Friday, October 31, 2014

October Update

Since today is the last day of October I thought it was high time for another update.

First of all Jason's back is steadily improving. He is able to do all his regular duties except lift heavy things. He feels little to no pain, but does feel like his back is stiff and tired in the evenings. After dinner every night he rests his back by laying down. While he 'rests' he helps Jayden with his daily thirty minutes of homework and then teaches him guitar lessons. I love listening to them play as the rain patters on the tin roof.

Yup, rainy season is in full swing. That means, no more water shortages for us, less dust, and somewhat cleaner air. It also means tons of mosquitoes and a glue like mud called 'labou' that sticks to your shoes wherever you go.

Jason's been busy with flying, like usual, and I love to look at the pictures on his phone when he comes home from work. Here are some of his latest.






The kids are growing up fast! Jayden is enjoying school and learning a lot. At home he loves to use his imagination to play all kinds of games.


This morning he was counting down the days till Grandpa hopes to come in Christmas time. Apparently it's 56 more days!

Justin our two and a half year old has been testing the boundaries lately. This has been quite exhausting and frustrating for me. God has directed me to several scriptures about the importance of disciplining my child. Those included Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. , Proverbs 13:24: He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes., and Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. 

This has been really difficult for me, as although I was never against spanking, I always used it as a last resort. His whining, and refusal to obey has made spending every day with him a challenge however, so I've started to seriously implement these verses. It is amazing to see over the last few days how his attitude is changing. He is becoming much more respectful and very quick to obey.  God has also comforted me with the words of Hebrews 12:11: Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.




Alexander is growing like a weed! Just 4 short weeks ago he looked like this:


This morning I took this picture of him:


Two days ago I fed him his first baby cereal. He loved it and my eyes began to tear. After two children who I had to battle with at every meal time from 6 months to 2 years of age it was a delight to watch my third son simply open his tiny little mouth and enjoy his food. 

Now that I've added cereal to his diet he is finally waking up less often at night. After feeding him between 3 to five times a night for the last 5 months it was wonderful to wake up refreshed instead of exhausted this morning with only one night time feeding!

Finally, Jason is just working on the finishing touches of our quarterly newsletter. It usually features a "Day in the Life of an MAF pilot" story. If you're interested in receiving it by email or snail mail let us know by emailing us at jwkrul@gmail.com.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thanksgiving

I wanted to write about Canadian Thanksgiving and how it's been six years since I last saw fall. I wanted to look through my old pictures to find ones of colourful trees and foggy mornings. I thought about writing a list of things I was thankful for. 

God directed me differently.













Monday, October 13, 2014

Radiant

I never really liked my forehead. Not only was it big, it was shiny!



I remember as a kid my brothers and sisters would tease me about it sometimes. Teasing and joking was quite common in our household of ten kids! I also remember several years ago applying for a passport. In Canada, the passport offices are very picky about your picture and they refused to accept my shiny forehead photos! Finally after going back to the photographer a third time for retakes she dragged me to the makeup counter and proceeded to powder the shine right off of my face! 

Needless to say, I was intrigued when I read in Exodus 34:35 that …the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone:… Why did Moses have a shiny face? Digging deeper into the scripture I saw that it was because he spent time in the presence of God on Mount Sinai. 

Later on I read another verse in the Psalms about being shiny. Psalm 34:5 says: They looked to him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed… 

Then in Matthew 5:14-16 I read about shining as lights. It says: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

These verses made me stop and think. Maybe having a shiny forehead wasn’t so bad after all. In fact, I wanted to be a shiny person! A person that reflected my Father’s light as I spent time in His presence. 

 Jesus said in John 15:5: I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:…. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,…Gal 5:22. 

There are a lot of sad things happening in the world so it’s important as believers that we shine. Are we ready to give an answer to every one that asks about the reason for the hope that is within us? 1 Peter 3:15 says: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 

Are we radiating love, joy and peace regardless of our circumstances because we are abiding in Christ and are hope is in Him?

