Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The widow's mite for Haiti

My relationship with Aunt Gloria did not start like most aunt/niece relationships. There was never any "I remember when you were four years old and..." or "You like just like..." That fact that I ever met Aunt Gloria is nothing short of a miracle. This precious woman was the child of my grandfather's mistress. Born just one day before my father's 6th birthday. The siblings never met. My aunt had a hard life that could have caused her to become bitter. She certainly was entitled to hold a hard grudge against anyone who bore my grandfather's name, a luxury that she never had. I was raised about 100 miles away from where my aunt grew up.
Fourteen years ago I moved to NC. Some 500 miles away from my home town. Working int he post office I often see letters and parcels being mailed to Long Island and will talk to the customer about whatever town it is that they are mailing to. One day about 6 yrs. ago an older woman came to the counter with a package to Freeport. I said "My aunt used to live there." To which the woman replied "I lived there too, but I was raised in Baldwin, one town over." "Wow!", I replied my parents were both raised there too. I told her my mother's name but that didn't ring a bell. Then I told her my father's name was Tozzi. She got excited and said "Joe Tozzi?" I said yes that was my father. She said "Joe Tozzi is my brother!" I nearly fell out! Here we were several hundred miles from the where we had grown up and we found each other at the post office in the town where we were both presently living! At first I worried if finding me was hard for her. She had been very hurt. But the next day she showed up at the Post Office with a jar of strawberry jelly. As I looked at her this day all I could see was her Tozzi eyes. She said to me "I always cook when when I'm nervous."
Our relationship has been very comfortable and strong.She is family just as sure as if I had met her the day I was born. When she was still living in NC she would call me at work and say "I cooked dinner for you and Steve. Pick it up after work." She would make us rice pudding her special way cause she knew how much Steve liked it. Now that she has moved to RI we are still close. We talk often and she sends me very random packages. Things that she thinks I might like and for no special reason except that giving is her love language. Living on a very limited income in an assisted living arrangement I know that even the postage for these gifts is hard for her.
When she found out about the earthquake she went into action. She went to the Home Association and asked for a donation. Then she went from person to person collecting one dollar here and two dollars there. She called me today to tell me that she has collected $450.00 to send to Joy in Hope the organization that my daughter and son in law work with in Haiti. In March she is having a bake sale to raise more funds.
This widow gives out of her need not out of her excess. God has given her favor and multiplied that which she offered. She is full out dedicated to me, my family, and to my God. I thank my God for her selfless example and her bountiful love.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Nia's guardian angel in Haiti

Matthew 18:10: Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

First let me say that I do not believe for even a small second that those who died in Haiti were somehow less spiritual or not as good as my family. Why God choose to allow some to live while others died is not for me to understand. What I do know is that God saved my family and I am humbled and elated about that fact. What I want to share is just a simple story about my six year old grandchild Nia who survived the quake in Haiti.

After my grandchildren were evacuated from Jacmel, Haiti they first went to stay with Nick's parents in Raleigh and are now with me and my husband in Manteo.We are making an effort to see to it that life is as calm and 'normal' as possible. Gretchen, my oldest daughter will keep the children when I am at work and resume their home schooling while their parents continue to work endless hours a day serving the Jacmel community.
At night we read a book, read a bible story, say our prayers, sing a song and then I just hang out with them a little in the darkened room to see if they have anything to share. Something about this routine seems to open up their little hearts to share what is going on inside of them. I don't ask questions I just wait..
Tonight when we spoke of the day I inquired "Wasn't it nice to Skype with Daddy today?" Nico said "No." "No?" I asked. "No." He said. "I want to see daddy in the room." He really is doing so very well but that window opened and let me have a peek into his heart.
So it was last night. Nia brought up the earth quake and was sharing what happened. I said to her "What were you doing when it happened?" She said "I was working on my project. My angel project. You see you take these angels and you print out faces from the computer and you make one for all the people in your family."
All the people in her family?? The bible tells us that "their" (a child's ) angel beholds the face of God. As Nia was crafting her little family angels that day their was in fact angels all around her family. Their powerful arms holding the walls and the ceilings. Angels protecting each member of the team, their families, the staff, their family. All that the glory might go to God. They were saved so that they could save. "guide and protect me through the night and keep me safe til morning light."
A child who I imagine will never see cut out angels quite the same. Thank you Father for sending your angels.

