Friday, December 23, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Meanwhile, Chris is working with Pastor Kesnel, attending meetings and seminars, visiting other pastors and churches, or working on the sermons he is asked to preach. In the afternoons, there are English classes, church services, and bible studies.
Then there is a grocery store, which we visit about once a week. It is a small store by American standards; huge by Haitian. We buy things like canned fruit and juice, peanut butter, oatmeal, raisins, and snacks to replace our missing lunch. The prices are 2 - 3 times those in America. We are limited to packaged goods as we do not have a refridgerator.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
In the days following the January, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Chris and I both felt called to serve in Haiti. We have spent months in prayer and study to determine what that serving might look like.
In just 2 short weeks, we will launch our mission in Haiti, which we've named 1013 Missions. 1013 was the only identification given to a little boy who had been crushed and broken in the earthquake. His body was beyond repair, and he had been left to die outside, alone. In this time, Chris was serving with a group of amazing people- doctors, businessmen, employees and volunteers with The Global Orphan Project- all pulled to Haiti by the cries of her suffering people; all doing everything they could to help. When they found 1013, all knew he could not survive. Not in the ravaged state of Haiti, probably not in the best hospital in the States. But, neither could they leave him to die alone outside. Instead, they scooped up and drove him over destroyed roads to a place where he might at least receive relief from his pain before passing away. During that drive, Chris cradled the boy in his arms, prayed for him, and sang to him. He gave thanks for his life, and prayed for God to end his suffering. Chris stood in for the boy's father, loved him, and mourned him.
We have named our mission in this boy's honor- with the only name we have for him. It is our reminder that the things of this world are not as they should be.
Our goal is simple, but huge: to bring the hope and life giving truth of the gospel to Haiti. We envision a church that is a vibrant center in its community- led by Haitian pastors and on mission to serve Jesus. We see a church in partnership with an American church- not a one-directional financial relationship, but a true exchange of fellowship, prayer, and support.
In just 2 weeks we begin. For several months, we will be actively learning about Haiti: language, culture, and church. We will settle ourselves, and our children into "home away from home." We will be working in close partnership with an established church and Pastor- learning more about church in Haiti. With him, we will identify potential leaders and begin growing a group of people that will become the family of our church.
And, we will be working to create a guest house- a place where we can invite a group of 10 or so to come experience mission in Haiti. We're hoping to be able to host the first group in late spring of 2012. Want to visit us?
Monday, September 19, 2011
Twenty months ago, God called us to Haiti. Then, He took us on a year long detour through Lemont. At first, it seemed like an unwanted, but necessary diversion. God wanted to show us something. But, in the same way that a drive on a long country road is good for the soul, our time in Lemont has brightened us. We have been blessed to be a part of something wonderful. We've been able to help bring church to a community that needed and wanted it. We've been able to act as advocates for Haiti, and even inspired others to travel on mission. We have formed friendships that we treasure. We are more focused, more determined, and more dedicated to our mission.
And now here we are; on the verge of our heart's desire. We are filled with joy and trepidation. We are sad for the goodbyes that must be said. We have moments of doubt, and fear.
We see the mountains ahead, and they are beautiful.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
We landed in Haiti early on a sunny Friday morning. Ella was excited and observant. She noticed the children especially- how they went to school on foot or motorcycle; how they wore brightly colored uniforms, and how some had backpacks like her friends. She noticed the tents and the destruction and the beautiful colors in the flowers and painting by the side of the roads.
Upon arriving at the first orphanage we visited, Ella was excited and a little nervous to meet the children. As the first blonde haired white child most of the children there had ever seen, she was an instant attraction. All the attention overwhelmed her at first, but she soon made friends with a few of the girls her age and she was gone. For the rest of the trip, Ella was either climbing a tree, jumping rope, dancing, playing soccer, or sitting under a mango tree with three or four children.
The kids in Haiti were amazed to see an American child- with her mom!- in their home. They all wanted to know if she was my 'bebe' and didn't believe that she was only 8, (Haitian kids are significanly smaller than American). They were also very protective of her, and excited to show her the details of their world. They loved to hear her sing and thought it amusing that she was shy in front of the cameras.
After visiting several orphan homes in multiple neighborhoods in and surrounding Port-au-Prince, it was time for us to go. Ella, like me and several others on our trip, wasn't ready. She wanted to stay. In just 4 days, Ella developed friendships that she wants to nourish as well as a love for a new culture.
