Monday, December 27, 2010
Gary is feeling better and doing some work in the house, which I should be doing as well, but couldn't resist the urge to blog. We did have a wonderful Christmas and we are so thankful for family!! And yet, my thoughts keep going back to Haiti. We'll be back there shortly, with gifts for Olivie and Junior, dinners for many kids at churches and we'll see school continue. We are watching the political situation closely but for now everything is quiet and we expect school to continue uninterrupted.
We are happy the new wall is built, Family Harvest in Tinley Park, IL came with a mission in mind and although we were having trouble politically, it did not deter their mission. We love teams who are committed to what they came to do and do it. There's a group coming from WI in February who will paint the wall. That will be super!!!
We remembered Dr. Haupt from St Louis, this holiday after a call from Pastor Ed saying Dr. Haupt's organization wanted to give to the orphanage so they'd have meals for the next six months! Dr. Haupt, an orthopedic surgeon came to Haiti after the earthquake with Service International. He brought his medical team with him and together they helped a lot of people out of their misery. Dr. Haupt went to be with the Lord, unexpectedly a couple of months after leaving Haiti. He loved our orphans and his friends have given a gift in his name. What a special gift! Another Dr. friend of ours, from WV, is donating new computers to El Shaddai. We stand amazed at people's giving. The generous hearts of everyone keeps the work going. Gary and I are truly blessed to say we can continue the work at hand.
I am sitting here with a huge sweater on and wondering why I am not too warm. But, my heart is filled with joy and thanksgiving for what we have here and what we are able to do in Haiti. The Lord is faithful and as we welcome a new year, we need to remember that He is faithful, that our part is to seek first His kingdom and all things will be added ....all things....all we need. I'm reminded once again of another scripture: keep yourself from idols. We seek Him, we keep from idols, we have all we need...He is all we need, He is our reward. Have a wonderful New Year.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Here we sit, unable to have school because of possible riots in and around town. In the book, Too Small to Ignore, Dr. Stoddard stated that it's the children who are the first to suffer famine, disease, and war. It's true and as a living spectator in a country which has gone through an earthquake, still dealing with cholera and now a presidential election, 2010 will go down in history as the YEAR of struggle. The number of deaths is overwhelming without knowing the number of children who died and is dying. Haitian parents are quick to keep their children home from school if there is threat of any problems. But, when children miss days and days of school, it really interrupts their education. Two months after January 12th, and now two days here, three days there, doesn't make for a successful school year does it? The problem right now is how long will it go on?
I was just thinking about 2004, when there were wars all over the country, particularly in St Marc. There was a group who wanted Aristide out of office (and the turmoil he was causing was excessive, whether it was provoked or whether he was a power monger, I don't know---however, in St Marc, the shooting up of a radio station nearly killing a pastor who was reporting news against the president—resulted in our thoughts being negative toward the president. These two factions, one for and one against the president, had shooting battles day in and day out for almost two months. I said, day but it happened at night as well. Gary and I would just get in bed when the gunfire would start. One shot, my heart would begin to beat rapidly and my stomach would turn over, then another and another…when it would get quiet I would lay there waiting for the next one. We had school in spite of the problems. Every other school was closed but ours. One day, after school was over, we had one child left (before we were busing kids). We waited and finally called the father who owned a grocery store in town at the edge of a Haitian market. He said, "I'm buried in my store, there is a war going on in front of the building." That was sufficient reason for not coming to get his child. Last week, we got a call from one of our teachers who lives near the UN base here in St Marc. He said, "I am buried in the back of my house because they are shooting and throwing rocks at the UN base." (Two Haitians died having been shot with rubber bullets that struck the head).
Those horrible days we went through six years ago are on the minds of all of us who lived through it. Parents remembering it keep their children home rather than risk coming to school and it's our first thought as well. I was on my way to school last week to see the team from Chicago work on the school wall. We had cancelled school because it was the day after the election. Traveling north on the Grande Rue (Main Street), there was a huge crowd coming toward us, filling the highway. They were carrying tree branches (which they use as their banners when manifesting) and I knew, 'get out of here quick'. Just as I looked left there was a place where I could pull in and turn around. I'm sure the Lord provided it….sort of like the ram in the bushes. Then I had to find my way to school via side streets and nearly ran into a guy on a motor cycle proceeded toward me as I was turning onto a side road. One of my choices was unfruitful and some kind men told me I couldn't go that way and told me the way to go. We got to the school just about the time gunfire erupted. The team was so brave! We closed the gate and went inside until it subsided. There were fires all over town from what I'm told but we averted it all as we stayed to work on the wall. When it was time to leave, we were able to get right home, but Al (Carpenter) and Joe had to carry the motor cycle across a river bed to get to where they lived.
So, we are in the midst of it again. There is a revival going on at the church we attend. I'm to speak tonight. It's great to be able to go to God's house at times like this. The joy of worship and the refreshing of the Word gives us strength to go on. We were in church all last week as well. I don't know what I'd do without that time with the Body of Christ. It's been a well of sweet water for me.
Haiti is in struggle. Haiti needs prayer and at the same time, Haiti is having its greatest moment in Christ. Perhaps that's what it takes to build a strong church. History seems to prove it takes struggle and turmoil outside to bring people inside. The scripture that keeps coming to mind is this: The kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of our Christ and He shall reign forever and ever! Today they will announce the new president.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Every year is a challenge in Haiti, but this year has certainly been the exception. A week ago Sunday, we discussed the coming hurricane, Tomas, during a missionary meeting. Gary said, "I am going to stand against this hurricane, it will not hit Haiti." Pretty bold statement but I was in agreement with him. Needless to say we watched the weather reports several times a day and speculated, praised the Lord that it would not come. If you happened to watch Tomas in his various wind speeds, twists and turns, you would have to agree that it was a confused storm. Thursday came, we obeyed the Presidents order to close all schools. Nothing much happened, Friday nothing much happened, intermittent rain, some gusts of wind. Gary worked making shelving that we need to get more organized, I got things done that we'd not had time to do since we moved. The sun came out for a while. About 9PM, Friday night, we were surprised by the wind and rain. I thought about the books I'd left on the porch and imagined them being blown about and soaked, actually ruined. Saturday, we canceled Bible school because of rain. When I checked my books, they were not even wet. No explanation for that, plenty of rain came in that porch. In other parts of Haiti, there is real suffering, homes gone by flooding, and the threat of land slides. We continue to pray but we believe Haiti was spared this storm.
