When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. -Galatians 6:10a (NCV)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bittersweet Easter Sunday

Easter started gloomy and rainy here in Haiti. Odessa and I drove out to Peredo for church. On the way the sun came out and gave us the perfect reminder of the "Risen Son!"

I worked with the kids in Children Church and passed out the Easter bags so many of you donated items toward. I have to say I have the better end of the deal between you guys and I. I get to see the faces and hear the delight of the kids when they receive gifts. I so wish you all could have been here.

I took great pictures to share with all of you. The bad news is my entire SD card is blank. I have no idea what I did (or the more likely probability of what Odessa did) to erase them. I am so sorry you all don't get to see the images. I'll just have to be very descriptive.

The boys backpacks each had a brand new match box car, easter candy, a pair of socks, underwear, toothbrush, toothpaste, bubbles, soap and a washcloth. and silly bands. (Looking back I am so glad we gave the boys silly bands too-you'll see why)

The girls bags had hair barrettes, soap, washcloth, shampoo, candy, pair of socks and underwear, toothbrush, toothpaste and silly bands.

We even had enough to make some up for the toddlers in the church who are too young for Children's church. They each had a Beanie Baby, goldfish crackers, silly bands and matchbox car and underwear.

They loved it. The school principal and his wife helped hand them all out and when we were done I talked to the kids about telling God thank you. First of all to thank him for sending his son to die for us and now to celebrate his resurrection. Second of all thank Him for calling some Christian in the US to send these items to kids in a small village of Peredo, Haiti.

I asked them if they liked the gifts and they hadn't even opened them or looked inside. They were holding them tightly closed. All 77 kids! I told them they could open them and then the principal said to have them wait til they got home so they didn't start fighting over each other's stuff.

Wait til they get home?

But I wanted to see.

I folded my arms...pouting.

Was it worth risking 77 kids fighting over Easter gifts in an enclosed room?

Of course it was!

I told them to open their bags. The principal rolled his eyes. I giggled.

The girls loved their hair barrettes. This culture is super into braiding and making hair of all females pretty.

After about 4 seconds I heard the first fight.

I didn't dare look at the principal!

Over silly bands.

Or should I say stupid bands!

What is the deal with these things?

They make kids go crazy. But in a good way. And we had so many donated-every kid got a handful each.

To think of the Easter brawl that could have happened if we didn't put silly bands in the boy's bags.

IT was awesome-special thanks to Northside Christian Church in Wadsworth, OH, Kory Weldy's home church in Grove City, OH, Lesley Echelbarger, Beth Harbaugh and Suzanne Smith in Indiana. So many of you sent items for the kids and I want to say thank you , thank you , thank you. These people and churches went way above and brought these items down to Haiti when they came for a short term mission trip.

Part 2

So I titled this Bittersweet Easter Sunday. All the previous was the sweet part.

After all this excitement I turned and walked up to the church in Peredo and did one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I stood in front of the congregation and told them this would be my last Sunday in Peredo. I practiced it over and over the night before at home. How I would say it, how I would say it correctly in Creole and how I would say it without bursting into tears.

I didn't cry in front of them. I thanked them for everything they did for me the last 2 and a half years.

Everything they taught me about Haitian culture.

All the patience they had with me learning to speak Creole.

How they made me feel like I was a part of something.

I scanned the crowd and saw mothers who had graduated the nutrition program, teenagers who I worked with in throwing one heck of a New Years Eve party last year and countless people who have been seen in the clinic.

This was more than just leaving a job.

I was leaving friends. They aren't Haitians to me anymore. I knew these people now.

I felt my heart aching as I did not want to leave Peredo.

But due to disagreements between Haitian Christian Outreach and myself the leave is hard but necessary.

Who knew a small village such as this would have this much of an impact on my life?

I sure didn't.

But the Lord did-He knew exactly what He was doing when He called me to Haiti.

He called me to work for Him. Not one specific mission or organization. But for Him.

And that's what I'll do.

I appreciate all the prayers and works of encouragement people have offered Odessa and I already. We are doing fine and the Lord will take of of us as He always has.

Philippians 3:12-14 (New Century Version)
"I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above."

So onto straining toward what is ahead!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Glass Half Full

So sometimes I miss home. Like a lot. I love Facebook-getting on there to see what's going on back home and how everyone is doing. But the bad thing about Facebook is I get to see all the things I am missing out on.

I get to see the pictures of all the weddings, birthdays, church events, and friend get-togethers that I missed.

I know what you are saying-This blog is titled "Glass Half Full."

So far not a fitting title-I know. Bear with me...I have a point...I promise.

