Monday, November 2, 2009

The Wedding!

Where do I start? There is so much to say! I guess I'll just start from the beginning. Warning, this might be long!

November 4, 2008

My first day in Haiti! After an eventful flight, and then an incredible drive across the worst roads I have ever seen we finally arrive at one of the MAF's house. After stowing away our suitcases, Jason, Jayden and I walk to our new home. I'm excited! We knock on a big black gate and a Haitian man opens the door and welcomes us with a friendly "Bonjou", and a big smile. Neither Jason or I can really speak any Creole at this point besides the basic greetings, so with some sign language Jason introduces us. As we walk up the steps around the back of the house we meet Denise for the first time. She's a small Haitian lady, probably not much older than myself and she has two adorable little boys.

Jayden takes no time at all to introduce himself and within minutes is playing with the boys.

November 24, 2008

After a couple weeks of unpacking and setting up our home it is time to leave for the village. Spending some time with Anoud and Denise made us decide to hire both of them. Anoud has been working at our house for the last ten years and that is the family's only source of income. At the same time, he's friendly, hardworking and polite. To supplement their income we have offered Denise a job as well; dusting, sweeping and moping inside. The dust here in Haiti is so bad, that it seems like the whole house is layered in dust every day! She is very excited about being able to work and earn extra money as well. I am happy to have another lady around who I can talk to and practice Creole with.

February 24, 2009

We're back from the village and are excitedly greeted by Anoud, Denise, Nicolas and Sabboule. One of the reasons they are so excited is because, when you are gone for awhile, they are afraid you won't come back. We get a schedule going for work times and everything goes very well. Jayden loves having two brothers to play with and is picking up Creole quickly from them.

March, 2009

Denise is expecting, which I had assumed for a while, but she now finally admits it. She seems worried about my reaction, but I assure her there is nothing to worry about and I will help her in every way that I can. After awhile Anoud mops and sweeps for her and life goes on normally. When I come back from a visit to Canada I give her a giant bag of baby clothes, part of which I had purchased and part of which had been donated by family and friends. Seeing the clothes and all the baby supplies, Denise finally starts getting excited. "Oh, I really hope I have a girl," she says.

May, 2009

Denise and I are becoming closer and closer friends, especially as I am picking up more and more Creole and am able to communicate better with her. One day as I am showing her my wedding pictures, I ask her what some of the Haitian wedding customs are. She tells me the little she knows. I then ask what her dress was like. Ashamed, she admits she never had a wedding dress since her and Anoud had never gotten married.

After spending some talking with them both, and hearing that they did want to get married but didn't have the money for it, we decided to have a wedding for them. Denise asks if it is okay to wait till her baby is born since she is getting bigger every day.

July 27, 2009

Denise and Anoud welcome a beautiful baby girl! They call her Jocemine Francis.

August, 2009

As we share about our families, Denise confides in me that she hasn't seen her mother in 5 years. Although her mother lives in Haiti, she lives clear at the tip of Haiti in Jeremie and by boat and tap tap it is a 24 hour trip. After talking it over with Jason we offer to pay for her mother to visit and come to the wedding. Denise is thrilled! Her mother has never seen Anoud or the two boys and it would be so special if she could come.

After a long trip her mother is finally here. Although she's not quite 60 she seems very old and frail. When I meet her, I like her right away. She has a wonderful sense of humour and you can't help but laugh when you spend time with her. Denise's mother decides to call me Mama and since she's old enough to be my Mom I call her Mama too! It's great having her around.

We start seriously planning the wedding but are met with one obstacle after another. Denise has no identification, so our first step is getting her a birth certificate. This proves to be a long, expensive process. After she finally has her birth certificate, she also needs an ID Card, and both her and Anoud need medical checkups, a requirement here in Haiti. Once we have all the paperwork in order and contact Pastor Caleb, from the village, we are able to set the date, October 31, 2009.

October 26, 2009.

The week of the wedding is here and it's time to get to work. As I do all the different jobs I can't help but laugh. I've become the seamstress, the baker, the catering committee, the waitress, the beauty salon, the shoe polisher, the decorator, the hair dresser, the janitor, the nanny, the florist, the photographer and the friend of the bride. Between all my different jobs, I'm kept quite busy.

October 31, 2009

The day of the wedding is here. I finish making the pizzas, lasagnas, salads, garlic bread and put the finishing touches on the two tiered chocolate wedding cake. I originally was planning to make rice and beans, but when I questioned Denise, and offered other alternatives, she liked the thought of lasagna and pizza. "We eat rice and beans every day," she said, so lasagna and pizza would be great!

As soon as all the food is prepared and put in the fridge I get to work on the flower bouquet for Denise, corsages for her mom and Anoud, and vase arrangements. I buy a large bucket of flowers for 400 gds (ten dollars) from a man walking down the street. After arranging the flowers we set up chairs on our outside patio for the service and then set tables up for the food

Jason and I string up lights, put out candles and the flowers arrangements. Everything looks really nice. At 5:00 after helping everybody get dressed, we take pictures outside.

From Drop Box

At 6:00 the pastor and guests arrive. Besides a delay where one of the guest can't find our house, everything else goes smoothly.

My favourite part is when Anoud says "I, Anoud Francis, take you Denise, to be my lawful wedded wife". The smile on his face as he says those words is just priceless. After the ceremony we enjoy the food, which all thankfully turned out well, and spent time chatting with one another. After dinner Anoud and Denise cut the cake and give each other a piece. Although, this is not a Haitian tradition, they enjoyed it!

All in all, it was a really beautiful night, one I'll never forget.


  1. What a wonderful, busy, and memorable day. You have really tried to touch their hearts with your kindness in this all.
    Wish them both well!

  2. Wow, what an amazing story, we are so thankful for the part that God gave you to play in the lives of this young couple. May they too be truly touched by God to go forward all their lives walking with the Lord from this point on. You did so much, it boggles my mind how you manage it all, and I thank God for your service to these wonderful people in Haiti!
    God bless you all!

  3. This post brought tears to my eyes. It brings to mind a special song that Brody and I both love. A verse from "Let your heart be Broken"
    Blessed to be a blessing
    Priviledged to care,
    Challenged by the need apparent everywhere.
    Where mankind is wanting, fill the vacant place.
    Be the means through which the Lord reveals His Grace.
    We're praying for your little family and your big ministry down there.
    Love Brody and Carolyn

  4. Ahhhhhh Wil, you are such a special person. How you worked to make it all happen! You guys did great, I wish there was a picture of you and Jason and the happy couple. You deserve a week's vacation after all that hard work. Good for you for making this all come about.

    God bless you, love Jenny

  5. Wow! I stumbled on your blog and read this most beautiful act of love and service! Your heart for the people you serve with in Haiti appears to be filled with respect and dignity.

    marcia erickson