Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Time is Lost

I continue with my journaling thoughts in an effort to process and not "go back to normal". That would be too easy and I never want to forget.I want a new normal.

Thurs. Don't know the date anymore. This is a timeless place. We have a schedule but we never know what time it is. Watches left when cell phones established themselves.
The night was quiet save the lonely puppy separated from the comforting milk of it's mother.
The streets are quieter this morning and ths sky is overcast. The breeze is cool.
Last night as I sat on my roof top perch I heard a young girl's voice call out
"Madame Dan-ese!Bonjou"(SP?)I looked down to see a beautiful teen whom I had walked to church with on Sunday.Her name is Marie-Denise. Shortly after I ws told that a young deaf man was there to visit me. To be known by name is so special. It makes me feel....that I am accepted. I need to try to remember others names. Here in Haiti it is even harder. But I need to try.
"He calls you by name."

The Comfort of Knowing

When we said goodbye to Gwenn and Nick and the children on Sunday I had a peace that I had not expected. It was hard to say goodbye but not as hard as I imagined it could have been. As I ponder this a bit I have come up with a few thoughts. Fear comes from not knowing and from knowing. When I gave birth the first time the fear was because I did not know what to expect and my imagination went into overdrive. When I was preparing for the birth of my second child the fear was because I did know what was coming.
What's this got to do with Gwenn and Nick's move to Haiti? Lots. Before I traveled to Haiti myself I only had things I had read and stories (sometimes horror stories) from people who had gone before.(Much like how women share their birthing experience with pregnant women.) So I only had my overactive imagination and other people's ideas. When I got there it didn't smell as bad or feel as hot as I imagined. The people who wanted to carry my bags were not as aggressive as I expected. I got to meet many of the people that Gwenn and Nick will be working with and I got to see first hand the home where they will live. So the fear of not knowing was replaced with the confidence of knowing.
Now that I have experienced Haiti first hand I am not afraid because I do know. Had I had a bad experiecne with this trip then the fear would be there. The fear of knowing.
So with fear gone I am free to imagine other things. I am free to imagine how God is going to make provision for my frequent and/or extended trips to Jacmel.Imagining myself and the rest of our family as part of the vision that is being birthed changes everything. I know we will not see the grandchildren as often as I would like but I am no longer fearful that they will not know me.
Am I concerned that difficult things will be faced in Haiti that might be avoided in the US? Yes. But I am equally as confident that "He who began this work will be faithful to complete it."
I also know that it is far better to miss your someone because God has called them and they have obeyed than to miss someone because they live down the street and never call you. I am sure I will cry at times but in the meantime I will be pricing out tickets and thanking God for the Internet and that daily I can be in touch with my children. My children in Haiti. My children in Penn. and my children in Manteo.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gwenn and Nick Send off at Crosspoint.

Last night we went to Raliegh and stayed with my son-in-law's parents so that we could say our goodbyes to Gwenn, Nick, Nia, Nico and Josiah. Ken and Bev are a really wonderful couple and we have enjoyed many happy and not so happy occasions with them over the years. Today was one of the harder times as we officially become the Parents of Missionaries. We know that difficult times may lie before us but we are all looking for creative ways to stay close to our children and grandchildren. Crosspoint church has really been so instrumental in bringing our family to this day. They have had such a positive influence in Gwenn and Nick's lives and it was sweet to see the smiles and tears today in Church at the send off. A woman heard an interview they did on the radio on Sat and showed up at Church with a pound cake for them! She is not a member of the church, just a woman who expressed feelings by making a cake! Four hours from now Gwenn and Nick and children will be saying goodbye to Bev and Ken at the airport. The final goodbye before the big hello. We serve a faithful God.As hard as it is to see them go it is also a honor. I believe that our jobs as parents can truly be measured as successful when our children can leave us to create a family of God's decision. Gwenn and Nick, thank you for your obedient example. I will miss you but I am so blessed to be a part of your family.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Woken by silence

Haiti journal entry. Tuesday.

Woken by silence. The constant noise stopped early in th AM and woke me from a sound sleep to listen to...nothing.

Each morning she is out there. Early. Sweeping the small sidewalk in front of her humble home. A pretty young woman.

She is out there again this morning. With her mother?grandmother? They tend the plants growing beside their home.

