Wednesday, March 27, 2013

new additions to our family :)

We have had lots of stuff happening here at Grace Village!! But best of all we are blessed to be able to provide a new home for two children. 

Meet Elisena 

Elisena is as sweet as they come. When I first met her she greeted me with a smile and a kiss on the cheek. She was all smiles and seemed so excited to be coming with us. When we were in the truck on our way to Dr. Sem's to get the kids checked out the tears came streaming down her face. With a few extra hugs and kisses she seemed to be comforted and excited to see her new home. The girls welcomed her in with loving arms and were so eager to show her all around. Momma Guerda stepped right in and showed her how the showers and toilets work and where her brand new bed was. She was all smiles and so excited to be home!  



He is a lively little boy with a gentle heart. When we first got there to pick him up he was very sad. His grandma was there with him and he was holding a picture of his dad and his aunt. Naturally he was very timid around me and not really sure what to think. But I knew that all changed when we were in the truck. We were sitting in the backseat of the truck and out of nowhere he leaned into me. My heart sank a little bit knowing this boy who was so timid and shy and came from such a rough place wanted to be close to me. A few minutes later his little head laid on my shoulder. My heart melted. I knew in that moment that he would have a special place in my heart. 

The kids were so great and welcoming! They jumped in and made them feel right at home! 

Our favorite pastor having a heart to heart with them making sure they had Jesus in their hearts and gave them each their own bibles! 

 We are so blessed to have these two amazing children join our family at Grace Village! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Only God could get us through this day...

I don't even know where to beginning to describe to you about this day...It started off as one of those blah has cloudy and super cold! It was 73 degrees and for around here that's cold! It made we want to crawl back into bed and sleep the day away!

Of course that did not happen...we had lots of things to do and accomplish for the day. One of our little guys had hurt his wrist the day before so we were working on trying to get him into the doctor for an x-ray but also needed to get to the guesthouse to pick up somethings for one of our elderly and drop off some stuff for Jean. Kathy went with Etienne our driver, one of our guardians and the little guy.

Meanwhile I was tackling things back at Grace Village. One of our wonderful workers, Lynoue, had purchased this little pot/cooking thing for Ofane. About two weeks ago when he was up at Grace Village (Ofane comes up 3x's a week to get his bandaged changed on his foot because he has a big opened wound from his leprosy).  I had sent him home with some Ramen noodles (thanks to Karla Olimb who had sent me down about 3 big boxes of them!! ;) ). When he was up here last week he was telling me about how much he loved them and kept calling it spaghetti and that it was so good but he couldn't cook; he had to have someone else cook. So when I was sending him home with some more he asked if we could buy him one of these little cooker things. I asked Lynoue about it and she knew exactly what he was talking about. So today when she came back from the market she came to our door with a cooker for Ofane! I had no idea she was going to purchase it for him and to be honest I had completely forgot about it (I tend to have a really bad memory unless I write it down!). So of course I wanted to deliver it to him right away!

So off Carolle (the women who takes care of our elderly), Jonas (the man who drives the kubota for us and helps take care of the elderly and does everything in between) and I started off to Ofane's house. On our way some lady flagged us down and said you need to go to Ofane's house his foot is bleeding very bad. So she and another man jumped in the back of the kubota and off we went.

As we continued on I just prayed that the Lord would protect him and watch over us and give us strength. And more than ever the Lord was with us today!

When I heard about this issue I immediatley thought-'he's got leprosy and I don't have gloves on me how am i going to be able to help him while needing to protect myself as well. Lord help me!

We got to Ofane's house and as we pulled up he was walking out his front door. He did not look good and had blood seeping from his foot. I knew he had lost a lot of blood because when we got there he was so weak and looked like he was going to fall down.  So we got him into the front of the kubota and we tried to get him to eat some food and drink some water. Seconds later he passed out. With Ofane's brother sitting next to him and trying to hold him up, Jonas stepped on the gas and we headed off to Mission of Hope. It is about a 5 minute drive in the Kubota.

