Saturday, June 28, 2014

Prayer Request

Sunday, we will be taking off to Atrel!   Yep, we will pack up after being her for 4 weeks and take a 2 week trip to Atrel.   Our home is located on the mountain so it is not only lovely but it is cool!   In fact, it is so cool that we do not have air conditioners and we close our windows at night (well I do, I am sure My Dear wished we didn't close all of them.)  

In Atrel, we will living with another family in our ministry.   They are the only family serving in that area.   They have five children so that is a major perk for our kiddos!   But the climate is dry, dusty, and well, it is hot there!   She told us to bring the coolest clothes we have and good walking shoes.

We will go each day to live along side of a Haitian family.   It will be a sink or swim saga as we learn to communicate with them and their family and to work along side of them.   There are no washing machines, like the luxury of my wash day Friday.  We will be armed with our Creole dictionaries to help us to communicate.  For real, sink or swim!

With this trip come several prayer request.

1.   Our Dolly is sorry to leave her beloved Chester behind.   Pray that God continues to give her peace as He grows her to trust Him.

2.  Pray for sweet Morgan, our intern and Chester the pup that they will get along well and that Chester will be calm instead of the stressed out pound puppy that he can be when separated from family.

3.  Pray for our language learning.   We have had many classes but lack the practical use of the language.   We serve in areas of administration so our contact with Haitians in real relationships is limited, especially now, as we learn the ropes.  

4.  Pray for our travels.  Dolly and I have had trouble in the past on the bumpy, long, hot travels on Haitian roads.  This trip will be our longest yet.   Pray that we can travel sickness free and that our bodies will become accustomed to this new "normal."  The children haven't even ridden in a car in the past 2 weeks, it is just not our typical.

5.  Pray that we are a blessing to those around us.

6.   Pray that Billy, Dolly, and Miss B. adjust well and are eager to learn.   Pray that they mesh well with the other children that they will living with for the next 2 weeks.   Pray that they are good role models to the children around them.

7.  Pray that in the heat and the change that we are all about the Father's business and not concerned about our own comforts and needs.

8.   Pray that we adjust to all things new...again.   It was just 5 weeks ago, that we loaded a truck with a few things that were a part of our normal and drove off from the rest of it.   The children still grieve for their backyard and next door friends.   Tears are a weekly occurrence and here we go again.

9.   We don't want to be wimps.   Pray for stamina as we face the heat and the mile long walks to get where we need to be as well as no problems with food.

10.   Pray for the Baker family of 7 as they are about to have us move all into their  lives as they work to help us.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Life As Of Recent

The girls decided they want to do laundry like "real Haitians."   They set to work along with a rope that was left behind by one of the teams.   When the teams leave it is like Goodwill and the girls score all kinds of goodies...or at least goodies to them.   I did have to cut them off on taking insect repellant.   We are over stocked! 
 
 
 
 They washed and hung clothes to dry and had fun.  When they dried, we folded and put them away.   But I learned the folding and putting away part is not near as fun!  My favorite book as a little girl was a Little Golden book called Little Mommy.   It was rereleased a few years ago and I bought every copy I saw to share with little girls in our lives.   One page looked a lot like this one but with a washboard.  
 
 My Dear had an overnight trip to Miami.   He flew back with a team of teens, thankfully the team included our church and My Dear was seated by sweet Olivia.   He said he laughed the entire way to FL.   He took 2 empty suitcases and slept about 3 hours that night due to fulfilling a shopping list the kids and I had compiled.   Toilet seats, clocks, a vacuum, laundry detergent, a speaker for Billy, beef sticks for Dolly, dog food and treats for Chester, tic tacs for Miss B.   Yes, friends that is a basket of granola bars....this boy loves me!  He met the next team of students at the airport and flew with them into Port.

 
 The girls' new clothesline was in the shade so they moved the clothes up to the main line.   This is Miss B. checking to see if they are ready yet.  I guess it is laundry and exercise at the same time as she jumps with each article.


