Saturday, May 28, 2016

What's Going On

 
Dolly's garden is growing.  We are enjoying the sunflower her friend gave her.   My Dear is working hard with plants as well.   He has many seeds started so to produce flowers and plants to sell at the shop creating more income to go toward reforestation of the country.   Do you know that Haiti was 60% forest in the 1960s?   Now, there is less than 2% forest here.   The area where we live is beautiful with trees and gardens but that is a small, small part of the country.   When the Ts arrived in Haiti, there was nothing here.   Seventy years later, it is a botanical garden.   A sweet reminder that the Lord is faithful if we are diligent and intentional with what He has called us to do.



The Lord has blessed our family with friends.   Friends move in and out of the country, but the Lord is faithful to give us who we need in the season we are in.   This precious darlin' loves animals and adventure just as much as our Dolly.   What a precious gift her friendship and love have been for our girl.   They wrapped walking sticks with yarn to create comfy grips as they showed me the awesome hike they discovered. 

 
This is part of my Friday.   I enjoy these precious folks!!   So many are eager to learn English.  They pay to attend classes taught by Haitians.   They desire to have the correct pronunciation and accent and want to learn from someone who speaks English as their first language.     They are a lot of fun and encourage me in my language learning as well and challenge me in English!  We use much of our time in conversation which allows us to get to know one another.  It also allows us to pray for one another.   This week, I met a lady Christelle.   She is a single mama who left her selling in the market to attend class.   She spent part of the class speaking with another man who is receiving an education in the states and is home for the summer.   He is helping with the class.   He left with tears in his eyes after hearing Christelle's story and how life is a struggle for her but he could see her determination to learn English and her joy in The Lord.   I am assuming he has not seen that kind of drive in the U.S. this past year.  The majority of the students in the free class are in their early 20s.   They make me laugh!!  I always leave with my daily allowance of hugs!  We probably have close to 20 people packed in the room each week.   I have a class for children has well, with others waiting for another class to be formed.  Many of the children on the waiting list, do not speak any English.  
 

See this big smile!  Miss B. has her first pet!   She loves animals as much as her sister but her sister had already collected a supply of pets that exceeded the desire of the parents.   Miss B's buddy moved back to the states and "Little Sleeper" needed a new home.  



This is what Sunday looks like for me.   Sunday afternoons are lesson planning preparations.  It is the end of the school year for us and although I enjoy learning with our kiddos....I am looking forward to a little break.   Although there are no "formal" graduation photos, Billy finished 8th grade and Dolly finished 6th.   Next year, we will have a high-schooler, a middle-schooler and an elementary student.   Overall, I love our time in our one room schoolhouse!


We currently have 2 chicks living with us.   Thy are wonderful exterminators!  This little guy was rescued from the middle of the road and was brought to our door and asked if we would care for it.  It will soon join its friend at the zoo with other chickens.



Billy got to spend about a week at the camp which is located on the beach.  This was a big deal for him (and us.)   Apparently work at the beach is better than work in the mountains!  We spent the day playing when we went to pick him up.   It was such a good day and a much needed break from our everyday.   Traffic was rough but we agreed it was all worth it!



The sewing ministry in Atrel is now making these cuties!   I enjoyed having them stop by for a visit before finding their new homes.   Two of these little darlings will be hitching a ride to the states as we come in.   They are not available online as of yet but will soon be on etsy.   If you would want to purchase one, message me or message Mountain Maid on facebook.   The dolls are made in a desert area that has experienced drought the past 2 years.  The ladies sew, dress, and name them and even fix their hair.   They love making these dolls.   Deborah who heads this ministry shared with me that one of her best sewers has a very small home that her large family lives in.   She has been saving her sewing money to build a new home for their family.   She has currently saved $200.   Praise the Lord! (at time of posting, all of these dolls had new homes but they can be ordered.)

 


Billy and Dolly have been helping with cleaning the cisterns.   What a fun way to help!   They transferred the fish from one pond to another and then had to catch them to return them to their original home.   They had a good time fishing, I mean working. 
 
 

My attempt to get a photo of Miss B and her buddy before their move.   It is always fun to photograph giggle boxes. 


We are moving right along.   My Dear has a renewed focus and finally feels like he is getting the operation of the Self-Help Project under control.   I appreciate getting to work along side of him as I work around our school schedule.  Thank you for your continued prayers, support, and encouragement.   See you in a few weeks!

"Tender"


I used to pride myself on not crying.   My winning ticket was the fact that I did not cry during Charlotte's Web!   Aren't I cool?   So, I was just a girl but that pride hung on for a long time.   Now, my niece, at a young age, would cry over almost anything.   I recall one time, she tripped and everyone was looking at her and she just cried.   She was not hurt just embarrassed and she was a toddler.   Toddlers trip.   During my wedding, she saw my sister cry, so she cried too.   I used to call her "tender" but the truth is, life has not been easy on her and instead of having a hard heart, she has a mushy one.   I love her compassionate heart.   In fact, when she is ticked off and mad, it is because of injustice and triggers her "tender" compassionate heart.  My friend "Care" is much the same.   I think they would probably say being "tender" is a blessing and a curse.

