The Long Ride Home and Some "Funnies"

Fort Lauderdale before flying to Haiti.

We left for the airport early on Wednesday because traffic in Port au Prince can be very bad. As it worked out, we were 3.5 hours early for our flight – no traffic.

While waiting we met some people from the US who started a ministry about an hour out of Pap with a feeding program and clean water being put in, etc. They were bound for Miami 45 minutes after our flight. They asked what I thought of the people, to which I replied, “I fell in love with them.” She replied, “How can you not?”

Our flight was “delayed” by 10 minutes but a short while after arrival it was obvious we were not leaving any time soon as they stated “technical difficulties.” Those of you who can appreciate how much  LOVE to fly can imagine how ready I was to get on that airplane, so when a  young man told me the flight was canceled, and the airport closed overnight, Dave called Pastor Calixte to come and get us. I was somewhat relieved to not get on THAT plane!

Thank God I asked more questions to discover that even though our flight was canceled, the Miami flight was delaying take off for us to get on board. Everything was being spoken in Creole! They would get us taxis to Fort Lauderdale. Great, but our flight only had 2.5 hours between and I doubted we would make.

While I was arranging for the flight change Dave called and canceled our flight to Plattsburgh with Spirit Air. The problem was – Spirit doesn’t fly daily and we we would stranded until Friday and the price had tripled, not to mention cancellation fees. Fitzroy would also miss his flight to Jamaica most likely, but we waited to cancel that.

We arrived in Miami and went through customs where I was asked, “Did you ever report your Passport stolen?” No I replied, I have not even used it in 7 years….” “I did not ask you that, I asked you if you ever reported it stolen?” The friendly demeanor had changed somewhat and I was feeling like a criminal. Repeating the question several times, David’s passport was returned to him as I was told, “Stand by the wall until someone comes to get you.”

Our little friend!

Meanwhile, Fitzroy has gone through customs and is leaving the area ( you have to) without any minutes on his cell phone. I was finally retrived from my wall side location and taken into a room with about 75 people waiting. “You’re kidding me, right? I’m a US citizen!” I say to my escort as we enter the room. “Don’t worry ma’m, US citizens get pushed to the front of the line.” Wow, I am really feeling badly for the rest.

As time goes by I realize that Fitzroy is…Where? So I suggest that Dave leave to find him and I will be OK. (My imagination was playing out what kind of detainment center they had for “alleged” US citizens, and thankful that I had just left Haiti with peace and patience beyond measure. What’s a night in jail? No biggie.)

Dave was now going to have to fill out paperwork to leave me, so they said I was about to be taken back. They were right, and as soon as Dave finished filling it out, we were called. A very nice young man said he did not know what everyone was freaking out over, but he could see that a number was transposed on someone else who HAD reported a passport stolen, but that I could go and he would call Washington to get it straightened out.

L to R. Pastor Solange (orphanage founder) Pastor Daniel & Fitzroy

Where is Fitzroy? Several pages and wandering the airport later I see the flash of his brightly colored orange vest. We had declined American Airlines ride to Fort Lauderdale once they had informed us that since we were not booked all the way with them, (“Um, you don’t fly to Plattsburgh, NY!!!) they would not refund us anything for our missed flights.

The detainment with customs meant Fitzroy had missed his flight now for sure, as well.

I thought, surely we can fly out of Miami as easily as FL, and being exhausted we decided to get a hotel. All the hotels are expensive close to the airport and knowing that I had to get back to a room to google flights, we just chose a Best Western and went.  “Almost $200 per night? Seriously?” And we needed two rooms.

On to booking flights – now I discover that Fort Lauderdale flights, are way less expensive than the airfare out of Miami. We are pretty hungry at the point so Dave walks to the Burger King while I book flights. “What, the local fast food all closed at 10 or 11? Really?”

I discover we need to take a TAXI to Fort Lauderdale and fly out of there or pay 3X the price of airfare.
By this time we are out about $1600 in hotel and last minute booked flights .I book the flights, and pay extra to leave later in the day (we could not get up at 3 a.m.!) disapointed that Dave and I can’t get seats together on the last leg. Big deal, I just left Haiti where the hearts are thankful in all matters.

Next morning is a quick trip to the airport (thank you Lord, no traffic this time of day) and we leave Fitzroy at Air Jamaica, and head for our flight. Jet Blue is our favorite and the flight from Fort Lauderdale to JFK is smooth. While waiting at the gate at JFK, I tell Dave, “I want to go and see if anyone cancelled to get a seat together.” “Looks like a full flight, I doubt it” he replies. “God has been blessing us, I am going to see if we get another blessing.”

