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Saturday, December 31, 2011


Merry belated Christmas and Happy early New Year, friends, family, and readers! 

Many of you may be looking for ways to help others in a tangible way in the New Year. Let me present a way for you to do so. I have a wonderful friend here in Haiti named Fritz who is the manager of our ministry. I have known him since I started coming to visit and work with Maison de Lumiere.  In 2004, right when our boys' home started, Fritz moved in and began overseeing the care of the first twelve boys. Fritz's parents died when he was young. He was raised in one of the roughest, most violent areas in Port au Prince, called Cite Soleil. Fritz worked hard doing many different jobs to put himself through school. He now has a lovely wife, Magolie, and two beautiful daughters, Sienna and Tassia. Magolie is also pregnant right now. Fritz is the oldest of eight siblings.Right after the earthquake Fritz took in all of his extended family members who had lost their homes. At least, if not more than, twenty people moved into his home and into his yard in tents. For months they remained there while they searched for new places to live. A few months after the earthquake one of Fritz's sisters who still lived in Cite Soleil suffered what appeared to be a stroke. She was hospitalized for a time then Fritz began to pay for her housing and care when she moved in with another of their sisters. She continues to require full care and cannot speak. Over a year ago two visiting nurses and I paid a visit to her home. You can read about that visit here. Fritz took in this sister's two daughters, Jennifer and Ruby. This last spring other family members decided to move Jennifer and Ruby and their mom into another relative's home further away from our neighborhood. Fritz was heartbroken and worried for their health and safety. Eventually he learned that whoever they were staying with was abusing the girls, as well as their mother when she attempted to cry out against them. In order for Jennifer and Ruby to move back in with his family, Fritz needs extra financial support for them. As the oldest child in his family, he financially and emotionally supports each of his younger siblings and their families. In addition to working for our ministry, he has a business out of his home where he sells water, food, and dry goods. Yet taking in these two girls again is an extra expense he cannot afford at this time. If you would like more information about Fritz and these girls and/or would like to sponsor the girls, please leave me a comment on the blog sharing your interest and a way for me to contact you. Mesi Anpil (Thank you very much!) for all the ways you have supported those I care about here in Haiti! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Driving....can make you insane


Last week I drove Ensa and her mother to a clinic in Petionville, which is only a few miles up a hill from my house, but it can take an hour or longer to get there with traffic. I took Anderson, one of our boy graduates, along with me to help me navigate and make me feel safe. I knew already that he's not the best at navigating...but he's better than nothing and always provides entertaining conversation. He is willing to ask for directions. We started out the morning with him calling the doctor to ask for directions. She told him a landmark then said for him to call back when we arrived there. Thankfully he knew how to get to this location, a church. After that we pulled over so I could call the doctor. Two attempts and she didn't answer. I pulled over to the edge of the street, but cars honked furiously at us nonetheless.  We had not been given the address or the name of the clinic when we'd called her earlier in the morning. She had given Anderson a general area. We could no longer stay in the intersection so I picked a direction and drove off. Finally, the doctor's assistant called back and Anderson spoke to her. With confidence he told me where to go. Then, silence. "Where do I turn?" "I don't know," he responded. I called the doctor's office again and Ensa's mother spoke with her. Same result as with Anderson: we turned a bunch of times and then were lost again, as we looked for "Thyle Market," which the office claimed was nearby. And she was told the office was named "Citi Med." I pulled over again and a female street vendor offered to get in the car to show us where to go. Upon arriving at "Citi Med" we were told they did not know the doctor we were looking for. Another phone call. NO, its not Citi Med, its called "Omni Med." Are you kidding me? Again, we drove in circles looking for a market supposedly close to the office, but this time we were told it was called "Star Market." Ensa's mother gave directions to me from the back seat using hand signals. That doesn't really help when you're trying to avoid hitting other cars and people. You can't look behind you. I frequently told her to say "Right, Left, and Straight" in Creole and she agreed to, but then I began to wonder if she knows her right from her left. Anderson would tell me where to go two seconds AFTER I had passed the intersection. A few more phone calls, being told to look for "Big Market", and praise God we found it! When we pulled up the lady who had been giving us directions shook her head in wonder and laughed at us. Thanks so much.

The doctor, a rheumatologist, was very kind and thorough in her examination of Ensa. Hospital Espoir had been unable to figure out why she continued to have fevers and pain even though she received treatment for her diagnosis of typhoid. All of Ensa's symptoms and clinic picture led the doctor to believe she has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. She started Ensa on three times per day Aspirin which Ensa seems to be responding to. She had labs drawn last week and the results should be in in the next few days. We are very thankful that it seems some answers are being found for her.

Thank you very much to those who donated to Ensa and Mikerlange's medical fund! Mikerlange seems to be gaining strength and her skin is completely cleared. She has a follow-up appointment with her HIV doctor next week. Both she and Ensa and family attended our annual Christmas program on Saturday. 


Ensa all dressed-up for our Christmas Program

Thank you and blessings to all of you, for reading and for supporting these girls!

P.S. My friends and coworkers moved into the apartment below me. Last week, in preparation of them moving in, a couple of painters came by to paint. When my friends saw the apartment the day before it had white walls...dirty white walls, but white walls, nonetheless. They assumed that when the owner said she would have the walls re-painted they would be re-painted white...right? No. Wrong. Pink. Pepto-bismol pink. I shouldn't be surprised, because this is actually a  popular color here. At least my dining room is a muted shade of pink. I am so blessed.

P.P.S Yesterday I was talking with two ladies who were staying for a few nights at our guesthouse. They spent most of last week at a hotel downtown. A fancy-schmancy nice one. So nice that it had mice running in and out of holes that the managers or maids stuffed with newspaper. So nice that someone working there provided them with a billy club as a weapon to kill the mice. How would you like that for your first trip to Haiti? Here's some mice to entertain you while you sleep and here's your weapon to kill them. Wow. So thoughtful of you. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Friends

I have two lovely friends visiting since last week: Lexie and Paula. We used to work together in Seattle and they have been to Haiti numerous times to help with my organization and a couple of others. Thankful for you both! Both ladies blogged about meeting Ensa. I will use their links to update you: 




*Since these were written, I heard that Ensa had bone X-rays performed (most likely of her arms and legs) that showed no abnormalities. She is continuing to have fevers despite being on antibiotics. When I go see her today (hopefully) I will be given the phone number of a specialist to call. Hospital Espoir wants to discharge her today- despite her continued fevers- because they don't know how to help her any further. Please pray for answers! For her healing! Also, thank you thank you thank you to the generous people who have contributed to paying for her care and to those who have contributed to our general medical fund. You Are Awesome! 