For those of you who know our Dolly, this picture will not surprise you at all!   Dolly asked for goat before we even moved because of her friendship with our goat loving friends.   Ginger, as Dolly named her, is in the zoo here.   Dolly put her on a leash and took for her a walk after the campus was closed to visitors (but the hospital area is always open.)   Our collector of dog leashes is putting them to good use.   Ginger loves Dolly and the banana peel treats she brings her.  She looks for Dolly to come visit and knows she will occasionally get a trip out of the cage.


I wonder where Miss B is?   There is a part of the property that is pretty private and allows a place of exploration and fun for the kiddos.   This tree, clothesline, play house, rope swings, and the trampoline make it a place that is all theirs but is much more fun with friends.


A couple of care packages arrived a few weeks ago with the team from our church and these package were decorated in love.  It made them extra special! 

 
Father's Day is an American holiday with no recognition here.   We were able to all attend church together though for the first time in Haiti.   Dolly spotted a gift she wanted to purchase her daddy and we all agreed.   I think he approved.  
 
Also in this picture, you will see piles of stuff.   The sweet folks here had our house ready to go for us not sure of what we would have or need.   As our stuff trickled in, we have claimed our space and those piles are now in storage.   Yes, that is a rack of insect repellant by the door.

 
I think My Dear likes his new Creole Bible.



Dolly and Billy were in the safe haven playing when an unexpected rain came.   Billy snagged this leaf to get himself to the door.   Clever boy!

 
This photo is out of sequence...but this is what happens when My Dear did a mass shopping trip and only got about 3 hours of sleep on his overnight trip to the states.   Billy offered his legs for a pillow but is armed with insect repellant.  He is a comedian too! 
 
 
Each day is a day to get used to our new surroundings, customs, and routines (or lack of at this point.)   There are days that they miss very much their friends, their "home," the woods, swimming pools and their Sunday School classes but I would guess a year from now that they will look back and hardly remember that time.   So with each bump, curve, and spiral, we trust that God has so much more in store for them.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

BARGAIN!

For the past two weeks, My Dear and I have traveled a rocky road to Creole classes.   Seat belts are not mandatory for passengers to wear but today I put one on just to stay put in my seat!   Each day on this walk, we see children dressed in their uniforms heading to school.   Some of them walk alone but younger students walk with an older sibling or with their mama holding their hand just like in the states.   There are some children who are not in uniform.   They carry water buckets, brooms, or just stare at the vehicle as it drives past.   You see not all children in Haiti are gifted with the opportunity to go to school.  School is expensive and having a uniform just adds to the cost.   School is an honor and a privilege and those children who do not get to go to school long for the opportunity.   Many of them will be the first in their families to go to school so it is an honor for the entire family.

The past two weeks students from Crossings have stopped by for an overnight stay in the cooler climates and many of them have had a golden opportunity to meet a little person at the playground.   They have thumbed through cards and profiles and have chosen a little face.   They will be their supporter.   The students from the United States will be the reason that the children in Haiti get an education!   They will be the ones who make it possible for them to carry backpacks instead of water buckets each morning.   They will give the gift for these students to get an education.   This is big stuff!   Big stuff that cost a student, a family, an individual, a Sunday School class, a Life Group pennies just pennies compared to what we pay for education!   For only $25 a month, a child's future is changed for the better!   $25 a month makes you a sponsor for a child.   You provide their school supplies, uniform and insure their education along with a meal each day.   My Dear and I sponsor children through two other organizations.   It cost much more than this one and while in Haiti last fall, we were able to meet a sponsored child and you can too!   It is a pretty cool way to teach our children too!  

SOOO how do you get started?   Check out Baptist Haiti Mission on Facebook or visit BHM online at www.bhm.org/sponsorship     Check out Child Sponsorship.  Look through the precious faces of children who are in need of sponsors.   Know this!   When you select and sponsor a child, that child along with a few other children will get to go to school and when those few other children are sponsored, then more children are pulled into the program and are no longer carrying water buckets with faces downcast but have smiles with their chins held high and a future that is bright!   Man, what a bargain of a blessing!


