Saturday, September 9, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Greetings,

I wanted to get a note out here to let everyone know how blessed we were.  I know so many, many prayers went out to keep Hurricane Irma off our coast line.  And those prayers were answered.

I have to share that my main concern was not for our home, although we knew our roof would be the first thing to give in to the winds and rain.  All that kept coming to my mind was the homes on the mountain side just inside the city gates of Cap Haitian.  There was no way those homes could survive the winds and rains a strong hurricane like Irma was threatening us with.  My heart was reaching out to the people in those homes.  Where would they go?  Inside their homes...and in all probability, be washed down off the mountain.  Loss of life would have been astronomical. So we kept praying that the Lord would move it north enough so these people would have a chance.  

Yes, I do know of the destruction caused on the many islands and areas before it even got to the island of Hispaniola.  I have not heard of what has happened in the Dominican, but I do know that here in Haiti, damage was very minimal.  SO VERY MUCH less than it could have been.  

We were prepared, as best as we could be here.  And I have to laugh when one of the missionaries made a truthful statement.  He said, in America, before a storm hits, be it a ice storm, snow storm, or a hurricane, Americans are out emptying out the stores for supplies. And that is true, but it's called being prepared.  Here in Haiti?  No one has the funds to go and buy things or to even make their home weather proof.  There is no mad rush to empty shelves in stores of supplies.  There IS a lot of prayers taking place.  

I remember back in the early 1990's (not sure of the exact year or date) a hurricane was headed our way, along the northern coast of the island.  US military was here at the time.  One of the fellows in charge of those military in tents at the airport, came and asked us where he could put his troops to wait out the hurricane.  We had no idea where several hundred men and women could be housed.  But I had asked him if on the way to our home had he noticed the churches and that fact that the doors were open and they were full?  He wanted to know what that had to do with his people.  I said, those people in the churches have no way to prepare.  They are simply asking the Lord to help them.  Either to divert the storm or see them through it.  No comment from him.  BUT, after the emergency was over, he came out and said, "I have NEVER seen a hurricane make a 90 degree turn before."  That is what it did.  At the Dominican/Haitian border, it turned 90 degrees and all we got was some minor wind and rain.  I told him, "Well, you have never seen the Haitians pray, either, I guess."

But I can honestly say that is was not only the prayers of the Haitians that kept us from mass destruction.  It was the prayers of God's people everywhere.  God stepped in and answered those prayers!!!   I have no answer as to why others areas were hit so hard, but I DO know God was here with us and He had control over what we faced.

I just wanted to get a quick thank you out to all of you who have kept us, not only Don and I, but Haiti as a whole, in your prayers.  Those prayers were definitely answered!  
Blessings and Thank You Again for your prayers!


   Psalm 32: 7  "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."
  
 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A quick update from Haiti



Greetings,
Wanted to do a quick update to let you know what’s happening here in Haiti.  Obviously returning with the wrong mind set happened.  We thought since Savanah is finally home with her family (more on that later) in Canada, we’d have some free time…WRONG!  I think it’s something like having a bucket out in a heavy downpour…dump a bit out, thinking it will be a bit lighter…but before you can pick it up, it’s full again.  That IS what happened here.  First of all, Savanah was almost 6 when still here, so she was pretty free a lot of the time.  So when we returned and she wasn’t here anymore…things left undone took up that amount of time.  But it’s our hearts that still hold the empty feeling.

While we were out, we were blessed by a couple of families who gave us the opportunity to not only help people with the many problems here, but enough to get our next bucket project going. (Special thanks to Lou Ann and her family and to Terry and Diane for their generous help.) That is the main thing we wanted to share this time.  We have finally gathered all the food needed to start the first 25 buckets.  Now I want to let you know, when teams come and do buckets it’s a HUGE, HUGE blessing for us.  For Don and I to do this alone is REALLY time consuming.  We have to cut back on other things to get this done.  Vero helped me gather and bag the non-food items and believe me, that was a blessing!!  But Don and I had to do all the other bagging, and bottling.  It is so worth it to see those who get our buckets though.  We don’t do this for those who are constantly begging at the door.  We do this for the families or older people who are out in the country side and have no way to survive.  We try to get photos, but these people feel bad that they need help and we don’t want them to think we are using them when we take photos.  This has happened so often here in Haiti.  And our desire is to help not to embarrass them.  Many times we use our close kids here to deliver these, since they know the people and can do it quietly. 

