Monday, June 25, 2012

Tommy taught me something

It's been a jam packed week at Chadasha this week. We've had the pleasure of hosting two teams simultaneously. One team of 20 folks from Pennsylvania, and  8 crazy Cajuns from Lousianna. We spent the week visiting orphans, painting, picking up trash, and teaching English at Karadue. Most exciting for Sarah and I, we spent a whole day working at the Orphan Retreat Center property clearing brush, and picking up trash along the beach.  We had such a large team that we were able to also pick up litter for our neighbors along the beach and begin to build relationships with them.

The PA crew, these high school kids were awesome! 

The LA crew, somehow we never got a group shot!

Picking up trash along the beach

 We had a blast leading these teams, most of whom had never been to Haiti. We find joy in introducing terams to the country and people we love so dearly. The Haitian people have taught us so much about life, faith, and how to love others. They have helped us to re-define community. 

I'd like to introduce you to Mr. Tommy. While I only met him 7 days ago, he has inspired me! We haven't really had any in-depth conversations, actually we haven't really talked all that much. I know that he is 63 years old, has 5 or 6 grandsons and only one granddaughter who is the same age as Willow. He's retired, and that we both love to ride motorcycles.  However, more than that he is a servant, he has a servants heart. 

He came to Haiti to love on people, and to serve them. He worked just as hard as the 25 year old guys on the team. Not once, did I ever hear him complain about a thing. Not the heat, the work, the bugs, or the house full of 30 something young people. Mr. Tommy was always more than willing and ready to do whatever whenever.  We had to service the brakes on our flatbed one evening after dinner. Who was out there stomping on a lug wrench at 10:30pm? ...Mr. Tommy. 

He has been a tremendous encouragement to me, and a role model. When I am in my 60's I want to have a spirit like his. I want to respect people, love people, and most of all serve people like he has done this week. Mr.Tommy, thanks for helping me remember what life is all about!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's been a crazy fun filled 2 weeks back at home in Port Au Prince!  We had a wonderful time in the states, but we are thankful to be sleeping in our own bed.It is also wonderful to start every morning with our family discussing God's Word, and hearing what He is teaching each of us.

Morning prayer time at the guesthouse.

Our arrival back home marked the beginning of a busy summer season full of hosting teams from various churches.
The ladies  (and Doug) of Alabama Presbytery

Our first team for the summer was a group from the Alabama Presbytery.These folks were an absolute blast! We had a wonderful times showing them our new home city, as well as the pleasure of spending a full day with them in Montrouis ( pronounced Mohwee) our future ministry site.

We spent several nights conversing about how God has moved, what He is teaching us, and celebrating His gifts to us!
Sarah & I made our first trip to Kenscoff, which is small community in the mountains above Port au Prince. It was a beautiful place, that we hope to spend more time at. It reminded both of us home back in the States.

We also have had fun celebrating Willow's 1st birthday. Needless to say, she liked the candle more than the cake...

Please pray for us as we begin 7 weeks of teams at our ministry site in Port Au Prince. Pray that God moves mightily in the lives of people coming to experience Haiti. Pray for our staff, as we guide the teams, and seek to minister to the fine people in our community and in this country that we love! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Family and Faithfulness

Hmmm...well, I notice that I ended my last post with a promise to post more often.  Friends -  I have already broken that promise. :-) But I can say that one reason for not following through is that we have been spending a lot of time with family.  We have been in the states for the last few weeks and have been doing our best to see people but also to rest as we get very little of that most of the time.   As this time is passing in the states, so many things have happened that have challenged me to think about family.  To think about how our family has changed, how it has grown Matthew and I, and also how growing a family and praying through growing a family is uncertain and elusive at times. Family in general is so hard, but has especially been hard lately as God has taken us through a series of tough experiences that have made us dig our feet in the ground about what we believe, WHO we believe, and why we believe it.

(Sorry the pics are a little blurry - they were almost all made on phone camera :-))

Hanging out with my Aunties and having a ball - up past my bedtime, of course!!