Not so long ago, I hugged a young woman who had received some difficult news.   I told her that I was well practiced in weeping. As a tear fell down her check, she confessed, she was not good at crying.   She has known a lot of joy in her life so this was difficult.   I get it, I was the same way but I am older now.   I have lived almost twice as long as she has.  I understand "tender."  Yes, I probably would cry at Charlotte's Web now.

 I know what it is like to love and to lose.
 I know grief.
 I know what it feels like to pray for something and those prayers not be answered.
 I know what it is like to work really hard at something and it not work out.
 I know what it is like to be hurt.
 I know what it is like to cradle a child, a preteen, and a teenager that are sad, scared, or just broken.
 I know what it is like to feel helpless.
 I know what it is like to be yelled at and to fear physical harm.
 I know what it is like for someone to lie about you.
 I know what it is like to be the object of jokes and whispers.
 I know that words hurt. 
 I know regret.


But I also know:
love.
healing.
answered prayers.
reward.
forgiveness.
comfort.
hope.
security.
truth.
joy.
encouragement.
faith.

And guess what, those make me cry too.  I believe this is what Paul spoke about when he said to be thankful in all circumstances.  If I did not know the heartache, I would not know the joy!   If I did not know the hopelessness, I would not recognize hope.   Each difficult situation brought about a gift.   Yes, I cry.   But I cry because I KNOW.   The Lord has been faithful to work everything out for my good.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit that continues to soften my heart for His Glory.   It has given me compassion for others that will allow me to serve them or to be in continual prayer for them. 

I am thankful for the "tender" the Lord has put in my heart because it means He has done such so much more.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Speaking Schedule

We are finally pulling our summer schedule together!   You know what it is like to schedule a vacation?   Well, mix vacation planning with family that you only see a time or 2 a year along with kids wanting to see friends.  Now, add camp schedules, all of your medical and health appointments as well as speaking engagements in different churches and you have the puzzle that is furlough!  We had planned to do some traveling as "field trips" but had to back out of those plans as time is limited and perhaps take a few day trips instead.

For those of you who have asked, here is the schedule as of today!

June 12th   am service     Bible Baptist, NV
June 12th   pm service      First Baptist, NV
June 22nd  Wed.              Central, PKY
June 26th  am service      Central, Winchester*

*My Dear will only share in part of the service.  

Hope to see you at one of these locations!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Good Gifts

Recently, I was able to enjoy a refreshing trip to Florida to surprise my father for his birthday.   My siblings also flew to the Sunshine State and then drove to the international airport to pick me up.   We piled into the back of my uncle's minivan and he drove us to our parents where my sister had informed my parents that a delivery would be made.   My father loved it and was taken completely by surprise!   He disappeared for a moment and returned after calling his boss and letting him know he would not be working the rest of the week.  We ate, laughed, visited a botanicals garden, laughed, enjoyed a road trip, laughed, did some shopping...or should I say looking, and laughed some more.   I enjoyed some time to myself swimming and enjoyed sitting in the sun with my sister and chatting with my mom.   Mom and Dad drove me to the airport to return home and I enjoyed my time alone with them.  My sister used to say I waited to have children because I had issues with sharing my toys.   I think she is right, I have issues sharing and loved having time with Mom and Dad by myself....spoken like the middle child huh!

I have never flown out of country before and I had only flown once by myself from IN to GA where my girlfriend landed in the same airport and met me.   She was a security blanket for me.   I asked the Lord to send me a friend on my flight.   My new friend Birdy would be flying out of country on the same day on the same airline but on a different flight.   I secretly hoped she would be on this flight for some mysterious reason.   As I settled into my seat on the plane, the man beside me began to snooze and I realized that the friend the Lord has sent me was not a person but Him.   I spent time in my Bible and listened for the Lord to lay questions on my heart and then the answers .   It was good and just the quiet I needed after the hustle and bustle of saying good-bye over and over again in an attempt to get out the door to the airport.

