Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pitchin' In

The primary responsibility of the kiddos and myself, for this season of our lives, is schooling.   But because the children do not have a schedule of activities in the evening , we can still help out as needed at the mission.   Dolly feeds the fish in the pond 2 times a day and also checks in on the zoo animals.   She "dog sat" for a family who went on furlough and whatever else comes up.   I know she has given impromptu tours of the zoo and have played with younger children on the playground who have invited her to play with them.   When the zoo keeper sees her coming, his hand flies up to wave.   He speaks to her in Creole and some days she comes home saying, "What does (this word) mean?"   There is a guard on campus that tries a different Creole phrase with her each time he sees her.   She asks him what it means and he tells her in English.   She said, "He always ask me that."   I let her know he was asking because she still did not know the phrase.   She does not shy away from his questioning as he is determined to teach her.  

Miss B. is still a bit fearful of folks she does not know.   BUT when Dolly came home from feeding the fish and shared that a little boy who spoke English, about Miss B's age wanted to play, I presented an offer I hoped Miss B. could not refuse.   She was washing dishes when Dolly asked her if she wanted to go play.   She said she couldn't because of the dishes.   I gave her the option to ditch the rest of the dishes if she would go to the playground.   DING!   She was out the door with her sister!

Billy has helped offer muscle when needed and recently helped to count out jewelry to fulfill an order for Mountain Maid.   Check out their goodies at www.mountainmaid.com   The sell of these items support the Haitians who make them.

The other job he LOVES is filling water bottles.   My Dear repaired a water filtration system when we moved here.  It is saving the mission and the staff a few coins.  We have water coolers in our homes and have a central location to get water and return our old bottles.   We have to use bottled water for drinking and some cooking.   It is near our residents so that is a blessing.   The water filtration system is up the hill at the gate of the mission.  To get the bottles from one location to the next requires just what a 13year old boy would LOVE to use!   AND oh Chester likes this job too cause he gets a free ride!





Last week, an unexpected opportunity came up to "help" that we could not resist!   Ice Cream taste testing!!!!   My Dear and work partner had some samples of ice cream to taste and needed opinions to know if they should sell it in the restaurant.  We had three very willing volunteers. 
 
 
 
Dolly giving it some real thought.   I think the chocolate chip was her favorite flavor.


Miss B. liked vanilla the best.  I guess it went with her bright yellow shirt.   If you trust a girl with one pigtail, you might like it too!


How did the ice cream rank?   Well,  no one LOVED any of them and the yellow vanilla was a little scary to even look at.   But it was fun to try!  It is not everyday a person gets to be an ice cream tester!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What Chikungunya Will Teach Ya (take it from me and try to skip the lesson on your own!)



Last week, I struggled through the virus Chikungunya.   It is carried by mosquitoes and it hit HARD!

This, I know about me, when one aspect of me is down, the rest of me suffers.   Physically, I felt horrible and even rest would not cease that feeling because insomnia is part of it.   I could easily write of all of my misery, but I will spare you those details and just put them in my tear stained journal.   Let's just say, the last time I felt that bad someone handed me a baby all bundled up and told me congratulations.............where is my congratulations gift???

During this time, I realized how much I missed the old.   I missed the hardwood under my feet, my dishwasher (okay, I miss that everyday!), the yard, neighbors, phone calls, our van, dance classes, church activities, and our ability to go places.   I missed familiar, I have the same bed but it is in the wrong room.  I can lay on the sofa but the antiques from the Boaz/ Blake families are not here for me to look at.   There would be no sending someone to Wal-Mart or no Blizzards from Dairy Queen for dinner (yes Blizzard for dinner for me, I am sick ya'll.)   I could not pick up the phone and call my mom and dad for advice or send My Dear to pick up pizza or wheel through Wendy's to feed the troops.  When I am down, I am down...for the count and feeling bad begins to feel worse.   In fact, 2 people I love asked to Skype with me (and they have seen me ugly before) but I refused both knowing that I did not feel well and to see their faces from the states would be just the signal to start the water works.  

One night, I was so tried and went to bed but could not fall asleep.   I finally just lost it.  Not only was I exhausted but I had taken a nice dose of Benadryl to help with the rash and to help me sleep.   So I was medically tired too.   I was ready to put myself on an airplane to a Florida hospital and pay them to just knock me out and let me sleep in a room undisturbed. 

