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

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Strength and Beauty among Poverty

I do house visits to check on certain people in the village, especially kids who have been absent from the program or known to be sick or just my favorites that I want to go see!

This is one of my favorite parts of my job. I get to see first hand how people live in their environment.
I joke that sometimes I feel like I am the host of a show on the National Geographic channel :)

I get to see things and learn how people of another culture live and sit and shat with them while they are making Haitian food over charcoal with the chickens and naked kids running around. 

I get to see what is inside people's houses and how these poorest of the poor scrape by day to day.

I get to be the butt of a lot of jokes which open up the channel of communication which allow me to inquire about things most people wouldn't ask.

I get to sit among a people who are strong, beautiful and poor. And that combination is like none other I have ever experienced. 

Last week I was sitting in a group of women at one of their houses and they were admiring my wedding ring. And I quickly thanked God for giving me simple tastes to choose a simple wedding ring. I don't have an engagement ring. But I believe if I would have had a big rock on my finger, yeah it would been admired, but it would have been a huge barrier between me and these women I am trying to reach.

I took off my ring and handed it to Marlene, one of the women I have known for years here. She looked at it and it tried to put it on her pinky (Haitian's hands are big!). She took hers off and handed it to me. It was made of a metal that looked like gold but it was so thin I was afraid I might bend it.

As it dangled on my thumb Marlene started talking as she turned my ring around and around her pinky.

4 years ago her husband went to the Dominican Republic looking for work to support their family. She was pregnant when he left. 

She never heard from him again. 

But she keeps on keeping on. When most of us would be in bed with the covers over our head. Curtains drawn. On depression meds. Laying on a couch talking to a shrink.

Not Marlene. One of the poorest Haitians I know, she is raising her 4 kids alone. She cooks and sells food in the market. She walks 1/2 mile up a rocky hill with 5 gallons buckets of water on her head to wash, clean and bathe. She carries her kitchen supplies all the way to town to make and sell food.

She handed me back my ring with rugged, calloused hands that know hard work. I reached out to take it with freshly painted fingernails and smooth fingertips.

I didn't want to look up b/c I knew the tears welling up in my eyes would spill over.

Then she cracked a joke about checking her charcoal b/c her her small outside kitchen already caught on fire once and there is no man around to rebuild it for her and everyone was laughing so it gave me a chance to wipe my eyes without anyone noticing.

And life went on. 

Her example of strength, beauty and poverty.

She is strong.

She is beautiful.

She is poor.

And she is a daughter of the King.  Which makes her my sister. 

And that makes me proud.

On a non-serious note...

When I was leaving Peredo that day this moto passed me.

I saw a flash of IV tubing and thought my eyes were still watering.

So I called him back and had to take his picture.

Yep it's exactly what it looks like. Pop bottle with gasoline in it connected to his moto with old IV tubing. 

Only in Haiti!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tangled Purpose

 The foundation is done on Job's house!

 The tin and wood for the roof has been bought and delivered.

David delivered the last of the 700 cement blocks this morning.

Now he is delivering the rest of the sand needed to mix with the cement.

It's coming along...slowly but surely the community is starting to volunteer and help their neighbors rebuild.

***On a cool side note...go back and look at the middle picture. The guy standing to the right in the dark green shirt is a Voodoo priest in the area we are building in. Yesterday when we were delivering block he watched the others unload it but when when came back with the second load he helped!

I had no idea who he was but the long beard was a red flag as beards are not normal in Haiti. He is young and normal looking-not at all what I expected from a Voodoo priest. David came and told me who he was. At first I panicked (Voodoo is NO joke). But then realized what an opportunity we have here. I didn't go knocking on his door...he came to us. To check us out...and then started helping.

After the blocks were unloaded he walked over to me and asked how much money I was going to pay him. In my sweetest Southern Girl Creole accent I asked him who asked him to help us. He cracked a smile and said, "I know if white people are doing a project there is money. Where's mine?"

I told him to ask the other workers if we were paying them and they said no.

Someone explained what we were doing and about Job's house burning down.

It was time to go so I told him we would be back with another load in the morning if he wanted to help. Even I rolled my eyes at this suggestion b/c I already knew the answer.

But, he said he thought he would have time.

I am working in the office today and I can't wait for David to get back and tell me if he showed up.

It's funny the way God works...well not funny but you know...different than how we would. It's like a ladder of what ifs?

1st rung: What if I hadn't gone to nursing school?
2nd rung: What if I hadn't come to Haiti?
3rd rung: What if Job's house didn't burn down causing me to meet them?
4th rung: What if I would have gotten discouraged and left Haiti?

God is amazing. His plan is more intertwined than a spider web.  Sometimes we are fortunate enough to see parts of it unfolding and stand in amazement with our mouths hanging open.

Other times we don't understand and can be frustrated, discouraged and mad.

What reassurance to know that God is weaving the web of our lives. What a day it will be to sit in heaven and see the web untangled and see purpose.

Please be in prayer for us as the project is completed. And, as always, thanks to the donors who made this possible. You are just as much a part of this web as those of us here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Worth Reading

I read a ton here in Haiti. Blogs, books, articles, random magazines i find down here from the 90's.

I gave up TV a few years ago but still watch an occasional movie. I's rather be lounging around reading a book than watching TV or a movie any day. Here I read a ton of books on my Kindle. Mostly I get the free ones b/c let's face it...when you read several books a week it gets pretty expensive.

I came across a book a few weeks ago that I couldn't put down so I want to share it with you so you can read it too.

It's called Passport Through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances by Kimberly L. Smith.


Yes it's a Christian book that has a few corny parts, I'll admit. But overall, it is fantastic! Best of all it is a true story of sacrifice, courage and putting trust in the Lord on a day by day basis-even when you feel like He is not there anymore.

Kimberly Smith is a missionary who has a family but struck out on the field on her own while her husband held down the family and mission forts stateside.

The ending was truly a surprise that I didn't see coming and her grace in dealing with it is amazing.

I really really want you to read this book.


So much that you can click on this sentence for the link to buy it on Amazon.

Or this sentence for the Kindle Edition.

And after you read it come back here and tell me what you thought!