Monday, December 7, 2015

A tribute to our son...

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.  





Monday, September 21, 2015

The Unexpected

Sorting through donated clothing from the summer, I came upon a tshirt that said "UNEXPECTED."

I began to reflect on the word.

Christ was The UNEXPECTED Messiah.

Jonah was rescued UNEXPECTANTLY by a large fish.

The big boat that Noah was building was UNEXPECTANTLY needed.

When King Darius went to the Lions' Den the sound of Daniel's voice was UNEXPECTED.

Lazarus was UNEXPECTANTLY raised from the dead.

The Lord UNEXPECTANTLY pulled me from my pit that I did not even know I was in.

The Lord has brought us through much UNEXPECTED in our lives....some good and some bad.

Again, we find ourselves in a place of the UNEXPECTED.

I jotted these words down as I lay in bed feeling less than great:

     I have grey hair.
     He was just diagnosed with a kidney disease.

     I have bi-focals.
     He has high blood pressure.

     I no longer dress for style but for comfort and the inexpensive.
     He no longer plays league basketball due to injuries.

     We see ourselves getting older.
     But God sees it all.
     He is not finished with our youth.

With that being said, we are once again giddy youth at the UNEXPECTED.

We are EXPECTING!
We will meet our UNEXPECTED in April when another darling joins our Family Circus.
The Circus is thrilled with EXPECTING the UNEXPECTED. 








Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Home Evangelism?

 I was a little girl in Girls in Action, a mission organization in the Southern Baptist Convention.  Each Sunday night that we gathered, we would read over the prayer calendar.   The prayer calendar included the names and countries of missionaries serving and we prayed for them on their birthdays.   The calendar would also share how they were serving on the field.....you know, summed up in one or 2 words.

Just throwing this out there, but they are no longer able to post where most missionaries are serving nor are they able to share their names because of the safety of where they serve....times have changed!

Oh, how they have changed!   I recall as a little girl thinking about the title "home evangelism" after a lady's name.   Years later, working at a missions camp, I asked the missionary there.   She told me it is basically meant that the lady was at home caring for the family, on the field.   I was a bit surprised.   That sounded, well, kinda lame to me.   Go to the mission field, call yourself a missionary and stay home taking care of your kiddos.   People do that in the United States all of the time!   Geez, my mom did that and no one gave her a special title or had her on a prayer calendar (maybe they should have though, bless her heart!)

Arrogant me!

I thought very little of how just basic needs were cared for in a different country.   There is no pizza delivery or bakery just around the corner.   No, you can not stop in at the laundry mat if your washing machine breaks.   Nor are you loading dirty dishes into a machine to wash them.  

My primary role is that of home evangelism and some days, I am horrible at it!!  We run out of toilet paper.   I have no idea what is for dinner.   I make walking to the street to purchase a "pate" sound like a celebration just because, I am pretty sure there are laws about serving rice and potatoes together and calling it a meal.  To even purchase a deep fried something or other off of the street, you need the correct currency (and guts of steal!) and well, you are going to have to find your dad to get some money.  

I spend many hours of my day in our home.   Our Billy says, I just like telling people what to do!   I am sure it feels like that since he is my kid!   I start the day coaching good choices and questioning poor ones.   Currently, I am teaching 3rd grade, 6th grade and 8th grade.  I find that I am the children's primary Bible teacher and that alone is scary to me!   They are learning about a relationship with Christ from us, their parents with few other adults filling in those gaps for us.   Seeing that they spent most of their day with me, the pressure is on!   I know the mess that I am, hopefully this means that they understand GRACE...cause I require A LOT!

I could clean up after them but we are attempting to raise adults so much of day is, "Dolly, there is batter on the counter from the muffins you made."   "We do not leave our dirty tissues on the table."  "Please don't interrupt your sister while she is quietly doing school work (this precious second.)"

Yes, home evangelism is a lot like my stay-at-home-mom life in the states in that aspect expect, people all around me are speaking a language I do not yet understand.   I have offended people and was not even aware of it due to the different cultural rules.   My best friends, my family, our support systems, they live in another country.  It gets lonely...for all of us!  I have to rely on others to do "favors" for me....like my poor sister wrapping Christmas gifts and distributing them for us.   I have to ask people I just met if they will mail packages for me back to the states.  Girls, even getting the famine hygiene products you like best....is humbling yourself to ask your girlfriend to send you some as she so sweetly disguised the wrapping.  Getting in the car to do anyway requires faith.   Making a phone call, so hard when you can not see their face or gestures.