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Hunting and Gathering

The way we "hunt" and "gather" is a bit different than in the states but still very much the same.   Fresh fruits and vegetables can be purchased from local farmers at market.   This would usually require negotiating prices particularly because we are "blan."   Blan is the Creole word for white but it is used for all foreigners.  Thankfully our missions sees that our time and negotiating skills are better used working on the mission so someone does our shopping for us.   We simply turn in a shopping list for market of what fresh fruits and veggies we want.   If it is available in the garden on the mission, we get it from there, if not, they get it for us and keep a running bill of what we owe.   I appreciate the onions, peppers, and eggs magically showing up! They are fresh with the dirt still on them and looking less than perfect in size but yummy in taste.

 The girls and I are fine with fresh fruits and veggies but our guys are not and well, there are just some things a person wants.   Our friend Trey took us on our first grocery shopping trip.  The kiddos stayed home with his wife and our sweet intern who hangs with the kids often.   We asked the children for one thing that they wanted at the store and promised we would do our best to fulfill the wish.   Billy wanted hot coco mix,  Miss B. wanted cookies and Dolly wanted dog food for Chester (don't worry, she got a treat too.)

This is the fancy grocery store.   There is another in the area, a town over or so, by another name.   Much like any grocery store huh.
 This is My Dear after our shopping trip.   It took awhile to get through the store just because it was so "blan"   so that is probably not how one should use that word in a sentence but it works for me and I am the author of this blog and the editor too!   (saying the shopping was "foreign.")  Please note this store is used by the upper class.

We had to calculate the currency in our heads to have an idea of how much the items cost.   What did we need?   What meals did we plan to have?   What was utmost importance?   What did we need to get right now?   What did we need to get at this store?   What is even available?

Trey walked patiently through the store with us and would help us if he knew we could get some items cheaper through other resources.   Comparing prices was a bit harder too with the metric conversations....I should have paid more attention when I worked on those with the kids.   They do better at them than I do.  

After we totaled out our ticket, My Dear had to go to the service desk type area to get the currency exchanged and I waited at the counter with the food.   Our shopping trip seemed like very little and with a big price tag.   We did purchase some meat but at Aldi, it would have been less than half of the amount.
 The currency here is gourdes.   The rate of currency exchange is 45.2 per dollar.   So, looking at the receipt below, GRANDS biscuits are 190 so divide by 45.2 and you will see that we paid a bit over $4 for a can of biscuits.   Most items were name brands just because generic was not available.   I am an Aldi shopper so the kids are probably thinking we are buying off brand items now!!!

I think you can read the receipt of items, they are probably pretty familiar with most of them.   Have fun with the math.  
We were able to get coco mix for Billy.   They actually had pre-made cookie dough by Toll House on sell.   My Dear used to make those types of cookies every Friday night for our Life Group with Miss B. (and Keri's boys who had never seen pre-made dough before cause their mama is a real pioneer from scratch cook) so those of you reading this will probably get a chuckle out of that and how we teased him over his "homemade cookies."  Miss B. was thrilled to be able to "make cookies" with daddy.

 For those of you who know our Dolly, she is quit particular when it comes to her pup.   She wants only a specific kind of food.   It is not the cheapest in the states either.   They had the name brand but not in the small dog formula so we did our best and knew this was an area that we could not waver.  Like any mama, she needed to know that her baby has what he needs.   We purchased the smallest bag of food for our pound puppy for about $30.   The item on the receipt for 396.90 was a couple of chicken breast.   Bet you can pick out the Creole word for chicken!

My Dear had an overnight trip to the states to deliver a team of students and pick up another team last night.  This was especially cool because he was able to fly out with the team from "our church."   I think he only slept a few hours while he was there because he took empty suitcases to load up on some items....including a vacuum cleaner!   He is the packing king!   He grabbed more granola bars even though our sweet, little friend Jace (who you have read about with his lemonade stand) sent us some via the team this week.   Those yummy bars were $7 for 6 bars locally....just couldn't do it!  But NOW, we are well stocked!   Chester got a giant bag of food as well.

We are learning more and more resources to take care of our family and cheaper.   Since we are so close to the states, there are resources that many other missionaries do not have in the area of shipping items.   Appreciate that God continues to meet ALL of our needs even with treats!   The street vendor prepares a pate that Billy loves!    Guess that is another post!




Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Laundry Day

Friday is our laundry day!   Several of us share 2 washers and 2 dryers here on the mission.  Friday is my turn to claim the laundry room.  Last week, I actually got 2 days since someone was away and I could use the machine on their day.   We had traveled a week before getting here and we had brought dirty clothes with us...it just happens.

The water pressure is low and we have only cold water to wash in.  Let's just say there is no H.E. on the appliances.  The generator on the property goes off at 4 p.m. unless the hospital needs it to stay on.  Sometimes it comes back on the local electric company but otherwise we are running on batteries that only allow for small doses of energy to be used....not washers and dryers.

I took several trips up and down the stairs from our home to the laundry house and was pleased with the work.   I learned I had to stay on it and watch the clock to get it done in time....learned that is.


Well we put those storage totes to good use!   Since raining season is coming to an end, it may be safe to use the line but they did just fine inside.   Like I said, I learned!   The next time, all 9 loads were done just in time....but we were sure to keep ourselves busy around the house all day to make sure that I could get to the laundry room every hour.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Worship Haitian Style

This post written by My Dear....enjoy!


I went to a Haitian church today.  It began at 9 a.m. and was over a little after 11 a.m.  There was a lot to take in.  Before the service started a young lady (older teen) gave out awards to the church members for things like attendance and bringing your Bible.  I saw teens helping to lead in the service.  This was followed by a hymn or two. You have to enjoy those hymns.  There is such good theology in them.  Next I saw the children’s choir (ages 7-12) sing a special. The children are involved in the service.  Then there was a congregational reading. The entire church read God’s word together. There was another song and the visitors were welcomed. Visitors were asked to stand so we could be seen, no hiding in this church. The children’s choir sang another special.  Another young man, I’m guessing an older teen, gave the announcements. (More teen involvement.)  The offering followed with the adult choir singing a special. The offering plates were cloth bags with handles, so you put your hand in the bag and gave your gift.  It was done in secret.  There was a prayer before the sermon.  The prayer was probably the longest corporate prayer I had ever heard, I was not prepared for that.  I wish I could have understood his prayer.  I did hear him say repeatedly “merci” which is the French word for thank you. The Haitian church congregation sang loud and passionate.   The sermon was near the end.  It was 45 minutes of Biblical, solid preaching.  How do I know?  It was followed by a 2 minute summary of the sermon in English.  Last, a song of thanksgiving was sung. I am not sure what the song was about, but from the melody and the excitement in their voices, I assume it was a song of thanksgiving.   Creole lessons start tomorrow.  I hope to understand and comprehend more next week.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Neighbors to Visit (one week ago)

Last Sunday, Baptist Haiti Mission hosted a luncheon, barbecue style for our neighbors and staff of BHM. .   The Mission is over 70 years old and most of our neighbors have homes hidden behind tall walls and heavy gates.   This is the first time that anyone remembers having a time for our neighbors to come in and see what we are about,  it also allowed us, to hear what their suggestions are for the mission.  Many of these folks were not church attenders.   Because they are upper class, they speak English and French.   This made it MUCH easier for our family to meet new people since we had just moved into the country.

Here are some pictures from the fun, tiring, chicken filled, rewarding day.