At the gate I ask the women if anyone has canceled because I was hoping to sit with my husband. She replies that she does not have “two seats together anywhere on the plane.” The thought flashes through my mind that Dave would leave it at that, but I say, “I don’t need two together, I just need one next to 18c or 15e.” She stops typing and looks up at me smiling and says, I just had someone switch a seat from 18!” I reply, “God has been blessing us. He is a good God.” (Be instant in season and out of season)

I go back to Dave laughing, dancing and kissing him and he is laughing and saying, “I don’t believe it” The woman across the row asks me, “Are you two newlyweds?” I explain that we have 8 kids and 8 grand-kids, to which she replies, “You act like newlyweds.” So I jokingly told her to watch more closely that I, “act like a newlywed, he does not!”

Kacey and Joy were there to meet us at the airport, but by then Dave was feeling really, really sick from the large french fry he had eaten (I warned him!) so the ride home was a bit rough.

While in Miami I found out that they found my lost bag at the airport in Pap (a miracle) and that Dave was leaving for Germany for 4 months! “Seriously God, does everything have to be a mixed blessing?” I ask Him with a smile on my face. 

Today (Saturday) Dave gave one week’s notice at IBM, and we are both rested and waiting to see what God will do next. Our cows are leaving in a week and we have cash in hand – enough to pay off the extra credit card debt we got in Miami! God provided 100% for the trip, and though our financial “trials” are not yet over, we are confident that we are in His will, and He is full control. We may never own a home again, but our Father knows what we have need of.

Dave with our friend Jeff. (feeling washed out)

Moments of Laughter: 


Dave tans in the summer but this is the north country – need I say more? In Haiti he looked in the tiny mirror a couple of times, or at pictures of himself with others and would ask me, “Do I look washed out to you? I look really white”  I laughed every time and reminded him that we are surrounded by black people so of course we look “really white.” “We ARE REALLY white!”

We also laughed over how often we knew people did not understand what we had said, but they would reply, “OK” and how I found myself doing the same thing a couple of times; but they often caught me as well and said so, and we would have a good laugh.  What did I just agree to??? I will not repeat what had transpired here!

Once I was speaking to Pastor Joseph about his upcoming wedding that we that we were invited to attend (and did). I was trying to ask him if the wedding would be “big wedding or a small wedding”  complete with hand gestures to explain myself. Several exchanges later he replied, also with hand gestures, “No,  my wife, she is big.”  It was precious.

I was also reminded today as I read thank you notes from the conference attendees, how Pastor Daniel was so used to watching me closely, and translating with expression and my every word, that sometimes he translated my creole into Creole, or translated  English into English. The people would always get a good laugh over that!

Today I read, “Before the seminary I was sad, I was very sad,” and I recalled Daniel reading it to me when we were working on translations in Haiti. It was already in English and so he read it in English and then stated, “They are saying they were very, very, sad.”  To which I burst out laughing and replied, “Really, Daniel,  were they sad?” as he realized what he had done and we both had a good laugh.

 

And of course I will never forget David capitalizing on having 8 children and showing off with macho gestures to get the people laughing. Who ever thinks Dave is shy has not seen him in ACTION! Oh, my!

Pastor Simone – Port au Prince church of 3,000+   

In reading all the thank you’s I am also reminded how they are all written to “Pastor David and his wife.” God is keeping me humble  – I get ordained, do all the work, all the writing, and all the teaching, and Dave gets the glory.  Next to God, there is no one who deserves it more than Dave. As the people were so blessed when they realized the personal and financial sacrifices Dave makes for me to be in missions. Some day David, we will have that anniversary on the beach, sipping cool drinks while I fan you. I just wont promise you where!!

Some day David ….Some day…The beaches are beautiful in Haiti.

Thank you David, I love you, and Jesus loves you too. 

Jezi renmen nou.

Wap Toujou Nan Ke m. " I’ll Hold You in My Heart "

Believe it or not, she is my little friend, but likes to play hard to get sometimes.