I am  thankful the Lord finally broke my heart to be so busy for Him that I would miss out on the most important mission field I will ever be a part of....regardless of what country He parks Our Family Circus.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Vacation Week in America

Vacation week was both a year long BUT has flown by!   I am sure it feels that way because of the ground that we covered and that you never have enough time with the people you love.

To fully understand, I need to back peddle. 

A month or so before we left Haiti for the states.   Hassan stopped by ready to try out his new "toys" as we called them.   He had a stethoscope, reflex hammer, and a blood pressure cuff.   He tried all of the toys out on My Dear and it was confirmed, as we assumed, he was in good shape. 

The plan when we reached the states was for My Dear to get a physical that he needed to keep his CDL license for driving a large truck so it would transfer to his driver's license in Haiti.  A stop in TN with our favorite truck driver Pops, the appointment was made...pretty much a done deal!    OR so we thought....

My Dear failed the physical.   Nothing like this had every happened and he wore the shock on his face.   His urine had too much protein in it and his blood pressure was high.   What?   His blood pressure had always been excellent.   He is a chilled out guy!  We wanted answers but were not fearful.   This life is temporary, right.   We know the Creator.   We know how it all ends here and eternity begins.  But I dig this guy and want him around for awhile.

We arrived in our home town and got My Dear an appointment with his doctor.   His blood pressure was still high.   Knowing our time frame, the doctor put him on blood pressure medication and ordered some labs.   The labs came back and he suggested a specialist.   The problem was, we were about to hit the road again.   Miss Brooke, at the office, wrote down our traveling schedule and got to work...a lot of work I would guess to find a specialist in those locations and one that had an appointment open!  But she did it!

We got the call on a Tuesday morning while in Winchester, KY that he had an appointment in Panama City, FL at 10:30 the next morning.   We loaded the truck and headed out (forgetting My Dear's suit hanging in the closet-which arrived in our home today.  Thank you Grandmother.) This just happened to be the day that AT&T services were down so no one had anyway of contacting us about the items we left behind.   Sigh.  

We were able to get enough connection to meet up with friends for dinner and to hug them good-bye.   They were our cheerleaders and neighbors in Haiti and the Lord has called them to TX.   It was the first time for us to see one another in the states...and clean, not sweaty and in something other than a skirt for the ladies.  Jen and Chris have been so much more than friends to us in our mountain home so this unexpected, one more hug was what we ALL needed!

We arrived at our hotel around 2 am and completed the rest of the drive the morning of the appointment.  The kids had gotten scooters/skateboard so we pulled them out to play on the helicopter landing pad while My Dear had his appointment.   What a gift those toys were!

It is obviously early since Miss B is rock'n the jacket. 

The doctor met and prayed with My Dear and we were both encouraged. He knew our situation and time line and was working hard to move things ahead.   Which meant, My Dear would be admitted to the hospital for a biopsy of his kidney.   A biopsy that did not go exactly as planned and landed My Dear in the hospital for 2 nights.  


Silly Billy


The God of the universe saw fit to have a support system in place in FL already.  We were coming in as My Dear's sister and her family would be leaving soon after our arrival but there was an overlap.    Nana was there with them and Pops arrived on biopsy day, all planned before we knew of My Dear's medical needs.   Our friends were driving for 2 days to meet us for the fun part and now, we are held up at the hospital!   Our friend Jesse is a military chaplain currently working in a hospital.   So he would leave his work to relax, in a hospital, again, but this time beside his friend...some vacation.

My Dear's sister wanted to take this photo before the hospital to make sure we got one.   
   This is our first load of cheerleaders and the sweet photographer that loved on the girls.


God totally took care of our kiddos.  They swam, played on the beach, had time with their family, and were given the royal treatment.   My Dear's biopsy fell on Billy's 14th birthday.   I wanted to be in 2 places at one time, with my man and with my Billy on his day.   My Dear sent me home from the hospital to be with Billy and his Aunt Shelly held off the cake eating until Nana, a freshly arrived Pops, and myself could be there.   I am not sure I have ever seen Billy that happy to see me.  My heart felt the same!!





