Wednesday, December 26, 2012

26 in Pictures

9:05 a.m.
The island of La Gonave in sight.

9:21 a.m.
Check out this 'ti blan'!

9:23 a.m.
The adventure continues..

9:56 a.m.
Row, row, row your boat..

10:40 a.m.
If the wind is too strong, dock the boat and take some bikes..

10:47 a.m.
Scenery whipping by..

11:37 a.m.
Endless deserted beaches littered with shells..

12:57 p.m.
Boat ride out to the coral reef...

1:08 p.m.
Swimming with the fishes...

1:52 p.m.
Next stop, feeding program at a school nearby.

Bible Verse Colouring Books, a big hit with the kids!

Beautiful children..

Something for everyone.

 2:18 p.m. All tuckered out.

Homeward bound.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Holidays

School ended for the year and the holidays began...

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!" blasted over the speakers at the grocery store and it did...

Well, sort of. 

Okay, we improvised a little.

Grandpa and Grandma finally arrived and were immediately put to work; fixing stuff, cleaning, cooking..

Jayden worked hard too! 

Okay, it wasn't all work.

On Christmas Eve we decided to take the afternoon off and visit a hotel 3 km away for a bite to eat. 

3 kms? That should take about 5 minutes right? 

Wrong! One hour later we were still fighting traffic.

As we drove we made a stop to purchase our Christmas dinner.. (or maybe not)


Although it took an hour to get there, it was worth it! 

The hotel was quiet, peaceful,  and beautiful....

 The food was good too!

After lunch we explored the premises. 

On an outdoor lounge bed the two brothers giggled and played.

From 2012
At the Christmas Eve service that night there was back row seating for babies..

When the sun had set and the sky was dark, candles were lit as we sang 'Silent Night'!

Dinner that evening was a potluck at a friend's house.

Sparklers and fireworks were part of the fun.

Tomorrow would be Christmas day...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Favourite Photos

With all the busyness of guests and teams these last few months followed by weeks of being sick, I feel I kind of missed blogging about some of those moments and memories that make life special.  No time like the present to catch up though, so here goes!

This is probably my all time favourite picture of Justin.

Taken in October, I just love how it captures his personality; mischievous and fun-loving!

This next one is actually a story in itself, but I will just touch on it briefly for now. Here are Palo, Wilson and a new friend Jedline. Each Saturday afternoon they come for lunch. You may remember the story "Loving in Deed and in Truth" where I wrote about the boys that came knocking on my gate all the time. Well now instead of knocking they come visit each week. We chat, eat lunch together and then memorize a scripture verse in Creole. It has become a very special time and they still regularly put me to shame with their kind gestures!

One Saturday afternoon we had the church youth group over to bake cookies. I had to pick them up from the church and in order for everyone to fit I had Jayden sit in the front with me. 

His little mouth rarely stops talking and this day was no exception. 

"Mom! The road sure is bumpy! If you drive too fast your head will hit the ceiling. Then when we get home you will have to go to the bathroom and brush your hair. (Never mind the bump on my head I guess). And if you're busy brushing your hair we won't have time to bake cookies. So maybe you should slow down a little!" 

I guess he has cause and effect down pat, but where does he get this stuff from? I wasn't going more than 10km/h and my hair is lucky if I spend more than 10 seconds on it in the morning!

Anyway, back to the youth group bake event, we sure had a lot of fun!

The first job was to sift the flour.

This is what we sifted out of only 4 cups of flour. 

Then we mixed up the dough.

And finally we decorated the cookies together; all the while listening to Christmas music and having a grand time! Jayden was right smack in the middle of the fun of course, keeping everyone entertained with his silly sayings.

The next few photos are of the DR.  Although I had contacted Dengue in Haiti, it takes a 5-7 days to develop symptoms so the first two days of our trip I was still feeling mostly okay.

Jason flew us over in a MAF airplane and I love this picture of Justin waving at the clouds.

Jayden all dressed up in his pilot uniform, just like his Daddy.

A beautiful shot of the kids sitting in the ocean.

Jason and Jayden's crab catching collection.

And two little pirates playing on the beach.

I just had to throw this one in because I love how the orange table cloth draws out Jayden's freckles here!

From 2012
Finally; these last two pictures are just funny! 

Justin and Jayden play really well together but occassionaly Jayden gets annoyed when Justin breaks his lego tower or sits on his train set.