But I will hold many in my heart very tightly. Other than my family and a few close friends in the US, I have never held so tightly or loved so deeply. (And I am trying not to sob as I write) My Christian brothers and sisters here have captured my heart; they have captured David’s as well and we have both shed tears over leaving our new friends.
 Pastor Calixte and Guirda, whose love and hospitality is the salt of the earth. They have become fast friends – examples of those who give of themselves as spiritual leaders to so many. Guirda, who is always making others feel welcome, feeding and caring for them as her own, tirelessly working to see that everyone is content.  Pastor Calixte, whose laughter is contagious and makes even David want to speak Creole to understand his wit, and wisdom, when he preaches. He is a shining example of an overseer of the flock entrusted into his care – and his kind heart breaks for those he cannot help.  
It would be so easy for many to get hard at the endless and overwhelming pain and poverty, but not this dear couple who love deeply and care for each, one (starfish) at a time. They have suffered tremendous pain – all here have, but they help other tirelessly putting themselves behind the people of God to serve. I have learned so much from them. Thank you my friends. You have taught us much in a very short time.
We will remember the warmth and love of Pastor Joseph – who told us he has family in America. When I asked him about it he replied, “I have two family. You and David. When you are the family of Jesus, you are true family.” David is especially touched by Pastor Joseph. May God bless you with joy unspeakable in your new marriage Pastor Joseph. 
Pastor Joshua whose energy is contagious, and his quick smile makes us feel joy just to see it. He loves to praise the Lord in dance and song and you can’t help but join in him in joyful celebration.  We look forward to worshipping with you again my friend. 
Jeff is always willing to help out in the big and the small matters and excited to tell you about what he can do to help. He is a bit of a computer whiz and was invaluable to us a few times.  An example of a young man whose joy is his strength, and whose testimony is strong.  
Pastor Simone, we will not forget his church that has grown to over 2,000 at one service since the earthquake, and he has 3. May God provide what you need to expand your building. Thank you for entrusting your flock to our care by allowing us to teach in your church and preach on Sunday. 
Cristilla whose adorable smile lights up our day, as she shyly giggles when I try to teach her English. Or how happy she was when we purchased pizza and realized it was for her too. (Pour me? Pour me?) Of course silly!  Her internal beauty radiates even brighter than her smile. 
Grandfather – whose smile and love for his grandchildren is evident. His joy in the Lord as he approaches  every task.  Thank you for making me hot water and your example of service.
The children of Pastor Calixte and Guirda, who have given us joy every day and helped to ease the pain in our hearts missing my own dear children, Sam and grandchildren; Jean Carl, Luis em, and Andalina. (I apologize for my spelling if it is incorrect.) 
And Pastor Daniel who has become a dear friend, and brother; my voice in Haiti, and my ears. David’s voice and ears. You have made our experience rich and we thank you for it. You are my staff in Haiti, a trusted co-laborer in Christ’s vineyard. I will miss you my friend.  M pap jan-m bliye – w.  
To my friends in Haiti –  Mesi Anpil!   I will see you soon –  si bondye vle. 
Until that time, M pap jan-m bliye-w. 

Be Careful What You Pray For – Happy Anniversary David

Be Careful What You Pray For – Happy Anniversary David

Happy 28th Anniversary – Visiting Mission of Hope

Today is David and I’s 28th wedding anniversary.  Happy Anniversary Dave. You make me whole.
David and I spend out anniversary visiting Mission of Hope, Convoy of Hope’s partner in Haiti. Mission of Hope is a lovely complex, clean, well built but simple structures that offer a feeling of openness and hope, as their name implies. The complex is much larger than I expected and has many buildings. They have a nice open eair church, and even a playground and a basketball court where we stopped to compete for a few minutes of basketball. None of the men were putting it in the net and I was hoping to show them up when Pastor Daniel  *FINALLY* put it in the net. 
A small part of MoH
Even though Mission of Hope has only been here about 13 years, it is obvious they are called of God to provide the love and compassion of Jesus Christ, and He has provided for them. The directors were warm, welcoming and Christ filled. 
They have several ministries here, an orphanage, evangelism, medical, feeding, school etc.  They have a team here doing prosthetics for those who lost legs and feet in the earthquake.  It was a privilege and blessing to see the work that MoH is doing here in Haiti. 
The trip to MoH was another one of contrast – country tents and poverty across the road from breathtaking blue seas and mountains in the distance.  Tourism would thrive here if the country had a political system focus on development, and we are praying that the next president provides that. 
 I’ve been trying to catch some smiles of all my friends by candid footage this week – easier said than done.  This blurry image was my feeble attempt at getting Pastor Daniel to laugh and catch it at the same time.  It is not difficult to get him to laugh, and Dave and I are having fun with him, but it is difficult to catch it. (You reading this Pas?)  
Once again today, he was invaluable as a translator; I want to be part of this wonderful experience and without a speaking or understanding what is said, that would not happen. I am going home to learn Creole for the next trip – just a few more phrases and some understanding would help me. I told him that I would not let him know that I understand Creole and then I will catch him when he thinks I don’t know what is being said. That would be awesome!
As we were driving back from MoH, Dave reminded me of how often we have a spoken about spending an anniversary on a tropical island in the absence of ever having a “honeymoon”.  Here we are on a tropical island for our anniversary. Not exactly the sipping fruit cocktails by the beach that I had imagined, but we are quite happy with the Lord’s sense of humor in answering prayer.  We would not trade the friendships we have made or the people we will miss so dearly for all the tropical paradises in the world; they have become our family in less than two short weeks. 
We had Domino Pizza (yes Domino’s is here!) and cold cokes (I love coke with Pizza) as a celebration, and broke into our Milanos and Oreos from last night. 
There was lots of laughter – we find our friends love to laugh, and those who know us also know that laughter wins our hearts. 
Everyone is helping me with my Creole and gets a good laugh over my speaking to David in Creole as well. Occasionally Daniel will forget and translate English for me into – well -English!  
We had intended to visit a family or two that was living in a tent city upon our return, but I have found that exhaustion is beginning to hit hard. Traffic and the conditions of the roads are always difficult, and travel can take twice the time you think it will. We left home at 1:35 in the morning on the 3rd and we landed with our feet moving. They have not stopped moving since.  We both needed a rest. 
Tomorrow we head back out past Mission of Hope to visit the beaches with Pastor Calixte and Guirda, and we are hoping to meet with Violet for a cup of coffee on the way home. 

