Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

My name is Alida and my husband, Tom and I are missionaries living in Belize in Central America.  We arrived here in September of 2010.  Before that we served in Krasnodar, Russia for five years.  Tom and I are currently involved in working with The Child Development Foundation providing counseling and helping to eradicate the commercial sexual exploitation of children here in Belize.

I hope that you will take the time to look around.  There are posts on the various critters we have seen, some of our travels might be interesting like our time in Istanbul, or perhaps you'd enjoy some thoughts for today.

We are so grateful for all of the experiences we have had over the past 6 years and are excited to see what God has in store for us in the future!

propane tank, tricycle and a coke

Most people put a lock on their propane tank so it won't get stolen...

Apparently the Coca Cola he bought was worth the risk!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thought for Today

A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that's enough. 
1 Timothy 6:6-8 
The Message

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

I have a cookbook called Cooking From Scratch Overseas that is written by a missionary, Neva Pugh  and her daughter, Jan Cunningham that I enjoy using. Neva spent 35 years living outside of the U.S. under very difficult and primitive conditions in the Dominican Republic.  I found her cookbook when we were at Mission Training International where we did our debriefing after coming back from Russia.  The book contains not only recipes but also substitution lists and tips on what to pack for your international move that are very helpful.

One of my favorite treats from their collection is a simple cookie recipe that is oh so tasty.

Doris's Sugar Cookies

Mix together thoroughly:
1/4 cup shortening or butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Sift together and stir in:
1 1/8 c. flour
1/4 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Drop by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake until delicately browned.  Bake 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool slightly, then remove from baking sheet.  Cookies should still be soft.  *Makes about 3 dozen 2 inch cookies.

*I have tried this recipe three times now and it has made exactly 2 dozen cookies each time. I guess I am making my cookies a little bigger than Doris intended!  A few times I have used brown sugar instead of white and I still liked the taste.  These are easy to make and great with a hot cup of tea.

I have tried just dropping them on the baking sheet and I have tried rolling them into balls.

They come out a little neater if you roll them into balls and press with a fork.

Monday, March 28, 2011

busy week ahead...

This week the Child Development Foundation  is going to the public highschool to bring awareness to the students of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) here in Belize.  We will be going into their life skills classes and will reach about 750 students.

Last week we were at Our Lady of Guadalupe Highschool in Belmopan and also at St. Ignacius, an extension school for those who are trying to finish their highschool requirements, down in San Ignacio.

We are grateful for these opportunities and are hoping that we save some children from being exploited by helping them identify and understand what CSEC is.

Here are some facts from the CDF website:


  • 48% of persons living in Belize are under the age of 18 years old.
  • 33.5 % of the population lives below the poverty line and have difficulty meeting basic food and non-food needs such as education.
  • 1 in every 5 children is a victim of child exploitation or abuse or neglect with poverty being the main cause.
  • Children who are victims of exploitation are primarily victims of commercial sexual exploitation, that is, children are participating in sexual activities in return for money, food, clothes, drugs, payment of rent or other financial benefit.
  • The age of victims range from 4 years old to 17 years old, though majority of victims are between 12 and 17 years old.
  • Most victims are generally victims of other forms of abuse which went untreated or undetected.
  • More than half of victims are runaways from broken family situations.
  • Most victims are not enrolled in school or are doing poorly in school.
  • Most victims regularly abuse drugs, alcohol and other substances.
  • Most victims have experienced harm and abuse as a part of the exploitation.
  • There is a degree of cultural tolerance for early sexual activity and/or sexual exploitation of children, especially teenaged children.

If you are interested in contributing directly to the work of CDF you can find that info by clicking here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

and we have nestlings...

Seeing these two precious little ones side by side is just indescribable. Watching them breathe, noting their size, checking out their fuzzy bodies all through the window.  So much better than watching cable TV.

All the while Mama was never too far away...

I would say that spring is in the air here... and what about in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tom teaching in Latvia

Without leaving Belize or even the comfort of our home Tom was able to teach for YWAM Latvia's Introduction To Biblical Counseling class.  Over the course of three days he used video chat when the video feed worked and using a phone line connection when the chat feature didn't work.  One of the days the audio was bad so he had to type in his teaching.

The Latvia base held the class in the afternoon to adjust for the time differences between the countries.  Tom taught from 8am to 10am & 11am to 12:30.  In Latvia the time was 4pm to 6pm, they took a break for dinner & then teaching resumed at 7 and ended at 8:30pm!

It is so amazing that we can be in the jungle of Belize, a country that doesn't have a highly developed infrastructure and be looking at people in the country of Latvia, a former member of the Soviet Union, which also does not have good infrastructure.

There were two translators in the classroom for the students.  One to translate from English to Russian for the Russian speakers in the room and the other to translate the English into Latvian for the remaining students.  The YWAM base in Latvia is small.  There are five people on staff and for this class they had five students.

