Saying Goodbye to 2012

Tomorrow, January 1st, we will load up ourselves and our stuff and move to our new home in St. Marc, Haiti. We are really ready and excited to get there! But we are already missing the people and places we will leave 3+ hours behind. Today we have said more goodbyes and are enjoying our last day in the cool mountain air in Fermathe, Haiti with our family. We ask for prayer for continued financial provisions as we settle into our new home (which is yet to be furnished and as the kids keep whining “will be very hot”), and for the new adjustments that await. We especially ask for prayer for our children as this will be a big transition for them. They have been somewhat spoiled as the Lord has blessed us with playgrounds and plenty of play space everywhere we have lived in Haiti. Our new home will not have a yard nor does the school where our children will be attending starting January 7th. Our boys will now be experiencing full immersion as they will be the only blan (white/foreigner) at their new school. We are thankful for our time at Quisqueya Christian School and at the Baptist Mission which has given us a wonderful transition our first year and 1/2 in Haiti and has helped prepare our family for this next adventure. Pray for Eric as he leads our family and for his new leadership role as principal at El Shaddai Learning Center. We have a lot of work and sweat waiting for us in the days to come! But today as we say goodbye to 2012 we are resting in his faithfulness, dwelling on his promises, remembering our many blessings, and looking forward to bearing good news in 2013!

Elisabeth, Elita Marguerite, Ethan, and Evan arrived home to Eric and Esmée in Haiti on Christmas Eve. We told the kids who had just returned not to expect a big Christmas because they already had 15 Christmases in the states! But somehow all these presents appeared the next morning as kids slept in late (except Esmée who was actually expecting some presents)! Ethan woke up and said, “I thought you said we were just having a little Christmas! That doesn’t look little to me!” This made his very tired parents very happy to hear such thankfulness!

Thankful hearts = happy hearts!
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The Latest News

“The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.” -N.L. Zinzendorf

Our home is Haiti and God is opening the door for the gospel to be proclaimed from the city to the villages. I want to tell you about a lady named Medina. I went to meet with the people that we are going to work with in Saint-Marc and then traveled to the far northern part of Haiti near Cap Haitian. We have another ministry that Elisabeth helped start in Port au Prince and this area (about 8 hours away) and I went to go see it and try to be an encouragement to the women. While staying at an orphanage I met the sweetest little lady named Medina, who is a nanny at the orphanage. One night the director, Medina and I were talking. Medina believed that if she keeps the Sabbath along with other laws then she is going to heaven. This was Saturday night and she was not keeping the Sabbath. I asked her, “What do you think God is saying about you going to heaven today?” She said sheepishly, “I will not go.” I went on to show her passages in the Bible where Jesus talks about why the Sabbath was instituted, where Paul says one day is not more important than another and shares the reason for the law. Her eyes began to be opened to the truth of the gospel.

I showed her a couple more verses that talked about a gift that is not earned by what she could do, or I could do, but only because of what Jesus has already done, is doing and will do. Medina, my then merely religious sixty-five year old friend, became my new sister in Christ as she understood and believed the gospel for the first time. The next night I came in late and Medina and the director were sharing the gospel with another member of their staff.

Thank you Lord for the opportunity to disciple someone and not even know it. Sometimes things are caught more than taught. It is a blessing to be in this country. However, as many of you know it is a country that is head deep in slavery. Sadly the religious community is not exempt from this horror. Many have been taught and are teaching a salvation by works. This is nothing less than the worst kind of slavery in a seemingly hopeless country where corruption and degradation of human life prevail. Thank you for your partnership to allow us to be here sharing the free gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Look up at the birds and down at the manger

I arrived stateside with our Elita Marguerite to join the boys in Illinois on November 20th. Since that day we have driven through six states finally landing in Texas. We have so enjoyed seeing dear friends and family all along the way and are longing to visit and hug more dear ones this week. We are so thankful for how Elita is adjusting to her first time to the states and know that this is a great mercy with all this travel. I have an appointment to check on her proof of citizenship paperwork tomorrow and Lord willing will have more information so that we can book our flights back to Haiti next week. We are really missing Eric and Esmée and they are missing us. I am really missing Haiti too. It has been a great trip but there are things that are really hard. I will talk about one or two of those things now. I’m hoping that our dear friends and family we are trying to make an effort to see (because we have really missed you too) will know how they can pray for us and support us because we really need it right now. 
Today we were returning from yet another road trip and stopped off at a gas station. We have discovered these GIANT gas stations called Bucee’s that have planted themselves in our giant state in the past year and 1/2 we have been in Haiti. So today I was standing in this giant store just standing and waiting for gas to be pumped and for kids to figure out that this was not in fact a playground when a little overpriced wall hanging caught my eye. It held a verse that I have held on to so often in the past year and 1/2 when I have had to remind myself to look up at the sky and remember that God sees.