After a good cry and the realization that there was nothing I could do to rid myself of the itch of the rash and that I could not make myself sleep, I had to make a choice.

My sweet friend Carolyn loaded me with music for this journey on her old cellphone.   I laid in bed in the early hours of the morning and allowed the Lord to minister to my heart with the lyrics of the songs.   I could feel myself relaxing and in the relaxing feel myself rest.   Five hours later, I finally feel asleep.  I had two nights like this but the tears did stop.   I can not control my situation or circumstances but I can control my response.

No, my bed is not located in the home that our kiddos will hold dear to their hearts nestled in the woods of the city.   It is located on a mountain with breath taking views.   My floors are concrete but have dolls, Barbie, cardboard boxes created to be doll beds and computers covering them.   My sofa, worn with years, holds the same bodies everyday at school time and sometimes in the evenings it holds those of new friends who are also striving to serve the Lord with their lives.   So, things are different....very different!   Sometimes it is hard and sometimes it isn't.   I still miss the familiar and the comfort that comes from familiar.  So as I am in transition, with life, our family, and my ministry, I will sit in the presence of The Lord and allow Him to heal me physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually and allow Him to prepare me for what happens next, cause He knows all about that too.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sovereign God

Last Sunday, we arrived at church during a long and spirit filled prayer.   We waited outside of the door until the prayer was over.  As we waited, we saw a white family.   This never happens!   Not only were they white but the man was bald....perks!   When service was over, My Dear called the man by name.   I thought, "Does he know him?"   But of course, he just saw his name on his Bible when we stood and decided to use it to mess with him a bit.

We introduced ourselves and Jen, the "wife" and "mom" shared that she saw our kiddos a few months ago when we had returned from Atrel.   They were here visiting with our neighbors.  

We talked for a bit and asked them to join us for spaghetti (cause its Sunday!) They have only been here for 3 days.   They moved from Nashville but lived in Louisville for a time.   Chris left youth ministry to move to Haiti with Jen and their youngest daughter who will begin college here as well as teach English.   We were able to help them get a bit better situated.   We had a mission that helped us transition and it was sweet to be able to give back to others.   We have enjoyed our time with the Ward family!!   AND our pound puppy loves Ms. Jen!  

Jen and I connected on Facebook and I think today is the first day that we have not seen them this week but they know that I am a bit under the weather and did offer to come help out with the peeps.   Sweet people!

Jen sent me a message a couple of days ago.   She posted a blog post about our meeting.   A friend messaged her and after sending a Facebook message to another "friend" to confirm the following...

Two weeks ago, 2 ladies met at the beach.   One was from Louisville, KY and the other from Bardstown, KY.   If you live in Bardstown, you go to Louisville to shop or whatever...they are that close.   I am sure the 2 ladies at the beach found this entertaining.   As they visited with one another, the lady from Louisville shared about her friend that was moving to Haiti.   The lady from Bardstown shared about a family she knew that has just moved here.   The ladies talked about the families and prayed that they would meet.   Indeed they did, that Sunday in church when we spotted the white family at church.   Two families for KY, prayed for our meeting and it was a meeting that has blessed all the parities involved.   Praise the Lord!   Both Jen and I received email messages from our friends to tell us about their meeting.   Reminded once again of our Sovereign God!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Amusing!

I just pulled the dirty sheets of the girls' beds to be washed.   They usually do this task so I found it a bit amusing and thought I would share.

B's top bunk contained:

5 books (chapter, picture and a large collection book)
11 stuffed animals
2 dolls
a throw pillow
a bed pillow
a baby blanket
a head light
a yo-yo (under her pillow) and
numerous tiny rubber bands from a broken bracelet I guess.


Dolly's bunk contained: 

2 flashlights (one small and one large)
2 wallets
2 pencils
1 pen
4 chapter books (cause one is not enough!)
a filled backpack
a math book
a sweater
a shirt
a 31 lunch bag of hair accessories...yeah, they are not small.
2 bed pillows
1 portable, battery operated fan
1 doll
4 stuffed dogs...surprise!
a electronic pad (thank you Emily!)
a tag off of a piece of clothing
a small blanket that I believe fell from the top bunk and
a single hairband...surprised there are not more since the bag was not zipped.

She wonders why the dog no longer wants to sleep with her, huh.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This is What's Happen'

The past couple of weeks we continue to learn how to live here.   We have lots of great support but some stuff, okay, a lot of stuff is just not the same.