Monday, September 29, 2014

He has the Whole World in His Hands

7:23 p.m., September 23
Bolts of lightning flash across the sky, illuminating the dark night. On my perch at the edge of Justin’s bed I begin to count; one, two… Thunder explodes overhead, the sound waves rolling over the dips and valleys of the mountainous island we call home.
Justin whimpers and dives under his pillow, covering his ears. I sit motionless as I feel the sound waves vibrating through the tile floor. Fighting my own fear at the powerful sights and sounds, I turn my thoughts over to God.
As a child I always thought that thunder was God speaking and recently I looked it up. I found quite a few Bible verses on thunder, some of my favorites being:
Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? Job 40:9
The Lord thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice. 2 Sam 22:14
God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend. Job 37:5
Seeing God’ s power in the storm fills me with awe and a deep reverence for Him. It serves as a good reminder that we serve a powerful God.
My thoughts turn to the previous week, where I had put myself, so to speak, in God’s place. What a failure that turned out to be.
Anoud and Denise and their four children, who live with us, had been heavy on my heart. Phillipians 2:4 says “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”  In other words don’t only look out for your own interests and affairs but also look out for the interest and affairs of others.
As I prayed and asked God how I could help them He reminded me of the words in Ezekiel 16 where it talks about strengthening the hands of the poor. How can I do this I wondered?
In my kitchen, later that morning, I came up with the idea that maybe I could teach Denise how to cook American style food. I talked to her and she was very excited.  A few days later I saw a note online from someone in Port au Prince who was looking for a part time cook. It would just be a week or two each month and on those days only several hours in the afternoon, which would work perfectly for Denise.
I contacted the lady who wrote the note and then set up an interview. At the interview we quickly ran in to some difficulties, as the lady did not speak Creole. I acted as translator however, and the lady said she would be interested in having Denise come for a practice run for a week. I came up with a meal plan, a grocery list, spent hours going over simple recipes with Denise and then translated them into Creole. Then I busied myself trying to control every possible variable.
When I received a message at the end of the week saying it was not going to work out, I was devastated! Here I thought I was doing what God wanted me too! And it had seemed to be going so well too; Denise was catching on very quickly, was learning English words and had even conquered her fear of dogs!  Confused and upset I went to bed and sobbed into my pillow. As I lay crying I was suddenly reminded of the words God had led me to earlier that week.
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Psalm 127:1-2
“But God,” I argued in my mind, “I thought I was supposed to strengthen the hands of the poor, to look out for the interests of others?
The song we had recently sung in church began to play through my mind. “The battle belongs to the Lord…”
Sighing, I realized my mistake. I had done what He said, but I took it too far. I thought the outcome was up to me as well.
More verses flooded my mind. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9.
I laid there, silent; now only an occasional tear trickled down.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2 
Comforted, I slowly drifted off to sleep.
The following morning I dreaded telling Denise what the lady had said but she took it in a stride. “Can I still keep learning to cook and practice English she asked?” I nodded. “These skills won’t be wasted,” she continued, “There’s plenty of other people out there who at the right time will need a cook.” I nodded again, dumbly.
Now sitting here quietly in the darkened bedroom watching God’s lightning and hearing His thunder I’m comforted by the fact that He’s in charge, not me. That His thoughts and ways are higher. That the battle belongs to Him.  I need to obey and then leave the outcome in His capable hands.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Day in the Life

Note: Every day is different and unique, but after posting many team journals I thought it would be fun to share what a day in my life looks like. The day I chose to journal was Tuesday, September 16. 

1:34 a.m. 
I stumble out of bed at the sound of Alexander’s cries. Pushing open the glass patio door, I step into his little bedroom adjacent to ours. My little boy is hungry. Lifting up the mosquito net I reach down into his crib and gently take him out. Getting comfortable in an arm chair I nurse him to the sounds of rain drops falling from waving palm branches, roosters crowing, dogs barking and the spicy scent of a wet tropical tree wafting through the screened in window openings. The thermometer in his room reads 23 degrees Celsius. The moisture in the air makes it feel cooler. I shiver. When I lay him down again I give him an extra blanket. 

3:24 a.m. 
“Waa. Waa.” My boy is hungry again. I feed him while cuddling him close and then crawl into bed once again. 

6:00 a.m. 
Ring, ring. The sound of Jason’s cellphone wakes us both up. A friend is wondering if he is awake yet as they have plans for today. As Jason gets up, I savor the few moments of quiet before being bombarded with 3 little boys who are hungry, thirsty and need help getting changed, using the bathroom, etc. 

6:20 a.m. 
I walk into the kitchen to find our houseguest already eating a quick breakfast of cereal. Jason Abrams has been staying with us for the last two weeks to see what life is like as an MAF pilot/family. His flight leaves later this morning so my Jason will be taking him down to the airport.


6:45 a.m. 
The boys say goodbye to their daddy and with a quick kiss for me he’s out the door. Since he’s worked Saturday, today is technically his day off, but with a friend visiting from Florida, he plans to fly up north for some fishing. 

7:00 a.m. 
Jayden eats his favourite breakfast of egg on toast while Justin munches on some cereal. When Jayden is finished he helps his brother, something Justin enjoys immensely! He insists on wearing his hoody as he says he feels cold.


7:00-7:30 a.m 
Jayden gets ready for school and then we spend time together as I am helping him learn to read the Bible.


After prayer time, we hear the honk of the Toyota Patrol that will take him to school.


After a quick hug goodbye I watch as the vehicle disappears down the street.


7:35 a.m. 
Anoud and Denise’s three oldest children are dressed for school. They need to be leaving soon as their school gate closes exactly at 7:45. To combat the cultural problem of people not paying attention to time and arriving whenever, their school has made a rule that if you are not inside the gate by 7:45 you will have to return home. 


7:40 a.m. 
I spend time in prayer. Not beginning the day with my heavenly Father, is setting myself up for failure. I praise Him, confess my sins, thank Him for his blessings, give my worries and concerns over to Him and pray for others. 

8:00 a.m. 
Alexander is awake again and needing some attention.


I get to work feeding him, changing him and then make him comfortable on the playroom floor. Grandma’s handmade blanket comes in handy for this!


Justin, who loves his baby brother, brings him cars and toys. When tummy time is over Alexander spends some time in his exersaucer.


