wonderful at the same time.

There were several projects going on during this trip.  There were 11 of us and it was so fun working beside some that I knew well and some I did not know so well.  I feel like I know them pretty well now.  That happens after a week of sharing a sleeping area and a bathroom!  🙂  The added bonus was that my sister was there… and time spent with her is always precious!

The ladies I was working with were tasked with making as many graduation gowns as we could out of material that was purchased.  No pattern, except a gown that we were allowed to tear apart and use as one.  We made 49 gowns!  These will be used by the village near Samuel’s Sanctuary.  We will make graduation caps in the coming weeks and send back when someone else is going.  I need to get permission before I post a picture of the kids that tried the robes on for us.

It was exhausting, rewarding and healing all at the same time.  I’m so thankful God allowed me to be a part of it.

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Africa Bound

Randy will be serving with Mercy Ships for two months.  He leaves on the 30th of July and will return on the 30th of September.  Please be in prayer for him as he travels and works.  Pray for strength and health.  Also pray for me as I hold down the fort here at home while he’s gone.  Will update more as I hear from him during his time there.

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Stateside

We flew back to the States at the end of October because Randy had what we thought to be a TIA on the 29th.  He went to the doctor on the 31st and the doctor said he believed he had a lacunar infarct.  He was put on blood thinners and blood pressure meds and has continued to have sporadic numbness.  We have been praying about what to do about Belize and the team there at Samuel’s Sanctuary has been doing the same.  All five of us came to the conclusion that we do not need to return to Belize because of Randy’s health.

I (Deniece) will be flying back to Belize on the 19th to wrap up some things, say good-bye and bring back some of our personal items.  We do not know what God has for us in the future, but we will continue to obey as He leads.  Thank you for journeying with us and we will keep you posted as time goes by.

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Gratitude

Ok… so you ever feel like God is speaking to you from everywhere you turn?

Yesterday, the sermon was about having an attitude of thankfulness.  That to know the will of God, I have to have an attitude of thankfulness.  I don’t need to base my thankfulness on circumstances and especially not on feelings.  Pastor Todd said that feelings exaggerate things (good or bad) and they lie to you.

My devotion this morning (which isn’t dated so it isn’t because Thanksgiving is coming up) was about being thankful.

Then this morning I get an email from InCourage with the latest blog post and it’s all about being thankful.  You can read it here.

So along with learning to be content in whatever circumstance I am in… I want to be thankful in all things as well.  Already so thankful that God doesn’t give up on me. 🙂

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Update from Samuel’s Sanctuary

Here’s the latest blog post for Samuel’s Sanctuary… Enjoy!

Blog

 

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Day-to-Day

I had a request for a description of a typical day down at The Country Barn. I said in my previous blog that neither of us expected to be “dairy farmers.”  It wasn’t even on our radar.  But God’s radar is what we want to live by… so here we are.  Within a week of arriving back in Belize, we sat down to make a schedule because there is so much to do, especially first thing in the morning.  We wake up anywhere from 5 am-5:20 am each morning (unless we have an order being picked up, and she is usually here at 4:30 am on Thursdays).  We have our quiet time and then around 6 am Randy starts putting the ice cream machine together and I start cooking breakfast.  After breakfast, I clean the kitchen while Randy starts processing the ice cream.  By this time the boys have shown up and have gone to the barn to milk the cows.

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I usually sit at the table after cleaning the kitchen and wrap napkins around about 50-60 cones so that they are ready for the day.  I restock the display refrigerator in the store and make sure everything is clean.  Once Randy is finished cooking the ice cream and it has cooled down, he adds the flavoring for the day.  We always have vanilla, and then either Black Raspberry, Coffee, Chocolate or Strawberry.  He pours that into the machine so that it can be freezing.

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Then, depending on the day, we start processing other products.  We make yogurt (plain and flavored), sour cream, cottage cheese, butter, chocolate milk, and we package whole milk and cream to sell.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays Randy takes the mornings milk to a lady in the village that makes white cheese for us to sell.  When he drives the jeep into the yard, her grandkids run out to “help” with the buckets of milk.

The store is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday.  But people drop by earlier and later than that.  Here’s a few pics of The Country Barn (processing area, store, separator, butter making, etc.).

