Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Once Was Blind

Last week, a team from our hometown were here.   I hope to share more on that later.  Because the team was here, My Dear had to gather interrupters for them.  One of those interrupters is a young medical student that did some language classes with us when we first moved.   The kids were happy to have Hassan back to visit with us.  Since he took time off of school to be here, he stayed with us where he could use the internet to study and study he did!   If he was not out with the team, he was studying....I was very happy for our Billy to see what studying looks like. 

One morning, Hassan stepped out to go to the pharmacy.   I asked him about the medication and he shared he bought it for a friend who could not afford it...a medical student, in Haiti...how much extra money could he possibly have?

Later that afternoon, Hassan walked through the door with a big grin on his face with two black plastic bags from market.   He looked at me and said, "she gave them to me" and just continued to smile!  A young woman was on the porch so I greeted her.   As she left, Hassan told me a bit of who she was so I had him call her back to take a photo of the two of them together.

Sometime last year, Hassan was interrupting for a team in Qui Qroit.   He noticed the young people were all running around and playing a game.   A young lady sat to the side.   Hassan went to talk with her and asked her why she was not playing.   She said she was fine.   With his probing, she shared that she was blind and that is why she was not playing.   Hassan told her that he did not realize she was blind.   Using his beginning medical background and knowing the culture, he assumed she had lost her sight due to diabetes.   A lady on the team was diabetic and tested the young woman's blood sugar.   Hassan said it was 500 and should be 90.   They gave the young woman some insulin and immediately her blood sugar went down. But that was a one time fix and not something her family could provide for her.   Hassan told her that he did not have money or medication but what he did have was Jesus and he prayed with her.   He asked her if she believed the Lord could heal her and she said she believed. 

Weeks later, Hassan was at the mission when the director introduced him to a new missionary.   Dr. Cowley, the eye doctor.   Hassan immediately remembered the girl at Qui Qroit and asked if Dr. Cowley could remove cataracts.   He said he could not but that a team of doctors were coming to do just that.  

Hassan contacted the young lady and she was able to have the surgery at our hospital, on the mission with Hassan assisting.   As Hassan told the story, he said, "Only God could orchestrate that."  After being blind for four years, this young woman can now see again.   She had walked from Qui Qroit that day.   I have been there and my eyes were probably as big as saucers as I realized the length of her travels and the hours she walked to get here.

As Hassan shared his story of this young woman, his smile widened and he ended it with, "She once was blind, but now she sees."   Praise the Lord for divine arrangements, for prayer and boldness to pray for physical healing that would lead to spiritual healing, and for sweet Hassan...yep, I am a bit bias on that last one and not because of the tshirt he is wearing in this photo.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day

I will be honest, I am not a "holiday" person really.   If I had to pick a favorite holiday it would be St. Patrick's Day because God gifted us with a pink, loud, opinionated,  chubby cheeked little girl on that day.    We enjoy celebrating our children and making them feel special and encouraging them to make others feel special on holidays.   It just seems like a great time to show His LOVE to others.  

Valentine's Day honestly is the hardest holiday for me.   It may have something to do with years working at a flower shop or the world telling me that I "needed" someone on this day as a high-schooler and not having anyone.   Perhaps I dislike it because  when I did have "somebody" to be my so called Valentine, we just hurt one another because.....well, we were kids and had no business being in that kind of relationship.   Anyway, it is just not my favorite!  Now, that we have been married over 18 years.......it is just another day......and that works for both  My Dear and myself!

But this year was different.   Since we have moved, there are no "date nights."   (Yes, I see your post on Facebook!)  There is no "running away for the weekend" (but furlough is coming!)   We have kept our kiddos close to us in the early stages of the move because we were all shaking in our boots scared and crying could come at any time (from the children.... or me!)  We had some sweet help with them when we moved over the summer months from an intern as we attended classes (so that time walking up rocky ole Thomassin was pretty precious as I hooked my arm in his so not to stumble.)  

All week, our friends Chris and Jen with a Door to Hope ministry, have asked when we were going to let the kids come over to their house for an evening and us have time to ourselves.   They picked the restaurant for us to go to and everything and said we would feel like we were in America.  The kids caught wind of the offer and cheers abounded!  

So tonight, we packed up some entertainment and refilled the recently emptied nest of The Wards with just what they left in the states....1 boy and 2 girls.....and maybe they left a Nerf gun, a baby doll, Swiss Family Robinson video,  oh and Dolly fixed a lunch box of dinner for everyone.....oh, and socks, jackets, and blankets cause it is really amazing the temperature difference just a few miles up the mountain. 