To remedy this, Jayden, my great problem solver, made a 'jail' for his brother. Justin at first thought it was interesting...

But then when he realized his favourite brother didn't want to play with him, he was not very impressed.

Look at that face!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Looking Unto Jesus

November 25 (two and a half weeks ago)  

The stark glare of the overhead fluorescent lighting fills the empty room as I lay on the ER bed. Looking around all I see is white, bare walls. 

My head is pounding and I’m burning up with fever while my body aches and bleeds. 

Is this it? I wonder as a lone tear escapes and trickles down my cheek. 

Like the room, I feel bare and empty inside too. I can’t feel His presence. I can’t even recall a single Bible verse I’ve memorized. 

What if I die and that’s it? I wonder. What if there is no life after death? 

Between my doubt and confusion and tears I suddenly hear the words of Peter. “To whom else shall we go? Thou only has the words of eternal life.” It’s not a verse I’ve ever memorized but it repeats itself over and over again in my heart. 

As I ponder and cling to those words another verse that I’ve never memorized fills my heart. “I have prayed for you that your faith fails not.” 

Weren’t those the words Jesus said to Peter? Hope flickers and burns. 

Closing my eyes I remember the previously memorized words of Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;” 

My fearful, doubting heart fills with hope and peace. Whatever happens next Jesus IS the author and finisher of my faith and I can rest assured in that knowledge.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Home Again!

We are happy to report that we safely arrived back home in Port au Prince this afternoon! Will remains very tired and weak, but is also happy to be back. The doctor said that it will likely take several weeks before she feels back to normal, and not unusual for it to take up to 2 or 3 months!

This morning we took a taxi from Puerto Plata to Santiago where we were able to briefly visit with Sherilyn and Anthony as well as pick up a few things we had left behind. After running some errands in town, we were dropped off at the airport and took a small airline flight back to Port au Prince.

Thank you all for your prayers and emails! Your support these past several weeks has been greatly appreciated

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Dear family & friends. Thank you so much for all your emails and messages! Although we may not have replied, your care, concerns and prayers meant a lot to us.

Yesterday found us back at the hospital for another blood test and hopefully today we will know the results to see if it is safe for me to travel back to Port au Prince this Friday. I've been very weak and tired, but between my husband and the staff at the small hotel we are staying at the care has been fabulous!

I am enjoying the R&R that we are getting here at such a beautiful place, but also anxious to get back to our "normal" life in Haiti! Jayden is also quite excited to get back to school!

Friday, November 30, 2012


Today was a very special day for us, as I took Jayden on a road trip to Santiago to pickup Justin who has been staying with my sister for the past 6 days. Jayden was excited to get out for a bit, and also excited to go see his baby brother! I found a taxi driver to take us on the 1.5 hour trip to the city, and had an interesting drive as he spoke no English, and my Spanish is pretty poor!

When we arrived at Sherilyn's house, and i opened her door, Justin saw me immediately and stretched his arms out for me saying "dada dada". It was a nice feeling knowing that he still remembered me!

After picking up Justin, I was able to quickly stop by a large Walmart style grocery store, and buy a bunch of things to take back with us, as well as treat Jayden to a large Mc Donald's lunch! It tasted soooo good having some American fast food!

2 hours later we arrived back in Sosua, where we are staying, and Will was very happy to see Justin! It's hard for a mother to be separated from her baby for that long, and it was nice to see them happily together again, and helped lift Will's spirits.

Although Will has been slowly getting her appetite back and eating a little solid foods, she still spent most of the day in bed resting.

We were able to connect with a missionary here who has arranged a lady to help us with the kids for the next several days until Will gets her strength back. We are really grateful for this, and also Jayden, who now has another playmate!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Today was a very exciting day for all of us (and particularly Will)! After being hospitalized for 6 days, the doctor consented to her release this afternoon! Although Will remains very tired, sore and weak, she was happy to be able to get outside finally and not be bound to her small hospital room.

Jayden and I went earlier today to checkup on Will, and were excited by the news. I immediately began making the necessary preparations to get her to the hotel and settled in. I spoke with the doctor before she was released, and he cautioned us that her platlets were still very low (in the 70,000 range) and she would need some time for that to return to normal. Will is very fortunate that she did not end up needing the blood transfusion as previously anticipated, as her platlet levels finally began to climb for the first time today! Again, we are grateful above all to the Lord for his protection and provision!

