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

Saturday, January 2, 2016

BLAN

Whenever we get in our car and travel any further than PV, the city near us where we frequent the store, we stop traffic.   LITERALLY!

You see, we are foreigners, blan, white people and they can easily see us coming.   Simply because of our skin color, our vehicle is going to be stopped and we are going to have to hand over the paperwork to the police at the stop.

Sometimes these stops are inconvenient, sometimes they are expensive and sometimes they are actually quick. 

Our ministry met at the camp location at the beach.   It takes about 2 hours to travel the 50 miles and THAT is if we leave early in the morning before the country awakens.  On our way there, we were pulled over-SURPRISE!   After seeing our paperwork and that we were in compliance with the law, the officer asked if we had any money to give him.   We said no.   The police are obviously not paid well so he asked for money so he could get a drink.   It is hot and we would not have hesitated to purchase them a drink!   Ironically, as the officer was asking for money for a drink, a man selling soda came up behind him to give him a soda.   But another officer refused the soda.  The vendor was pushed away.  The conversation went on for awhile and My Dear shared where we live.   He was surprised we lived here and My Dear shared, "We are here to tell people about Jesus."  The officer then said, "Do you need me to give you money?"  We got a laugh out of that and appreciate the respect of the officer...whom we did not take any money from. 

On our journey home, we were stopped a bit earlier.   Dolly's pup, Chester goes along with us to the beach.   He was pretty tired from our time there and slept in My Dear's lap while he drove.   When My Dear rolled down the window to communicate with the officer, his little, furry head popped up.   Dogs are like giant rats here.  People do not like them.  The officer was kind to My Dear and did not show any fear of Chester and simply asked, "Is that your friend?" 

We are white and we travel with a dog.  Chester's head, looking out the window, gets the attention of vendors and shoppers as we creep through traffic.  Ironically, for a country that has dogs only as guard dogs, he brings a lot of smiles too.



Another common sight as we travel are the boys on the road with dirty rags.  The boys are hoping to find work washing the windows of vehicles who have to stop in traffic.  My Dear tries to keep the car clean before driving through such places but he has decided, it doesn't matter if the vehicle is clean or not, they still try to work to earn a wage. 

On this trip, both down and up the mountain, it was Chester to the rescue.   Although, My Dear, tells the boys "no" they continue in their attempt.   One boy put his face up to the window and barked at Chester who of course barked back.  The boy jumped back, startled, and then smiled.   The boy's big, brown eyes looked up at us with a smile and made us laugh a bit.   Chester startled some other boys on the way back up the mountain with the same response of smiles and laughter...but they did step away from the vehicle. 

     (Why yes, that is a stuffed elephant hanging out the side of the vehicle.)


Getting into a car is never easy here.   As you can see, it takes a long time to travel even a few miles with obstacles along the way.    Traveling after dark is not considered safe.  The terrain requires a few Ziploc baggies and some essential oils for car sickness.  Stop and go traffic does not help with this either.  If you do not have air conditioning, thankfully we do, it can be a sweaty ride.

 As much as we consider this place to be home,  and feel comfortable traveling here, we are still the blan (a word that means white but is used to mean foreigner.)

In 1 Peter 2:11, Peter calls believers aliens and foreigners....the blan.  You see, this place is not our home.   And if you are a believer, "your place" is not your home either.  You are blan.



Monday, December 7, 2015

A tribute to our son...

video
The director of the mission asked us to take some time off and heal a bit.   I will share more of what the Lord has done in our lives since the loss of our son at 16 weeks.   I wanted to share this short video our sweet friend Colton put together for us to help us grieve and as a way to honor the life of our son.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Just Updatin' Ya!

I know, I have been quiet....but welcome 2nd trimester...that is enough explanation.   I am once again able to prepare a meal for my family and able to lift my head off of the arm of the couch to teach school....it is good!   I am growing and the girls like to check out how "HUGE" I am every night.   Billy is getting a few fat jokes in on me.   So, we are good....now on to the rest of our lives!

If you follow me on FB, you know about this little lady.   Dolly has her own goat, Johannahlee Purdue (named after some of Dolly's friends and the college the gentleman who bought the goat is attempting to persuade Dolly to go to) was a gift to Dolly from a team from our sending church.   Those children's ministry volunteers  are still loving on our kiddos from our sending church. 