Our guest, Charlie Young and his son Kenny tried to get out of Haiti on Thursday evening, only to get stranded when the flight was canceled. We arranged for them to stay at a guest house of a missionary friend of ours. They finally flew out on Saturday. I'm sure they were very happy to get back to Tampa, but we missed them when they left. Charlie taught how to plant seeds in tires to the school and to Haitian farmers. The children will enjoy watching the seeds grow.
The Cholera reports more numbers dying and it's popping up everywhere. I received a World Health Organization report today which says:
But the really big story here is that it then broke out in Nepal, around 2003-04. It now appears, though we're awaiting more confirmation at the laboratory level, that this pandemic in Haiti started with Nepalese peacekeepers who were the carriers. We have similar outbreak-carrier situations now in several places in the world. In fact, the largest cholera outbreak at the moment is Nigeria, with far more cases than are being seen in Haiti….. Actually, if aid workers and peacekeepers were taught proper hygiene and provided with toilet paper and proper soap and so on, they would not be transmitters. The problem with cholera is that it really is a classic hygienic issue. The spread of cholera is about water, it's about dirty hands, touching water supplies and food supplies, and about the inability to limit what's going into the water because either there are improper sewage systems; or people are drinking from, washing in, and defecating in the same water supply.
It's inexcusable that we cannot control cholera today. We fully understand the disease. It is generally treatable with a combination of appropriate antibiotics. But most important is heavy-duty hydration with consistently safe water.
The other issue is part of the reason cholera is always a crisis in the Bay of Bengal region--because the microbes, especially this 01 form, can live inside of other microorganisms that float around in such things as red tides and algal blooms. Wherever you have very warm surface temperatures, relatively still waters, lots of sun, you're creating a kind of stew that's ideal for the growth of the microorganisms that the vibrio cholerae [the organism that causes cholera] can live inside of. You get this constant feedback-replenishment thing going on where problems on the land mainly associated with humans--waste and water runoff--feed into breeding colonies in the sea, and vice-versa. We had a classic outbreak of cholera that hit Latin America in the 1990s, and it turned out to have reached Latin America because of ships loading bilge in the Bay of Bengal, going across the world, and offloading the bilge water into coastal waters where they were absorbed into clams, shell fish, oysters, and so on. Then you had an epidemic that spread across Latin America. If you don't have very good public health tracking systems, general population hygiene, and water safe systems, it spreads extremely rapidly.
So, based on the previous information, the Haitians were correct in blaming UN people from Nepal. We encouraged the church to continue taking precautions and to pray.
First you need to get the picture of what the church is like. It's being built. We sit under tarps because there is no roof and we walk in mud after any kind of rain. So, there the people are, mud caked to their Sunday shoes. The children climb a ladder to get to the adjacent building's second floor, they too are under tarps.
- We have a medical team coming in on the 14th. They'll plant themselves at the hospital and be a viable force there.
- Testimonies shared today at church. The testimonies were given by two women, both of whom had been sick with vomiting and diarrhea, (cholera symptoms) they rebuked it until they were better. It was definitely time to shout HALLELUIA!
As I sat there looking around at the faces, their love and dedication to the Lord, I thought about the excuses each one of them could have given for not attending church today. I thought about excuses that I've made in the past. For a moment my emotions wanted to spill over because the realization of how God looks at their dedication was overwhelming. I told Gary, "God doesn't take this lightly…..and in North America we argue over the color of carpeting"... or miss church because it's raining and walking to the church from the car will get their Sunday clothes wet. If you could see this church………….and it's crowded. One teenager stood up to tell about how he's given his heart to the Lord and sharing Jesus with classmates. Five of them accepted Christ and were with him in church today.
(Because of the rain, the tarps had filled with water. It was breezy today. The tarps blew up and dumped water at our feet. Pastor Chery was so embarrassed when it hit Pastor Gary, he apologized over and over again while calling someone to get a barrel to catch the water).
While Haitians meet the struggle getting through 2010, God is building His church. Jesus said it so clearly: Mat 16:18
Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means 'rock'), and upon this rock I will build My church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. We see it over and over again, in every church, every Sunday, people are coming to the Lord and they are hungry to learn of Him. Hurricanes, cholera, poverty, muddy churches with no roof, mud caked shoes, nothing can separate us from the love of God. Romans 8:38.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Oh my! We never dreamed we'd be this busy!!! Our school enrollment is nearly 100 kids, 20 high school age. The office is busy from the moment the doors open until the last child is out of the building.
We took Crystal's class (first grade) Petit Homme's class (first grade), and Kevin's class (kindergarten) to our old house. So now ESLC is located in three buildings. We hired a young man who told us he might not be there very long, he wasn't. Stevenson spoke fluent English, had graduated the ACE system, was excellent helping the high school do their math (although he wasn't much older than they). He got the opportunity for higher education in the Dominican Republic and bid us farewell. To fill the void, Gary is in the classroom, I'm in the office and Dan is directing the whole thing. WE NEED HELP!!!