Off topic: I have been so pampered lately. A few weeks ago my favorite chiropractor, a friend I met here three years ago (the guesthouse flooded when we first met. A few of us were electrocuted. It has bonded us for life), came to visit with her church and adjusted my back. One of her teammates gave me a haircut and to-die-for head massage. Is this what heaven will be like? Today I got my bangs trimmed by another visitor and my hair dried (oh, glorious heaven!) Jesus, you are so nice to me. Thank you for providing amazing people to love us! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ensa and Mikerlange

Last week Ensa, her mother, and I spent an exhausting morning at Medishare Hospital. A new doctor we saw tried to get her admitted, but again there was no available bed. She suggested a few hospitals to try, with only one being one I semi-trust (the nurses know me there because I took all of our kids there last year to get medical testing done. We probably made at least 15 trips there. Every time they'd jokingly ask if they could move into the orphanage or if they could get jobs there). So we drove to this hospital, Hospital Espoir, and they quickly agreed to take her. We walked in, asked, and it was almost like they had been waiting all day for someone to show up. She had an IV placed, has been receiving IV fluids, food, and various blood tests. Her HIV test was negative (thank you Jesus!) but her typhoid test was positive. Finally, we have an answer for the pain and the fevers! Since Monday she has been on IV antibiotics and quickly been improving. Hopefully on Tuesday I can bring her back to her family's home. 

Mikerlange continues to receive care at Medishare. It has been difficult to receive information on what is being done for her (neither she nor her mother have a phone and the doctor was unavailable to speak to on Monday) but she seemed to be feeling better last I saw her. 

In other news, last week a creative visitor set up bowling at our boys home, using empty plastic soda bottles with a light stick in them. Bowling balls? What are those? No, the kids, lying on their stomachs on skateboards, were the human bowling balls, flying through the dark into the soda bottles. Fantastic! If you creative types out there have other ideas for games, pass them my way. We need some more out-of-the-box entertainment around here. A few weeks ago we played whiffle ball with the kids at a park. At least we can laugh at ourselves. Maybe they should stick to soccer? And I'll stick to... tripping and falling as I run here.

And, today as we walked home from lunch on a busy street, we saw a naked man. Apparently he's around a lot (friends said they've seen him as well). He was strutting down the street, looking like he had places to go and people to see, carrying his clothes in his right hand. No one seemed to give him a moments notice or batt an eyelash. Alright. We'll try not to either. 


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Praise Reports

Mikerlange, the young lady with HIV, was able to be admitted last Wednesday to receive IV hydration and food at the hospital. Ensa, the four-year-old beauty, continues to have fevers, but is able to eat daily at our girls' orphanage. She has also been accepted into a malnourishment program for children not too far from our homes. I'm not sure what that will look like for her, other than that she will receive Plumpy'nut, a ready-to-use therapeutic food. Tomorrow we will be returning to the hospital together where she will receive more test results. Her test results from last week showed that she is severely anemic and has an elevated white blood cell count, indicating an infection of some sort (but still unknown what kind). The X-rays of her arms, chest, and hands showed no abnormalities. THANK YOU for continuing to pray for these girls and for your financial donations to our medical fund. If you still would like to donate to the medical fund, you may do so here.

                                                                            Ensa

Friday, November 4, 2011

Updating from Haiti

I like surprises. So, here I am surprising some of you that I am back in Haiti! I am here long-term again (however long the Lord sees fit, pretty much). I'm living with a friend in an apartment near our ministry, which thrills me to no end. I have a serious crush on this place- cool breezes at night, a hammock on the porch, a home to share with others who need a place to rest, and a home to invite friends and the kids from our ministry to for dinners and fellowship. 

Last week my friend and fellow nurse with our ministry, Ashley, heard about a sick little girl near a tent city in our neighborhood. She walked to visit her home and found a 4 year-old with swollen and hot-to-the-touch hands, feet, and elbows, a fever lasting for 29 days, and the inability to walk. She'd been seen by multiple doctors at multiple hospitals, as well as two visiting doctors to our ministry. As things go here, we can't get a handle on what tests were done or their results or what diagnoses were made or ruled out. Last Sunday Ashley and our visiting doctor, Dr. Eddie, and I made a house call to her home. Thankfully they have a home made out of tin and cement, rather than a tent or tarp. We found her in the same condition as during Ashley's previous visit, sitting stiffly in a chair. We prayed for her and discussed possible diagnoses. Dr. Eddie pulled out a chocolate-flavored Promax (protein bar) and handed it to her. She looked like she had just been handed the whole world or tickets to Disneyland. She proudly displayed her gift to her mother and other relatives. Ashley gave her ibuprofen and she seemed to improve (less frequently feverish and the swelling in her hands and feet had diminished) in the last few days. However, last night her mother called Ashley saying that the ibuprofen bottle was finished and that she had spiked another high fever. We visited her today and she was indeed running another fever and the swelling in all extremities except one hand has returned. She did give us some smiles when offered a piece of gum. She beamed. I'll try to post pictures soon. Ashley and I are considering taking her to Medishare, a hospital started by the University of Miami, next week. Please pray that they have a bed available to admit this precious beauty (Ensa), that the finances will be provided in order for necessary tests to be run, and that the doctors who treat her will be kind, compassionate, and interested enough in her case to pursue all ways to diagnose and treat her. 

During Ashley's first visit to this area, she found another person extremely sick. A 21-year-old young lady, named Mikerlange, was stooped over, only able to walk with a walker, extremely emaciated, with a severe skin infection. Immediately Ashley suspected she has AIDS. Another mission took her to a hospital earlier in the week but found that that hospital was unable to treat her. On Wednesday Ashley took her to Medishare, where she tested positive for HIV. The nurse told Ashley the test was positive, but the person who does counseling for such patients was unavailable to meet with her and asked them to return the next day. Ashley was already working at another clinic the next day, so I took her. 

We now have a car just for medical purposes. And I can drive it. I'd only driven in Haiti to one close-by hospital and a close-by market before. I asked my Haitian friend, Marlval, to go with me to help me navigate the roads and actually make it to the hospital (I admit I am horrible with directions. Haiti makes this problem much worse). A visiting paramedic, Phil, accompanied us as well. Phil was here in Haiti around the same time last year and was super helpful when one of our staff members was extremely sick and other crazy medical emergencies popped up the same week. We arrived safely, with my passengers being very gracious and encouraging of my driving. Nearer to our destination though, Marlval said something along the lines of "You're being too cautious. Just go." Phil made fun of me for using my turn single because people don't do that here. They honk. Or they "just go." I had fun though and it was very freeing. 

Upon arriving at the hospital we waited for about two hours then a nurse called us into a room. Very quickly she blurted out that Mikerlange is HIV positive. I almost didn't catch her saying it. I looked quickly at Mikerlange and her mom and saw no reaction on their faces or in their bodies. I inquired of her multiple times whether she understood this diagnosis. There was no interpreter and with my amount of Creole I could not explain to her in-depth what this diagnosis means. I still wonder whether both mom and daughter already suspected she has HIV or felt so hopeless or resigned to it by then. As I was questioning her, I noticed that the nurse, as she was charting, was almost to the point of laughter. WHAT? Was my persistence striking her as funny? Did she remember a funny moment from earlier in her day? Is she so hardened, so callus, that she could laugh in the midst of this woman's pain and most life-defining moment? I wanted to reach across that desk and slap her. 

