I have already been in Belize for almost 7 weeks, yet in some ways it seems like forever and in other ways it seems like just yesterday that I arrived. No matter, I know that God has been looking after me. I have had some really close encounters with potential danger.
First encounter. I was helping tape the inside of my soon to be house so we could keep the ceiling clean. While in the bathroom, I would go up the ladder, down the ladder, move it, and then go back up. Just as I got to the top, the ladder tipped leaving me with only one place to go – down, and quickly at that. They say falling doesn’t hurt, just the sudden stop at the bottom. I don’t know who “They” are, but I think “They” must have done that same thing once or twice before. Luckily, I fell off to the right side onto the floor and not over to the left side where there was a foot of rebar sticking out of the wall! Turns out, there was something on the floor that I didn’t see and had set one of the legs down on it. With only minor flesh wounds and a rapidly beating heart, I went back up to finish what I had begun.
Second encounter. Phoebe and I went for a long weekend to Chetumal, Mexico to visit some new friends and learn some Spanish. Nothing like going to live with someone who doesn’t speak English to sharpen your Spanish skills. This is also a golden opportunity to work on your theatre skills. There were lots of laughs, awkward pauses, and looks of confusion. Getting to Mexico was when all the excitement actually started. We boarded a bus in Carmelita (the village I live in) and were told how to get through the border. Once through, we would meet Hermana (Her) Feli at the bus station and go home with her. We made it across the border all right, but were rather stunned when the bus driver said the bus didn’t go any farther. We would have to get a taxi to the bus station from there. What taxi doesn’t want to stop for two gringas with huge backpacks?! With broken Spanish, we told the driver where we needed to go. As we were driving through the city, I happened to look to the left. Suddenly, I realized that the scene to the left looked exactly like the picture I had been shown before I left home. This was the place we were supposed to meet Her Feli. Phoebe and I start hollering at the driver who was totally confused. We finally convinced him to turn around and take us back at this other place. We sat down and waited what seemed like an eternity for our ride to come. “She will probably be here in five minutes” we thought. After those five minutes, we decided that if she didn’t come in 10 minutes we would try to figure something out. We waited, and waited, and waited. Checked the watch only to realize that three minutes had passed. A watched pot never boils and a watched watch never ticks. The next move was a long shot, but the only option we could think of. We had her number, but could not tell her where we were because she would not be able to understand English. We got a taxi driver flagged down and eventually managed to convey our point. She was to arrive in 15 minutes – Thank goodness! Those 15 minutes did not go any faster than the 10 from before. I don’t think I have ever been so happy to hug a total stranger.
Third encounter. After a long, hot day of work, we all piled on the back of the truck and drove to the river for a quick swim. Since the water had risen a few feet since the first time we went, I decided that I would be daring and jump off the bridge into the water. It is probably about a 25 ft. drop from the road. I had seen my friend jump when it was low and there was no report of hitting bottom. Despite the uncertainty rolling in my stomach, I pushed myself off the bridge. What a refreshing feeling to have the water rushing past my hot, sticky, gritty skin. We all played in the river for a while before getting out. I had noticed a bit of pain in my toes, but did not notice anything on the right foot when I examined it. I looked at the left and noticed my toe was losing a fair amount of blood. After getting out of the water and drying myself off, I noticed that my other toe that had been hurting was also sliced open. Two sliced toes equals one funny looking walk.
Fourth encounter. Cooking lunch can be quite the dangerous task, despite what you think. I saw that there was a pot of beans on to cook for a second time. I wanted to check to make sure there was enough water so they would not burn on the bottom of the pan. The lid had just been set on the pressure cooker without being locked. I tried to open it to check the amount of water. Realizing that it was rather difficult to turn I decided that I better just put the lid all the way on. Instead of it locking closed, the entire lid blew off the top with a loud bang. Beans went flying up to decorate the ceiling and the lid came down with a clang. I, too, was decorated with hot beans. Thankfully, the little girl that I was babysitting that day was only hit with a few warm legumes. She said that she was tough and didn’t get hurt. Only my left hand was burned.
Fifth encounter. This encounter might be a little more familiar to others; I call it life. Everyday I wake up a sinner. I often feel the burden that I messed up the day before and desperately need a Savior to help me resist the temptations that plagued me in the past. He is the only hope that I have and I have recently realized how much He loves me. He allows me a second chance every day; that is almost 8,000-second chances! “I desire to do thy will, O my God. Your law is within me.” Psalm 40:8. I pray that you, too, may desire to do His will. If that is really your desire, He will give you a second chance when you mess up. Don’t worry, He told you He loved you when He woke you up this morning.
I don’t just think, but I totally Belize the angels have been working double duty since I got here.