We need a couple of North Americans to come and commit some time to getting this school off the ground. We are doing it, but Gary and I have so much more that needs done with Bible schools, the orphanage oversight. We also work with two Haitian pastors, one to build a building and one to build a house. This doesn't get done without us being on the scene regularly, so it 's on hold right now. Pastor Cesar asked me today at Bible school what we were doing or when we would begin. I know he wants to get started, but we must check prices and make sure his estimate isn't higher than what we can do if we purchase here in St Marc. All that takes a lot of t-i-m-e and we don't seem to have much as we are using every available moment now.
The new house is coming along nicely…the one we rented and moved into three weeks ago (as if school opening wasn't enough on our plate). We finally got our mosquito netting up so sleeping is easier. BUT now we have rats. Ever since the dog died, the rats have invaded. The other morning, I got up and came in the office, noticed that a utensil called Cleenere's was bitten off at the tip…only a rat could have done it. Then I saw the droppings and later proceeded to put my hearing aids in, only one was missing. A rat stole my hearing aid! Although, we are joking about it, with the price of such, it is no laughing matter. And, the difficulty I have in hearing since it was the aid for the worst ear.
I don't know if I told you about the death of our little dog. We had to cut down some coconut leaves because they were shorting out the transformer. We took pictures of Buddy frolicking in the branches on the ground, eating at them and having a very nice time. Four days later he was dead, a horrible death! The leaves balled up in his stomach and cut his intestines. They wouldn't come up or go down. He was in such pain and literally bled to death. That was hard to watch happening. The vet kept coming to try and help him but to no avail. (He really needed surgery but that doesn't happen here and/or a shot to put him to sleep but that doesn't happen here either).
Back to the rats. When we got up this morning, a huge piece had been eaten out of an avocado that was sitting on the table. There was also evidence of one being right back up here on my desk. Trust me, my remaining hearing aid was NOT laying here. But the rat had been back and left his calling card!!
We have a new girl in the orphanage, Sylvana, a dear child who is getting along very well with everyone. Olivie and Junior are doing well and have truly bonded as brothers. Last night, Dan and Gary both got out of bed and headed toward their room at the same time. They were having a very loud disagreement. It had to do with one touching the others' bed. So, they were moving their beds away from one another….if that isn't a brotherly love fight, I've never known one.
The other morning the scripture from Acts came to me.
Act 6:3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; Act 6:4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
Gary and I need to give ourselves to prayer and to ministry of the Word. We must find the workers for the school and we pray we have North American help. If you know anyone who ever thought they would like to do this kind of thing, please steer them our way.
Hopefully, I'll get to post some recent pictures when this gets posted to the blog!
Gary and Carolyn
Thursday, September 23, 2010
A good rule to follow in walking with the Lord is actually a question: Is my heart right?
We were told in April, that the building we were living in was going to be sold. Of course, we were asked if we wanted to buy it. But, buying was not convenient because we were already too crowded in the house. Since Olivie and Junior came to live with us and our American volunteer numbers have grown, the house was somewhat overcrowded on a daily basis and especially when team members were with us.
Over the last year, I'd ask Gary if he could possibly make the house bigger, perhaps another bathroom (in our bedroom--impossible), and a balcony knocking a window out and making a door, so I could go and sit to be alone. Impossible.
So, here we were knowing we would move sometime in April of 2011 but where? Most bigger homes are hugely overpriced as far as rent is concerned and how would we begin looking. Those that we'd looked at in the past were so overpriced we were sure the owners had lost their minds.
My prayer became: Lord, I just want to be alone with you, and right now there is no where to go in this house. When others are sleeping you don't dare make noise at 3AM (my usual wake-up time so I can pray). I would say it and leave it with Him, it wasn't something I dwelt on because for ten years I've consistently thanked the Lord for where we lived.
Gary and I have one goal and that's to be good stewards' of God's money and to be a pipeline. Concerning things, we gave. Concerning the Gospel, we gave. Concerning personal items we gave. Nothing means anything to us. If we have it and the Lord says give it, we do. That's it, Lord, make me a pipeline. That's still my prayer. Few people know what we do to help others. They can see the employees all of whom get paid a fair wage, but few know what goes out from our hand on a regular basis. God sees it, He's the only one who counts.
An employee came by and asked us to look at a house. We thought okay but here we go again. We were impressed by the size, the possibilities and that our vehicles would be off the street behind the gate. It wasn't just one house but two which answered the question as to what we can do with teams. This house would hold all our long term volunteers and teams adequately. To my utter surprise, the master bedroom had a balcony and a bathroom. (All I could think of was "God you are real aren't You?) We got some counsel from several people in ministry and approval from our board before we made the decision to draw up a contract.
The landlord was willing to sign that the rent would never go up, and the rent money did not cut into our budget. So we signed. When we showed the house to others there was silence and then talk. "I could never live in a house like that with so many people suffering." A statement like that brings me to one that my mother made when I was a child. "Eat all your food, remember the starving kids in China." How in the world would my eating all my food, help any child in China. How would my not living in this house help those who are suffering? And, those comments remind me of the time I wore a cheap ankle bracelet to Bible school. They asked me to take it off. I did because I'm well aware of the scripture that advises us not to cause a brother to stumble, but how was an ankle bracelet causing them to stumble? They gave me a pretty lame excuse. When I took the ankle bracelet off, I asked if now the anointing was greater than it was a minute ago. Is our anointing gone because we moved to a bigger house? Are more people in Haiti going to suffer because we live in a nice house?
As I pondered these comments and questions this morning the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, "Is your heart right?" And so I thought about this house, it will be used for ministry, for teams, for our Haitian staffuse will be used for ministry to teams and to Haitians and to our resident volunteers. If there were a disaster (and I pray not) this house would be used for the homeless. I can answer the question because I took the time before the Lord to check my heart. Nothing has changed within me because of a house. I don't care about things, I care about Jesus. I care about ministry. I care about helping others with their needs. Where we live and what we wear has nothing to do with our heart and relationship with the Lord IF our heart is right.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE, PLEASE READ THIS: WE NEED HELP. If you have ever wanted to come to the mission field to work, we need teachers at school. You do not have to be a qualified teacher, you have to love the Lord, love children, have at least a high school education and voila! We will find a place for you.
