Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday..the end of another week.

Friday morning. Last Friday we said good-bye to the family.

Only the Lord knows what this Friday will hold.

Eli and Anna continue to work toward the end of the school year. They are starting to complete some subjects with less than 20 days to go.

Rains reduced to just a couple of minutes of light sprinkles at night, a few nights this week, slowing down Cory's planting.

He did go visit a couple of potential gardens this week but neither really fix what he's looking for at this time.

School, office work, revising the Konsey children's book filled most of my time this week... along with praying for our referral.

I changed up the font on our adoption blog yesterday after learning some folks had trouble reading it. To visit click on the tab labeled 'Grafting Treasures' at the top of this page.

I also received a prayer request this week for a young lady received a heart transplant.

As our referral time neared and passed the 15-month mark, I continue to wonder, ponder how folks on a transplant waiting list manage the pressure.

My clock watching becomes more intense in the late afternoon when I know that business hours in the USA are drawing to a close for the day.

Weekends remain bittersweet knowing that we will not hear any news for a bit. How do people live with the knowledge that any moment, day or night, they may receive a life-altering phone call??

I've added them to my prayer list!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Part 2: Reflections on teams

Some may look at the blogs and what we did and say that it was vacation and not much of a ministry, but I want to dispel this notion. How this team ministered:
  • They blessed us by bringing in supplies, and treats chosen and purchased because they knew we enjoy them.
  • They were willing to experience our lives and to get to know us better. This enables any visitor to enrich their understanding life here, and I feel helps them to pray specifically and more fervently for our family, the ministry, and the people. While the written word can touch us and teach us in some ways, every additional one of the five senses  enhances the experience making it more real, more memorable  The  seashore when hearing the waves and smelling the salty sea air while the breeze cools your sun warmed skin is more powerful when experienced in person that when reading about it.
  • It encourages the Haitian people to see foreign visitors praising the Lord with song and prayer in their church.
  • Playing with children and letting them rub a white arm or touch a silky strand of hair helps to teach them about God's world and expand their horizons. Practice a bit of English or Creole and watch the smiles burst forth.
  • Return home with truth stories that can help to educate family and friends about Haiti and counter some of the negative, often exaggerated stories that the news folks like to share.
  • Fill us in on family news or share bits of personal stories-how the Lord is working in their lives. Letting us learn how to pray better for them and be part of their lives even if from a distance. Helping us connect.
  • Sharing devotional times at the end of the day is a special time. Not only hearing insightful ways that God touched them that day but being reminded of parts of Haiti that we no longer see in the sharp way we did in the early days. This is especially true for me with my first trip to Haiti 40 years in the past!
  • Allowing us to share hopes, dreams and prayer requests in a way that is impossible through e-mails, letters or social media.
  • Visits to local homes and praying for people's requests. Only the Lord knows the impact of this simple act of sharing His love.
  • Celebrating and mourning with individuals at a depth that comes from experiencing another's country personally.
  • Meeting our friends, our pet, visiting our projects. Taking interest and asking questions. Planting ground cover in the rehab garden. Helping us take a new picture for our prayer cards. Always very encouraging and validating.
  • Having folks who will be watching out for Eli in college and being able to anticipate some of the adjustment that he will need to do because they've been here and know some of the experiences that they had with culture shock or adjusting outside of one's comfort zone. This last point alone for me, mom, who also grew up as a 'third culture kid' is more than enough of a reason to take the time, energy, 'risks maybe' and cost to travel to visit a missionary family. It is a gift to have people who know how our children were raised, what their home 'town/village' was like without having to explain. 
  • And then there is the whole issue of the impact on those who come! Like our niece who's interested in missions who discovered that one can work in social work or counseling as a missionary. Like my own story as an eight-year-old deciding that the Lord wanted me to be a medical missionary. 

A dear missionary friend in a closed country recently expressed  thoughts to mine, so I'll share hers with permission. [I added the underlining for emphasis.]

 'They came in, hearts open and sensitive to the people we have come to love..' They were flexible, giving, and kind. They brought us 'stuff''..but perhaps most of all they came with fellowship. They listened as fast as we could talk. They cared about everything from seeing our work and eating our foods to touring our home...They shared news from home and heard us share from our hearts. How things were. How they changed. Where we feel God moving things now and for the future. ' 'how very, very good it felt to feel friends walk alongSIDE. They came to listen and hear. To see and understand. To BE with us.' 'Then this morning I came across something Paul wrote. Acts 28:2b, “It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us and warm us.” Thank you, God, for the warmth and renewal of fellowship. I know it is only a taste of what eternity holds, and that thought can keep a body going to the finish line. Thank you'

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Reflections on 'teams' Part 1

I like to read. I like to teach and share information with my family.

 I daily look for interesting articles that make me think and look at things in a different way or introduce entirely new opinions and facts.

Topics that interest me range far and wide but a few really peak my interest like science, medicine, and missions. Sub-topics that really interest me in missions include: relationships, health of missionaries, communication, and one of my favorites- missionary kids.

