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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Please excuse the lack of blogging.

Between the holidays, work and JW being here in Haiti for the first time we are so busy living life that I don't have time to write about it! But that's a good thing.

It's awesome watching my brother be an uncle. Odessa is enjoying it too.

You can follow JW's blog's he is writing while he is here. Click here.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas! We certainly did here in Haiti! My brother and Mark Fraizer, two of the board members of Invest Hope, have been here since the 17th. Mark left Friday but JW is still here.

We had a Carribean Christmas here on the island. But I think we would have had it in Antartica to have seen Odessa open her presents. It was so fun with her this year. 3 years old is a great age for Christmas!

Christmas pics coming soon but now going to get back to hanging out with the brother. He is a great uncle by the way ;)

He has his own blog and has been posting nearly everyday how his Haiti trip is going. It's really good and he has some awesome pics.

Check out JW's blog here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Evenson update

Here are new pictures of Evenson. He is the toddler with a Wilms tumor who is currently receiving free treatment at LA Children's Hospital.

You can totally see how his personality is coming out! His parents here in Haiti are amazed to see him smiling and playing again! They had not seen him like this in months.

Prays are need for Evenson this Monday. The doctors in LA feel it is time to remove the tumor. They will operate this coming Monday. Please pray that all goes well, for a quick recovery and for his host parents in the states who will stay by his side night and day.

I can not tell you how exciting it is to see what the Lord is doing for this child-a child we were arranging hospice for here in Haiti!

The other night while watching a movie with David and Odessa we got a big suprise. All of a sudden all the light bulbs in the house and a strand of Christmas lights got super bright and then blew out. It was kinda like a fireworks show inside! Immediately we smelled smoke and I was convinced the Christmas tree was on fire. David jumped up and shut off the breaker for electricity coming into the house.

He knew what happened right away. I guess growing up around electricity mishaps taught him some things I missed growing up with stable electricity all the time. Two lines outside on the street got crossed and instead of sending in the normail 110 volts of electricity, it sent in 220!

Among the victims was the router to my wireless interest, a fan and every lightbulb except 2 in the house. Now the inverter/battery system is not charging in the house so I am hoping that didn't get zapped too. We had less causulties here than my next door neighbors. They lost TV, fridge, cell phones that were plugged in charging, fans, lights.

Electricity is one of those things I battle here in Haiti a lot. Especially in Port au Prince. But I have learned a lot about it also. The government has control of the electricity and turns it on and off when they want. They fixed the lines on our street last night and we have had electricity ever since. That is rare! Normally they turn electricity off around 3-4am and back on in the afternoon.

One example of this that I love is this past spring when the new president was being sworn in. I was here in Port au Prince at David's house and they have a TV. There were about 10 people who came over to watch the swearing in on Television. I had never seen this in Haiti before so I was excited to get to see it too. The atmosphere was great that day as most Haitians were excited at the change this president was to bring to their country.

As soon as the president stood up to be sworn in, they turned the electricity off. We couldn't help but wonder is this was intentional as the old president wanted the opponent (his son-in-law!) to be the next president. A few weeks into the new presidency, the people responsible for electricity were brought into court before a judge and questioned about the incident.

***Please be in prayer that the inverter/battery system is not damaged and can be up and running soon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

School days

Now that I am a mom I have experienced "the other side" of a few things.

I have been a Pediatric Nurse since 2003, but since becoming a mom I have experienced being on the other side of the exam table. The one where the patient is clinging to me and where the child with the fever is my child.

I worked out in the village school here in Haiti for 3 years working with school kids on hygiene and check-ups and other school nurse activities. Now I am sending my child to school. Odessa goes to Haitian preschool everyday for 5 1/2 hours. I am on the other side of the school gate now. I am leaving my child with strangers for the better part of her day. Odessa absolutely loves school and the rare occasion when i ask her if she wants to stay home with mommy or go to school, she always picks school. Her school is in French so my kid is learning to speak a language I don't speak (teenage years should be a blast!) and they have rules that seem really weird to this American mom...but then again we're not in America.