 
 

The kids are as excited about this team coming as they are about Christmas!   They enjoyed going out with them a couple of times during the week.  They joined them for breakfast each morning and crashed their lodging each evening.   These folks are so good to us.   We even had cake to celebrate Miss B's birthday a bit late, but that is who she wanted to celebrate with.   They are a part of a church partnership, the mission's first attempt at this.   They come two times a year and a couple of them came for a third time last year, much to our pleasure.   They put a roof on the school this trip....you know besides pulling the church together to help them find and purchase a goat.   Billy took this picture:



My Dear is full time at Mountain Maid and I have been doing a tiny bit of work on their FB page and website removing items that we no longer can obtain.   Mountain Maid is a self-help program that gives artisans, bakers, gardeners, woodworkers....a place to sell their work.   There is also a restaurant with good ole fried American foods in it.   You can purchase coffee, ice cream, vanilla, hamburger...you name it!   Mountain Maid employees about 45 people and the number does not include the artisans.  This is the sweetest fella around...no kidding!   Yes, that is a giant banana split he is holding!



My Dear has been experimenting with a hydroponic system.  The girls are doing Botany for science this year so they were enlisted to assist in planting the seeds.   They have enjoyed watching them grow.   They also enjoy going up to the greenhouses with just their Dad and Chester the dog enjoys going too on Mondays.   Mountain Maid is closed on Mondays but My Dear still needs to turn the pump on for the system.  Billy joined his dad for the construction a few days.   I have the stained shirt to prove it!

Billy took the following photos...






My Dear has had to learn a lot about running a business.   He is a mathematician so he does bring strength in looking at numbers.   Mountain Maid truly just makes enough money to keep it going.   As you do your shopping for gifts this Christmas, please consider giving more than once.   Give a gift that gives twice.   The gift gives to the recipient and the artisan who made it.   When you purchase from Mountain Maid, a person earns money for their time and talent and are able to care for their family and their church.   It really is a gift that keeps giving and giving and giving.   The missionaries who work at Mountain Maid are all self-supported so the money goes back into the people and keeping the business running that employees them.   GO SHOP:   www.mountainmaid.org

There are new items being made all of the time and some of them have yet to reach the web.   The sewing ministry in our north west location of Atrel made these....

Check out these guitar straps!   The bright colored straps were special orders.  The straps sell for $20.  (The nicely manicured toes are no longer available.   Furlough was a long time ago!)




And look at Miss B's new dress for her, one for her baby and their adorable headbands!   The set sells for $25.  What a steal!



You will NOT see them on the website.  BUT if you are interested, please contact me!!

This weekend, we will once again begin our language classes.   This has been difficult and frustrating but many have been patient with us.  There are several aspects to language:   speaking, hearing, writing and reading.  I am still very much an infant in trying to hear and speak it.   Folks we see often give us opportunities to continue to learn and are patient with us.   Just like today when an employee at Mountain Maid, who speaks English, asked me a question in Creole and waited patiently for me to pull my thoughts together to respond.   Truth, I feel like an old dog learning a new trick.   While on furlough, I asked my friend, Nicole, from college how we picked up sign language so quickly.   She said, in a loving way, "Cause we were 20 years old!"  Funny, the old dog comparison feels true for my pregnancy too.  But, what a gift to get to do this again....really!

The kiddos are moving right along with their school work.   Dolly and Miss B. have new friends that live up the road and they both enjoy playing with.   A new family will move in tomorrow.   They have a 14 year old daughter and a 16 year old son AND I have some excited kids to not be the only children on the mission!  Billy has taken an interest in photography if you haven't noticed.   Look at this picture he took of himself!   I think he likes gadgets and he has a few so this is a great way to use them.



Prayer Request:

*My Dear to lead with love and wisdom, the folks at Mountain Maid as he attempts to disciple them.

*A healthy baby.

*Students that enjoy learning and not just race to be finished.

*Wisdom, grace, strength...all that we need to assist in leading our children to a relationship with the Lord.   This is our highest calling.

*Language learning for all of us.

*The financial needs of the mission.

*The change of staff, as they come and go and that we "jive."  Yes, the Lord knows the word "jive."

Thank you friends for loving us and approaching The Throne on our behalf.  You are precious to us!
Now, go check out www.mountainmaid.org and find it on FB.