We met the founder and director of the base when she and her husband were students of Tom's in Ternopil, Ukraine.  And we met the leader of this course when he and his wife were studying at the YWAM base in Kiev, Ukraine.  It was exciting for Tom to still be involved in the lives of former students...seeing them grow into leaders is rewarding.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thought for Today

May each of us have the strength to pray as He did... "not what I will, but what You will". 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

Today I want you all to check out a friend of mine!

My friend Lanell and I met way back in 7th grade at Brooks Jr. High.  She is a busy wife and mom and now she has a new blog to add to her day. Lanell writes at  Hoot-n-Nanny and she has gathered together some great is exciting to watch her blog grow and she truly is an inspirational woman. I have been using her Texas Sheet Cake recipe for several years and it is one of my favorites.

And now these Hershey Bars Cookies have caught my eye!

I also plan to try her Oatmeal Pancakes

and these Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings look very tasty!

Please head on over to check out these recipes and the rest of her blog... 
she has craft projects featured there as well!

Monday, March 21, 2011

getting the word out...

This past weekend I was at a Women's Seminar put on by the Child Development Foundation (CDF) that I do volunteer work with.  We were down in the town of Esperanza.  There were close to 100 women in attendance.  It was amazing.  The theme of the conference was Redeeming, Restoring and Rebuilding Broken Walls.  And the subjects covered were issues that survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)have to face after they are rescued.

The first night we learned about what CSEC is, where it is happening and the cultural factors that facilitate it here in Belize.  The second and final day focused on the effects that CSEC has on the victims and survivors.  There were talks on the Physical & Medical Effects, Social Effects, Psychological Effects, Spiritual Effects and a talk on the Effects on Society.  The presenter who was scheduled to talk on the Spiritual Effects became ill and I was asked to take over for her.  I was grateful not only for the opportunity to be of service but also for the two days notice I was given to prepare.

I was able to include a portion of my personal testimony about sexual abuse and healing along with teaching about who God is and how we can help others toward spiritual healing and wholeness.  Afterwards we had many women come forward to share their stories of sexual, physical and verbal abuse.  So many powerful stories were shared by the women for the first time.

After a time of small group interaction where they were given scenarios to work through and then the final speaker covered what we as women can do in our homes, churches, workplaces and communities to break the cycle of abuse.  We ended with a time of breaking into pairs to pray for one another.  Some of the women who were not comfortable praying aloud were given the option of having someone pray for them.  It truly was an incredible weekend for all of us involved.

There are other seminars CDF has coming up with be in Benque that will be completely in Spanish.  Oh, how I wish that my Spanish skills would allow me to sit in on that one and hear the hearts of the women in the Spanish speaking community.  One of women who will be presenting told me that she is taking Spanish lessons at the University of Belize. And she suggested that I look into free classes that are sponsored by the Venezuelan Embassy here in Belmopan.  I am thinking of contacting them this week and I think it would be good to have a Spanish tutor as well.  In Russia when I was learning the language I needed lots of live language practice to truly get it!

This coming week we will be presenting at Our Lady of Guadalupe Highschool and next week at Belmopan Comprehensive Highschool.  Please continue to keep the work CDF in your prayers... there is still much to do to eradicate the problem of sexual exploitation here in Belize.

Friday, March 18, 2011

a bird in the nest...

It took a few weeks of trying but I finally got a photo of the bird sitting on the eggs in the nest outside of our window.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lessons from Saint Patrick

I taught religion class this morning at Evergreen and introduced them to St. Patrick. As you can imagine there are not many Irish people here celebrating today. We talked about one of the spiritual lessons that St. Patrick is known for... using a clover to teach about the trinity. A clover has three sections but that does not make it three separate plants. It is one just as God is one. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit together make up the Trinity. The Divine Godhead. God the Three in One.

As I prepared my lesson for the children I learned a few things from reading about the life of St. Patrick:
Love Others- St Patrick dedicated many years of His life to loving the people of Ireland and bringing them to the Christian faith.

Listen to God- He followed God's leading to Ireland which brought a great and lasting blessing to all to came to Christ through His work.

Leave the results to God- St. Patrick had no idea that his efforts to reach Ireland for Christ would be successful or that he would be honored with a holiday bearing his name.  His task was to trust and obey the calling he was given.

I am very familiar with the prayers of other saints... my favorite being St. Francis of Assisi.  But during my research I found this prayer of St. Patrick that I am sure I will come to treasure as well...

Prayer of St. Francis

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thought for Today

As we drove down Hummingbird Hwy the pungent smell of oranges permeated the air.
  May the aroma of Christ be found in my life to be as strong as that of these trees.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

I recently became a fan of Goss Chocolate.  Their white chocolate bars are my favorite.  Goss Chocolate bars are made with local organically grown cacao and local sugar here in Belize.   The Mayan civilization may not be thriving here in Belize any longer but their influence lives on through the numerous cacao trees.

You can read more about Goss Chocolate here:

And for all of you chocolate lovers contemplating a trip to Belize you may want to check out the Toledo Cacao Festival in May or take a Chocolate Tour with Cotton Tree Lodge another local maker of chocolate.

