Thursday, August 30, 2012

Come and Gone...

Come and gone..

Well tropical storm Isaac has come and gone. I am so thankful that we were all safe and made it through. It was quit the experience from preparations, to the storm, and the aftermath. It’s tricky to plan for something that you have never experienced or gone through! But we hunkered down in the dorms with the big metal doors locked and no one was allowed to leave. We were supplied with snacks, water and activities to do with the kids. The night of the storm, which I was anticipating to be the hardest for the kids was actually the easiest. Almost every child slept through the storm! I was shocked that they didn’t wake up from the wind and heavy rain pounding down on our roof. Kathy and I woke up often and then would be up for a few hours wondering what to do or what to expect next. Besides a few leaks in the ceiling and some water coming in through the seals on the windows everything held up great! I think our room was the room that had the most water in it. We had puddles of water on our floor and my bed on the top bunk was soaked-thankful I wasn’t sleeping in it like I normally do.

A tent city where many of the tents and been blown over.

This river was flowing over the bridge during the storm! 
The wind got a hold of this sign.

The morning after the storm the rain was still coming down and the wind was blowing so we decided to keep the kids. Luck for them they got breakfast in bed and got to have a picnic in their rooms for lunch! Finally by late afternoon the rain had stopped and the kids were able to get out and play a little bit. I think we were all excited to get some fresh air.

The morning after the storm also brought some sad news. A man who worked at Grace Village doing a lot with the school and hiring the teachers was overcome with guilt and depression in his own life and decided to take things into his own hands. He was a great man and always seemed to have a smile on his face. Just goes to show you never really know what people are going through. He will be greatly missed.

With all that had happened Kathy and I took some time away from Grace Village. We went to church on Sunday in Port au Prince, it’s an American church, and it was just what we needed! God knew we need it and it filled us right up. We sang  ‘Never Once’ by Matt Redman and ‘No Sacrifice’ by Jason Upton both songs were just what I needed. I love it when God’s knows just what we need and He provides us with it at just the right moment. After church Maxim took us to see his sweet little baby girl Princess. 

Later Sunday night we went salsa dancing. It is always fun to go, but I am always reminded of just how uncoordinated I am! J It’s fun to watch the Haitians dance. I think every single one of them could make it on dancing with the stars!

On Monday I was able to go with a friend to visit some other orphanages and love on some kiddos. It was a perfect day and interesting to get a look into other orphanages. It’s crazy because as we were driving you would never have guessed some of these places were behind the big metal gates!
I was also able to connect with some the kids that live by the guesthouse that I know and hangout with them. I had brought two stuffed animals with me that Ruby and Annabel had given to me before I left and wanted some kids in Haiti to have. So as I was out an about I came across two sisters and gave them the stuffed. They loved them and were so excited to have them. It’s the best when you can make someone’s day with the little things and things that we have an abundance of!

On Tuesday Guyto, a man who works at the guesthouse and I walked down to see my buddy Mackenley! It was so wonderful to be able to reconnect with him again! His mom was so excited to see me and said she had not seen me since January-she has a good memory! They sang for me and I was able to meet his sisters. This little guy made my day! He asked me for a camera so if anyone has an old digital camera that they don’t want anymore and would like to donate it to him I would greatly appreciate it and I know he would too!! J

While at the guesthouse for those couple days we also were able to hangout with some of the team that was here and had some good laughs and played some games.
It was a nice little couple days away, but I missed the kids and was excited to get back and see them.

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers, especially during Isaac, and your support. It is such a blessing to be able to have so many people praying for me and support me.

Blessings to you all!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Joy independent of circumstances

Joy independent of circumstances…How I long to find joy in all circumstances that life throws at me.  It is only with the presence and peace of the God that this is possible. So often when times get tough, things, or relationships don’t work as planned or hoped I often try to fix it or let my emotions get the best of me. Today’s devotional was a perfect reminder for me to put myself in the presence of the Lord especially during those circumstances and to find the joy! Easier said than done, right?! I am continually learning to let it go and let God have His way and put my own will aside. I may think I know best but ultimately I have no idea what my future holds and as bad as I may want something I have to trust that the Lord knows best! So I have to remind myself to lay it all down and be in His presence.  Tonight I lay it all down before the Lord; my hopes, my dreams, my desires and I ask that He would show me His hopes, His dreams, His desires for my life.