When I got up this morning, I realized there isn't much time to do everything there is to do. I don't know where I write things anymore so, here it is again…we are moving. We found a great house although we weren't looking for a house. We've been thinking that we should move since they want to sell this house, but we were no where near actively moving. But, as the Lord (and we know this is the Lord) would have it, an employee came by saying come and look at this house. We did. We dealt. We are moving. It's big and roomy and actually, it's two houses. So, teams will be able to stay comfortably. Balconies everywhere, no one has ever lived there. The house was built by a man who owns a cab franchise in New Jersey. He plans to retire there in ten years. That should be enough time for us to inhabit this house! What made the deal really inviting was his willingness not to raise the rent year after year. We drew up the contract, paid the yearly rent and then….he used some of the money to put razor wire around the top of the wall, paint everything, repair a few places in the concrete yard. We are blessed and so will the teams who come to visit.
Gary is so busy at school. People calling, coming in, questions to answer…busy time of year for him. He wasn't supposed to be doing this this year, but Dan Joshu met with some physical problems right before he was to leave the States. He's doing well now after a visit to the hospital and we rejoice he's well and will be here soon. But, in the meantime the load falls on Gary. He said this morning, "This is really too much, I'm being pulled in too many directions." Al Carpenter came up today to help with structural things. It seems the thieves removed the screen from the office windows to put what they were taking out the window. So, those need replaced. We couldn't figure out why the trombones (2) were still here. Well, they couldn't find the mouthpieces and left them, but praise the Lord, we found the mouth pieces!! Our band will have two trombones.
If you want to respond to our plea, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a blessed day!
Friday, September 3, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Sitting in a traffic jam outside St Louis, and no internet, oh dear. Always something to stop progress. Peggy gave me a Chronological One Year Bible. Pretty interesting having everything in that type of order. Reading Jeremiah which really fits in today's world. I thought it was interesting when he was arrested for prophesying doom and destruction to the Temple priest, who promptly had him arrested and beaten, put into stocks. When he was released, he said, "Look out, you will be punished for this." (Allow me some liberty in paraphrasing what happened). Think of the nerve of Jeremiah!!! How many of us would be willing to continue to stand for the Lord once we were put in jail and mistreated the way he was? Don't you think you might turn and run? I know there is not a way to know how you'd react to certain things. When we were living with kidnapping everyday in Haiti, often the discussion would be what would we do if. We couldn't have planned what to do when a young man with a gun came toward him as he turned the corner; or when the rebels came to our door wanting money and Gary was standing at the end of a gun barrel. Those are the times you depend on the Lord even though you may not call on His name at that moment. Sometimes my thoughts go to what I would do, but it won't happen in the crisis. At the moment of the crisis, God is there if we are seeking Him all the time and if it seems He's not, we know deep down inside He is, simply because He is God, Father God to me. A Father would never allow a child to be harmed or HE'd die trying to make it be so. I read a scripture this morning, actually posted it on my other blog stating that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. All things mean all things, whether good or bad, and of course, we would think in terms of the bad. Jeremiah complained even to the point of wishing he'd never been born, but at the same time he worshipped and praised the Lord for all the great things He is. Where are we in our walk with God as the world gets to be more and more against Christianity? Gary and I decided to eat in a neighborhood Indian restaurant the other day. It was his first time for Indian cuisine, I'd eaten it years ago on rather a regular basis as my deceased husband and I helped an Indian Fellowship on Sunday night (and there was always food afterward). We enjoyed the restaurant food but not the music. It wasn't because the music was Indian style, it was the repetitive words over and over and over again. So, we asked about it. Sure enough it was a worship song to an Indian god. We wondered what would happen if a Christian restaurant owner played worship music all day in his business. Would he be permitted? Or would he be afraid no one would like it and lose business? Jeremiah wasn't afraid to speak up for God, but are we? Would we risk popularity and/or losing money if it were a business? The Indian server didn't seem to mind at all that we were asking questions. And, he didn't offer to turn it off because we stated we were Christians. (not that I expected him to but I was hoping to dialogue a little more than we did about Christianaity). Jeremiah knew His God was holy, righgteous, full of justice and mercy and that he will discipline his people. I hipe that as time moves onward that we as chirstians are able to stand firm in our belief whether we are are called upon to prove who we are and what we stand for or not. We can't plan what we should say or how we'll say it. Jesus told us that when we are taken to the court, the words would be there. But, will we run scared before that time or will we realize that all things work together for our good all the time? Traffic is moving and so must I. We are almost to our destination.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I must have gone to bed too early, 2 AM, wide awake, and now, after perusing Facebook and emails, I'm drinking my morning coffee..it's 3AM. But that's okay, I can enjoy the peace and quiet that only seems to happen this time of day.
We had a bunch of rain yesterday. It cooled things off, but it sure makes life miserable for folks. We happened to be coming home from a jaunt to Montrouis when it started. People riding tap taps had to brave the rain on the back of pick up trucks, people on motorcycles, trying to see beyond the rain hitting them in the face and then those walking with their wares on their heads, trying to get home from the day of selling at the market. I suppose the walk in the rain was not bad if they made enough to cook a meal once they got home. Most market people come from the mountains, so it isn't just a block or two and home. It's a climb and usually an hour or more. As we rode through seeing these sights, I was again reminded of how blessed I am, and how hard life is here for people. I'm not saying life isn't hard everywhere else, but my eyes and heart tell me it's hard here!
We are going to Port in the morning, although it's already morning, but you know what I mean, morning when everyone rises! We have to deliver medical supplies to another mission, and p/u our truck papers so we're legal when we come back into the country, PLUS, p/u my Haiti drivers license. Isn't that interesting, ten years here, just got the nerve to drive on the highway!!! So, it's time to get a license so the police won't quibble. Not that they do,it's okay to use a US license but, you never know when you'll get one guy (or gal) who wants to give you a hard time about not following the laws of this country. As lawless as it is, there are laws and sometimes, there are those who want to enforce them. That's not wrong and if we are going to be here (and obviously we are), we need to comply.