 God has a plan for Hesed Hope and we simply have to trust and obey the call; and I am thankful that plan includes Haiti.

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"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."


A School
I met AG missionaries, Pastor Bill and Dorothy Smith yesterday.  It was just a short visit but inspiring. They have been in Haiti for 20 years and their love for this Haiti is evident. Pastor Bill referred to the country as having such “contrast”. I had not thought of it that way until he mentioned it, but the beauty of the mountains in the distance viewed over rubble and trash, the extreme wealth to the overwhelming poverty, and the joy to the pain, is the stark reality of this country. 
We saw this yesterday as we parked the car and had to traverse a bit around piles of rubble and rotting trash, to attend Pastor Joseph’s lovely wedding in an equally lovely Baptist church. As always, Daniel is always there to open doors, point out puddles and watch over both Dave and I, but especially me – a woman. In the church, he made sure that David was seated under a fan because he knows the heat is bothering him, even though he himself was in a suit and also very hot.  We are so welled cared for. 
Pastor Joseph and Mercedes
It was a beautiful wedding and fitting for a man with an equally beautiful spirit as Pastor Joseph has. David developed an immediate love and connection with Joseph. He was widowed before the earthquake and has 3 children. He was filled with joy unspeakable at the goodness of God for giving him his wife, who he told us in broken English, “I love her.”  We told him that we could see that. 
At the wedding a young man recited a poem with an apple in his hand in a very animated manner. I asked Pastor Daniel what he was talking about, and he replied, “He’s talking about love.” I said, “Duh, I know that!”  Dave meanwhile was laughing over the animations, spoken in Creole without a word of our understanding. His imagination was running wild and he was not afraid to whisper things to me to make me laugh out loud. We were chuckling as we were thinking, “marriage – apple, forbidden fruit!” 
Tap-Tap
They all came back to the house in their wedding finery, riding in tap taps, (pick- up trucks with built in seats to fit many) Again, the sense of community and hospitality here is a true example of the early church, and Christian fellowship. Pastor Calixte and Guirda are two of the most beautiful people I have ever met – filled with love and compassion, good works and faith in the Lord. You can see that they pour their lives into the church community and into blessing others. They have treated wonderfully, caring for our every need. Our lives are enriched for knowing them, and I am so happy to call them our friends.
We stayed up late speaking with Pastor Calixte and Guirda – hearing their stories of the earthquake. My heart breaks for things that no human should ever have to even hear about, let alone live through. I am reminded we live in a broken and fallen world that groans for our redemption. My respect for this couple has sky rocketed as I see the love, devotion, and commitment to the churches they oversee for the glory of God’s Kingdom. 
Over 2,000 crowd to hear God’s Word
This morning I preached at the church to a crowd of 2,000+ I was told. The sanctuary was filled to overflowing – the people outside surrounding the church. Since the earthquake the church has grown as many have come to Christ, and the Pastor is hoping for about $10,000 to expand. They are out in the glaring sun by day, or getting wet if it rains. I wonder at their commitment to hear God’s word in a country that no longer allows prayer in the schools. 
David was saying, “Merci Senor” as we praised and Pastor Daniel heard him. He jokingly said, “Good, he has a prhase. FINALLY!” and we both laughed. I told Dave, and we have been teasing Daniel and laughing all day. When I told the crowd I had 8 children they all roared in laughter. I asked Pastor Daniel why they were laughing and he said, “Because you have 8 children, they like that. “ I knew it was something more, as the people had heard this before. I turned around and David had stood up and was raising his fist in a gesture of accomplishment – THAT is why they were laughing! We are so comfortable with all of these people – we have fun with them, and they with us. 
I wanted to ask the people to sing, “The Love of God” as those of you on Facebook may have noticed a dialogue between Violet (Salvation Army here in PaP) and I about the song. I was going to ask them to sing when I was done, but time had run out.  As I sat back down and the pastor closed the service, I hear voices rise in unison to “The Love of God.” I began weeping, once again overwhelmed at how much God has restored our faith in a living God, who cares for us in all things. The power of God in our lives has been restored here – faith renewed with a fervor and hope we have not had in many years.  
Dave’s job offer the night before we flew out of Florida, meeting the personal expenses that we had  borrowed against our house to come; and whom some thought if it was God, “He would provide.” He did provide – who says we have to own homes?  God provided the exact amount David and I spent in the moving allowance. 
Then there are the cows – for two years we have not been able to give them away. Driving home from the conference one afternoon we discussed how they needed to go – and I told Dave I knew that God was going to take care of it. I knew this time – somehow I knew. I came home that night to an email out of the blue asking if we still had a herd to sell, and now, there is a check in the mail for the herd.
Today, God blessed me with the desire of my heart – the song that all week I had been singing for Haiti.
On the way home from church we toured the most earthquake damaged areas of the city, and the largest tent cities – and they are cities. I could not contain the tears, and as David had wept on Friday, I sobbed. To know there are still bodies under some of this rubble – that so many of the displaced people had homes and jobs, loved ones and life was more than I could bear. To love these people and know that not one has been left untouched by the carnage of this broken world is heart wrenching. God has shown me I will come back to Haiti – and I will go home and work towards that end.  
David stopped a store and purchased “comfort food” for me and the others – chocolate, Milano’s, Oreo’s and chips. He knew how to minister to me through some thoughtful acts of celebration.  We have had a lovely meal and enjoyed good conversation and laughter. My Creole seems to always bring a chuckle as I work hard to speak in the language that surrounds me (and have a difficult time remembering). I am forever asking Daniel how to say _ _ _???  Over, and over, and over, and…..and when I speak to David in French or Creole, it causes a chuckle. 
He has shown you what is good, and what the Lord has required of you; to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.  Micah 6:8 lives in human form, in Haiti. 
Tomorrow we go to Mission of Hope and Convoy of Hope’s feeding center. 
Once again I close listening to the sounds of adults and children of the “Orphenalat” next door (orphange) raised in praise to the Lord Jesus Christ.
            JEZI RENMEN NOU!!!!!!
                   Amen!
          (Jesus Loves You – Amen!!!) 

