Saturday, December 10, 2011

The BEST Christmas Yet!

Yesterday after lunch, Cara and I sorted through Christmas gifts for the kindergartners.  Holy moly.  She has done this every year since it began, this was my first time.  And I have sorted through Christmas gifts before for those who won’t have a “Christmas”.  For some reason, the Holy Spirit was stirring in me, and switched my heart to full-on tenderness.  There were tubs after tubs filled with gifts from dolls, motorized cars, markers, clothes, shoes, soap, shampoo, tooth brushes, gaudy jewelry, and play-dough.  It was mountainous.

Cara read a note that one of the sponsors had written, and I just teared up.  The thoughtfulness in the note and in the gift was overwhelming.  So much love in a few sentences and navy blue shorts.  Then I started thinking, I am jealous that this gets to be a part of Cara’s Christmas every year.  Then I thought, I get to see the happiness on their faces when they open up their gifts, why do I get to see that joyful moment?  I pictured Emanuella and her excited from her doll with a bunch of curly hair.  Wilensky pumped up for his soccer ball.  I saw all the girls putting on their bracelets, laughing, showing off to each other, and rambling on at a quick rate in a language I don't know.  I am really going to be crying on Friday, better have the tissues at hand.

All in all, the best Christmas yet, I have never really enjoyed Christmas, the commercialized side of it.  I look forward to Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.  There is too much pressure in finding the perfect present that will only be exciting for 15 minutes, then forgotten.  It is why Thanksgiving is my favorite, it’s just the family eating and enjoying each other’s company without the fuss of opening presents at the end of the day.  Yesterday afternoon brought excitement to seeing a bunch of 5 year olds open up dolls, balls, and markers.  Truly, BEST Christmas yet!

Love and miss you!  I wish I could send you a funny text message.

Yesterday, God was glorified, definitely. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2 G's

It is extremely difficult to ask for support.  I would much rather be on the giving side than the receiving.  God unequivocally sent me here and I am certain that the fundraising portion was another way for me to learn.  I thought, I had this call, it is my duty to provide a substantial portion of my funds.  And then, as usual (you would think I would understand by now) God raised that right hand of His and thwarted me on the back of the head (in a loving way, of course).

The first week of November I received a fundraising update e-mail and I was literally (and figuratively) FLOORED.  I sat down on my bedroom floor and teared up.  The generosity demonstrated by so many wonderful people.  A family with 3 kids, and another that they were fostering wrote a beyond generous check.  And a dear friend with a 1 year old, commuting for work, working on her master’s, and a baby on the way, her gift took my breath away.  When I looked at the list, immediately I started to pray that God would bless them 10 fold for their selfless gifts.

2 other greatly generous gifts, Dr. Bastin, a dear friend and one of my many mothers, opened up their home for me so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a sublease.  My small group got me a kindle fire, the nicest gift I have ever received.  In the course of a week and a half I have already read 3 books (nerd).

So, my 2 G’s are generosity and gratitude.  I am completely grateful for everyone’s generosity.  Whether in a gift/monetary form, prayer, or an encouraging word (I’m words of affirmation :D).  I cannot wait to see how God is going to bless each of you!
Truly, to God be the glory, GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday, Saturday, SATURDAY!!

The first week is under my belt.  This morning a few of us were going to go for a run (so thankful for other runners on the team). But it was raining so that plan got canceled. 

This day off however was certainly adventurous.  5 of us (Brooke, Megan, Alexa, Benny and I) got on a tap-tap (a pick up truck that everyone rides on the back of) and headed toward St. Louis to go for a hike to see a waterfall.  We had to walk through this river a few times, I kept thinking of Oregon Trail when we did.  First time wasn’t so bad because the water wasn’t too deep, only to our knees, and the current wasn’t very strong.  Then we walked along an extremely muddy path that made a normal hour long walk about 2 hours.  Along the way we were greeted by some not so enthused cows, goats, and pigs that would give us a groan of a salutation, it was hilarious (yes I snorted a few times.  AND on that subject a few of the high school girls snort when they laugh!!  MADE MY DAY!)

