Monday, June 18, 2012

Is this real life?!

I have been back in Kentucky for three full weeks now, and it has been a crazy-busy three weeks without a moment of free time.  It has been fun and difficult at times, but the “life is but a vapor” has complete new meaning.  I feel as if life is not real, I am just walking (or running) from one place to the next not absorbing anything.  I am just a vapor floating from one space to the next, the Scripture has become more literal. 

I am very happy to be back in the States, I cannot tell you how happy I am to see people, to be able to call, and to work in the Hospital and see my Saint Joseph family.  But I have gone nonstop after work trying to see as many people as I can.  And my Granny is about to enter Paradise, and my Dad is not taking it well, he is stressed out and not talking.  The one person that I talk to the most on this Earth is just unable to communicate.  It is hard to communicate that yes it is sad she is passing, but she is on the brink of something far greater!  I have coveted her a few times, but then I am reminded of Philippians 1:21-26.  Too many different things at once, it’s hard to balance.  And the past few days, I have truly missed Haiti.  I miss the people, I miss my students, I miss the work, I miss walking around, I basically miss my life down there.

So, as I feel like a hamster running in a circle, I am praying as I go to church on Sunday night, “Father, I miss connecting with You, I miss time with You.  I miss Your Word, I feel as if I am not even here.  I miss Haiti, you know it is all I think about.  I pray that this service will be a rich time of worship that will fill me for the week.”  THEN God showed up!  Jon, shared work that is being done at Sonlight, and showed pictures of Sonceneter where I taught High School everyday, he shared stories of the Market and the way he described I thought to myself YES that’s it!  I remember going down to the Market, and just being goofy as they yell at you trying to get you to buy something and just yelling back with a huge smile on my face. As Jon is sharing, I start tearing up.  THEN, it is time for worship and we sing “Forever Reign”, which I think is safe to say was a theme song for the spring semester.  Gepson and Stephen translated the song into Creole and, Haitians loved the song, and it is fun to sing in Creole.  I was just blown away.  To say that God answered my prayer for a rich worship time is an understatement.  And then I was able to come home and spend a whole hour and a half studying, then God kept me up to spend another good hour in prayer.  So thankful for Sunday night.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Something's Missing

I love life here, and am very thankful for the opportunity to be here.  It was probably because I was tired this week (and a little bit on the emotional side, cough, cough), but I was missing some things from home this week.  My family is by far what I miss the most, holy moly, especially my Dad.  I only see him about once a month, but sheesh, I miss daily phone calls (I also miss my constant Mom text messages).  The past few years he has become one of my best friends.  If I EVER need to talk something out, vent out my frustrations, or talk about something that made me overflow with joy: call Daddy Cell.  We talk every Sunday night, but it’s not the same. 

I am also a little sad because I miss my Aunt and cousins (Jimmy-Boy too, I guess :D).  My little cousins are growing up so fast, and I am missing it!  Nicholas is driving, Mariah is now 14, Madison will be a teenager soon, Mckenna is getting tall, Emily is in first grade and beginning to READ…holy moly!  I haven’t been to one of their sporting events in over a year!  I am actually thankful for facebook, it helps me to stay up to date.  In some ways I have felt guilty about being here.  Not seeing my family, not being able to help them out.  If anything I have felt as if I am burden to them.  But that is just satan and his lies…obviously.  Nothing about that is excellent, right, true, lovely, or praiseworthy.  DUH!

I miss BSF, I miss my Saturday morning meetings and the rich, scripture focused conversation that stems from it (and the Panera breakfasts afterward :D).  I miss being surrounded by excellent women who have been devoted to God, His Word, His people and who have lived it out! I miss the kids and Mom’s on Monday nights and all the hugs!  Surprisingly, I have not had very much scripture focused, challenging, though provoking conversations here.  But thankfully, God has provided a new outlet for that, I am pumped! 

I miss the girls I work with and their families!!!!!!  I miss meeting people at the arboretum and having walk/talks (God has blessed me with that here in Haiti though…AWESOME!)  I miss meeting friends at Orange Leaf.  I miss my Thursday night family.  I miss cooking/baking for them.  I miss meeting half way for Cracker Barrel dates.  :D

With all of that said, God spoke to me this morning.  I spent time in Hebrews 11-13, good morning if you ask me!  It never has before, but Hebrews 11:10 leapt off the page into my heart.

