Time has gone by quickly, and it is high time for an update! I will try and keep it brief, but there is truly a lot to tell.
First things first, in early May Bishop Wright of Belize asked me to step up to the plate and take responsibility as Priest-in-Charge of both St. Andrew's (San Ignacio) and St. Hilda's (Georgeville). This is a huge change for me, and it is a huge change for our congregations. Over the last month, I have begun the long process of familiarizing myself with St. Andrew's and its people, finances, administration, and possibiltiies, at the same time that I have begun to scale back my time at St. Hilda's and try to be more efficient in everything I am doing. It will take a few months to figure out how a balanced life will look for me, but I should be able to get there.
In order to be more efficient in ministry, this has also meant two other big changes. First, I have moved into the St. Andrew's rectory, just a block from the church in the center of town. For the last two years of ministry, I have been having to walk from far away to get to church, or much of anywhere in San Ignacio or Santa Elena. Being this close puts me at the hub of life in our twin towns, and of our parish as well. I have now the complex (and expensive) task of furnishing the rectory, and I hope to have it liveable and inviting by the end of the summer.
Second, purchasing a motor vehicle became paramount for me as take on the full pastoral responsibility of two parishes, three schools, and serving as a liason for the hispanic congregations. Thanks to some last-minute gifts to what had already been a year's worth of donations, a few weeks ago I purchased a used diesel Nissan Frontier, with four-wheel drive sufficient to handle the rugged conditions of rural Belize. It's required some repair, but I think we're close to (if not finished) getting it in full working order. The vehicle is a huge blessing, not just for efficiency and safety in the ministry, but also because the local doctor has told me that some pain I have been experiencing in my feet is caused by overdoing the walking, and I hope this will allow the heels and arches of my feet to heal.
In other news, Holy Week and Easter went wonderfully, and though we have been missing Juan and Maria, we know that they have arrived in Colombia and are doing well. We had a beautiful wedding last month, and we're preparing for another wedding in a few weeks. Our intern in Georgeville came back and served for one more week after the end of her university term, and she planned an amazing outing for the children of St. Hilda's. We're now preparing for the arrival of a handful of mission teams who will serve alongside of us in June and July, and graduation for our schools is coming up quickly as well.
Also, for those interested in my process of obtaining permanent residency, I am still in the process. I have gone through a handful of the steps, and now it seems just to involve waiting for my paperwork to be processed, and for the immigration officials to make a decision.
Finally, I should add that I am enjoying a visit from my parents at the moment. They arrived last Wednesday, and depart next Friday. It's been fun having them here with me for the short time that we could manage.
Thank you all for your prayers. Thank you all for your gifts. Thank you for your patience in waiting for this update, and for reading it all the way through! I am truly grateful for your support, and I pray that it will continue bearing fruit here in Belize and in your own lives as well. Take care!