Monday, July 30, 2012

The End of Term 1 - The Beginning of Term 2

Monday, July 30
Port au Prince, Haiti
7:30 a.m.
I peer through smudged glasses at my laptop screen and reach back to rub my aching neck. Even at this early hour the Lasko fan at my feet is already blowing warm, humid air my way. Although I have a long list of work to do to settle back in our Haiti home, first things first; our out of date blog desperately needs some updating!

(two weeks ago)

Monday, July 16,
Chilliwack, BC
3:45 a.m.
“Mom, Mom.” Jayden is awake and standing beside the bed. A cool breeze blows through the screened windows and I can vaguely detect a fresh farm smell. Turning over I check the time; 3:45 a.m.. The alarm was set for 4:00 a.m. but a little extra time to get ready never hurt so I carefully ease out of bed. No need to wake up Jason yet and Justin, in the pack and play beside our bed, might as well sleep a little longer too. Reaching for Jayden’s hand in the dark I get him comfortable on the couch and then head to the bathroom.

At 4:30 a.m. all our bags are loaded in a pickup truck and I give the house a final sweep. Pausing at the doorway I silently bid goodbye to the little home that God had provided for us these past two months. No time for nostalgia now, I slip in the back seat beside Justin’s car seat. Reaching over I squeeze Jayden’s hand. Normally very talkative at any time of day or night he says nothing now. “I love you Jayden.” I whisper in the darkness. “I love you Mom.” He whispers back.

At the airport we say our final goodbye’s to Jason’s Dad and then we’re on our own. Check in and security checks go smoothly and before we know it we’re up in the air. Leaning past Jayden I catch my final glimpses of Canada before we’re swallowed up by the clouds. Goodbye Canada.

9:30 p.m. Ft. Lauderdale
Our airplane touches down smoothly and taxis to the tarmac. Not even five minutes later the sky above explodes with an onslaught of wind and rain. We make it inside the airport okay, but our baggage doesn’t. Two hours later we’re still waiting for the storm to pass so our suitcases can be unloaded. I find a spot on the floor against a wall where I do my best to keep Jayden and Justin entertained. When the flashing light goes on saying our baggage is on its way the crowd of stragglers still waiting lets out a cheer.

When Jason collects our suitcases he only finds 3 of the 6. When he asks at baggage claim they tell him the other 3 are still in Chicago where we boarded our connecting flight. They won’t arrive for several more hours so we take what we have and catch the airport shuttle to our hotel. In the hotel the two boys quickly fall into an exhausted slumber.

Jason and I spend the next few hours unpacking and trying to dry out our drenched suitcases with a blow dryer. Too exhausted to be upset, both of us just laugh and get to work. Having spent almost all our time together these past five months we’ve become a great team. “I love you Jay!” I whisper so as not to wake the sleeping boys.  He smiles. “I love you too.”

July 24, Ft. Lauderdale
I stare down at Jayden fast asleep on the dirty airport sidewalk. Using a backpack as a pillow he really has this homeless thing down pat.

After a beautiful, albeit short time of rest and relaxation, it’s time to hit the road running again. The next few days are sole devoted to planning, organizing, purchasing and packaging everything we need for our second term in Haiti.

July 28, Port au Prince
3:45 p.m.
I peer past the Haitian man sitting beside me to catch my first glimpses of Haiti from above. There it is. Transfixed I watch the landscape beneath me. Unable to describe the mix of emotions I feel inside, I just sit and stare.

5:45 p.m.
“Do you remember where we turn?” I look at Jayden and he peers importantly out of the window. “This way.” He points left and I nod; he still remembers. 20 seconds later we’re at our gate. Anoud rolls it open with a big grin. “N’ap tan ou!” (We were waiting for you!) He exclaims joyfully. Denise runs down the steps to hug me and then leans down to check out our latest addition. “Bonju Justin!” She reaches for his hand. He watches her with his big blue eyes before flashing her a toothless grin.

Inside I walk through the familiar hallways and rooms. Everything is just as neat and clean as we left it. Plopping down on our own bed I lean back for a moment and close my eyes. It’s sure good to be home.

Hours later after unpacking only the bare necessities, making a quick grocery run, and getting the kids settled I stare out the window at the setting sun.

Unable to form the words my heart fills with praise to God for his care and protection over us these last seven months. All glory and honour belong to Him.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Even the Wind and the Waves Obey Him

Gale force winds race through the Okanogan Valley sweeping land and sky with angry fingers. Waves buckle, trees groan and clouds hurry by unable to withstand its furious force. 

Struggling to regain my balance I search for cover under a nearby overhang. Reaching in my pocket for my camera I do my best to capture the glory of the storm; the mix of golden rays mingled with the powerful rushing of the wind and waves.

Only 30 minutes earlier we had been relaxing by the pool, enjoying an idyllic afternoon near the shores of Osoyoos Lake. 

When the wind began to pick up, we had quickly packed up and made the short walk back to the townhouse friends of ours had so generously let us use; we were hardly inside before the storm was upon us. 

Watching it now, I marvel at the power of it. 

The mix of wind and waves brings to mind the story recorded in the gospels where Jesus calms the storm. In Mark 4:41 the disciples asked each other “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” We know the answer. He is Jesus, the Son of God, more powerful than any storm. 

Hours later when both kids are sound asleep, the adults sit up on the balcony enjoying more of God`s beautiful creation. The wind has died down now but the water and sky is still turbulent. The brilliant setting sun, and the sporadic flashes of lightning reflecting on water and sky is breathtaking. Once again I pull out my camera and do my best to capture the beauty.

A lone kayaker, paddles by rocking up and down in the turbulent water. The same one I had photographed the night before when the sunset was more placid. 

“That looks like fun,” Jason remarks, just as the kayaker flips his boat. “Well maybe not.” We watch as he pops back up and vainly tries to flip his kayak. From a distance it looks like he`s wearing a life jacket so we’re not too concerned yet. The man struggles longer and I get up. The waves muffle the sound but it sounds like he may be calling for help. 

“We should go Jay.” Almost simultaneously we jump up and hit the stairs running. Stopping only long enough to grab life jackets we make a beeline for the canoe. The neighbours several doors down must have had the same thought and we meet them now at the canoe. Jason and Joe jump into the canoe now, but with too much momentum. The canoe flips and it takes several moments now to flip it back and empty the water. 

The calls for help are more desperate now and the tip of the kayak is barely visible. With all their might Jason and Joe paddle as fast as they can to the drowning man. I watch from the shore, willing them to go faster. Nearing the man Jason launches himself out of the canoe while Joe steadies it. The man tries to grab at him, but Jason won`t let him. Talking to him all the while, the man finally calms down enough to follow directions and grasps the back of the canoe.  Once he has a good grip Joe fights the current to paddle back to shore as Jason swims beside. 

Lightning continues to zigzag across the sky as the canoe reaches the shore. Sobbing and shaking the man admits he had been drinking. Angry and upset after a fight with his wife he had taken his beer and loaded up the kayak in the hopes of drowning his sorrow. What he hadn`t counted on was the possibility of drowning himself.  With no life jacket in a stormy lake it was only God`s grace he made it out alive. 

With thankful hearts we watch as Joe brings the still shaking man to the shore. Jesus, who was so powerful that the wind and waves obeyed Him, in His providence chose to save this man`s life. 

As the sun disappears behind the horizon, the men talk to the survivor about God’s mercy. As the sky darkens I silently pray that this calling may have an eternal impact on his soul.