Friday, September 30, 2011

Doctor's Visit

Hi! My name is Jayden and I’m four years old. On Wednesday Dad had a day off so we all went to the Doctor’s office. Usually Mom goes by herself every month, but since Dad was home, we decided it would be fun to go all together.

At 11:00 we got into our car and away we went. The roads were bumpy and the traffic was busy, but I like bumpy roads. From my vantage point in my car seat I could see and count all the cars around us.

After a little while, with Mom giving Dad directions, we arrived at the Doctor's office. We had to park on the side of the road because the gate was closed, but that was no problem. Mom held my hand very tightly as we crossed the street since traffic up in Petionville is very busy.

Mom knew just what to do as she slid open the brown gate and Dad and I followed her inside. The office looked quite nice.

We walked up the stairs to the receptionist desk where Mom checked in.

“Ou ka chita la.” (You can sit there) The lady at the desk told us pointing to the waiting area.

We each found a chair to sit on, but didn’t have to wait long, since the Doctor was ready for us.

“Welcome,” the Doctor said and shook all our hands as Mom made the introductions. The Doctor asked Mom questions and then it was time to go to the exam room. Mom had to lay on a special bed, which made me nervous.

“Is the baby going to come out, Dad?” I whispered. I’m pretty sure babies are sneezed out, but it still sounds sort of painful.

The Doctor hearing my question, smiled at me.

“Don’t worry little boy,” he said. “The baby first has to get bigger before he/she comes out.”

Relieved I nodded.

Dad lifted me up so I could see as the Doctor put some cream on Mom’s tummy. He then turned on a machine with a special stick at the end that he placed on Mom’s tummy. When he was ready the Doctor turned the lights off and we could see the little baby on the screen. The baby was jumping and waving. Mom said that was because he/she was happy.

The Doctor measured all the baby parts and then took the ultrasound video and put it on a DVD for Mom to take home. He does this every time so we can see how the baby is getting bigger and bigger.

When we were done, I spent some time looking at the fish in the Doctor's fish tank.

Mom asked the Doctor if she could take a picture and he said; “Of course, as long as that boy comes on it too.”

Then Mom booked her next appointment and it was time to go home. It was interesting to visit the Doctor. Maybe I can come some other time again, Mom said.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday School

Early morning sunshine filters through the trees illuminating our gazebo classroom. It’s 8:45 on Sunday morning and my third week of teaching Sunday School to a group of 6 middle schoolers.

Today our theme is praise and we are studying two Bible passages; Psalm 118:19-29 and Matthew 21:1-11. The students, divided into a group of boys and a group of girls, take turns reading verses from each passage. Their voices are carried by the breeze and the songs of the birds rousting in the surrounding trees echo their praise.

Both passages have a similar line “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 118:26 and Matthew 21:9) Praise. What does it mean and why are we to praise Jesus?

When both groups are finished reading their assigned passage we gather together around the table to discuss the passages and answer questions; How are the passages similar? How are they different? What does it mean to praise Jesus? What can we learn from these passages about why Jesus deserves our praise?

Then we look at each passage verse by verse and discuss what the words mean. After the discussion we take a snack break before beginning our weekly activities. One of the activities for today is sharing a pen with a partner and copying a Bible verse.

This proves to be a very difficult, painstaking task. What is this supposed to teach us? How we can’t serve two masters. It’s a very interesting analogy and leads to some lively discussion in the pre-teen group.

At the end of our hour long session we close with singing and prayer. As the sweet strains of “Take my life and let it be,” float upward, I take a moment to pray. Let our lives and everything we have truly be consecrated to Thee, Lord.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rejoice Always

But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26

The early morning sun shines brightly as I re-read the Bible verses in front of me. Several months ago I had memorized the verses 1 Thes 5:16-18, but it’s not until now that the Spirit speaks to me through these verses.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Does this mean as believers and followers of Christ we are promised happiness here on earth? Happiness that will allow us to rejoice always? On the contrary Jesus tells his followers specifically in John 16:33 that; In the world you will have tribulation.