.
 Colby is sharing a little bit of love with Baby Annie.
 Activity is just get started at the playground.
 Mamas and their babies.   Baby Annie's daddy works with our mission and for World Vision.
 Lizzie and Dolly certainly enjoyed meeting one another.   Lizzie's family lives at the camp where the Crossings students go.   This was the first place that My Dear ever visited in Haiti.   In fact, students from "our church" are there now!
 Introducing ourselves.   The sweet young woman in black and blue is an intern with BHM this summer.   She rocks!   
 I was desperate for this smile after just moving here.  So very thankful to see it again.   These young men had lived in the states and Billy was teaching them how to pitch in this picture.  Billy had been frustrated with the language barrier so he was thrilled to have some English speaking kids to play with. 
 Yep, corn hole in Haiti.   It was so like God to send these fellas and even sweeter that the oldest boy's name is Max....the same as a friend that Billy left back in the states.
 Sammy was pretty happy about his cupcake.
 Double fisted!   This picture confirms the nickname her Grandmother gave her,  "Sugar."
 Sasha was a treat for Dolly and lives right down the road.   Her mom asked someone to find us when we stopped by the playground one day this week so the girls could play along with Sasha and her cousins.   Her mom was quick to let me know the girls all spoke English so they could visit together.
 Our very own Elsa, who rocked the name before the movie Frozen, visiting with some ladies.
 Six year olds!   This sweetie's mama works for the mission.   She is the only daughter with 3 brothers.   She was happy to see another little girl.   Very soon, Miss B. will learn the language to be able to speak with her.
 Abby, a missionary kid, takes a HINT to get out of the picture!   Funny little boy!
Lots of visiting and sharing went on.  We had a lovely day with lovely weather.   God is good!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

One Week

It has been one week since the truck pulled up with our possessions and another truck carrying us.    One week of learning many things and still so much to learn.   Things are becoming somewhat familiar and some things are not.   Below are a few photos to share about our new normal....that may or may not be so "normal" for us just yet.
 We do not have a bathtub just showers with low pressure.   Since we are in a private location Dolly was allowed to ditch the skirt to give Chester a bath.   Those totes also double as bathtubs for 6 year old girls....well, at least for our 6 year old girl.
 The foliage is beautiful and all too soon it will fade into normal and we will not even notice the beauty of it.   Even the cracks on the patio have bright colored flowers growing up through them.   Prettiest weeds ever!
 Facetime and Skype....thank you God!  The rings of the devices will probably always cause everyone to jump to their feet.   This is a normal for the kids already.
 Market veggies still have the dirt on them...can't get much more organic than these.   Hoping Dolly's desire to wash them stays normal.

 I know it will get old for them all too soon, but our dish washing schedule is working.   Miss B. is suited up from her turn of washing.  Boiling two sinks of water to wash is becoming more normal and My Dear or I stand by to assist.   It is a sweet time of discussion over dish duty.   Dolly likes trying out new "recipes" with what groceries we have.   Today we had potatoes, carrots, onion, and a few slithers of green peppers fried together...it was yummy!   
 Billy is comfortable with the stove and knows the best way to get to eat what he wants is to offer to cook it.   He also likes to do this on his dish duty night so he can control the dirty dish population....the boy is no fool!   His favorite dish is spaghetti and we can do that one here!
 This guy, has been a bit needy lately.   He is not used to the open windows and sounds and is startled from his sleep prepared to protect his family...who ends up being awaken by his bark.  This week has been a bit tough on him.   He has had some time to run without a leash outside and has done well.  Hoping this is not the new normal for him...at least the barking, needy part.   The playing without a leash and staying close to home can stay!

Notice the floor.  The floor is concrete throughout the house with tile in the bathrooms.   We have a couple of area rugs.  (Thank you Monica!)   This has become pretty normal for me but I wear shoes all the time...just ask our neighbor about my snazzy red slippers.
Today there was a knock at the door while My Dear took kids to play basketball at a court they discovered.   Colton, another missionary stopped by to deliver this ketchup.   He was heading toward our house to go to our neighbor's.   My Dear had stopped at Mountain Maid to get some french fries as a treat with the kids and did not want to waste this ketchup.   I guess the sticker shock of our grocery trip is something he is not over yet either...I guess that will eventually become normal, but it doesn't mean we have to like it!