I find it interesting and sometimes sad the amount of time and energy that can be wasted on debating certain 'hot' or controversial topics. I rarely find universal truths that can apply to ALL or even MOST missionaries.

Depending on your location, the culture, the type of work, the specific age or type of group you are working with ---the 'rules' or 'best way to do X,Y, or Z can change significantly.

So while I may rapidly scan articles that discuss the value or worth of this or that technique, I find that as I get older, I realize that too many folks strongly defend positions based more on background or emotions than on facts.  The 'facts' are so complicated; many things or accomplishments in life cannot be easily measured.

Only the Lord knows the impact of an encouraging smile or conversation. A faithful partner who prays daily for a people group they never saw in person. 

One of the popular debate topics in the last few years in missions that continues to come up on blogs or in articles concerns the value or harm of 'short term mission trips'.....should they even be called short term mission trips?

What projects are best? Should they wear matching team shirts? Could the money be spent better by nationals?  Do we need to call them 'discovery' or 'learning' trips? And so on and so forth.

I started this blog during a visit from a 'team' from a supporting church. This small team of 5 people came for spring break. Not a very long visit-only 5 full days bookended with travel days. [Discloser this team consisted of Cory's sister, brother-in-law and 3 of their kids]

Some may look at the blogs and what we did and say that it was vacation and not much of a ministry....but I want to help dispel this notion.

Watch for part 2.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Good-byes, labs and volleyball

Nice morning.

Everyone but Cory and I ate breakfast because we needed to have some lab work drawn in Cap Haitian to prove we're healthy enough to return for a new term.

Then we headed out to try to get a family picture for our new prayer card.

We tried at the Citadel this week but wind, sun and the long hike up the hill did not make for good pictures.

Not good enough for us to look at many times during the next 4 years.

Then we thought we had one picked out from some my mom took in January but when we sent it to Global Partners our picture was too vertical to fit the card well.

So we tried again. Think we have one now but have to vote yet.

Two loads of towels and sheets on the line before we needed to head to the airport.

Anna stayed home as she would need to leave for a volleyball match about noon and Eli because he doesn't like to travel for good-byes.

As we didn't need to leave until about 10 a.m. a bit of time for a few office type jobs and playing a few games of Pit or computer games.

Just before 10 we loaded the truck and said our prayers. Good-byes to the kids.

Not very far down the road to Limbè the traffic stopped. A road block that involved the UN. So I walked up to see what the problem was so we could work on a Plan B if needed.

Two motorcycles in the right hand-lane near a man with a small bandage about 4x4 on his leg.

The UN carrier blocked the other lane of traffic.

I found a nice lady to ask the UN guys how long they thought the road would be closed as we needed to be at the airport by noon....but didn't get much of an answer.

But the UN now knew we were waiting and had a important deadline.

So we waited a bit and Cory called some missionary friends on the other side of the road block for taxi recommendations if we needed them.

A local mayor was involved with the accident and insisted that the bikes not be moved until the police came.

Told everyone to start to pray. After a bit the trucks in front of us loaded up and after a Red-Cross vehicle passed us, the road opened up.

Never saw a police officer but thankful to be moving and we made it to the airport about 10 minutes before our goal time.

More good-byes and then Cory and I headed off to the lab. No line so didn't take us very long.

Then a quick stop at a bookstore, the place for frozen chicken legs, stop for gas and rapidly headed home to see if we could catch part of Anna's game.

Girls game was 1/2 done by the time we reached Port Margot. First time I saw Anna play in a match against a visiting team.

They won both games and then the boys started.

The girl's team decided to jump in our truck to save themselves the 20 minute walk home as did a few of the very small children.

Long day but a good day.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Last full day.

We have all had a fantastic last full day in Haiti!  

 We kicked it off by hiking up one of the small mountains nearby, lead by our fearless leader, Anna.

We made it to the top just in time as the sun peeped over a mountain, showering us in golden happiness! 

Anna then lead us back through a scenic route.  

It may not have been the most direct route but it certainly was an adventure.  

Later on, we went on a prayer walk through the homes of nearby neighbors. 

It was a humbling experience as the locales welcomed us warmly into their homes and allowed us to pray for their requests. 

God is moving in this neighborhood and He has a plan and a purpose for everyone here.  

This has been one of my favorite parts of the trip.  

We then were able to visit the Literacy class for adults. 

 It is for those who do not know how to read or write, or they don't know how to very well.  

We were introduced and we got various pictures with the classes.  

We all had a blast visiting uncle Cory's rehabilitation garden.  

We spent some time planting peanut plants and making friends with some of the kids who came with us.  

I think we all enjoyed the crazy times spent together.  

We've had some wacky times this week and it has been awesome sauce! 
We might have to say goodbye tomorrow, but it's only for a little while.  

We will see these lovely folks again soon.  

This is your last report (at least for this time) from your guest blogger.

Michigan bound, Lyric