Can you believe it's already September?! We have now been serving here in Belize for just over a month and we're starting to get into a pretty steady routine. The past couple of weeks have been rather crazy, but things are starting to settle back down (while at the same time getting much busier ... don't worry, I'll explain!).
So I might as well start with the craziness that has occupied a lot of our thought and time the past couple of weeks. As many of you know from my last update David and I have been trying to get away to spend some time just the two of us on our day off. Each week we had a setback that kept us from really having that time (our fridge breaking, termite issues, and then our lovely adventure in the lightning storm when our tire blew-out). Well, two weeks ago Friday David and I decided to try again and actually spend the night somewhere nice and quiet away from home. We had actually been saving up for an "away" date since the middle of June ... needless to say, we were very excited. A nearby resort was having a summer discount package for locals, so David booked us for that Friday night. We got to the resort Friday afternoon (it was so beautiful and quiet), got to our room and then spent the rest of the afternoon in a hammock as we (finally) read the final book in the Narnia series. It was such a nice afternoon! We finished the evening with one of the best dinners we've had since we got married, went for a late night swim to watch the stars, and then headed to bed. It was the perfect day. Easily one of my favorite dates with my husband. But you're probably thinking now that none of that sounds crazy ... I wish I could say it wasn't 'til a couple days later that the craziness hit, but no.
It's funny, you don't always know what you're terrified of until after you have to face it. For instance, if you had asked me before our date if I was afraid of, oh I don't know ... let's say bats, I would have said, "no, I think they're actually kinda cute". Ha. You probably can see where this is heading ... 11:30pm. So it was a peaceful Friday night and the happy couple easily fell asleep after having spent such a lovely day together. 1:00am. David gasps and I wake up with a start. My first thought was that David must have had a nightmare (apparently we are both known to gasp in our sleep and wake the other person up). While I was very startled from being woken so suddenly I wasn't expecting much when I asked what was wrong. Maybe some mumbling and then more sleep? But instead, in complete coherency, David told me to get out of bed slowly. Alright, now I'm officially freaking out. So as I get out of bed I repeatedly ask, "What's wrong? What's wrong??". The light flips on and there right in-between where we had just been laying was a bat.
A BAT! THERE WAS A BAT IN OUR BED!!!
I wish I could say that was it ... While that would have been enough excitement for the night (I was completely freaking out at this point), we look up and three more bats are swooping around our heads.
THREE MORE BATS!!!
Yeah, that was enough for me. I'm half screaming, half crying, "No, no, no!" as I throw my hands over my head and run to the bathroom. David held it together really well. He even worked on comforting me while he tried to deal with our bat problem. While I hid in the bathroom, David scooped the injured bat our of our bed in a blanket and tossed it outside. He then found a video on YouTube that made sounds that are supposed to scare bats off. Then David went looking for help. Here's the problem, we were staying in a resort that didn't exactly have people around at night. David went and found the CB radio, but it had strict instructions to only be used for medical or security emergencies. Neither David nor I felt that our bat problem counted for either ... So David came back to the room. 2:30am. By now David had been going from the regular (a.k.a. bat infested) part of the room back and forth to the bathroom to check on me. Finally, he hadn't seen any bats for a long time (this was after I had come out a couple times and one bat would come back). Well, he called me back out to bed and held me (I'm absolutely cowering under the covers at this point ... pretty much positive sleep is not going to happen). David said he would hold me and watch for the bat until I fell asleep. We did everything we could. Bat scaring noises on. Ceiling fan on high making loud noises. Lights on. About 3:30am. We're about to turn the lights off and call it a night. Starting to finally relax.
Bats (plural) are back! Flying super low, landing all over the floor, almost hitting David as he got out of bed to try and get them out. Well I had had enough. Shaking and crying I said, "I'm sleeping in the bathroom!" We grabbed the blankets and pillows, ran to the bathroom and spent the rest of our night on the floor. It turns out snuggling with a toilet is not that comfy ... needless to say, I did not sleep that night.
7:00am. We got up and peeked out of the room (well, David peeked and I cowered in the bathroom waiting for the news). There was another dead bat on the floor by the bed, but other than that they seemed to have gone back to their nest for the day. As can probably be imagined, neither David nor I really wanted to spend anymore time there that day (seeing as how we hadn't slept and even hearing birds chirp behind me was enough to get me shaking and crying again). We had breakfast, packed up, and headed home early.