We moved back out to the waiting room and waited another few hours. Eventually the doctor showed up and seemed ready to start discussing Mikerlange's condition right there. I asked for us to move somewhere private, but then he ran off to get an interpreter. He eventually returned with the interpreter and the discussion began. Privacy, what? The doctor was receptive to my endless questions- "Can we admit her to the hospital today? What will they do for her if she is admitted?" It took some major rephrasing of questions over and over again, but eventually was told that they would feed her, possibly administer IV antibiotics, provide counseling, and start her on anti-retroviral drugs (standard treatment for HIV). The problem? No bed available in the hospital. Another hospital was offered but I haven't had a good experience with them and I was starting to trust this doctor- and we've had other, good experiences with them. The doctor and I exchanged phone numbers so I can find out when a bed becomes available. He prescribed the anti-retrovirals, as well as medications for her skin, which were filled at their pharmacy for no charge. Some other medications I will need to buy and find next week at a different pharmacy. As the doctor explained these medications and their administration to Mikerlange and her mother, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" blasted from the other side of the wall. The contrast between the music and this girl receiving the worst news of her life caused Phil and I to chuckle in bewilderment. 

Today Ashley and I checked on Mikerlange. She indicated that she understands how to take her medications. However, she vomited her mid-day doses because she did not eat when she took them. She must take 6 pills morning, noon and night. With food. I returned later with some food for her to eat this weekend. I am overwhelmed with thinking about how we can truly help her. Taking her to the hospital is not enough. To start that, I must follow through with the rest. Why give her meds if she cannot take them or keep them down? How long can we continue to provide her with food? How do the other thousands or millions of people with HIV in this country take their medications when they don't eat every day? I have no answers. 

Please pray with us as we think through these heavy decisions. Pray that Ensa and Mikerlange will know the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Pray that we can get Ensa and Mikerlange beds at Medishare. Pray that their doctors will understand quickly how to help them. Pray that the Lord will grant them peace and healing. Pray that He will provide jobs for their families. Pray that the funds for treating them (and possibly feeding them) will be provided. Please prayerfully consider if God is calling YOU to participate in meeting their needs. Click here to donate to our medical fund and fill out the form, which will allow us to pay for their medical expenses.

Thank you for continuing to read this blog and for thinking through these tough issues with me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Giving of Thanks Continues

22. Kisses from children.

23. Warm babies against skin and nestled under a chin

24. Being able to sell my laptop. It was in rough shape. I pulled it out of my bag and the buyer began to laugh. Ouch. It did have some stains/dirt on the cover. The guy asked, "Where did you take this? Iraq?" "Um...No...Haiti." He chuckled then proceeded to laugh some more as it booted up- he wanted to make sure the internet worked on it. It booted up veerrry slowly then a webpage took about 5 minutes to load. Then froze. He apologized then said he couldn't give me as much as I was asking for it. He gave me a price and I took it. At least I got something for it and I wanted it gone. If only he knew that the top used to lie completely flat after I dropped the laptop years ago. For months, before being able to get it fixed as I was living in Haiti, I used a large can of tomatoes behind it to keep it up.

25. Cars. Mine is having some problems but it brought me safely home from California.

26. A good friend of mine has been working on her adoption and foster license for years. Last week two children were placed with them for foster care. I am excited to meet them tomorrow. Praising God He picked these wonderful people to love these kids!

27. Soup

28. Books

29. Hoodie sweatshirts

30. Cameras and pictures

31. Sleep

32. Chocolate

33. Music

34. Rockband and a friend to rock out with.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Giving Thanks

Have you read Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts? I read it last winter during a time when I was very discouraged, ungrateful, and well, frankly, I had a yucky attitude.  The ladies at my church are reading it and will be meeting together monthly to discuss it. God used this book, and multiple wise people, to put me in my place. And I think He's doing it again. Go get the book. Don't tarry! 

How can I be ungrateful when I have so much? How do I not give thanks every minute? The secret to being content is giving thanks. 

Not in order of importance. Today, I am thankful for: 

1. Jesus, the lover of my soul. 


2. Mom and Dad. I can pick up the phone or walk into their house and know that they are always there for comfort, advice, and a place to go home to. 

3. Sister and her husband. Again, a place to go home to. My sister is always honest with me. She gives me coffee, she taught me how to dress, let's me borrow her purses and heels, let's me get away with nothing. 

4. Niece and nephew. Niece was born on Thursday. I was privileged enough to be present at the birth. She is healthy and our family is rejoicing. My nephew, who I am enamored with.


5. Friends in Washington who feel like family

6. Friends in Haiti who feel like family

7. Friends in California and Florida who feel like family

8.  Wise women who give loving, challenging, and truth-filled council.

9. The Word- The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only. 

10. Haiti. Haitians. I have been shaped and refined into who I am today due to this country and its courageous, hilarious, and gorgeous people. 

11. The patients and families I have been blessed to know and take care of. I could write a whole blog post and more on what I have learned from them.

12. Late-night talks with moms from the hospital. Conversations where we struggle with sickness, death, our faith. Prayers offered up together, beseeching for healing, comfort, strength, trust, belief. Laughter together where you almost, but thankfully, not quite, pee your pants. Is that appropriate while hanging chemotherapy? 

13. Working at night creates giddiness and silliness that you may not encounter during the daytime. 

14. Couches. Being snuggled up with coffee, a book, and a blanket

15. Coffee

16. Chai Tea

17. Rain that pounds the house, windows, and roof so hard that you don't want to go out in it, but you can't help feeling so cozy and basking in its sound.

18. Friends around a table, sharing food, laughter, and fellowship. Laughing because you know each other and your quirks so well. You may have even argued about those quirks, but now there is a sweetness to knowing that your friendship survived it. 

19. A friend I can always call and a laugh is guaranteed. Honesty is always given and received between us. 

20.  I've loved every job I've had as a nurse.

21. Being allowed to enter into someone's emotional, physical, and spiritual pain, when they are at their rawest. It is humbling, beautiful, and a gift.

Let each day, each moment, be offered back to Him in thanks. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Haiti 2004

Picking up where I left off on my post The Beginning...

I started my job at a children's hospital as an RN. I loved it, even though those first few months were extremely challenging and every day I walked into work feeling like I knew nothing. Meanwhile, Haiti and its people, especially its children, continued to rest on my heart. 

