The Thornburgs

This blog post begins with a sincere apology.  I like to write a post following the visit of any group of folks who come to Belize. I have no idea why I did not do this with the Thornburgs, so here it is — about 3 months late.

The Thornburgs are from Indianapolis First Friends. Aaron is head of maintenance for Goodwill in Indy and Michelle is an art therapist who works with children. Both are graduates of Herron School of Art. They brought their two children, Meshach and Kwali,  with them to discover Belize and to help with the projects here.

The first three photos are from Sunday School. Michelle worked with Miriam Loh and we did some art to illustrate scripture.






Each day, during the week, the whole family worked with our students on some art therapy kinds of work. The students really enjoyed it. So did Ms Candi (principal), Ms Athina and Ms Starlee (teachers). The following is a compilation of photos taken on different days.

During the remaining part of the day we got started on the renovation of the residence that is above the Center.

Above: since we couldn’t remove the broken tile from the underlayment we had to remove the whole floor. Nasty job.

Below, Aaron is repairing the hole where the young man who was installing the air conditioner stepped through the ceiling drywall. Oops.

We had to put down a cement board underlayment before actually setting tile.

And finally the tiling began. We were able to complete two bedrooms and the hallway.

I didn’t get a very formal photo but here we are on the last day.

The Thornburgs have a unique set of gifts. It was fun watching them do the art work with the students and then, without so much as a blink, get dirty cutting cement board and laying tile. We were blessed.

FDS Iowa work team

Mike Moyer put out the word in Iowa through the Friends Disaster Service that they were sponsoring a team to come to Belize to help with the renovation of the Center. He and I communicated back and forth for a couple of months and then he notified me that there would be 12 of them. Wow.

Here we are standing behind the new Friends Center sign on the last morning. Left to right: Dale Graves, Principal Candi Young, Susan Pfeifer, Judy Davis, Gene McCracken, Josh Wolfe, Rich Humphrey, Connie Humphrey, Nancy Stevens, Jenny Johannes, Jeff Johannes, Pastor Oscar Mmbali, Mike Moyer, Deb Moyer, David Wolfe

Jeff and Jenny arrived early and spent a couple of days in San Pedro to celebrate their anniversary, David and Josh Wolfe arrived on the 9th and then we picked up Jeff and Jenny from the water taxi. (I was late–sorry)
The next morning we got word that the rest of the group were “still in DesMoines.” Their plane had mechanical issues. They were given the option to come back the next day or go ahead and fly to Houston and stay overnight.

A photo to show what a miserable time they were having because the plane was delayed.

We picked them up the next day. We took some time to eat at the Friendship restaurant and take a tour of the town.

The next morning we got to work. The next few days are kind of jumbled together so here are some photos of the work we did: grout the tile, repair wallboard, do drywall finishing, install ceiling fans and lights, install a hot water heater, hook up hot water, assemble beds, and paint. And I’m sure that I’m missing some.

We had purchased mattresses but the poor team had to put them on the floor for a couple of days until we could get to the Mennonite shops on Friday. After that we had real beds.  In the meantime we tried to get three bedrooms complete enough to put the beds in. From Friday on, the team was able to sleep in real beds.  All the couples got individual bedrooms and the ‘singles’ divided up the dormitory.

We have a hard and fast rule that each team that stays for a week or longer takes a “play day.” We decided to split that up and take two half-days. On Sunday after worship we went to Altun Ha, the closest Mayan ruin site.  On Tuesday we took the 1:30 water taxi to Caye Caulker and played until we had to catch the last ferry back.

If you get a chance to swim in the Caribbean sea, you swim in the Caribbean sea, I don’t care how cold it is.

In no particular order, here are some other highlights.

We had a great couple of cooks.

We attended Friday worship with the students.

We went to A&R to purchase dishes etc for the new kitchen.

We got lunch from Yoli’s Kitchen because anybody whose anybody gets lunch at Yoli’s kitchen.

After Ms Deb found out that the adult class had two ESL students she found her own way to have a great time.

On Sunday, the Barbers joined Friends for worship.

And three other photos just because they are fun and I wanted you to see them.

Helen and I goofing off while she demonstrates the morning snack that USFWI provides the students.

teenagers checking their cell phones

This was a wonderful group. I was not feeling well and it was all I could do to keep them in supplies. I just let them know what we were trying to accomplish and they went after it.  God bless them all!