These two sillies snuggled under a blanket because they had the window down on the way there.

The gang was excited to hang out at The Wards high in the sky apartment...so high, heat no longer rises apartment!

My Dear and I dressed up and went out on the town!   Miss B. was so funny.   She picked out my necklace and shoes and made suggestions about my attire.  She asked My Dear to wear a certain pair of shoes and told him he better brush his teeth if he was going on a date with Mom.   He asked why and she said, "Cause you don't want to talk to her and she says, (waving her hand in front of her nose) 'Your breath stinks."    Oh, let me add this...I also got to explain what contraception was today to another of our children since we did a grocery run and it is located with those "last minute items" at the check-out you know the ones:  candy, gum, cigarettes (3 choices), playing cards, and contraception.  

So, this place did not automatically take me back to the states because it was SO NICE!  Nicer than where I would have eaten in the states.  But I did find one thing on the table that you just don't see in the states anymore, an ashtray.   Thankfully, no one was using one of these while we were there.

We had a nice time being alone!   The folks saw us coming and knew it was an American holiday.   They seated us, handing us menus in FRENCH!  (Darn you high school latin!)   I recognized a few words from Creole but glad to know that BBQ is pretty universal.   The people were so precious.   Our server was Ulysses.    He was kinda  "Unconditional Surrender" (U.S. Grant, get it U.S in Grant's name....I would not have gotten it either if not for homeschooling.)  Mr.Ulysses came to the table and replaced the light bulb over our table.   Then someone came and lit a candle for us and twisted the lightbulb off.   Ulysses came again to refill drinks and turned the light back on.   SO funny and it just cracked me up that they were trying so hard to make it romantic as they respected our holiday.  We were just happy to get to finish sentences that did not contain interjections using "Stop!" or "Don't!"   It was good, so good to just be us and to breathe...good think Miss B. reminded us to brush our teeth!

Have you ever seen a more fancy plate of French fries?   We did have an idea what was coming with this meal.

BBQ chicken and I got to pick between fries of bannann (plaintains.)   Those sticks are carrots.

We had left something for Chris and Jen at the house so after we ate,  we came back to get it.  When we got home, Dolly's pup Chester came out to greet us.   He ran to the car and looked at me.   I stayed outside so he could do his business but he wouldn't.   Came back in with head down and tail tucked....and we finally got it.   He couldn't find the kids.   He probably does not remember a time when they were not with us.   He was confused.  When we returned from getting the kids I noticed that Chester pup had gone and gotten Billy's dirty sock out of his floor to love on...that is some kinda love...a dirty 13 year old boy's sock.

We are thankful that God saw fit to send the Wards to Haiti...and our part of Haiti just months after we moved.   That the "chance" meeting of their friend to our friend on a beach in FL would lead to a discussion about their friends (us) moving to Haiti and their praying that we would meet.   That following Sunday we did just that!  God arrangements!   He knew we (ALL 5 OF US!) needed this precious family to spur us on.   Former KY youth ministers....meeting in this country....a continued reminder of  God's great big LOVE!  Thanks for loving us Wards!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Favorite Day of the Week

When we first moved to Indiana, My Dear had Fridays off of work.   It quickly became my favorite day of the week.   He was home or at least with us!   My love language is acts of service and his being home meant extra hands with the babies or a task accomplished at home.   It was all good and he even got to sleep in on those days!

It is a 6 day work week here on the mission and the 7th day is "on call."   It is, what it is!   Much like a nurse, doctor. pastor, police officer, fireman..... if something happens, they have to be there!   For My Dear it could be issues with our water supply or transportation to and from the airport.   If someone passes away there will be a knock on the door for a coffin and he will need to take care of that.  Any range of things really!

Sunday is a day that much of the mission is shut down with the exception of the playground and zoo which is managed by a guard.  This allows for some rest for My Dear.   That in itself could be why Sunday would be welcomed each week!  But it's not!  Sunday is our favorite day of the week because of these people.....

We love spending Sunday morning with these people....some are absent from this photo that was taken a few weeks ago.   The church at Fermathe has an English speaking Sunday School class.  They have needed a teacher for awhile with another man filling in.   They asked a missionary staff person if they knew of anyone who would be interested in teaching and well.....here we are!   My Dear LOVES this!!!!  I have never been with a more eager group of students!   They want to learn English so that they can read and study their Bibles.   (The Creole Bible is not a direct translation but is paraphrased.)They are hungry for The Word.   They fulfill the place of  my small group Bible study in the states.   We are working toward sharing life together as Mark has 2 of these men going along with him when he knows language will be an issue and needs a translator to help him communicate or to help him understand.   He loves these men and his time with him.   Another of the man in our class is being mentored by another missionary staff member once a week.  