 

The kids enjoy making things in the kitchen.   Along with Mark, they have baked bread, which does not stand a chance in this household, biscuits, and cinnamon rolls.   There is no grocery in our area and it certainly is not open at hours we are used to.   This bread is so much better if I do say so myself and flour is readily accessible too.

 
Without a dishwasher, the kids take shifts on dish duty.   Miss B. is getting good use out of her apron and step stool and look!  We finally got some liquid hand soap and they had Dawn dishwashing liquid too, not at the Walgreen's sale price but....THANK YOU GOD!


I so appreciate technology.   B. is face timing with her BFF, as you can tell from the smile and Dolly is reading a downloaded book.   What a blessing!



Chikungunya hit My Dear and then  Dolly. It is a virus spread by mosquitoes and causes fever, rash, and joint pain.   It can fade and return and some suffer for a year.   Folks are hobbling around Haiti and you just know.   It seems to hit areas at a time.  I think we may be in the clear now.  My Dear said that his fingers are just not the same.

Dolly slept in a cot in our bedroom to be near us in fear of being sick.   You can see the furry legs in the chair that were never far from her.   Her friends were at camp the week she was sick.   She soo wanted to go to camp.   But when they heard she was sick, they made a video from camp and posted it to Facebook.   She was all smiles!   The children checked FB each night to see pictures of their friends at camp.
 
I was not quite prepared for this hair thing.  I knew it would be something to deal with.   My girlfriend gifted me some hair cutting scissors she used at her salon.   She gave me a less than sharp pair to use.   Like I said, she is my friend and knew I had lost a few too many fingertips already! 

 
   It is not perfect, but she was proud!   She asked me to take this picture for Miss Andi to see her new haircut.   Miss Andi you will be one of the first stops when we visit the states.   Who knew what a privilege a real haircut is!   I have since learned there is a place we can go here in Haiti for an "American" haircut.  I also know that it will cost me 4 times as much as it did in the states and I can't ride my bike there like we did with Miss Andi.   As a kid, I often wondered why missionaries had long hair with gray in it.   I wonder no longer!  NOT EVEN kidding...if you do hair, consider coming to bless missionaries and other relief workers.   If you can do it, we don't care if you have a license or not.


The children and I pitch in to help around the mission in different ways.  Many teams from the states will leave clothes or items that they do not want to take home.   As a mission, we see that the items are recorded, laundered and distributed to pastors to use as they minister in their communities.   We also share them with employees of BHM as there is need.   Here, B. is recording the count.

  
Dolly is cleaning up the food supply of used and unused and restocking the cabinets for the next team.

Yep, those are all skirts!   Counted and ready to bag up and haul to the washroom where the ladies will scrub them by hand along with the linens and hospital laundry.   I think I may need to learn a thing or 2 from these ladies.   The laundry is always so clean!   I think they could teach me to tackle the stains the kiddos create.


My Dear and Billy hitched a ride with another missionary to go down the mountain a bit to look into getting an internet provider.   They were thrilled to see this place across the street.   For those of you who know My Dear, we like our pizza.   It was not as cheap as in the states but the kids were so happy for familiar.   This is the only chain restaurant we have seen.


A day in the "big city" with my seasoned Haitian living friend Chelsea brought us this beauty.   We saw Barbies and Legos too!    But it was this drain train that the dishwashers saw that caught their fancy.   Billy assembled it when we got home and for a few washes, they were happy to do dishes again....but the fame wears off people!  Dolly thinks it would make a great bunk bed for dolls.



Dolly had been cleaning out this garden before she got sick.   So as she felt better, we headed up to the greenhouses and she and Miss B. picked out a couple of plants.   The greenhouse is a ministry of BHM.


On our shopping trip we bought some kitchen gadgets.   These limes make yummy juice as we learned in Atrel.   The girls have enjoyed making juice with our new tools.   My mom would love that Miss B. chose the color orange for a juicer!  These tiny limes are cheap at market.   Add water and sugar and you get yum!   It doesn't take many limes either.   My Dear enjoyed making lemonade for our guest in the states, now we have a new treat for guest as they come to Haiti. 


