27 June 2010

A blanket thank you

As some of you know, there's a cool ministry called Send Them for Him which raises money for other ministries through online shopping. Sites like Amazon.com give back anywhere between 1% and 10% when you shop through the Send Them for Him site...which is like free money. You're probably saying to yourself, "Yeah, but 2% of my $10 book isn't going to make much of a difference." Oh yeah?

They just sent us a check for $77.

It all adds up, and some of you are clearly taking advantage of it...but of course, I have no idea whom (though I suspect the awesome administrative professionals at Rolling Hills are behind much of it--thanks, ladies!)...so I am forced to offer a blanket thank you to all who've taken the time to shop through our site. If you want to start "shop-ating" (that's donating by shopping), there's a link on the side of this page about how to get to our site and how it works.

Thanks for your prayers (and "shop-ating")!

25 June 2010

That's one serious castle

We finally got to go up to see the Citadel yesterday! I'm telling you more as a praise report than anything, because we've been trying to find a way up there since we got here. I don't have the time on the internet to write too much, but let me just say that the drive spawned the phrase, "The road is always smoother on the other side." (Good one, David.) The thirty-mile drive took three hours, each way, but it was well-worth it. We really couldn't believe what an amazing structure it was...even if the amazing view from the top was hidden by fog. I'll try to convince David to post some pictures next week.

--No word on our permi's (visas) yet--keep praying!
--Please also pray for the tropical depression that's headed our way...it's apparently causing some problems in Port-au-Prince (tents are blowing away--not cool)
--Please continue to pray for our shipment...we're having trouble getting it scheduled.

21 June 2010

I should have taken a picture

I knew it--we had our permis (our visas) in hand--and I should have taken a picture, but I thought, 'No, we're just walking down to the police department to get them stamped. We'll be right back, and then I can take a picture.'

They kept them. How can it take three days to put a stamp in a book?

Oh well. The good news is that the visa process is moving forward and, God willing, will be complete on Wednesday!! Please keep praying! Thanks!

P.S. We had a good trip down to Port-au-Prince this weekend for an all-staff BBQ. Got to see a bit more of the city and hang out with some new friends. So we're praising God for that. :)

14 June 2010

How Faint a Whisper

Since we arrived in Pignon, it has been David’s ambition to take some lightning pictures. (Some people might remember the amazing pictures he took in Nampa, Idaho: click here if you missed them.) We’ve tried a few times, to no avail, but a few nights ago, we finally had the perfect storm, so to speak. No wind, so he could get some palm trees in the shot; no rain, so we could stand outside; enough clear sky over our heads, so we weren’t in constant fear of getting struck by lightning.

My eyes began to adjust as we descended the cement stairs—Pignon is one of the world’s darkest places, and it’s hard to forget it. Out on the dirt playground, the lightning was still far off, but as it moved closer, it began to encircle us. It played between the clouds, illuminating them to hide the stars. They were like a veil, dreamlike, glowing and fading like a firefly. I hardly knew where to look—huge bolts alternated between heaven and earth—we were surrounded by a spectacular show, and I didn’t want to miss any of it. Yet when I checked behind us, over our tin-roofed apartment, I could still see stars, stars, stars, so hopefully, we were safe enough.

The resemblance of the clouds to fireflies stirred up a bit of jealousy in me—David’s sister, Marybeth, was recently bragging about her fireflies in Baltimore. Yet no sooner had the thought entered my head than David said, “Hey, look.” A firefly was floating overhead—I didn’t even know they had them here. In the midst of this incredible display, I couldn’t help but remember Job’s words: “And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint a whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” The God great enough to orchestrate such a storm also knew the desires of our hearts—lightning for David, lightning bugs for me.

Praise God with us for how extravagantly He blesses us, and please pray for wisdom as we try to schedule our household shipment this week.
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07 June 2010

Proof



See? I told you Red Light, Green Light was a hit! :)

Why Footballs are Great, and the Complexity of Organized Games

When the bus pulled up for us, I had flashbacks to Tilikum, a Bible camp I went to as a kid. The smell of sunscreen and bug spray, trying to find a good seat, the sound of nervousness chatting, and the awkwardness of people who don’t know each other yet. This week, we helped a team of college students here from Arkansas put on a VBS out in LaJenn, about 15 minutes down the road by school bus. As the bus pulled out onto the “highway” (think dirt road, rocky, lots of mud), it turned left, and I looked at David. We’d arranged for a friend to buy us our favorite kind of mangoes, and he was set to deliver them to us this afternoon…down the road, to the right. We checked for his cell phone number as we bounced down the road, but to no avail. Rats. That’s living in Haiti for you—he’d understand.