“For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”

WOW!  Abraham, was willing to sacrifice his one son to God after be blessed him with Isaac because all he saw before him was the city that God built.  That was his focus.  Things of the world did not matter.  Then God reminded me of Philippians 3:20, my citizenship belongs in Heaven!  Not in Kentucky, or Haiti, but in Heaven.  This life is nothing but a vapor.  And He reminded me of one of the hardest scriptures I have ever had to swallow, Luke 9:61-62:

“Still another said, “I will follow you Lord; but first let me go back and say goodby to my family.”  Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.”

I remember reading this a year ago and thinking, I would miss my family so much that it would be utterly difficult to up and leave them.  Bu here I am, one year later.  But I want to live a life that reflects Christ that is not focused on storing up treasures here on earth that will wither away.  But storing up treasures for the Kingdom of God, to love anyone who God puts before me, to encourage them in the Word.  I love it when God speaks peace to me (it is always easier and more comforting to take than discipline :D)

God is good, I am thankful to be able to have a relationship with Him.  I pray that people see Him and not Tara Hibbs…she’s a loser without Him.  I love and miss you dearly.  Let me know how I can pray for you.  Imagine I just sent you a funny text message :D!

To God be the Glory, in everything!!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Isaiah 60:5a

Bonswa tout moun!!  It is with enthusiasm I write this blog.  The past few weeks have gone smoothly, and I have had an overwhelming peace with life here, and every day I fall more in love with the culture, land, and especially the people!  I am starting to find my place, get into a routine, and my personality is coming out, so thankful!  

Isaiah 60:5a says: "Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy."  I constantly have moments where joy overtakes me, and I call them "Isaiah 60:5a moments".  I have them all the time here in Haiti. I am thankful God sent me here.  I canNOT imagine my life any other way right now.

I have recently started regularly visiting House of Hope.  This week I met, Reginald.  God is so good people, I have always had a soft spot for deaf people, I want to make them feel loved and to communicate with them.  Thus, I know enough sign language to carry on a basic conversation.  You know when you are surrounded by people you cannot communicate with, but there is one person you can, you hold onto that person.  This is what happened with Reginald.  We walked around, signed, and got to know each other.  He followed us out as we left to wave good-bye.  Friday, I was visiting a sick student and was near the hospital.  He was outside saw me across the street, we waved, came over and we talked while I waited for my ride.  My heart was full!!  Then yesterday I went to the hospital again, and he showed me a book he is studying on David.  He showed me the verse he is trying to memorize from Deuteronomy.  I am going back Wednesday and we are going to play cards.  I downloaded two different ASL books to brush up on my sign language.  Below is Reginald.

Now I want to tell you about my Juniors.  Holy moly, it is hard to find the words to express how much I love them.  They are good kids, that I love being around.  Kindergarten is fun, I get all of my wanting to be a mother out with them.  Then it is time for Writing, and the beginning of an hour and half with my jolly Juniors.  Fiona had malaria last week and ended up missing the whole week of school. we all went to her house after school on Friday to see how she was (she is doing well and will be back at school tomorrow).  We rode a tap-tap together, trip there - hilarious.  Our driver was rambunctious, driving down an unpaved dirt road with numerous "pot holes", 14 people in his truck bed, and driving 40 mph.  Our butts lifted off the bed by 2 feet at least three times.  I wish you could have heard the laughter coming from Cashna, "Me-Zanmi!!!"  "Oooo....HAHAHA".  And heard Laud Ancy's belly laugh, loved it.  It was scary, exhilarating, and definitely an adventure never to be forgotten.  We spent time with Fiona, then headed back.  The tap-tap ride back was much fuller, I had a seat in the back looking ahead and I had the perfect view of each of my students.  I watched them interact, laughing with each other, I kept thinking, "Thank you God for bringing them into my life, I adore them."  Then Ayvory (whom is now known as Grandpa Vo-Vo) started singing, and I was saddened I didn't have my camera.  His facial expressions with his eyes bugged-out, arms flailing in the air, while rapping in a steady rhythm.  Oh I love that boy.  Below are my juniors, my heart melts.

And some good news!  God has lead me to return next school year!  I'll be able to see these beautiful faces graduate!

Please be in prayer for my ability to learn creole, I am doing somewhat better, but communication can still be a frustrating barrier.  Also, be in prayer for quick recall with my sign language.  That God will continually remind me of John 3, that I will forget myself and He will increase and I will decrease.  Thank you for everyone for your support.  E-mail me any prayers you may have, I will gladly petition.