The Hematologist advises that she needs to see Will's Blood Platelet levels at least in the 180,000 range before she should travel. This means that she needs at least 4 to 6 days of taking it easy and a healthy diet. We are conveniently staying in a hotel that is very close to the hospital, so she can still do her regular checkups as well as blood tests with the doctor quite easily.

Sherilyn, Anthony and family are still fighting the flu, so we have decided that I go to Santiago tomorrow to pickup Justin. Again, we are truly grateful to them for their help with Justin over the past several days! We were providentially able to connect with some other missionaries here in the Dominican tonight that have offered to help with watching both the kids and homeschooling Jayden!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Moving About

It was nice to see some more positive progression with Will throughout the day, although she was pretty worn out and tired by this evening again.

This morning when we went to visit Will, she was sitting up in bed with the iPad! She was happy to see us both of course after a long night alone. We are continually amazed at the level of service and care that the small hospital provides, and are truly thankful for that! However, her biggest complaint is the frequency that the nurses and even cleaners come into the room. Throughout the entire night she is awoken by the lights going on, simply for a lady to empty the garbage cans in her room at 2:00 am.. But at least she is being regularly checked upon!

Will woke up this morning with all of her clothes and sheets drenched from sweat. It's obviously not from the room temperature since they keep it at around 20 Celsius! But according to the Hematologist, it is normal for the fever and chills to return at night!

Will was anxious to get out of the room for a bit, so we took her for a walk in the wheelchair up and down the hallway. It must be very hard being cooped up in a small room the whole day!

I was hoping to take Jayden today to Santiago to say with my sister and start school at Santiago Christian, but we had yet another setback - her entire family is sick with the cold, and felt pretty miserable today! I feel so bad for Sherilyn and Anthony who are already graciously caring for our 9 month old little handful! Jayden was quite disappointed needless to say, but nothing a bit of soft ice cream and beach time couldn't cure! Please pray for the Koster family as the care for Justin, and that they will also recuperate soon so that Jayden can possibly join them for a short time!

Jayden was quite tired of going to the hospital by the end of today, as we made the trip 4 times! At least it is only a short drive by motorbike taxi! A few times today we walked the whole way! Once for fun, and the other time because I got robbed of the little money I had in my pocket! Actually wasn't as serious as it sounds, as I only go with a little money in my pocket each time for obvious reasons. I stupidly paid the moto driver some money for the ride up, and since he had no change, I asked him to wait for 15 minutes while I ran into the hospital to drop some soup off for Will. No sooner did I go in the building, he sped off with my only money in hand!

It's encouraging to see Will's appetite slowly coming back, as twice I brought a little food for her which she had asked for! However, after taking only a few small bites, she could not eat anymore because of stomach cramps .

I pray that she will have a better rest tonight, and a be well enough that she can maybe move from the hospital to the hotel here for some more rest.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Slow improvements

Today started out with an early flight in MAF's new Caravan directly up to Puerto Plata. I am very grateful to MAF for providing this option as it saves us many hours of traveling time by public transportation from the border to Puerto Plata as was originally the plan! Less than 1 hour and 15 minutes after taking off from Port au Prince, Jayden and I walked through the front doors of the hospital in Cabrete where Will is being treated!

Will was very excited and surprised to see us both, and it was nice to see her perk up a little for the first time in several days! It really is amazing to see how the psychological impacts the physical state! We stayed for only a short time as she became very tired again and needed some rest. Jayden and I took a motorbike taxi for 25 pesos to a nearby hotel where we could stay. Initially I was a little concerned about the expenses - not knowing how long we would have to stay... However, God answers prayers! I was able to talk to the owner of the hotel (who was dutch) and explain my situation. He graciously offered us a very large room with all meals included at an amazingly low price!

After settling in, we took a moto back up to see Will. This time she was able to get out of bed on her own and go to the bathroom! The doctor reported that bleeding had subsided, and she is on meds to control the diarrhea and vomiting. Her platelets, however had continued to drop, although the blood count was up. Will was alot better hydrated - particularity after going through more than 20 IV bags over the past several days!

This evening Will didn't feel quite as good as earlier today, and the doctor said it was quite normal for the fever to return at night..

As Will continues to improve the Lord Willing, I hope to take Jayden to Santiago in the next day or so so he can continue to go to school there.