We had a productive day in Belize today. Victor Fong was our driver and he handles the traffic like a local professional driver. People walked on the street. There are hardly any traffic lights, with minimum stop signs. On our way, we spotted many grocery stores owned by Chinese, they were all named after Chinese names, like the "Hong Store"...etc.
Marinda from church brought us to the first stop- which is a grocery store operated by Mrs. So. She has her hair braided.- it seems like she is happily expecting our visit. She was very welcoming and she lets us get pass the gates immediately.(Gates are very common in Belize. Unlike America, there is no honor system, and to prevent robbery, all stores are gated. Customers can only order things from the outside.) And she was not reluctant to be video-interviewed either. Her store is pretty big in size compared to others. It can fit all 7 of us. Praise God that she got a lot of customers in the beginning of our visit, but the customers stopped swamping in right after we started the interview.
Mrs. So has been in Belize over 10 years with her son. Her son is around 24 years old. But he is barely around the store. As we began the interview, Mrs. So mentioned about the crime that had happened a few months ago where four people were killed. She lamented that she is concerned about the safety, but she is used to the instability. Mrs. So works from 7:30am to 10pm. When we said it's a rather long time of work, she laughed and said there is nothing else to do anyway.
One of her hopes and aspirations is to one day visit America. When she left Taishan, China, she actually wanted to go to United States the most, but since she couldn't get the VISA like her sister, she is left with no other choices but Belize. Though it's not her first choice, she is still mostly content with her life, it seems. She doesn't hope for many things. "I just want to be safe, and continue to have good business," She said. After talking to us, she indicated interest to come to our Sunday service. We then proceeded to pray for her.
The second appointment we had was with Mr. Ma, who is a plastic factory owner. He is a short, cheerful man. He welcomed us into his factory and office. And gladly accepted the request for a video-interview as well. He was originally from Guangzhou, then he moved to Hong Kong, and eventually to Belize around 30 years ago. "Half of my life is spent here in Belize- It is my second hometown." He said. He expressed gratefulness for the opportunity to come to Belize. He is able to do what he does well, which is mechanical engineering, and he successfully raised up to two kids, who were able to obtain master degrees in the United States. He showed us around his plastic factory, which produced plastic bags, spoons, and containers. He shared about his faith in Christianity, but also his doubts and his fear about the evil spirits/idols. He is extremely passionate about music especially Erhu. He even invited us to go to his house to jam together! (But we will see if we have time).
And then, we had a spontaneous visit with a Taiwanese hotel owner. Our team member Michael met with her and her son in 2009. During that past meeting, Michael heard about the tragic story, in which the son witnessed a brutal murder of his father, and since then became quiet and close off. We suggested to the mom that we would like to speak to the son. The mom was hesitant, she didn't expect her son would want to come down from the apartment to speak to us. But when she called him, he said yes. We were able to have a good chat with him. He told us about his plan to go study in Taiwan, and he asked us some questions about United States and job situations. He is very intelligent and gifted. He didn't seem like he is autistic (like his mom said) at all. We were touched to see how much he has grown. The mom cried at the end, because she didn't think her son can be so sociable.
We really witnessed how teamwork and prayer work in today's visits. In every meeting, the members who are not speaking would pray unceasingly. And because of God's grace, the people we met today were able to open up to us. We thank God for letting us to have a glimpse of these people's lives!