To God be the Glory.  Forever, and ever.  Amen.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Week Off...What does that mean?!

A week off of school for Mardi Gras.  Hmm...what is a week off?  I honestly cannot remember the last time I had a full week off from work, without compensating for some other type of work.  I think it was my freshman year of college Spring Break when we went to Fort Lauderdale (it was also the last time I have seen an actual sandy beach).  Mardi Gras is big here in Haiti, so we all received the week of from school.  I was worried, usually when I do not have a lot going on is when I get emotional.  When I miss my family, miss my Lexingtonian family, miss BSF, miss being able to get in my car and meet up with someone, miss sending funny text messages, miss going to the gym or church.  But, thankfully, I have had a busy week!  I have been able to get a LOT of school work done, and able to visit with a lot of folks here in Haiti.

One day I went on a 12 mile hike (do not do in Sperry's without socks), and we traveled to this cave in La Croix.  It was a beautiful hike through the country side.  God makes some beautiful scenery, by golly :D.

This picture was taken on our walk back.  I love being able to see the mountains and the ocean together. This high up you are able to see how blue the ocean is, and the different shading of blues.

Tuesday night, a wonderful family invited me to their house so that I could see the Mardi Gras festivities first hand.  Their house is down town, right in the thick of it all.  Groups of a hundred people would march up together with drums and the whole group would dance and sing.  We all danced on their balcony it was a grand ol' time!

These are the parents, the Maurrasse's, and they are such wonderful people.  Anywhere from 10-25 people who are homeless in the Port-de-Paix area stay the night at the bottom of their house, and they feed them.  Not to mention they have raised 7 wonderful, respectful children and put their relationship with Christ and school first.  They have also taken in a couple of their nephews because their Mom was not able to take care of them.  While interacting with them I could tell they were genuinely good parents.  They were involved in their kids lives.  Which is rare here,  and equivocally heartwarming to see.  They carry out the open door policy, and the Romans 12 hospitality practice.  After dinner we had the best discussion on the importance of living a holy life, and priorities in life.  They gave me a tour of the land that they own, this picture was taken on a rock on said land.  They also drove me around down town and gave me a tour, I now love down town Port-de-Paix...I used to be terrified.

So thankfully, I have been busy this week and have fallen even more in love with Haiti.

To God be the Glory.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Celebrating L-O-V-E!

I love Valentine's Day, it is the day to celebrate love.  Here is how we celebrated in Kindergarten and High School today.

This is what each Kindergartener had waiting for them on their desk this morning.

Today was also Mme. Patrick's Birthday.  We had a lot of celebrating to do in Kindergarten.

Please look at Hadassah's face, too funny!  This was their excitement over all of their goodies!

After Writing I kicked all the Juniors out.  I told them they were not allowed to return until I said so.  I then placed all of the Juniors and Seniors surprises at their seats.  I enjoy them so much, they're good kids.

This is a few of them enjoying their treats.  Rodh, sharing (or taking) with Evenson.

This was our hallway decoration for Kindergarten.  Flowers (made from their hand tracings), hand picked just for you!

The Juniors and Seniors wrote love poems and decorated them.  Who would have thought a group of 18 year olds would love glitter so much!!

Seriously, I LOVE Valentine's day!

To God be the Glory!

Monday, February 13, 2012

For the Least of These...

This is very simple, but by far started my Monday off on the right, humble foot.  And I thought it was fit to share.  This morning in my reading, I read Matthew 25, and I did not get past that chapter because God was already starting to speak to me through it.  Here is the main passage that stopped me:

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me,I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

With this on my mind, I was running late to get my room ready for school.  Already my mind was flooded with tasks to do, and I had forgotten the scripture 50 yards away from my house.  When all of a sudden, a young boy comes right in front of me, "Madame papaye s'ilvousplait, papaye."  I had 12 writing books in one arm, my keys and coffee in the other, and over my shoulder a very heavy bag filled with all the teacher materials I would need for the day, oh and it was pouring rain, oh and I only got 3 hours of sleep the night before.  I was prepared to blow him off, to tell him I was running late.  But for some reason, not of my own will, I stopped handed him the writing books, set my coffee on the ground, reached into my bag grabbed out my notebook and ripped out a handful of sheets of paper and gave them to the boy.  "Mesi Madame," and he was on his way.  I picked my coffee up from the  ground and started walking, already thinking of what I needed to complete for school.  Then God  whispered in my ear, "The least of these, you gave ME paper.  Mesi."