All of that to let you know that these are going to be going out soon.  We filled the first bucket to make sure it would all fit in and then took a picture.  These are staples that all Haitians use and are thankful for.  The list?  Okay, here it is:  First of course is the 5 gallon bucket with a lid (reusable for water or storage when empty).  Rice, spaghetti, tomato paste, beans, flour, oil, oatmeal, cornmeal, and sugar.  Then we add laundry soap, toothbrushes (5 per family), toothpaste, soap, wash cloth, hand sanitizer, comb, pens, pencils, small carry bag, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, 2 booklets of John & Romans, and two scripture tracts explaining salvation. 

We have been asked why we put 2 of the scriptures and tracts.  Here in Haiti, having books or reading material is very treasured.  And even if they cannot read, they will find someone to read it to them.  (We have found out about this on many, many occasions). And the reason for 2?  Haitians really are a generous people and they will share the extra ones with someone else…thus the word of the Lord goes out beyond those we can reach.  We could write story after story of people who have shared with us that they had these scriptures from someone we had helped.  The blessing for us is that it is equipping the Haitians to share God’s word with others. 

Now on to Savanah.  YES, we do miss her.  Find ourselves saying, go get her, or see where she is, and then realizing she is at home in Canada.  She is happy.  She has her mom, dad, three sisters, and now, as of 3 days ago, she has a brand new baby brother added into it. Pray for that happy and excited family.  We still find a toy she loved, or something she cherished here and pause, but know she is so happy and her first words to us on the phone were, “Grandma, I’M IN CANADA!!”  Her hearts desire!
Here is Savanah's new baby brother, Andrew Alexander
 Our next steps?  Well, we hope to be able to do more buckets soon, but are also busy with regular things, like MFI (who are important to so many missions here) and the airport, working with other missions, with English Bible Fellowship, and just normal everyday life things. 

So, we ask you to please rejoice with us that we are completing our first 25 buckets since back, and that Savanah is home and happy with her new family, and that we are home and back in the swing of things here.  We were again asked, several times while in the US, when are we retiring…and our answer is still the same….”Christians don’t retire, they re-fire.” So we continue to look for ways to keep that fire burning for the Lord!!  And we are praying you’re doing the same!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

We are home!

I've posted many things about our life in Haiti, and yes, there are some in here, too.  But this is just a catch up of our last almost 3 months.  In traveling, and in that time we did put on over 7,000 miles, it was hard to sit down and gather thoughts to do a post.  Our stateside time this year held so many joyous moments and times.  And our return to Haiti did the same.  So, with this in mind, here is a copy of an email I sent out this morning...

 Just wanted to get a quick note out and let everyone know we are home and back at ... well, doing what we do!  I had thought I'd have some time now for some other things since Savanah is home in Canada....not going to happen.  Been sort of swamped under with simply life.  Most people can understand life's fun times.  I get ready to do something, but have to fix something to do it. Or, get ready to do my MFI paperwork for the airport, and run out of ink...not that easy to fix here...but praise the Lord for some great friends in Fort Pierce, who sent me in some ink.  But it's always the little things.  Have you been there, and done that? 

Trying to get a newsletter finished and printed...printed 49 copies before I realized I had headed it with NOVEMBER and not AUGUST.  Not going to reprint...just used white out.  No, not a very professional way to do things, but just a way to get it done.  Don's been trying to get a lot of catch-up things done and he, too, is hitting the "fix something before doing something" spot. 

All of this brought to mind what an INFALLIBLE God we serve.  He doesn't make mistakes.  And He doesn't have to "redo" anything.  So when things get a bit frustrating here, we have to remember to simply turn to Him and take a deep breath.  No he doesn't "fix" our mistakes, but He forgives them.  And He helps us get through them and work them out. 

This coming week we will be starting to work on the Bucket Ministry again.  How we rejoice when a team comes to do these for us.  It is very time consuming for us to do them alone, but so worth the effort for those who receive them.  I received the list of prices on items we buy here for the buckets.  The price of buckets and of food have all increased.  We know the Lord knows this and He will supply what is needed.  So please pray with us that we will get these buckets filled and ready to go out in a timely manner.

I've also started making plans to be working at least once a week out at the IDADEE orphanage.  I want to do some individual insights into the children there, to share with supporters and others wishing to help them out.  I believe there is a plan to take in more children in the very near future and we want to get that information out when it happens.

