At home in Haiti!

September 4th at the San Antonio airport. 5am. No sleep. Bags checked. Prayed with friends and fam that braved the nights last minute packing party. Excited and wondering if our bags will make the trip. We headed toward security after taking this pic. Security did not like the looks of our 8 carry on bags. They ordered us to go back to check point. Here Eric had to check another bag (costing us an extra $150). We emptied some items from our other too full carry ons into the checked bag. Somehow security let us through the second time, but we didn’t know how we were going to carry the remaining 7 bags (too heavy for the kids) through the next three airports! We barely made it into the plane before takeoff. We were in the first row of first class seats which we thought would give us first class service. Buying first class tickets saved us over $1,000 because we were allowed three 70lb bags instead of shipping our belongings to Haiti. The flight attendant didn’t care about all that. Apparently she was going on no sleep as well. She was beyond rude to us and our bags. She grabbed the bag that had every toy the boys were bringing to Haiti that they had selectively managed to condense to that one bag. She said it was too big. Evan started crying. No sleep did not help me to choose my words wisely as I proceeded to explain to the plane that “if I took out the big guns the bag would fit in the overhead compartment”. Every eye was on me. I then grabbed the bag and took out the oversized toy dart guns. The bag fit. The attendant rolled her eyes and did not speak to us (only about us to the other passengers) until the plane landed and she harshly told us we would have to wait until everyone got off the plane to exit (while we were obviously already doing so since they had taken our bags). We didn’t know how we would make it through the day. The boys were not seeing this as a grand adventure at this point and we were not excited about our next longer flight. Eric and I were each carrying 140 pounds through the airport with two active boys in tow. Dumb we know. We were now in Dallas at 7am.  I whispered a prayer asking the Lord to help us get through this day and that the next plane experience would not be a repeat of the last. The moment after I prayed that a kind voice came up behind me and said, “let me help you with those bags”. He asked Evan where he was headed and Evan said, “I’m going to Haiti for the first time!” He asked what gate we were going to and I pointed straight ahead to D18. He said, “that’s my flight too and I’m your captain”. He said that he had been to Haiti many times and for Evan to come see him “up front”.  I told him that we had one bag break (which was true and that we had to condense the contents into 7 bags instead of 8) and that the last flight was not happy about the size of our bags. I told him I was going to look around for somewhere to buy an 8th bag to make the bags smaller. He must have said something to the lady at the counter because they told us a few minutes later that they would be happy to check our carry on bags all the way through to Haiti at no charge! We kept 3 backpacks and two boys and the next flight and the next were the best ever! Thank you Lord for answering prayers!

Evan did visit that nice captain up front…

And so did Ethan!

And the omelettes were great! And the flight attendant went out of her way to be extra nice to us!

And Evan visited the captain of the next plane up front too!
Evan said, “I’ve got to do this before but this is the first time I got to wear the hat!”

 Captain Joe had also been to Haiti many times and shared encouraging words with us! 

Then there was sleep.

For the boys…

Not for us.

Evan’s first glimpse of Haiti!

Port au Prince airport awaiting our 18 bags!

The boys made a friend “Kenny” while waiting. Kenny loved the beyblades!

The boys and bags in Haiti minus Eric who we left behind with another cart loaded with bags.

Ethan’s first glimpses of a Haitian tent city. It started raining hard right after taking this pic.

Home at last! 

After we unloaded the bags in the rain we left for a party. Yes. A party.  Because unpacking and sleeping is ridiculous and the Ream’s are always up for a party and don’t turn down good food and great folk. So off we went to the birthday party for our new friends two year old son Asher. There we saw familiar faces and met many new friends and did get great food! I spotted this sign (our street sign) on the way and thanked God for getting us safely to Haiti and for the friendships that had blessed us.

Ethan helping himself to the party food.

New friends in Haiti!