The dictionary defines tribulation as: Great affliction, trial, or distress; suffering:

So why and how are we to rejoice always? Because, as John 16:33 continues, “be of good cheer, I (Jesus) have overcome the world.

We can rejoice because of what Jesus has done.

Imagine, you are a mother or father and see your child struggle tremendously. You feel for him, because you have experienced the same, (Jesus lived on earth and was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, Isaiah 53). But even as you see your child struggle you encourage him to rejoice because you know that there is an end in sight, an end to all suffering and pain, an end where sorrow will be turned to joy.

Our heavenly Father does the same. He encourages us to rejoice because; The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us. And Romans 8:18 Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1 Cor 2:9

Jesus says in John 16:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come : but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice , and your joy no man taketh from you.

Giving birth is a painful experience, but so great is the joy when you hold the new born baby in your arms, you don`t remember the pain anymore. That is the analogy Jesus uses between life and eternity. Life is painful, but so great is the joy when you begin eternity with God you no longer remember the pain.

During struggles and trials how often do we focus on the temporal life here? In Col 3:2 it says “Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on the earth.

Jesus tells us in John 14:1-4 Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. In my father`s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Jesus promises believers that he is preparing a place for them. A glorious, eternal home where all tears will be wiped from their eyes. (Revelations 21:4) While we wait for his return he has promised that; I will be with you always, even until the end of the world. Matt 28:20.

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice Phil 4:4

Because of what He has done, we have reason to rejoice. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee and my soul which thou hast redeemed. Psalm 71:23

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Working Days..

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

“Hey Will, tomorrow I won’t be flying because the airplanes are going in for inspections, do you want to come to work with me and help me figure out a problem with our EDH (city power) bills? This issue with the extra charge on our account has been dragging on for months and its one big headache! Maybe your past experience at the accounting office can help us figure out what is going on.”

“What about Jayden?”

“We can take him along. Just bring books and crayons and activities. We’ll have a family work day.”

“Okay, sounds good!”

Wednesday, 6:00 a.m. September 7, 2011

“Come on Jayden! You have to wake up! We’re going to work with Daddy!”

The groggy boy refuses to comply so I finally pick him up and deposit him on the couch in the playroom.

With no milk for cereal, or bread for toast, I quickly whip up a batch of pancakes. Brushing on butter and syrup I ready three plates.

“Jason, Jayden time to eat!”

Still half asleep Jayden slowly makes his way to the kitchen, rubbing his eyes and yawning.

“You have to hurry Jayden, we’re going to work with Daddy!”

“Okay, Mom!”

After praying together we dig in. The pancakes are delicious!

When breakfast is finished and the dishes are cleared away we head to the truck for a ride to the airport. Since it’s before 7:00 a.m. the roads are still fairly quiet.

It doesn’t take long before we arrive at the domestic terminal. In the office Christine is already working, as she’s the new MAF scheduler.

I spend a few minutes chatting with her before getting Jayden set up at an empty desk with coloring books and felts.

Then I pull up an office chair beside my husband and get to work sorting through stacks of paperwork.

Every few minutes I lean over to chat and joke with him. Working together at a desk brings back memories of our college days. Just like back then, I’m still a pretty good distraction, and I notice he doesn’t get that much work done on the sheets he’s filling out.

Since all the bills are in French and each month all the MAF family bills are paid with one cheque it takes some sorting and organizing before I pinpoint the problem. Once I have the problem figured out, I organize all the paperwork into one file.

“It looks like we’ll have to take a trip to the EDH office,” I tell Jason.

“Gregory, the accountant, has tried that already with no success, so maybe you need to go along.”

“Alright, let’s plan a day for next week then.”

I find Gregory and Diecon, the MAF driver, and we decide on next week Tuesday morning.

“I’ll leave Jayden with Denise, since I don’t know how long it will take,” I tell them and they nod.

“See you next week!” They bid their goodbyes, and since our work is finished, Jayden and I pack up our backpacks to go back home.