This devotional is a perfect example of many Haitians. I feel that despite many of their circumstances I often see joy in their hearts. They are a living example of what it means to have joy independent of circumstances.  

Help me to have that JOY!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A familiar face...

A familiar face…
This is one of those things that I realize is so easy to take for 
granted back home. I feel like when I’m in MN familiar faces surround me and I’m able to connect with people I know and who know me whenever I need it; that’s not the case here. I realized last week how great it felt to be able to be surrounded by people who I know and who know me. To be able to talk about things we know and life in general was a blessing. 

Last week Tyler and Jeff came for the week, along with a few other guys, to work on the aquaponics fish farm. They worked extremely hard everyday under the scorching sun and were able to get a lot of it completed with the help of many other Haitian men. It was great to see them all working side by side. 

Although communication was limited, Tyler soon became good buds with them. Pretty much everyday now when I’m talking to some of the construction guys they ask about him and how he is. As you can see, he fit right in with the Haitian work ethic, almost the same skin color after the first day, but his work attire confirmed that he was still an American working in 100 degree weather. ;) Its still hard for me to imagine how the Haitians can wear jeans while working and some of them long sleeve shirts!


Of course he was a hit with the kids as well. Many of them have asked me about him this week too! Whenever he had a spare minute he’d run up to hangout with the kids and give them some loving!

Although the days were long, I cherished the evenings when I got to spend time with them (and eat delicious meals) at the guesthouse. It was good to laugh and just hang out with familiar people, even if it was just a few hours every night. Being that it was Tyler’s first time to Haiti with Healing Haiti, I realized how nice it was for me to be able to have him know where I’m at and what I’m doing everyday. It makes we excited to be able to share that with the other familiar faces in my life. J

                                                                                                                                                                              We were also able to get a quick water truck run to Cite Soile in while they were here. It was good to be able to go back there and love on the people there and to share that with those who had not been there before. It’s one of those places that makes your heart ache but yet it fills me with so much joy to love on the people there. 

 It’s still hard for me to imagine that they live like that and the guilt overwhelms me when I realize all that I am blessed with. Why them and not me? But I have to trust that God has a reason for that and allow HIM to use me and all that HE has blessed me with to bless others. I pray that I will not let my own will for my life get in the way of what HE wants to use me for.

I know it’s easy to do and I’m more guilty of it than anyone, but being here a little over a month I’ve realized how easy it is to take those relationships and those familiar faces for granted when you have access to them everyday. I know I was more conscious of it before I left but even then it’s easy to get carried away with the busyness of life and rush through or ignore those familiar faces.

Last week was a blessing and it was so great to be able to spend time with Tyler and Jeff, but having to say goodbye and letting the familiar faces go wasn’t easy and made me miss MN and some of those familiar faces and things, but I also have to keep in mind all that I am blessed with here. One of those being all the kiddos to love on me and fill me up when I need it most. J

I know that I will eventually have ‘new’ familiar faces here, but it takes time. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. You are all a blessing to me.
In Him.

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's Haiti...time doesn't really exist...I'm learning.

