We've just returned today from our very first cruise. A 7 day Western Caribbean tour with Carnival Cruise Lines stoping in Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan, and Costa Maya. We had a great time celebrating my mother in-law's 60th birthday (which was last September, but never mind about that). Isaiah thoroughly enjoyed having the attention of his grandparents and two uncles.
Without doubt my favorite part of the cruise was seeing the monkeys in Belize. Actually, the monkeys don't have much to do with it at all. Seeing the monkeys allowed a glimpse into how Isaiah will do when we live in Papua.
We had no idea what we were going to do that day when we walked through the port area. A man holding a sign with pictures of tour options caught our attention and after a bit of discussion the monkey trip was selected. We followed him around to the tour office to pay and meet out guide.
Mrs Chris introduced herself and told us to wait while she went for the van. A little while later she pulled up in a mini van and we all piled inside. Isaiah fell asleep as Chris drove us around the city and talked about Belizean culture and her own upbringing as a poor farmer's daughter.
We soon drove out of the city and headed for the jungle. When we arrived at the location where we would see the monkeys everyone jumped out and went to meet our second guide. Mrs Chris said he was the best at monkey encounters.
The second guide's name was Manfred. He met us at the gate barefoot and with a big smile. Seeing that Manfred was barefoot Isaiah too quickly ditched his shoes. Keen to explore, Isaiah ran along the trails at the front of the group looking very much at home in the jungle. Chris commented to me, "He is a little Belizean boy running around with no shoes!"
On the drive back when I told Isaiah we were going "to the big ship", Isaiah asked, "Chris, too! Chris too please Mommy!"
Chris was touched when I told her Isaiah wanted her to go back to the ship with us. "In five years of giving tours this is the first little boy to every take off his shoes and run around like a Belizean. He is also the first to ask for me to go back to the ship. You have a very special one!"
Indeed we do. Isaiah did instinctively what missionaries can take years to accomplish. He just fit. And I cannot tell you how much this did for my heart. I have wondered and worried about how Isaiah would do in another culture. After Belize, I won't worry any more.