Where does the time go?

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since my last blog post.  I’m really not sure sometimes where the time goes.  We have been here over three months and we have “settled in” nicely.  We had a team from Grace Bible Palestine come in March, and it was great to see familiar faces (including my Mom and my sister!!).  Here are some pictures from when the team was here.  They accomplished so much while they were here – many projects were done.  But mostly, they were an amazing encouragement to us.  Thank you so much Grace Bible Palestine!!  We love and miss you guys.

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While the team was here, Buttercup had twins.  Dino and Melissa’s grandkids named them Popcorn and Pizza.  I thought those were strange names, but Popcorn definitely lives up to his name, hopping and popping up all over the place.  They are precious.  Apparently the preference was for Buttercup to have girls instead of boys.  But I think my being here is going to save them from what might have otherwise been their fate.  🙂

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We also got 8 new female goats – three adults with their four babies and one more that is young and has no mother.  They were very skittish when they arrived, but they are getting used to us and most of them will let us pet them now.

Samuel’s Sanctuary sits towards the top of what people call Cisco hill.  And we are near Magnet hill.  People end up breaking down along this stretch of road quite frequently.  It’s not unusual to have someone stop asking for help because of a flat tire or a dead battery.  We have even had people ask if we could sell them a car battery!  But twice in the past 3 months we have heard the horrible sound of a crash.  One was a transfer truck hauling oranges that jack-knifed into the ditch.  And then early this month we heard a crash and when Randy and Dino ran up the hill, they found a man trapped in his truck in the ditch.  I have pictures of both of them.  It was a miracle that Greg (the one who wrecked this month) is alive.  Randy and Dino took him to the hospital in Dangriga and had the opportunity to talk to him about his life choices and his relationship with Christ.  Greg and his girlfriend have stopped by here a couple of times on their way back from Belmopan or other places North of us.

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Work has started on the family home that Randy and I are planning to live in with 10 boys!  As the blog earlier this month stated, we have begun the process of all the paperwork necessary to get certified as a vocational training center for boys.  The house building crew will be back later this week to begin framing the house. I will post more pictures when that process begins, but for now, this is what is there so far.

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We do a Bible study for kids from the village every Sunday afternoon.  We usually have a story from the Bible and coloring sheets that go along with the story.  Then we have prayer time and we sing songs.  Then whatever time is left we play some sort of game (i.e. dodge ball, soccer, croquet).  We also just started a Bible study on Friday evenings for youth and adults (ages 13 and up).

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I need to stop for now.  I have so many other things I’d like to share, but I need to get this posted and head to bed.  Please pray for health for everyone here.  There has been a horrible flu that has been going around.  The workers from the village (Isa & Daniel) both have it and Dino, Melissa and Rebekah have all either had it or are currently sick.  So far Randy and I have been spared.  I have been doing the cooking since people started getting sick.  I have even made homemade tortillas and fry-jacks.  Of course, they aren’t anything like Isa’s, but until she is back to work it will just have to do.

Thank you for reading about our time here…

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Crazy Busy

Things have been crazy busy around here and I have not done well updating our blog.  I’m going to “cheat” a little and post the link to the Samuel’s Sanctuary blog so that you at least get an update.  I did help write it… so that counts, right??? 🙂

I have lots of pictures to share from when the Palestine team was here and I promise to make it a priority by sometime next week to post a blog update.  Please know that we are so thankful for your prayers and we miss you all so much.

Here’s the link: http://www.orphanos.org/blog/posts/samuels-sanctuary-long-time-no-see

 

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The Birds

My heart is heavy this morning.  I never expected to react the way I did when I found the little chick dead in the nest this morning.  But, there’s a story behind him.  He was fine when he was first born – and actually for about a week.  Then he ended up with a hurt leg/foot.  He could not keep up with his mom and he wasn’t eating.  So he would sleep in the coop with his mom at night, then in the morning I would bring him into the kitchen and put him in a basket that Beka had set up for him.  She and I would hold him on and off throughout the day and feed and water him.  Also, throughout the day, we filled a hot water bottle and put him on it so that he would stay warm while in the basket.