God is good people, and He takes my breathe away.

Since you also answered God's call and helped me be here, He says "mesi" to you as well.  I love you so very much!  I hope He takes your breathe away!

To God be the Glory!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Some EXCELLENT Students!

Everyday that goes by, I love these kids more and more.  I tell them that ever since I was a little kid, all I have ever wanted is to be a Mom.  I think that would be the best job around.  I tell them that God has not blessed me with my own kids, but He sure has blessed me with YOU!  And that for the time being YOU are my kids!!!  I love it when one of them gets hurt (that sounds awful, but...) and I can pull them to the side clean it up, give them a band aid, a hug and a kiss.  Or when they walk into the classroom  giving their morning kisses, and one of them decides to give me a BIG bear hug with it.  To quote Rascal Flatts, "I melt!"

Above are Stevenly and Anexcandre.  They are in Kindergarten and are twins, and they are very smart, leaders, responsible, and the other kids seem happier when they are around.  They are some of the first to raise their hands when I ask a question, to complete their worksheets ready to be checked, and of course first ready to go outside for recess.  I never have to worry about them or discipline them (even during bathroom time!).  They are just well rounded good kids!  Stevenly is left handed...I am so jealous!  Not to mention they are BEAUTIFUL!  I tell Anexcandre how beautiful she is everyday.  Look at her eyes.  And they may be brother and sister, but you can tell they are twins by how much they look alike!

Now let's get to High School.  I was most scared about the Juniors and Seniors, but I think I enjoy them the most.  I love being able to have real conversations with them.  Below is Yvory (pronounced E-vory).  Holy moly do I love this kid.  Last week he had a cold and would blow his nose in the middle of class, when he did it made a loud horn sound.  I told him he made me miss my dad because that's how he sounds when he blows his nose.  I didn't know that was such a big deal until everyone started laughing...oops.  He is also left handed like my Dad so I said that he doubly reminded me of my Dad.  I didn't know that was funny but apparently it is.  Saturday I had the Juniors and Seniors over to watch Moby Dick, always a good time.  After the movie they stayed over a little longer to talk.  Yvory told this hilarious story of an old man and his dentures falling out while talking.  This is him in the middle of the story...I loved his facial expressions.  Then I also said that he reminded me of an old man with his mannerisms.  Well by golly, they thought that was funny too!  And poor Yvory his new nickname is "Grandpa-Yvory".  He quoted Moby Dick and said, "May God forgive you!"  It was HILARIOUS!  I loved having them over.  I love being able to open up my home, make some yummy treats and spend time with them outside the classroom.

The last group that visited brought some seeds that would be able to grow vegetation here in Haiti.  I am trying to grow tomatoes, sunflowers, and soy beans let's hope this works out!

And, Roger and Norma Alexander (the family that started Sonlight) have 6 six children (3 of which live here).  Last Sunday, they lost one of their daughters, Lori, and it was completely heartbreaking.  It was sudden, and she had a daughter, Riley who is 9.  Her husband passed away in an accident 4 years ago, so now Riley at 9 has had to experience the death of her father, and now mother.  Thankfully, she comes from a wonderful family and will definitely be taken care of.  If you think of it, please pray for comfort for the Alexander family.

Thank you so much to everyone!  I love you more than you know!

To God be the glory (in everything!)!!!!

PS Don't worry Giants fans, you will beat the Patriots in the Superbowl yet again because I am a Patriots fan.  I can already see the newspaper headlines in my head, "Belichick and Brady Unable to Win a Superbowl against Eli."  Sad day.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Peace out Kindergarten, Peace out Miss Te-wa

When I leave from Kindergarten to head over to High School, I have started a little goodbye saying, and they love it!  I say, "Peace out Kindergarten!" (while doing a peace sign).  Then they repeat, "Peace out Miss Te-wa (Tara)...hehehe!" (while doing the peace sign).  It is unbelievably adorable!!  Here are some pictures from Kindergarten!

This is the classroom!  Please note Neissah picking her nose (middle of the left side)...haha!  Mme. Jim is reading a book about snow to them.

This is the left side of the room.  That is Mme. Herbert, she is the most encouraging aide, always giving them a thumbs up, rubbing their cheeks, and smiling at them.  It is my favorite quality of hers.  You can see the students names on their desks.  Hans (the boy pointing) LOVES to show off his english speaking skills (in the middle of class...)