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 I am thankful to Frieda for teaching me how to make butter.  It is a bit surreal getting up early in the morning and making butter, yogurt, and other items.  I think I might have let that all go to my head this morning.  I decided I could make cinnamon rolls… from scratch.  It’s not like we can run to the store and buy them in the little tube that you pop open on the side of the counter and cook for 17 minutes!  So I thought… no big deal, I can do this.  Well, I knew halfway in that I had a problem… I was kneading the dough (that was sticking to my fingers – and I’m pretty sure it isn’t supposed to do that) and realized I didn’t have any cinnamon.  Oh well, sugar rolls… that’s okay.  Randy is very sweet and said they would be good tonight heated up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  Of course, anything is good with a scoop of ice cream on top.  Oh well… maybe I’m not “pioneer woman” after all.  But I’m not going to give up.  Next time I will at least make sure I have cinnamon.  🙂

Note: Click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

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Smiles

We are definitely settling back in.  Running the Country Barn is a lot of work, but we are having fun.  It is a privilege to work side by side with Randy and I enjoy watching him interact with people that come by The Country Barn.  Neither one of us expected to be “dairy farmers” when God called us to Belize, but He has allowed us to see a glimpse of those that we hope to serve through the vocational school at Samuel’s Sanctuary.  The boys that do the milking every morning and every evening are from the local village and are both within the age range we plan to target at the school.  We are building relationships with them.  In addition, there is a group of boys that come by most afternoons on their bikes.  Two or three of them usually come to the window to order ice cream for the rest of the ones waiting at the road… the ones too “cool” to be seen ordering ice cream.  I recognize one of the boys at the road as one that had come to one of the Bible studies at Samuel’s Sanctuary.  I wave, but he doesn’t wave back.  It probably wouldn’t be cool.  But the two or three that do the ordering have begun to smile when they come up and instead of simply grabbing the ice cream and walking away, they say thank you.  I tell them to have a blessed day and they smile and walk away.  They may not be cool in the eyes of their peers, but I think they are pretty cool.

We meet so many interesting people and also see the same families come by week after week.  There are always tourists that are in Belize for just a week or so, but I enjoy the repeat customers.  I’m working on my Spanish.  I have a whole list of words I learned so that I would know what some of the customers were asking for.  There is an older man that comes by for cheese and cream, and sometimes milk.  When he first started coming by, I had no idea what he wanted.  I would literally take things out and hold them up and he would shake his head and frown.  His frown reminded me of my grandfather’s frown when he couldn’t hear.  He continued to speak in Spanish and after a while I began to understand what he was saying.  I still haven’t gotten a smile out of him, but he doesn’t frown anymore either.  I’ll keep working on getting him to smile.

Here’s some pictures of a Mennonite family that came for ice cream one hot afternoon.  Notice how brother and sister are sharing.  Ice cream brings a smile to every kid’s face – young or old.

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Back in Belize

For those of you that have been waiting on an update from us – I’m so sorry. We ARE both back in Belize again (after both of us had to go back to the States for medical reasons). But things have been so hectic since we returned last Thursday that I have not had a chance to write a blog post. I will do my best to do something over the weekend. Maybe even with pictures. 🙂 Thank you for your prayers and for keeping up with us.

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Same continent… separate countries

First I want to apologize for taking so long to update our blog.  On the 20th of May we flew back to the States so that I could go to the doctor.  I was having some issues that the doctor said I needed to come back and have checked out.  I ended up changing doctors before it was all over, but I also ended up having a hysterectomy.  No cancer… so that was a definite praise!

Randy stayed until after my surgery and then he went back to Belize.  He has been back there since June 8th, and this being apart stuff is just no fun!! I have my next doctor’s appointment on the 15th of July and am hoping to fly out as early as the 17th.  Please pray that my doctor will release me to travel.

Randy has been really busy over the past month and is hopefully now settling in a bit.  I don’t think my last blog mentioned the Country Barn.  I know I have told several of you about it, but for those of you that don’t know… here’s the scoop.  God provided in an amazing way for Samuel’s Sanctuary Ministries to purchase a running dairy farm and ice cream store.  Once the property is paid off, the money made from the store will go toward sustaining Samuel’s Sanctuary.  It is truly a blessing.  Since we don’t have boys yet and are still in the process of paperwork, Randy and I volunteered to go down to the Country Barn and live and run the store.  Neither of us has any experience with cows… or milking… or ice cream (except that we both are pretty good at eating it).  Anyway… before we came back to the States for my doctor’s visit, we spent 2 weeks training with the Mennonite Family that owned the Country Barn.  The days start really early and end late.  Please pray that God will give strength to Randy and the rest of the team to be able to do everything that needs to be done.  I will include pictures once I get back to Belize.  Randy doesn’t have internet access there yet and has no way of sending me pictures.

I do have pictures of the family home that has been finished (all but the plumbing and electrical) at Samuel’s Sanctuary.  It is absolutely beautiful.  Here’s a collage… enjoy.

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I’m sorry that I haven’t done much visiting since I’ve been in the States.  I’m doing more resting than I believe I have ever done in my life.  I want to make sure that I don’t do anything to keep me from getting released when I go to the doctor on the 15th.  I’m staying with my sister in Palestine.  She is keeping me in line. 🙂

Blessings to you all… thank you for reading.

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