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One morning when I went to let all the chicks out, he hopped out and went to his momma and was doing well.  That went on for the rest of the day and after getting help into the coop, he stayed in the nest that night.  But then the next morning, he wouldn’t get out of the nest again and he could not walk.  So again, into the kitchen in his special basket with special care.   I never tired of holding him, or giving him special care, but at one point it struck me that God has had to do that with me as well.  He teaches me something and the next morning I “forget” or revert back to how I was.  And then He gently shows me again.  I might even have a period of time… even a season… where I remember what He has shown me and live accordingly.  But at times, I just seem to need His special care to hold me and remind me.  I know He never tires of lovingly drawing me to Himself, and I’m so thankful for that.  But I know His desire is that I learn… and NEVER forget.  “You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the Scriptures. You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food.”  Hebrews 5:12 NLT

During this time, two new chicks hatched so when I let the moms and chicks out in the morning, the two newest chicks needed help getting out of the coop.  I could just take them out of the nest and put them right outside the edge and they would run the rest of the way down and find their mom.  Eventually, they got to where they could go out all by themselves.  Now, yet another mother has hatched a chick and just this morning I had to help her out of the coop.  But in a few days I know she will be hopping out all on her on.

I guess God is using “birds” to speak to me a lot lately.  Just the other day, a dove flew into the screened in porch outside the kitchen.  He tried to get back out, but could not do it and I was afraid he would hurt himself.  So I went out and gently picked him up and started toward the door.  But before I could get him outside, he got out of my hands and flew back to the “trapped” state he was in before.  I gently picked him up again, held him a little tighter and got him outside this time.  I opened my hand and he didn’t fly away until I shook my hand a little.  Then he flew away.  I felt like God was saying, “See?  You do that too.  I want My best for you, but so many times you try to do things on your own instead of leaning on Me.  And then you end up “trapped” again.  If you would just lean only on Me, you would fly through life so much easier.”

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3 weeks already??

It’s hard to believe that we will have been here 3 weeks tomorrow!  We are settling in well and it’s beginning to feel like home.  That being said, we are also missing home.

This is our new (temporary) living quarters…

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We will hopefully be building the “family” home soon, which will be where we will be house parents to no more than 10 boys.

Yesterday we went to a place called Spanish Lookout to do some shopping.  It is primarily a Mennonite community and it was a fun day.  We also picked up the bus that had been in a shop being repaired for quite some time.  I ended up driving the bus home… wow, what an experience!  Here’s a pic of me driving (it was still daylight at this point, but got dark before we got home).

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And here’s a pic of the bus.  I definitely agree with what everyone here has said – it is not safe to drive here after dark!

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The bugs seem to be bothering us less.  Maybe we are getting used to them.  Or maybe they are getting used to us!  Either way… it’s nice not to be itching all over all the time.

Well, that’s it for now.  I will try to write more this weekend.  Thank you all for your prayers.  Will post some specific prayer requests next time I post.

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Tiny Botlas Fly Packs a Mean Punch!

This little insect is fierce!  Randy and I are both getting eaten up with them.  I keep forgetting to put baby oil on before going outside.  Randy should have brought long-sleeved shirts to work in.  I did buy two for him in town yesterday.  But will need to find more.  Anyone planning to come for a mission trip here… plan to bring long pants and long-sleeved shirts (even in the heat!).

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Here’s what I found online about them:

“They are not bottle nor blood flies, nor are they bot flies (thankfully), the awful creatures whose larvae burrow under the skin of humans.  They are sometimes referred to as bot-less flies because of this fact; but the correct name is BOTLASS Fly (Diptera: Simuliidae; blackflies, bloodsucking insects).”  Doesn’t that sound lovely?? 🙂

I am enjoying feeding the goats and chickens in the mornings.  Dusty and Ned (Neddie) follow me around, but only so far.  They have been trained to stay away from the goat pen and the chicken pens.  They are really very smart dogs.  Neddie has turned into the “protector of the stairs” leading into the kitchen.  He lays almost flat on the stairs and tries to nip at the ankles of anyone going inside.  We are working on breaking him of that habit.

