Thursday, December 8, 2016

Time Off...

For then next few weeks we plan to change things up...focusing on some family time, making memories, vision casting, dreaming, personal time, just hanging out and goofing off.

No school. No gardening. No classes. Unplugging a bit.

If you did not receive an electronic version of our latest newsletter this week or a hard copy in the mail (sent Wednesday)and would like one please let us know.  Some interesting news in it!

 We will still be connecting with people, keeping up with correspondence, and paperwork. So doing some work...just not our 'normal'. 

Therefore there may not be as many blogs but don't worry, I'll start again in the new year.

On the other hand we may be able to post some short videos due to improved internet and no bandwidth restrictions. Hope to be able to share some garden videos about trees as well as Kid's club.

2017 looks like it will be a year of some big changes for our family...the main one, as we continue to hope and pray, is that the adoption process will move forward and F will come home.

So we will be taking this time to rest, recharge, and reconnect.

If a few of you find yourself not knowing what to do with the minutes in your day normally spent reading this blog I have some suggestions: leave a comment or email us letting us know what you like or do not like about the blog. 

Maybe send a question you've always wondered about or a suggestion of a topic that interests you. Tell me what your favorite blogs have been. 

Perhaps you saw something interesting or clever on another website or blog that you could suggest we do. I would enjoy hearing from you.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Update and Planting Cacao

"springs" of water in the school yard

More rain over the weekend. Parts of lower campus actually had water bubbling up from the ground around the school and the school's dinning hall foundation.

We enjoyed a visit from Dieucel. We heard how his family evacuated their house, one by one, piggy-backed on the back of a tall man.

 How the water came up almost to his wife's neck as they moved to higher ground.

They returned to their home after a the flood waters receded only to have to evacuate a second time.

We listened with praise in our hearts as he shared with us how a pastor in a very hard church got excited about the Konsey books and purchased a box for his church.

 The Lord blessed the church with an increase of offerings after the people started to read the book.

He told us also of a place in the Dominican where many Haitians live that received 2 or 3 boxes of Konsey.

 So very glad to hear how the Lord continues to spread the books to Haitians.

flood washed peanut fields
Last week we brought 97 cacao trees to the new gardens and kept 3 to plant on campus to compare the USDA selected "super trees" with the other cacao on campus and see how well they grow under peach palms.

We have had over 60 inches of rain the past 5 weeks so the paths around here are very muddy.

We also had to delay planting until the river was low enough to cross with wheelbarrows of trees.

It was a long, hard 45 minutes or so to get to the gardens, dodging or hitting stones placed on the trails in some areas to help with walking over the water and mud but hard on the wheelbarrows.

The weather has been so cloudy that for now the pigeon pea crop in the area is mostly lost.

There just isn't enough sun so the plants that didn't die from flooding have dropped most of the pea pods.

 They might still produce a later crop.

The peanuts that didn't wash out look ok so far, might be OK if we get sunny weather now.

Our young fruit trees and peach palms are doing well. The rice looks thin in most of the garden, probably not planted close enough or just lacking enough sunshine.

Mud running with the wheelbarrows. Cassava/yucca from our garden

Planting cacao

Peach palm and rice in best part of garden

Local pigeon pea garden

Friday, December 2, 2016

Visit to flooded Blue Hills/Cap. Haitian

Wednesday Cory and I attempted a trip to the Cap Haitian area to see the flooding damage but only 15 minutes or so down the road folks flagged us down to let us know that there was a truck stuck on a hill ahead blocking the road, so we returned home.

Thursday morning we tried again. The trip took twice as long as normal pre-flooding travel. We drove to the Blue Hill's Wesleyan church.

Pastor Alfonse arranged for a couple of the men of the church to show us around the area and visit some of the homes of church members.

He also shared about what a great evangelistic opportunity the flood turned out to be, with the school's second floor being packed with neighborhood people, both church attenders and others.

He also explained that with so many folks loosing their household goods, including clothes, he was able to be an example and wear 'water-shoes' instead of dress shoes.

Many of the poor in Haiti feel that one needs to be dressed up to go to church and now is a good time for the church folks to be examples and accept people with any level of dress into church and share God's unprejudiced, unconditional love.

Over 100 of the people ministered to by the church during the flooding are now attending the church on Sundays and calling it 'my church'.

