Wow, it's been too long since I've written! Some of you have communicated your concern for me, since I haven't posted an update for almost three weeks, but I'm doing well. I've just been keeping very busy!
I have been focused on several big things in the past few weeks. First, a friend of mine California came to Belize to visit, and we enjoyed taking advantage of the not-rainy days and spent time exploring more of this beautiful country. Second, our elementary schools have started classes, and my duties at St. Barnabas and St. Hilda's are quickly escalating. Third, I have been trying to finalize the next phase of visa and immigration issues that I have to address to stay here long-term, namely applying for a "Missionary Work Permit" with the Labour Department. I've spent the last couple of weeks scrounging up relevant documents, and I hope to apply on Wednesday (Sept 11). After my Work Permit is granted, I will begin working on obtaining my Belizean residency (similar to a Green Card in the States): it seems that I can apply earlier than I thought, but it may take much longer than I hoped. I'd better start working on these things now.
Another big piece of news is that St. Hilda's is changing its Sunday service times. Up until now, St. Hilda's has held its Sunday service of Holy Communion at 11 AM, an inconvenient time slot selected to make sure that Fr. Juan could make it both to St. Andrew's and St. Hilda's. However, since I am serving now at St. Hilda's, the congregation has decided (with Fr. Juan's permission) to change the service time and make it earlier. I have agreed, but we will also be adding a shorter evening service, which means that Sundays are getting much more intense for me and others. The new schedule is:
9:00 AM - Morning Prayer
10:00 AM - Holy Communion
3:30 PM - Children's Instruction
5:00 PM - Evensong
We start this new Sunday worship schedule in two weeks: September 22nd. This is also the Sunday when we will officially begin inviting teachers, students, and parents from our schools to attend worship with us. Please pray that God blesses our worship and uses these new times to draw more people to encounter him in our midst!
One final thing that I should add is that things are getting very patriotic around here! We celebrate two national holidays in September: the 10th is in memory of the Battle of St. George's Caye, and the 21st is Independence Day. Having two enormous national holidays in one month basically sanctifies the whole month for festivities, and we are set to enjoy the parades and music, fireworks and food that are rapidly approaching. Please pray that all goes well and that we render both to Caesar and to God what is theirs.
Have a wonderful week!