I get together with some other missionaries in town once in a blue moon and we talk about things like this. Most of us agree that evenings and nights are the hardest times to be here alone.

After Odessa goes to bed in the evenings it is so easy to look at the glass as half empty. Family far way, friends hanging out with new friends, no TV, and no late night food. (Oh Wendy's and Papa John's-how i miss you!).

I fall asleep many nights dreaming of the things I used to do everyday in the states.

And then comes the morning.

The hour drive to work in Peredo is welcomed. Suddenly the glass changes to half full. I have the same life I had 8 hours before when I was sulking about everything I miss out on. But look at the VIEW!

Seriously... this is my drive to work!

I know you're jealous.

Gorgeous Mountains!

No these pics are not out of the latest vacation magazine. Haiti-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere

And returning home driving into the sunset!
This drive sure beats my old hour drive to work in the states on Interstate I-70.

And the cold Pepsi in my hand is definitely half full!

These pics were taken by Jenna Davis. She came down on a short term trip a few weeks ago. I had no idea she was an amazing photographer and was so excited to see all that she captured while she was here. She is pictured below (I took this shot!) holding the cutest baby. Jenna truly had a servant's heart on her mission trip here and I can't wait for her to come back!

Check out her blog at www.jennadavisblog.com to read her blog of her trip to Haiti and the awesome pics she took. She was so nice to let me borrow them!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Art time!

This past week a combined team from Indiana was here doing construction work, painting, some medical and doing art classes with the school kids in Peredo.

(Angie Schoberg pictured in center)

There is an artist named Angie Schoberg, who lives with her husband who works at Rainbow Christian Camp in Converse, Indiana. The link to their website is: www.rainbowcamp.org. If you live in this area check out this camp for your kids-I have been to the grounds twice and it is an AWESOME place with so much variety. Rainbow camp is a partner of HCO and I have made good friends with a couple of their staff I met in Haiti.

Anyways-back to the blog :)

Everyday Angie came and did an art lesson with a class of students. She taught them shapes and showed them how everything in the world is made up of shapes. Then taught them the color wheel explaining primary and secondary colors.

They got to do a gluing craft with shapes and then got to paint with watercolors and learn how to mix them to make other colors.

This was top notch art time. The kids absolutely loved it! They don't get to do art class on a regular basis so to get to make 2 different things in one week to take home is a big deal. Remember we are talking about kids who do not have crayons, markers or any fun art supplies like this at home.

Angie did a great job and lots of others on the team were her helpers. I even snuck down a couple of days and helped-and it was much more fun than changing dressings in the clinic!

God gives us all sorts of talents and I am thankful people like Angie use her God-given talent to share the love of Christ. Her love of the Lord and His children in the small village of Peredo was evident and encouraging and I know will not be forgotten by those small hands who did craft projects this last week.

What talent/gift has God given you?

How are you using it for your Creator's glory?

Romans 12:6-8
"We all have different gifts, each of which came because of the grace God gave us. The person who has the gift of prophecy should use that gift in agreement with the faith. Anyone who has the gift of serving should serve. Anyone who has the gift of teaching should teach. Whoever has the gift of encouraging others should encourage. Whoever has the gift of giving to others should give freely. Anyone who has the gift of being a leader should try hard when he leads. Whoever has the gift of showing mercy to others should do so with joy."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More Similar than Different

The last day of this class of women for the Nutrition program ended Wednesday. They were all proud to "graduate." Here's a pic of some of the women from this class. Thank you for your support of this program. It really is teaching the women of this community how to better care for their children. And I am having a great time doing it.

On this last day of class I had them go around the circle and say something they learned in class that they didn't know before.

One talked about how she learned HOW her kids kept getting worms and HOW to keep them from getting them again.


Another said how she learned a lot of the medications she takes she can also be giving her baby in her breast milk. She said she won't take medications while breastfeeding unless a doctor has told her it is safe.


And yet another, last but not least, said she learned that sometimes even American men get American women pregnant and then leave them to raise their babies alone.

So...maybe one of the classes got a little off track of the topic of nutrition and child wellness...

We sat for a while together and talked about men...yep I couldn't help but smile. Here I was sitting in a small village in Haiti with a group of women who I thought were so different from myself talking about relationships.

Strangely it seemed I had had this conversation before, in another place and other times with other friends.

Maybe we aren't so different after all.

note-the baby clothes pictured were sent from a friend of a friend's sister through the organization "Save the Children." Although I have never met her I truly appreciate the kindness she showed these women and the high quality of clothes she sent-with price tags still attached.

Wordless Wednesday