Again on the way there I was talking to Jesus and asking Him for His help and guidance and to be with Ofane. We got to MOH and like most Haitians even if it is an emergency you don't move or act like it's an emergency. So here I am this crazy white lady saying help us we need to get him inside. Veet! veet! (quick quick). We got him into a wheelchair and at this time he was with us again and we wheeled him inside. Not knowing enough Creole I told Carolle (she knows little English so we make a great team ;) ) to hurry up and go talk to them about Ofane and help him. When I got back there he was just sitting there.. no one attending to him! It made me want to scream..'do you see this man has a pool of blood at his foot! Help him.' Instead they just sat their and looked at him. I told Carolle again to tell them we needed help he has lost a lot of blood. I ran back to the Kubota because thankfully we had food in the kubuta that we were taking with us to give to other elderly. I opened up a thing of apple sauce and ran it back to Ofane. His brother was helping him eat it.

I ran back to the kubota because earlier this morning we had sent two of our children to MOH for some lab test with a guardian and they were waiting. I told them they could not leave yet just in case. I called Lynoue and told her what was happening.

As I was talking with them Carolle came out and said they needed money for a card for him. (In Haiti when you go to the doctor you have to pay for a card) Not having any money on me I panicked! Are you kidding me! We are practically neighbors and you are not going to see this man that we brought to you because he doesn't have a stinkin card that cost maybe $5 dollars. Then I realized that when we had sent the guardian this morning we had to send her with money for the lab tests. Thankfully she had money left over. So Carolle took the money inside and to be honest I don't even know if she got a card or not. But when I got back in there the Dr. had come out and was looking at him and said I'm sorry we can't do anything for him because we are a clinic not a hospital! Again, 'Are you kidding me!!' As they were talking I was trying to tell Carolle to tell them they need to bandage his foot! Come to find out this Dr. speaks English! So I asked her can we please just get someone to bandage his foot before we leave. So she had a lady come over and start bandaging his foot.

During the process of trying to bandage his foot I texted Kathy and asked them where they were! We continued to text back and forth. In the meantime I noticed that Ofane had vomited all over himself. Thankfully his brother was there and was such a blessing and cleaned him up.

Throughout the process I continued to talk to Ofane in my broken Creole and told he couldn't go to sleep, he needed to stay awake and that he needed to listen to me. "You are going to be ok Ofane" "God is going to help you!" "We are going to get you to the hospital" "Ofane look at me!" Ofane don't close your eyes" "Ofane can you hear me!" "Ofane I need you to look at me!" "Ofane God loves you and He is going to help you, we are all going to help you!" And anything else I could to keep him with me and not let him pass out.

At 11:53 he did pass out and to be honest at this moment I started to panic. I continued to talk to him but I was struggling. They started to try to put an IV in him because he had lost so much blood. Just then Kathy came running up (like us Americans do when there is an emergency ;) ). I explained to her that I didn't know what to do. They had been trying to put an IV in him and were not able to do it. They had taken his blood pressure and said he can't go anywhere until he gets an IV in him. 'Well then hurry up and get it in him for petes sake!!' Is what I was thinking.

As I was talking with Kathy we looked at him and he did not look good. He wasn't responding and it didn't look like he was breathing. As I was practically yelling in his face the nurse peeled open his eyelid. I was freaked. It was only a few seconds but if felt like 5 minutes. In a matter of seconds I had a million things running through my mind; what if eyes are rolled back, what if he doesn't wake up, is he dead, is he really going to die right here in front of me, this can't be happening and who knows what else I was thinking! As she peeled his eyelid back his eyeball was right there which was great but also a little creepy as well... but we still had nothing..the nurse pounded on his chest a little bit and I was like seriously your going to just give him a couple pounds on the chest and thats it?! Thankful a few seconds later he opened his eyes! This continued on like this for the next 45 minutes or so.

They tried putting the IV in for almost an hour!!! I kid you not it was an hour! While all this is going on Kathy and I keep asking each other if we should just go to the hospital and just forget the stupid IV!

By this time he was starting to spunk up a little bit. We had him smiling and talking a little bit while Kathy and I were busy talking with him and Kathy was dancing away and every once in awhile I'd have to do a little jig just to make him smile. It was a little glimps of the Ofane that we know and love!

Throughout this whole ordeal we were connecting with Lynoue back up at Grace Village and sent Jonas back there to take the other two kids and guardian back and to get our nurse and send down some blankets and bring the medical kit because he was going to have to be transported in the truck to the hospital in PAP.

