Thursday, September 27, 2012

3 month mark...

3 month mark..
Well it has come to that 3 month mark!! Wow where as the time gone! It definitely doesn’t feel like it has been 3 months! So much has happened but yet I don’t feel like I have been here that long. As we approach this 3 month mark it means we have been in Haiti for 90 days and we now have to leave the country to get our passports stamped to keep up ‘legal’. So tomorrow morning Kathy and I are venturing off to the Dominican Republic!! Sounds like another adventure to me! J  We will be heading to the bus station at about 6:00am and catching the bus that leaves at 8. I’ve heard it’s about an 8-hour bus ride or so depending on traffic; well actually depending on a lot of things it could be a lot longer! Needless to say it will be an adventure! I’m excited for this little excursion and what is in store for us..traveling into the unknown! J  Good thing we got a might God with us! Once we get to Santo Domingo it’s about a 30 min taxi ride to our ‘all-inclusive resort’, so we’ve heard. I feel a little guilty about going to an ‘all-inclusive’ resort when I’m surround by so much poverty; I’m still trying to make sense of it. But on the other hand we are excited to take a little adventure and have some rest and relaxation. We are hoping to find some fun and exciting things to do, but also to have some time to ‘just be’. I know I am going to greatly miss the kids and will be thinking about them and praying for them every night! It will be weird to have 5 days without any little kiddos calling my name or giving me a big hug. L I will be looking forward to returning to those beautiful faces and hugging them all!

So keep us in your thoughts and prayers over the next several days and I’ll be sure to post an update when we return.

On a side note we had a container arrive today and it was like Christmas in Haiti in September! I was so blessed to be able to find so many goodies sent to me from my family and friends!! It made my day and made me feel so loved even though I’m so far away! Thank you all for loving me and support me!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A blessing from Minnesota...another familiar face

The other week I was beyond blessed to share Haiti with my MOM!! This was such a blessing to me to be able to share Haiti with someone from my family. 

She was a natural from her first night there when we went for a walk around the block she instantly had kids hanging on her and holding her hands. With no question or no reserve she jumped right in and loved on them. It was a moment that made my heart so happy. She didn't stop to check to see if they were dirty or try to keep her distance but she jumped right in loved on them.

This continued throughout the week...I can't tell you how much joy it brought me to see my mom loving on the people and children of Haiti as I have for so long. It's something I have a hard time putting into words and I had to continue to remind myself throughout the week that my mom was really in Haiti with me serving along side of me and loving on those who are less fortunate but loving on them as one of her own. I felt so proud to see her step out of her comfort zone in so many ways and give of herself.

To be able to have my mom in Haiti to see first hand the place that I fell in love with was almost surreal. To have her see, smell, touch, hear everything about Haiti and to be able to love on the people was such a blessing. I love that she was able to see where I'm living, the kids who I love so dearly and who fill me up with joy everyday and to see some of the elderly that touch my heart was such a gift.
I know she was overwhelmed with Haiti and the living standards; as most people who come to Haiti for the first are, but she didn't show it when she was out in the field serving the people of Haiti and being His hands and feet. I am so grateful for this week with mom and to be able to share Haiti with her. It was a very special week for me and made my heart so happy to have her here.
 My MOM was in Haiti with ME serving those less fortunate with an abundant amount of love. It was a proud moment for me to be able to share a place that is so special to me with someone who is so special to me.  Thank you mom for stepping out of your comfort zone and stepping into faith and serving along side of me! Love you! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Serving others..

I know that I am not a parent, well at least to some degree. I guess you could say that I am a parent to the 61 kiddos living here or that I’ve had a lot of experience working with kids whether at school or with my nieces and nephews, regardless I think that as a parent (or even an adult figure) we want to teach our kids the importance of serving and loving on others.  As Christians we are called to humble ourselves and serve others. So as any other parent would want to teach their children to serve and love on others, so do I; with my 61 children.

Living in Haiti requires me to think outside the box in ways that I can get my kids involved in serving the people of Haiti, especially in Titanyen. Serving opportunities look different for every age; but the other day I was able to serve with a few of our older boys and one of our security guards.

Water is something we take for granted; even here at Grace Village I often take it for granted that we have running water to shower with, or brush my teeth with, or to cook with. When just outside our gates people don’t have that. They rely on getting water by walking to the well with their empty buckets and having to pump the water and then carry it all home. It has been on my heart lately; as I drive by these people almost daily standing at the well pumping water into their buckets and having to carry them back to their homes, that one day I wanted to just stand down there and help people pump the water. 

The other day was another one of those moments that makes my heart happy. I was blessed to be able to take three of our older boys and one of our security guards and go serve at the water well. 

Basically, people from the community bring their big 5 gallon buckets to these wells and start pumping. The other day these boys were able to bless those at the water well and do the work for them. Keep in mind that these people have to walk to the water well, pump the water, and then walk back with bucket full of water…day after day. I realized that pumping the water looks a lot easier than it really is. I can’t imagine having to do that every time I wanted or actually needed water. It’s a process and takes time, as you have to wait for those that were there before you to fill their buckets.

The boys did an awesome job. As we were there I didn’t know what they were thinking or if they thought I was crazy for asking them to come with me and do this, but as we were walking home they made my heart happy. One of the boys asked me if we were going to do this again tomorrow or if we could do this everyday. Talk about making a mother proud! ;) I asked them if they wanted to do this every morning and they said yes, but maybe we should bring some more boys with us. As they found out today it’s a lot of work.