I'll never forget the time we got to the airport to leave the country and they weren't going to let me leave because I didn't have a proper stamp in my passport. They sent me to an office, the office sent me back to the airline agent, the airline agent sent me back to the office. Finally, I pleaded and they said, "Okay, next time have it right." Next time we did. We found out you have to purchase a Haiti ID, Permis se de Jour. And, every year you have to have it stamped (at a nice fee) but with it, you pass through the airport without question because the law is that a foreigner cannot stay here more than three months without penalty. With our permis' we can stay indefinitely. There's one thing Gary and I never forget, we are foreigners here. No one has to be nice to us and all the people we don't help don't care whether we live or die. The people we help love us, (most of the time).
Having Aaron with us this short stint has been interesting. He has done so well, no complaining about heat or anything for that matter. He has loved playing with Junior and Olivie, and they have learned a lot of English from him. We leave Friday and I'm sure there will be something he'll want immediately upon setting his feet on US soil. We have to spend the night in FL, so he'll get to eat something good and my guess is, it'll be MacDonalds!
For Gary and I, we've been so busy these three plus weeks, we've barely had time to think. Well, maybe Gary more than I. He's had all the structural things to do trying to make this house safer since the break in and things that needed fixing. I did get the office, bedroom and kitchen to a place where I can stand it once we return in September and not have to think about "organizing" (agonizing)jobs. That's an accomplishment for me! The heat only allows you to work until noon. After 12, it's too hot to think about anything. I know everyone in the States is dealing with heat as well but when you don't have a way to shut it out and no air conditioning, there's only one reprieve and that's to sit in front of a fan. Like right now, at 3:45 AM.
As far as I know we have two girls coming in on the 13th of September to work at El Shaddai for two weeks. We have Crystal coming from Canada for nine months as well. So, we are beginning our year with a house full. We also have four teams booked already, so if anyone reading this would like to come to Touch Ministries for a mission trip, please contact us asap, our calendar is filling up fast.
More news, we got a Rottweiler pup. Right now he's at the Chris and Leslie Rollings who also got a new pup (thank God for their willingness to puppy sit). He doesn't have a name yet, but we are working on it. A dog is a good deterrent, except it takes Rotts a long time to become useful as a watch dog, so we might get a Haitian dog as well when we come back. They are ruthless when they are fed and cared for but I found them to be fickle as well. Libby left me for a Haitian family and now she's ailing badly. I doubt she'll live much longer. She was hit by a motor cycle and she's getting skinny. I'd have taken her in but she left and I've not seen her again.
Since the signal is so good, I'm going to try to put pictures on here and sign off. Two cups of coffee and I'm getting weary. Something is wrong with this picture, the coffee is supposed to wake me up. But, now it's almost 4 and it's nearly time to get up. Better push past the wearies and get myself charged up. Need to get into the Word.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Many are asking, and since we were in Port, yesterday, the sixth month since the tremble na te, (trembling of the earth), it seemed fitting to pen what I saw and didn't see.
What I saw: Thousands of tents everywhere as has been, on every available land space in Port. Some on mediums, if you can imagine living there, with traffic flying by all the time, diesel and gasoline fumes for air to breathe, plus the dirt from the street flying in your face, your food, your home. Some of the cities are rather well organized, so that the tents are in rows, and porta potties lining the periphery.
Traffic is horrible. You wouldn't think so would you? After all, an earthquake that destroyed the capital city of a nation, thousands of homes gone, people in tents and yet, traffic....unbelievable traffic. Much of it are the tap taps, (covered p/u trucks that shuttle people from one place to another, folks tapping the side of the truck when they reach their destination. Some of it are the newer buses that the former President Aristide had brought into the country, with the word Dignite written on the side, which is the name of the project. They are Mercedes buses, sleek and white, but the air conditioning must not work because the windows are always open. I don't know what the fare is or how it compares to the pick up trucks but both are always teeming with people. While you drive through all this, there are the "hockers" who seize every opportunity to sell you something when you are stopped in traffic. I applaud them for their desire to work. You need to understand that the sun is beaming and causing temps to be at least 100 degrees by 2PM. And they are out there, relentless, to find buyers for their various items; plug ins for recharging phones, plaintain chips (very good), soda and water.
Then there are the children who are begging, tapping on your window the moment you stop and in our case, windows open so a hand comes in asking, begging, "give me" Give me something, only make sure it's money because I don't want food, if you have no money, give me your watch, your ring, something that I can turn into money, but please, food is not what I want. (These children all work for someone who is watching and waiting for the money they get. They are beaten and abused and it's the most heartbreaking situation one can ever imagine. They are fearless, young, dirty, hungry, pathetic children, swallowed up by the street and all that entails).
I saw one building being restored. ONE. I saw others that were in the same shape they were six months ago, maybe a little more deteriorated. The government buildings are the same as they were, not repaired, not torn down, simply there, crumbling.
There were people in yellow T-shirts and yellow hard hats working on rubble. Shoveling it into a wheel barrow and depositing it in a special place. Their shirts read something like "Your Government at Work". Men and women working like machines to move away cement. The positive side, they have a job. The negative, of course, for how long? and how can their bodies take the abuse? Hopefully, they are getting paid a fair wage and not working with the "hope" that payday is coming.