We are starting to revamp some of our paperwork for MFI, both in what we send to the office in the states and how we do our papers here on this end of things.  A bit time consuming to start with, but worth that when we get it set up.  Please keep Missionary Flights in your prayers.  They, too, are going through some changes and need some prayer support. 

And of course, our prayers are going out for so many in need.  The Lord has really impressed on me the need to spend quality time in prayer.  I praise God we have seen some great things happening once we do pray.  He is such a faithful God and we rejoice in serving Him.

I read a quote (not sure who wrote it)...but it was so inspiring.  It says, "If you saw the size of the blessing coming, you would understand the magnitude of the battle you are fighting."  We have seen that happen here and really know the meaning of it. 

I'd like to close with a prayer that I have used often in many circumstances and for many different people:  "Heavenly Father, I may not understand how everything will work out, but I trust You.  I don't see a way, but I know You will make a way.  I have faith at this very moment you are touching hearts, opening doors, and lining up the right breaks and right opportunities.  Things may look dark and bleak now, but I have faith that my (or their) dawn is coming!  In Jesus' Name!"

Release!

Hello to all,

I wanted to share just a short post with you.  You know, when times are good, many people don't bother to pray or turn to the Lord.  But when things get hard, where do they go?  Right to the Lord.  But many simply do that with a statement like, "Why ME, Lord?"  or "Why did You do this to me?"   That is so sad.  The Lord doesn't DO or Plan things to hurt people.  He is always there, in all situations.  He's just rarely given credit when it is due. 

My special prayer partner, Belle, and I pray this prayer daily.  It says so much and means so much.  Read it with your heart open to the Lord.  

And please know we are praying for you. No matter who you are or where you are. Anyone who reads this is in our prayers!
Blessings!!!

 Prayer of Release

"HEAVENLY FATHER, I release to you the burdens that I have been carrying, burdens that you never intended for me to carry.  I cast all my cares upon You-all my worries, all my fears.  You have told me to not be anxious about anything, but rather to bring everything to You in prayer with thankfulness.

FATHER, calm my restless spirit, quiet my anxious heart, still my troubling throughts with the assurance that You are in control.  I let go of my grip upon the things I have been hanging onto, with opened hands I come to You.  I release to Your will all that I am trying to manipulate; I release to Your timing all that I have been striving to make happen.

I THANK YOU for Your promise to sustain me, preserve me, and guard all that I have entrusted to Your keeping.  Protect my heart and mind with Your peace, the peace that passes all understanding.  Father, may Your will be done in my life, in Your time, and in Your way."      written by Roy Lessin

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A time of praying and rejoicing!

Greetings, 

It has been such a long time since I posted, but now I can explain why.  We were getting ready to come to the states when we got word, AGAIN, that Savanah could go home to Canada.  Well, as has happened before...we may have gotten the word, but it just didn't seem to be happening.  Things went up and down for several weeks.  Then the word finally came through that yes, Guerline could come and get her.  So plans were starting to be made to that effect.  We would leave Haiti on a Thursday for our trip and Guerline would come in the next Sunday to complete things.

We told Savanah that mommy was coming to get her....but we would be leaving before mommy came.  She hung her head and just stood there.  Then I said, "but we will try and come to see you in Canada when you get there." Her head popped up and she said, "Okay, you can go!"  Then things started going wrong again....this or that paper was needed, the lawyer in Port au Prince was being a total jerk, and mommy, the adoption agency and everyone else were in disbelief at this happening, AGAIN!  

Papers were sent and finally mommy and Grandma Bibiana flew to Port au Prince to get things finalized.  AGAIN paperwork and miscommunication through the lawyer began.  It took over a week to get things straightened out.  And we finally were able to talk to Guerline to find out that last Friday she could have gotten the visa to go, but the consulate closed 15 minutes or so after the papers arrived that were needed.  So, on Monday they went back and got the visa and authority to go home to Canada.

Guerline said Savanah knew that this is what they had been waiting for.  She told mommy, okay, lets go get my toys and get on the plane to Canada.  She didn't understand that they had to wait one more day for the plane.  But as you can see below, she MADE it to Canada!!  I'm also including the email I just sent out, too, so you know how things went and how to pray!!!  Thank you for being there for us and not only walking through this situation with us, but praying with us through it all!!

These are pictures of Savanah on CANADIAN soil!!!!!  Finally!!! (They are a bit fuzzy, but you can still see her happy face, even in the middle of the night!)