Returning home was difficult for Ella, as it is for most people after their first visit to a developing country. The easy availablity of medicine, food, and clothes inspired a sadness and anger in her. She was able to recognize the blessings of plenty that we have here, as well as the burdon of greed. She has become an 8 year old advocate.
It has been humbling and amazing to watch Ella through this time. I am grateful for the experience and bit of wisdom that Chris and I have been able to share with her. I am excited to see how God uses this experience in her life.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
It's been 15 months since the earthquake in Haiti. Just a few days less since I felt God calling me to redirect our lives dramatically. On my life's list, 'Move to Haiti' was supposed to be checked off months ago. Yet, here I am sitting in my living room. And, as much as my entire being longs to be in Haiti, I wouldn't have it any other way.
These last several months have been filled with education, opportunity, and experience that will surely help our mission in Haiti to be far more successful than it would have been otherwise. Additionally, we have formed relationships that have enriched our lives and our faith in unimaginable ways. It has been a wonderful adventure.
But, I can feel the wind starting to shift. I feel as if the time to move to Haiti is finally drawing near. I am excited, and of course scared. Things are starting to fall into place- as they can only do when God is leading the way. Right now, Chris is in Port-au-Prince, learning about the work and needs of a potential partner.
Slowly, slowly, we are making our way to Haiti. The path is longer than we thought it would be, but well worth it.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
"All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." 2Corinthians4:15
Monday, January 24, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
I sat on the floor of a steamy nursery in an orphanage in Northern Haiti, watching a “mama” (mama is the Haitian term for orphanage worker) feed beans and rice to an emaciated baby. The baby, Sarah, weighed in at 5 lbs. I learned this from our doctor, Bill Gossman who had just examined her, because in addition to being severely malnourished she was also sick (probably a cold one of us blancs gave her).
Sarah was thin and ghostly. Her skin hung loosely from her arms and legs. She was quiet and still, except her mouth. Her mouth worked feverishly on the beans and rice. I stared, the only sound Sarah’s gums smacking as she ate. Babies should not look like that. This was the overriding thought running through my mind. Babies should be chubby and full of color and not look like they were found under the robes of the ghost of Christmas Present-“The girl’s name is want, the boys’ ignorance. Beware them both but especially the boy because on his brow I see doom”. Sarah could have been written by Charles Dickens.
Her name was not really even Sarah. When someone asked about the baby’s name the mama had said “M pa konn ki sa li te fe ” and the only bit the person could make out was “sa li” and that became Sarah. “Sarah” had been brought to the orphanage by her father a few days before. His wife had died and he was unable to care for Sarah…clearly. I don’t know how long her mother had been dead, how long Sarah had been wasting away, but she wouldn’t have lasted much longer. There just wasn’t anything to her. I have often misused the word ‘Horrible’, and in that moment I regretted every instance, because this was horrible. This had nothing to do with the earthquake, Port-au-Prince was a 10 hour bus ride south through the mountains, this is Haiti. This stuff just happens here. If I were to ask any Haitian about this, 9 out of 10 would say without batting an eyelash, “This just happens here.” In the shadow of what is arguably the richest country…ever, there is one half of one island where little baby girls starve to death. “Sarah” barely existed. When my friend Dr. Bill came to check her out and asked to see her medication chart, there wasn’t one. Sarah wasn’t on the list of children in the nursery. The Americans who ran the nursery didn’t know anything about her and had forgotten that she was there. The mamas knew her age and how she got there but that was it. “M pa konn ki sa li te” means “I don’t know who she be”.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
My heart is heavy today. It's been one year since the earth shook apart the lives of millions of Haitians. Lives lost, forever changed by injury, exposed to homelessness, hunger, desperation, illness. Nearly a million people still live in tents.
My thoughts dwell on a little boy that I love who lost his parents in the quake. Just a few months later, when I met him, he asked if we could be his family. I ache for a baby girl whose teen-aged mom GAVE her to me, and couldn't understand why I wouldn't (couldn't) bring her home to America. I weep for a man, a strong, peace-filled, God-loving man, who continued rescuing children while mourning his own son. I pray for a woman who delivered her baby into a loveless room.
For reasons I don't fully understand, these people have become part of my family. I love this country. I love her people, and their culture. I hurt for their loss and hope for their future. I long to be there in a way that I can only describe as longing for home.