Oh, Mme. Michel!!!  She is definitely pregnant, due the beginning of March.  She is also extremely uncomfortable, bless her heart.  This picture depicts her demeanor most of the time.

That is all for now...I will be sure to post more.  Thank you so much to each of you who have allowed and help me to be here.  I was monitoring bathroom time the other day and almost started tearing up I was so rekonesan (grateful).

I love you very much!  And of course...
To God be the glory!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dead Mice, Benjamin Button, and High Fives!

It has been a BUSY couple of weeks here in Sonlightville.  School is back into the swing of things, and I am officially teaching without Cara, I miss her!  I LOVE teaching these students and interacting with them, I just miss her she is a wonderful person to be around.  But to update y’all on my first week, it went as well as I think a first week could go.  No major mishaps to report.  (I did have a dead mouse in Kindergarten the first day, no big deal.)  Both classes were strangely quiet, which made me nervous.  Yea, that is completely done away with by now.

I am fully a relational leader.  I want to know you as an individual, connect, nurture and influence you in that way.  The silence made me uncomfortable, I thought great these students aren’t going to trust me to be their teacher, and think I am a goof.  Well, thankfully God created a moment (thanks to Evenson) that broke the silence last week and in High School, we laughed together.  Thank goodness!  From that moment on, the awkwardness of learning each other had been broken.

In Kindergarten, it happened during recess.  Rood Kendy fell on the concrete and started to bleed.  I helped him up, he cried into my stomach for a little bit as I hugged him, then we went into the classroom, hand in hand, to clean up and get a band-aid.  And my window to love those little ones became wide open.  Ahh gratitude!

Now I must recall Saturday, the 14th:
Alarm set for 7:30 to get work done.  Wake up 6:30 ready to go, so I go to the kitchen table for some Bible/BSF/Bible Study time.  9:00 shower and get ready to go down town to get a Haitian cell phone.  9:15 go to my chair to put on my make-up.  9:15:30 GASP, there is a dead mouse next to my chair, in my bedroom.  9:16 sweep up dead mouse and dump in the sewage line that lines my house.  10:30 get my Haitian cell phone!  1:00 BAKE all kinds of goodies, the juniors and seniors are coming over for a movie.  2:00 they show up, what movie do they pick?  Benjamin Button.  Do I cry in front of them and embarrass myself?  Yes.  5:30 students leave and time to clean up.  5:32 kill massive roach on kitchen floor.  6:30 go out to dinner with Alexa and Megan.  Taxi ride home, I think my driver was drunk because it felt like the moped was going to fall over any second, and he looked to the left instead of straight ahead.  9:00 work on my quilt, and watch Big Bang Theory (holy moly do I love Sheldon!) with Megan.  All in all, it was an AMAZING day.

Today we went to the House of Hope.  The hospital here that has an orphanage connected to it. It.  Is.  My.  Favorite.  I just love those kids.  So many are sick, malnourished, I just want to hold them, feed them, give them a nice warm bubble bath and play games.  A little boy showed me his silly bands.  After about 2 minutes of facial expressions, I got my to-do list out for the day, turned it over, drew a circle and we played a half, miniature-sized game of cornhole where he tried to get his silly band to land in said circle.  This attracted another little boy and a couple of girls.  We then moved on to a circle drawn on the wall, with trying to toss a bouncy ball inside of it.  Anytime anyone made it….HIGH FIVE!  Heart is currently melting just recollecting it.  I love it, something so simple, something I cannot keep count of how many times a day I give them, but a high five and a young little boy or girl beams.  God is good.

My Birthday was the best yet.  I received a lot of sweet messages and e-mails, thanks so much!!!  The juniors and seniors sang to me right as class was starting.  The kindergartners had a sign waiting on my desk, and Norma made my favorite cake yellow with chocolate icing…YUM!  Only thing missing was a phone call from my Dad and Grandma, that’s the hardest part about being here.  I miss my Dad talks.  A bunch of us got together to watch a movie recommended by Thom.  I cannot believe that was my Birthday movie.  Unless you want to feel confused, sad, twisted all at the same time, do not watch Dances in the Dark.  (Just kidding Thom!) 

(But really, don’t watch it.)
Hey guess what, I love you very much and miss you!  Pictures to come, I took some in Kindergarten today!

To God be the Glory!