The Other Side

Haiti shares the other side of the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. The other side is a whole new and different world. The culture is different. The language is different. And there are way different things to do and see and taste…things the majority of the population in Haiti will never get a taste of and cannot even imagine. It is hard to imagine such differences exist side by side. It’s still hard for me to imagine it because I haven’t been there. It’s hard to know that this other side exist and my girls cannot yet go there. I will wait to go with them. 

I told my guys that it wasn’t exactly fair that they were getting to visit a country I had never visited. Evan said, “It is too fair because you visited Haiti before all of us boys got to”. I suppose he had a point. Still, I’m a little jealous. And seeing the pictures made me a little homesick. But I’m so glad my guys got to go! It was a very quick 2 1/2 day trip with a lot of driving, but it looks like they fit in a whole year worth of fun! 

A huge thank you to our dear friends Miguel and Mairelis who are fellow missionaries in Haiti. They are from the Dominican Republic and the Ream boys were able to get the grand tour from the experts. It was also a chance for our boys to enjoy some summer fun together. Their boys Cadmiel and David are two of our boys best friends and are in the same school class together. Ethan and Evan will never forget this adventure! Praise the Lord for provision to be able to go and for precious friends with which to go! 

Since I wasn’t there and Eric isn’t here right now, I’m gonna let the boys tell all about it! 

“At the border crossing the floor was so slippery I fell on my butt.” -Ethan

After we crossed the border we still had to drive for a long time. The mountains were pretty and looked like Haiti. 
-Ethan & Evan

“I was so happy thinking about McDonald’s. If I opened my eyes they would pop out into the sky. Exclamation. Exclamation!”-Evan

“I really wanted to go swimming, but Daddy wouldn’t dig our swimsuits out of the car”. -Ethan

But I did not care about the swimsuit. 
The water was so cold. 
It reminded me of my home in Texas. -Evan

Lizards are not this big in Haiti! -Evan

These iguanas made me laugh so hard I dropped the whole bag of crackers! Then I fed them my Casinos (Haitian cookies). -Evan

“They were all running around and the big ones kept taking this one little one’s food. So I gave the little one 3 whole square crackers for himself. I almost stepped in their poop.” -Ethan

Mommy: “Evan, why is this cave here?”
Evan: “It is there to celebrate the Lord. But I think the sign said, ‘No boys allowed’. So I kicked it”. 

(Proud of the first thought. Humbled by the second)

What the sign really says.
But there are no spanish speakers present at the moment to interpret. And the boys don’t seem to remember anything but “No boys allowed”. 

Ethan thinks this cave has Indian markings.
Maybe that is what the sign said. 

“We are the kings of the world!”-Ethan
“Or the bunnies!”-Evan

These Indian markings were so fun to climb on…but then Evan almost pooped in his pants!-Ethan

(Evan always needs to go at the most inopportune moments)

“This dog had a goosebump so I was helping him. 
Then he didn’t have the bump anymore.” -Evan

“I don’t think that was a Haitian kenep? It tasted bad.”-Ethan

“This is their barn. 
This is where they get their water from. 
The pigs and the dogs drink from here.”-Evan
“This is the bathroom. 
They have to pee and poop in a hole. 
The water is for rinsing the pee.” -Ethan

(Elita Marguerite votes “bathroom”)

This was really cool. There were no tap-taps. The smooth road seemed to go on forever.
 -Ethan & Evan

But the party eventually ended. 
Until the next day!

I loved hanging out at the beach with my brother and friends! -Ethan

“This big tree log was there since we came. Maybe it has been there for 100 years! But that is just an estimation.”-Ethan

“I don’t think this is Cadmiel and David’s grandfather’s house.” -Ethan

(included because Eric took 3 pics of it so it could be significant)

This was something from Christopher Columbus days. -Ethan

“I think it was a church.” -Ethan

Mommy: “Why did Daddy take this picture?”
Ethan: “Maybe the palm trees”.
Evan: “Or because of the road and the cars”.
Mommy: “Is this different from Haiti?”
Evan & Ethan: “Yep”. 

Mommy: “Why did Daddy take this picture?”
Boys: “Because Mommy hates Wendy’s”

Mommy: “Why did Daddy take this picture?”
Ethan: “Because Mommy loves Baskin Robbins!”

Mommy: “How many food places did you go to?”
Ethan: “We just went here for the toys!”

You would think we have lived without American restaurants for a whole year!!!

Oh look! There’s McDonald’s…Evan’s happy place!

So of course we stopped by!

“Me, Cadmiel, and David got the same toys. But Ethan got a different one.”

(Happy Meal boxes came home with them and Mommy finally sneaked them into the trash weeks later.)

Mommy: “Ethan, why are you running?”
Ethan: “To catch the train because it started without me!”

We are heading to the zoo! -Evan

“That is a rhinoceros.” -Evan
“No. That is a cow. “-Esmée

Esmée: “Those are just pigs.”

Mommy: “No Esmée. Those are Hippos.”