The next time we crossed the river, there were bigger rocks, which made it more difficult to walk across.  Sad thing is, here we are this group of white people (“blanc” is their chant for us as we walk past) holding our skirts up (pretty sure Victoria no longer has a Secret after today) struggling to get across the river.  While older Haitian women are walking across with ease, speed, and probably 50# of food/water/merchandise on top of their heads.  Moral of the story: we are pathetic.  We past this enormous tree that was beautiful, perfect for climbing, Benny said that they all believed the devil lived in the tree, therefore they have not cut it down.

Right before we got to the waterfall, we past through a village where a few kids started to follow us.  This little boy held my hand the last 100 yards, and he had the biggest grin on his face.  It was if, “Look at me, I am holding the blanc’s hand.”  Parading around.  He was too cute (not precious :D).  Then the full adventure of the day truly began.  We had to cross the river one more time.  Current: very strong, rocks: huge, water: to our hips.  Brooke fell a few times and thought she wouldn’t make it back up, the river took her down a few yards.  A few Haitian boys came to her aid and helped walk her across. 

Alas, we made it to the waterfall, and it was well worth the effort.  It was probably 50 feet high.  We went swimming for a bit where the waterfall landed.  Then time to head back.  Where more adventures ensued. 

After the tremendous task of crossing the river, we decided to take taxis back to St. Louis.  Megan and I shared a taxi (3 people on a moped…my Mom would have shrieked).  We went through mud, standing water, short passes of the river, AND the best part: we rode down a 6 foot cliff straight into a passing of the river.  Once we made it back to the market, we were fortunate to see a boy pooping in the middle then wiping with a rock.  SERIOUSLY?!  Then the tap-tap ride back to Port-de-Paix was filled with this Haitian boy trying to woo Megan.  Unsuccessful.  I was thankful for a shower and a good meal of rice and beans upon our arrival. 

And now comes the hardest part for me.  Y’all know me, I enjoy staying busy, keeping a full schedule until my head hits the bed, biggest adjustment will be nights like tonight, where there is not much of anything to do.  Follow scores on and read. GO CATS!  Pray that God will open new ways for me to be spending this time.
Hey – I love you!!
To God be the Glory.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm here!

Day 2 of school is complete!  And I am completely in love.  Sonlight truly is a special place, it is hard to describe.  A friend described it as a little piece of heaven on earth.  And while that can be a cheesey phrase that is often overused, it really is.  Encircled by turmoil, and pain, Sonlight is a safe haven.  Kids love and want to come to school.  They wan to learn and they want to excel.  It is where they will experience love and grace, they will hear an encouraging word and know that someone cares for them. 

And we all knew it would happen, but i has!  I have found that one child that if I could bring home, there would be no hesitation.  His name is Bonard, he is in the kindergarten class.  And he has the chunkiest, cutest cheeks yet he is so petite. He has a smile that warms your heart and you instantly want to give him a hug.

Then in High School today, two students read their critiques of novels they have recently read.  I was impressed,  and clearly you could see their personalities in what they read and how they interpreted their books.  Evansen was scientific and back and white (typical male).  Baradina was heartwarming, you could tell how the book made her feel (typical female).  She also used one of my favorite life lesson sayings, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”  I adored it.  High Schoolers are reading The Scarlet Letter, and are contemplating the story and its meaning.  “It is done,” was read today and they all immediately went to when Jesus said, “It is finished.”  :D

My high fives have already begun with kindergarten…uh oh.  I am loving the transition of starting my day in kindergarten and ending in High School.  It is a great difference to keep my ADD brain focused with a change up.  (Big Brother did you like my Baseball terminology).

THANK YOU to ALL of you who went out of your way to make me feel loved my last 2 weeks.  I hate goodbyes and am terrible at them, so thank you for making me feel loved.  I have never felt so loved!  And currently I am still in awe of God blessing me with the opportunity to be here.  All the missionaries who were here already, such a blessing to be able to learn from them, they are some astounding people.
I love y’all so very much!
Facebook message me or e-mail me how I can pray for you!
To God be the Glory.