“I kind of liked the whole pushing paper thing,” I tell Jason. “Maybe, I’ll have to come more often.”

Amused he smiles and shakes his head.

“You mean you don’t like working with us?” I ask incredulously. Still grinning, he gives us both a quick hug. “See you at home later!”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Early morning sunshine filters through the windows as I pull a fresh banana loaf out of the oven. Having no other snacks in the house, I decided that banana loaf would be the perfect treat to take to the office, share with the guys and munch on, while I wait for who knows how long at the EDH office! Nothing in Haiti is ever easy, and part of me dreads spending a day explaining a complex problem in a second language.

At 8:30 I kiss Jayden goodbye, give last minute instructions to Denise and hop in the MAF truck. Anoud opens the gate and I slowly back out. At the end of our street, I check my purse only to realize I forgot my cell phone.

Should I worry about going back to get it? Yup, I better. Slowly backing up I park the truck in front of our house as Anoud unlocks the small door in the gate. Always protective of us, he makes sure the truck is out of sight before going back to work.

I thank him and then run inside to search the house for the phone. Not finding it in any of the usual places I finally find it in a side pocket of a different purse. Pulling it out, I run back to the truck and wave goodbye to Anoud. Now to remember how to get to the airport.

Since the main roads are too busy I now take the back roads, and thankfully find my way without a single wrong turn. At this time of day it takes 30 minutes instead of 15 to get to the airport. Parking the truck in the mud parking area I grimace. How am I going to walk through that? Stepping out of the truck I lock the doors and feel squishy mud sucking at my feet. Glad I decided not to wear my customary flip flops, I gingerly make my way to the paved road. With heavy rains every night the city is full of this oozing, nasty mud.

At the main paved road I stomp my feet to try to get the mud off but it stubbornly clings to my black shoes. Oh, well, nothing I can do about it, I decide, as I make my way to airport security.

I stop to put my big purse through the scanner and then carrying my water bottle I walk through the malfunctioning metal detector. Just as I’m ready to pull my purse back off the belt on the other side, a security officer stops me.

“Do you have a fork in your purse?” He asks in Creole.

“Yes.” I reply.

“You need to give that to me Madam!”

“My tiny desert fork?”

“Yes, Madam, it can be used as a weapon.”

“Excuse me Sir, but I have a little baby in my stomach, so I need to eat!” I reply, pointing to my barely visible four month baby bump.

“Sorry Madam!”

“I’m not giving you my fork Sir!” I reply, refusing to lose this battle.” It belongs to a set my Mom bought me for my wedding!”

Seeing my determined expression, he wavers.

“Are you with MAF?”

“Yes sir.” I reply.

“Alright then, just go.”

Smiling triumphantly I pick up my purse and continue on my way. Meeting Jason in the terminal, I can’t help but tease him. “I guess its okay to attack MAF pilots with desert forks!” I joke, telling him of the little episode. Laughingly he shakes his head.

“On a more serious note, a friend of ours is here,” he says, pointing to the waiting area. “He was in a head on collision with a car while driving his motor bike up the road to the Baptist mission. A vehicle was passing on a blind corner and ran right into him.”

“Oh no.”

I walk over to see Stan in a wheel chair with one full leg cast, a banged up knee, and abrasions on his hands and arms. After talking to him for a few minutes he tells us that thankfully he has no head injuries. “The Doctors here are concerned about my chest pains and low blood pressure though, so MAF will fly me to Pignon where Missionary Flights International will pick me up and take me to Florida.“

Expressing our concern and regret we spend some more time talking to him and his parents.

When Gregory and Diecon show up I bid Jason and Stan goodbye and make my way back to the truck.

“Do you want to drive?” Diecon asks.

“I don’t know where the office is so you go ahead.”