So here is what we think happened. We had gone to this resort during the low season (so not many people). We had also gone pretty soon after the hurricane. Well we think the bats must have gotten into our room (it had a thatched roof) since no one had really used the room in a while. And then that night when they came out to hunt the ceiling fan was on and must have thrown off their radar ... seeing as how they kept flying into the fan ... and then falling on our bed. Having bats in your room apparently NEVER happens ... we just happened to get lucky ... Ha!
I wish I could say that is where the craziness and excitement ended, but of course that's not true! If you didn't know, bats have very small teeth (scrapes and bites are sometimes not even detectable). On top of that, bats have an anesthetic in their teeth so you don't feel the bite. Well Sunday afternoon David started to be concerned about having touched the bat. You see, the reason David had gasped and told me to get out of bed was because when the bat fell into our bed that had woken him up. Then in the dark David had reached over and felt that it was a bat (which is when he gasped and I woke up). Well, there was a raised bump on David's hand the night that we spent in the bathroom. While we didn't think he got bit, rabies is nothing to mess around with ... so we decided the safest bet (since you don't know if you have rabies until it's too late) was to get David the rabies vaccine. Better safe than sorry! It turns out though that this vaccine is very hard to get a hold of here in Belize. We went to two hospitals that said they didn't have it and then drove to Belize City the next day to see if they would be able to give him the vaccine. Thankfully the doctor at the third hospital was very nice and said they could prescribe him the five shots. Thank the Lord! So we go to the pharmacy and they give him the first one. We ask if they can give us the other four to take back to San Ignacio to give David the within the following weeks so we don't have to drive the two our twice a week back to the city ... well, they informed us that they only had the one shot ... sorry. We drove to another hospital and, for twice the price, were able to pick up two more doses. David has now received three shots, and other than a sore arm, is feeling great. We are still in search of the last two (we'll try the city again tomorrow ... David has already checked in Guatemala). So, I would ask that you pray that we can get a hold of the next two shots here very soon. David needs his next one this Thursday! God is good and we know it will work out, but please pray we can find them soon, relatively close by.
That's a long story of the crazy that's been going on these past couple of weeks, but I had to share about our bats! What would an update from me be without a creepy bug and/or animal story be? But in other news I have lots of stray dog friends! And apparently I'm terrified of bats ... just thought I'd say it again ... since they're terrifying ... you're welcome.
So bear with me because I now want to tell you about the ministry stuff we have been settling into these past few weeks. David has gotten right back into serving at the two churches each week and I'm settling into playing the piano for each service (I actually play a for-real organ at St. Hilda's!). Three nights a week David and I go out around the parish and visit people in their homes. We get not only to build relationships, but we also pray with the sick, and take Communion to those who aren't able to come to church. Every other week the adult choir meets to go over the music for the next two Sundays (tonight is my first time leading the adult choir!). And in a couple weeks I will be starting a youth choir on the weeks that the adult choir doesn't meet. This week school started for the three schools that David is the priest over. So we go to the schools and lead a church services for the kids in the mornings about every other week. Yesterday was our first day back with the kids. The kids are so cute! It's such an amazing blessing getting to work with so many kids as they learn more about the Good News! Plus, David has such a way with kids. I'm posting a video (below) of one of the songs he led during chapel. It was so much fun! Working with the kids also gets us more connected with the community. As we walk along the street it seems like every kid looks up and says "Hi, Fadda David!" I'm so excited that I get the chance to get to know these kids too! With school starting up, new choirs about to start, youth group getting started in a couple weeks, visits, church, chapel services, teacher devotions, and finding rabies shots, plus it being Belize's independence month, we are starting to get very busy! But we are very happy to be here (especially with the weather cooling off just a little) working with the people in Belize sharing the Gospel.
I would ask your continued prayers for our ministry here as things quickly pickup pace:
- Please pray that we find time to do all that we need to do in our respective ministries as well as finding time to spend just the two of us.
- Please pray that we can find the rest of the rabies shots very soon!
- Please pray the continued adjustment of living in a new country. While I love being here, this will be my first time away from family for the holiday season.
- And please also pray that we will continue to get new financial supporters so we can continue serving here in Belize.
- Thank you everyone for your prayers and support!
Until next time!