Beyond Words

Dave was agitated last night. I knew it was emotion welling up and gave him space. Self-care – the thing we teach but lack for ourselves at times. This morning I was pacing in the yard as I praised the Lord with my  “i-phone.” Dave heard the music and had to leave to gather himself together. I prayed for him as we waited. On the way to the church he broke down weeping in the car. I had been telling the people all week that there is healing and strength in emotion – that Jesus wept, Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet, King David was filled with emotion throughout the Psalms – and that my husband is the most Christ like man I know because of his selfless love and compassion.

When we got to the church we got busy, and they sang the usual song or two. I told the people what had happened, and that our hearts were heavy. I wanted to sing some more. Pastor Daniel has become a true friend this week as my voice in Haiti, and he is beginning to understand my heart. He knew Dave’s heart was heavy. He knew just what we needed and led in praise, calling up some of his friends to help. The praise lasted for two hours as more songs were sung, and individual pastors kept coming up to dedicate a song to the “missionaries.” I wept,  laughed, sang, danced like I have never danced before, laughed and sang, and wept some more. The hugs, the thanks, the smiles, the love – I never would have imagined that in 5 days I would feel such love and connection for people we have never met before.

Over and over we were asked when we are coming back to teach them more, and a member of the executive committeed asked if we could help develop a chaplaincy program in Haiti. I am in awe. The words of thanks for Americans who sponsored them are filled with love, and Daniel has his work ahead of him in translating those, as well as their ‘stories” to bring back to America.

Others suggested we come back and go to the north and south of Haiti to train others.

I had to explain again that we need missions support – real missions support to be able to come back and continue to train them. I don’t know what God has – but I pray it includes Haiti – and soon.

240 people attended, and I must have gotten close to 200 warm hugs and kisses of thanks.

At the end we were given two lovely souvenirs of Haiti, and I had just mentioned to David on the way to the church I wanted to get something, but did not want to spend money on it. Delight thyself in the Lord…..

Pastor Calixte -the Superintendent, told the people he thought it was a great sacrifice for us to come, but that when he learned we had come with money borrowed from our house, he was overwhelmed at our sacrifice. We told them we had a house to borrow from and that is so much more than most of them. He explained to the people that David had been out of work and in a temporary position and that the night we were leaving Florida – God provided a new job. The moving expenses we will get, as well as pastoral sponsorships will cover this trip. I had been thinking about how Dave needs a new car and had asked him if he regretted spending all of our money to come to Haiti. He had said, “No, this is a good thing we are going to do.” God has rewarded my husband for his faithfulness. Thank  you Lord. The very night we were leaving – as hectic as it has been for Dave to sign contracts from Haiti, but God has moved.

At the end of the service, the Executive Committee gave us an honorary plaque for our “contribution to the development of Pastoral Leaders” of which we are honorary leaders (or something like that) in the Assemblies of God in Haiti – Les Assemblies De Dieu En Haiti.The man all surrounded Dave and sang and prayed over him. Then they gave out 220 or more certificates of completion.  (People took pictures but I don’t know who.) I wept. What else is new?