The noise was rally bad last night. A large group of men arguing (debating) right outside the home.
It occurred to me that they were drawn to the light that overflows from our porch where our team has gathered to fellowship and relax.
Drawn to the light...of course they were. Now if we could just carry that light with us.
The Bible tells us that men will be drawn to the light.
Lord I pray for our team today. I ask that we would be a light unto the world. Let us touch Haiti even a 1/4 as much as it has touched us.
I am amazed to see the children going to school all clean and in their pressed uniforms. How much effort they take to just get dressed! Americans (me) don't care nearly as much about our appearance.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sight,sound,smell,taste,touch Haiti

It is good for me to blog about our trip to Haiti. It helps me remember. I don't want to forget this first time...
From my journel. Monday, April 13th.
What have I seen?
I have seen the most beautiful blue water and a beach so dirty at home I would not go there.
What did I hear?
Music until late at night. Goats, chickens,roosters, generators, motorcycles-HORNS! This sense is on extreme overload.
What did I smell?
Goats on the mountain top, deisal,sunscreen, bug spray.
What did I touch?
A child's small hand grasping mine to help her swim.My body challanged to climb and hike and reach and jump. The bounce of the Tap Tap, the cold shower water and the warm ocean water.
What did I taste?
Very salty ocean water. Oatmeal but not like home. Papayas,mangos, home made potatoe chips.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Brother came to Haiti

When I went to Ace hardware a few weeks before our trip to Haiti to buy supplies I inquired of the salesman about the how to's of painting masonary walls. His answers were vague and not very helpful. SO I did what I always do when I have questions like that. I called my older brother Digger. He is pretty much a genius about such things. So I walked up and down the isle and over the phone he picked out for me about $250.00 of supplies. He told me what nap roller to buy and what grade of sandpaper and "Yes you have to sand and clean before painting." I bought the better brushes and caulking gun and a file for the scrappers. Never mind that we didn't have any caulk when we got there.As we started the project Diggers words over the years rolled around in my head. "You can cut corners and make it pretty but in a year you will be doing it all over again." It started out pretty good but as the walls stretched on the paint sucked up and the supplies ran low there started to be a few spots that I knew would never cut it in my brother's paint jobs. When someone suggested that we really didn't need to sand the walls Digger's voice echoed in my head. "Do it right now or do it again in a year." At one point I stated that if it were my house I would want another coat in the master bedroom. Not for nothing but that was really Digger saying that through me. Really when the day (week) was done the place looked great. Not Digger great but pretty good just the same.
Patrick a Haitian teen who is a wonderful artist used masking tape to tape a brush to a mop handle to cut in on the very high celiings. Brillant. Several times I spoke in English to some of our wonderful helpers thinking they understood only to find out later that they did not. Pesky thing language can be sometimes.
So I would like to publically thank my brother Digger for his coming with me on this amazing journey to Haiti. Even if he was only in my head.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Home Again?

As I am processing this past week in Haiti I will be posting parts of my journey entries.Fragments bits of thoughts and insites mostly from the rooftop of the Haitian Children's Home.

Easter AM April 12th, 2009, Jacmel, Haiti

Up with the roosters. It's not just for farmers anymore.

On that first Eater morning was it the roosters that first awakened Mary? Had she slept at all that night? The sounds of the goats and the chickens and even the sounds of the people who had gathered in Jersualm for the Passover.Had they made impossible to sleep as her mind filled with all she had recently seen, and heard and felt?
When Jesus gathered with His discipiles on the roof top that Maundy Thrusday did He look out on the roof tops of the surrounding homes and into the lives of those who lived there? People who so desperatly needed Him but had rejected Him because they did not understand who He was and why He had come? Did His heart break as He looked upon their poverty?
I imagine that modern Haiti is for more like Bibical Isreal than I could have imagined. Windows without glass. Sitting on the roof to catch a cool breeze. Noises all night long and then a different noise.The rooster hearlding a new day. Skinny dogs scavanger the streets. Piegons roosting. The sound of an early morning hammer. Women carrying heavy burdens on their heads.
This is a proud people who I watch.Sweeping in front of their homes.I can see so much from my perch on this roof top.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Left My Heart In Haiti

