Friday, October 30, 2009

Connecting, connecting, connecting!

These photographs are all about connecting!
One of our connections has been Benito and his family.
As we go into the communities here, our constant prayer is that we will connect with people on a more consistent and long term basis. God blessed us with one such connection in Benito.
As we handed out shoes with the "New Jersey Girls" , one man approached us and asked in very limited English if I (Natalie) was a Christian. After a brief and hilariously stunted conversation, we said goodbye to our New Jersey friends, and Benito led us through a maze of houses. (Well, houses is a relative term here. They were more like little tiny rooms sprinkled all over with maybe a wall or two and a hammock!)
Anyway, we visited Benito's "dwelling" and as the smoke from their cooking pit kept the pests away, he proudly showed us his sons certificate of baptism and explained he and his wife are recent Christians. He also showed us a family photo album, minus a cover, and his prize possession, a Bible. Benito's shoes were barely staying on his feet, and although we usually just supply shoes for children, we promised to return with shoes for their whole family.
One sweet connection!
Another picture shows Miquel. We had no shoes for Miquel, but he gave us gifts of little shells he collected and glued together in the shape of small animals. We returned to bring Miquel shoes, and he gave Gregorio a prized stuffed animal. How can we out give a heart like that? He is another sweet connection.
Finally, there are two photos of Ajani, one with his sister Maria. We have supplied shoes to them several times over the last year and a half and never met their parents... until last week! We finally met their mother who was so very thankful that Jesus came to send the gift of shoes to her children through a couple wacky gringo's. Another sweet connection.
One foot, one shoe, one word, one heart at a time... we keep connecting! Thank you so much for your prayers and giving.

"And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me;" Matthew 18:5

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blessings from another Country

Greetings from Isla.

As we enter another season on the Island, God keeps blessing us with shoes from all around the country. We had three ladies from New Jersey come down with 60 pairs and also clothing for a special family. It is always fun to watch others bless the community here and take photos of them. We get to interact with the recipients rather than have your head down and fitting shoes. Another donation came in from Oregon that allowed us to buy from the local merchants around 120 pairs of shoes. That was such a neat evening as Elly usually sees us line up 25-35 pairs of shoes in one buying spree, but this night we just kept lining them up and she thought we were joking with her. We finally ran out of the types of shoes we feel are the most durable for the kids and told her we needed more. She was almost dancing in the street as we handed her the pesos and told her we would be back when she got more in. With this approach, we have found that it is a double blessing as we bless the shop owners by spurring on the economy here and then give them away around the Island. Our one purchase paid her rent for the month and then some.

We were blessed this past weekend with a visit from our dear brother and sister in the Lord from Truckee, CA. They have moved to Belize and are ministering to the locals and helping out in the school. Jim and Anna encouraged us more than they will know with thier fellowship and worship over the weekend. They went and did a shoe drop with us on Saturday night and then had church here in our casa. Thanks you guys and we hope we can come to Belize and bless you half as much as you did us. A few more tourists are starting to show up but is is really slow here. We keep noticing the beach vendors are disappearing one by one as they return to thier home towns since the trade is almost at a standstill. We pray that they will be able to come back and reconnect with us as we have made some neat friendships and miss seeing them coming down the beach from day to day. We continue to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord and do what He asks of us each day, which is to LOVE these people. This is what we want to do as we keep trusting in Him for our provisions.