Saturday, March 19, 2011

Refreshed & Renewed

Fluffy white clouds hang motionless in the humid Caribbean air as our airplane glides smoothly over the city. I edge closer to the window and play with my camera settings until I find the aerial mode. I point, focus and click.

Port au Prince from above is something to see!

The city slowly disappears from view and is soon replaced by dry, arid mountains. Deforested to manufacture coal.

It's a sad sight.

Just like we regularly need rest and renewal, Haiti needs it too, badly.

We continue to climb until we reach the clouds.

Their bright whiteness makes me squint and for a moment takes me back to a time and place where I'm surrounded by snow. A pang of homesickness hits me. It's been a year since I've seen snow. Not that it's snow that I really miss, but it reminds me that it will have been a year before I see my family again in June, God willing.

A year is a long time.

I reminisce for awhile and then drag my attention back to the present. Today is an exciting day and I am looking forward to a relaxing and refreshing week.

We're on our way to the Dominican Republic for our MAF staff retreat, and to top it off we're flying all our own airplanes!

A year ago, when a team of Americans were detained by the Haitian justice system, MAF provided both emotional and physical support to the team members. As a thank you, the church where the team was from sent money and one of their pastors and his wife for our staff retreat. To keep costs down we decided to fly our own planes, and since the Dominican hotels are cheaper then the ones in Haiti we opted to fly across the border!

The total flight time is only an hour and 15 minutes and I marvel at the changes in landscape as we cross the border. Dry, bare mountains are replaced by flourishing green ones. Lush, tropical, beautiful.

It doesn't take long before a nice paved runway appears. Jason lands the plane smoothly and before I know it we're on the ground. 15 minutes later we're on a bus headed to our destination.

The hotel consists of individual villas and they are beautiful!

We put away our bags and then walk hand in hand to the beach. Turquoise ocean, sparkling sand. My eyes feast!

Jayden armed with Thomas and friends soon gets to work making tracks in the sand.

We walk further and enjoy the view from a rocky cove.

The landscape and bird-life are beautiful.

Walking back to our rooms the sun begins to sink. After an early dinner I fall into bed exhausted. 13 hour later I feel a lot better but continue to sleep 13 hours a night for the remainder of our stay. We've been so busy these past months!

Not only do we now have time for physical rest we spend hours each morning studying God's Word which provides spiritual refreshment. Under the guidance of Pastor Hamm, we spend our mornings studying the book of Philippians. As we study each of the four chapters, these truths in particular speak to me.

Philippians 1: Rather then focusing on our circumstances, to look at suffering and trials as opportunities to advance the gospel.

Philippians 2: Jesus wants us to be unified in Him regardless of our backgrounds, denomination, or character traits, to advance the gospel.

Philippians 3: To count everything we've done as nothing in the light of who Christ is and what He has done for us.

Philippians 4: The God of peace is the provider of all things.

When we've finished one of our morning sessions, the entire MAF team gathers together for a group photo.

The days go by quickly and before we know it, it's time to pack up and fly back home.

Once again I peer out the window and marvel at the beauty of God's creation.

Nearing the Port au Prince airport, I notice newly planted fields of trees.

How fitting it is to see physical proof of hope and renewal for Haiti, especially after experiencing rest and renewal ourselves!


  1. Glad you had a good time! You earned some relaxation. And the great pictures make me feel like taking the first plane there! But I certainly am enjoying the first warm and sunny Dutch spring days here as well.

  2. So glad you could get some well deserved rest and renewal. God is good. Love the tropical beauty, makes you sad when you see what "man" can do to this earth!
    Take care of yourselves!
    Love Henry and Jenny

  3. Thank you for sharing Wil! - take care - and June is NOT that far away!

  4. Hey auntie Will awesome pictures! Can't wait till you come home in june!:)