(Spell check is not working so fogive my unedited post.)
Oh I actually didn't leave yet but tomorrow take off for Port Au Prince. The elections may cause some traffic problems so we want to be close to the airport for our Sunday flight.
Seriously, I do miss Steve and the rest of the family but I love Haiti. I love it's people and I am digesting it's culture. It is definately way different from what I know in America but diffirent is not bad. Danny and Leanne's kids at the Haitian Children's Home are a wonderful delight. Seeing the way they interact with each other is so refreshing. There are also five young men who live in the team housing who I would love to marry a daughter or two off to but I don't have any more to marry off. They work so hard and are so cheeerful and helpful.
I don't know that I would ever want to drive here, that is a bit hairy. I made a decision to leave fear at the border and God has honored that decision.A few times I would have expected to be scared in the natural but I was not.
I've had two visits from deaf boys in the community this week.What fun it was to get to know Haitian locals without a language barrier.
God has been so faithful. Today was bitter sweet seeing Gwenn hang up persona items thus making her house a home. I cried more than once as reality is setting in. But I am so blessed to know where she is and who is here to help her and Nick. Nixon a Haitian local who works for HCH told me not to worry because he would take good care of Gwenn. His wife Sandra is an cheerful, beautiful woman whom I know will be a good friend to Gwenn. Danny and Leanne are here to offer an amazing support and I as so thankful for all of these people.
So as I pack up I pray God's peace and blessing on this place. All of my heart will not fit in my carry on so I guess I will just have to come back for it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Haiti update.

Tonight I was standing on the roof top porch and heard "BonJou" (sp??) Madame Denise. A young teenage girl I had met on my way to church saw me as she passed by. It felt so strange and so good to hear my name called out in this wonderful, busy, loud city of Jacmel. Shortly after one of the wonderful young men who live downstairs came to the gate ( we don't really have doors we have gates) and said that there was someone asking for me downstairs. I went down to find a young deaf man waiting on the front stup. We just stood and visited for several minutes. It was just a nice little friendly visit. I have been here for a half of a week and I am already feeling welcome and comfortable.
Today Danny took me and my daughters Gretchen and Gwenn to visit the deaf school. Jean Claude the teacher for the younger deaf children introduces us to the the director and we sat and talked for a while. JeanClaud speaks very good english so that was great. It is very interesting to me that even though I can not speak to most of the Haitian people I can talk with the deaf Haitians. It is very cool. It broke my heart to see how very little the teachers here have to work with. Steve from Manteo Booksellers donated some beautiful sign language books for our trip and these were such a blessing to give to this teacher. The only teaching aides he had in his classroom were two posters with hand drawn signs illistrated on them. I asked "What would you like to have for your class?" He said "I would really like to have sign language flash cards. Then I could copy them and send them home with the students."Flash cards! He didn't ask for some fancy computers or some high tech equipment. The man needs flash cards! It makes me cry just to write this here. The older classes also need visual aides like posters and maps and well everything. It is interesting to me that his students do so well. I was very impressed with them when I meet them in church.If any teachers are reading this PLEASE when you change out things in your classroom don't throw teaching posters away. Send them to me and I will sent them to Haiti.
In other news the home project is going very well. I think there may be pictures posted on Gwenn's blog. You can connect from mine. It is a beautiful big house that is right behind the house that rapper Wycliff ( I think that's his name) uses when he is in town for meetings.He is a very big deal here in Haiti.
We did some serious hiking on Monday to see the land for the Haitian Children's Home and I was seriously sore afterward. But it really is beautiful and worth the pain.
God is doing awesome things. Thank you for your continued prayer. Hope to post pictures soon.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

At Home in Haiti

I love it! The people are free and colorful. I have so much to say but not enough time to really do a full blog. I am sitting in Haitian Children's Home living room. There are beautiful children everywhere! One is snuggled up by my side.
Easter worship was amazing and I got to intrepert for a large deaf population there.
The poverty can not be fully understood in a short blog or in a long lifetime.
The thing that has taken me by surprise is that there in NEVER quiet here. Even in the village of Jacmel we hear people in the streets, goats bleating,roosters, dogs and babies crying.
Today as I sat on the roof early in the morning I saw a rainbow. God is so evident here in this amazing place. Will share more when I have the time. Thank you for your continued prayers. Tomorrow is beach day as the children are off from school. Then on to work on Gwenn and Nick's wonderful new home Tuesday!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Next Stop Haiti

