Wednesday, September 26, 2012

If You Play With Wire...

Sweat drips down my back and I grimace. Cradling Justin on my hip I point the flashlight at the breaker box where Jason is struggling to remove a screw. Beside him, Jayden, wearing only his dark blue uniform shorts, is holding the metal door open, all the while balancing on a cheap plastic stool. 

I’m helping, but I don’t want to. 

We had a petty fight. He said I was bossy, I said he didn’t know how to share and now there I stood, wishing I could tell him to do it himself, just out of pure spite. 

“Can you point the flashlight a little lower?” He asks me now. 

I want to rebel, to say ‘No, I’m not helping you now, figure it out yourself,’ but I know if I do we won’t have power tonight and the setting sun is casting her last glimmers of light into our kitchen. 

Reluctantly I obey. 

“Kaboom!” Sparks fly, and Jason leaps backwards. 

Momentarily stunned, I freeze. 

“Owww..” Jason moans, clutching his hand. 

“You okay?” Suddenly the petty fight is forgotten, replaced by real concern. 

“My finger. Oww” 

“Let me take a look.” 

He lifts it towards me. It looks nasty. 

“Let me get some ice.” I reach in the freezer for the ice bag, realizing too late I had forgotten to refill it. Only a few tiny crystals cling to the sides. Better than nothing I guess. Jason dips his finger in. 

“I’ll be right back,” I now tell him. Quick as a flash I deposit Justin on the playroom mat all the while instructing Jayden to watch him. Then I head for the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. 

For big pain I need some big pills. Two extra strength Advils should take the edge off. 

I give Jason the pills which he quickly downs with some water. 

"What else can be done for electrical burns?" I wonder out loud. "Hmm.. could check on google. Oh that's right, no power so no internet." 

“You can use 3G on my phone.” Jason says. 


'ELECTRICAL BURNS' I skim the contents. “Shock, racing heart, exit wounds.” I rattle off the list to Jason and he shakes his head. 

“You want to try some burn cream on it?” 


I dig through our first aid kit and find one small package left. I’m a bit of a klutz so all the other packages have been used up by me. All those countless times I burned my hand on the stove or a hot pan. I sigh. I know that pain. I feel for him.

The light continues to fade. 

“Do you think the breaker box is fried?” Jason asks. “Because if it is, that means no power for us tonight.” 

“I guess we won’t know till we try fix it.” 

“You willing to give it a shot?” He looks at me, and I nod.

Thankfully the advil is starting to kick in a little. 

“Since you turned the main breaker off, where is the power coming from?” 

“Must be from the batteries.” 

“Okay, well let’s start by disconnecting those.” 

We head outside. Anoud and Denise are sitting there, wondering what happened. Jason shows them his finger and explains. They look worried.

Together we walk to the battery cage. Opening it up I follow his instructions on how to loosen the cables. 

Out of the corner of my eye I can see Denise fold her hands and close her eyes. I’m pretty sure she’s decided right now that we are both out of our minds and there’s a good chance we’ll die. 

After a bit of struggle the cables are loose. My hands are black and greasy. I wash them and then get to work finishing the job Jason was doing inside. 

After 45 minutes everything is back in place. 

Do we dare flip the power switch? 

“Who’s going to do it?” Jason asks. 

“It might as well be you since you’re hurt already,” I tease. 

He nods. We look in each others eyes. 

3 loud clicks and..

 We have power!! 

The lights go on. We smile, we laugh, our hearts fill with thanks. Undeserved blessings.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Answered Prayer!

Note: This was written by a friend of mine, Christine. She is also married to a MAF pilot and in addition to that has worked as the flight scheduler for MAF this past year.
I was writing about something else this morning. I was working on a post about our decision to deliver in Portland. I left my computer open.

Then Julie and I were having lunch, and someone texted me. I don't get many texts, except from my fantastic husband or our phone company offering me an AMAZING DEAL! (And it must be amazing, because they text me about it five times a day.)

But it was John, our chief pilot. He'd been at a meeting to try to get the Caravan approved, and he doesn't usually text me (or anyone, as far as I know).