One of the most amazing moments came from one man. Daniel is Church of God, and his very good friend is Church of God as well. This brother ( I can’t spell his name right now) was early on Monday and sat in the front row. His eyes were filled with pain, but there was a softness in them – there was something that drew me to him. I did not know he was a friend of Daniel’s until Tuesday, but when I taught on Monday, he was absorbing everything, thankful for the words and very open and honest. I felt completely connected to him – again not knowing he was Pastor Daniel’s friend.

Today he told us that he had been praying for David before we came. That he had told Daniel that David was upon his heart to pray for him. I was in awe at the goodness of God and the workings of the Holy Spirit, for this mans heart reminds me of Dave. I knew that many at home in the US were praying for us – but how marvelous and humbling to know that the people of Haiti (and many others told us they were praying to) were praying as well.

I sit now hearing again the orphans next door singing praise songs to Jesus. Songs that I now recognize. Haiti is FILLED with Christians. My life is changed, my heart again broken, to be restored in joy.  I miss my family and will be happy to hold my children again but it will also break my heart to leave Haiti and the people who have captured me with their love.

As we were driving home this evening we were discussing the need to get rid of the cows. They have been a nuisance to our children who are watching over our home in our absence – getting out due to the snow, carrying frozen water buckets….I told Dave that I had to believe that as God is confirming His word in us being here – in his provision for a job – that when I get home we would sell the cows. Just now, as I was writing this blog, I had a man whom we purchased one Dexter email me to ask if we still had our cows and if we wanted to sell.

Now, we have had several buyers back out – we have not been able to give them away – but somehow, I know that God is in this – our cows will go in Jesus name. God is confirming His word. Thanks be to God. All because we hearkened to the voice of the Holy Spirit in obedience to His word. We have been through the fires to see what fire really is – here in Haiti – and now God is blessing us to serve others in His name. Hallelujah.

If you see a brother have need….Does the love of God dwell in you?

Today is one of those days where I have taken in so much, and I just need to process it all. I gave my lunch to a hungry school girl. As I watch the people, I notice how many go without to give to someone with less. 

Pastor Daniel was missing for a few minutes and came back and apologized. He said that he had to take care of someone who had come; they had missed the breakfast that is served before the program, and were feeling faint, so he left to quickly get him some food and drink. I told him that was very nice thing to do, that he was a good man and he humbly replied, “I am a Pastor, it is what we are supposed to do.” 

This is what I see among the Christians here. They really try to help each other. This is a nation that gives as the widow – their last two mites. They gave out of their great need –  not just their need. Certainly not out of their abundance. I am honored to think that of all the people God could have used to be here this week, he chose us to serve. I am glad that we gave out of our need, and not our abundance, for the need of most Americans is over abundance, and we are guilty of that as well. Merci Senor. Thank you Lord.

The children rush up to the car to wipe the dust off. They all need money, they are not in school. My heart breaks to give to them all, but we can’t. I see this pains those I am with as they drive as well, but they can’t help everyone. The compassion flows from the hearts to do what can be done, and it has set an example to me. I constantly remind myself about the Starfish – I have to remember my Starfish.

This man comes every day with his baby. He is dedicated to learn, thankful and loving and attentive Dad. The baby has never cried. I really am blessed by his dedication. Tomorrow, I want to hold his baby much more to show him how much I appreciate his commitment. Tomorrow they are having a closing ceremony and the executive committee is giving out certificates.

People want us to return. I want to return. Before I came, I never imagined I would have so much FUN with my brothers and sisters here.  Today Daniel jokingly said they would change the constitution so I could run for president.

Pictures are taking too long to upload tonight.

Please pray for the people of Haiti. Pray for me tomorrow as I say goodbye to the 200+ people at the training – many who I may never see again, and ALL of whom I will miss.

The love of God if greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell….