So finally when we had given up on the IV I was talking to Ofane about Jesus and God and how He was going to help him and He loves him. The nurse chimed in and asked Ofane if he had accepted Christ? Um... I thought well of course Ofane knows Jesus. He comes up 3 times a week and teams go and visit him and pray with him. But Ofane's response was "poco" meaning 'not yet'. I immediately jumped in on this conversation and started talking to Ofane about Jesus and asked him if he knew that Jesus loved him and that He died for him and he said 'wi'. I said Ofane do want Jesus in your heart? Do you want to accept Jesus into your heart? He said 'wi.' I told him to repeat after me and said something to fact of, "I want Jesus in my heart. I know He died for me and I know He loves me. I accept Jesus in my heart." (The conversation went something like that with the nurse chiming in here and there to help Ofane understand my broken Creole). When we were finished I told Ofane I was so happy that he had Jesus in his heart and that Jesus loved him and may God bless him! I said "Ofane do you know Jesus is going to help you and that He did help you today!" He said, "wi, mesi Jezi!!" Thank you Jesus is right!!

So we sent him off to the hospital in PAP after getting him some special drink they call 'malta' for him.  Kathy and I could not go to the hospital because we are white so it always causes a big ruckus. But they ended up not seeing him there anyways! ugh! Thankfully the doctor who works for us was still at his clinic and was able to see him!

Ofane ended up coming back up to Grace Village this evening with an IV in and spunky as ever! Pastor Wesley came up and talked with him and prayed with him. We are thankful that our nurse is willing to spend the night to keep an eye on him and make sure that he is ok.
Ofane and Pastor Wesley having a heart to heart about God! 

I can't begin to tell you all the times God showed up today!

-He made sure our Kubota was working today (we often have problems with it)
-He had Lynoue buy this cooking pot for Ofane.
-He had me eagerly wanting to give it to him.
-He put the lady in our path who told us about Ofane.
-He had me bring my iphone with to see Ofane.
-He had his brother there ready to help.
-He had the people at MOH help stop the bleeding.
-He had the internet on Kathy's phone work even though she doesn't have any minutes and wasn't able to receive text this morning even when she had wifi. There is no way that she should have received any of my text messages today because she just ran out of internet on her phone. But today it worked and we were able to communicate! Thank you Jesus. I honestly don't think that I would have been able to make it today if she hadn't been there.
-He worked it out that we were able to scrounge up some money.
-He worked it out so that we could get to Dr. Sem's and they were able to put an IV in him.
-He gave me the strength to sit and look at Ofane's blood for hours.
-He gave me the wisdom to know what to do.
-He reminded me how important it was for me to keep Ofane awake and say whatever I could to him.
-He brought Ofane to Christ. Ofane had gone to church in the past but sounds like he had never accepted Christ. Thankful that today he did.
We were so happy to have him back up at Grace Village and to see his spunk come back and watch him interact with the kids. 

Ofane hanging out and getting his IV while we got his bed ready for him. He was all tucked in nice and cosy with our nurse standing by incase anything happened. Prayers for Ofane tonight!!

I'm sure there a million other things that God orchestrated that I don't even know about!! It was a good reminder that God works all things out for the good of those who love Him!

Cheering for having Jesus in his heart! Love it how the light is shining down on him in this photo!! God's light sure was shining down on him today!! 
When we were talking with Ofane at Grace Village he was saying how he needed more spaghetti to cook in his new cooker and some charcoal. I said, "Ofane I will only give you more spaghetti and buy you some charcoal if you let me come over while you cook." He happily accepted my offer. We then turned it into that it will be a party. Kathy, Lynoue and I will all come and we will celebrate him having Jesus in his heart!! We'll bring brownies and Kathy even offered to bring him a Limonade! 

Today was a day filled with more emotions than one girl needs to experience in a day. But in the end, by the grace of God it was a good day. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

worst blogger ever! ;)

I could be the worst blogger out there! ;) Or maybe I could say that I'm too busy doing the work God has placed before me but too lazy to share it with everyone! ;) Either way God is doing amazing things and I am going to do my best to fill you in on some of the amazing things God has been doing lately!

Thankful for Sarah Young and here daily words of wisdom that always seem so fitting...

Well where to begin....I made a surprise visit home at the beginning of February! I was welcomed home by the Olimb family who were great at keeping my visit a secret! :) I was greeted with a sweet sign....

And a wonderful box of chocolates and not to mention the big bag of peanut m & m's at the airport....Karla know's me too well! :) 

I made it home the night before the Sweetheart Ball ( a fundraiser for Healing Haiti) with the help of my brother I was able to surprise my whole family! 