After a few days driving back and forth to the hospital, our friends and family loving on our kiddos and our guy home....it was time to vacation and it was fun to play Hand and Foot again with our friends and Nana and Pops.   We laughed a lot...much needed medicine!   Jesse and "Nanner" have been friends of ours since college.  I believe our children thought we were related for years.   My Dear and Jesse began their friendship as prayer partners in 1993.   I did not know either of them at the time.   A year or so later I met them and young married couples in college are poor and cards are cheap so Hand and Foot was our game.   It began a friendship we had no idea would lead us through tears and laughter through the years.   This stuff is VALUABLE!



So, My Dear was diagnosed with Berger's Disease.   The doctor handed us a stack of papers and said the goal is to preserve his kidneys.   He then, pretty much said, in my translation,  "Get back out on the field, people need to hear about Jesus and take this medication!"

We are making diet changes for all of us.   This continues the eye-opening the Lord started when were preparing food for our diabetic friend Anette while she was in the hospital.  We are trusting that the Lord will continue to meet all of our needs....just like He said He would and has shown Himself faithful.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Adventures Continue



After the last blog post, we hit the road to the following adventures....

1.  HAIRCUTS!!!!!!!!   It has been since February!

                          (You can see the new layer and the old layer right before it is clipped!)

2.   Taking a bath in an actual bathtub.   The bathtub even won out over swimming.

3.  My Dear officiated a BEAUTIFUL wedding!   Beautiful because of the ceremony the bride and groom created, the God they honored and celebrated, the handsome groom and his love for his bride and the incredible, young woman we love so much.  Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Back!  (Look who caught the bouquet!  Her daddy yelled, "Do Over!"



4.  Hugs and tears.

5.  Kiddos picking up right where they left off with their friends.



6.  Worshipping, crying, laughing, hugging, and roller skating with our favorite "musionaries." 
* musionary is  a music missionary....don't try that word in Scrabble, not sure it can support itself. 
But check out their website....good stuff!!   www.mattandjoannablack.com  They lead our hearts to worship!

7.  Driving north from FL and making pit stops to hug necks in Ocala and Chattanooga.  

8.  Being in a community, a house, and with a family that makes you feel like home and gives your children the option to go or stay home with them when they don't want to go with the parents.  Thank you "management!"

9.   Miss B. is never ready to get in the car to go to the next place.   It is the ongoing theme of the trip.   She did not want to get in the car in Haiti to go to the airport.  She did not want to leave Nana T and Pops to go to Mami's nor leave Mami's to go back to Nana and Pops.   Being 7 can be hard. 

10.   Our children can sleep in interesting positions in the truck.

 
 


11.  The truck that was loaned to us....seats 6, plenty of leg room, OODLES of storage space....we load and go!

12.  We have been hosted by 4 churches with 7 churches to go!

13.  Sleep-overs, ice skating, roller skating, movies, swimming, Muddy Monday, fireworks, water balloons... go, go, go.


 

 
 


14.   Three library visits, 2 different states, over 100 books read.


15.  Dentist appointments where we were treated like celebrities and overwhelmed with the kindness shown to us.   Thank you Dr. Matt and staff.


16.  People love the Mountain Maid products we brought.   We are selling out quickly but still have some goodies.   You can still order at www.mountainmaid.org

17.  Late nights....lots of late nights.

18.   Encouragement from the Body of Christ.



19.  The thrill of worshiping in our own language....I will not be quick to get over this!

20.  My Dear's excitement to share the Gospel and how it has and continues to change our lives.

21.  Eye doctor appointments and new glasses for me.  Thank you Dr. Kirk!



22.  Meeting up with 2 special young women in Louisville (I wanted them to meet anyway!)  Morgan was an intern when we moved to Haiti and helped the kiddos tremendously with transition.  I met Amber right before her first birthday, let's just say I have been smitten with her since that day!


 
23.  Catching up with Tall, Dark and Handsome and some Risk 2210.
 
 


 



Mama Perk of the week:   While My Dear was speaking in our sending church about language learning,   he asked the congregation a question in Creole.   Billy had gone to sit with friends and I did not know where.   Well, I didn't know until My Dear said in Creole, "Do you understand what I am saying?"   Then a voice from the back of the room responds "wi." (Creole for yes.)   Two thoughts went through my head:   "Oh there is where he is,"  and "Wow, he understood and responded to that quickly!'

We are looking forward to a week of relaxation and fun with Nana T. and Pops before heading to PKY next Sunday.







Monday, June 22, 2015

You May Have Been Out of the Country for a Year

You may have been out of the country for a year if....

1.  Your 7-year-old is confused by a side-by-side refrigerator and puts yogurt in the freezer and she can't find the cheese in the freezer.

