25 May 2012

Without Ceasing: Matt, Sara, Elizabeth, Ruby, and Hannah

You know when you were in school, and you knew you had a test coming up...and instead of preparing for it, you did other things? You ignored the facts and sort of blew it off? And then it came time to face the music, and it smacked you in the face?

That's a bit of how I'm feeling right now. Because I knew Ava was dying...but I didn't really prepare myself for it. Maybe there's no way I could have--after all, I never even met her.

The good news is that Ava doesn't need your prayers anymore. She's gone. Those of us in Christ have faith that Ava is with the God who loves her, because she's experiencing the undeserved favor of a gracious God, because Christ died for her. She's good.

But Matt, Sara, Elizabeth, Ruby, Hannah, and a host of other people she left behind desperately need them. As Sara put it, "Mamas shouldn't say goodbye to their babies." She's right, of course, and yet that's where they find themselves. And in the tension of "shouldn't" and "can't," I find that a small-but-heavy question presents itself..."how?"


How do we do this? How do we grieve? Comfort each other? Comfort ourselves? How do we have faith and believe that God works all things together for good for those who love him? How do we not become bitter at how wrong and unfair it seems? Jealous of those who don't seem to have these things happen to them? How do we stay tenderhearted?

"How" is hard when it comes to big things, but maybe even more so in the little things, especially for a mom...How do I keep getting laundry done and dishes washed when I feel like this? How do I make dinner feel normal? How do I make it through the grocery store without embarrassing myself?

"How" is hard. They'll need your help. Here's some ways to pray for their family:

-Elizabeth Joy, their oldest, has pneumonia, and Hannah, their youngest, is also sick. Pray for a quick recovery for both of them without any more hospital visits, so they can all be together.

-Hannah is probably too young to realize what's happened, but Elizabeth and Ruby are very much aware. Pray for the right words and actions for Matt and Sara to comfort them and help them understand it all.

-Pray for friends and family and community to come around them and supply their needs: physical, emotional, spiritual. Pray especially for people who like doing laundry and cooking meals and all those other things that just can't go by the wayside. Pray for friends who will sit and listen without offering that which is unhelpful.

-Pray for time alone for each of them to process and sit with God. 

-Pray for strength as they plan her memorial. Pray that it would glorify God. Pray for safe, easy travel for those coming to join them.

-There's a whole, huge network of people following Sara's blog, worldwide. Pray that it would be a testimony of God's grace that would lead them to Him.

Thanks, friends. You can follow their story here: www.msharms.blogspot.com

16 May 2012

Guest blogging!

I was the guest blogger today over on the MAF blog--their theme right now is aircraft maintenance. They picked the right lady for the job on this one! I probably know more than most wives, just because of my job at the hangar.

You can read it here: http://www.mafblog.com/mafaviation/high-maintenance

Funny Food

As opposed to Accountant cheese? Firefighter cheese? Dentist cheese?
Don't try to drink this straight. You NEED cereal.
The sun killed them. RIP, tomatoes.
Maybe this isn't that funny, but I thought it was. Is this normal?

11 May 2012

Double Love

Many of the people we serve here are missionaries...some would call them "short-term," but a decade-long commitment, coming and going, time after time, doesn't really seem short-term to me. I think of them more as "in and out" missionaries, as "here and there"...they just can't seem to stay away. These guys are often self-supported and on a tight budget, so I do my best to get them the best reservation set-up I can.

One of them, Bob, came through on Monday, headed up to Mole St. Nicolas in northwest Haiti. He had three other guys with him and a bunch of supplies, so they had the Caravan on the way to Mole. Coming back, however, he wanted to know if they could fit in a five-seat plane, as it would save them quite a bit of money. We had them separate out what they wanted to bring back and weigh themselves to do an estimate. They were right at 1,015 pounds...the max is 1045. David said it would have to be one of our lighter pilots (like him), but that we could make it work. I told them if they promised to take it easy on the rice and beans, we could cancel their second plane. They promised, I canceled it, and everyone was happy.

Until...I got a call on Wednesday, from Bob. "Our Haitian pastor up here has a doctor's appointment in Port-au-Prince on Friday...is there any way he could ride back with us?" This is where my job gets tough. The plane just can't take that much weight. As much as I'd rather say yes, I've got to protect our passengers, our pilots and our equipment. I told him I was sorry, but no, unless they wanted to leave all their luggage behind, there was no way.

"Is that second plane still available?" I told him it was. "And it would be double what we'd planned to pay, right? It would be the same price, only twice over?" I confirmed that it was. "I'll call you back in a few minutes." I went back to scheduling, fairly sure that they wouldn't want to double their costs for just one guy who's used to a tap-tap.

He called back. "We'll take it."

Isn't it amazing, the "double love" we find around us some times? Isn't it amazing that two men from completely different cultures, different economic strata, different languages...can become brothers?

Pray that we'd be a blessing to these "in and out" missionaries, helping them maximize their time in country and their effectiveness for the gospel.

01 May 2012

Tomato Love

For those who may have missed the news, I am pregnant, due in December. (I'll give you a minute for any happy dance or loud whooping that you may feel is necessary.) We certainly have had our own share of joy as we get to spread the news, especially in telling the grandma's and grandpa's. It's quite a thrill.

Here in Haiti, my friends and coworkers are thinking that this is well overdue. After all, the total fertility rate in 2011 was three children per woman. Let that sink in for a minute. For every woman, three children. It's no wonder I always felt like everyone was pregnant but me. Also, a woman who's been married seven years without children? Unheard of. One stranger even chastised me for "withholding" children from my husband. Yeah, because I totally planned that. (This is me, rolling my eyes.)

I can't say that I'm one of those gals that relishes the pregnancy experience, sweetly smiling through every nauseated moment. I wish I could glory in the adult acne, the mood swings, the "space case" brain moments. I sort of think it's a pain.

Today, however, it was put into perspective for me. Our baggage handler, Marc, came up to me, grinning from ear to ear. "My boss," he said fondly, "You are going to be a beautiful tomato!" It was explained to me that I would be glowing, radiant and fat round.

Well, there are worse things in life. (Better a tomato than a whale.) While I'm not in love with "tomato-ness," I am certainly thrilled about its byproduct.

Please pray with us that this little person would grow up healthy and strong!