I am blogging early today. I decided to end at 1 and have lunch after. The days are long, Daniel and I get tired. Daniel has to speak for two so he gets really tired. The people are hot, the topics intense, the pain great for many. 
 I am sitting in front on the fan of in our room, resting and writing. I like to write – it helps me to process my thoughts and ‘debrief’ myself.  Today was another amazing day. Little by little walls come down, hearts are revealed, and truth is spoken. I find I get quite fired up when I hear someone speak something that may cause pain in another – any references to weakness in emotion, or things like that.  The Pentecostal in me naturally comes out (my home church has seen it to over my disdain for the prosperity gospel). The words I have hid in my heart seems to just roll off my tongue at those moments as my words become those of the Holy Spirit. Sure not my doing, I always say I can’t remember what I had for breakfast.  For some crazy reason- God has a message for the people that He has entrusted to us this week about  compassionate care, and he has chosen David and I as vessels to deliver it. 
 God loves the people of Haiti. They are so filled with faith and resiliency but people are people everywhere, and love is the most difficult thing to live in, and show others; true, agape love – the unconditional non-judgmental type. That is near impossible any where we may live – but ALL things are possible with God. Daily I am awed by the sense of community these people have, and how much I have missed that in recent years. “Delight thyself in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. ” I came to Haiti to teach, but I am learning more; I came to Haiti to serve them, but they are serving me;  I came to Haiti to help them heal, but they are healing me.
What an amazing and humbling experience to be a small part of seeing hearts soften to help each other, and people hungry to learn how to help others. Who am I Lord? I feel so ill equipped and ill qualified, but God is the God of the impossible. 
Every day the people smiles get bigger when they see me, every day they try to speak to me more. Every day they thank me for coming, and some have been able to tell me (when poor Daniel has a second of free time he is accosted) how much it means to them, how good the conference is, and how much they appreciate it.  The women say my name, “Zjamee” and smile. If I forget to hand them something they are quick to speak my name to make sure I don’t forget them. I love hearing them call my name.
I love the comfort level some are developing with me. I love to make them laugh, and as I often do with David, we play at love as we teach about God’s love. In teaching them about the mind, I taught them men have “nothing boxes” and women can do many things and it brought them joy.  I love hearing them chuckle as I try to speak Creole to them, and laugh when I say the wrong thing. I am having so much FUN here teaching. I love to teach as you all know, but this goes beyond description.
Free to cry – free to feel
One young woman shared with us today that she had given up college just before the earthquake to work, and was sad about that.  Then the earthquake came and she lost her job as well. She said she would cry and others would tell her not to cry and it would hurt her to keep it in.  But she had learned it was OK to cry and from now on she was going to let her emotions out.  I wanted to cry with her.  Another brother with pain filled eyes told his story – how he needs to express his pain. He is a pastor and needs more support after the horrors her personally experienced, as well as supporting others through theirs. My heart breaks with him.  
We taught them conversation starters to help people share their pain, we taught them to mirror emotions and words, and tomorrow we will give them some breathing techniques and psychological helps for their own pain and the pain of others.  Many need psychological helps, and most will never get it. The people of God are the hope of the nation. 
This is what I leave you with today – the song that has been on my heart. 
The love of God is greater far, Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
  1. It goes beyond the highest star,
    And reaches to the lowest hell;
    The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
    God gave His Son to win;
    His erring child He reconciled,
    And pardoned from his sin.
    • Refrain:
      Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
      How measureless and strong!
      It shall forevermore endure—
      The saints’ and angels’ song.
  2. When hoary time shall pass away,
    And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
    When men who here refuse to pray,
    On rocks and hills and mountains call,
    God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
    All measureless and strong;
    Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
    The saints’ and angels’ song.
  3. Could we with ink the ocean fill,
    And were the skies of parchment made,
    Were every stalk on earth a quill,
    And every man a scribe by trade;
    To write the love of God above
    Would drain the ocean dry;
    Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
    Though stretched from sky to sky.
Verse 3 was penciled on the wall of a narrow room in an insame asylum by a man said to have been demented. The profound lines were discovered when they laid him in his coffin.

Though the

The name of Jesus is everywhere in Haiti.

Words cannot describe what I am experiencing here. Today, people started to share their stories as walls came down and the healing love of Jesus was present. One young girl shared her terror t being in school. The day of the earthquake she ran out and the building collapsed on her peers. She is always afraid now and if one person runs, the whole class runs. She wants to  know if she will ever feel well again. She said, “I am a Christian” in a way that begged of understanding from other that she loves God, but is so afraid. 
Another man spoke of the dead children he saw on the way to see if his cousin was alright. He found his cousin dead and how later that night he was numb- now a year later he is haunted. He sits in the front row and his eyes are darkened with pain. He wants to be well – he wants the images to go away. All want to know how to help others to make it from the “Village of No Hope” to the “Village of New Beginnings.
The stories go on, and on and on. The sights, the sounds, the images of swollen bodies, and things I won’t even post because of the gruesome nature.  Miraculously, God preserved so many Christians and there is a powerful testimony in that testimony in that. 
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I had a lot of rice and a little appetite at the meal that’s served. The heat in the church is sweltering. I saved my food – in Haiti every rubber band, every pen or piece of paper, or plastic bag, every grain of rice takes on a new meaning for me. We don’t dare give out money when we pass people– we are quite noticeable – and the people swarm around the car as it is. But standing still in traffic today a poor old women, put out her hand and raised the other to her mouth in the gesture of eating. I quickly grabbed my container of rice and handed it out the window. Her eyes lit up at the sight of food, and my heart broke. My head hurts and I cried a bit, but there is work to do.  The people are so appreciative and they take such good care of me with such deep thankfulness that I am humbled beyond words. 
This morning, they began with praise and then all voiced raised in unison quoted something. I approached Pastor Daniel and asked him what they had quoted. He said, Psalm 46. I looked it up.  I asked him if they had always quoted this Psalm or just after the earthquake. He said they quote several Psalms, 23, 46 and 91.  After quoting the Psalm 46 it was my turn to begin “the program.” After reading the Psalm, I cried as I told the Haitians that their faith is a testimony to the nations.  I could barely speak.
I leave you with this
1God is our refuge and strength,a very present help in trouble.
      Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
     though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.   Selah
    There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
     God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
      The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
      The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.   Selah
      Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
      He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
    “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
    The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.   Selah      (Emphasis mine)

