The Family

The Family
Justice, Logan, Jacy Klaire, Joy, Josie Kate, Luke, Megan, Judah, Kerry, Jaxon

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

The holidays are a time with family and friends.  It is a time for eating our favorite foods and catching up with news and events that have transpired over the past year in our families and lives of our loved ones. 

On Thanksgiving specifically, many of us try to take a moment to reflect and give thanks to God for the blessings of the past year.  This year we decided to have a big feast with all of our new family and Haitian friends. We will have about 50 people at the mission for lunch. 

We had a ministry give us a free turkey for our family.  What a huge blessing that is.  Turkeys here are hard to come by and very expensive to buy.  So early this morning I put the turkey in the oven and prepared the green beans and corn.  We will also bake a cake.  Very few Haitians have eaten cake and if so it is for a special occassion.  Ovens are very rare and it is hard to cook a cake on a fire with three rocks like they cook their rice and beans. 

We are also having rice and beans, fried plantains, haitian beet salad, potato salad, and fresh fruit.  It is going to be quite a spread.  I am going to explain our American Thanksgiving heritage and give each person a chance to share what they are thankful for.  I have heard many Haitians tell me that the reason we have turkey on Thanksgiving is because the first American's did not have anything to eat so they prayed and turkeys started falling out of the sky everywhere.  Sounds like a good story to me. 

Here are a few things I will be sharing that I am thankful for:

My family that I moved here with 18 months ago- Joy, Jacy, Judah, Josie, and Jaxon

For Luke being able to come and join us here this year

For Justice Kacia and the privilege to adopt her

For all of the kids that we have been able to give a home to- Kobe, Jeanmoi, Adelson, Uvensia, Jean Patrick, Wilna, Naica, and Kimberlie

For Daphne's diabetes getting controlled and doors beginning to open to get her to America for her eye surgery

For others that live and help at the mission like Colleen and her two twins Kristi and Krista, along with Grann- the little widow whose house was washed away in the flood

For our team of guys Dago, Wesner, Paul, Robbins, and Bazaleis and the girls that help us Mirlande, Mireille, Oranie, Joanne, Claredonge, and Dedette

For all our fisherman and the work God is doing in their lives and the changes we are seeing in their village

For all the over 70 kids we got to put in school this year 

For the many many friends that God has sent to visit us here from so many places in the US and Brazil

For the people back home that love us and continue to pray for us and let us know they are supportive of what we are doing down here

For God beginning a new work in my life to change me from being so selfish and unloving to beginning to see people the way He sees them- I have a LONG way to go though...but I am thankful for the journey

For brightness of the future and the great opportunities we know lie ahead and the grace we can trust in to help with the difficulties that come

I could go on and on.  I have so much to be grateful for here.  But we also have our precious older two children Logan and Megan in the US.  It is harder to say Thank you Lord for them being there when I want them with me here.  But we know God does all things well.

It is hard to say thank you Lord for my parents that are getting older and my dad having complications from diabetes and I am not there to help him.  I am not there to just sit and talk to him today on Thanksgiving after we get back from deer hunting like we used to do.  I won't have my mom's mashed potatoes or Joy's mom's banana pudding but we still say Thank you Lord because He does all things well. 

All of us have to make a choice today- we can choose to focus on the things we DON'T have or have lost this past year or we can allow our minds to meditate on our many blessings and be overwhelmed by the "goodness" of God.  I choose the latter.  I pray you will too.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hurricanes, Snow Storms, and Lost Friends

Cold Feet-
What a crazy day.  I spent 16 hours yesterday getting from Montrouis to Indianapolis for a conference where I will be speaking and taking continueing education classes for my optometry license.  It turns out I lost, gave away, or in some other fashion disposed of any warm weather clothes I had in Haiti so I got to Indiana and discovered they are expecting snow and 20 degree nights and I have a Caribbean Joe t-shirt as my warmest clothes.  But in typical provisional manner, a good Christian friend who happens to live in Indiana hooked me up with a bunch of warm clothes so I am good. 

I will be in IN for the weekend with my 20 year old daughter Megan.  I had not seen her since last November so it was great meeting her in the airport here last night.  She flew over from GA to be with me at the conference this weekend.  Then I fly to NC for a few days for some meetings and finish up my CE at a meeting in Asheville next weekend.

Unfriendly Tomas-
Tomas strengthened to a tropical storm again last night and is projected to pass over Haiti as a hurricane tomorrow.  Joy and the kids are there and we live right on the coast.  It looks like Joy is going to close up the doors and windows and leave the house to go and spend a couple of days in the missionary team rooms at The Mission.  It will be cool to be there with the mission kids but also tough with Justice, Jaxon, Josie, Judah, Jacy, Jamoy, Jean Patrick, and the two special needs boys Kevin and Michelet all getting moved over there and set up.  We have been praying for a person to come and live at the mission to take care of Kevin and Michelet there since it is technically the children's home and we can have someone caring for them 24 hours each day even when we are not in town.  So Joy is working on getting them moved permanantly during this transition time.  Pray about that.

The biggest problem with a hurricane in Haiti is not just the wind.  The tents in PAP of course will be affected by the winds but the biggest issue is rain.  They are predicting as much as 15 inches of rain.  If that happens, there will be significant flooding and the risk of landslides.  The deforestation and subsequent silting in of the rivers has made flooding a major problem.  Our fisherman that we work with live near the river and many of them lost their homes in 2008 during Hannah.  At that time the river flooded all the way down past where we currently live and took away many homes and left hundreds with nothing.  The river flooded again a couple of months ago and washed away more homes.  We have several of our fisherman living in tents right now due to that flood.  It is a blessing that just before I left we were able to help Jean Beny rent a house and move out of his tent.  I am glad he will be in a house during this storm tomorrow and not a tent.  He loves Joy and is a precious part of our ministry.

Lost Friends-
Just when we starting thinking the cholera deal was pretty much behind us, we got a call this morning from one of our closest pastors and learned his wife died this morning.  She was working in the garden when the symptoms hit her and she died on the way down the mountain to the hospital.  Pastor Remy and his wife are the ones that came down the mountain with the gift of eggs to thank us for helping them get a horse.  Now he has all 7 of his children to care for alone.  He is trying to get her buried today.  Be praying for them.

The end of last week I got home to find one of our translators we use sitting in our yard crying.  He was holding a baby outfit in his hand.  Degraff's 18 month old baby had respiratory arrest and died and the family did not have the money to bury him.  We were able to help bury the baby but had very little means of consoling a hurting father.

So there is a quick update of what's happening.  We will keep you updated on the storm.  Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.  You can see updates on facebook!/profile.php?id=100001587051166