At 3 months he is a little young for it, but being so sturdy and strong I feel he’s ready. An hour later he starts to get sleepy so I lay him back in his crib for a nap. 

9:00 a.m. 
Now that it’s just Justin and I, it’s time to bake some cookies. Jason and Jayden need snacks for school and work, there’s a Bible study at our house Thursday mornings, and Anoud and Denise’s kids love cookies in their lunches too.


9:30 a.m. 
Outside the air is filled with the humming of a generator, banging hammers, and the sounds of workers, sometimes singing, sometimes shouting instructions trying to be heard over the noise. New neighbours are building a home on the lot next door where the previous house had collapsed after the earthquake.


10:00 a.m. 
The cookies are finished, and at the sounds of a marching band outside, I lift Justin into my arms and head out onto the rocky street. Sure enough trumpets sound, drums beat and people chant. From the way they are dressed it seems like some kind of Catholic celebration.


10:03 a.m. 
There’s a knock at the gate. The plumber is here with his apprentice. Yesterday our pump had stopped working due to issues with our empty water reservoir. The landlady had called the plumber, but Jason had in the meantime been able to fix the problem on his own. I call the landlady and explain the situation before sending the plumber and his apprentice back home. I feel bad that there is no work for them as the plumber looks thin and in need of a haircut. The landlady promises to pay him for coming out and is thankful the pump does not require any costly repairs. 

10:07 a.m.
Using my kitchen timer as a guide I do my 6 minute exercise routine. Even though I’m a busy mom, I have learned to incorporate this routine into my day to stay healthy and strong. 

10:15 a.m. 
Denise is back from the market with our weekly supply of fruits and vegetables.


I put Justin down for his nap and then work together with her to cut, scrub and soak them in purified water and a drop of bleach. I juice some of the fruit and vegetables to incorporate a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals into our daily diet.  

10:45 a.m. 
Sweat drips down my back as I tighten the screws that keep our screens against our windows. It’s very important that we can limit the amount of mosquitoes that come inside, especially because of the tropical diseases they carry. 

11:00 a.m. 
Time for cooking class. I am teaching Denise North American style dishes as I recently helped her find an afternoon job cooking for a guesthouse. Today on the menu is lasagna. We make it together and then I write down simple directions. Although she is basically illiterate she is able to sound out the simple Creole words so she knows the sequence of steps she must follow. We practice English together as we work, since the lady managing the guesthouse does not speak Creole.


11:30 
I feel prompted to look up the verse “Children are a heritage of the Lord.” I find it in Psalm 127: Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Throughout the rest of the day I ponder the various concepts found in those verses and how they apply to my life. 

12:00 p.m. 
The lasagna is finished. I plastic wrap the baking dish before putting it in the fridge. With Jason not being back till tomorrow, I decide to make something simple for the kids and I tonight and save the lasagna for tomorrow. 

12:15 p.m. 
Justin is awake. After a simple lunch of Haitian spaghetti, I flip several switches in the kitchen so the water pump will run on the inverter.


City power is rarely on during the day, but if I wait till noon when the sun is the brightest I can run the pump off of the solar panels via the inverter.


In the laundry room, which is attached to Anoud and Denise’s house Justin helps me load the machine.


12:25 p.m. 
I put away the freshly washed fruits and veggies and then together with Justin wash the lunch dishes.


12:30 p.m. 
I hear the honk of the water truck.


I head outside, greet the driver and then ask to check if the truck is full.


I climb up the ladder and sure enough find it full to the brim. Several long fire hoses are rolled out, which then snake around the house to the back where our underground water reservoir is located. A second helper holds the hose down as the trucks's pump gets turned on and water sprays into our reservoir.


I run inside for my bottle of bleach which I then add to the water to kill any bad bacteria. I then pay the driver $2250 Gourdes ($50 USD) for 3000 gallons of water. Depending on how many visitors we have this can last us anywhere between two weeks and one month. 

1:00 p.m. 
Alexander is awake again and I spend time feeding him, playing with him and Justin, and folding laundry.



3:30 p.m. 
Jayden is home from school and excited to tell me all about his day. He then plays a little while on the ipad before transitioning to legos and pirate play-acting with his little brother.



5:30 p.m. 
The sun begins to set as I make a simple supper of Kraft dinner and salad.


The boys love it and Jayden once again helps the slower Justin finish off.



6:00-6:30 p.m. 
One by one the boys all take their bath. I use only a small layer of water, which they all share.


6:30 p.m. 
It’s bedtime for Alexander and Justin.



Once they are settled, I spend the next half an hour doing homework with Jayden.


7:30 p.m. 
It’s Jayden’s bedtime too. After putting him to bed, I decide to splurge by filling the bath with some warm water and washing my hair. 

8:45 p.m. 
Since Jason won’t be back till tomorrow sometime, I decide to go to bed early. I check on the boys. Everyone is fast asleep.



After ending the day talking to my heavenly Father, I fall asleep to the sound of dancing rain on the tin roof and a cool Caribbean breeze blowing in through the screens. Frogs and crickets chirp enjoying the damp coolness of the night.