Bon Ane! Or Happy New Year…
So sorry but updating the blog has been an almost impossible task. Where to start? We got all of our bags just after we updated!!! Such a blessing!!! We celebrated New Year’s Eve eating one of the most delicious meals…sos pwa (rice with bean sauce) and crawling into our beds at 9 pm. I know you are thinking…what party animals!!! We woke up around 10am on New Year’s day and Jessica, Kate, and Christin went for a hike with Jacques and Isabel to Toutoon’s House. We were on a business trip. Toutoon’s daughter, Roselanie, wants to attend nursing school. We discussed options including a program that Canada is offering. She speaks fluent French…so that would be the simplest option. They were so welcoming! Bread and ginger jam was served on their finest china. We were also blessed to get to try Haitian hot chocolate…yikes! Just imagine a hot mud shake…that was the consistency…so gritty! We could only stomach a few sips. Overall, it was a great experience. Jacque, the botanist, gave us a grand tour of Passé Catabois. Meanwhile, Jacob, Rachel, and Dustin had a great morning of coloring with the kids near the hospital. It is so sweet to see how these kids respond to a little extra TLC and compassion. The afternoon was spent on the soccer field! What an event to watch small children out run and play the “blanc’s”…or white foreigners! After the game…We spent some time with the smaller kids. We played “donkey”…which consisted of carrying a kid on your shoulders and them slapping your back while yelling “Ale!!!” It was precious…to watch Jacob and Dustin love on these small children! The evening was spent with three sweet Haitian girls…Anna-Rose, Miriam, and Lisa!! They have been with Rob for several months in the Netherlands, and just returned to Passé Catabois on Dec. 24th. We made Mac-n-Cheese casserole for dinner…what a hit! We made friendship bracelets with the girls and spoiled them rotten! After the torturously cold showers…we crawled into bed. We (7 girls) fought for bed space between the four twin beds pushed together! Oh well…definitely worth it! PANCAKES where a huge hit on Sunday morning. We got dressed and ready for church. Ah yes…Haitian church…well we walked in at 10am and they had cleared an entire row for us! We listened to the beautiful music and watched the sweet church members praise God. About an hour and a half into the service a woman stood up to step outside. She became weak and fainted to the ground. Jessica, Kate, and Christin were the closest and offered assistance. What a mess…I mean we couldn’t feel a pulse…she was cold, clammy, and unresponsive. I don’t think I can describe the situation well enough. Several of the men came over to carry her to the hospital. About half way to the hospital and Haitian nurse met us with a stretcher and blood pressure cuff. The woman came to a little when we got her on the stretcher. When we got her to the hospital the family explained that she had been crying all day yesterday and not eating. She had been grieving the death of her child…eight months ago. In Haiti, a person is allowed to grieve until the funeral…and then they must stop. Ann-Marie explained that she is just overwhelmed with grief and was possibly dehydrated. The other half of the team remained in church…Jessica, Kate, and Christin decided to not interrupt church and wait outside for the group. Well…they didn’t leave until 12:30!!! Church in Haiti is an all day experience. They start at 8am and go until 5 or 6pm…with only a break for lunch! We were exhausted…I don’t know if it was from the three girls or the church service, but a nap was definitely necessary. After our nap, we conquered the crowd of children outside our house with bubbles and balloons. Rachel silenced the kids with her soothing voice and music. I have never seen 20 Haitian kids sit quietly for 30minutes…PTL! We spent our evening in the kitchen doing “team time” and making tacky bag lanyards!!! And yes they will be for display on our arrival to the Monroe airport. Oh the laughs we have had together has been unreal!!! It rained and the night air was quite chilly! I can’t explain how great it is to crawl into bed every night at 9pm completely exhausted!!
We went on a team hike yesterday morning (January 3)…which turned into lets go to every kid’s house and cross all of Passé Catabois…with every house we visited, we picked up more children!! It is amazing to see how far the children walk to visit us everyday…kind of gave us all a little more prospective! We spent the first part of our afternoon painting fingernails and toenails around the hospital. It was so sweet to watch the women’s faces when we finished. Even a few of the boys got the nails painted!!! Our team has taken on the mission of helping "Jada", a patient at the hospital, walk. She has been in a wheelchair for months... She says she is paralyzed and cannot walk... Doctor Anne-Marie seems to have a different opinion :) So we resolved to get her moving and out of the chair. It was a task at first... Jessica and Kate on her sides and Dustin moving her feet to help her walk for the first time in months. She has a different look about her now... maybe she has gained some confidence that with a little work she may walk again... who knows?? Say a prayer for Jada.... that she would know that she is loved and that she will have the confidence to keep pushing herself to walk once we are gone. While Jessica, Kate, and Christin organized the hospital supplies, Dustin, Jacob, and Rachel dominated the soccer field with the children! We concluded our day with rice and wolf chili…the boys were so pumped for this meal!!! We are all a little burnt today…guess we will be better tomorrow about applying sunscreen.
Today has been a good day :) Pancakes again for breakfast... just as big of a hit as they were last time. After breakfast we helped Jacques and Isabel move some of their belongings into another house they are preparing for themselves to live in once Rob & Anne-Marie move to the guest house with the girls. So we carted large and small items to and fro for most of the morning. As a treat Jacques made us Passion Fruit juice from his own personal tree!!! (that's right Norman... good things come to those who wait :) :) ) haha... it was tasty! Jessica went on an adventure with Wilfet to visit his family in "FWASION". They went on his motorcycle and she was able to see more of Haiti... her heart :) Meeting his family was fun too... they all wanted their pictures taken. Christin, Kate, Rachel, Dustin & Jacob were on mission to walk Jada again today. She is doing SO WELL! She has come farther even since yesterday :) ---- We have spent some of the day finalizing plans for the days to come. Tomorrow... Jessica, Wilfet, and Chrisnet will go to PDP to pick up Summer, her friend Sam, Phoebe and possibly some other sweet faces :) They will spend the day with us in Passe Catabois and then they will travel back to PDP with us on Thursday as we prepare to head to PAP. There will also be another guy joining us to learn some english..Shervans is his name. Anne-marie things it will be good for him to be around us. So we will see what that adventure holds :) Plans are still kind of up in the air as to where we will stay Thursday night before we fly out of PDP early Friday morning. We have a few options but are confident that the Lord will provide. He has so far :)
Thank you guys for reading and for staying up with us on our journey. we will probably not update until we arrive in PDP. So sorry the blogging has been splotchy.... TIH (this is Haiti.. for those of you who remember our stories from the summer)
Please pray for us... that we will continue to embrace the time we have left... that we would love unreservedly.... and that the King of the Universe would touch the hearts of the ones we spend our days with. We love them very much. And we want the best for them... the best means knowing the King of the Universe...the King of our hearts. Thankful for His promises today... I pray that you are too.
Just a side note...
There have been several occasions of doubt and uncertainty on this trip. We can see the struggle amongst the full time missionaries here in Passé Catabois and throughout Haiti. The frustration of it all is wearing on them. My plea tonight is that you pray for all the missionaries in Haiti. Pray that they find strength and passion to live out God’s will.
Our thought for the day…
The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. –Fredrick Beuchner
We love you,
Jessica, Christin, Kate, Jacob, Rachel, and Dustin