Lots of standing water and mud everywhere with some people still unable to return to their homes, but thankfully no church members lost their lives.

A river runs through the area and the owners of the small boats saved many lives.

One interesting thing we saw was small clusters of pink eggs that the guys with us didn't know about...after a bit of research we think maybe they are apple snail eggs.

Thankful to see that most of the main roads in Cap Haitian are cleaned up and functioning 'normally' but hear that many side streets remain clogged and because the work is done during the day when people are trying to move about the clean up is slow and frustrating, causing even more than the normal traffic jams.
Mud and trash from the streets put by the sea.
 After a long day we did not want to see the line of bigger trucks parked by a crowd of people waking down the road. Thankfully our smaller truck could just squeeze by on the left of the stuck trucks so we could get home just before dark.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Délice (Day-Lease) trip pictures

More rain on Thanksgiving Day but thankfully none last night or this morning. Patches of blue sky between clouds but occasional rain.

 A bit of office work, a bit of school work, a bit of this and that...

Tomorrow we will travel to celebrate American thanksgiving with other missionaries and folks living in and around Cap Haitian.

Cory will be presenting a short devotional to the group after we enjoy some good food and fellowship.

Eli joined my folks for the holiday as Cory's folks traveled this year. He's working hard on a research paper and thankful to have already completed his calculus class.

Anna is looking forward to her third Thanksgiving meal tomorrow and hanging out with her friends.

Fort Drouet in the background

National church land for planting.

Sour orange tree on coffee planation ruins

LaGonave in the looks taller from here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Third trip..

Sorry for not blogging last week but we were busy, busy. I returned home with a head cold but did not want to delay a little update.

Travel on Wednesday went well and we enjoyed spending some time with friends and meeting a visiting dental team. Anna and I enjoyed a swim in the sea.

Thursday we crossed the sea with the Stephens family to join the rest of the team for meetings that started after lunch. Great having music and the little ones blowing bubbles on the trip across.

Friday morning we once again attended team meetings while Anna watched the younger children, as she did on Thursday as well. Friday afternoon while some individual meetings occurred we split up: Anna and I watching different sets of children, Cory talking to Jeantiny and seeing the garden, and each of us found a few minutes to meet with our friendly dentist Dr. Bill.

Then we met again for meetings before and after supper. Saturday morning Cory, Dustin, and I crossed the sea planning to head up to see a newly purchased site for agriculture that the national church wants to develop. Car trouble kept Dustin home but we joined up with Pastor Doucet (the national superintendent of the Wesleyan Church of Haiti) and Pastor Clotare.

After a couple hours on bumpy roads Cory asked if we were close. They pointed across a large valley to a mountain peak covered by a white cloud! Yes, we headed to the top of the mountain where the national land is resting in the shadow of Fort Drouet and the historic ruins of a coffee plantation. The views of the mountains and country were wonderful!

We briefly met with local missionaries Stephen and Autumn, friends of Dustin and Nancy. Thankfully  we pulled into the Ortlip Center driveway about 9 p.m. For Sunday we enjoyed a quiet day without travel as the national elections occurred. Anna crossed on the boat in the early hours with Robin, Nancy, and the girls.

Monday traffic was still limited due to the potential for protests over the preliminary election results so we were advised not to head south. So instead we returned to the mountain top, this time with Dustin driving their new truck [a hard test run], Robin [WISH director who had planned to go on the trip south] and Anna.

Arriving much earlier than we did on Saturday, we had time to explore more of the Wesleyan church’s land as well as the coffee planation ruins and the fort. We once again visited the missionary family and enjoyed getting to know them a bit better as well.

Many factors came together to cause the delay of the trip south to select a second base for distribution of post hurricane aid. So we headed home Tuesday morning, and as soon as we crossed the biggest mountain into the north the rains started up again. Cap Haitian has received more than 40 inches in November, basically as much as they normally receive in a year.

As I write this it is still raining. Flooding, and  mudslides continue to rob people of their homes and gardens. People are getting sick from not eating well and being damp. Please pray.

Protests occurred before and after the elections in some areas but we have not heard of large demonstrations. We did not have any problems on our travels but did see large convoys of 20+ UN vehicles heading to and returning from the north.