We sent a list of “needs” to Orphanos yesterday for them to post.  We are asking for donors to consider giving toward several items.  Here is the list that will soon be posted at Orphanos.org as a “home project” for Samuel’s Sanctuary:

  • Materials for Bunkbeds (in-house labor) (5) – $500
  • Materials for dining hall tables and benches (in-house labor) – $800
  • Mattresses for Bunkbeds (10) – $1,000
  • Tablets for schooling – (5) – $1,000
  • Uniforms for school and work – $1,200 total
    logo t-shirts – short-sleeve (3 ea.) and long-sleeve (3 ea.) $900
    pants (in-house labor) $150
    rubber boots $100
    sandals $50
  • Family home for house parents and 10 boys – $20,000
  • Pay-off land – $120,000

If you know of anyone who might be interested in helping with any of these items, let me know or simply send them to Orphanos.org.  That second to the last item is for our home (Randy & I will be the first house parents).  And wherever it says “in-house labor” (except for the pants), that would be Randy!! 🙂

Well, I have lots of work to do… today is “cleaning day”.  So I’ll try to post at the beginning of next week.  Please continue to pray for us… specifically for relief from the botlass flies, energy to be able to work all day, still settling in, and for us to be a blessing to the Roselands.

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Safe & Sound

It feels a little surreal being here in Belize.  I told Randy last night that when we went to Africa, we had almost two days of travel to “get used to the change”.  We got on a flight Saturday morning and then 2-1/2 hours later… here we are.  It has felt like it has taken forever to get to this point.

We slept pretty well last night and when we got out of bed, we opened the back door of the dorm room we are staying in and this was what we saw….

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It’s so green and peaceful.

Today was a day of rest and around 3p we had “house church”.  Dino goes around to various neighbors and picks them up and then we had Bible study, prayer, singing and a time of playing with the kids.  It was a great time.

We both feel like we have MUCH to learn and we keep asking so many questions … Dino, Melissa and Beka are VERY patient with us and answer all of our questions.  Tomorrow I (Deniece) will be going into town with Melissa and Rebekah to get parts and supplies.  Randy has a list of several projects to start on right away in the morning.

There will definitely be a time of adjustment for us… for the climate, the culture, the bugs, and for me … getting the hang of farm life.  I “met” the 3 goats today. J And I’m hoping that I don’t have the same reaction that I had when I was about 7 and saw a hen lay an egg.  I think it was 5 years before I ate another egg.  But it will all come together.

It’s only 8:15, but I definitely feel like I could fall into bed (and today was a day of rest).  Please pray that our tummies don’t react to anything we are eating or drinking and that we catch on to “life” in Belize very quickly.  I will blog later in the week.  But wanted everyone to know we are here and we are safe.

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Belize… Here We Come!

I reread my post from before Christmas and was so glad to see that I had said when we were at “about” 90% we would book our flights.  We are at 89% of our support and we have booked our flights! We will leave Saturday, January 18th and we are so excited.

We have a lot to do before we leave and it seems we are busy, busy, busy all the time.  I believe it may be time to divide the “have to do this before we leave” from the “would love to do this before we leave” and the “this would be nice to do before we leave” items.

Our wonderful church (First Baptist Church Grapeland) is going to do a “sending service” for us on the 12th.  That means so much to us for so many reasons!!  If any of you want to come, please feel free.  Services start at 10:50a every Sunday.  Our portion that day won’t be any longer than about 15 minutes, but I can promise you will receive a blessing from the entire service.