In October of that fall I received an email from my trip leader to Haiti saying that she'd been extremely burdened for the boys we'd visited and she'd been visiting them frequently when she visited the Haitian girl she and her husband were adopting. During one of these trips she learned that these boys were being abused and neglected by the man who had supposedly been caring for them. She, along with another couple, named the Manasseros (who'd met the boys on their own mission trip right after ours), flew down to Haiti to help the boys. When they arrived at their "home" they found all the boys walking down the street with what little they owned, starving and exhausted. The man abusing them had been thrown in jail, but that left the boys on the streets because the rent for their home had been left unpaid. They put all the boys in a truck, fed them, and drove around all night looking for a place that would take them. Eventually they found an abandoned church where they moved the boys and over the next few months found a couple of godly Haitian men to care for them. Meanwhile, these two couples were back in the states, raising support to move their families to Haiti to oversee the care of the boys and start a ministry called Child Hope International (with Maison de Lumiere being the home for the boys). My trip leader, Summer, wanted to know if I'd like to travel back to Haiti with her and her sister during the upcoming summer. I was thrilled and quickly agreed to go. 

So, it was with much joy that I met up with Summer and her sister Kyle in Miami, along with Rhonda, a hilarious woman from my first trip (Rhonda and I continue to meet up in Haiti almost every year, usually unplanned), and a group from Rhonda's church. We dropped our luggage at the same hotel from the year before and drove over to the new boys' home.  We were welcomed by a group of excited boys, twelve in number. The remainder of the boys who'd been living with the American man were older and had moved out, returning to the streets or to programs for older kids. That week we played board games, introduced the boys to play-doh, learned to dance (Haitian-style), peeked in on them as they attended school for the first time, worshipped together, and played a very confusing game of Sardines (most of the boys didn't understand the rules). Summer, Kyle, a new friend named Meleesa, and I decided to spend one night at the boys' home. One of us tried to enter the bathroom but was stopped short by an enormous cockroach blocking our way to it. This was before cockroaches became my roommates, bathroom-mates, and kitchen-mates years later and I learned to be-gudgringly co-exist with them. No bathroom usage was going to occur with that thing in our way. Hours (yes, we were very girly girly) of laughter and attempts to coerce each other into killing it ensued. Eventually one of the other woman killed it by throwing a sandal at it. But we left it in the hallway as no one had the nerve to actually move it- because it surely would rise from the dead. I was so creeped out by the thought of things crawling on me at night, that I slept with pants on and my sandals on my feet. Yes, I am ridiculous. 

The next day we drove to the beach with the boys and the team. Swimmers the boys were not. Outside the water, they were tough and independent. Inside the water they became little boys, needing love and safety. Summer and I decided to stay in Haiti an extra few days, while her sister and the team left on their scheduled date. We took our stuff over to the boys home and camped out with the cockroaches. 

For the next few days Summer and I traveled around Port au Prince with some of the boys, looking for their family members. We wanted to reunite these kids with their parents and families (some had not seen them in years) and needed permission from their parents to keep them in the boys' home. It was a beautiful but sobering time, watching the kids see their parents and siblings and neighbors after years of being apart. As far as I could understand, we found each family just by word of mouth. The boys had some idea of where they had grown up so we headed out in those areas, walked around a bit, then eventually a neighbor, relative, or childhood friend recognized them. Each time when they were recognized, people gathered around and began announcing their presence. By the time we arrived in front of their parents, crowds of people had gathered. Summer explained to each parent where their child had been, where they were now living and what MdL was doing for them. She asked each child if they would like to stay with their parents, but all shared that they wanted to stay at MdL. Each parent agreed that they would like their child to be raised at MdL. We gave them information about how to contact their children if they wanted to see them and then traipsed our way down through the hills, led through the rocks and the mud by the boys. At one point I remember sitting in a truck and the words, "I want to move here," came flying out of my mouth. I meant them, but the thought seemed so crazy and not like me, that I considered trying to grab the words and putting them back in my mouth. A few days later we bid a tearful goodbye to the boys, wondering when we'd be able to return.

Again, I left Haiti wondering what my role in the future there would be.  I could be a nurse there. But me, really? The girl who hates dirt, creepy-crawling creatures, and being hot? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quoting

I'm sitting here in sunny but chilly Seattle (more on that later), cuddled under a blanket (oh, the joy I find in being comfy and cozy and wrapped up in a blanket and sweater), reading a book where the following was quoted:

Rosenbury was riding in a train on his way to a speaking engagement. He noticed a boy in his late teens acting very nervous, moving from one seat to another. Dr. Rosenbury approached the boy and asked him if he could be of some help. The boy told his story. "I used to live in Springvale just a few miles ahead. This train goes right behind our back yard. My father and mother still live in the old house. Three years ago I had a fight with my dad and ran away from home. It has been three tough years. I wrote my mom last week and told her I wanted to come home just once and if dad agreed she was going to hang something white outside the house so I would know that my father had agreed to let me stop. I told her not to do it unless father agreed to let me come home." Dr. Rosenbury noticed the boy becoming increasingly agitated as he said, "Look sir, my house is just a few miles ahead and I am afraid to look. I am going to close my eyes. Would you look and see if you can see anything white hanging in the yard?" As the train came around the corner Rosenbury shouted, "Look, son, look!" You could hardly see the house for white. There was a large sheet hanging from the upstairs window, tablecloths, hankies, pillowcases hung on every tree, all across the clothes line, hanging from every window. The boy's face went white, his lips quivered as the train came to a stop. Rosenbury says that the last thing he saw of the boy he was running as fast as he could to the house of his father.

-Unknown Author

My eyes are swimming with tears as I write this. Is this not a beautiful picture of love and forgiveness? Shouldn't we love those around us, those who have messed up, hurt us, hurt others, in the same way? Not begrudgingly accept them back into our lives, but with hearts full and white flags waving, forgive and pour out love? Isn't this the way the Father has loved and forgiven us? Don't you want to be able to give that kind of love? Don't you want to receive it? 

Malachi 4:6- "He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers." 

Luke 15:11-32- The Parable of the Lost Son
     verse 32:  "But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”


Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Beginning

How I ended up loving and moving to Haiti is truly a testimony to God's creativity and faithfulness. He deserves all the thanks and glory for getting me there. I also pray that some of you who read this may be encouraged to pursue what you are passionate about, even if it seems crazy or others don't understand it. 

I had a wonderful roommate in college, Katie, who grew up as a missionary kid. She was always interested in missions to the third world. I didn't understand this interest, but thought it was great-for her.  The summer before our senior year she traveled to Haiti for three weeks to work in an orphanage. We laugh about it now, because she didn't have any idea what she was doing or who she would be working with once she arrived. I thought she was crazy and she realizes now that she was. Also, where was Haiti? I knew nothing about it. She came back from her trip in love with Haiti and the kids. We poured through her pictures and gazed at the beauty of the kids together. As long as I can remember I have been drawn to and enthralled by black children. I loved television shows like The Cosby Show, Different Strokes, and Webster, mostly due to the adorable children in them. If my mom saw a black child in a mall or store or restaurant she would always get my attention and I would melt. Maybe I sound ridiculous...but I don't care. Katie's excitement about her experience was contagious and I was mesmerized by these kids and their stories. I had to go to Haiti now. Once that interest grabbed ahold of me it wouldn't let go. The following summer Katie was already scheduled to go to Brazil with school so she couldn't go to Haiti with me. By then I was determined to go. I joined up with a team of mom's adopting from this orphanage who were going to visit their kids while they waited for their adoptions to be processed. First though, I had to graduate from college, take my state nursing boards, and pass them.

