It is hard to believe it has been two years since we moved into our Haiti “Hospitality House” by the sea. As I sit here looking back over the post I wrote during our initial move while listening to the hum of our generator, I pause to thank God for answering so many prayers. God clearly provided and has blessed us with many relationships among our Haitian neighbors, a place to show hospitality to strangers and friends passing through, as well as an abundance of material provisions we once lived without (furnishings, appliances, vehicle, generator) since we have been here. This home has held 82 consecutive days of guests (both old and new friends, expected and unexpected travelers) during the summer of 2013, has been home to a Haitian mom (Genise) and her little girl (Evangeline), a home away from home for Miguel who has lived and worked with us this past year, for my brother Jonathan who has been with us the past month as well as Haitian nurse (Juliane) finishing up her clinicals at the hospital in St. Marc for the next six months. There are eleven people sleeping under this roof tonight as I write this. I am in awe of the different ways God brings people together just thinking about the people in my house.
This week He has been at it again. My brother leaves on Friday. Before his hand washed sheets will have a chance to sun dry we expect his room to be filled with a family of five…maybe even six. Long story. I’ll just say for now that by next weekend there will be fifteen or sixteen people sharing this home. An acquaintance who overheard this announcement at church yesterday asked me after, “How big is your house?” Then added, “Not big enough huh?” We love to share. But we don’t always love to share. Sharing space with this many people is easier said than done. I’m especially thinking of the shared toilets that don’t flush. We have had a doozy of a time trying to get running water in this house for the past two years. We got all excited last week thinking we had it fixed. We enjoyed our rations of running water for a total of four days. I think we had running water approximately four days the first year we were here. That’s approximately eight days out of the past seven hundred and thirty five. This may have something to do with talk around the dinner table mostly revolving around whatever has been going on in the bathroom. The walls are thin, the smells are large, the people are sweaty. If it’s not at least one of us causing a raucous it’s the naked neighbors or the pigs, goats, dogs, donkeys, chickens, and host of crawly things that make for interesting days around this place. Miguel has had a whole new level of inappropriate added to his missionary resume. I remember after he had been with us for a few months asking him if his family talked about such things at the dinner table. He flushed and said, “Um. No. Not. Um. Ever.” Perhaps we should try harder to not be so inappropriate most of the time. But I’m thinking that’s probably not going to happen any time soon. I guess this is my version of a warning to our new housemates and future guests. We love to share but sometimes we share too much. We love to be ready to help but need a lot of help ourselves. We are almost always eager to practice hospitality except for the days when we aren’t so eager because we cannot remember the last time we had an ounce of privacy and are selfish sinful creatures all practicing sanctification in tight quarters. We are thankful that God is merciful in all our lack of appropriateness and pray that He continues to use us and this house despite our many shortcomings to be a blessing to others. We greatly appreciate your prayers for all these things!
Some of you may remember hearing about our nightmare journey trying to negotiate a contract for our yearly rent last year. We just finished that long drawn out weary process a few months ago and were not so eager to have to do it all over again. Thankfully negotiations this time around have gone smoothly so far. The landlord delivered the agreed upon contract this afternoon. We have considered looking for a different house many times over the past year because of several negatives but for many positive reasons we feel that we should stay. So we are staying. Staying feels good. As I think about staying in this house for a third year it dawns on me that three years is the longest I have ever lived in any house in any place I have ever lived in the sum of my thirty seven years. This means that I will have spent as much time here as I have anywhere else in my lifetime. I guess that means that this is just as much my home as anywhere else. Staying feels right. I’m thankful God had opened the doors for us to stay and excited about the new relationships already being built in and around our home this third year here.
We always struggle to pay the yearly rent which is due in one large lump sum. This is due right now. The landlord is scheduled to come fix a water problem that the neighbors are complaining about (separate from the running water problem) on Wednesday. The owner is scheduled to arrive this Thursday from Miami. I’m sure we will be asked to hand one of them a $7,000 check before weeks end. We have saved barely enough to cover it but will have very little left to get us through the rest of this month. We regularly pray for new monthly supporters to come alongside us so that we can meet our budget goals. We also very much appreciate our dear friends who make other types of contributions to help meet our needs which keep us afloat and keep reminding us that God will always provide. We have some other needs to get things fixed on the house to make it less burdensome (and hopefully less inappropriate) for all the people under this roof as well as the expense of feeding our lot and buying gas for generator electricity and cooking. We ordered a water truck today to fill the cistern so hopefully that will last through the end of the month. If you are able to give financially and desire to do so we could really use some extra help this month with all the additions and transitions. You can give a tax deductible donation through any of the DONATE buttons on this site.
Praying this verse will be true of us.
“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”