That’s about it for now.  Will try to post at least one more time before we leave.  Please be in prayer for us as we say good-bye to family and friends and as we begin to wrap up all the things we need to do before we leave.  We know that God is going to provide the last 10% of our support, but please be in prayer with us about that as well.

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Over halfway there…

I know this won’t surprise many of you that know me (Deniece).  I created a spreadsheet to keep up with our budget and the donations that we have received towards that monthly budget.  This morning I updated it with the latest information Orphanos had sent me and we have gifts or pledges totaling 61.6% of our budget!!  We are waiting until we have about 90% before we book our flights.

Thank you for considering partnering with us on this journey.  I can’t wait until these blog posts are no longer posted from the USA but from Belize!!  Remember you can go to this link to support us.  Or if you prefer, simply send a check made out to Orphanos Foundation to PO Box 1057, Cordova, TN  38088-1057 (please attach a note that says it is for Randy & Deniece Ingram).

Let us know if you have any questions… we LOVE talking about what we will be doing when we go.

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Belize Bound

Our journey to Belize began a few months before a trip there in June of 2012.  We started reading the blogs that Dino, Melissa and Rebekah posted for Samuel’s Sanctuary in preparation for a trip with a team from Grace Bible Church in Palestine, TX.  We felt like we knew the Roselands before we even arrived because of how they had shared their lives through their blog.  We spent a week in Belize in June 2012 and were so blessed by the experiences we had there.

Within months of returning from Belize, we began to feel unsettled.  God began to prepare our hearts for the direction He would be taking us.  We asked for prayer from everyone we knew… that we would hear God clearly and be willing to obey.  We took a weekend trip to San Antonio just to get away and started listening to the audio version of Experiencing God on that trip.  When we got home, Randy prayed for direction and told God that we wanted to do His will – no strings, no preferences, no boundaries.  During another trip (to Alabama this time), we were listening to Experiencing God and had just finished chapter 18.  We talked a bit about what we felt God was calling us to and Randy said he felt a tug to Belize, but that he would love to have some sort of sign (a dream or something) to make sure that he was hearing God right and not just deciding on his own.  I suggested that we continue on with Experiencing God and see what happened.

The next chapter was “God Accomplishes His Work” and it started out with Affirmation saying “When we experience God’s invitation to join Him, some people insist on seeing some kind of sign.  In essence they are saying: ‘Lord, prove to me this is You, and then I will obey.’ When Moses stood before the burning bush and received his invitation to join God in His great work, God promised to affirm the invitation in due time.”  At this point, Randy said, “Turn it off.”  He knew we were supposed to go to Belize.  We did finish listening to the chapter after that, but thanked God for showing us so clearly.

There have been so many confirmations since that decision was made that we will be able to look back on and KNOW that we are doing what He called us to do. That is always encouraging and we will continue to listen as He guides each step we take until we arrive at Samuel’s Sanctuary.

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Financial Support

We are excited to let you know that we have committed to serve long-term in Belize, Central America at Samuel’s Sanctuary.  Now, more than ever, we feel the call of God to serve those in need; and we could use your help in responding.  Samuel’s Sanctuary focuses on ministry to the children and youth of Belize. Its mission is to reach the children and people of Belize with the gospel of Jesus Christ and provide a “safe place to grow” spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally.  Samuel’s Sanctuary is destined to be a boys’ home, housing orphaned boys ages 11-17.  Our duties in addition to being house parents will include maintenance (Randy) and administration (Deniece).

We are asking that you would prayerfully consider helping us financially.  Our monthly expenses will be $2,190.00, and we are seeking donors who will partner with us on a monthly basis.  You can go online to http://www.orphanos.org/products/randyanddeniece to give.  You can give via check, credit card or automatic draft (the preferred method).  Orphanos will send out tax receipts to all donors.

Thank you for considering partnering with us as we go in obedience to God’s call to Belize.  Please pray for us as we prepare to go, and be in prayer for those whose lives we will have the opportunity to touch.  If you want additional information about our future plans, please feel free to contact us.

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