There are places in Haiti where an American can cash an American check and get the Haitian equivalent right then. These are money changers who've gotten rich with this method of meeting a "need" for a foreigner. We operate this way. The man to whom we go, had a grocery store that went down in the quake. He and all his family (Christians) escaped. They had been in the process of building a new store and are continuing to try and get it open soon. While you can't buy groceries from him, you can still cash a check (for any amount, I might add). We pay our staff during the summer months, payday is coming again, we needed to get the cash for that. It was quite interesting to drive up to an iron gate in another section of town that has been building up for a long time. This area was not hurt by the quake, whether the buildings are being built better or why they weren't affected, is beyond me. The iron gate opens and we drove into a huge parking lot that had a couple of employee vehicles in it as construction for this building continues. Three guard dogs, and a guard accompanied us through the empty building to the office. We were greeted warmly and assured that if the store never opened, the check cashing would continue. It's a great service for us, and we appreciate the honesty of the man with whom we deal. The money changers have so much money it's mind boggling, beyond me. We are talking about the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. There are many of these "businesses" that change money.
We saw that the Epidor continues to do great business. The Epidor is across the street from where we pick up our mail. It's a bakery and a restaurant. They now have one in St Marc as well. The restaurant was full of young people, UN workers, French police, Americans. You can purchase a sandwich, a crepe, a MacDonald's type hamburger (only the brave eat the hamburgers) and pizza. The crepes are good, consisting of lunch meat, cheese, onions, sauce cooked on a thin pancake then folded over. Enough to take away that hungry feeling. I rarely eat all of mine, take it out with me and find a child who is hungry. And I did yesterday as well. He gobbled it down. It made me wish I'd not eaten any of it so that he could have had a whole on.
When we finally got through the traffic and headed out of town, we saw more rubble, more tents, and that tents are spreading outside city limits along the hillsides. We stopped to see Pastor Cesar. He'd had a wedding at his church on Saturday, the decorations were still up. The amusing part of that visit was the tent in the middle of the church, on top of the benches. Someone who stayed there during the night decided sleep would be more satisfying if they pitched their tent on top of the benches. Perhaps it was to keep mosquitoes at bay. We never quite got the full story. All is well there, he's getting ready to paint the wood so the rains don't damage it. He chose pink. Ahhh, it's Haiti, what can we say? He told us he had a wonderful Sunday service, that everything was going well and that he has a vision to have VBS all summer long. It's a marvelous idea to want to get the children out of their tents and have them in church. I hope he has the people to carry out this vision and I know we'll be involved somehow as we begin to plan with him in this endeavor.
Today there is supposed to be a political manifestation in Port au Prince. The way I understand it is this: President Preval has declared November for the election. Sounds good right? Well, not quite because those who will be "elected" will either be his wife or the former Prime Minister. No one in the political realm nor the people will allow this. Thus, the demonstration. We don't know how the political situation will be resolved but right now, Haiti has no government and no direction. All the Haitians we've talked with want Bill Clinton to run the country. Can you imagine? But, perhaps it's in the working and the people know more than we read in the news.
What I see is a grim future if I look from a physical standpoint. But, there is something else happening that far exceeds what the news media portrays and what one can see with their eyes. It's what is happening in the realm of the spirit. People are flocking to churches all over the country. Every pastor we speak with says, "My church is full. I don't have enough room, I don't have enough benches." It's happening, new converts, baptisms, repentance, interest in the Word of God. It's amazing that after ten years, we see a break through with the Gospel. People are afraid there will be another earthquake and they want to be right with God. They've left voodoo and embraced Christ. They are praying night and day, services at 4 AM. Services all night on Friday night. They've done this for years, they are praying in the harvest and harvest time is here. So, we are encouraged and excited not by what we see in the natural but what we know in the supernatural. God is at work and those in Haiti who embrace the Lord will survive eternally.
What have we accomplished?
Facilitated 13 teams from Jan through May: medical/surgical, teaching, evangelical.
Two quake victim boys, ages 11 and 8, out of Port au Prince, live with us.
Built a new church for a pastor who lost everything. (Continuing to help with this construction, need benches inside church).
Fed many children in that area
Gave tents to church members who lost homes
Gave clothing, shoes
Medical clinic saw 950 people in three days, all received meds and were ministered to.
Team bought new property to increase size of church
Supplied money for a pastor to accept quake victims (children) in his school.
Clothing given to many different pastors for quake victims who came into St Marc.
Orphanage outside of Port, badly damaged, gave rice and beans, water and money.
Accepted three children from quake into El Shaddai Learning Center, free of charge.
Team helped St Marc pastor to get sound system.
Evangelical team had many new converts.
Helped those families in St Marc who increased in size due to family victims moving in with them.
for your prayers and continued support in the efforts here. Our general fund operates El Shaddai Learning Center, the Bible school and the orphanage as well as maintains all our equipment. We need to build on our property. We are growing out of the two facilities we currently rent for school children and we are growing out of the house we live in. Only time will tell how many students will want to enroll this fall. We just spent over 7,000 dollars on curriculum for the 2020-2011 school year.
Concern: Our landlord is selling the house we've lived in for ten years. He wants 150,000 USD. It absolutely is not worth that price. If we had that kind of money we could put up a building that would far surpass this one. First, we have to put a road and water pipes in to the property, at least 20,000 USD. After that, another 20,000 USD would allow us to negotiate getting a Quonset hut type building on a boat to St Marc. (Earthquake and hurricane safe building). A new building will cost at least 100,000, if we include the orphanage and a place to live on the site I'm appealing for prayer and for help. This is no longer something we'd like to do in the future, this is something that must be done soon. In case you don't know, our orphanage is located on the other side of town, our Bible school is in another town. We'd like to pull all our programs together in one location. We can't tap our general fund, it keeps the programs moving that we do day to day. It's currently taking 7,000 dollars a month to run this ministry. We have 26 employees, and five Americans working with us.
We remain, your missionaries in Haiti.
Pastor Gary and Carolyn Walker
Friday, July 9, 2010
We do have the window fixed and we have razor wire around the wall so that now we look like a prison. Not a fun thought. Also realize that no one trusts anyone so why should we be so trusting. There will be some new rules as to who enters the house and where we let people go in the house.
