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.