I have to tell you about the parents meeting at the beginning of the school year. First of all we got 2 days notice of the required meeting. If you didn't come to the meeting then your child couldn't come to school. So the meeting covered the following topics:

  • If it is raining in the morning, school is canceled that day.  Now we have all heard of snow days but rain days??? In their defense when it rains here it is like a monsoon. But still... So I had to ask, "If it is raining when school lets out, you are going to hold the kids here until it stops?" Strike one for the only white mom in the school.
  • Don't pack greasy foods for snack time because it gets the kid's clothes dirty. 
  • When there is rioting on the streets during the school day, please come pick up your child as the staff is going home. Seriously that's what they said. I had to laugh at the "when there is rioting" not "if there is rioting". 
  • We will send outlines home of what your child will be learning in French each week. Please go over this each evening with your child. Riiiiight. My discussion with Odessa goes something like this, "Odessa this week you are learning some important stuff in French. Mommy wants to to pay real close attention in school to find out what it is. Then when you bring your pictures and projects home, mommy will have some sort of idea what the heck THIS paper says."
I am so glad Odessa loves this school and it is small enough to where all the teachers know all the students. She even wants to wear her uniform Saturdays and Sundays. She is in class with her buddy "GeeGee" who is David's nephew. They cause all kinds of problems together at home and at school. 

School is a privilege in Haiti. Every morning on our walk to school we pass kids who don't get to go to school on the street. May God provide me with the wisdom to teach my child how blessed she is and how to have compassion for those who have less. And for us not to start seeing these sights as common everyday things and become complacent.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

So I'm getting back into the chaos here in Haiti. I was in the states for 3 weeks and acutally got a lot of work done. I spoke 6 different times on behalf of the new mission we are starting here in Haiti. I haven't talked a lot about it here on my blog-but now that we have had our first official board meeting...I will :)

Instead of writing a summary of what I did here are a list of websites to go to for the highlights :)

Missionary Convention in Atlanta

Reunited with my fav fast food

Disappointed by the Scarlet and Grey

Flashback to my teenage years but walking down different school hallways

Lots of Mother/Daughter Retail Therapy

Someone in the audience at one of the churches I spoke at asked this question,

" What is the thing that shocked you the most since coming back home?"

I wished I would have said soemthing really insightful but instead I said the first thing that came to mind,

Skinny Jeans.

Seriously...I saw these jeans on every body type during my 3 weeks home. And they didn't look good on any of them. My brother even wears them! Guys in skinny jeans...America-what is going on?  I am really hoping the next time I come in this fad has passed. 

But that question got me thinking. I am more shocked now when coming to home for a visit in the states than I am when I get off the plane in a third world country. I have done some reading on culture shock and some of it says that reverse culture shock can be worse than culture shock. That means that when you live in another culture and then return to your original culture that can be a bigger shock than you had going the different culture.

For example-Americans eat out WAY too much. I know we all know this but seriously. It's like our day is planned around meals. When I come home I always eat a ton of the food I have missed while being in Haiti. I always overeat. It is so easy to do in the states. Fast food on every corner, grilled meat smells wafting out of every steakhouse you pass, opening my parent's fridge and seeing it stuffed full of every kind of food you can imagine. Now I am going through withdrawl! We decorated our Christmas tree a few nights ago and all I wanted was Taco Bell. I couldn't help but think how some Soft tacos would have completed our decorating evening.

Another bit of culture shock is TV. Not only how much Americans watch TV but how much stuff is on there. My parents have Netflicks on the TV through the internet so there are all these shows, old and new on there. I found the Cosby show and watched 9 episodes. Yep 9. Then I found a show I saw a few episodes of when it was on, "What About Brian?" (Don't judge-yes it is a total soap opera) and watched 14 of the 24 episodes. Ridiculous! But I loved every minute of every episode. Good thing I don't have TV here-I might never get anything done :) But the funny thing is I don't miss it.

I could go on and on but the overall thought is I think I experience more culture shock when coming back home to the states than I do when coming back home to Haiti.

I had a nice break at home and go to see so many people-some who traveled hours to see me :), my parents made my time at home non stressful and my brother even came over to visit more than I remember seeing him when I lived in the states.

But seeing a pink flash of a 3 year old little girl running towards me in the airport parking lot in Haiti was the best part of the whole trip.

It's good to be home...and I haven't seen a single pair of skinny jeans yet.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Missionary Hero

I love reading stories about people. Biographies and autobiographies can be found galore on my kindle. I got this email today and had no idea about this missonary's story or how close the places we are from are. And because I just got back to Haiti after being in the states for 3 weeks and I am trying to settle back in, I am cheating and posting this story on my blog instead of writing one myself. Some may call this lazy but I call it being resourceful ;)

This was written by Don Linn, a preacher in Mt Gilead, OH.


