Starting the Year Right

Life Update – Christmas Break – First Day of School

Hello Friends! 

 We are now in the second full week of January and we’re getting a better sense of life rhythms. There are a few things I really wish I had taken photos of, but alas I did not. In this update I’ll share photos from our trip to Dangriga, Annabelle’s school experience, updates about our work permits/visas, and how our work is shaping up. 

 1) Chewie Update: Chewie is lost forever. Annabelle is sad, but handling it well. Fortunately her chewie wasn’t a stuffed animal out of production, but a blanket made by Missy’s amazing mom, Naomi. This was actually Chewie#Twoie. I’m sure Chewie#Three is nearly born and will be on it’s way to a loving, chewing home here in Belize soon. 

2) No work permits yet. I applied for mine on November 8th! Once I get my work permit, we can apply for Annabelle’s Dependency Visa. The good news is we were granted Visa extensions, and were able to do that  at the border in Benque Viejo. It’s much easier and faster there than the capital, Belmopan. MAJOR UPDATE!!! THIS JUST IN!!! As I was writing this, Missy received her approval to practice from the Ministry of Health. We still need work permits, but this is a huge hurdle and a major praise. 

3) If you would like to support our work here in Belize, we would be most grateful. You can make a tax deductible donation through SAMS in order to do this. Here is a link to our giving page. 

 

Annabelle

 Annabelle started school this week. So far it’s going very well. There are the usual issues that accompany assimilating into a new group of kids, but she doing a great job of navigating them. At her school, students have an hour for lunch and for the younger kids, parents come to have lunch with them, or take them home. We have really enjoyed this rhythm! While we’re there we spend time with kids from the church as well. 

There is an amazing city park a couple of blocks from our house. We’ve gone quite a bit, but only just noticed the little library! It is like a taste of home, as these are all over Charlottesville. It even had a book from the Magic Treehouse Series. It really felt like a gift from God. 

 

Community Life/Work

 

David and Mary Beth came to our place for a New Years day dinner at our place. It has been so much fun getting to know them and working on our friendship. We’re so grateful for them! 

I started playing music at church last week. I have had to learn a lot of new music and I think it went pretty well. I’m excited to do more of that. David hurt his elbow this past year and playing guitar aggravates his injury, so he was ready for me to start playing. 

I was asked to start teaching beginner guitar lessons. I taught my first class this past week and it was SO MUCH FUN! All of the kids are at St. Andrews school and some are a part of the church as well. I taught them the phrase, “I tune because I care” and we learned to tune our instruments. 

We have transportation! This makes so many things easier. FYI, no supporter funds went to the purchase of the motorcycle. I sold my bike in the states to fund our transportation here. It is an inexpensive 250cc Chinese made enduro bike. 

Dangriga

 

 No matter how many times we told Annabelle we were moving to the jungle, she thought we were going to live at the beach. To help with this, we promised Annabelle a trip to the beach before school started. The travel to and from Dangriga was absolutely perfect with no delays at all! When we were changing buses, a tour guide asked us where we were going. I told him and he said, “Why?! Dangriga is horrible.” On that happy note, we kept on. Our plan was to stay at a cheap little beach front place and eat some meals at a local resort so we could use their facilities. 

 

  • Dangriga is the center of Garufina culture in Belize, a culture of freed Caribbean slaves. Missy said it felt more like Africa than Belize.
  • The food was SO GOOD.
  • A lot of wind meant no crystal clear water, and it pushed seaweed up on the shore.
  • We had breakfast with some missionaries there who are friends of friends (Thanks for the introduction, Jonathan Ruel!). After breakfast they asked us to help unload a truck. It was a truck of Operation Christmas Child boxes. Talk about a workout! 
  • There was a lot of trash around the shore, and Missy cut her foot on glass.
  • The resort was AWESOME. Annabelle swam a lot.
  • Belizian Beignet are Fry Jacks (flour dough pockets) covered in powdered sugar. Incredible!
  • Annabelle apparently loves Cooking Competition Shows. We don’t have a television and this was all she wanted to watch. She would plan out her strategy to the challenges. She would always ” top it off with Chocolate Ganache.”
  • We were so grateful for this time to settle before Annabelle jumped into school.   

Our New Home and Work Photos

Home Photos and Work Update Edition

Hi all! This is Evan writing. As usual, this will be heavy on photos and lighter on text. We want to show you photos of our house now that we’re settled in. We also want to show you some photos of what we’ve been doing with St. Andrews. 

First, two notes for prayer: 

1) The deadline is approaching for Delta to find Annabelle’s blanket “Chewie.” Please pray they can find it and for Annabelle to take it well if they cannot. 

2) If you would like to support our work here in Belize, we would be most grateful. You can make a tax deductible donation through SAMS in order to do this. Here is a link to our giving page. 

