My day is pretty normal, like most of the of world there is a routine in it. I begin with time with the Lord, then school with the children. We have lunch and I take off to work at Mountain Maid and then will have English Class 2 days a week and another day I am part of a ladies' Bible Study. It is pretty routine and that works. But something turned my ordinary into something pretty exciting! I hope I do not get too wordy, but the details of God's plan have been so beautifully laid out.
A month ago, I joined our sending church as they were with their partnering church in our country. I stopped in for the day and allowed our children to play with the other children. I noticed a precious girl outside of the gate of the school. She was not in uniform and had a radiant smile. I wondered if her family could not afford for her to go to school. I stopped to talk with her and someone told me she was mute. I wondered if she was mute or deaf. I sat with her for awhile and gestured and signed with her pointing at pictures in books and signing the names of things in the books....you know, the ones I could remember. I knew there was a school for the deaf in the county but did not know where. I asked Mme Winn in the Child Sponsorship office but she was unsure but knew how to find out.
Weeks later, I am heading out the door and realized I had pants on and ran back home to put my skirt on as is the custom here that Christian women wear skirts. When I returned home, my phone was ringing cause I left that too. It was Mme Winn in sponsorship and she was calling to let me know that the deaf young man she knew was in her office. I was thrilled that he signed slowly for me and we were able to make some exchanges. He lip reads as well as signing so speaking Creole with my mouth and signing in English was a BIG DEAL for the Holy Spirit to pull off. Have I told you how difficult learning to sign was for me? Have I shared that learning Creole has been MUCH more difficult? I know it was not flawless, but communication happened! Praise the Lord. And what a sweet, sweet young man!!!!! He, Jack, is no longer attending school because the family can not afford it and he had come to the office to seek assistance. Much like the U.S., since his needs are different and our schools can not meet those needs, we are compelled to help him. This is a legal obligation in the U.S. but for us....it is an act of love.
Jack and his papa returned the following day with more information about the school. Jack put me in contact with a young woman who is deaf but can write in English. I texted her and waited to hear what the name of the school was.
I left the sponsorship office and walked next door to work. It was a holiday weekend so things would be busy at the shop. The street vendors will hang out just outside of the shop so I stopped to greet them and saw 3 little boys and one was wearing bilateral hearing aids. I looked at him and signed "hearing aids," he shook his head yes. I signed and asked if he lipread or signed and he responded by signing back. I began a conversation with him and learned that he was home on break from school because of the holiday. He told me where he went to school. It seems too far away. It is a residential school so children go there and live to get their educations. It would be too far and too expensive for them to travel everyday to get there seeing that students come from all over the country....must like residential schools in the states. I was able to talk with the papa of the boy and received one vote for the school in CB.
Days later, I get a return text to confirm from the young woman that the school is in CB.
This week, Papa returns to the office with the contact info for the school....yep, CB!
Mme Winn calls and says, "Okay, how can you find this little girl so that we can talk with her family?" I got a couple of thoughts and let her know I would work on it. Then BAM! There was the answer....across from my desk at Mountain Maid! N, an employee of Mountain Maid attended church in that area. I did not know if her family went to church which would make it harder to find her but....I showed N a photo of her and he said, "Yes! That's S! She is at church every Sunday with her mom and little brother. She is so smart and helps her mom by selling snacks after school and after church." I added that she was beautiful and so kind and he agreed. I could see the excitement building in N as I shared the possibilities of S getting an education. I asked if he thought her mom would go for it and he said, YES!
I got permission from his boss (it pays to be married to the boss) for N to go with me to show me where she lives and to help communicate with the parents instead of strange, white people showing up and asking them to hand over their daughter!
It probably took us an hour to get to her house on the rough terrain in an ATV and hiking a bit. I noticed my hands felt more firm this morning after holding so tightly to the bouncing steering wheel yesterday.