I haven't tasted chocolate from all of the local companies here in Belize but that doesn't mean that I don't want to... I just haven't found them all yet!  Goss is sold at Brodies Supermarket here in Belmopan and is less expensive than the European imports but the taste is superior to the imported bars we have tried.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tom and his new Harley!

Yesterday we finally made it over to adoption weekend at the Belmopan Humane Society.  There were 5 dogs and one cat to chose from by the time we arrived.  We chose this beautiful shepherd because she is 6 years old and is an outside dog.  She was brought here to Belize from Germany by her original owner.  

She is an incredibly sweet, obedient and intelligent dog.  Her name was Spikey and while in foster care she was called Spicey and now we have changed her name to Harley.  She is already responding to her new name.  And she seems to be having fun  out there in the yard.  She made fast friends with the four dogs in the neighbor's yard as she is quite sociable.   

Tom and Harley took a walk around the neighborhood and she likes to walk fast...which will be good exercise for her and for us!  

Friday, March 11, 2011

La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

The La Ruta Maya Belize River challenge is a multi day canoe race that travels a river route across the country of Belize.  The route runs West to East along the Macal and Belize Rivers ending in Belize City.  The race happens every year and coincides with Baron Bliss Day.

Here is an article I found about the race:
Ruta Maya, The Drama And The Dominance

Tue, March 8, 2011The Ruta Maya started on Friday in San Ignacio, wended its way down the Macal and Belize Rivers, and culminated in Belize City on Monday, a formidable 186 miles later.
IT was a dramatic finish as the repeat winners, the Zip Rider team, faced a last second flurry from perennial contenders Belize Bank - here's how the finish looked:

Jerry Rhaburn, Discovery Exp./Zip Rider/Caves Branch

"Well it was a pretty exciting finish, we tried our best, we didn't finish first place but we finish first overall and we were the defending champion and we are still the champ so, but it was a nice finish, it was a nice sprint and we had a little accident out there and I think most of the spectators saw that but we didn't make that keep us from being friends. We are friends with the Belize Bank team and that's not going to change."

Shane Williams, Guardian
"Some of your team members were upset by the Belize Bank move. Tell us what Belize Bank did at the end of the race."

Jerry Rhaburn, Discovery Exp./Zip Rider/Caves Branch
"Actually they cut across in front of us and we had more space on the right hand side of the river. We were on the left and they just cut us across and we wanted to sprint for the finish, we wanted to give the fans a nice finish. We wanted to finish first place today but like I said we didn't finish first but we finished first overall so that's all that matters. We trained for 4 months and starting next week - I saw the sport like it's getting a little bit slow, so start next week I am going to start doing some training for younger teams like the schools and stuff like that because I want this race to go into the schools because that's the only way we are going to have faster paddlers. I took a lot of things from this guy right here. He teach me a lot of stuff, so I want to extend my education to more younger paddlers that's why I am going to start next week. I am going to start doing some seminar in Burrell Boom Village. If anybody want to get in contact with me they can call my number 624-1279."

Bob Vinson, Trainer
"That's why we came - to teach these people how to paddle and we are very old but we come back and keep teaching them and they are doing a great job now."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Promises of new life

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There are eggs in the nest outside of our bedroom window.  Tom is still painting in that room so we are not sleeping in there yet.  Last week we noticed a bird sitting in the nest... she is very skittish so it has been hard to get a photo of her.  However, I was able to get a photo of the project she has been working on.  I wonder if we get to see them hatch and then learn to fly?  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Thought for Today

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May the patterns in creation ever remind me of the soundness and beauty of His teachings.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

Last Friday I got the chance to go over to Marion's house of KenMar's Bed and Breakfast and learn to make Fry Jack.  It was such a privilege to spend time with her in the kitchen.  Marion graciously gave me her recipe and oh my goodness are they tasty!

We even had a chance to pray together as we waited for the Fry Jack to rise before frying them.  Her sweet spirit permeates her home and the Bed and Breakfast.  If you are in Belmopan look them up... you won't be disappointed!

I gave them a try on my own the following day.  
As they fry they should puff up...turn over when golden brown.

I am ready to make another batch!
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Marion's Fry Jack

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp Crisco
2/3 cup water

Using hands blend the first four ingredients together.  Make a well in the bottom of the flour mixture and add water.  Knead the dough together until the consistency of bread dough.  Roll out and use knife to cut into desired shapes. Cover and allow to rise for 15 minutes before frying.  Then deep fry in hot oil.  You can sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar or powdered sugar or honey.  Or you can stuff with refried beans or egg.

Monday, March 07, 2011

project #1 in progress...

Tom has the first coat on the walls...and is working on removing the clouds from the ceiling.  

Friday, March 04, 2011

you know you're in Belize when

you see an iguana in the parking lot

This iguana really was impressive to see close up.   

Isn't God's creation amazing?!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

empty nesters...

From time to time I think about not having our children with us here in Belize.  Imagine my surprise finding an empty nest outside of our bedroom here in the new house!  I wonder what the future holds for this nest.   Just as I wonder what God has in store for us as we build our life here... just the two of us.