Our New Home

This home has been such a huge blessing for us. We’re so grateful for our landlords who are also our new neighbors. They have been so generous and welcoming. We have been walking everywhere and are enjoying finding the closest places around. Sometime soon I’ll show you where we shop when we’re not at the market. These stores are pretty awesome. 

Back to the house. It’s small. Under 500sf small. It has 1 bedroom and 1 bath. The kitchen is TINY. The porch and the view are huge and as we’ve mentioned, it’s only a 5 minute walk to most places in town. The first thing we did was hang the hammock on the porch. It has been getting non-stop use. It’s taken us a while to gather all of the things we need, but we think we’re mostly set with pots, pans, towels, storage, etc, and we can finally stop feeling like we’re bleeding money! 

Be sure and look at all of the photos, including some of us moving in. You should be able to click one photo and see a slideshow with captions. 

 

Community Life

As we said before, much of our time thus far has been spent getting immigration stuff sorted and getting our family settled. We’re here for a year, so we’re trying to be patient. Tomorrow, Missy will go meet with local mental health professionals. I will start playing guitar for worship next week. 

In the meantime, we have been joining in with the life of the church as much as possible. Here are a few photos for you!  

Getting to San Ignacio – The good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

Dear Friends and Family,

Annabelle was such a great traveller!

This is Missy writing. What a time we’ve had! And I mean that in every way.

We are thrilled to be here in San Ignacio with David and Mary Beth and many lovely Belizeans. Annabelle wrote in her journal that her “first day in Belize was fun, fun, fun!”

Annabelle Journaling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And before we left we cannot measure or count how many cards, gifts, emails, hugs, and prayers were given to us. We felt, and continue to feel, truly loved by so many. There are many stories to be told of generosity, unexpected goodness and kindness in those final days. And honestly, the months prior to leaving are a series of miracles small and large – like getting renters for our house without having to advertise and who were understanding of what we were facing with leaving the country for a year.

At the same time, the two weeks prior to leaving, and our trip down here, were fraught (and I do not use that word lightly) with challenges. They have and are costing us a lot of money, countless hours, and immense amounts of energy. I thought about listing them all out for you but I’ve decided to shorten this by combining them into categories:

The House Fiascos: Numbering 7 of significance and including everything from possibly losing homeowners insurance on the cottage, to dead HVAC, and bacteria in the well at the cottage.

Bye bye BMW!

The Motorcycle Fiascos: I won’t go into much detail on this as I don’t fully understand all that was wrong with it (except that it was a number of things and all quite stressful). In this case the end result is that it was sold to a good home, though for $2000 less than we hoped. We are extremely grateful that it sold!

 

 

We get by with a little help from our friends.

The Weather Fiasco: A foot of snow was unexpectedly dumped on Charlottesville the day before we were to leave. The prediction was 3-5 inches. This affected our leaving in a variety of ways – but we left!

The Travel Fiascos: Numbering 3+ of significance and including having our train to Baltimore be canceled, our rental car pick up office being closed due to snow, and almost not being allowed on the plane to Atlanta.

I kept saying all along that whatever happened it was going to be alright because we were getting on the plane on December 11th. However, that was truly challenged when we almost weren’t allowed on the plane and ended up being let on at the very last minute. Once we were on the plane in our seats, my eyes just kept overflowing. I have shed more tears in the last couple of weeks (for the good, beautiful, and true things and for the heart breaking, stressful, and difficult) than many other years of my life. I think it is fair to say our bodies are still weary but our souls are full. And we are so grateful to be here. 

We're here!

Prayer Requests:

– Please pray for our work permits, Annabelle’s dependent/student permit, my ministry of health application, and our immigration status. There are a lot of particular requirements, some of which are unexpected, and we need divine intervention to move things along.

– Unfortunately, we left Annabelle’s “chewie” (blanket) on the last plane. Please, please pray that Delta is able to track it down and return it to us. There have been many tears over the loss of chewie. 🙁

– Please pray for us earnestly. It truly feels as though there are forces at work that do not want us here and need all the divine help we can get, as we believe God does want us here.

We absolutely could not be here without you all. We are sending hugs and blowing kisses.

Thank you for reading. We love you!

Note from the editor (Evan) – I’m working on another post to give you an idea of what we’ve been doing since we landed.

House Hunting in Belize

Belize: First Visit

Mission: Find a House

Meeting Friends, Home Searching, and Dreaming

– “What is your favorite part about Belize?”

– “We don’t know. We’ve never been there.”

– “You’re moving there for a year and you’ve never been there?!”

– “Yep!”

We have had the above conversation more than once. More often than not, it would continue with comments about our bravery. I think bravery and faith look similar, but are overlapping ideas. Bravery chooses not to fear; faith chooses to trust. I’m not sure Missy and I are being brave. Rather, I think we are having faith, trusting that our Father has good things in store for our family in Belize. We belive he has good work for us to put our hands to, and rather than experiencing fear, we are full of anticipation.