“The flamingos were one of my favorite things. They were pecking their feathers and showing off.”-Ethan

“Daddy found this big leaf and I put it on my head. I look like a pirate of the caribbean. And I found a flamingo feather and brought it home to Mommy.” -Ethan

I was bumping everyone and we played two games! Ethan was coming to bump me here but I was driving and turned the wheel fast! -Evan

“I was wondering how fast this ride would go. It went fast.” -Ethan

This ride made my stomach hurt. -Ethan

“It made me dizzy wiggling up and down but it was fun.” -Evan

“There were a lot of choices.  But there wasn’t Epi’Dor or Mamacitas. We chose Burger King.” 
-Ethan & Evan

There is a movie theatre.
We watched the movie
Brave. It was in Spanish. I understood it because Cadmiel told me all the words. -Evan

This is us in the movie. I am still holding my water but we already ate all the popcorn. I saw a real dog in the theatre. It was a female dog and it had 20 goosebumps on it. -Evan

Mommy: “Evan, what is a goosebump?”
Evan: “It is a little hurt spot.”

Sleeping in my bed. It was very hot. But we were very tired. -Ethan

We were at Cadmiel and David’s house. It was fun. Very fun. -Evan

We went to the store to get a lollipop. Cadmiel and David’s family owns the store. So we got the lollipop for free. -Evan

That is Cadmiel and David’s daddy and grandfather. -Evan

This is Mairelis and her family. -Ethan

Oh look! Just look at that road! What we wouldn’t give to have roads like this on our side in Haiti!

So now we know that the D.R. at least has Wendy’s, Sbarro, Baskin Robbins, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Burger King, TGI Fridays, AND Outback Steakhouse! Eric also told me he saw a Chili’s.

I asked Eric what this picture was about. He said, “It just reminded me of the Zach Potts family.” That made me more homesick.

(Zach is married to my childhood best friend Stephanee. Zach’s family owns a dairy farm in TX.)

The very next morning after we got back from the Dominican Republic, it was our first day of 3rd grade and 1st grade. We told everyone about our trip to the Dominican Republic!
-Ethan & Evan

This is my Father’s Haiti and Turkey!

This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

We sang this song in church last Sunday, the day after surviving our first hurricane in Haiti. Certain words from this song have been playing through my mind all week. This has been a week of surviving while relishing in the truths of God’s Word. This is my Father’s world. He reigns over the wind and the rain. He reigns over the circumstances in our lives. He reigns over our wrestling hearts. 

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.
Eric was able to fly out of Haiti the day before the hurricane hit. Here is a little more information about the where and why. We cannot disclose details publicly at this time because of safety risks. 
See that mountain?
That is where Eric is now.  

This is probably what he is doing right now. 

This is the hotel where he is staying if/when he gets there.
Yesterday I received word that he needed to climb two days worth in one day in order to reach shelter and provisions.
He is now out of communication range. 

(click on link to read)

The Lord has provided in miraculous ways for Eric to be a part of the Turkey team since 2009. However, each year we have faced tremendous adversity to Eric going for one reason or another (several such reasons as explained in the link above). We have also experienced tremendous support. We consider it an immense privilege and honor to be a part of this project. Yet the sake of the project is not the only reason Eric has gone in the past and not the main reason he is there at this time. The main reason he is there at this time is to be a physical, mental, and spiritual support for my father who is the lead archaeologist on this project. Dad is getting up there in years and these conditions are very rough on him. Eric and my father are very close and my dad needs him. Dad asked that Eric come knowing all that we would be potentially sacrificing if he did. He would not have asked this of us if it was not really important. We want to honor our father as well as the rest of the team that raised all the funding for Eric to be there. This is not a glory seeking, male bonding, freeze to death and call it “fun” excursion. This is extremely hard work in harsh and unsafe conditions. These pictures were taken last year. We’ve been told the weather conditions are “not as good as last year”. 

We know that the project may or may not come to fruition. We might have a difficult time justifying Eric’s participation this year if it were not for the concern and love we have for dad and desiring to honor his request that Eric come. We received an e-mail two weeks ago from dad who was already there asking that Eric leave and come immediately. This request could have stemmed from a lack of oxygen, lack of food…physical and mental depletion on my dad’s part, and/or simply because he desired to share this experience with Eric and deemed it important enough to ask him to come. Whatever the case may be, we decided it was important enough for Eric to go. 

Another reason (besides dad and the actual project) that Eric has continued to go is the relationships he has been building with local families and individuals he has spent time with in Turkey. Several of these he keeps up with throughout the year on facebook and they look forward to Eric returning to continue their conversations each year. A few of these guys are with Eric as guides the entire time and the weather conditions often give way to much time in the tent talking over Turkish coffee. Eric sent me the following a few days ago among his prayer request…”I am sitting in the midst of Muslims who need to hear the truth of Jesus that yes He is a (the) prophet, but He is God, Priest and King too.” Sharing the gospel is always a good reason to go. We believe that we are honoring the Lord in the decision to do so and that He will continue to provide for us as we continue to submit to His authority and direction for our lives. 

We appreciate your prayers and support for our family especially during this time. The children and I are doing fine here in Haiti, though we miss Eric and life is not easy. We will be facing more transitions soon and we ask for prayers in this as well. We continue to have a peace that surpasses all understanding and trust God’s timing and plan for our family. We will try our best to keep everyone updated with what is going on in our crazy lives! 

Thank you for blessing our lives with yours. It is often difficult to connect through skies and seas but please know that our worldwide friends and family mean the world to us! 

This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.