Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas is behind us, the New Year awaits us..........

What can we say after an ardorous time trying to make sure we got home before Christmas, then running around trying to make sure everyone would have a present, trying to get to see our church friends and pastors, all with coughing, sneezing, sore throats, shivering, fever.........oh! should I go on?  How many of us had the same experience or part of the same?  Most probably didn't have our Haiti exit experience but the American Christmas rush is most peoples' experience.  Today, I'm enjoying a visit from my middle son as he tries to catch up on computer work while away from home (so we are fellowshipping, both having our laptops open and working---what has happened to conversations where we look at one another in the eye?

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

Political Struggles in Haiti

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.