PS Funny side story:  I came home from school yesterday and there were 2 pigs outside our gate eating in the sewage that lines the streets.  One was probably 150# the other 50#.  I thought, welome to Haiti.

Monday, October 24, 2011

For Such a Time as This...

Last year I studied Isaiah, loved every moment of it.  Then once the book was over it was summer time and the posing question: What to study now?  New Testament, a gospel to see how all the prophecies were fulfilled, nope I felt led to study Esther.  The first half of the summer I spent breaking down Esther, and I started to want to be her, started planning if I ever get to have children one of their middle names will be Esther.  The overwhelming theme was prayer, preparedness, provision, and timing.  Some good lessons to learn.  So of course, as you are studying something, you see it everything.  “Ah!  I got stopped at those two red lights so I would be at the check out line at this particular moment to encourage this person in front of me!”  Little blessings of divine intervention become fully evident.  Well the next big one, I was NOT expecting!

My boss wanted to do something special for her and her husband’s 15 year wedding anniversary.  They have a 3 year old son and have not really had real time just the two of them since.  So, she got an idea for them to take a weekend trip to Gatlinburg.  They asked me to hold down the fort while they were gone.  Reece (their 3 year old son) had a party at the Little Gym that Saturday (July 23rd) night.  Reece is excited, I’m excited, I wanted to know what the whole hype over the Little Gym was about.  We get there, and there are mascots.  Fear settles in and we have to avoid the mascots at all possibilities.  We go into this little room to the side where they are trying to sell stuff.  I notice a laptop computer is showing pictures of Haiti…wait a minute that’s Sonlight…wait a minute that’s Alexa!!!  After a recent trip there in April and having adored her I was thankful for a time to catch up.  I told her I was hoping to come down again for a longer trip, maybe month!  She then tells me there is an open room in the single girls house and I should contact Carmen (the director) to see if there were any needs.  Instantly, my heart starts racing, poor Reece was just scared of the mascots…

That Monday (July 25th), I e-mail Carmen, wondering if she would even remember me!  Informing her how I ran into Alexa, and how she told me about the open room, and if there was any need that I could help out with for a month or so.  She quickly responds that I was an answer to prayer, her sister Cara, is pregnant and due in February and that they would need a substitute Kindergarten and High School Literature teacher for the spring semester.  At once, I go into my boss’ office and explain to her that I may be able to move to Haiti for 5 months.  First thing out of her mouth, “Oh, we will just do a personal leave for you and you will keep your job.”  WHAT?  REALLY?!  I then go to e-mail Carmen, ok what’s the next step.  I fill out my application, get my references (HUGE thanks to Dotty Harney, Patty Raisor, and Sandra Bastin for completing them in such a timely manner), by Friday July 29th I was officially moving to Haiti in November!

I don’t understand why God likes me so much!  Why am I so blessed to be able to have this opportunity to serve Him?  Over and over again through out that whole week, I could hear Him telling me, “For such a time as this…”  You weren’t able to buy a house because I am sending you here.  You don’t have peace about starting graduate school yet because I am sending you here.  I had you teach little kids last year to help prepare for the up and coming year.  I have provided a perfect way for you with work and timing to be able to go.  You were there in April to get to know everyone there and establish relationships.  So beautiful, we serve an amazing God!

So, I will be using this blog to keep you informed on my Haitian happenings.  Hopefully I will keep my enthusiasm below the annoying level.  I will tell you all about those beautiful kids that I will love as much as my heart will allow.  I will keep y’all updated on fun and interesting stories.  I will keep you updated on any way you can pray for Sonlight, or the people there (if you feel led).  I will also highlight someone I am missing back home once a week!  So keep an eye out, it could be you!

THANK YOU!  Thank you, for taking the time to read this.  Thank you, for supporting me in anyway you have.  Thank you for being you and influencing me the way that you have.  If I haven’t told you recently, I love you!

To God be the glory!