After the first 24 hours there, things were a bit bumpy.   I wondered why I had thought this was a good idea to try to relax returning to the culture of go, go, go.   My sister wanted opinions on paint colors and I needed to pick up some hardware for a project My Dear is working on so we headed to a home improvement store.  I quickly left the vehicle and let the others know that I was going on inside to start looking.   When I walked through the door, I saw the tall, dark figure in his orange apron positioned to be the "greeter."  I am always on the look out for Haitians when in Florida.   I walked over to the man and greeted him.   He returned the greeting and in typical Haitian style, I asked how he was.   He said he was blessed.   I shared that I was also blessed.   The Lord showed both of us that we were having a meeting of believers.   Willie told me that he used to be scared to talk to people and then he realized he had really important information to share.   Willie stood with such height and authority, it surprised me that he would be insecure...a place I occasionally find myself.   This man was a pep rally for my spirit and I was so thankful for the way the Lord settled my anxious heart in the form of a tall, strong man from South America.  

On the way back to Haiti, I was in the same exact seat on the plane.   I spoke with a young man waiting for the plane.   I think it was strange for me to see a Haitian person eating an extra large Steak and Shake burger and therefore struck up a conversation.  I enjoyed talking with this young man who was in the states to acquire about a soccer scholarship to attend college as long as he could get his visa.   I enjoyed talking with him and sharing what I knew to be true about the United States and hearing about the opportunities for him in Haiti.   We talked again at the airport in Haiti and talked about our faith.   He was happy to know we were both Baptist.  He was fun.

I found my seat and waited for others to load on the plane.  It was surprising to me how quickly I could get through all of the lines with just me and a carry-on.  A lady walked down the aisle of the plane with a small child and pitched her diaper bag in the seat beside me. I pulled it to myself to let her know I would watch it.   Sometime later, the lady returned to the seat with the cutest little guy.  I would guess he was 18 months old.  He chattered and smiled at me unlike most babies in the country who are unsure of my white skin.   This little guy was so stink'n precious.   He sat so sweetly on his mama's lap.  I enjoyed seeing his eyes get big when we took off and landed.   He enjoyed his cookies and chattered about them while he ate them.   He mimicked my sounds as I tried to occupy him while his mama completed the customs forms.  After landing, his mama allowed me to hold him while she retrieved the luggage in the overhead bin.   Oh what a mushy little guy!   We looked out the window together as he spotted the "ti machin" at work below....just like my boy, he liked things with wheels.  This little boy has no idea of how he ministered to me that day.   The very person I would plan to avoid seeing, a baby boy, was the very person that brought more healing to my heart.   That week would have been the due date of our son and the Lord sent a chunky legged, dark-skinned,  bright smiling little boy;  a tall, dark, bald man and His Son so that I might know His presence.   What a good Father!

*There are no photos on this post out of respect and privacy to those who do not know me but allowed the Lord to use them in my life anyway.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Update and Top 10 List!

Thank you to those of you who gave towards Dolly's Zoo Birthday!   I have been told that more money is coming in but as of today, the total received for the zoo fund is over $600!!  It is not too late to contribute.   Dolly wrote a persuasive essay today for her school work to push along the process on the zoo.    THANK YOU for being a part of that!!!


A team from our sending church is here this week!   You can imagine the kiddos excitement to see friends.   We have a heavy school week ahead of us. I am pretty sure school will travel over into Saturday this week as we try to do work and participate in the cool stuff the team will do.   It will be a game of balance.   I hear visitors ask the kiddos if they "have to school" today.   I am sure at times it just does not seem cool to be doing school with opportunities all around us. The Lord has not called us to "unschool" so we school....and yes, I used school as a verb.  This is a struggle for many homeschoolers but it seems more challenging on the mission field.  There are always people in need.  Thankfully, we are able to guard this time and our ministry supports us in that.


David Letterman used to do a Top Ten List.   Here is a take on my own, not in order of importance:

Top 10 Ways You Know You No Longer Live in the U.S.

1.  A team comes to visit and ask what "treat" they can bring you and you request Dawn dish soap.

2.   Your teenager and preteen are excited about the fancy fragrances of the newly delivered dish soap and sniff them to decide which bottle to use first...cause they WILL be using it!

3.   You get a package from a loved one and inhale deeply of the fabric to "smell" your loved one.

4.  You give the article to your teenager to smell and without mentioning the sender, they take a whiff and say, "Aunt Dee?"

5.  A small reminder of "things" you loved while in the states, Bybee Pottery, brings tears to your eyes when someone sends a small  bowl from their collection to you.

6.  When your child request a baby doll with the same skin color of the people in your new country.  (Oh man, it is such a cute doll too!)

7.  When your child goes to their friend's house and "playing in the tires" was on the list of things they did.

8.  When drinking water from a plastic bag is cool.   It is our Caprisun!

9.  A hand written note is love with an envelope around it.

10. You are humbled over and over again by the love and generosity of others.



Sunday, February 21, 2016

Zoorriffic Birthday

This year, the zoo at the mission will turn 50 years old.   Next month, our Dolly, the zoo keeper, will celebrate a birthday as well.    For those of you who know our Dolly, you know her love for all things furry.   The zoo has a variety of birds and a couple of small crocodiles that she checks in on as well as the rabbits and goats that she enjoys so much. 