The invitation was offered at Camp Wakatomika near Mt. Vernon, Ohio, during

the summer of 1957 and a young lady by the name of Phyllis Rine answered that call

by saying “I’m here, Lord”. She was answering the call to Christian service wherever the

Lord would lead. The next month she arrived on the campus of the Cincinnati Bible

Seminary on Price Hill and the first words from her mouth were, “I’m here, Lord”. Five

years later she arrived in Stanleyville, (currently, Kisangani in the Republic of Zaire)

then known as the Congo in South Africa and again, she said, “I’m here, Lord”. Two

years later she was gunned down attempting to flee rebel soldiers and again we can

hear Phyllis say as she entered the portals of heaven, “I’m here, Lord.”

Phyllis was born August 15, 1939, to Arthur and Ava Rine who lived on a farm

near Martinsburg, Ohio. Two younger brothers, Larry and Tom were born from their

union. Unfortunately, Arthur died when Phyllis was only four. Then the family moved in

with the maternal grandparents. While living, Arthur worked as a tenant farmer, school

bus driver and milkman.

Her mother, Ava, greatly influenced Phyllis’ life. The saying on the living room

mantle spoke volumes, ‘Only one life ‘twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ

will last.” Ava read Bible stories to the family and faithfully served in the church at

Martinsburg as well as nursing at the hospital in Mt. Vernon. Even though her father

was not a Christian her mother did not let that deter her from teaching her children

about the Lord. In addition, her maternal grandparents, the Haugers, were strong


While growing up, Phyllis was known to be very shy and reserved but also quite

studious. She learned to play the piano and accompanied the congregation in singing

as well as her brothers. The violin was the next instrument she learned to play. One of

her school teachers was heard to say, “I wish we had more students like Phyllis.”

In the fall of 1957, Phyllis arrived at the Cincinnati Bible Seminary (now known

as the Cincinnati Christian University) to begin her preparation to serve the Lord in

whatever way she could and wherever He would send. She became involved with the

Laurel Homes Church of Christ where she played the piano and taught primary age

children. Visuals and pictures were used to tell the Bible stories to many dark-skinned

boys and girls. Work was necessary to pay her school bills so she cleaned dorms,

worked in the cafeteria and later took a job downtown Cincinnati at the Midland

Guardian Company. Her reputation of being steady and dependable made her a valued

employee. She was involved with the Whatsoever Girls Club on campus, Philothean

Literary Society and World Mission Volunteers.

June, 1961, she joined 54 others to receive their diplomas and enter the world

of service to use the training received to make an impact on our culture. It was during

one of the World Mission Volunteers meetings when Clifford Schaub from the African

Christian Mission spoke about the work being done in the Congo. Phyllis’ heart was

touched and she began communicating with Zola Brown who was a single missionary

serving in Africa. Under the guidance of Dr. Winter, who was Mission’s Professor, she

became acquainted with other missionaries serving in Africa such as the Ron Harshes,

Ronald Butlers, Larry Doggetts, Howard Crowls, and the African Mission Staff.

Seeing that the Lord was guiding her to be a teacher, she enrolled at the

University of Cincinnati to begin the Master’s Program. After being certified by the

Cincinnati Board of Education, she obtained a job at the Riverside Elementary School

teaching kindergarteners. During this time she continued to take classes in the

evening while making preparations to go the mission field. Four churches responded to

the call to financially support her mission endeavors. They were Martinsburg, Bell near

Utica, Bladensburg, and the Milford church near Centerburg.

On September 4, 1962, Phyllis departed to Africa to join in the work with

Schaubs. She worked hard to learn the Swahili language so she could communicate

with the native people. Loving children so much she was dismayed in seeing that many

girls did not see the need of an education and she would say repeatedly, “If we can get

to these girls while they are still young, maybe we can get part of the problem licked

for the future.” Often she would ride her bicycle to a village to gather the children

around to tell the Bible stories and the love of God. It was reported by her co-workers

that she never felt like she was doing enough. One of her co-workers, Zola Brown,

wrote a very insightful book called, “Only One Life” which covers the life and influence

of one dedicated servant who answered the call of Christ.

November 24, 1964, will not be forgotten. It was then that rebel forces came

into Stanleyville and rounded up the foreigners and then began shooting randomly.

The Schaub family was able to escape but Phyllis was hit and bled to death. Leaving the

cemetery following the burial, a comment was heard which said, “Perhaps Phyllis has

accomplished more by her death than by her life.” Rine Hall was built as a Girls’ Dorm

on campus in honor of one who answered, “I’m here, Lord.” Literature for children now

is printed in Swahili so the children and girls, especially, will know about the God Who


Though only 25 when her life on earth was taken, her legacy and example live

on in those who would answer the call of God by saying, “I’m here, Lord.”

Don Linn