Warning! Warning! “Siklòn ap vini!” A few days have passed since we went around our Haiti neighborhood and warned our friends and neighbors of the coming “siklon” we all are now too familiar with as Hurricane Matthew. We begged one family who live in a stick house on the side of a cliff overlooking the ocean to please store their belongings at a nearby neighbor’s concrete house and come shelter at our home with us. We and other missionary friends in our area and all over Haiti prepared ourselves, helped others prepare, warned and warned again and waited. The wait was long and hard as Matthew took his time in coming. We thought about Noah’s long wait and warnings for people to get themselves in gear and get on the ark. How in the world did he handle that for that long? The waiting became more than just heightened anxiety because it caused many to not heed warnings as they assumed the sunny skies and slight joke of a rain that had fallen earlier in the day meant the siklòn was no longer a threat. They must not have been receiving the every other minute messages of weather news reports for two days straight like we were! Night came and all was calm (other than our phones which were still buzzing thanks to Page Wells). Elfina and her four children had not bothered to heed the warning either. Even if her house miraculously survived, we did not want to risk the baby who has hydrocephalus getting wet and sick before his long awaited life saving surgery scheduled this next week. Eric drove up to their house and woke them up. He would not take no for an answer and carried little bare bottoms to the car secretly hoping they would hold their pee. They stayed with us for two days and we had a great time sheltering them from the storm. We read the Jesus Storybook Bible in Creole, prayed together, let them try pizza for the first time, the kids played with our kids toys and just rode out the storm under a dry roof. We are thankful to have had that time with this sweet family while safe in our home and have the chance to talk about the warnings God gives. Are we listening?
We will never forget the all night packing party and saying our final goodbyes before the sun came up on September 4, 2011. We knew very little of what would lie ahead but knew without a doubt that we were supposed to be here. It was a rainy night about the same time we write this now when we stepped inside our first Haiti house and unloaded the twelve wet bags containing all the earthly belongings we managed to bring along with us. We had anticipated that moment for so long and it was good to finally be home! Haiti has been our home now for the past five years and God has brought us over and through many mountaintops and valleys. It has been a sweaty, joyful journey of faith that we wouldn’t trade for the world! Today we celebrate by sitting in our air conditioned vehicle charging our computer and phone and reminiscing about how our Lord has provided for us and trusting that He will continue to provide for all our needs. We are sitting in the car because we have been out of power at our house for the past few days. Lord willing, the long road to Port au Prince will not be blocked tomorrow and the technician coming to assess whatever is wrong with the generator will figure it out and be able to get it fixed all in a one day trip. We know that is wishful thinking and will keep rolling with the punches whatever tomorrow brings! We are just thankful to be here! Thank you to everyone reading this who has helped us in many, many ways to make Haiti our home the past five years! We couldn’t/wouldn’t still be here without you!
Starting our sixth year in Haiti we want to share what we will be up to this year and our personal family and ministry needs that are pressing at this time for us to be able to have a fruitful year.
*Warning: This is a long story that just kept getting longer. There are a few graphic images included in the chapters below. If you get queazy easy or don’t like to read, this might not be good one for you.
This is a post about building relationships and the nitty-gritty gross and great stuff that happens in the process. It is about connecting stories and connecting lives. These kids in these stories–you may only get to see their faces on a television screen or a World Vision or National Geographic magazine. We get to see them everyday in the flesh. We see their chronic stress and struggles but also their smiles. Sometimes we feel like changing the channel or picking up a Better Homes and Gardens magazine instead, because it’s hard to see. But we can’t now. Because we know their names and we are learning their stories. Because they are our neighbors and we are supposed to love them as ourselves. Time and again I hear a still small voice whisper, “It’s why you are here.” It’s messier this way. But it’s worth it. Taking out stitches and treating scabies, setting up surgeries and sonogram appointments isn’t really the messy part. It isn’t what makes me cry for them. It is the injustice of it all. That I can find medical care for my son while their mamas can’t. That I can keep all my children together and they can’t. That water flows from our faucet while their children walk for miles to collect the same amount of water I used to wash a few dishes.
The Hospitality House continues in full swing! I can hardly get new sheets on a bed before another guest walks through the door to stay! We certainly get our money’s worth out of this place and are planning to sign our fourth year contract before the month’s end because we believe its the best place to be where God wants us to be right now! We have had a full house pretty much since we moved in! Here are our latest visitors and how they served us and alongside us the past few months! Read More