Going to Church AND building an awesome Tinkertoy

Guest blogger: Nia Mangine, my 6 year old grandaughter visiting from Haiti. She has her own blog but we don't know the pass word :)

One day I went to church. I saw Kelsey and Pastor Jonathan. You'll see Kelsey helping me and you'll see Pastor Jonathan hugging me.That was at Crosspointe. There was a lot of people there.The other picture,is you'll see me and Nico and Josiah standing on Nanny's porch about to go to church. In both places we went to children's church. I am in Kid's Point South. Those who are looking at my blog, you might be older and not go there. You may go in the grown ups room.In Manteo church I learned " For the Son of Man came to seek and find that which was lost." Like you were once lost, you didn't know about God at all.But Jesus came to teach you about it.
And one day I built a Tinker toy microphone. It was really cool. You'll see a picture of that. And it even fit me how tall it is. It was fun making it. At first I thought that I should put an extra green one on but then I thought to just see if it would fit or not. It did fit so it was good that I thought that in time.
I miss my parents. Love Nia

Thursday, January 21, 2010

They just can't "get" it.., Haiti

First let me say what I am about to blog does not intend to suggest that those of you who are my friends and neighbors have done something wrong. What I will write about it what is happening inside of me..in my own head...

For the most part I have managed pretty well to stay calm during this horific week. I have shared with others the many amazing things that God has allowed Gwenn and Nick and the team to be involved with in Haiti. It is easier to talk about CNN and the Wall Street Jounal, air traffic control, sleeping outside than to say "My daugher is in peril of her life." Cause that is a real conversation stopper.
Every minute of every day I am thinking about Haiti. It's people, my family, it's pain, it's desperation. I wonder about some of the friends I have met there. My deaf friends..are they ok? are they alive?? do they have someone to talk to who understands their hands and their hearts??
At work I look at my line of customers who say "How are you?" the customary greeting in the United States that really doesn't expect an honest answer. And I want to shot "My daughter is in Haiti! How should I be?" But I don't I say "I'm fine, how are you doing today?" to which they answer "good." When really are they? Did their mother die last week or was their brother just arrested? I want to talk this thing out but really..they don't get it. Not anymore than I "get it" when someone is going throught a divorce or loosing their home or someone who just lost a baby. So really I understand when they say "How is your daughter?" and then move on to a lighter subject.
Yesterday did not start well. I turned on the computer on the off chance that Gwenn would be on line and I could say "good morning", instead the message come over face book "Haiti hit with a 6.1 aftershock!" I cried and prayed and frantically searched for any info I could find. I called my boss crying and saying I would not be coming in." It was a very few minutes later that Leann assured me that they were all ok. (thank you my precious messanger :)
The rest of the day I was fragile.On my way to my doctor appointment I called up my best friend Candy who lost a child when he was three some 10 years ago. I remembered how important it was for her to talk about her son Micah and how hard it was to do. Because nobody "got it". She helped me to sort out my feeling assureing me that what I was experiecing was a sort of greif even if it did not involve death.
I continued to my manogram appointment (I know..poke your mind's eye out with a stick!) While the tech was doing what she does I said to her "Take some pretty pictures, I don't want any more bad news!" Then I told her "My daughter lives in Haiti." To which she relied " I am from Haiti!" I was floored! She is a very light skinned black woman, not the darker brown that I mostly see in Haiti. She shared with me that she moved her basically for protection in the 1970's. A member of her family had been killed and they feared for their life. She did return often to visit family and friends. Her cousin died in the quake. Her uncle, a surgeon was working non stop in a small town not to far from where my daughter is. Finally, someone who loves Haiti, finally someone who "got it". The sad truth is..I want to think I "got it" for her...but did I?

Monday, January 18, 2010



Opinion page editor's view: They are hope of Haiti - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch

Opinion page editor's view: They are hope of Haiti - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch

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Opinion page editor's view: They are hope of Haiti - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch

Opinion page editor's view: They are hope of Haiti - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch

Posted using ShareThis

God Speaks to my Heart..Jacmel, Haiti

A few months ago my husband who would rather not fly signed up to go to Haiti and be part of a work team from my daughter's chuch. They planned to start building the first of eight homes for Haitian Children's Home. The land had aready been purchased largley due to the generousity of Crosspointe Church in Cary,NC. Plans were being made, dates were set, paper work begun and then the trip fell throught. There would be no building on the land yet, the funds were not there to begin.
Had they gone on this trip, my husband (Gwenn's dad) and Ken Mangine (Nick's dad) would have been in Haiti for the earth quake. I am not saying that they could not have been useful there but I do believe that God knew that Bev and I would need our husbands around when we got the news "Earthquake!" Our emotional mother and grandmother hearts were glad to not being without our husbands during this difficult week.
That aside I feel like the Lord was showing me that in spite of funding the building did begin this week. It began with obeidence from all of the Joy in Hope staff. Caring for the widows and orphans, feeding the hungry, praying with the wounded, brining a cool drink to a dry and thirsty land. Working in unity for the common good.
And the building site,the land that was to have mortar and stone buildings,well now itwill house a 250 bed clinic to provide healing to a wounded community.
God did begin to build on the land just on time. Right when he set it in the hearts of men to do it,but He wanted to set the corner stone. The capstone. He is building both phyically, emotionally and spiritually. Unless the Lord builds a house he who labors, labors in vain.
With thanksgiving to the Rock of our foundaiton.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Thank you Jabez