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” 
-Matthew 6:26
And I held back many tears. That verse always gets me. 

I keep hearing people talk about our economy and how rotten things are and how bad things are gonna get and how few jobs and little money there is in America. And I’m standing in the brand new Bucee’s thinking “SERIOUSLY???” for like the 500th time in the past 20 days. I’ve said “looks pretty good to me” once or twice when I hear a comment about how poor or poorly run America is and my response is met with “Oh well you are just comparing America to Haiti!” Maybe I am. Or maybe I’m comparing it to just about anywhere else in the world that doesn’t have 20 teenagers in red Bucee Beaver shirts greeting me at the sliding glass doors of the over stocked gas station upon my arrival. Maybe it gets to me the most when I hear the sleepy voice of my teenage daughter lying next to me  say, “You know that restaurant we went to that we could eat as much as we want…you know the one that waste a lot of food? I wish we could pick one of those up and fly it to Haiti and let all the street kids come in. Then there wouldn’t be anything left to throw out at the end of the night. I really don’t like that they waste so much here.”

I know despite America’s wealth and waste that there are people here (just like in Haiti) that are adversely affected by selfish government leaders, economy, natural disasters, health and family issues, and simply that most of the time life just doesn’t go the way we want it to.I know there are people suffering everywhere. I do not believe that most people can comprehend the kind of suffering we have encountered in Haiti nor how hard it is for me to wrap my brain around these contrast. I would not go so far as to say we are suffering. God has always provided for us in one way or another. Usually He does not provide within the timing nor circumstances that we want Him to but we have learned to just look up at the birds during these times. We have had a constant stream of “these times” the past year and 1/2. There have been times when we literally do not know how we will feed our family. God has always provided. We trust in faith that He will continue to do so one way or another.

Last night I watched the Nativity movie with the kids. I was reminded once again of the humble circumstances our Savior was born into on this Earth He came to save. He lived a humble, sacrificial life and died a horrible death to show me how much I am worth to Him. We only pray we will be worthy of our calling and become more like Him when times are tough. We know according to Scripture that times have to get tough in order for our dear Savior to come back for us. Therefore we welcome these times as we long for His appearing. No matter what country we are in, no matter how rich or poor, we are constantly reminded that we are not yet home. 

We long for our home in glory but until then we are trying to make it here too. We consider it nothing short of a miracle that we have made it through the past year and 1/2 on the very little financial support that we are thankful has come in. Sometimes a dear friend or sometimes a stranger has sent us the money we needed at the very last minute. We don’t know where we would be without those who have been faithful and obedient in giving, caring, asking, and praying. Thank you. You know who you are.

My daughter keeps saying, “Mom, you have SO many friends!” everywhere we go. I know we have SO many friends from sea to shining sea. I know that we have many many true friends. But sometimes I don’t know if our friends know how bad we are struggling. So we are ready to be very honest with you. We are struggling. We are struggling bad (financially speaking). Please support us. $5 would actually really help. 

We will post more details about our ministry in Haiti and how you can support us very soon. Would you begin to pray about supporting us financially on a one time or regular basis? If anyone has questions about the past year and 1/2 in Haiti, our future there, or anything else that pertains to our crazy lives please don’t hesitate to ask. We would love for you to ask even if we have a hard time explaining and our lives don’t make sense! You don’t know how encouraging it is to hear you ask anyways! Asking lets us know you care! I know we are often hard to follow and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we’d like. So please just ask! Please pray for some encouragement for Eric as he bears the heaviest weight in providing for our family. We are thankful for the Lord’s timing in this trip because the provision of 4 members of our family staying with family in the states has once again been God’s sovereign plan in feeding all of us the past month. Thank you family and friends that have housed and fed us well (and spoiled our kids rotten with early Christmas presents that I now have to figure out how I’m going to get to Haiti)! You will never know how much this has meant to us during this time. 

Our tendency when we are broke is to try to fix it. We quietly panic, strategize our storing, reaping and gathering plan, pray and panic some more. But all too often we can’t fix ourselves or our circumstances. This isn’t a bad thing even we are badly struggling. This is when we are reminded to look up at the birds and down at the manger. This is why we needed a Savior and why He gave us the Body of Christ.