Here is what it said: "Full approval for the Caravan!"

It's a good thing I wasn't driving, because I probably would've crashed my car. Julie can attest--I gasped. My eyes filled with tears. It was more than I'd hoped for.

Let me see if I can put this in perspective: they've always wanted a Caravan here. Always. It was all I heard about when I got here. We used one after the earthquake and people got to see how great it was. It would be like trying to get 10 people from Portland to Seattle in a Tercel by shuttling back and forth, and then someone giving you an 18-passenger van. It would be like trying to fit your family into a red wagon for church (after having to send your purse and Bible with someone else) and then being given a minivan. Passengers kept giving me baffled looks when I told them they didn't have to send their cargo by truck.

Our "little red wagon."

See, these are the planes we've always had. They're good little planes--my girls get the job done. But the most they can carry to most locations is 1125 pounds...where the Caravan's minimum weight capacity is 2424 pounds. Yes, you read that right--more than twice as much. We quickly discovered that the Caravan's awesomeness was good for more than work teams. We could take four ladies and their non-collapsible wheelchairs to Cap Haitian. When a truck overturned on La Gonave, we took twice as many injured patients to Port-au-Prince as the U.N. because their helicopters were at capacity. It could carry oddly-shaped items like surfboards. (Hey, even missionaries need to hang ten sometimes.)

Did I mention how great it was?

SP, the plane generously leased to us by Samaritan's Purse

At that point, we could use it for humanitarian purposes. It wasn't ideal, but we accepted their regulations and stuck to them, despite some very ardent walk-up passengers who REALLY NEEDED THAT BIG PLANE.

So when our lease expired on Sierra Papa (that's her name in the phonetic alphabet: SP), it seemed logical to bring down an MAF Caravan. ...right? I mean, this was a great tool. I was routinely turning down flights because her schedule was full, even with purely humanitarian flying. Talking with the government, we hoped they would allow us to register the new plane in Haiti and fly for whoever needed it, including the many business people who'd create jobs and create an economy here. (It's hard to get out of poverty without jobs.) It felt like a pipe dream, but it was worth asking.

But there were more snags. More hiccups. More meetings that seemed to go...nowhere. The reasons why didn't seem to be clear...we were getting vague answers.

Lonely Mike Fox.

Mike Fox (MF) arrived on August 6th...and there she sat. Waiting. One pilot likened her to a lonely wallflower he'd like to dance with. Pilots are so romantic.

I tried to be optimistic at first. "It's a temporary situation," I told passengers. "We're hoping to have approval by the end of the week." Then the week ended. And two weeks ended...and six weeks ended. I started trying to work with the planes I had available, but it was tough--those little planes just had to make so many trips. It felt there weren't enough hours in the day. I changed the tone of my emails..."There's a situation, and I don't know when it will be resolved."

I was frustrated, but I didn't start to despair until this week, when our program manager mentioned sending Mike Fox to another program. After all, planes are a limited resource, and if she's just sitting on the ground here...he trailed off. What else was there to say? We'd exhausted all our earthly resources--we even talked to someone who thought they could put pressure on the director through his mom. (Yeah, we were that desperate. I would've cornered his grandma, too, if I thought it would help.)

Then we got a call: the director wanted to meet with us. We'd requested a meeting, but that was still surprising. Here's what happened next, in our boss's words:

John and I waited almost 2 hours to see the director, and once we entered the room we exchanged pleasantries. Then he asked how he could help us...[After discussing it,] the director said, “This is a new day in Haiti. The Caravan is out of jail!” I literally put my arms up and said a quiet “Hallelujah!” ...John very clearly expressed our desire to register the airplane in Haiti and have the C-208B on our operating permit. Almost without any hesitation, the director agreed. He told us to work out the details with Mr. D. Can you believe it? This is a huge, huge answer to prayer. "

Born free, free as the wind blows..." She's out of jail!

And that's just it--that's what I hope you take away from this. It's a huge answer to prayer. Your prayers. There hasn't been a Caravan registered in Haiti for a long time, but God willing, we'll have the paperwork in our hands by the end of next week.

