Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"La Zona Libre"

Hello all,

Sorry we haven't been online here for a while .. Internet has been off/on... Anyhoo, we have been busy with service here, and this last weekend we even had a few brothers and sisters over from the hall to our little apartment.. And Rafa has gotten a few groups together to do what else: soccer and basketball at the local park;) it's about 2 houses down from us, and it's a very nice park with lights and all.. So we r still getting used to the territory , and all the walking in the HEAT!!! .. Oh and the bugs :/ ..

Last wknd we went to the "Free zone" with another young couple from our hall that we have been hanging with, Aaron and Claribel, (they got married same just 2 weeks before us! He is from the states and she is a local from Chetumal) so the free zone is technically on Belize territory but considered a middle point between Mexico and Belize borders.. And is basically a place no one lives but there are tons of shops and markets. It's only open during the day, and has stuff from both countries n where most things are super cheap!! There are buses (btw they are creepy lil old cars/buses/trucks... but we decided to trust our brothers... lol)that go to the free zone from chetumal and take u to Specific stores, and its free as Long as u look around their stores(its their way of shuttling In business, ) If u dont take one of those shuttles its gets pricey to catch a taxi to the border and then u have to deal with belizian border officials who might try to scam u for money.. so shuttle works our better cuz u cross free and no dealings with scammers.. While we were there we found rafa a much needed service bag! we must have gotten the deal of a lifetime because the bag was only $18 for his "Giorgio Armani" bag! And next door we bought a $18 "Juicy Couture bag" what great deals... haha.. There was even a Target store! But it was false hopes because it was not the American target that I am soo addicted to haha.. Claribel and i got hats for service, and then Aaron took us to one if his fav food spots for their famous fried chicken. In his words "best place to get American style fried chicken" we were excited for some chicken, but we became a little nervous because when we walked up... We saw it was a Chinese restaurant! Lol! ...but the food was yummy! We dis some more window shopping , Then we got a ride back to the border on this little funny shuttle, the driver drove like crazy and into oncoming traffic , soo fee times didnt think wed make it back , haha.. So it was an experience ..

Tomorrow AM we are catching our flight to Mexico City! We can't wait! We will be there wednesday thru Monday! We will be meeting up with a ton of family: Tio Serg+Fam, Tia Lisa+ Fam , Tio Alex, tio Chuyito+ Fam, Lizettes Dad & Mom, plus the family that lives in Mexico City and in the Mexico bethel! My last count we will be about 21 or so!

So we will be tourist ! will be checking out the museums , archaeological sites, pyramids, pyramids, and more pyramids! (the pyramids supposedly rival the Egypt ones!! ) and of course will be checking out the local cuisine! which we both are looking forward to, because surprisingly the food around chetumal .. well we havent been too impressed.. haha.. but its a mix of many regions and not what we r used to... but back to the trip: Friday night -Monday all 20(+/-) of us get to stay in bethel! So there will be a bunch of Sanchez representing during morning worship monday morning.. haha!

So will be uploading pix from the next week soon! We can't wait! Hope you all have a good week and weekend!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Circuit Overseer Visit

This week we are having our CO visit. The first for this new hall. Its been great, the brothers are very loving and energetic. Their names are Dwayne and Prodigy Turner. A little background on them: Both were bethelites in New York (him for 19 years and she joined him for 8 of those), Gilead grads, missionaries in Honduras, and have been in the circuit work for 8 years, and were assigned here from Honduras 4 months ago.

On Wednesday we had the privilege of giving hospitality for lunch, in the home of one of the couples in our hall( Rebeca & Antonio's). We made them Chicken in creamy  mushroom sauce with veggies, white rice, and another sister made a salad. Then for dessert made Thai Sticky rice with coconut ice cream and fresh slices of mangoes :) They said they really liked it all, and kept going back for more (so that was a good sign!) The next morning the sister thanked us again, because she told us they enjoyed it soo much they had the leftovers for dinner that same night! :)

We've been able to go out to service with them a few times during the week, and even got caught in a  tropical storm yesterday in middle of service afternoon. The poor brother and another brother he was with got soaked! We have enjoyed their experiences, and company so much, and already are going to miss them! THeir example shows us the blessings and the great experiences that come with serving JAh whole souled, and taking advantage of all the training/schools that the society has available for all of his servants. Makes us so happy to be able to be here in Chetumal and meet all the wonderful brothers and sisters.