 
 
And here is the letter I wrote:

Well, most of you have been praying with us and now I can post a few pictures...although not real clear, they ARE of SAVANAH IN CANADA!!!!!!  Savanah and Guerline flew into Canada late last night.  It must be around midnight when they finally were able to get off the plane and touch Canadian soil, but you can see by Savanah's face she is more than happy, even in the middle of the night!!!

This is a real time of rejoicing and praising God, for sure.  Please join us in thanking the Lord for this miracle!!!  When this "baby" came to us, she was 2 weeks old.  She is now 5 years 8 months and 12 days old!  There is no way an adoption should take this long, but we are praising God that she is finally now at home in her new home in Canada.

But it's also going to be a sad time for us, too.  Having her so long and then she leaves.  Please pray for Abbie.  It was very hard for her to see her "sister" leave.  I know the full impact of it for Don and I won't be felt until we return to Haiti and she is no longer there.  We are planning to make a trip to Canada in the next month to see her, though. 

I keep looking at those pictures and hearing her though the last couple of years, "Grandma, I want to go home to Canada".  And now she is there with her mom, dad and sisters!!!

More news later, just wanted to share this time of rejoicing for her new family!  Please also pray that the transition into a totally new life style will go smoothly! 

Thank you for praying!!
 
We are praising our awesome God, and are renewed by the verse, "With God all things ARE possible".    Matthew 19: 26


Saturday, May 6, 2017

May Update



Greetings,

Time for a quick update.  I do wish we had an update on Savanah and the situation with her traveling to Canada….but we don’t.  We are in that “waiting mode” yet again.  We aren’t sure exactly how or when this will take place.  It is still that one single paper from the Canadian consulate we are waiting for.  We know the Lord knows and has the answer, and that is what we are depending on.  

Don has been working on getting the roof on Vero’s place.  You know the how things work in Haiti, right?  You make plans and then you know they will change because nothing seems to go as planned here.  Don has met some very challenging things with this roof.  Being attached to the existing roof, the angle needed for getting rain to run OFF the roof would put the ceiling inside VERY low.  And then the lentil blocks he needed are not made here anymore (at least not in this area)…so he had to make a mold and make them himself.  And then the angle of the roof created yet another set back…they had to pour cement with wood braces to get the angle right…a real challenge.  But as of Monday, they will be getting the rafters started and prayerfully completed, and then the tin can go up.  This few day job is taking a few MONTHS, due to the above situations and then the rains….

The rains…well, it isn’t raining hard daily, but raining almost every day, some days harder than others. In this situation we have found our roof has served it time.  In one bedroom the ceiling tiles are about to cave in because they are so saturated with rainwater.  Every room in the house has some sort of water damage.  This time it isn’t the “easy patch”, going up and filling in holes. So, now we start to pray for a way to replace our roof.  Yet, another challenge!!

Well, I’ve given you two major prayer items.  Please, do keep them in prayer.  I will go into some of the blessings and also prayer items for the near future.

We leave for the states on May 25th.  We will be taking a few days to simply reorient and rest then start traveling.  We are heading up the east coast this time.  We have never been in the north east, so this will be an exciting trip for us.  Included in this was a plan to stop on the way to Wisconsin, from the north east, to see Savanah in her new home.  But the Lord will have to work on that since she isn’t there yet.  But we are looking forward to our trip.  And even more exciting is that two of our grandkids will be getting married while we are there.  And our time out is to see many of those we haven’t seen in a LONG, LONG time.  This will include at least 2 of our “heart babies”…now grown and on their own!!  Please keep our trip in your prayers, for safety and being a witness for the Lord.

The next prayer item is for MFI.  Three of our pilots are leaving today to head to Africa.  No, MFI will NOT be doing missions there….they are going to prayerfully check out and then fly our new DC-3 back to Florida.  Lots of prayer needed since they will have to do a complete check of the plane and then 6 long, hard days of travel to get it back to the US!  Please keep the pilots and all they will encounter in your prayers.  I believe you will be able to follow their journey via the MFI web site:  www.missionaryflights.org.  

I will keep you all posted on each of the above prayer requests as we have news.  We are praying that very soon we will be sending a rejoicing letter out saying Savanah is on her way!!  And it is also very exciting to know our new plane is “almost” ON THE WAY.  Once in the US there will be a time of redoing the plane and getting it ready for service, but at this point, it’s getting it to the US first!!

We are praying that God is working in YOUR lives in such a way that you can rejoice and praise Him.  Remember one of my life verses…which I have to read and PRAY each day….”Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks IN all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18  (NIV)