A new day indeed! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Loving in Deed and in Truth

When we first moved to Haiti 4 years ago the thing I struggled with most was the poverty I saw. Not only were we surrounded, we couldn’t escape it. At home people came knocking on the gate, as we drove around people would tap on our car windows, at the grocery store people begged by the entry way; the needy were everywhere. 

I was overwhelmed and my initial instinct was to block out what I saw, to simply do nothing and I had a list of excuses: Have you seen Haiti? Where do I start? I can’t possibly help everyone! And what if more and more people come asking for more and more things? Where do I draw the line? Aren’t we doing enough through our work with MAF? I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t have the answers. 

Thankfully for me, this is not where my story ends. 

I have a Father in Heaven who sent His only Son to die for my sins. 
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

Who loves me so much He rebukes and chastens me. 
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 

I have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ. 
Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 

And the Holy Spirit that comforts and teaches me. 
John 14:26 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. 

And this is what He taught me regarding poverty: 

Luke 12:48b For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required. 
By Canadian standards I’m not that rich. To be honest we get handouts. By Haitian standards however, I am infinitely wealthy. I have a nice house to live in, a vehicle to drive, clothes to wear, and I NEVER EVER have to worry about having enough money to buy food to eat. God has given me much. 

When I said no or didn’t respond who was I saying no to? Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. In this passage Jesus is talking about feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked and visiting the sick and imprisoned. It’s easy to skim over this when there are no hungry people knocking on your gate, when there’s social programs in place and when you don’t see people who are starving or naked, but in Haiti that’s not the case. 

So chastised, I prayed for wisdom, opened my cupboards and purse and began to help wherever an opportunity presented itself. I also began to answer the gate. I couldn’t say no to Jesus now could I? 

Just like I feared it didn’t take long before two boys began knocking at my gate regularly; Palo and Wilson. They wanted sandals, they wanted water, they wanted bread. So I gave, but grudgingly. I gave them sandals, I made peanut butter sandwiches, I filled bottles with clean drinking water, but my heart wasn’t really in it. 

It wasn’t long after that I read the words of 2 Cor 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. Rereading those words I saw where I went wrong. God wanted me to give, but not because I had to. He wanted me to give out of love, He wanted me to choose to give, and cheerfully give. Outwardly I was doing the right thing, but my attitude was wrong. 

So I prayed and asked God to change my attitude, to give me a new perspective and to fill my heart with love. I also started to talk more to the kids. Palo told me his Father died in the earthquake and neither of the boy’s mothers had work. Hearing this my heart softened and I started not to mind so much when they knocked on the gate. 

The next lesson I needed to learn was that God didn’t need me, but simply choose to use me, if I was willing. I learned this through the peanut butter jar. It didn’t matter how much peanut butter I put on their bread, I never ran out. I’ve used the same jar now for 2.5 years!

God then humbled me through the boys. One day Wilson came with money. It was a gift for me! Here I was grumbling about giving from my excess while he in turn gave from his want. It didn’t stop there. Whenever they had something they thought I would like they would come with it. One day the boys brought me a wilted hibiscus flower. When I showed my pleasure over the flower they quickly responded by offering to pluck the neighbor’s bush bare! Smiling I shook my head. 

God wasn’t finished yet. 

Two weeks ago Denise and I were talking. “My sister called me yesterday asking for money again.” She sighed. “She says she doesn’t have any food to feed her five kids. I’ve saved money from the jewelry sales but this is an ongoing problem and I don’t see her situation changing at all. Neither her or her husband work. I can’t keep giving them money!” Unsure of what to say I made no reply. 

The next day Denise and I were talking again when she said. “I can’t feed my kids knowing my sister has nothing to give hers. I will give. God did say He would bless those who give.” I nodded. 

That night I talked to Jason to see if we could help out as well. He agreed. Going through our closets I made a small stock pile of supplies. The next morning before she left I also added some money to Denise’s. 

Hours later she came back, glowing. Hearing her talk the words of Acts 20:35 came to mind: I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 

It was more blessed to give. 