2.  You rode in a car going 70mph on the interstate and that is the fastest you have driven in a year.   Actually 55 mph might have won the same title.

3.  You have to remind yourself to flush the toilet after each use and not "mellow til it's yellow."

4.   Your 7-year-old is excited to eat at a fast food chain but leans toward your ear to ask, "What did I used to order here?"  

5.  The sound of running water in a faucet makes you want to sprint to turn it off.

6.   You go to the grocery store only to walk the perimeter of the store just like the health professionals say to do.   We can get all of that other stuff imported so what does that tell you about shelf life and nutrients?    Our shopping was pretty much over when we were in the fruit aisle and complete when we hit the dairy.

7.   You notice there are no roosters crowing outside of the window and if there were, you can't hear them or anything else for that matter.

8.   You notice, no one has knocked on the door for the 3 days.  

9.  Your ATV riding children ask you to go faster on their grandparents' golf-cart.

10.  The children ask what they should wear to church and you respond, "Whatever you want."

11.   Every public restroom you go in, has toilet paper AND soap!!!

12. Your son orders a Coke on the plane and then tells you it is an "American Coke."   I don't think he will make that choice again.....he is officially a sugar cane guy.

13.   Your face leaks when you see your parents for the first time.

14.   You hug your grandmother and wonder if it will be the last time. 

15.  You notice, your children are different.........and it is good.

16.  You TRULY worship when you understand every word spoken in a church service.

17.  It surprises you that you can understand every conversation going on around you.

18.  No one stares at your red-headed children as you walk past.

19.  You find yourself greeting people with darker skin in Creole.

20.  You remind yourself it is okay to put your toothbrush under the faucet and notice you pierce your lips shut as you shower.




Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Circus "Tour"

Our furlough is coming quickly and our time in the states will go even faster!   We would enjoy seeing so many of you who have encouraged us in our new home and new journey.   We will be speaking in KY, IN, and TN.   Here is where you can find us sharing.   You would be welcome to join us in any of the following places.



Sunday, June 28th     Bible Baptist Church, NV   10:30

Sunday, July 5th     FBC, NV 9 and 10:30 services

Sunday, July 5th     Trinity United Methodist, Murfreesboro  pm

Sunday, July 12th     FBC, Paris     am service

Sunday, July 12th     Central Baptist Church, Paris  pm

Sunday, July 19th     FBC, Crothersville   9:30am

Wednesday, July  22nd  New Bethel Baptist, Noorwood

Sunday, July 26th     Risen Savior, NV  am service

Sunday, July 26th     Bethel Baptist, NV  6pm

Thursday, May 28, 2015

One Year Ago....

Thursday is mail day here.   We  look forward to mail day very much and the encouragement that comes in envelopes.   Our mail is flown in from FL and we finally get it on Thursday.   Like most people would look forward to Friday, we look forward to Thursday. 

One year ago, this week, when the mail flew in from FL, it contained 2 weary adults, 3 tearful children and one little, white dog and somewhere between 17-19 luggage carts piled with their possessions.

The drive from Indiana to Florida included 3 stops, in 2 vehicles, since we did not all fit in the moving van, to purge possessions to our family who would use them and to hug their necks one more time.   We paid $1.60 for each pound that was mailed....look around your house and think on that one.  Our little dog was put on a diet before the move!


For the first 5 months of our living in this country.....I was not sure we were going to make it, okay, I was not sure that I was going to make it!  We had a home set-up and waiting for us and food in the cabinets.   Electricity and water were available unlike most homes in this country.   Our support system was truly just a call out the window.   But it was HARD.  The smells were strange, the bugs ate on us like we were the Golden Correl buffet (Oh yeah!)     We had to learn about the area, how to get hot water, how to operate the shower, how to get food, when we could do laundry....   We had to have a key to unlock everything and could communicate with only the other missionary staff.   If we went out to eat, we ordered and just ate whatever they brought...we never got it right!

The tears were often and when a child cried, I cried too.   My Dear said one day, "They are just going to have to get over it," and then he looked at the tears streaming down my face and fell quiet.   If I was not sad, I was sick.   It seemed like every other week I was camping out either in the bathroom or sick in bed...it got old--- fast and I questioned why the Lord would bring us this far for me to lay in bed and die here....perhaps an over exaggeration but when your heart is sad and your body is sick....well, you can see that there is a breakdown in the  spiritual and mental too.  