God’s Plans and Words

Today I was going to preach at an AG church and had my message all prepared. I had been so overwhelmed by the needs here yesterday, but then the Lord spoke to me. He showed me that these Christians – the Christians of Haiti, are the faithful few. Jesus fed 4,000 and 5,000, but He only sent out 72, His closest companions were 12, those he took with him to pray at the garden numbered 3, but at the cross, only John is mentioned.  Only one.
He is RISEN. He is RISEN. He is RISEN. Back up to 12, increasing in the upper room as Pentecost explodes into 3,000 – and more. The gospel is propagated throughout the world changing nations – changing hearts. 
So I shared what God had taught me about Haiti – briefly.
David was pacing this morning before church, restless. We are sitting around a bit more than usual as we are treated so well we do not have much to do at our hosts home. (I am getting spoiled) I asked him what was wrong, and he said, “I am just awake and ready to move.”  I suspected that something more was going on – I had seen that look before. 
During worship (which was loud, joyous, and awesome!) the Lord spoke to me, “I have not seen such faith in all of Israel.”  I looked it up and realized that David had mentioned the Centurion to a Haitian brother last night. I whispered to him, “Do you have a message?” and I saw that look again. He replied that he did, but he was waiting to see if it was God. I asked him if he had the half an hour sermon prepared, and he replied, “Oh, I can easily go half an hour.”  For those who know Dave – a man of few words, and one who does not like to preach often, I knew this was God and I told the church so.  He taught from Ezekiel 34. He told the Haitians that they needed to take back the land and be leaders, in all things – politics, business, and neighborhoods – to be salt, to be a light. That Jesus is the ONLY hope for Haiti. He taught from Jeremiah, and Micah.
It was a blessing to the hearer, and we were also blessed.
I was asked next Sunday to preach at a church of 2,000. I will be praying about what to teach, but more importantly, I will be praying about who should teach. I may be the “Ordained Pastor”, but David may have the Word for Haiti.
Tomorrow – day one of our Seminar. Pray for productive days, for clarity in teaching, and that the healing that has begun in many, will continue with a new understanding of how to serve each other in pain and crisis.  Please pray for me for strength – for both of us – we need it.

Haiti Part 1 and 2

After writing last night I accidentally deleted the post as I tried to download some pictures.
In brief, our lovely hosts live next door to an orphanage and the voices we hear lifted in praise every day are the voices of the orphans.  It amazes me how wonderful they sing without instruments of any kind – a gift both from God, and fitting for King. I am going to go visit them in the next few days. 
The children laughed at my attempt at Creole
Today, I visited what is the only Assemblies of God orphanage, though I don’t think it quite fits the description.  The area was still devastated from the quake, and most of the children are there for a feeding program. Sixty children show up daily for two meals given out by Pastor Solange, the president of the AG, WM’s. Ten are living there now due to poverty, but only two are without either parents. These two were saved because they were at the orphanage at the time of the earthquake – both parents were crushed. The children in the orphanage were saved because they all had a word from God and Pastor Solange called them all downstairs. Even a boy who was cleaning the upstairs bathroom was taken out by the hand of another smaller boy. The upstairs totally collapsed but all the children were saved by the miraculous hand of God. 
The approach to the orphanage is rough – broken houses, tent camps, trash and pile after pile of rubble. The amount of rubble is still intense, one year later. The orphanage consists of two rooms, one is a place to eat and congregate by day, then ten mattresses are piled for the children to sleep.  There is a tiny little kitchen outside in the courtyard that Pastor Solange somehow manages to cook and run a small catering service – she is cooking for the conference of 267.                   The two sisters who lost their parents.
After visiting with her I went to an orphanage that was run by Americans and the contrast was unbelievable. Perhaps if I had not gone on the same day, I would not have felt the difference so keenly, but the difference in those with American support, and those without assaulted me.  There is also a differing philosophy in feeding the multitudes a little, or feeding the few a lot. Right now, Pastor Solange is praying for $130 a day to feed her small group 3 times a day, well, instead of twice a day the minimum. 
So little money to feed so many children. I told her I will not go home without leaving what little we may have left and with a promise to make her heart, and her needs known in the USA. 
I was overwhelmed and cried – the needs are exhaustive and what can be done? Until I remembered the Starfish. Thank you Lord, we start with one.  Tomorrow I am preaching in the church about the Starfish, and at the foot of the cross stood John – the one.