Friday, May 26, 2017

Abner's Trip to Belize Pt. 3

For the last day and half of my time in Belize, I wanted to go back to Orange Walk to be with the Joiner and Harris families and the church. Again I had to cross the ocean by boat in a two and a half hour trip back to the mainland. When I arrived in Corozal I grabbed a taxi instead of repeating that whole bus ordeal that I wrote about in my first blog post.

I was anxious to be able to preach and finally my chance arrived!
I had to have a translator which was a weird experience. I'd never preached like this and in my opinion I preach really fast without pausing. The translator "took out my crazy" and forced me to slow down. It took me a little bit to get used to, but in the end the presence of God visited us.

After church the first night, Sis. Lorraine Joiner prepared this delicious meal. A handmade flour tortilla, beans, and egg mixture that was very tasty. Over everything was sprinkled a chile powder. 
(Los huevitos con su chilito y los frijolitos calientitos, recien saliditos y la tortillita con su chilito....)
El Salvadorian food - Pupusas - this one's for you, Mary! Tortillas filled with beans, and sprinkled on top with lettuce and shredded carrot.
 The next morning we went out too see the Mennonite German families and how they live.
The little German kids were adorable. Blond-haired, blue eyed and wearing overalls. 

Lunch - 
Belizian tacos

After sight-seeing for a while we came back to the house and I started preparing for the service that night.

Thank God for his help - His presence descended in a powerful way.
My translator and friend, Bro. Richard
I had a really good time with the Joiner and Harris families. They are wonderful people.
The Joiner family
The Harris family
After church we went out to eat shrimp ceviche.

Lemon Pie
After dinner that night we got back pretty late. I went went to bed at one in the morning and woke up at two for my flight back to Mexico.
I got to the border and there was not one taxi or form of transportation to get me to the airport in Chetumal. This was pretty worrisome - it was 3:30am and I was at a dark and deserted border in Belize.

A very tall black man with dreadlocks to his waist and driving a truck drove by and offered me a ride to the airport - for a small price. I'd already tried calling a taxi, but it never arrived. I didn't want to trust this guy, but after talking to him for a bit, I had to. He was my only hope at getting back home. 
 This 20-minute ride started out with him taking a route I did not recognize. I was already on edge and felt the need to point out that this was not the same way I came. The man turned to me and said, "Amigo, don't be so mistrustful!" I replied, "Well, this is a little weird, I think you can understand my position!" He told me this way was shorter and after a few minutes we pulled up to the Mexican border. There were plenty of guards there and we got out of the truck to talk to them. They wanted to see my papers and asked me where I was from. I told them, "I'm from Mexico! Can't you see the cactus on my forehead??" (Since a cactus is the most emblematic thing about Mexico, this is a common saying used here.) The guards thought this was hilarious and cracked up laughing. I was so glad to be back in my country! 
We were then ordered to unload everything from the truck. The guards were pretty suspicious of my chauffeur and asked him a bunch of questions. They began taking out the seats from the truck, removing all the rugs, inspecting everything, leaving no stone unturned. A terrifying thought hit me - if this man was smuggling drugs, we were ALL about to be in MAJOR problems. 

THANKFULLY, no drugs were found and we continued on our way to the airport. This was a very exhausting morning, to say the least.

Finally I was flying back to Mexico...
Puebla's volcanoes from above
I arrived in Mexico City and from there took a bus home to Puebla. 
My whole trip was quite an experience and I could see God's blessing on it. I'm very content and thankful to God for helping make my dreams come true, for allowing me to take his Word to places I'd never imagined. 
God is so good. 

Thank you, Beth for letting me tell my story.

God bless you all.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Abner's Trip to Belize Pt.2

During my trip, I was on the lookout for anything that said "San Pedro, Belize". I had a hard time finding something, but finally ran across this. Zoom in and look closely to see "San Pedro, Belize" inside the red circle on these guys' chests.

After going diving, I went to my aunt's house where a bunch of my family was gathered for dinner.
When I first saw this food, my expression was one of disgust. When I tasted it though, I loved it. This was carrot bread with raisins on a bed of chips and shredded chicken and creme. After tasting this, I asked for three more servings - it was delicious.

Very early the next day, I woke up to the aroma of this being cooked...
Rice and beans, coleslaw, and fried Huron fish. It tasted even better than it smelled. 
My favorite Belizian food
 That afternoon, my uncles took me to see more interesting sights. Again we took a boat to the middle of the ocean...
My uncle told me, "This is where many tourists come to visit. Welcome to the party!" 
All of a sudden they tell me took look over the left of the boat because there were sharks. 
There are sharks here??
Yep, sharks.

Everyone was jumping in to swim with the sharks so I decided to experience the adventure as well. 
I lived to tell about it! 
The dark spot below me is a shark! Their skin feels very soft and sticky and slimy. I was told I could touch them, but to not put my hands near their mouths because they could grab my fingers and suck the blood out of them. 
**From Beth: the above statement sounds very suspicious and weird to me, but we've sat here and argued about it for the past five minutes so I'm giving in. I am just translating what Abner is telling me! I didn't know sharks doubled as vampires....**

 There were a ton of sharks passing us all over the place, swimming very fast. To get all of their attention, my uncles threw these tube-like things out in to the water that were covered in fish blood. It took a little bit of time, but all of a sudden masses of sharks gathered, big and small.

When this little gal saw we were feeding the sharks, she came close to get her share.  

After demanding and insisting, she received her reward. 

Dinner later that night:
BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes and rice 'n red beans
Later on in the evening, I went souvenir shopping here.