After 180 questions, the maximum amount of questions you can be asked on the Board of Nursing exam (as I recall, the computer may give you only 60 questions then it turns off, or it may give you more.  I was lucky enough to receive all the questions.), I got into my mom's car and cried. Not a few tears. No, I cried an ugly, sorrowful, deep-down-in-your-soul cry. I was completely convinced I had failed the exam. Friends asked that weekend how it had gone and each time I burst into tears. I began to convince myself I would work at Starbucks and gosh darn it, I was going to enjoy it! I think I had about a week after the exam before I was scheduled to leave for Haiti. I had the option of calling the licensing office after a few days to find out if I had passed. Or, I could wait a few weeks to receive the results in the mail. I agonized over the decision. Should I call and find out before leaving for Haiti, so I wouldn't fear the unknown while I was gone? If I didn't pass, would my trip be ruined? If I passed, my trip would be fantastic and I wouldn't be worried all week. Or, should I wait and not spoil my trip if I hadn't passed? A few days before I was set to leave I received a phone call. On the other end was the health department. They hadn't received my college transcripts so they couldn't process my test results. I gave them the information they needed to obtain the transcripts then the lady on the other end asked, "Do you know your test results?" My heart sank and I thought "Oh my gosh. She's going to tell me I failed over the phone. That is so cruel!" I said a very weak "No", then she said I passed. My heart leaped with excitement but I didn't want there to be any mistake made. I asked her to check again. She came back on the line and she confirmed that yes I had, in fact, passed! I thanked her profusely, hung up the phone, then danced around my apartment. A huge weight had been lifted and now I was even more excited to leave for Haiti. The miraculous part of this, in addition to the fact that I had actually passed, was that I should never have been allowed to take the test if the health department didn't have my transcripts. I had filled out all the proper paperwork for my transcripts to be there, but now they were saying they weren't. I believe God intervened to give me the results because He knew I couldn't decide whether to call or wait for the results and I was a wreck trying to decide. I was actually a nurse now. I wouldn't have to be a fake one while in Haiti.

Another blessing was given through this trip. A few weeks before my departure I received an email from a person in charge of the adoptions from the orphanage I would be visiting. She shared that a couple from Tacoma- about an hour from where I lived- had just been to Haiti recently to visit their Haitian daughter (in the process of being adopted) and now the adoption had been completed. The couple couldn't return to Haiti so soon after just leaving so they needed someone to escort their daughter home. Would I mind doing this? Um, no…I would LOVE to do this! My aunt had joked that I shouldn't try to sneak any of the kids on the plane. I wouldn't have to sneak now. 

I left for Miami then met up with another woman traveling to the same orphanage and we split a hotel room. The next morning we met the rest of our team at the Miami airport. Each person in the group was friendly, engaging, and full of anticipation of going to see their kids. We arrived into a hot, sticky airport in Haiti, and I thought "WHAT AM I DOING?" We threw our numerous bags into a van and drove off to a hotel near the orphanage. Then, we showed up at the orphanage. My heart was captured by the multitude of children, many toddlers, running up to us and grabbing our legs or holding their arms up to be held. There were too many children and not enough staff. We picked up a few kids and took them to the hotel to swim and eat dinner with us. It seemed too easy. Did we even ask permission to take them with us? The kids themselves were eager to leave and many asked us in English to go to the hotel. The scene was repeated throughout the week. We spent the majority of our time at the hotel with the kids. One or two afternoons I spent organizing the medical cabinet at the orphanage, but that was the extent of my medical duties. 

Towards the end of the week we took a drive up towards the mountains to check out a home for former street boys. Approximately 48 boys were living with an American man, a nurse, in a large house. Many shared their stories of living on the streets and how they had been taken off the street by this man. The kids pulled out their drums and we had an impromptu time of worship. That night, some of the boys joined the man taking care of them at our hotel to go swimming, so we interacted with them a bit more. 

I bawled all the way to the airport in Haiti. I didn't want the trip to end and my heart was wrecked. I won't go into details, but the journey back to Washington with the Haitian girl from the orphanage was delightful and eventful. We had a joyous reunion with her parents in the Seattle airport. Then, I was left to sort out my feelings from this trip. I didn't start my job at the hospital for another month, which left me lots of time to think...too much time. What was my purpose in going to Haiti? I didn't feel like my time there was over. I loved the kids I'd met, but I couldn't adopt them all...or any of them (the orphanage kids already had future families waiting for them and I was in no position to adopt, and how could I help the boys' home?) What did God want from me now, in relation to Haiti? I missed it and yearned to be there. It haunted me. 

More in the next post.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Linkage

Wonderful links of the day:

Wresting with Poverty in the US:

http://allthingshendrick.blogspot.com/2011/08/guest-post-wrestling-with-poverty-in-us.html

Loving the poor through relationship:

http://allthingshendrick.blogspot.com/2011/08/wrestling-with-poverty-in-us-part-two.html

Yes, Haiti does have peanut butter that is actually made there. Sending in a bunch from the states, while thoughtful, won't truly help Haiti in the way it needs.

http://blexi.blogspot.com/2011/08/when-to-buy-local.html

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Let me tell you...

The delightful woman I live with often starts a conversation with me that way. Last week, she revealed that she was quiet surprised (later she even said disappointed) when I showed up at her door to meet her for the first time that I wasn't much darker with a cute French accent. My friends, her great-nephew and great-niece, had told her I lived in Haiti. So this is what she thought about me before I arrived. We laughed and laughed about it. Truth be told, I wish I was much darker with a cute French accent....

Actually, off topic from dark women with French accents, but here I go anyway.... I'm going to let YOU tell Me. What do you think of the following post? A friend posted it on her facebook, and it came from the Desiring God website. Give me your thoughts and opinions, please! Do you think you're not called because you haven't had a dramatic "calling" experience? Better think about that!

Don’t Complicate the "Missionary Call"

July 27, 2011
by: David Sitton
Category: Commentary

I was never called to be a missionary, nor was I drafted. I volunteered. No special call was needed. I chose to go; I wanted to go; I was compelled to go. And where I go is always determined by an open Bible and a stretched-out map of the regions where Christ is still unknown and un-praised!