As I debriefed with the boys about their experience serving; it again made my heart happy to hear about how it made them feel. Alex told me that it made him feel very good because he was helping the people. He also told me that if he had to do that for water it would be very discouraging. I asked him if he felt that the people there where discouraged or sad and he said, ‘No, its their way of life.’ It makes me very thankful to have running water and not to have to do that.

Shadley told me that it also made him very happy when he was helping them because he felt like he was working like a Samaritan. It made him sad that the people had to get their water this way and he was also very appreciative of the running water we have at Grace Village.

Schneider also explained how it made him feel good to help them get water because it pleases God to help others. He also talked about how it would be very tiring to have to do that all the time. He too was also very appreciative of the running water we are so blessed with here at Grace Village.

When I asked the boys about if they would want to do it again they all said yes they really wanted to do it again. I asked them if they could think of other ways in which we could serve the people in Titanyen or what else we could do when we went to help them at the well. Alex suggested that we could pray with them. I also suggested to them that maybe we could help them carry the water buckets back to their house and they said they would like to do that and are excited to be able to serve in the community more often.

I am so blessed and thankful for the hearts of these boys. Please pray for opportunities in which we can continue to serve. Or if you have any good thoughts or creative ideas let me know! J

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Happy Heart

Yesterday made my heart happy…I could probably say that about most days here but yesterday was a special one. Earlier this week there was a team that came and did a craft with the kids. They used ziplock baggies filled them with some treats and pinched the middle together with a clothes pin to make it look like a butterfly and added some paint, antenna’s and eyes. They then attached a little note or drawing for our elderly. What a great idea and it made me so happy that they included the elderly in on the activity.

Yesterday I was able to take 4 girls out with me to deliver some of the butterflies to our elderly. We brought them the butterflies, the girls sang for each of them and then prayed over each of them. The elderly loved it and it was a great experience for the girls too.

I asked the girls afterward to tell me about their experience and how they felt when going out to see our elderly and be in the community.

Blondie said to me the first lady we saw broke her heart to see the way she was living and where she was sleeping.

Yolencia told me the second one we visited touched her heart because when we were singing to her she started singing and when she was singing she was almost crying. She also said that to see where she was living and sleeping broke her heart because a place like that is not a good place to live and not a safe place to live.

Laika was very touched by Jude Jean Paul. She said her heartbreaks for what she saw and how bad he looks just lying there. She also said it really touched her heart when she asked how old he was and Carolle told her he was 20 because he doesn’t look like it and it really breaks her heart.

Sabrina was also touched by Jude Jean Paul and said her heartbreaks for him.  She said when they were asked to come in and see him it was hard to see him lying there.
At one point during our venture out into Titanyen we were able to see Grace Village. I could hear some of the girls talking and pointing at it. It must have been quite the perspective to them to be down in Titanyen surrounded by tarp homes, homes with dirt floors, no running water, dirty old beds to sleep on, and kids running around naked; and too look up on top of the hill and see their beautiful home with cement floors, brick walls, running water, nice, soft, clean beds, and ample amount of clothes. I asked them how it made them feel and if they were more appreciative of their home. They of course all said yes, but also that it breaks their heart to see how the people live in Titanyen.

When we were wrapping up I asked them if there was anything else that they wanted to share and they told me it’s hard and so sad to see people living like that. My heart breaks. And that they would love to help them and would love to go into the community more often to see them and help out.

I talked with them how happy it made my heart to hear them say that they wanted to help and cared for the people of Titanyen. I talked to them about how we are so richly blessed and it is important for us to share that with those around us especially in our community in Titanyen.

I pray that this is the first of many experiences our kids will have as we teach them how important it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus and how we can bless others.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Here's my life..

What I long for…

Today marks two months in Haiti. It seems like a long time but at the same time it seems like I just got here. I almost feel like it still hasn’t really hit me that this is my home for the next year; or actually as long as God has planned. I’ve come to realize that my life isn’t what I had planned for myself years ago; and I'm ok with that. 

As I read todays devotion I realized that it is exactly what I long for.

“You keep your plans tentative, knowing that my plans are far superior.” This is what I long for. I feel that this is how so many Haitians live their lives. “Living in dependence on ME...” Many of them wake up each morning and have no other choice but to depend on God to provide them with what they need or to follow His agenda for the day. I find that living here I’ve been able to let my agenda go more easily than I would be able to in MN. In MN I feel that I have a schedule, job, activities and a to do list that must get done…I don’t leave room to let my plans be ‘tentative’ or allow God to lead me. Yes, it’s a cultural thing, but why do I conform to the American culture? I know I have and I do and it’s sad that I let my life and my agenda get in the way of God’s plans that are far more superior to mine. 
Last week at church we sang the song, "No Sacrifice" by Jason Upton and I feel like God is continuing to remind me that I need to give Him my WHOLE life. I must sacrifice my plans and ideas and know that HIS are far great than mine! 
"No Sacrifice"
To you I give my life, not just the parts I want to
To you I sacrifice these dreams that I hold on to

Your thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your love is stronger than mine
This is no sacrifice
Here's my life

To you I give the gifts
Your love has given me
How can I hoard the treasures that you've designed for free?

BecauseYour thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your love is stronger than mine
This is no sacrifice
Here's my life

To you I give my future
As long as it may last
To you I give my present
To you I give my past

BecauseYour thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your love is stronger than mine

Your thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your love is stronger than mine
This is no sacrifice
Here's my life


Check it out it's worth listening rocked my world and changed my perspective!!