Breakfast the next morning:
This is what they call a Johnny cake - sort of like a chicken sandwich. It was very very good!
The next morning, I went outside very early to walk the beach and admire the beauty of the ocean one last time.
My final post will be up next!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Abner's Trip to Belize Pt.1

Good morning, good evening, whenever you're reading this - hello! Abner writing here. Years have passed since the first time that Beth asked me to write for this blog. I'm finally here doing it! 
A couple weeks ago I took a trip to Belize. Bethany asked me if I would like to tell the story of my trip and I said yes - it'd be a pleasure to do so. 

From the beginning I was so excited to go on this trip. Because of spring break I had a week off from work. I'd recently acquired a passport and wanted to visit a different country. I chose Belize because I have family there and they live on a beautiful island that I wanted to see for myself.

On Sunday, April 9th, I flew to Chetumal, Mexico. Chetumal is about 20 minutes from the border of Belize.
Stepping off the plane in Chetumal, Mexico
From this moment an adventure began that at the time was very frustrating, but I look back now and think it is funny.

When I got out of the airport, I got a taxi. I told the chauffeur to take me to the bus terminal that goes to Belize, however, after going back and forth with him, he convinced me that it'd be better to go straight to the Mexico border. He said it'd be quicker that way - he turned out to be correct. When I arrived at the border, I wasn't allowed to take pictures for reasons of security. It was so much harder to leave my own country of Mexico than to get into the country of Belize! The man at Mexican immigration asked me a million questions. Finally he stamped my passport and let me go.

The river that divides Mexico and Belize
From there I took a motorcycle-taxi that drove me to the entrance of Belize.
I felt so good when I saw that flag! Finally I'd arrived in Belize!

 I have family in Belize and thank God, one of my cousins is an immigration agent. He got me through quickly and into Belize.
My cousin, the man who helped get me through with no issues.
When I first decided to go to Belize, my plan was just to go on vacation to the island of San Pedro, Belize. However, when the Wakefield family heard about my plans, they helped get me in contact with the missionaries there. I had the opportunity to preach there two times - actually, I was supposed to preach three times but ran into some problems...
When I crossed the border, everything immediately changed for me. Everyone was speaking English!! (I don't speak a ton of English - the reason this is all written perfectly is because Bethany is translating this for me. Thank you, Beth!)

Even though they speak English in Belize, everyone speaks and understands Spanish. So after figuring out what I needed to do to get to Orange Walk, I got a bus and we started the drive there. The church that I was to be preaching at is located in Orange Walk - remember, I was traveling on a Sunday and was scheduled to preach that night. I was in a big rush! The bus driver told me Orange Walk was about 45 minutes away and I thought, "Perfect! I'll be right on time for the service."

 The first city we went through was Corozal, a very small, but beautiful city. I'd been told to be careful, that the people in Belize are dangerous, but my experience with them was the complete opposite. The people we so kind, humble, and good.

We passed village after village. It was getting darker by the minute and I still hadn't arrived at my destination. At one point a lady got on the bus and sat next to me. When she got settled, she turned and gazed quizzically at me. I turned to her and said hello. She gave me a huge smile and returned my greeting in Spanish. I asked her, "How long until we arrive in Orange Walk? I was told it'd be about 45 minutes and I've been on this bus for an hour and a half!" The lady replied that we still had about an hour to go. I exclaimed, "Are you serious?!??"
That day, I learned that Belizians have a problem with time.

After finding this out, this lady and I began to chat. She asked me if I was a pastor. I replied that no, I was just a preacher. She replied, "Yeah...I could tell by the way you are dressed."

I'd long since realized that I wouldn't make it to church to preach so I decided instead to preach on the bus. I started talking and testifying to the lady next to me. She seemed really enthralled and all of a sudden she turns to everyone behind us on the bus, "This man is from Mexico and he is a pastor! He's here to preach in Orange Walk!" When she said that, everyone got very excited and that made me nervous.

After about two and a half hours, I arrived in Orange Walk. When I stepped off the bus my fellow passengers all leaned out the windows and began yelling with so much joy and enthusiasm, "Bye, Pastor! Bye, Pastor!!!"
Honestly, they got a one or two tears out of me for that.

Finally I arrived at the church! I got there late and didn't end up preaching, but in my heart I felt peace.
The beautiful church building in Belize
I was honored to meet these two great men, Bro. Harris and Bro. Joiner. I had a good time with them.

It was getting late and I was exhausted. Bro. Mark Joiner showed me to my room and when I walked in, I saw this basket. The Joiner family treated me incredibly well.

The next morning, we got up early and Bro. Harris and Bro. Joiner took me to the city of Corozal. From there I was to take a boat to the beautiful island. 
The sunrise
The dock from where the boats leave for the island
We traveled for two and a half hours in the middle of the ocean. This was amazing! I couldn't believe I was there. 

I was so excited when we disembarked and I finally stepped foot on the island!
Up until this moment, the weather had been perfect. The weather on the island was hotter, but tolerable.

 The fun began after greeting my family. They took me to see the tourist parts of the island.
Central Park
Everyone on the island drives golf carts
Apparently I wasn't the only Apostolic on the island - I also ran into the apostle Peter.
 I was stunned at the clarity of the water. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to dive in and swim.

It was heating up as the day passed by...what better thing to help you cool down than a cold capuchino?

That moment when you forget your flip flops...
The house of the director of Coca Cola in Belize
Inside these shells live tiny crabs
 The fun was barely beginning. My uncles are divers and set me up with all the diving equipment I needed to go snorkeling in the open sea.

 We got in a boat and went out to the middle of the ocean. I couldn't even imagine what all I'd end up seeing there. Fish of all kinds, sharks, turtles, sting ray, dolphins. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take pictures of all of this. 
I was really moved by this marvelous experience. 

I'll be back next time with part two of my trip...

- Abner

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