There are 2 ladies that have been consistent to class.  One a mom and a teacher...just like me!   She borrowed my Handbook for Reading book that I used to teach the children to read and photo copied every page to continue to work on her English skills.   The other lady is a young woman in her early 20s perhaps.   She makes me smile.   I have laughed and grown much in my relationship with young women.   In fact, when we moved, I missed those young women!   They were perks to My Dear being in youth ministry!   *Shout out to the small groups of ladies that I love....interrupted movements, scented candles, Fazoli's bread, and "that may or not have been me" kinda love!

The class members are inviting people to come with them.   We are reading through Genesis and reading Francis Chan's book Multipy together at home and discussing it in class.   These people spur me on!!!  

This is our class.   We had a team of Hoosiers working on the mission this week so they joined us.

Literally, every chair in the building was in use.   I took a seat on the floor and sent the girls and their friend into another room to create more room.  Mark sat on an upside down trash can!  

We look forward to what God is going to do in us and through us (all of us!) as we continue to meet together on our favorite day of the week!

I am eager for my home church folks to meet these people.....very soon!

Friday, January 2, 2015

One Word

A few years ago, I was challenged to choose one word for the year.   I prayed about the word and asked the Lord to reveal it to me.   He gave me the word LESS.   In LESS,  I was to purge my life.   I assumed much of that was physical stuff that cluttered our home but as the year played out God showed me oh so much more that needed to be purged.   My heart was a mess.   I was holding onto stuff that needed to go.   My year of LESS actually was 2 years long!

After 2 years of LESS, God laid on my heart to LOVE.   As I think back, LESS was hard but to LOVE was just as hard.   I had healed quite a bit through the season of LESS and now God was going to teach me to LOVE.   It started with a young man that  needed a place to stay due to domestic violence.   It brought new challenges having a teenager in our home and setting boundaries to protect our younger children.  It was okay.   But then another teenage boy came into our home.   This one, although he did not know it, showed me all kinds of areas where I loved conditionally.  This young man rocked my world and my heart.  I could wring or hug his neck at any given minute and it could change within seconds.   I smile as I type this, thankful for what God showed me through this sweet/rooten kid.....you know wring or hug his neck!

Last year, I knew our lives would be turned upside down.   So I thought CHANGE, it will be a year of change.   Our family sold our beloved  home in the woods nestled close to wonderful friends.  We left the community we had grown to love.   Put our possessions out in the drive way with a for sale sign on it and drove from all that had been important to us for the past 10 years. 

Looking back now on our arrival in Haiti, it is a blur.  I was sick so often and the physical sickness brought out mental and emotional sorrow.   The children and I grieved and to comfort them, I just cried with them.   At that time, my precious sister in Christ sent me a token of the word GRATEFUL.   I hung it in the bathroom because I was spending sooo much time there!!!  I had to choose to be grateful in the change!   The reminder of GRATEFUL meant more to me because my friend had suffered a year of unexpected lost and God had given her the word GRATEFUL before her year began.   The reminder was not just a word but I watched her live GRATEFUL through a year that should have left her in a heap on the bathroom (or kitchen -CN) floor.

Now, 6 months later, it is time to choose a new word.  Looking back on 2014, I know I was just floating along, head above water, simply trying to survive.  I believe God showed me this, just this past week.   Nana and Pops came to visit so we went for a day to the beach location of the mission.    I had never snorkeled.   My Dear helped me to get all of the equipment on and to be comfortable.   I laid on the top of the water looking down at a whole new world!   Rich colors of life were covered by the sea.  To see such beauty, all I had to do was swim out into the water and be still to take it in.  I found myself swimming from one reef to the next and occasionally looking back to keep sight of the others.   There was so much there!!  I realized the past year I was too busy trying to survive, just keeping my head above water, to notice the reef!

So this year, I will SWIM!   I will no long just try to survive but I will put strokes in.   I will pursue more.   I will linger over the scriptures like I did the reef with a snorkel and goggles on so not to be limited by the time I can spend there.   I will dive into my language learning.   I will pursue relationships with others that speak a different language.  This year,  I will SWIM and allow God to show me the beauty of the reef that I have been floating above.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Let Her Go! Let Her Go! Can't Hold Her Back Anymore

The children have been studying England and Queen Victoria.   It was suggested that we have high tea.   That sounds great but in the scheme of things, pulling off a high tea would be a lot of work for me and something I would have to study and learn more about to actually do.   BUT, God put someone very special in our lives to pull this off with class and charm.