Bible school is going great. We certainly loved being back with the students. I love it when the Lord takes what I'm teaching and hits me square in the heart with it. I love it not because it feels good, but because it's what I need. He is really all we need, isn't He? This time we've taken to be in Haiti when we are usually in the States has been wonderful for me in that I've had time to seek the Lord. While cleaning up the office, I ran across a book, Developing Heart Faith by Mark and Patti Virkler. It's been years since I went through this instruction book and a joy going through it again. I've also ordered Communion with God, by the same author. These are things we allow to slip and I'm blessed the Holy Spirit is directing me in this way.
On Facebook, I've been quoting a book by Reb Bradley. My intent is to try and help young parents so they won't look back with regret as I have so often. If parents set the standard high, and don't quite reach it, the child will be all right. But, if our standard is low and we don't reach it, how low is that? And, what happens to the child? I would suggest everyone who is a parent or grandparent get a copy of this book. We all know parenting is work, but it's more work than I imagined as a young mother. It isn't the ordinary household duties, but time consuming interaction with children who need direction and rules. This book points out areas of rebellion that we take as individuality.
That's about it for now. As you can see we don't live in "house beautiful" and we hated spending the money on this kind of stuff but what else are we to do? We have to leave again in a couple of weeks and this time we will make sure no one comes over the wall.
Friday, July 2, 2010
The three weeks we were home were wonderful. Family and friends, plus the Lord Jesus, who could ask for anything more? We had a very nice flight in, no turbulence which blessed me tremendously because I'm not good at that. I'm really a big chicken about a lot of things.
Before we got here we knew we were going to be faced with the looking at evidence of the robbery that took place a few days after we left Haiti. But, after looking at and talking with so many folks, we have no answers as to how the person got in, they didn't come through the hole in the window. They couldn't have, it was too small for an adult body, we aren't even sure if a child could come through it. There were two lights left on in the upstairs of the house where we live. The office was rummaged, as was Nancy's room. And out of her room was taken two computers, that we'd used at school. They were here for Nancy and Gary to work on. Why just those two when there were several others? Why not the cameras? Cell phones? And the safe! We have two, one bolted down, the other smaller one, not. It had money in it, would have been easily carried off. We think something scared them off and they left in a hurry, perhaps thinking they'd come back? The Lord knows and He will reveal what is hidden. It isn't about the "stuff", but after ten years of living here and no one breaking in, we are curious. If it was a young boy, we'd like to help him and if it is one of our staff, we certainly would like to fire them!
Gary is at the police station right now. We will go through the process of an investigation. It might bring the thief forward. One man had a key, our yard man. The problem we are having is this: the key that opened the gate to get in the yard would have also opened the kitchen door. Yes, he's been a suspect and we spent three hours grilling him last night. We had the neighbor here who thought something might be wrong at our house and contacted the yard man, came in with him to check. The yard man's story seemed to parallel the neighbors story. So now, many of us are playing detective and no one knows anything really. It's rather amusing if it were not so awful.
I wonder what happened in the realm of the Spirit. Did the angels of the Lord prevent further theft? What made him leave? Fear? Sure would like to know. But, I don't know so I trust that all the prayers we've prayed in this house sustained us in this moment of time.
Aaron, Gary's grandson is with us. He's adjusting well and enjoying Olivie and Junior. Not sure how they are communicating but they seem to be doing well. The two Haitian boys just told me they were hungry, evidently, meals were served by now at the orphanage. Aaron says little about food, I don't think there is anything to look forward to in that department. Madame Pierre is cooking us a Haitian meal today because sandwiches have gotten old.
Bible school tomorrow. It will be good to see our students. But, at the moment I think a nap is in order. I've been up since 4AM and the office organizing/cleaning should be done by now, second day at it but it'll take another day or so. Then the bedroom and I should be set for September, when it all begins again. We leave here at the end of the month for Chicago then St Louis, then WV. Less than two weeks in WV and we'll be back on the road again. What ever happened to the rocking chair, the front porch, children visiting grandparents, has not been what our elder years have been about. And, perhaps I wouldn't want it any other way than it is. God is good. I love Him because He first loved me.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
We've had a wonderful time these three weeks. We probably squeezed in more visiting and churches than we would have had we been here for a longer stay. It's difficult to process it all though. I wish there were a way to make a video of it all and replay so that I don't forget any wonderful moments. Trusting memory isn't a real good reliable all the time.
Thinking about Psalm 103...Bless the Lord oh my soul and forget not all His benefits. He forgives all my sin and heals all my diseases. I'm reading John G. Lake Sermons edited by Gordon Lindsay. Pretty powerful, thought provoking and changing my thinking. For those of us who've hung around the faith movement and believe for healing, or fail to believe, this book jerks the slack out from under the faith feet. Today with so much disease, we'd better get a hold of God on this subject. I'll spare you my words, this is what John G. Lake said: A lot of folks pray but do not get in touch with God. They operate the machinery of prayer at one end, but never get a response from the other end. Real prayer is communion with God,not just praying words, but getting an answer from heaven.
I don't know about you, but that sure did convict me. I'm not sick. I simply want more of God and would love to walk in a divine area so that I never reach for an aspirin or any other medication, but that I reach for Him.
It's raining in Haiti. That means two things. 1.)Havoc for the tent dwellers. 2.) It'll be cool for sleeping.
Almost an oxymoron, isn't it? When it rains, we sleep in comfort but the tent dwellers are having sleeping havoc. That's why when the temps soar due to humidity, we feel a burden of guilt if we ask the Lord for rain.
Pray that Haitians cry out to the Lord in their distress and forget not all His benefits. He forgives sin and He heals all disease. As the rain falls, disease is imminent for those living in camps. Many are coming to the Lord, many more are hanging in the balance. With elections coming up, pray for Godly leaders that will have solutions to this problem.