I chuckle when I hear missionaries and pastors talk about “surrendering to the call” of ministry. I always want to ask, “After you surrendered, were you water-boarded, or just hauled off in handcuffs and leg irons.” Was it really necessary for you to be abducted by a heavenly vision before you would go into the work of the gospel?
The missionary call is not like a prison dog that tracks us down, sniffs us out, and hog-ties us for the nations. That is silly-talk and really bad theology. Nowhere in Scripture is a mysterious (supernatural) call a prerequisite before we can respond to the Great Commission. The opposite is actually true.

Don’t Wait for a Call

No aspect of mission is more bogged down with extra-biblical baggage than the “missionary call.” The clear command of Christ “to go” should be, by itself, sufficient to set you on your way “into all the world. . . proclaiming the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). You can’t go wrong by trying to go. Trust the Lord to direct your moving feet. If you are convinced of your “call” to “stay”, this will only serve as added confirmation that you are right. Don’t fear the risk of ending up some place the Lord doesn’t want you. Too many already took that “risk” when they assumed a stateside ministry or vocation with no confirmation other than their own desires.
Dramatic calls to ministry are the exception. If you have it in your heart to go, then go. Then, lean on the sovereignty of God to get you where he wants you in the harvest. Don’t worry about “running ahead of God.” You aren’t that quick!

Try to Go

Paul tried to go into Asia, but the Lord wouldn’t let him. He then tried to go to Bithynia, but was “kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.” Still, he kept trying to go. I count at least six cities in Acts 16 where Paul tried to take the gospel. It was only then that the Lord gave him a vision of the Macedonian. He woke up the next morning and immediately headed for the regions north, having “concluded that God had called them to preach the gospel in Macedonia.
The heavenly vision wasn’t a “call” to mission, it was specific guidance for missionaries that were already going.

The point? Don’t complicate the missionary call. Get radical with the going and God will get radical in the specific guiding.
David Sitton is the founder and president of To Every Tribe Ministries. David is a career church planting missionary who lived and worked in Papua New Guinea for 16 years, making first gospel contact with several headhunting, cannibalistic tribes.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Relationship

I yearn for deep relationships, to be a part of community. So why do I, especially when I am in Haiti, become bogged down in tasks? Is it because there are so many needs? Maybe. Or maybe its because I also long to feel and to be needed. I long to accomplish something, to check off my responsibilities on a list, to believe I am good at something. But was is the greater need? When I take the time to think about it and look at scripture, I know it is to spend time with our Lord, to spend time with people, to invest. Lord, help me to remember this and offer myself to you and to live with a focus on relationships with others. The Haitians teach me this.  They live inter-dependently, helping each other, sharing with each other, talking and laughing along the way. This is my favorite part of Haiti.

My time in relationship with the kids this last trip was facilitated by de-worming the kids (giving the kids worm medicine) in the morning and engaging in play with toddlers. Read this post if you need a reminder of how the de-worming went last time. Because this time I didn't tell any of the younger kids what the pill was, they all swarmed around me, thinking it was candy or a vitamin, sticking out their hands for more. Suckers! Amazingly, most of the older kids took the pills like mature young adults. No exciting stories of punishment or coercion to share this time.

Another morning I spent with the cooks at the boys home. It was full of dancing, singing (made up verses to the tune of Creole songs), and mockery of me for the fact that I don't know how to cook Haitian-style. Pure joy. 

The afternoons were spent seeing patients in our medical clinic, holding sweet kids at the feeding program, and in conversations with our kids. The kindergarten-ers and 6th graders had a graduation ceremony while I was there, with other students presenting songs and dances. A beautiful way to celebrate these kids' achievements.

The group of people I traveled with were insightful, flexible, kind, and funny. They worked on various construction projects for the ministry, as well as assisted some Haitians in building a home for a woman in our community. Thank you to those who donated money to pay for this house! Each evening the team and I and some staff members spent on the roof of the guesthouse discussing Jesus, kids, Haiti, and our struggles. We also threw ourselves into a massive, hour-long pillow fight with the girls at the girls' home. Epic.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hidden Treasures

Yesterday as I was packing for Haiti I found a camera card. I'd passed over it many times when moving between Haiti and the states and between different houses here in California. This time I decided to pop it in my camera to take a look at what was on it. To my complete delight, I found over two hundred pictures that I had never looked at. Something happened a few weeks after I took those pictures that caused me to forget all about them....like the earthquake. 



This is Beauty: Women who love their children, serve kids, and do their jobs amidst abundant laughter and prayer. Each day, at 12 pm, these ladies meet in an upper room to pray for those they love and their country. These happy ladies cook and clean at the boys' home (the boys do chores, as well, and do their own fair share of cooking). They are feisty, love Jesus, and KNOW how to cook. Madam Michle, on the far left, has cooked at the boys' home since it started almost 8 years ago. These boys are her boys.


My Haitian Mama. Carole (pronounced Ca-wole) exudes joy. Her personality is bigger than life, as is her infectious laugh. Whenever we have a time of feeding our neighbors in the ravine, Carole is the one who cooks for them. My favorite part of these times is watching her shake her booty and joining in with her.  The beating of the drums and voices joined in song to our Lord in a hot, sweaty outdoor church...no words can explain the utter joy that I feel. Carole's presence is the icing on the cake. I think she just can't help herself and her booty and arms start a-shakin'.

Next to Carole is Monis. I regretfully don't have an individual picture of her to share. She used to cook at the guesthouse where I live and now is a nanny for the littlest girls at the girls home. When I was sick or had a hard day she always knew without me telling her and lent a listening ear. I learned much of my Creole by listening to her and practicing with her.


She may be little, and we do call her Ti Mommy (little Mommy), but this woman is a force to be reckoned with. She always displays concern and care for me, so I totally feel loved by her, but when she is concerned about something or someone, you better watch out because she will get all up your in face.


Little sassafras, Estaline. In two days I'll get to kiss this sweet face and hold this sweet chub.

Can you understand just a bit why I am so thrilled to get on that plane tomorrow?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

No to fixing...

 In thinking about my upcoming trip, I decided to send out the following email to my team members. This subject has been weighing on my heart heavily in recent months. I don't pretend to have it all figured out. These are just my raw thoughts and experiences. I'd love to hear your thoughts, readers, on this subject...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Often times when we go to the third world, whether we realize it or not, we may be going with an attitude of pity for the nation we are visiting. Please pray and check your heart and make sure before you get there and when you arrive that this is not your attitude.  Let me tell you right now: you will learn that Haitians are not to be pitied. They have their share of problems, yes, but in the United States we have our problems as well. Their problems are just different than ours. You will learn that they are blessing you more than you are blessing them. This can hurt our pride, I know, but that's just Jesus
making us humble! We cannot save Haiti in one week and we are not called to do that and God doesn't need us to. I've seen this attitude in others, which has made me realize I have had this attitude, and
I've needed to repent of it.