My Dear stays busy up the hill and since I am home with the camera there are not many pictures of him.   He is teaching a Bible study every morning, which he loves.  He has gotten a water treatment system working.  He meets with artisans to train them and  whose work they sell in the store.   He is working on a grant for reforestation.   He is conducting interviews for 2 open positions in the restaurant.   He is creating UPC symbols to put on bakery items so that they can be sold in grocery stores.  He does some ordering for the restaurant and for the store.   He barters with artisans once a week as they come in to sell their items to the store.   Bartering is just the way it is here.  He is creating a conference room for meetings as they work to create unity and to urge one another on in Christ.   They give the employees jobs but also want to invest in them spiritually, not just physically.   I have noticed a few more smiles on the employees faces lately after starting their day with Bible study!  As with most positions, he does those other things that just need to be done!

Because of the beautiful scenery, cool climate, great shopping, and yummy "American" food (for Haiti anyway)  many volunteer teams come to Mountain Maid as a treat in their volunteer work.  My Dear has meet several folks.   Yesterday, he shook hands with a couple who own a commercial greenhouse in Canada.  Thank you God for connections that you deliver right to us and resources for My Dear to operate the greenhouse to its full capacity.  

While visiting the top of the hill yesterday a 12 year old girl with cerebral palsy sang Jesus Loves Me in English to us as we ate our lunch.   Be still my heart!   If we were in the states, that little girl would be in my classroom.  Also this week, My Dear had a meeting with a community of deaf persons.   He said he was unable to snag me but knew I would love to sit in on that meeting.   I am reminded that God uses it all!   He has and will continue to use the training, education and experiences we have had all through our lives.   He reminded me of that through the song of Miss Josephine who quickly won my heart. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Three Days of Fun!

Many of you kind folks have asked about or prayed for our kiddos.   Thought you might enjoy hearing about some fun they had.

Our mission has 3 locations.  Our kiddos are the only ones at our site except for a precious baby boy.  I have shared about the family in Atrel that has 5 children.  The third location is at the waterfront where the camp is.   This is where Crossings teams go.  This family has 5 children as well.   The youngest of those children is 13 years old.

This week, the Atrel family drove to the mountains to fully some responsibilities and gather supplies.  On their  6 hour drive in, they stopped about half way and picked up the other BHM kiddo.   With all that being said, THREE NIGHT PARTY AT OUR HOUSE!

 
A game of Apples to Apples Jr.  along with some silly faces.
 
 
A treat of ice cream at Mountain Maid, a ministry of BHM.
 
 
Ordering from the 3 flavors available, vanilla, chocolate and you guessed it....swirl.
 
 
 
 
These 2 have birthdays coming up the first week of August.   Ice cream is a fun way to celebrate.   They really seem to enjoy their time together.   That included days of cops and robbers (hide and go seek with the others all over the mission.)
 
 
 
 
Batter up!   Someone was pretty excited about playing ball!
 

 
Five of the children were born in Haiti and have always lived here.   One came as a toddler and one other missed kicking the dirt around this summer.   AND we had plenty of people to play.   Baseball just makes sense!   They even had fans in the stands,  well, on the bench!
 
 TRIPLETS!!!!!
 
 
All the sleep-overs were fun and a bit tiring.   Dolly laid down to pet her pup.   He got up and she did not...she took a bit of a cat nap...if you can do that on a dog bed!   A good sign of a full, fun 3 days with friends.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Bucket List.... We Didn't Know We Had

Atrel experiences summed up in our, bucket list we didn't know we had.


1.  Having others peel your dead skin off from a sun burn you received while in the vehicle.  The special educator in me, wanted to correct the behavior and share that it was inappropriate.   But then I thought, when will they ever get the chance to do this again.   I know  as they pulled and rubbed my skin that it was because they cared and wanted to help care for me.   Thankful I only had the burn on one arm since I was hanging on to the side of the vehicle to get to Atrel.

2.  Sleeping under a mosquito net not because it makes you feel like a princess either.   Yep, like father, like son.



3.  Riding a donkey.   Little Anna (age 4) had dreamed of riding a donkey.   She sees them every time she leaves her home so it is easy to see why she would want one.  She is super happy about riding one and asked for one for her birthday.



4.  Growing bananas (figs in Creole) with our "pipi" and "kaka."   *Pipi is pronounced pee pee and kaka is just what my dad said it was when I was a  kid (Once again Dad, you prove yourself a learned man!)  The Baker family has  built a "green" home out of necessity.  They have planted banana trees to catch the pipi and kaka from the outhouse as fertilizer.  Pretty smart.  See it behind Billy...who usually preferred direct watering.  We are roasting mayi (corn) like the Haitians do...corn, but not sweet corn that we are used to.   It is in season so you saw and smelled lots of it.   Even at our home on the mountain some mornings, I smell it.   When we arrived at the yard, most days someone would ask if we were hungry so to prepare mayi for us.
 




