Friday, February 26, 2016

Where did the week go?

(Written 1 am 2/25/16)
It's my last night here in Haiti. I will be returning with a sore back, sunburned skin, raggedy hair - and an overflowing spirit. 

I will, however, be leaving part of my heart here. 

- I'm leaving part of it with the schoolchildren who spent their recess trying to communicate  with me and teach me words.
- I'm leaving part of it with housekeeping lady, who, after washing all our clothes, separated and folded my clothes AND made sure I got them. It may seem like a small gesture to you - but considering all the clothes she has to handle, for her to separate mine out was extremely sweet. 
- I'm leaving part of it with the gentlemen who were quick to say bonjour and make me feel welcomed. I was on their turf, and yet they made me feel like I was home. 
- I'm leaving a part of it with Joseph, the 15-month-old ill baby at the Mother Theresa charity children's hospital. He let me hold him, and cuddle him and love on him while his crib was cleaned. And when I stroked his chubby cheeks, he'd smile. 
- I'm DEFINITELY leave a part of my heart at the House of Hope. Our 12 girls are getting so big and tall! They have changed a lot in the last three years. BTW, I think Beyonce is destined to be a hair stylist...

Haiti gets in you and gets to you. And it keeps calling me back...

“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” - Mark 16:15 NIV

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Let me just go ahead and get this out now.

We were without water for a few hours. So no toilet flushing! 
No showers either. But the big thing is - No. Toilet. Flushing!

And we were without power all day today. That was hard when the weather started in the 80s and peaked in the triple digits. We were told it would be back on around 6; it was closer to 7 p.m., I think. And it had been off since the 6 o'clock hour this morning.

When power is off, the pumps that help fill the water tanks with water, didn't work. So while the power was off, our water tanks on the roof weren't filling.

So now, we have electric - for now. And we got water back about an hour ago. 
Oh yeah. Living the Haitian life here!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Today was a busy day.

The ladies in the group were painting the church's new bathroom building and a side wall. Two coats of paint. We started yesterday, though I had to stop because the fumes got to me. Since we were working outside today, I did better. And I'm still speckled with white and yellow paint. 
Most of the guys worked on making some bookcases (I keep calling them cabinets). Another guy worked with a crew digging a trench a laying electrical lines. 
Like I said, busy. 
But the work is not in vain. I've chatted with a few people who live here. They said that the fact that people from other countries, showing that they care, helps the natives. 
I appreciate knowing that. It makes doing the work more rewarding. 
A few times while we painted, schoolchildren came out for recess, and wanted to talk to us, hug us and take photos with us. They tried to teach me some basic words - colors, parts of the body. Nothing stuck. But it was fun trying. 
And the kiddos were cute. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

A change in perspective

(Note: These were my thoughts from last night, 2/21/16. They published this morning.)

Had I written this post about two hours ago, it would have been filled with anger. Misery. Depression. Hopelessness. 
That was how I was feeling. We'd left the beach haven we visited and went to see the site of a new orphanage and school another mission was planning to build. It was on this hillside, and the plan sounded amazing. 
And then the neighborhood children ran up, to see and hug I the new visitors. They were adorable. But they were also impoverished. Some of the children had on shoes; some didn't. One little boy didn't have on pants or underwear. But they all had beaming smiles. And the people in our group loved on them, holding them and playing with them. 
I was so upset. I mean what kind of government officials would be so cruel that they'd hurt their own people? It's their own brothers and sisters that they are oppressing. 
So I got quiet, reflecting on the craziness of it all. I looked at my chicken and beans and rice and wondered what those babies were eating tonight. I was hurt. 
And then we had our evening gathering and I was reminded of our purpose - to show Christ to His people. Those children have a lot of needs; affection is one of them. My sisters and brothers gave them that. And they continue to do that through those 11 girls at the House of Hope. The Lord will be with those girls as they grow up and be a part of the change in Haiti that happens from the inside out. 

Thank you Lord, for that message tonight.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pumpkin soup

I'm We had pumpkin soup for dinner. It had meat, noodles, potatoes and carrots. It was actually tasty - you don't actually taste pumpkin. 
Jemps, one of our Haitian friends, explained the history of the soup. 
So when there slaves in Haiti, they weren't allowed to have pumpkin soup, because it was thought that the slaves "weren't good enough" for the soup. And, he said, if a slave was caught eating the soup, his tongue was pulled out. Through the  Haitian Revolution, 
Haiti expelled the French, thus becoming independent on Jan 1, 1804. To celebrate, the freed people ate pumpkin soup. And they still eat it Jan. 1.
So to be served pumpkin soup, a meal that is very special to the Haitian people, was an honor. 

(Photo by Jason Denton)

We saw the girls today! We saw the girls today!

This morning we went to the House of Hope to see to spend time with the girls. They were working in workbooks when we got there. But they stopped what they were doing to give us all hugs!
We worked on craft projects with them (sponsors, you'll be getting something 😊) and then we hung out some, until it was time for their lunch. I'll be glad when we can go back.
We spent the afternoon working. The guys made cabinets out of wood and the ladies painted - well, they worked hard painting; I tried, but I couldn't hang as long as the others. But, it went well.
Now, its off to dinner. And then who knows what's next. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Walking by faith

So why am I being called to go on this trip? - at this time?
I honestly have no clue. All I know is the God wants me to go. 

I went to Haiti three years ago, also clueless as to why God wanted me to go. I did figure it out - there were multiple reasons (you can read about that experience in my previous blogs).
I've always said that I must return sometime. But excuses - mainly finances - kept me from returning. 

And then in December, God brought His plan to the forefront. One of my sisters, Ashley, mentioned that a spot opened up on the trip she was going on - this trip. I kinda balked at it, stating that I didn't have the money. She piled up - "Oh, I'll help you raise the money." Some other trip goers who were overhearing our conversation also said they would help. 
Now, bless their hearts, I knew they were sincere. But I really didn't expect them to raise ALL the money. And I knew I didn't have any of it. So I decided to consult the Big Man on this. 

I went to an empty room at church, pulled out my Bible and found some scripture about missions. And then I talked to the Father, asking Him if I was supposed to go on this mission trip. 
He said yes. 
I told Him that I didn't have any money for it (like He didn't already know that). He told me to let Him handle getting me there; I needed only to be obedient. I again stressed to Him that I had NO money.

And then God spoke, and He was REALLY clear. 
"Trust ME, not what you think you know." (It was something like that.) And He reminded me of Proverbs 3:5:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Ok. Got it. Loud and clear. 

And He did take care of it. I mentioned this conversation on my Facebook page, and suddenly donations came pouring in! God provided enough to pay for my trip. Wow!
The Lord will do His thing, if we just get out of His way. 

So here I am, two hours from leaving. I still don't know why I'm supposed to go. But I know to trust the Lord. He knows the whole plan.