Monday, June 2, 2014

What I See When I Look Out the Front Door....per my sister's request

 This is our house from my neighbor's yard.   Someone else lives above us, but Mark is in the photo as they are preparing chicken for an event.  Why yes, that is a 31 box on the porch heading to be stored and reused.   Thirty-One was well represented in our move thanks to our IN neighbor.
 This is a side porch on the left with a Haitian sandbox (more like tiny rock box.)   The old trampoline box has now been recycled but some toys stayed for fun in the box.
 This is what I see when I look out the front door, straight ahead.   Yep, ready for a visit?
 Looking toward the right.
 Following the road that no one ever uses down the right.
 It should have been yellow bricked!
At the end of the road, there are also a few ropes hanging from trees with a new wooden swing seat and a play house which the girls are eager to decorate.   This is Billy and Dolly bouncing with another family who ministers with Baptist Haiti Mission but in a different location.   Our children enjoyed meeting new friends.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Missionary Flights International

We chose to fly to our new home with some of our possessions and our pup via Missionary Flights International (MFI.)   We drove to their facility in FL.   After months of conversations with them, it was pretty cool to see the place.   They are the same group that will make sure we get our mail and packages.

We paid $1.60 per pound for each item as well as for ourselves.   They kept a running total as we pulled things off the truck and weighed them.   Thankfully, they did a family weigh in so that not one person would tip the scale....we know our scale tipper was Miss B.   She has been trying to gain weight since last summer!

The folks at MFI were patient with us.   They were kind to the children and did not pass-out or comment when they saw our load and the abundance of it.   They worked physically and with humor to get the job down.  We unloaded on Wednesday so that they could pack the plane.   Thursday morning we were there to board along side of our possessions....well, those they had room to bring, the others will come this week.
The folks were extra sweet toward the kids knowing everything was about to change for them.   One of the gentlemen, a Papaw type, had each kid stop at the steps for their photo to be taken and he announced they were entering the plane with a title.   One of the pilots had his picture taken with our family.   This same pilot, walked back through the plane and offered us a cup of water and blankets and even some doughnuts holes from Dunkin Donuts (which is where My Dear and I had our first date--it was late and we were students, cut him some slack!)

We did not fly on a jet.  It was a DC-3 which were used during WWII.    It carried about a dozen people all heading to Haiti.   Our Chester pup could see us through the cargo net and did well.   Apparently, barking helps the ears in altitude change.   Because of the size of the plane, we flew lower which Dolly enjoyed.   She took pictures from the plane into the ocean where you could see the coral reefs and invited Billy to join into her excitement.   Pretty cool!  The trip took a bit longer and we stopped in the Bahamas to refuel.   The kids had never been there.   Not sure sitting in the airport (about 5 rooms big) counts, but we were there!

Miss B. fell asleep quickly since we woke her to meet the plane.   You will see in her pictures that she is still sporting her pj pants.   Yep, she broke the fashion mode!  Billy rode beside her but after she fell asleep, he came and sat by his daddy who had moved closer to Chester for moral support.  This meant, Miss B. was seated alone.   The back of the plane was cooler, which I like, so the co-pilot brought us blankets.   He noticed Miss B. sacked out rows ahead of us and returned and gently laid a blanket on her.   He likely had no idea I was watching but it sure blessed me.

Upon arriving at the airport, our fellow missionary Roger, took over!   He had help lined up and ready to go.   It was humbling and borderline embarrassing to have so much stuff in a country that has so little.  Chester passed through customs with his shot records and a fee and were moving to the parking lot where one truck held our stuff, another held us, and a third had Roger.   Up the mountain we went!



 Hanging out on the pallet.
 Billy worked hard and took advantage of a mattress coming down off of the truck.
 Chester, bowls, and food are weighed for the journey.
 Pretty cool to see those bicycles sitting beside a plane!   We should see those next trip to port!
 Loading the goods!

 Miss B., the "movie star."
 Billy, the "professional athlete."
 Dolly, the "Princess."
 Reading the labels of our cargo as she waited.   We sat on one side of the plane while our stuff rode behind the cargo net.
 Billy always wanted to look inside of a cockpit.   He hesitated but realizing this was his shot went for it and encouraged Dolly to take a look too.   Glad they did!
 Here it comes!   $2 a dolly to carry it, straps to keep it down and we are just getting started.
 Moving it out of the airport.   Kinda reminds me of when Daddy Warbucks took Annie shopping for the first time.
 Waiting to load the truck in the parking lot.  That red tote is games, the green one is pots and pans...the majority of the others are finally unpacked.
The hour long journey up the mountain.   We drove behind our stuff, when possible.   There it goes!