Every time we head out with Ofane its an adventure..(these happened a little over a week ago)
We had every intention of going to the doctor at 9:00. Of course we got off to a late's Haiti. We dropped Kathy off at the guesthouse and picked up some money from jean for the appointment and a bag of treats and surprises from people in MN :) It was a great treat to get all kinds of goodies and cards! –Thank you!!
Thinking our driver had all the necessary info and right address because of the conversations he had with Jean; we headed to the appointment. 
As we were getting close, or so he thought he asked me where it was. :/ I told him that it was none of these places and it didn't look familiar. Yikes. Trying to get a hold of the doctor didn't work. So our new driver, who is only on his second day of work said he was going to walk down the street to see if he could find it. Ok no big deal. Ofane and I just hung out in the car. He came back no luck and said he was going to walk the other way. Trying to explain to him that I didn't think this was the right area was tricky, so off he went. No big deal...until this car starts honking intensely at us! Ugh I start to sweat a little bit more than I already was and realized I was going to have to move the truck out of the way so this guy could park, keep in mind our truck is a stick. Thankfully it was on a slight hill so I didn’t really have to do much but the thought of having to move the car again with this crowd of Haitian men right there made me sweat just thinking of it! I hate it when all the attention is on me or everyone is looking at me. Thankfully I didn’t have to move it again and our drive came back about 10 mins later! But I was having a little anxiety watching all the traffic and thinking about what I would do if I had to move it again. :)  We finally got ahold of the doctor and he explained to the driver where to go, which was pretty much the complete opposite direction of where we were. I guess I need to start paying attention! Eventually, after a few more phone calls and help from some guy on a motorcycle, we made it to the appointment around 11:00. All went well at the appointment and the return trip was uneventfuly. J

On another occasion…
Well, once again the intention of a 6 am departure turned into a 7:40’s Haiti (that might be my new phrase).
We were supposed to meet two ladies from Global Outreach to travel to a leprosy clinic about 45 mins away. We had planned on meeting them down the road at the police station. Of course we got there about 6:20 instead of 6 (and I’m sure to your surprise it was not me that made us late..I’m not a morning person but I was up and ready to go!) Our drive came about 10 minutes late and then we had to pick up Ofane who was still sleeping when we got there so by the time he got ready and out the door it was well passed 6am.
We headed to our so-called meeting spot and waited…and waited some more..I made our driver get out and ask these two ladies if they were waiting for us and they said no. They probably thought who is this crazy guy. To make matters a little trickier it was market day, so that means that the streets are a hustle and bustle of people and animals, even at 6 am. So we waited for about 10 minutes and then decided to go down the road to Global Outreach and try to talk to the nurse who connected us with them, we tried calling her but she didn’t answer.
So thankfully when we got there there was a nurse at the end of the road and she said she would ask the other nurse if she knew where they were. Of course she didn’t. So we thought before we head there by ourselves we would double check at the police station…nope not there so we decided to head to the clinic without them.
We kept trying to get in contact with the nurse but it wasn’t really working. Finally after we had driving about 20 minutes she sent me a text with the ladies number. So we pull over and the driver calls them. Well, I should clarify it took many texts to get the correct number. But we finally got a hold of them and they said they were waiting at the doors of Grace Village..aye aye aye…so back again we go to get them.
As we turn around and drive away all of a sudden there are sirens, which isn’t real uncommon, but then I look over and the one officer is waving a gun and motioning to us to pull over. Oh geez. The officer comes over and asks us why we turned around. You see, we stopped about 25 yards away from the police checkpoint and they were curious as to why we didn’t go through it but turned around instead. So after we explained the situation the officer looks in back at me and says, ‘are you ok?’ I smile at him and say, ‘yes.’ I guess it’s a good thing they were looking out for me; this little white girl in the car with two Haitian men who are trying to supposedly avoid a checkpoint ;)
We picked up the two other ladies and had a good laugh about the mornings adventures and went on our way. I must also add that it wasn’t the post comfortable 45 minute ride I had ever had. Ofane and I were crammed in the front seat together due to lack of space in the tiny little truck.
Just when we thought things were going well and we were on our way, about 25 minutes into our drive we came to some construction and realized the road was closed because they were installing a bridge; I guess it’s a good thing they are doing some road work and improving the bridge, but it added a little detour for us.
After about an hour drive we finally arrived. Lets just say things didn’t go as planned on the way to the clinic and didn’t go as planned while we were at the clinic, but it’s Haiti why should I expect anything to go as planned?? J We made it back safe and sound after all was said and done.
I’m starting to conclude that anytime I go out with Ofane it will be an adventure and I better be prepared and time doesn't really seem to exist in Haiti. J