Secondly, how can we truly help Haiti? Is it by giving them food from the US, supplies from the US, and turning them into another US? I vehemently exclaim, "No!" Since last year's earthquake this has turned into a bigger problem than it already was. So much rice and other food was brought into Haiti from the US and other countries (referred to as"food dumping") after the earthquake that rice grown and sold in Haiti was more expensive to purchase. Thus, rice growers lost their livelihood and less money was poured into Haiti's economy. There are hundreds of missionary organizations and NGO's staffed by foreigners in Haiti. Yet, Haiti is still in poverty. Why is this? I believe and have seen that much of this is due to us foreigners wanting to give, with unknowingly focusing on a relief approach, rather than development. So, while you are there, in addition to pouring out Christ's love on people, focus on how you can develop and impart what you know and your skills into the Haitians, rather than how you can "fix" Haiti. Get to know the Haitian staff. It is easy to stay in your comfort zone and be relational with the American staff, but I can promise you that you will be blessed and have a very different trip if you are intentional about meeting these people and learning from them.

Along these lines, please encourage those you know who want to give to Haiti through you to send money- either with you, or through Child Hope's website. I know, people often want to know that a specific item that they have personally picked out is making it to a specific child or cause. They may even want a picture of the child holding their new underwear that was picked out especially for them by someone in the states. Encourage them that their money will be put to better use so
supplies and needs can be bought in Haiti and in turn boost Haiti'seconomy. Haiti has underwear, shoes, hygiene products, and tools, not to worry!

While Kaitlyn was in Haiti, she and I, along with a few other of the staff and housemates, read a thought-provoking and extremely relevant book called When Helping Hurts.  If you want more information on what I am writing about, I suggest reading this book. Also, the following blog (with links below), written by missionaries in Haiti, is amazing and speaks along these lines.

"The widespread devastation caused by the earthquake was only possible as a result of economic injustice. Haiti has long been subjected to external interventions such as unjust international trade
policies,onerous debt payments on debt acquired by the Duvalier dictatorships, military interventions and paternalistic charity that have perpetuated the nation’s structural poverty. Beginning in the 1980’s, structural adjustment policies imposed on Haiti by international financial institutions like the World Bank and IMF and food dumping by the United States weakened national agricultural production and exacerbated the poverty in rural Haiti, resulting in mass urban migration that made Port-Au-Prince especially vulnerable to this earthquake."

http://blexi.blogspot.com/2010/07/wondering-what-you-can-do-for-haiti.html
http://blexi.blogspot.com/2009/12/shoes-for-haiti.html

Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope this didn't sound like a lecture. Rather, I hope this encourages you to think deeper about your time in Haiti and how to serve the poor wherever you are.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

4 weeks!

Hi dear readers! Thank you for still reading! I'm loving life in CA and enjoying my time with friends. My sister spent a sweet weekend with me a couple of weekends ago where we walked around my neighborhood and the beach, shopped, and ate some delicious food with friends.  I'm starting to feel more comfortable at work and am thankful all of my coworkers have been very kind and helpful.

I was able to work into my contract a week off in June/July to go to Haiti! I'll be gone June 25-July 2, with Kaitlyn (my fabulous former roommate in Haiti) and some of her friends. As a team we are hoping to raise enough money to build a house for an Haitian family. These are pre-fabricated houses that Child Hope has been building for Haitian staff members and friends in our community who lost their homes or had significant damage in the January 12, 2010 earthquake. A lot of money was donated for these homes soon after the earthquake and Child Hope has been able to build numerous ones with the money, but the money has run out so we're trying to raise it to build one while we're there. By "we" I actually mean them...the ones capable of this. It would be fun to lift a hammer and hit some nails and sweat a bit more than I normally already do while I'm there, but I imagine I'll be busy doing medical stuff.  Our Haitian staff and masons will be working on building this house with the American team members.

First of all, please pray for our trip. Pray we will have humble hearts to serve our God and the Haitian people, and each other. Secondly, if you are interested in donating for the building of the house or for other needs of the ministry, you may click here to see a cool website that one of the team members, Lauren, designed. There is a link on it that will take you to a fundraiser page where you can designate the money for us to build a house.

We are so thankful for people who want to partner with us to love the Haitian people! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'm in California! I have a job! I started last week and had my first shift all by my lonesome (without a preceptor) on the floor yesterday in a children's hospital in Southern California. I am super excited to be working, to be busy, and to have a purpose, after feeling very unproductive the last two months. Although resting can be grand, and oh so necessary, there is really something wonderful about doing something you have been trained to do, earning a living, and having a purpose. Oh yes, and the Sun! Yeah baby!

My parents and I drove here over a period of a week. My dad had business to do in a couple different cities in California so we made stops along the way where we stayed with his former boss and good friend, as well as my grandparents. We had some great laughs and bonding moments, especially when we were tired. 

The last day that my parents were here we stayed with my friends Jamie, Loni, Darren, and Carolyn, who I know from their numerous visits to Haiti. They have a beautiful house on the water, not to mention are just loving, welcoming people. Jamie, Loni, and I rode bikes around Balboa Island after church and dropping my parents off at the airport. I love being able to be outdoors, where its not rainy or too hot to move. To my utter delight, my former roommate in Haiti, Kaitlyn, was passing through So Cal so I picked her up and we chatted into the night. Last weekend I went to a meeting at Jamie and Loni's house for a (MdL's) Camp in a Box meeting, where I was reunited with numerous friends who'd visited MdL in Haiti over the years. I think I shocked a few people by walking into the house. I had never seen these people outside of Haiti or looking so clean!

Being here doesn't make me miss Haiti and my kids any less though. I stayed with friends last week that I met in Haiti last fall, John and Michelle. Reminiscing about the kids with people who know and love them and together stalking other people's facebooks with the kids' pictures has been therapeutic. Sharing that passion with others helps me feel like a person who fits, rather than the misfit I sometimes feel like when I am away from Haiti. It might not make sense to you, but its hard to fit back into the first world after being away for awhile. Anyway, Michelle and John were fabulous hosts, who took me to the beach and showed me some of their favorite restaurants in the area. Michelle and I also participated in some serious "Just Dance" sweat fests. You Need to check out this Wii game. You'll think you're such a good dancer, even though you really may not be.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Where am I?

I didn't want to post anything until I had figured something out for certain. Well, what in life is really certain? 

I left Haiti early in February. I never, at any point, stopped loving what I do there, stopped being amazed by and adoring my kids, or stopped loving the country as a whole. I was just exhausted and needed a break. I'm visiting my family and friends in the Seattle area, as well as working as a nanny for a couple of families. I have also applied for a nursing license to work in California. There are a couple of traveling nursing jobs that I am interested in, which means I would work at a hospital for 13 weeks, then after that I can either stay (if they like me, the job is still needed, and I like them), or I can go to another hospital or back to Haiti. Praying, praying...I need that nursing license first before I can move forward with anything, though. I appreciate your prayers for me to be thankful in the midst of the waiting and for me to be aware of how God wants to use me here, in Washington, right now. Help me to be fully present Lord in the now.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

January in Pictures

 Makenlove

 One of the four newest boys, Tiyou. 