At about the 5 month mark, I boiled some water for Miss B. to wash dishes.   As I pulled her chair up to the sink so she could reach, she began to cry.   I asked what was wrong.   She responded, "I want to go home."   That was the typical response those days.   But when I asked, "why" instead of my usual response of "we ARE home,"  her tearful response was, "I want a dishwasher."   I felt like we had finally arrived!!  

It is hard to believe that we have been here a year!  Although there are some things that we are still not used to, for the most part....we are here!   I am looking forward to our time of furlough but I am also not looking forward to missing time with the folks here.  But I AM looking forward to a hair cut and washing my hair with water that frogs do not live in!  (When I read this line to My Dear his response was, "Don't worry honey, they are not live frogs."   He thinks he is funny.)

There are MANY things I appreciate about our home in the mountains.   Our staff encourage me in our schooling and the time it takes for me to make that happen.   The ladies remind me that is my first priority. 

The staff that welcomed us after our move.  Some of them have since moved on to other ministries.
 
The kiddos have learned to accept new people quickly and have put themselves "out there" to speak with people who do not speak their language fluently.   It is good.



We still have a lot to learn with culture and language but we have met some really neat people who are gentle with us as we learn.



Just like the states, we see folks that are lost, who need the Lord.   BUT we also see folks who love the Lord.   They just need someone to come along side of them and disciple them.   Do you know how fun it is to study the scripture with people who are so excited to learn?   This part has been a huge encouragement to us!   

As I look back, we've come a long way baby!

Photo courtesy of Jen Ward(M'dm Chris)-friends who are in a passionate pursuit to serve the Lord.  They are a blogpost in themselves and have kept us afloat.



 The Lord is faithful....

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Where I Live.....

Walking home today, I realized how "everyday" these sights have become.
 
Where I live, folks carry items in black, plastic bags so no one can see what they have.   It may be food from market or new shoes.    Mine our beans our friend Benjamin brought My Dear from his garden.   He was sure to show My Dear how to snap the ends off.
 
 
 
 


Where I live, poinsettias are seen growing among the spring flowers. 
 
 

 
Where I live, you never underestimate the occupancy of your vehicle.   This SUV took 5 adults in the front and 4 more in the back...look how those long legs fold up.   We saw our friends loading up for church and asked to take a picture. 

 
Where I live, this plant called, "Job's Tears" grows.   In the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere the God of the universe planted it to grow in dry conditions and produce a seed that pops right off and is hollow on the inside.   It has a soft place at each end of the seed that allows a needle and string to go right through so these seeds are made into lovely beaded jewelry.   So easy to make....I made myself a necklace.   You will see jewelry along the mache made of many colorful beads from this plant.  Where I live, God supplied an income for the locals through His handiwork. 



Where I live, water is precious.   Drinking water is especially precious.   So precious that people steal it.   Water trickles out of the tap but there are times when we have to allow our plants to dry out because there is not enough water to spare.   Today, our Miss B. took a shower with buckets at her feet to catch the water so our Dolly could water her flower seeds.  Perhaps, we will even use some of the water to flush the toilet.   Toilets and faucets are things that many of our neighbors do not have the luxury of.    Where I live, we have to lock up our drinking water and consider ways to conserve each drop of precious water we can.
 



Where I live, people greet one another as they pass.  People smile when they are smiled at.   Where I live, folks know my name.   Where I live, the church doors are always open and the sounds of worship pour out of the open windows.  Where I live beautiful people accept the "blan" foreigners.   Where I live, the Lord is at work. 
 
 I am thankful to live where I live.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What is going on...

Last fall, My Dear was trained to fill in for a husband and wife duo as they were going on furlough for 2 months.   Once they arrived in the states, they went for check-ups with their doctors.   Roger    learned that he had 95% blockage in three arteries of his heart.   He was going in for a well visit so you can imagine their surprise.   The blockage was so bad they quickly did open heart surgery.   We praised the Lord they were in the states because there are no heart surgeons here.   The 2-months My Dear would be filling-in grew to 7 months.  

Since we are "newbies" the position felt long and grueling at times.   We both learned more about the culture.   My Dear learned more language especially with money and tools.   It was good to learn but I can be honest and say, we are both glad it is coming to an end.  Not because it was so grueling, but because he has had multiple positions to fill in their absence.  We appreciate the lessons learned and have an even greater appreciation for Roger and Judy who serve so faithfully and with vision in this office.      

There were times, while My Dear was serving in this temporary position he wondered what his purpose really was and why we are even here.   Everyone here has multiple responsibilities...the harvest is plenty and the workers are few.   Having so much on one's plate, you can't really do anything well.