“What’s that?” one of the team members asked shyly, as we passed a compound with blue and white buildings and a tall fence with razor wire. “Oh, that’s the U.N.,” I answered. “And what do they do here?” someone else asked. Mostly, it seems like they drive around in their big white U.N. truck with tinted windows and play football (soccer). Don’t get me wrong—I’m glad they’re here. I feel a lot safer knowing I could knock on their gate if I needed to…but I still haven’t figured out why they’re here exactly.

We arrived at the school, and the kids were all waiting for us. They sang a few songs, including “Read Your Bible, Pray Every Day,” which we can now sing in Creole, English, and Dutch, thanks to some other friends from MAF we met back at HQ a few months ago. Then they broke up into groups, sending the older kids outside while the little ones spent the first session listening to a Bible story. Our job was entertainment and interaction with the big kids until the little ones were done, and then we’d switch.

There was confusion, inevitably. The kids had amassed in a large, muddy space in front of the school. “Was there a field?” I went and asked the head teacher—there wasn’t. “Was there any equipment?” Nope—just what you brought. “What do they know how to play?” Football (soccer). “What about other kid-type games?” I tried to explain that Haitian kids don’t really…play. They do play, in the sense that they have imaginations and cardboard and teddy bears, but they don’t play in the sense of learning organized games.

We broke them into four groups—one group had a soccer ball (they did not need a translator); one group had a Frisbee (they also seemed to have some kind of communication figured out); the other two groups were in trouble. Our first attempt was a game we called “Kanna, Kanna, Poul”… “Duck, Duck, Chicken,” because I don’t know how to say “Goose,” and I forgot that I had my dictionary with me. That was a hit—they picked it up pretty quick.

The last group had wandered back behind the school and wanted to try “Freeze Tag.” I was skeptical, but I gave it my best go: “You’re going to run around in this area. One person is “it.” (The word for “it” in Creole (li) is the same as the word for “he” and “she,” so I stuck with English.) If they touch you, you freeze. You can’t run. You can’t walk. You can just stand. But then another person is…” My brain got stuck. What do you call the person who unfreezes you? “Another person is the sun, and when they touch you, you can run again. Does that make sense?” They all said yes, which means nothing. “Are you excited?” They stared at me like I was a drill sergeant who’d just asked his soldiers if they wanted to run six miles. I sighed. “Well, let’s try it. One, two, three, go!” Two of the college students were the “it” people, and one was “the sun.” It was chaos. Seriously. We tagged them—they didn’t freeze. “The sun” touched them—they didn’t start running again. Half the kids ran over and hid behind me. We scrapped it.

Then I had a brain wave—what about Red Light, Green Light? My smart husband pointed out that the only traffic lights here are in Port-au-Prince, so these kids have probably never seen one. But I thought I could make it work…we called it “Kouri, Kanpe,” which means “Run, Stand.” And I’m proud to say, it worked like a champ.

I got my hand held a lot. I got my skin stroked and my shirt tugged and my name called and it was glorious. One girl in particular, during a lull, came up and just stood close to my side, resting her head…and it reminded me of a sermon I’d heard on a podcast from our church in Vancouver a while back. Daniel was talking about comfort, and he said that it meant “to hold to one’s side.” So I gave her a hug. She grinned at me, and I had a shadow for the rest of the day. It was really a blessing to us to be able to positively interact with the kids and bring them some fun and comfort in their lives.

Thanks for making our life here possible. Still no word on our housing—please keep praying!

That's enough.

Okay, I don't normally do this, and I know you're feeling deprived, because I haven't done one of my narrative blogs in a while...(I am working on one, I promise)...but we have a family here who really needs your prayer.

One of our MAF families, David and Patricia and their two kiddos, just got back to Haiti about two weeks ago. On the way here from Chicago, toting their newest addition (10 weeks and cute as a button, I might add), Patricia threw out her back and has been laid out since then. That's partly why we went down to help them with their kids last week. David's just accepted the role of program manager for Haiti, and one of the big decisions right now has to do with possibly purchasing a larger aircraft for our program--a tough decision which the staff is fairly divided over. Since he's going to be the new manager, they're looking to him to make the decision.

Also, the guy who owns their house (which they love, by the way) is selling it and kicking them out. So they're trying to find a new house by the end of the month. Since the earthquake, housing prices have skyrocketed here--he can't find anything less than $2000 a month, which is double the highest price we currently rent for. Most of them are more like $3000 a month, and still need work done to make them livable.

Oh--and this morning? They were robbed. The thief was in his son's room and unplugged the baby monitor. They lost a bunch of electronics and baby clothes, not to mention a lost night of sleep. They called the police--they never came.

Let's recap: new promotion, huge decision, new baby, homelessness looming, wife laid out, and robbed.

We need to lift up this family. Those in a war always have an enemy, and I believe Satan is trying to discourage them. Please ask God for his intervention--for His protection and provision. Please pray for David to find a house quickly, and for God Himself to provide some encouragement and comfort for them.