Ethan and Sebastian hit it off right away!
Then we went home.
We eventually slept.
Well, Eric and the boys slept right away.
 I (Elisabeth) unpacked 22 wet bags.
The fear of dealing with all that wetness later outweighed my fear of not sleeping.

First breakfast in our new house…instant oatmeal is all I could muster.

The boys ready for school on Monday morning (the morning after arriving in Haiti the night before) watching a group of kids playing red light green light before school.

Evan decided to join them.
Ethan decided to head toward the swings and watch because those playing were “little kids”.

The school day begins. Mrs. Ackerman shows Evan his seat. 

First day in Haiti! First day of Kindergarten!

Ethan meets his new teacher Ms. Rutz.

Welcome to 2nd grade Ethan!

Ethan and his teacher at Quisqueya Christian School.

Our new pet.

This one is much too large to claim as pet.

Evan returning home from his first day of Kindergarten! Guess it went well!
His class meets in front of our porch each day and is picked up in front of our house!
The sounds of children playing are all around and it melts my heart!

After school activities…Ethan and Sebastian battle the beyblades.

While Evan rides a yellow horse.

Our front yard…most of the day it is covered in multicolored kids! There are kids from all over the world at Quisqueya! Yesterday we learned that Eric will have kids from Syria, the Phillipines, Saudi Arabia, America, and of course Haiti in his classes! And today I saw a little Asian girl eating lunch with her chopsticks! We are so thrilled that our boys will grow up knowing kids from all over the world…and that they seem to be embracing this as a privilege and blessing as well!

This kid is in Haiti heaven!

First trip to the Giant Supermarket for groceries!

My first trip to the street market where I walked away with these pretties!

Our living room. Need my rugs that wouldn’t fit in the bags!

Yes. I’ve already decorated. But just this room. When I get done with the others you can see those pics.

We were blessed that someone from the school purchased some new living room furniture for us! 

Evan took me by the hand after school and said, “I want you to meet my classmates”.  Here they are.

And this is the view from my kitchen window as I am writing this post!  
WE ARE TRULY AT HOME IN HAITI!
THANK YOU FOR PRAYERS & SUPPORT TO GET US HERE!

“He sighed deeply”…a lesson in faith.