Queen Elsa, the original Elsa, sent an invite for a high tea to the ladies of our home.   Elsa is Austrian so her knowledge was far greater than mine on the topic and she has WAY more class than I do.

The girls dressed up fancy for their tea with Queen Elsa.   We were quite the parade walking across the mission with Dolly clanking along in my heeled shoes.   A driver even stopped to pick them up (walk beside them.)   James is his name..........yep, can't make this stuff up Queen Elsa and James the driver.  

Elsa greeted them at her "moat" and welcomed them dressed up in her fancy clothes too. 

She was in full character and instructed the girls in etiquette and history as she served them.  

The girls had a WONDERFUL time and indeed felt like royalty due to their royal treatment.   They left with hugs and curtsies and a favor of a royal trumpet to use for declaration (or decoration.)  

Elsa has served in Haiti for 30 years.  Her husband brought music education to Haiti.   He has since gone to be with the Lord but Elsa stayed in Haiti and continued to serve.   A couple of years ago, she resigned her position and stayed on to aid in the transition of someone else to her position in the child sponsorship office.   This week, she will board a plane and leave her home of 30 years.   She is a wealth of knowledge and entertaining stories.   She has driven all over this country and prayed herself through all kinds of situations.   I selfishly will miss her and the way she loves on our children.   I will miss out on all that I did not get to learn from her.   She has encouraged me in language learning and in parenting our children, reminding me that they are my first ministry. 

                     See the little birdie that catches the drips of the teapot....so clever!

                                Just cutting the edges of a napkin makes it extra fancy.

Lord, I thank you for Elsa, for the heart that You gave her to serve the people here.   I pray God, that you continue to put people in her path that she can minister to.   That folks in the states see the vast wealth of knowledge that she has in loving and serving others.   Help her to find her niche and remind her, when she is lonely that she is still serving you....just on another mission field.

Nou renmen ou Madam Pete....anpil! anpil! anpil!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Messy Motherhood, Messy Heart

Saturday is a work day on the mission making it a 6 day work week.   My Dear drove a team to the airport but stopped at the grocery store on the way home.   I work Saturdays on the mission as well completing projects.   Today was no different.  When I got home from working in the dirty depot sorting through linens, I was a bit overwhelmed by the condition of the house where 3 unattended children had made sandwiches, opened mail,  and did whatever kids do and left the evidence!  

I was a bit hungry but could not function in chaos....I hear it is a sign of a weak mind if a person has to clean up so they can work...if so my mind is WEAK y'all!   I also had exchanged only a few words with My Dear throughout the day, maybe even the past couple of days.

We needed to make some decisions but being able to talk without interruptions or input was becoming difficult.   We were talking in the kitchen and little people kept entering and interjecting or arguing or just being loud (I know, shocker in our family!)  I asked everyone to leave the kitchen in hopes that My Dear and I could talk.   Now, I also know that one little person is extra curious and wants to hear all of the details....I know, cause I was that kid when I was little.   Riding "the hump,"  middle spot, in the back seat of the station wagon. pushing my face up between my parents so I could get the scoop!   No one wanted the middle anyway so I learned to make lemonade so to speak.

Again, My Dear and I attempted our conversation but they just kept coming.   One was there to help sit the table for dinner without even being asked.   Guess which one!   Yep, the back seat, hump rider!   Plates were less than carefully plopped from the cabinet making yet another noise disruption in my attempt at any type of conversation with My Dear.  It was the straw that broke the camels back!   Instead of kicking everyone out of the kitchen again, I barked specific demands of where they should be.   "I was just trying to help," said one tearful voice.  Not that being sent to the shower is always a punishment, but the tone, most certainly would make it feel that way.

Yep, I blew it!  

My Dear tried to explain to the children that we had asked numerous times for space to talk while I prepared dinner.   Let's be honest, the damage is done.

Sin is like that, you know right afterwards  *BAM* but the damage is already done!

Since missionaries are on furlough for Christmas, Dolly's Doggie Daycare had a client to care for. She's gone international y'all!   I did not want her to go by herself in the dark so to make up for my "performance" I said I would go with her.   After she asked over and over and over again , "are you ready?"  We were off.   We played awhile with the critter and then headed back toward our home.  As we rounded a corner, we heard music playing and singing in English.  