5.  A road trip that included coming off of paved roads, driving on salt flats, hugging the corner of a mountain side that over looks the ocean, riding through 100+ degree weather and having to roll up windows (with no A/C) to keep the dust out.  We walked this mile walk just about every day for at least the first week to get to town.  The Bakers have an accommodating ATV (Gator)  but they want to be a part of the community so they choose to walk, just like their neighbors, even though they live further away than many of them.





6.  Having our vehicle slowed because of the donkeys walking in the road and seeing a donkey parking lot at the market.   This is one of the small parking lots in Atrel.   A community with a larger market, had several, large donkey lots.



7.  Children running to the side of the road to cheer for the "blan" as they drove or walked by.  Blan means white but is associated with all foreigners, they call all of us "blan"   By the end of the two weeks several  (of those no longer yelled blan but would call "Mak."   Haitians do not use the letter R so they drop it from names.  Married women are referred to by their husband's name.  So Mak and Madam Mak, that is us!  Because I dig this guy, I LOVE that we are viewed as one by the Haitians, a Biblical view.




8.  To have your hair braided all over and to have an extension put in your beard...no pictures on the beard, I didn't have my camera that day- darn it.  Dolly was so patient with their interest and curiosity.   Miss B....not so much!





9. Play soccer in rocks and dirt with the opposing team not wearing shoes and some without pants even.  It is normal for young boys to be without pants and none of our children asked or questioned that...it is a God thing ya'll.




10.  Purchase a machete at market and then use it to mow. Watch your dinner being prepared with your new machete. 



12. Cooking lessons from a Haitian.  After peeling plantains, we smashed them between two small shaped pieces of wood that are found in Haitian markets and then Ocelia fried them.   Plantains look like bananas but will stain your clothing as you peel them.  Ocelia tried to warn me, but now I have a "bannann" skirt.   Ocelia agreed to come to the house and prepare us a Haitian meal along with letting us help and taste as we went.   We had kabrit (goat) in a wouj (red) sauce which My Dear loves.



13.  Pump water from a well.   The women and children come to gather water all throughout the day.   They carry it home and many of them put it on their heads to carry.   I have no idea how much water we use a day.   But I bet I would if it had to be hauled to our home.   Each of us took a turn at the pumping while the others sat and visited under a shade tree.


 
 


14.   Ground your own wheat and bake your own bread.  Dolly helped with the baking but My Dear did the grounding.   Since there are no grocery stores around, the family makes things for scratch....real scratch!   One morning after pancakes, Billy asked how many packages it took to make all of those pancakes.   Our precious host got a chuckle out of that.


15.   Fall in love with face or 2 or 3 or.....


Oh my heart be still, these 2 cuties were so happy to be held and hugged by us and we were more than willing!   Their families just smiled and giggled at our hug sessions.

 
  I may or may not have gotten on Compassion's website to see if this face needed a sponsor since there is a Compassion office in this town.   Our ministry also offers educational sponsorship with a bargain price.   If interested check out www.bhm.org  or message me!
 

 
Young Anderson heard me ask folks to speak slowly so many times that one time I must have had a look on my face because he stepped in to tell the speaker, "pale dousman."  Made me laugh!
 
 
My FB friends have seen this face.   "Saint Rose" does not attend church like many of the others who came to the yard to pump water.   Her friends are there, but she is not.   PRECIOUS little girl!   I tried to communicate that I love her and that Jesus loves her.   Praying for this little girl to know the GREAT big God that loves her so much.


Irresistible!   He hardly ever had clothes on but when Sunday came....he was all decked out!
 
 
 Mr. Krisen, a deacon in the church, an administrator at the school, a farmer, and a leader in his community...also, a patient man with Creole learners.

 
Loveka and Monnanika  taught me the Rock Game along with "Saint Rose."  They had stepped outside of the church when I stepped out due to the heat.   They played a little game with Miss B. and asked me questions that I answered in broken Creole.   Sweet girls.   Monnanika was the one who gave the girls donkey rides and showed Dolly the animals.  
 
Thankful for the bucket list we didn't know we had!
 
 
*guessed at spelling names