I am posting this 24 hrs. before we are on the plane for Haiti! I will try to post from there at least a few times this week. Pray for us that God would use us and that we will be useable.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Manteo..First Friday

Manteo,NC on a warm Spring evening. First Friday. There is a Jazz band playing on the steps of the old Court House. Kaite and I dance a little. I'm sitting on a park bench next to Abbie eating her hot dog. It is possible to dance and sit. Katie stood of course how else could I twrill her? Steve and I strolled down by the docks. There are a lot more sailboats here than there used to be. And a house boat so big it could be a ferry. The ElizabethII across Shallowbag Bay shines on the water painting a quiet picture of our local history. A lone kayak's paddle breaks the surface of the water as it glides past the docks. You can hear the sound of the breeze blowing the sailboat rigging against it's mast and a little bluegrass music floating over from the old boat house. A little girl calls out to her mother on the playground "Mommy! Mommy! Look at me!" Someone is barbecuing a steak somewhere reminding us of summer and making us a little hungry.We greet neighbors and tourists as we walk. A photographer with a very large lens on his camera waits for a seagull to move off of a piling so that he can get a perfect photograph of the recreated lighthouse.This is perfect camera light in the nearly setting sun.We walk with the kids first to listen to yet another band. This one is singing Johnny Cash cover and Katie says "More Jazz." no Katie not jazz but you can dance to it. In the coffee shop we get ice cream cones. Abbie's sherbet matches her tyedye shirt.Grandad and Jon take the kids to the playground as I browse the bookstore. I talk to the shop owner Steve about my upcoming trip to Haiti. He is going to send some books along with me.
We walk back to the car. The daylight has surrendered. Moonlight Manteo. Small town on it's best behaviour.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Isn't she Lovely

Stevie Wonder had a hit song in 1977 "Isn't she Lovely?" I sang it to my precious baby Gwenn. She was such a sweet baby. From infancy I told people "She is so sensitive." She was always easy to laugh and easy to cry. Her feeling were hurt easily and she was the first to care about the feelings of others.
Uncle Digger named her "Motor Mouth". The child talked early and continuously. If she wasn't talking she was sleeping and her thumb was in her mouth or she would have been talking then.
Gretchen's first reaction to her was "Oh...she has such tiny little fingers!" Only 20 months older than her baby sister she helped me to care for her and loved her so very much. They played and the fought and they have loved each other dearly.
When Melody was born Gwenn's kindergarten teacher said in all her many years of teaching she had never seen a child so excited about a new baby in the family.
At nine years old Gwenn gave her tender heart to Jesus.
Gwenn made health insurance a very important thing to have. She was "that one" that every family seems to have. She had to go to a sport's doctor when she fell getting out of the bathtub. She broke her toe chopping wood. She had a weird kind of asthma that required lots of ER visits.Lyme's disease caused her to pull her hair out. Lots of weird stuff. During her long weeks out of school she learned to play the guitar. She was also a big Michael Jackson fan and would often sing Michael's song with the aide of a hairbrush microphone.
In high school Gwenn came into herself in the FFA.She won just about every kind of AG contest out there from public speaking ( The Incredible Egg) to weed identification.
When it came time for college the Professors were calling her at home and inviting her for personal interviews. Who would know that Ag Sciences would be such a big thing? In college she took welding and artificially inseminated a pig! She killed a chicken and butchered it. And then she met a boy.
I say boy because she was a junior and she met this freshman who was her "friend". Only she couldn't stop talking about this Nick guy. She would go to talk to John and call him Nick. She was in love....
And here it is the eve of her 32nd birthday. Wife of Nick and mother of Nia, Nico and Josiah. In less than one month she will set out to start the next stage of her life in Haiti. All of these things have brought her to this place. Her sensitive spirit. Her ability to communicate.Her illnesses teaching her compassion. Even her AG Sciences. All of this will fit into this new stage in her life. She will tell you that moving to Haiti is what she was born for. And I can see that. Everything until now has been preparation for now. And as I sent her out to kindergarten, and as I sent her off to college I must now send her out to be the woman God has created her to be.Knowing this does make it somewhat easier. Happy Birthday my lovely child.