I asked Dolly where she thought it was coming from. We went on a walk across the mission in hopes of  finding the source in 1 of 2 places.   Right here on our campus, a group of young Haitian men were preparing to lead worship with a team that arrived today.   They were in full praise and worship!   Dolly and I entered and they asked if they were being too loud.   My response, "NO WAY!!"  

We sat with the young men as they sang some of our favorite worship music in our native language.   Such a sweet time with this little girl by my side.  I accepted the Lord's forgiveness from my earlier "tantrum" and just basked in who He is and praised Him for just that.....for being Him!

What a sweet reminder tonight was of the good gifts that God gives and that His timing is PERFECT!   Looking forward to tomorrow night as we will join these young men for worship again.   I might just have to jump around as they do as I belt out how God's grace rescued me....it is indeed jump worthy!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Prayer Request

I was surprised to see that it has been over a month since I posted.   You know what the means, our lives are becoming normal!   Things do not seem as "note worthy" as they did.   The smells and sounds are more normal.  I am no longer awaken by the 6 am service at church.   I no longer smell corn from open fires roasted or even smell cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven at the bakery at the top of the hill ( not sure if that is good or bad!)  The routine is more normal.  The children have a good idea of what their boundaries and limitations are on the mission.   Faces are becoming familiar too....which is all good!!!

About a month ago, we learned that there were items to be  picked up at the docks that had came over on a ship for the mission.   It was assumed, it was the vehicle we purchased.   WAIT, let me back track.

 Early October, My Dear made a quick trip to the states to purchase a vehicle that he found online.   Folks went to check it out for us and began negotiating with the seller on our behalf.  We purchased a little SUV because 4 wheel drive is a must here.   My Dear purchased the vehicle in TN and had to drive it to one location in FL to be shipped and then to another city in FL to catch his plane.   There were lots of paperwork and even an extra bump in the road we did not plan for.   My Dear, along with his sister, sister-in-law, niece, and mom did a massive shopping trip to bring back some supplies that we wanted.  My Dear was exhausted when he got home but he did get to eat at some of his favorite places.


The mission got a call that a skid was ready for pick up.   YEAH!   It must be the flooring My Dear purchased to cover this naked, concrete floor (which is wonderful for spills but ugly and unfinished.)  Because it was our personal stuff we were encouraged to go along with the employees to get it so we loaded up "the reds" for a road trip.   Dolly stayed behind with our neighbor because the thought of the road trip brought her to tears.   She knew she would feel miserable with car sickness and the heat as we move down the mountain.

Smart girl that Dolly!   We started the trip off right with lunch and then headed down to "Port."  We followed the gentlemen from the mission.   They knew back roads which made for a bumpy ride but meant we were not waiting in traffic much either. 

We went to a location, to have to go to another location, and then waited.   A lady jumped into the vehicle with the men and we followed them to another location.   The lady was the manager of our case and took us to the items for pick up.   She did paper work and we waited in the vehicle.   Then we waited with the employees in the shade by the truck where the items would be loaded.   We peeked into warehouses of items being held and saw numerous motor bikes that are still waiting for their paperwork to clear or the folks did not do the necessary paperwork....waited and sweat.  

Finally, a pallet was brought out with 5 small boxes on it.   My Dear and I just stared at it!    My Dear said, "This is not ours."   They flipped through clipboards of paper and everyone stood with questionable expressions.   It did belong to the mission but it was not ours and no one here was expecting this either.  Sadly, we loaded up without our flooring and dog food.   We were frustrated because such a trip truly takes a full day.

BUT as we were leaving, I looked out the window and saw what I believed to be our vehicle!  I saw it, it is here.......but is it not HERE!   HERE, with us,  where we can use it.   Instead we continue to use the missions vehicles when they are available.

Miss B. is extra proud in this picture.   She asked if she could climb on top with Billy.   I told her only if she could do it all by herself (with dad standing below just in case.)

Our hope was that our items would be released before Christmas.    Will you join us in praying that our vehicle and our skid of flooring and dog food are released to us soon?   We do not want to feed the warehouse rats but hope that there is still dog food on the skid that is safe for our pup to eat.  We would like to have it before Christmas (and this time My Dear will go down without me and if Billy rides with his dad, he may be given grace on his school work for that day!)  Pray also that all of the contents that My Dear packed are accounted for.   School books for next year were in the car along with a couple of dry erase boards.

Pray also please about some paper work that we have misplaced and need (not associated to the above request.)

Thanks friends.