Then as the weeks passed I watched how God blessed Denise, how God blessed us. More of Denise’s jewelry sold and God opened a door for her kids to learn French, something they need for their schooling. When we opened our monthly pledge report there was a list of new donors! Seeing them, I felt unworthy. I had done so little. 

And still I struggle; but then, in those dark moments of selfishness and impatience God’s Word gently reminds me, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

Friday, September 14, 2012

September Newsletter

We have just sent out our September family newsletter!  If you did not receive a copy and would like to get on our email / mailing list please send me a quick message at


Monday, September 10, 2012

Haitian Customs

What happens when food or furniture sits in Haitian customs?

Let's just say, "Oh rats!"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Our Happy Anniversary!

Exactly 6 years ago today I married my best friend and the love of my life!

Although neither of us remembered the date till late last night, we're still celebrating today!

When Jason gets home from the airport we are going to the Caribe for super. It's the number one hotel up in Petionville and the food is pretty great! The surroundings are beautiful too! I'm excited!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Count Your Many Blessings

What’s that horrid smell? Rolling over I bury my face in my pillow. 

Burning trash at 2:00 a.m.? Seriously; who does that? 

The pink pillow does little to muffle the acrid scent so dejectedly I pull myself out of bed. Choking back a cough, I pull my t-shirt over my nose and push the sliding door shut. Then, heading to the opposite end of the room I crank the windows closed. 

Better go shut the windows in the boys' room as well, I decide, and quickly make my way over. Both of them are fast asleep. Thankfully the disgusting smell hasn’t woken them up. 

Back in bed I close my eyes and try to fall asleep; but I can’t. 

This smell is killing me. 

What to do now? Hmm, maybe if I put some perfume under my nose... The thought barely formulates before I remember where the perfume is. It's in the bathroom. The pitch black bathroom that Mr. Cockroach the 88th has currently taken over. 

What if I turn on the light so he doesn’t run over my bare feet? I wonder. Nope, can’t do that. No city power tonight, and with the recently installed security lighting outside the batteries are almost sure to die before the night is over. If I go in there and turn the light on to search for the perfume, the batteries will simply die that much faster. 

How about some baby lotion? It’s in the kid’s bathroom and the outside security light illuminates it somewhat. No Mr. Cockroach there to trip over either. Liking that idea I stumble out of bed once again. I squirt a dab on my finger and then rub it under my nose. I can still smell the burning trash, but at least the scent is now somewhat masked. 

Back in bed I try to sleep but my mind won’t stop. If we run out of power, and we most certainly will, it means I can’t turn the oven on tomorrow morning. It will be too early for solar to charge the batteries enough to use the oven either and I promised the ladies I would bake for the Bible Study. 


Now what? 

 I could go to the store, but the prepackaged Haitian cookies leave a lot to be desired, and I did say I would make something. 

Hmm, how about no bake cookies? I mentally check off the ingredient list. Oatmeal, peanut butter, white sugar, butter, milk.. Hmm. Milk? I just used the last carton, but I could substitute powdered milk I guess. What about cocoa? I’m pretty sure I don’t have that. Maybe I could use one of my 70% cocoa chocolate bars that was given to me as a gift. If I melt it in a pan, and reduce the amount of butter a little, it might work. Worth a try, I guess. 

 I turn over again. I still can’t sleep. 

The smell is not going away and now with the patio door and windows closed the room temperature is rising. I feel sweat trickle down my back. I’m miserable. 

“Count your blessings,” a still small voice inside me whispers. 

Blessings? But..... 


Okay. I have a bed. A roof over my head. Windows and doors I can close. Two healthy kids. A good man beside me... I may not be able to bake tomorrow, but at least I don’t have to worry about what we’re going to eat. I have a heavenly Father who loves me. Family, friends, and supporters who care about us and pray for us.... 

I pause and look around. 

Nothing outwardly has changed. Our room is still smoky, still oppressively hot, and we’re that much closer to running out of battery power. But inwardly, in my heart, my attitude is different. In light of all His blessings who am I to complain?