It was such a joy to surprise my didn't work out quite as planned but she noticed me as she was coming up the escalator...the slowness of the escalator and seeing tears of joy streaming down her face made it seem like forever to give her a big hug! !! She took a whole week off and came to stay in the cities at my sisters house and was a life saver letting me use her car and cell phone! Its always such a strange feeling to go back to the states and feel so disconnected! 

Nothing like having all three siblings together at an event that means so much to me and supports a place that is so near and dear to my heart! :) 

My dear friend Karla!!! So blessed to have her and her family in my life! She's like a second sister to me! And a big part in making my surprise visit home possible!! 

Mr. Jean here in Minnesota!!! Jean is the man in charge here in Haiti! He was also the man of the night on the dance floor! For those of you who do not know Jean he is the dancing queen and loves to take teams out salsa dancing when they come to Haiti! 

Such a blessing to see these beautiful ladies! They have been such a blessing in my life and been so influential in my journey! The last time we were all together was when they were in Haiti!

Even got to spend some quality time with this good looking guy! ;)  Even though we've been miles apart for the last 7 months we've stuck by each other and supported each other through all that life throws at us! Only with God can we do anything!

I got lots of cuddle time with this sweet little guy too!! I kinda forgot how much I love snuggling up with him and the joy and comfort that he brings!  

Of course I made it too this little studs hockey game to cheer him on! I also was able to go to his class and share my joy of Haiti with them! 

Little miss Annabel! Spent the afternoon in her class helping out for their Valentines day party! So great to be able join in the fun!  

This little lady turned 5 while I was home!! She is getting so big! On her birthday we went and got our nails done, had lunch at noodles, and a dinner at Snuffy's! 

With her furry vest you can hardly tell where Murphy ends and she begins! :) Her and Murphy are BFF for sure! 

This scene was definetly a beautiful one but by the end of my two weeks I was ready for some warmth and sunshine again! I know I'm a Minnesotan girl but I've always been a freezing cold Minnesotan girl in the winter this time I was beyond freezing!! :)

A big reason for my visit home was to get some paperwork done for my adoption process. All in I got a lot done but was not able to finish it all. Thankful for my dear friend Anne who is going to help me on the stateside to finish things up! All in God's timing in this whole process I have to keep reminding myself! 

I was excited to return to Haiti and see all the kids and catch up on everything that was going on and of course getting back to the warm weather!! 

Who would have thought that having some string cheese in Haiti would be such a treat!! It was more than delicious! Bringing cheese and honey crisp apples back have really hit the spot! 

Through a generous donor we were able to bless Marie with new mattress, blanket and pillow. She was beyond happy and of course gave all the praise and glory to God. 

Hugs all around. Marie has a heart and a spirit about her that shines Jesus whenever I see here! She told me that she prayed we would come visit her that day! ;) 

Her grandson was there to help clear all of her old stuff out and put it in a bin to burn it. He is 14 years old and isn't going to school because he can't afford it. He is so sweet to his grandma and has helped her out many times when I've been there. I am hoping we can get him into the school at Grace Village! 

 Can't wait to find out how she has been sleeping! :) 

We've been working on making sure that we are exercising! ;) Can't say that we are the best yoga students but laughing is always a good workout for the tummy! :) 

We celebrated birthday's for the month of January and February. The children were each given a card and $5 and were able to go into Port au Prince to buy whatever they wanted!! 
They were so excited to go to the big market--aka grocery store! ;) 

 When they returned we had a little birthday part at our house for them! They all got to enjoy their treats and hangout with us and some of the guardians! The other kids can't wait for their birthday month! 

We've been enjoying lots of time on the basketball court and showing these kids what this girl can do! Ha...not quite as stellar as I used to be that's for sure! But it's a great way to interact with the kids!

The little boys being goofy and enjoying their Saturday hanging out and showing off the things they made when the team was here. 

This sweet little peanut got to go home to live with her family! She was so excited to see her daddy! We miss her and her fun little spirit greatly but are so happy that she is with her family! 
We aren't quite sure who donated this shirt but we are working on making sure that they know we are not a fan of the green bay packers! ;)  (Ps thank you for your generous donation) :)

We are blessed to be able to continue to love on our elderly and be blessed by all the joy and smiles that they give us in return! All glory to God! 

 Pastor Wesley continues to lead us spiritually. He is always guiding and teaching our children and being a light in the community! We are so blessed to have him! 

All in all life is good and we are blessed. We stay busy with the day to day and trying to manage life at Grace Village. Each day is filled with trials, joys, smiles, love and prayer!