Tonight we were invited to the pioneer meeting with the hall, looking forward to it! (will be joining the 7 local pioneers)

Oh and its It's been a very hot and very humid week! High 80s F, with 82%humidity!!! Ahhh, lol. And it's funny because we are both melting in the heat! And the local bros n sis tell us "oh this is our Cold "fresco" weather .." They say this as they wear coats and long sleeve sweaters!! Lol.

Will keep ya updated n more soon on all the weird bugs and things of living here in this part of Mexico! Lol.

~Rafa n Lizette

Here are some pics from service with local sisters, and of our visit with Dwayne n Prodigy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Prayers answered! We found an apartment!

So this wknd our prayers were answered and we found an apartment that fits our needs. It is a very simple furnished 1bedroom apartment with the following included:
-A/C(must have!)
-some essential furniture(bed, sofa, dining table)
-small appliances (2burner stove too, fridge )
all in our monthly rent!

This time of year in Chetumal this kind of apartment is a tough find (especially with our tight rent budget!) these may seem like normal things for the USA , but hard to come across all of em together in one place here.. Lol.

I have to say we saw some much prettier apartments for same price , but they were completely unfurnished :( which would have meant lots of $$ to furnish. In fact, we found a beautiful and new apartment closer to the KH. But fortunately before we decided on it , we asked around about the surround neighborhood , and found there was a "gentleman's club" just around the corner which meant alot of bad people , druggies and robbers. Even the taxi guy told us, as we passed by one evening , that is it NOT a safe area! So thankfully we found all this out Before !

So here are some pics, and we still have yet to get a few things . But our most important worries of being safe and clean were answered! It is close to a police station, school and even the governors house! The complex houses mostly students, it is kept clean and well maintained. we are at the end of the L , so it's more private than the rest and we r in shade most of the day so stays a little bit cooler. It's also within walking distance (20-30 mins walk in hot humid heat...) to most service meeting groups during the week. And it is a short taxi ride away from the Kingdom Hall for meetings (taxi ride is about $1.50 each way ) Oh and there is an open air market about 10 mins walk from here! the veggies are beautiful there! Avocados the size of ur head and delicious! ;)

So here is our little apartment..

Also have to wash all fruits n veggies here with disenfectant...

Service and Apartment search...

Here are some pics of our first few days of service n apartment searching!

Service here is pretty different in many ways to California .. But I'll give ya a few facts about Chetumal:

•Population is about 150,000
Can drive from one end of city to the other in about 15 minutes.
•24 Spanish congregations (in 4 Kingdom Halls!)
•1 sign language
•2 Mayan speaking
•1 English congregation in all of chetumal( so territory covers 400 kilometers radius)
-Territories in English get worked about every to 2 years
•5 pioneers in this English hall , so territory gets seldom worked even with their hard efforts, it's just soo much to cover!
•English has about 39 publishers with a reg meeting attendance of 41-42 ..

English here find alot of people from Belize(their national language is English) since its Chetumal is right on Mexico border with Belize.

For service we were told to really look for facial expressions of how they react and beware that if they say "I only speak a little bit of English" in this area most likely means they speak alot.. And so far very true.. We are learning a lot from the brothers here in Chetumal:) service it has been so fun and we are doing alot of census looking for English speakers. It can be tough though, because there are so many Spanish halls their territories get worked almost every week, that the people feel overwhelmed.

As for apartment hunting ... That has been interesting . We find places by word of mouth or just signs in front of apartment buildings. Unfortunately since we're only here for a short period of time we needed something with a few furnishings (fridge, stove, bed), so that made it a bit harder to find a place, and since we're American everyone wanted to rent us a house for three times our budget lol. But after a lot of prayer and the help of the brothers here, we've found a nice little place. its close to most service arrangements and a short taxi ride away from the hall (plus there's a soccer field and a basketball court with lights down the block for Raff haha).

At our first theocratic school meeting this week we both had last minute parts! Rafa, did reading and helped with a demonstration! Raff did good job with his first ever English bible reading! Our meetings here are service meeting on Saturday at 730pm and talk/ WT study Sunday at 10am! Kinda crazy schedule.. this week the hall is having their first Circuit as an official English congregation(very exciting week for them)! So the hall is hoping to move service meeting to switch from Saturday night to Tuesday night:-) it would be a nice change so that the brothers could could use saturday for get togethers and have some time between meetings to prepare :) we shall see what thebrothers decide!

Overall things seem to be coming together thanks to Jah and the help of our brothers and sisters here.

~Rafa & Lizette

Pics will probably upload in a weird order but hope u enjoy :)

Apartment pics in post coming up soon!:)