All three of us hop in the truck and off we go. Since both Gregory and Diecon speak English, conversation now flows mostly in English with a few Creole words thrown in. Always wanting to learn more about Haitian culture, I ask questions about family, children and marriage. I learn that men can marry at any age without social pressures whereas women are pressured to be married before age 30. I also learn that although traditionally Haitians had large families, many young Haitians now have small families, 2 or 3 children, so they can provide better for their children and give them good educations. I learn that it’s normal for children to start school at the age of 2, since most schooling is in French and at that age, children learn the language quicker. We go on to talk about driving in Haiti and the process of gaining a Driver’s license.

“Did you know that some people purchase a drivers license in Haiti without a single test or lesson?” Diecon asks.

“I certainly did not! Are you serious?”

“Yup, many people don't want to deal with the hassle of getting a license at a driving school because of the exams, cost of renting a vehicle, and paying large sums for an instructor. Taking a road test in crazy Port au Prince traffic can be a nightmare too, so they chose to avoid this by finding someone at the license office who will make a Driver's license for them; for a price of course. “

“Wow, that’s a scary thought!”

Diecon and Gregrory just shrug. “That’s life here. You can do almost anything if you have some money and know the right people.”

My cultural lesson ends at that moment as we pull into what looks like a deserted scrap yard.

“Umm Diecon, I don’t see any EDH office! You aren’t secretly kidnapping me are you?” I joke.

He laughs. “Nope. This is the EDH scrap yard. We have to drive through it to get to the office.”

“Okay then. “

Holding the thick file folder in one hand and balancing my over sized purse in the other we make our way to the front entrance. Inside it seems like a slow day as many people are sitting behind their desks doing nothing. We walk up to a man with a computer who is working and he motions for us to sit down. Gregory explains the problem and after scanning through the paperwork and scratching his head he beckons for us to follow him. We make our way up a flight of stairs. First into one office and then into the next. This goes on for about 15 minutes till we are lead downstairs again to the initial office.

Feeling a little useless as Gregory and Diecon do all the talking I realize my main purpose here is my skin color. Being white means I must be important, and pretty soon more and more people are ‘put on the case.’ I feel a little awkward just being viewed as important because of my skin color, but at least it looks like some progress is being made.

I guess I just have to learn to accept the fact that skin color matters here, I think to myself. It means I have to pay more for fruits and vegetables at the outdoor markets and I’ll have more people ask me for money on the streets, but it also means I get helped quicker in situations like this. It feels wrong, but there’s nothing I can really do about it.

Back in the main office a lady prints out statements from each family showing what happened with the payments. Now with this information we can fix the problem internally. Looking at the metal beams holding up the ceiling tiles at awkward angles I’m a little glad that it doesn’t take long for the printouts to be made. This multi-storey building does not appear to be very earthquake safe.

Knowing it’s useless to think that way, as our times and lives are in God’s hands, I shake my head to clear those thoughts as I follow Gregory and Diecon outside into the warm Caribbean sunshine. Walking back to the truck I thank God again for answering my prayers and resolving the EDH paperwork issues.

My working days, for now, are over.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Living Word

"Jason, Jason!" Stepping out of the airplane I see an excited Djempsky and two of his friends waving at me from the edge of the airstrip.

"Map vini!" (I'm coming) I tell them and then proceed to unload cargo and passengers. When I'm finished I make my way over to the boys and greet them in Creole.

Djempsky pulls out one of the many Haitian Creole Bible Verse Coloring Books that we have distributed, and shows me that he has colored all the pages. Then he begins to recite all the verses to me.

I am astonished since there are at least two dozen pages in it: the ten commandments; verses about sin and that all have come short of the glory of God; verses saying that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners and that he died on the cross and rose again. I continue to listen as he recites Bible verses about eternal life through faith in Jesus and that we are saved through grace alone.

"That’s great," I say, "but what are you going to do now? That’s the only Creole coloring book I have."

Djempsky smiles, and points to his two friends. "Well, I’m going to teach him. And then I’m going to teach him."

I take a moment to study their faces. How amazing it is to see young boys with such a passion to learn God’s word and teach others. God’s word is indeed powerful and alive.

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