This time next week…I’m imagining it. This time next week I imagine the boys in their school uniforms not quite ready to start their first day in a new country and a new home and a new school. I imagine holding back a flood of tears while reminding them of what God did to bring us here and that He loves us and promises to be with us wherever we go. I imagine myself then having a total breakdown once they are bravely seated in their new classrooms. I imagine standing in the middle of the unimaginable floor of our new Haiti house strewn with the contents we managed to reduce our former lives to in a 12 bags. I imagine myself standing in my fishbowl house trying to make sense of all the spacebags and feeling like I’ve forgotten something of vital importance while packing too much toothpaste. I imagine the new faces I’ve waited to meet for many months now. I imagine the faces of old friends we look forward to embracing and find much comfort in that thought. I imagine my husband sleep deprived from Turkey jetlag and the effort of moving our family to Haiti the day after his return. I imagine that he will do just fine and that everyone will love him simply because Eric Ream is the best. I imagine the harsh sights and smells of my beloved Haiti. I imagine what our boys reactions could be to these things, these people. I imagine holding my girls again after 6 months. I imagine them meeting their brothers for the first time. I imagine a full life. Yet there are so many blank spots in my imaginings. So many unanswered questions of what to expect on so many levels. So many emotions. So much anticipation. So much fear of the unknown. I imagine some thinking and sometimes voicing that we won’t make it. I don’t have to imagine feeling stupid for embracing this life while not fully knowing what to expect or exactly how we will make it. It does seem stupid…and maybe it is. But then I imagine Jesus. I imagine him saying once again, “not by sight my child”. I imagine the life He lived and the people that thought He was stupid too. I dwell on our inadequacies, our past failures, our sinful natures. I remember that He is more than adequate, that His Word will not fail, and that He is perfect. I remember that He has answered enough questions, opened wide all the doors, and that He asks us to trust Him. I remember that even if we were sitting in our nice air conditioned home in the States, that we would still have to trust Him for our next meal. But then I retreat into, “BUT Lord, in the States we can just go out and find a job if we get desperate. I can wait tables if need be. And even in the worst case scenario there are things like government housing and foodstamps that don’t exist in Haiti! How will we survive Lord? I know you have opened all the doors, but You haven’t sent us all the support we need! I know You want us to do this thing, but could you just give us one more sign so that we can be assured that we will be able to feed our family in Haiti? We are trusting You, but we don’t want to feel so stupid in this living by faith and not by sight stuff. So this is the last week. Last chance to prove Your faithfulness and that this is Your will for us before we go. I don’t want to ask for a sign…and I feel You saying, “oh you of little faith”…but I get questions Lord. I have questions Lord. And I don’t see. And I don’t know how all of this is going to work out. And we are hurting. And a sign that You will meet our needs would sure make me feel a little less stupid right now!”
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24
Yesterday the boys and I didn’t go to church. We were drained from all the packing, moving from house to house, the many goodbyes, and thoughts of all that will fill this week and the weeks to come. We spent time talking about the fact that this is our last week before we go and about the things we are looking forward to when we get to Haiti…being with our girls was top of the list (and the boys do not understand why we cannot see them the second we step off the plane)! We prayed for God to provide the things we still need, for mommy to get everything packed, for daddy to get back safely from Turkey, for dear friends going through trials, and for God to give us wisdom and encouragement from the Word we were about to read. He did. We read Mark 8:1-21. And there was my sign! Deep sigh.
“Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him (after Jesus had just produced many signs and wonders and yet another sign would not have produced more faith in Him on their part)But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat (interesting to read this as I stress over the fact that our allotted bags are full and I’ve yet to pack our food supply). Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod“. And they reasoned among themselves saying, “It is because we have no bread.” But Jesus being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And you you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve”. Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” So He said to them, “How is it that you do not understand?” (from verses 11-21) 
Ok Lord, I get it. I’m too tempted to forget how many times you have multiplied our few loaves and fish. Please help us to be fully dependent upon You and not our own self sufficiency. Help us to live fully by faith and not by sight. I’m sorry if You have “sighed deeply” on my behalf. You are faithful to us and true to Your promises. We belive You. We trust You. Help us not to be dissapointed when You don’t provide in the way we hoped. This scene from the Chronicles of Narnia keeps floating through my mind…Lucy asks Aslan, “Why didn’t you come roaring in and save us like last time? Aslan replies, “Things never happen the same way twice dear one.” Even when Jesus performed the same miracle with the loaves and the fish He didn’t do it in the same way. Perhaps this is what You are doing for us. It is different than what we hoped. But our hope remains in You…and we are thankful that “Your ways are not our ways”. 

Tidbits from Turkey

“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;
praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, 
so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned;
that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.
Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, 
so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:2-6



Yesterday I got to Skype with my Eric and Dad. They have had quite the interesting trip! I cannot publicly post about all that they are up to for safety reasons, but will tell you that for safety reasons they had to take a detour from their original schedule the past week. I got word this morning that they are back on schedule and have now met up with the rest of the team at their original destination. Eric and Dad made good use of their detour and took the opportunity to visit some awesome sites! I’m so jealous. But I’m so thankful too! The night before Eric left I was lamenting about the fact that he was going all the way to Turkey for the 2nd time and that once again the time would not allow for him to see the ancient Biblical history that is there. I actually prayed for this opportunity along with saftey for my family and the team. Little did I know the Lord would use one answered prayer to provide for the other! Thank you Lord for these blessings! Eric sent the following pics and report to share with everyone…so you can be jealous too! 