I sit here in the quiet at nearly 3 AM. The wall clock softly chimes out to remind me that I really should be going to sleep. I have had this thought swimming around in my head all day.
When my dauther Gwenn first became aquainted with Danny and Leanne Pye founders of Haitian Chilren's Home she liked them but fell in love with their son Jabez. He was just a little bitty baby but he had something special about him that drew her in. Danny and Leann had brought this precious baby into their home because his mother had died in childbirth. He had some severe problems related to his birth. He never spoke words, walked or even stood us. But his smile made up for what he lacked elsewhere. Jabez only lived a few short years but his impact is now felt throughout the world.
See what I was thinking was that Jabez really was the one who turned Gwenn's heart to Haiti. When she and Nick decided to move to Haiti their church, Crosspointe in Cary was amazing support. In fact, in one week they raised like $422,000 to purchase land in Jacmel.And because they purchansed the land there are officals from Canada who want to seet up a 250 bed clinic on the land to serve victims of the earthquake.
Because of the money that has come in to Joy in Hope, thousands of people are being feed. All of it comes down to this: obedience. Danny, Leann, Gwenn, Nick, the church, the Canadians and yes Jabez. His short life touched the world. And as I see even now that hope is rising out of the rubble and I want to say thank you Jabez because though we have never met, you have changed my life.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti and Mr. Rogers

I flipped from CNN this morning who was reporting the same tragic stories over and over about life and death in PortAuPrince, Haiti. I wanted more information. Just not that information. Today my grandchildren are being evacuated. As I went through the channels I paused. Mr. Roger's Neighborhood was on. I long for the quiet and comfort of his land of make believe. His soothing voices that tells us that it ok to cry and every one is special. Thanks Fred for a little bit of quiet.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jesus in the Garden

As I lay in my sleepless bed this morning my phone rang. It was Gwenn only the connection did not go through. I lie there with my mother's mind racing ahead with it's mother's imagations. In my mind I could hear Gwenn's voice sobbing "Mommy, I can't do this!" Just as this was was playing out in my mind I turned over in bed in my darkened room. The living room door was slighty ajar casting a light on my bedroom wall. This light created a perfect cross. It stopped me quick and brought me back to a night 2000 years ago. Jesus in the garden crying out to His Father "Father take this cup from me." But it was the Father's will to allow this to happen. Jesus could have choosen not to go to the cross but He did not. He choose to obey and to be in the Father's will even though it meant he would suffer.
Gwenn had a choice not to go to Haiti but she choose to obey. Even though it means she will suffer.
God does not take this cup from his children at times. Sometimes it is His will for His children to pay the price so that others may be saved.
Gwenn and Nick could be drinking down their first cup of coffee and watching this story unfold on CNN. Instead they are drinking the cup that God has choosen for them.
Thank you Jesus for the cross.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti and in my heart.

Do I wish that my family was not in Haiti? No, not really. Is that bad? Do I wish I were in Haiti? I think so. Is that wrong?
Gwenn once told me when we were speaking about safety issues in Haiti that "I am safer inside the will of God in Haiti than outside the will of God anywhere else." So as the parent of a missionary I sit glued to facebook and CNN and watch the developing story. God protected my heart allowed my daughter to still have Internet service so I could get information. I fell so badly for those who wait..and wait..and wait to know if their families survived.
So my daughter has gathered with the local body of Christ in Haiti and they are laying out in a field under the stars on bed sheets.They are praying and singing. That much I know. But I also imagine in my mind the mosquitoes and the soft crying of some of the frightened children. I am happy that my daughter is there to comfort them.
I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. I do know that God was there in the quaking of the earth and He will still be there in the rising of the sun. Our God is an awesome God who gives us songs in the night. Songs of peace, songs of courage, songs of comfort and songs of His undying love for His children.
38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Parent of A Missionary

Today, as I sit here on New Year's Day I am reflecting on the things that I am thanful for in 2009. There are many things. But something that comes to mind right this moment is that I am thankful for Bev, for Karen and for Robin. Bev is my daughter Gwenn's mother in law. Karen and Robin I have not met in person but only here in cyber space. These woman share my heart. They sit in their living rooms and wonder about theirmissionary children.They wait for the little sound on the computer alerting them that they have a Skype phone call coming in. I wonder is like me they are thinking things like "I know people must be tired of hearing it but I have to talk about my family on the mission field." Like me I am guessing that they get frustrated with the people they meet in our country who complain about things that we now know know are just not that important. Like me they surf the web for the best airfare and start to plan their next trip before the plane hits the tarmack on this American soil. They think about malaria, aids, parasites, violence, dirty water,lack of medical provisions. And when we begin to think that no one really understands...we remember..we remember that we are not alone in this journey. There are thousnds of us who know the pain,sorrow and joy and humility and yes,pride, of being the parents of missionaries. We are bonded together and I am thankful. Thankful for those who truly understand.