For those of you who do not know, we have spent the last two years of our life praying for and loving on a beautiful little girl who lives in Haiti.  Through so many changes that are completely out of our control, we have loved her, spent time with her, been far away from her, and recently, because of complications with attempts to adopt her, are again separated from her.  Her name is Ashley.  Every time I hear her name, think her name, say her name out loud, emotion wells up.  Emotions that i wanted for a while to not trust, but ones which I have found are God-given and healthy.  I am thankful that God has spoken to my heart to allow me to feel, and has also given me a peace when those emotions come that surpasses ANY POSSIBLE SPECK OF UNDERSTANDING..AT ALL. For we have no idea why God has not chosen to move this process forward or why we have gone through the hardships, obstacles, and frustrations we have endured.  However, we do know that we serve a mighty, omniscient, and sovereign God who knew Ashley before we ever knew she was alive, formed her in her mother's womb, and is loving her as her Heavenly Father better than we ever could.  In those things, in the midst of uncertainty, we take refuge.  Psalm 118:8 "It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man."  I decided tonight to remember to cling to this verse.  And to write about what is going on, even when it's hard.  While reading Heather Junkin's blog, i was reminded to be proud of God's work in our life and to be eager to share our trust in Him.  I realize that when this verse says "man", it is also talking about me and my limited comprehension of God and his timing and big picture.  So, I am determined to remind myself as often as possible of this truth.  In the meantime, we pray and we wait eagerly on the Lord. Romans 8:25 "But if we hope for what we do not yet observe, we eagerly wait for it with patience."

As i miss Ashley, I also rejoice in the joyful experience it has been to mother Willow.  She is an amazing blessing who challenges me and ignites something so amazing in me every time I look in her face..I definitely see how Jesus loved being around little children so much.  There is not a moment that goes by that I don't wonder how God saw it fit to give her to me and how much of a privilege that it is to be her mother - that our God would loan her to me for a time.  I am constantly thankful. With all of that love that flows comes this scary realization that she is MY (and Matt's :-) ) responsibility - AHH.  You would think that being a nurse would take some of that away, and while I'm sure that is true, I have nothing to compare my experience to.  I nod in agreement to every nurse that has ever said " all your nursing knowledge tends to evade you when it comes to your own kids." And while that isn't wholly true - as I think being a nurse has made me a better mother - I also think it can be very hard to be confident all the time in your "momma"judgements of things.  I, unfortunately, had to put that judgement in to play this last weekend when Willow ended up in the ER at MTMC and ER at Vanderbilt Children's via ambulance, followed by a  subsequent stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Vandy.  She caught a nasty virus and croup set in fast. Within 16 hours, I had a barking, short of breath, miserably agitated child on my hands.  She had NEVER been sick before.  Barring a teeny low grade fever while teething a few months ago, I have had a completely healthy child.  Who knew this was how we were going to spend our weekend.  Instead of an early birthday party with the extended family, we ended up in the PICU  :)  Thank God, as I prayed, my mama/nurse instincts didn't fail me and we got her care quickly.  All I could think as I sat up all night with a crazy kid hyped up on steroids ( and I mean crazy!), I was constantly reminded about how faithful our God is to sustain us.  How He is sovereign over so much, including the fact that we were here in the states for Willow's first bought with an upper respiratory virus so that we know how to treat her in the future.  How thankful I am, and how very little I praise the God who continually cares and intimately knows exactly what we need.

Hours before getting sick, we had a great day at the Nashville Zoo .

In the ambulance 12 hours later, constricted/inflamed airway, low oxygen level.

Feeling much better after a few breathing treatments and steroids hours later.

I pray that you have heard hope and encouragement tonight.  Sometimes, hope is elusive, but  I was reminded of the peace and hope that God gave us related to Ashley and to Willow in recent days as I watched my friend Heather wait eagerly for her little adoptive boy.  I prayed, as I read her blog tonight, that God would continue to give her perseverance...that he would give her hope...not in things of this world or in any promises that man can make, but in the Lord, who is our refuge.  And that as I prayed for her, that I would not forget any of those things that i so "bravely" shared with her just a few short months ago as she visited her little man.  That I would not forget the promises of God's word, and that in the meantime, we would encourage one another and not give up, for we serve a Lord who does NOT give up on us.

Good night, friends...lots of sleep to catch up on...:-)