Fortunately, at least now I have seen Belize! I spent all last week there. The mission on this trip was to find a home in San Ignacio and to get to know the missionaries we will be assisting, David and Mary Beth Alenskis.

San Ignacio, Belize

San Ignacio is around 2 hours west of Belize City. David graciosuly agreed to pick me up from the airport and let me stay at their home all week. It was an adventure from the start with delayed flights, packed customs qeues, and overheating trucks. But though it was dark by the time we arrived home, we made it safe and sound. The first night ‘s meal consisted of Salbute’s from Lupe’s. We’ll talk food on another post, but let me say I will be eating a lot of these.

David and Mary Beth were wonderful hosts. We had many fantastic conversations over shared meals. I am genuinely excited for them to meet Missy and I believe the four of us can be great friends.

They both tapped into their network of friends to try and find us a place to live. We looked at so many places, but by the end of the week, we had a winner!

“Friendship has always belonged to the core of my spiritual journey.” – Henri Nouwen
This little beauty is a 325sf tiny home built with a shipping container as it’s foundation. It has one bedroom, a kitchen and a bath. Missy, Annabelle, and I will live here, sharing the bedroom. The open portion you see is a deck with a fantastic view of the city.  We are so grateful to have found it! It is only a 5 minute walk for Annabelle to get to school. We found much larger (and in some ways nicer) homes outside of town, but our hope is that this is a simple time for us. Missy doesn’t want to drive and we don’t want to have to take a bus to get everywhere.

The owners are going out of their way to be accomodating. I’ve already been receiving updates with photos. They’re even letting Missy and I choose paint colors for the interior and exterior. We feel so blessed to have found this tiny little place. If you know us, you know it is perfect.

I was also able to visit Annabelle’s school. I think she is going to love it!

I’ll leave you with two photos. One of the school and the other a photo I took inside of St. Andrews Anglican Church. We hope to bring ourselves fully to this community, serving, learning and experiencing God in new ways and with new eyes.

We’re Going to Belize!

We’re Going to Belize!

Annabelle is always up for an adventure!

Hi! We are Missy, Evan, and Annabelle Hansen. We currently live in Charlottesville, VA. From December 2018 to December 2019 we will be working with SAMS’ missionaries David and Mary Beth Alenskis in Belize. This is Evan writing. I’ll tell you a bit about us.

Both Missy and I have been full time ministers in the course of our lives. We moved to Charlottesville 10 years ago to help start a church, All Souls Charlottesville, where I am an elder.

Missy was born to missionary parents in Zambia, has worked in women’s ministry, and is currently working as a Licensed Professional Counselor. I think she’s brilliant. She will be doing some counseling through the local church in Belize. There are no therapists in the region where we will be living and we are told the need is great. Please pray we will find a way for Missy to best use her time to help people well without being overwhelmed by the need.

I am a minister ordained in the Baptist tradition through All Souls. I studied theology at Gordon-Conwell and worked in College ministry at the University of Virginia. I currently work as a Realtor, but mentoring young leaders is something that has remained important to me. In Belize I will be mentoring, discipling, and equipping lay leaders in the local parishes. I’m a jack of all trades kind of guy and hope to put my mechanical, carpentry, and musical skills to use as well. Please pray for me to learn to slow my pace and let the Spirit guide my interactions. 

Annabelle is 5. She just finished Kindergarten and is currently taking swimming lessons. She loves all things science. She has a great imagination and is already planning archeological digs at local sites. She also saw a video where kids ate termites in Belize and she can’t wait to try that out. We’re all excited that she’ll have school uniforms so we don’t fight about what she’ll wear every morning. Please pray for her to form rich friendships. 

How You Can Participate – PRAY

Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.  – Mother Teresa

We know many things will be in flux and are anticipating challenges and adventures.Our preparations have already been going on for over six months but as our departure draws closer, they are escalating. Our lists already seem too long to possibly be accomplished. Please pray for our many preparations and especially for Evan’s visit in November to find a suitable house to rent.

We will blog here with general ministry updates. If you would like a photo card for your refrigerator, or if you would like to get regular emails with more detailed life and ministry updates, let me know at c.evanhansen@gmail.com.

How You Can Participate – GIVE

Our church, All Souls Charlottesville, generously supports us in this endeavor with their prayers and financial support. We too, are making financial contributions towards this mission, but we also need your prayers and gifts. We need to raise $30,000 in order to provide for our costs for one year including transportation there and back. We can share our budget with you if you so desire.

We look forward to sharing God’s love with the people we are going to serve and thank you very much for your support. We will keep you informed about your investment in our ministry and we look forward to sharing more about our experiences with you when we return.

With all our love,

Evan, Missy, and Annabelle Bright Hansen