We arrived unannounced so they pulled chairs out from their home for us to be seated, myself, Mme Winn, and a guest who is visiting and had money that someone gave to her to be used for ministry. Those funds are about to pay for S's fees to begin the process for enrollment. S smiled at our coming. Her little brother was at school but she was working around the home with her parents and other adults in the village.
The parents are indeed interested in S getting an education! Today (Friday) since I was unable to post with limited internet yesterday when I wrote the blog.....They came to the hospital on the mission to get her medical exam and then to the school for a meeting on Monday. One baby step at a time. S. was the happiest little girl in the country and could hardly stand still. She let me squeeze and hug on her. She was also able to see Jack and I communicate in sign. Jack's mom had taken S's mom under her wing for this process. Pretty precious.
So many days are typical. I get excited about possibilities then there are roadblocks. A possibility of an ongoing client for Mountain Maid-ROADBLOCK. Someone is coming to teach artisans-ROADBLOCK. Roadblocks may still come up with this, but I know that her family knows what is best for her. If they want her to go to school, I will join them in helping her get there. There are still glitches, but we are praying the Lord works all of this out for her and for Jack. Man, I serve a God of details!
Friday, November 11, 2016
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Hurricane Matthew swept over our island taking roofs, fences, gardens, crops, trees, and even livestock with it. Some areas did not see any destruction while other areas are still devastated with loss followed by excessive rain that has lead to flooding. The mission has been unable to get supplies to where they need to be because of the washed out roads. Earlier this week, I found myself focusing on what we were unable to do instead of focusing on God, who is sovereign and holds every detail in his loving hands. I looked at all that was wrong instead of what was right. It was easy to see the struggles but harder to see that God has it already worked out. He showed us this in many ways as we have seen Him at work, but how quickly I forget.
I later challenged myself to look for that good! And THIS "good" I had forgotten to share!
My Dear posted on FB the need for greenhouse film that had been ripped off of the greenhouses by the hurricane. He also shared about a water purification system so that water can be shared more freely with those who come in the shop. We drank water with our meals in the states to save money but here, water and soda cost the same thing. Water is a gift and drinking water is precious!
My Dear quickly had responses from a few people interested in giving to purchase the items for Mountain Maid. It was a thrill to watch the Lord stir in hearts! A Sunday School class meet and gave all of the funds needed to purchase the film! We were so excited!!! They then contacted My Dear and asked how much was needed for the filtration system. We had friends say they were giving and they were sharing with others who would be giving as well. This church had a meeting that Sunday evening and voted to cover the balance! PRAISE THE LORD!!! So quickly, I had forgotten how the Lord took care of this!
BUT, it gets better! After the money had been collected, My Dear made calls around the country trying to find the item but even with shipping and customs fees added, he could not beat the price he saw online. He returned to the link to see that the price had been reduced! He had some questions about the product so he decided to look on the manufactures website. A day or so later, he logged in online and because he had spent so much time looking, a pop-up of the system appeared offering 30% off. He clicked on it to get the 30% off and started looking for promo codes to get the price even cheaper. He found 50% off! Because he needed to know how much it would weigh to consider shipping fees, he called them. As he was talking with the man about the weight, he informed My Dear that if he ordered from them that day, they would give him an additional percentage off that would save him $150. The unit he purchased was originally $2900 but he got it for $886!!!!!
So instead of one unit for Mountain Maid, he was able to purchase 2 more, one for the camp and one for the mission. This will allow the missionary staff to fill our own water bottles instead of purchasing large bottles of drinking water.
It gets better! There was enough savings with the purchase, shipping, and customs charges, that My Dear was able to use $1000 to help employees who had damage to their homes. He went to 2 homes assessing the damage and will purchase tin and wood for those families to make the needed repairs.
God is so good! He is at work all the time. Sometimes He is meeting a physical need and sometimes it is a spiritual need. So this week, as I felt the "yuck" climb in, He gently reminded me of the good that He has done and is still doing.