For a person that has been in the ministry for 20+ years, and had people stop by his office or meet with him to discuss the Word, this part of his position has left him dry.   His study time to prepare for devotions at Mountain Maid gave him some purpose but he had to leave quickly after sharing to get to operations.   He was unable to spend time with the people and build relationships with them as he worked. 

What I see that really lights his fire is Sunday morning.   This IS his ministry.  It is not a responsibility assigned by the mission but a ministry opportunity that was made available to him.  HE LOVES IT!  This time of turbulence has had him in deep dependence on the Lord and a renewing commitment that He would do whatever the Lord wanted Him to do because He knows what God has done for Him through His Son. 

All of this made me think of the thousands of believers who get up and go to work everyday and are not in areas of so called "ministry."   It is the teachers, the engineers, the factory workers, the administrators, landscapers, business owners, bus drivers, therapist, nurses.....those folks who live out their faith through their occupations.   They make their occupation their ministry and look for ways to share The Gospel each day.  

This meeting of hungry believers on Sunday morning has satisfied My Dear's soul during this time.  Patience is believing with hope.   He has been patient that the Lord would use this and would be faithful to fulfill My Dear's heart desire to share The Gospel and to preach the Word.

May you too be encouraged that you are EXACTLY where the Lord has called you for such a time as this.   Just as Esther was in a position to protect her people, we are where He has called us for this time.   He will not let any of our lives be wasted but will use and redeem it for His glory (and some parts feel like they need a bit more redeeming than others....amen!)

Lord, we continue to be patient in HOPE as you bring your will for our lives.   Lord, please give Roger and Judy a spiritual heart to continue to serve you and a physical heart to keep up with it!!!  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spirit Slammed!

The ladies of the mission gather once a week along with other English speaking ladies for Bible study.   We have been doing video based studies.   It really is an unique time for us to encourage one another in our walk with Christ.

Last week, during our time of homework, I read a verse I am sure I have read or heard before but this time, it SLAMMED on my brakes!


And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of  redemption.                     - Ephesians 4:30


Grieve the Holy Spirit?   I know grieving!  I have done that a time or 2.  The children and I grieved a bit during the transition of the move.   I have been praying for my friend and her family who are still in a time of grieving the loss of a loved one.  Grieving is NOT fun!   I don't want to cause that on anyone.   But the scripture says that it is possible to grieve the Holy Spirit. 


Do not quench the Spirit.    -1 Thessalonians 5:19


Quench means to not allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.   So, what it comes down to this:  when I quench the Holy Spirit, I grieve the Holy Spirit.   When I feel the Spirit of God prompting me to do something and I choose not to do it, I am quenching the Spirit and therefore, grieving the Holy Spirit.   I do that with each act of disobedience and sin.  UGH!   I cause the Spirit of God to grieve!  

One night, I went to bed after a conversation with a woman.  She shared with me her concern for the choices another women was making.   I kept replaying in mind, "she knows better!" 

When I went to bed that evening, my heart was heavy for this woman and sorry that she could not just learn from others who made the same mistake but had to learn for herself.   I wrestled a bit through the night as the Spirit spoke to me saying:

 "You are upset about the decisions that this person is making and you don't even know if they have a relationship with me.   Yet, YOU!   You, who knows she is saved by grace, You continue to sin against me day after day.   Making your own decisions instead of what I have in store for you.   YOU, my child, YOU grieve me.   You make a choice and you turn your back on me.   You create a gap between me and you with your choices.  You quench me."

I awoke tired and a bit sad in that I know what the Lord spoke to me was real and was certainly the message I needed to hear.  Do I mess up still?  Yes.   Will I ever get it right?  No.   But what I can do is to come before the God of the universe and dump my heart.   I can spill out all that I have done to separate me from Him, cause that is indeed what our sin does.

I was convicted to spend more time with My Lord in confession.  I will continue to mess-up but what peace comes that I can go before THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE and He forgives me.  He gives me a clean slate and bridges the gap between me and Him....Him, being the SAVIOR of the WORLD! 

What a beautiful time of the year to reflect on the love the Lord has for us.  Time after time I sin.   I quench The Spirit and therefore grieve Him but He forgives me when I humbly come before Him and seek His forgiveness.  When that sin is removed, the gap I have created is decreased.   Thank you Lord for chance after chance after chance.....   I am humbly and eternally grateful.


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!