This is Jade.  Jade of Joy was born Feb. 10th making Dolly the mama of 2 goats. 

The zoo is about the size of a nice petting zoo in the states, but it is the only zoo I know of in Haiti.  Dolly was gifted 2 animals for the zoo last year for her birthday but with changes in staff and issues with space, she has yet to receive them although the sender waits patiently.  We have not given up hope and are dreaming on the best way to make accommodations in the zoo for these new animals.



 My camera lovin' friend Jen captured this mama and her chicks.
Yes, this critter is in our zoo.  NO, I did not take this beautiful photo.

As Dolly's birthday rolls around, we thought this would be a great time to share of her desire to see the zoo remodeled for its 50th Birthday!

Photo taken by Sara.

Will you join us?   Dolly has $105 saved up from a previous birthday gift as well as money given by  members of a team from Ohio, that left an "IMPACT."

Here is how you can give:

1.   Log onto www.bhm.org and click "GIVE."   Go to "GENERAL FUND" to give your gift.   In the "GIFT NOTE" line, include the words "COMMUNITY MINISTRY" to insure your donation goes to the zoo fund.

2.  You can mail your check to:
Baptist Haiti Mission
13420 Eastpoint Centre Drive
Louisville, KY 40223
Toll Free: 800.359.5174800.359.5174 
Please include "COMMUNITY MINISTRY" in the memo line.


Thank you for loving on our Dolly, the critters, Baptist Haiti Mission, and the country and people of Haiti.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Up From the Ashes

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says,
 "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

This Thanksgiving, we gathered together as a mission to enjoy our Thanksgiving feast.  We were told that after we ate, we would share what we are thankful for.  No big deal, right!  I could come up with a list of what I am thankful for each day of the year and never repeat myself.  But this Thanksgiving was different.   I ate pretty much in silence with My Dear staying close by.   I prepared my assigned dishes and arrived just in time for the festivities.  As we finished up, I recalled there would be a time of sharing.   But, my head knew it should be thankful and my heart was hurting so much louder that my head and heart were certainly not in agreement.   My Dear got a call from the shop where he works and let me know he needed to go.  I took the opportunity to slip out.   Just the thought of communicating before a crowd and struggling with gratitude was too much so, I bailed.  I went home alone and let the children stay for dessert.

We flew to the states, at our mission's suggestion and hugged our families.  We needed closure and the Lord had laid on our hearts to have a memorial to honor God and our tiny son Marc Oliver.   As we grieved, we received many messages from folks sharing they had experienced a miscarriage (or miscarriages) and many had not told anyone.   We needed Oliver's life to have purpose.   I sent 3 messages and within an hour or so, a building, a pastor, and musicians were secured for a memorial service.   We asked the Lord to show us who needed to be there and He did.   It was a small group of family but many of the friends that were there, knew our pain.   Oliver's life was honored along with 16 other babies whose families joined us that day.  God was so detailed in the planning of this ceremony.   Our precious, precious friends took care of the service, music, message, equipment set up...all of it.  We simply said what songs we liked, that each life has purpose, and that our hope is in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   What a gift to have friends who know your heart and lay aside their own plans and hurt to help you in yours.

Days, weeks, and months have gone by.  The Lord has brought us up from the ashes.  I realize, we are not the same people, nor do I want to be the same.   The Lord has given us this experience so that we might love others as they endure similar situations.  
2 Corinthians 1:3-   says,
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
We have loved others who have lost children, but really, we had no idea.   Now we do.   We heal, step-by-step and day-by-day.   Since we lost Oliver on a Sunday, our Sunday School class learned things were not going as planned in the pregnancy when they arrived to class.   Some of them came by the hospital, but My Dear shielded me from guest.   Before our friends in the states had gotten word, the church in Haiti held us in prayer.  While these precious people stood outside of the door talking with My Dear, one of them said, "Now you know what it was like for God to give His Son. He has shown you that so that you might have the mind of Christ."  What about that for a change of perspective.  God, who gave His only Son for us, knew very much about our sorrow.  

Many have shared with us their prayers for us.   Thank you friends, families, and even some strangers who have been so kind to pray for us as we heal. Thank you to those who poured out comfort on us from the comfort they have received.  We know that Oliver's life will continue to have purpose as the Lord gives us opportunities to pray with and for others who grieve.  We have felt the Lord hold us tightly during this season of our lives.   I am grateful for that.  A young woman I cherish sent this quote to me:

 "I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against The Rock of Ages."    -Spurgeon

This song has ministered to me lately.   The song itself is beautiful but the words of John Piper included in it.....oh man!   They hit the nail on the head!   Click below on "Shane and Shane" the artist who wrote and prefer the song.   May it minister to you as well.  

Shane and Shane