I better get to packing. Aaron and Faith will be here shortly so we can enjoy the activity of youth and perhaps I'll sound like my grandmother: Stop slamming the screen door! Ever hear that as a kid? And, I'm longing to hear the sounds of Olivie and Junior skating down the hallway....
Saturday, June 19, 2010
It's nice being home. The pace is different and it's good. I'm enjoying times with the Lord and good fellowship with friends.
The church services we've been in have been wonderful, meaningful. We haven't been speaking, simply participating as part of the Body and enjoying the Lord. Picture of ice cream shop in St Marc
Our guys in Haiti, Kevin and Marko have patched the hole that was knocked through the block in the window on the first floor by whomever. We thought it was a boy but Kevin isn't sure it could have been and the hole was large enough for him to get through (although he didn't go in). So, we still don't know what was taken. I'm very thankful we'd planned our summer they way did. We need to get back and solve this mystery.
Interesting note. We live (in WV) near a railroad track. Last night as the train went by (even though I heard the whistle and knew it was there) the bed began to vibrate a little. My thoughts immediately went to the quake (after shocks were usually at night). I laid there fully aware of what was causing the vibration and wanted it to stop. It was a bit strange but as Gary said, "The impact of what happened made a deeper mark than we realized."
We will attend a church in Quaker City, Ohio, tomorrow. It will be nice to see friends there. Tonight we are going to see Ezra and Audrey, play and sing at a praise and worship festival, at the church where they were married. That should be a treat for this mom, anyway.
If you can, get a copy of The Meal that Heals, by Perry Stone. It is the most informative book on communion I've ever read and taking daily communion is powerful.
Blessings to you today!
I'm a truly blessed woman. God has been so good to me!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Since the wedding, we've had a chance to sleep a little later (not actually, the internal clock gets me up), but it's nice to have the wedding over with. I can't imagine how the Yakopin family feels. They certainly did a lot of work. Planning and carrying out the plans for an event like a wedding is tremendous. God is planning a wedding as well and he's been working on it and us for a long time.
We are waiting a visit from a boy who raised money for Haiti by putting jars in stores. He lives out of town and will be here shortly. It's so encouraging to hear that children want to help world situations. It was his idea and he followed through on it. We are blessed to be here to receive the gift!
We got a message from Haiti saying our house had been broken in to. After many messages, it turns out to be a young boy. He got in the yard somehow, can't figure that out because no one else has been able to get in the yard...over the wall....and if he came across the roof, getting down from the roof would be a feat. But, Marko managed to get into the yard, six foot tall, strong, agile. He saw that the louvered blocks in a window close to the ground in the back was knocked out, a small hole but big enough for a skinny kid to get through. Once the child got in, he was not able to get out through any door as they are absolutely secured. So, he had to go back through the little hole he made in the window. A laptop computer could not fit through it. Marko could see that he tried to get it through. He probably got some little things and we doubt he went through the whole house. But, we'll find out when we return. The mother has been visited by someone. She's frightened that her son may go to jail. We pray and ask you to pray that this boy will completely turn around and become what the Lord has planned for his life.
I was going to put videos on here (easier to do in the States) but there is no icon for such. So, if you are on FB you can see them there. Have a blessed day.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Had wedding rehearsal yesterday, all went well, but now I can't find the camera thing you use to unload the pictures. Always something to prevent smooth sailing when you have the time to do what you aim to do.
We are looking forward to this afternoon as Ezra and Audrey wed. He is sure one happy boy! (man). And, he's going to cry, I know it. He almost cried at the rehearsal. I told Gary, Ezra doesn't just shed a tear he sobs. Oh, Lord help him to not sob. It's an emotional release, of course, and it shows his heart. We had a wedding in Haiti some time ago, and the groom cried. Very unusual in Haiti.
Our grandson is going to Haiti with us end of June. This is going to be an experience, not only for him, but us. First family member to join us on the field. Aaron is 13, so the first thing he'll miss is MacDonalds, and after that, it'll be everything else. He will have Olivie and Junior to play with...oh no! another one skating down the hall! It'll be good. We believe this will impact his life and steer him in a positive direction to want to do his school work and most of all, choose to serve the Lord.
Better get my wedding dress ironed.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
While flying and sitting, I dug in to finish the book Christy. If you've never read it, please do. I was fascinated at how the lives of mountain people in TN, parrot the lives of those we minister in Haiti. The superstitions, lack of medical care, lack of education, the way funerals are conducted, revenge battles, struggle to bring truth--all of it reminded me of Haiti.
One time I took a picture of a little child with a necklace around his neck. Beads around, center a small bone from a hogs head. Voudou. I hung it on the bulletin board at our church in WV. The young woman who cleaned our church had a background much like those in the Christy book. One day she approached me saying, "I know that bone!" I didn't know what she was talking about until she took me to the picture and pointed to the necklace on the little child. She went on to say she had a necklace just like that one pictured. Of course, I asked her to bring it to me which she did. She told me her grandmother made them for all the children in the family. It was the same necklace. The mystery remains as to how a family in the hills of WV could have the same type necklace as those in the villages of Haiti. There is a thread that runs among the poor of the world that fascinates me and reading Christy made it even more so. I took that necklace to Haiti and all the Haitians were awestruck when I told them I'd gotten it in the US from a white American who's grandmother made them for the children.
Out with my friend Peggy today, tomorrow heading east, wedding date is about here. My youngest son getting married. I wonder if what I'm feeling was felt by my mother-in-law when Gary married me? I'm looking forward to a new daughter-in-law and sharing in their joys and sorrows for as long as the Lord allows me to remain on the earth, but of course, I'm praying against sorrows. We were at a Haitian wedding last week as we witnessed Daniel''s marriage. It sure was hot, doubt we experience that kind of heat next Sat.
More about the comparisons of the two weddings next week.