Love,
Elisabeth

Eric at Asplendos

Another of Eric at Asplendos

Eric at Colossae

Eric at Laodicea

Eric at Perga

Eric at theater in Laodicea



Thank you all for your prayers and love! My life by the grace of God is forever being changed Rom 8:29! I have been blessed to hang out at some places that Paul wrote to and visited. We stayed in ancient city Attalia that is mentioned in Acts 14 and then went to Perga  where Paul preached the word and then traveled through other areas in Pamphylia, Phyrgia where Pasidian Antioch is and then went over to Pisidia where Colossae and Laodicea are located.  These places were amazing and I was able to read the passages at those places and try to put myself in the 1st century with what Paul did and who he wrote to and also the message of Jesus to Laodicea. I will never read or teach these passages again without being impacted by these visits.  Lord willing, I look forward to sharing my experiences with others for years to come. God opened up some amazing opportunities to share like Col 4:2-6 says on this trip.  I love it when we get to see God at work! Please continue to pray Col 4:2-6.  


Love you all and thanks for your prayers,
Eric 



Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye doesn’t always feel good. But this farewell was truly good. We have such mixed emotions about leaving our dear church family, yet the overiding stronghold in our slough of feelings is this. Our beloved and sovereign God definitely accomplished His will in and through us and these dear ones and we are simply in awe of what He has done. When we stop and marvel over the past three years we get this strong sense that God is smiling, He is pleased, and He is declaring all that was accomplished “very good”. As Ben would say, “All Jesus Baby!” Echo that. Your faces and the memories we shared will be engraved on our hearts forevermore. We are so proud of you for loving and serving our Lord well. Thank you for loving us well too. We will miss you…but this too is good. Missing just means that we have been blessed. Blessed by love. Love that comes from Him who first loved us. This love is eternal. This missing is temporary. Someday we will all be together again. Whether that is here, Haiti, or Heaven, we will be waiting eagerly for that day!

“For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? 
Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 
For you are our glory and joy.” 
1Thessalonians 2:19-20

Our youth presented us with gifts, words of encouragement, and prayer.

Then while we were still seated at the front they surprised us with this awesome skit.

Somehow we managed to keep our composure…until this. I don’t think there was a dry eye left in the place.

Following the service we were blessed by great food and sweet fellowship. Many dear friends publicly shared unforgetable memories and the blessings we have experienced in our time at New Braunfels Bible Church. God has done exceedingly above all we could ask or imagine and we are forever changed…forever thankful. The youth also made this awesome video which they played during lunch. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for these amazing young men and women! Our prayers are with you as well as our hopes that we will see you again soon when you visit us in Haiti! We love you!


Video our kids made to say goodbye
(The very last part of the video shows some of the school campus and classrooms where we will be teaching/living in Haiti at Quisqueya Christian School!)

Around the world in 30 days … from TX to Turkey to TX to Haiti! Gearing up for the wild ride and what we need to get there!

Gearing up for Haiti….

We can hardly believe the last days of July are quickly approaching! Each day we seem to cross one thing off our list while adding yet another. We are overwhelmed yet overwhelmingly excited by all that awaits us. We moved out of our house and our friends moved in on July 3rd. We have been staying with Elisabeth’s sister Erin and brother in law Jesse for the past few weeks. We cannot thank God enough for them and this sweet time out in the country. 
One last walk
Saying goodbye to our little nieces and sister Eleisha who just moved to TN was hard. Sisters and cousins hugged each other goodbye outside the Chick-fil-A shedding tears as we realized that the girls and our boys will be another year older and that baby Talia might not remember us the next time we see them. We set off from there on Wed. July 20th on a long drive to Taylorville, IL for our last visit with the other side of the family. Eric’s dad has been suffering from cancer these past several months and we are so thankful to have this time with him. We are sad to think that it could be another year before we see them again too. We had hoped that they would be able to visit us in Haiti, but due to treatment schedules and upcoming surgeries this seems unlikely. Please keep our parents Terry and Mona Ream in your prayers as they go through this difficult time. This too makes it harder to leave. Plans for Haiti are coming together as we try our best to configure new information and changes to plans. In the midst of moving, packing, still working full time, finally finishing our 2010 taxes, saying goodbyes and traveling out of state we have been working toward finalizing our paper work with RCE-International to help raise our support for Haiti. RCE (Resourcing Christian Education) International is a unique, service oriented mission organization that serves international Christian schools and Christian education ministries in their mission of providing exceptional educational opportunities with a Biblical foundation and Christian worldview to reach students for Christ. 