 Stanley, who moved into the boys home in January with his little brothers, Wilson and Tiyou. 

 Emmanuel, Yvenel, and Lukenson

 Schneider, who also moved into the boys home in January.

 Lukenson playing marbles
 
 Wilson

 A couple of my buddies at the feeding program

Yvel, one of my favorite kids who attends the feeding program and hangs out in our neighborhood.







 I have a huge soft spot for this girl, Katrina. We've been through a lot together. She put a rock in her ear years ago, but she's becoming a little mother hen for the youngest girls.

 Oh, Daphne. Oh, Daphne.

 Adniaka, the girl with the worms in my last post. 

 Adniaka and Katrina

 Daphne




Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reasons to Love....

....Haiti

1. Haitians love to tease. LOVE to tease. Nothing seems to be too private or embarrassing for them to not use as ammunition. The same joke can be told over and over again, in exactly the same way, and it can still be hilarious. Some examples of endlessly repeated jokes: "Ou manje anpil (You eat a lot)", "Ou gen kolera (You have kolera)," and "Ou malad? Eske ou gen diare? (You're sick? Do you have diarrhea?)." Years ago I fell down the stairs at the boys' home (I am a self-professed complete klutz) and they still laugh at me with me about it. They have taught me how to laugh at myself and to not take myself so seriously.

2. Haitians kiss each other on the cheeks in greeting, making me feel super welcome and cared for, even if I've just met them.

3. Haitians take care of their family members. It may be burdensome for those who are in poverty, but they want to help their parents and siblings and other members of their family with their needs. Large numbers of people may live together and look out for each other.

4. They sing without reservation. I love to sing. Enough said.

5. Haiti has no shortage of drama or adventures to keep you on your toes. Just when I think I can predict what my day might look look like, BAM! something happens to make my head spin around.

6. Along the lines of Number 5, Haiti has made me learn that I KNOW NOTHING. I moved to Haiti thinking I knew a lot about humanity, how to love people, and how to solve problems. Every day I learn that this is not the case. As frustrating as it can be, it makes me rely more on the Holy Spirit to live my life and to be in ministry.

7. Even though Port au Prince is heavily populated, I've often run into people I know at the market, on the street, or in restaurants. That rarely happens to me in the states. Haiti feels very small in comparison.

8. Running. Its hot, its sweaty, its dirty. I never know when I might trip and land on my face, causing all the people cooking, walking, or driving on the streets to stare and laugh at me.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Post-op Report

I apologize for the late post in telling you all that finally Sophiana had her surgery on January 28th. The surgery lasted longer (3 1/2 hours) than her surgeon had anticipated it would as there was even more swelling than he had expected. She is continuing to have some dizziness/balance issues so we are praying that those are short-term complications and she can return to school this week. Thank you for your prayers for Sophiana and for making this surgery happen! She is very appreciative of all you have provided for her. Soon I will post some words directly from her.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Warning: Not for the Squeamish

Two weeks ago the boys' home gained four new little boys into its home and the girls’ home welcomed two new girls into it. One of the little boys, Schneider, with the approximate age of 7, had apparently been living on his own for at least a year in a nearby tent city. The other three boys and the two girls lived in a tent outside of a nearby house. Their grandma was taking care of them over the last year as their parents died during the earthquake.

A few days after they moved in, Ashley, who is back working with us, de-wormed the new boys. The day after that a couple of our little boys exclaimed to me, “Schneider is pooping worms!” “Oh,” I said. “Well, at least he’s getting rid of them!” Later that day I passed out worm pills at the girls’ home. Here’s a few of their reactions: “I am not taking that! I don’t want worms coming out of my nose or mouth or butt!...Years ago I took that medicine and I pooped worms at school. I was so scared that I ran out of the bathroom and forgot to pull my skirt up. Everyone made fun of me!...I’m not skinny like (insert name), so I don’t have worms.” After some coercion and punishment doled out by a nanny for one girl, all the girls had chewed or swallowed the dreaded pill. I took one myself to convince a few to take it.. It tastes like dirt and you could probably use it to write on a chalkboard. Estaline and Dave, whose mom works at the girls’ home, both begged me for pills when they saw me giving them to the girls, thinking it was candy.

On Friday morning, Ashley and I decided Adniaka, the two-year-old newest girl, needed an IV because she had been vomiting and having diarrhea over night and refused to drink liquids. After a few unsuccessful attempts, we stopped trying and she began to drink a bit. We let her sleep for a bit then she woke up to vomit. Ashley grabbed for a cup and held it in front of Adniaka’s mouth. I was about to run for a towel when I was stopped short by Ashley. “What the…?” she exclaimed, with a horrified look on her face. She held up the cup, where a very long worm was curled around the bottom of it. We looked at each other in horror, made gagging sounds, laughed, and then I called for Bill, who was in his kitchen, to show him the evidence. His first words: “You need to save that for Susette. She’ll want to see it!” We obliged and kept the cup on the coffee table until she returned. I left for awhile to check on some of our other kids and when I came back Susette declared that she’d measured the worm and it was 10-inches long!

Throughout the afternoon and evening she began to drink more and ate a bit. That night though, she slept on a cot in mine and Ashley’s room so we could keep an eye on her. Early in the morning she began to cough and she coughed for most of the next hour. Each time she coughed Ashley or I grabbed a flash light and knelt down at the cot to see WHAT she was coughing up. Neither of us wanted to wake up to see a worm lying next to Adniaka or one lying in bed next to either one of us. Thankfully God spared us from that nastiness.

The next day Susette found me to tell me that Adniaka had coughed up another worm at the girls’ home. I accidentally left my phone over there so Chabine, one of girls, grabbed it and took a picture. Thanks, Chabine, so kind of you!

During church on Sunday one of the girls looked for me and said that Adniaka was throwing up. I found her outside with Ariana. Thoroughly grossed out, Ariana told me that Adniaka had coughed up another worm IN THE AISLE OF THE CHURCH. Fritz was so kind to offer to pick it up and I did too, but Ariana mustered the courage. I gathered myself together (holding the laughter inside- I admit, I might be sick thinking this is funny) and walked in with her because she asked for the moral support and to guard her so no one could see what she was doing in the middle of the church.

The following day I heard from Katrina, one of our younger girls, that Oline, slightly older than her, was changing Adniaka’s diaper and saw a worm crawling out. She freaked out and Katrina grabbed some toilet paper to pull it the rest of the way out. Since then no other worms have been seen.

 Katrina, I am proud of your ability to deal with grossness. You are on your way to being a good mom or medical professional! Oh Haiti, you never leave me with a shortage of stories to tell!