As we partner with and assist educational institutions that range from traditional primary and secondary education schools to Christian colleges, seminaries and adult education centers, our goal is to serve them and their staff so that they can excel in the ministries to which God has called them!
All donations made to us through RCE are tax deductible. 
Please visit the side bar to the right of this blog for more information on how to make a donation.
 Would you prayerfully consider being a part of our support team? We need support in the following ways. Our biggest need is prayer. We would love for you to be a part of the best support you could give us by partnering with us in prayer. We are also in need of support through one time, and monthly donations to meet our needs in Haiti. 

Please pray with us for the following urgent and ongoing needs…



Financial support to be able to purchase airfare tickets for Haiti $3,500
Financial support to ship housing necessities, purchase items in Haiti, and/or friends traveling to Haiti that can help meet this need by taking items for us
Financial support for our daily living expenses and ministry $2,000/month
Eric’s preparation to teach and equip students and pastors in Haiti
Protection over our adoptive girls in Haiti and our adoption process/progress
Protection over our boys through all these transitions
Relationships and opportunities to share Christ
Learning language (Creole and French)
Cultural adaptation
Eric’s upcoming trip to Turkey

Turkey…

There is a reason we titled this blog “Ream Team International”, and that is because we know that while God is opening doors in Haiti, He is opening doors in other parts of the world as well. We want to be ready for every opportunity that presents itself to “go into all the world”! One of the greatest advantages in partnering with Quisqueya Christian School is the time that will be available in the summer months to take these opportunites! We did not think that this would happen this summer, but God had other plans! We thought that we would be in Haiti by August 8th preparing for school to start on August 16th, but now Eric will take a little detour to Turkey August 10th-Sept 2nd and we will head to Haiti as soon as he gets back to Texas. We are so thankful for those at Quisqueya that are also excited about this opportunity and have been so gracious in accomodating us with this extra time.  
From Eric…This will be my 2nd trip to Turkey. In 2009 I had the phenomenal opportunity to be a part of a team for this project. I was asked to return to the team even before we knew that we would be moving to Haiti, but we did not think that I would be available to go. God has now provided all the necessary means for me to be able to go and how can we resist?!!! I am not at liberty to give much information at this time concerning the details of what we will be doing in Turkey, but Lord willing we will be able to share in the near future. I was able to build relationships with several Turkish and Kurdish men that were a part of the team two years ago, and I am eager for the opportunity to build upon these relationships. There are four men in particular that I have had the opportunity to share the gospel with and I am extremely thankful for social media that has allowed us to stay in touch these last two years. We are all excited about our reunion this summer. Please pray for safety for our team (Elisabeth’s father and brother will be with me on this trip as well), success for our team, open doors and ongoing discussions with my Turkish and Kurdish friends. Please also keep Elisabeth and our boys in your prayers as we will be apart for three weeks and she will have to finish packing for Haiti while our communication will be very minimal if even possible during this time. We will need to leave for Haiti and hit the ground running within days of my return from Turkey. We will return from IL on Friday July 29th, pack up my office on July 30th, spend our last Sunday at our home church on July 31st, and then we have a week to do way too many things before the Ream Team goes international! We are praying our support for Haiti will miraculously come in during the month of August, and we believe that this is one more reason that God granted us this extra time with the opportunity in Turkey as well. Pray for renewed strength and that we will continue to trust in the promise that “…my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phillippians 4:19). To God be the glory!