Friday, April 24, 2015

MAF Family Conference

Even though I ended up getting sick at the tail end of our trip (see previous post), our family did really enjoy our annual MAF Family Conference in the Dominican Republic. We were once again joined by a team from the Rock Church who facilitated the sessions, taught us from God's Word, and helped out with the kids. 

Our focus this year was team building and we spent time looking at how God made each of us with unique giftings and strengths. Isaiah 64:8 says, But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. 

We also studied the importance of loving each other. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:34-35

The importance of forgiving one another. Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22 

And how Jesus exemplified servant hood. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. Matt 23:11 

And of course I took a lot of pictures! It was hard to limit them for the blog but I did my best! Enjoy!

Goodbye Port au Prince.

Pretty sky.

Haiti's mountains.

Crossed the border.

Puerto Plata.

Picturesque hotel.

MAF team and Rock group.

God's handiwork.

Beautiful beach.

Rough ocean.

Fun in the sun.

Pool time.

Bedtime for the kids.

Date night for the grownups.

After sunset.

From 2015
A starry night.

Homeward bound.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

In Everything Give Thanks

April 14, 8:30 p.m.

"Will, I think there's some weird flying creature in our bedroom.." Sighing, I flip over from my stomach to my side. After a week of being ill, I'm feeling faint and exhausted. 

It all began the last day we were in the Dominican Republic where we spent a few days for our annual MAF family conferences. In the seven days since then, I had lost eight percent of my body weight and what was left of me was having a hard time fighting whatever bacteria or virus I had contacted.

"It's probably just that silly moth that was buzzing around the bathroom before.." I mumble back.

"Hmm.. I don't think so," Jason replies. He's been sick too, and now slowly crawls out of bed to turn the bedroom light on. I squint as the bright light illuminates our room.   Sure enough we soon spot a giant cockroach just above our window. The heavy rain outside must have drawn it in, searching for cover. 

Watching it, I notice it must be a special kind as it buzzes around. Most cockroaches I've seen, can't fly. 

"Let's spray it."  Jason says. 

"Naa.. it takes to long to die that way, plus we'll have to breathe in the fumes all night. I'll go get the swatter." 

I stumble to the kitchen only to discover more giant cockroaches on the way. By the time I'm back in the bedroom I've already killed two. After making quick work of the flying one, we discover two more large ones trying to blend into our bedroom door. After disposing of them all, I crawl back into bed. 

"Cockroaches are definitely one thing I'm not going to miss about Haiti." I mutter to Jason. He smiles. "Or nasty stomach bugs for that matter."

We have nothing to complain about though. I remember one of the previous nights when I was in the bathroom feeling much worse, and I was reminded about another missionary friend who had spent time in a Haitian prison without a trial or formal charge, and had lost much more weight than us. At least we had bathroom facilities, running water, soap, toilet paper, and access to medical care.  

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 

And the truth is, no matter what circumstances you find yourself in, there's always something to be thankful for!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Road Trip

April 4, 2015

Jason often works Saturdays, but this past week he had the day off, so we took a road trip to visit friends in Mirebalais. 

Shortly before lunch we packed the kids into the car and off we drove.

The sky was blue and the noon day sun beat overhead as we wove through traffic.

Before leaving the city behind, we stopped by the Artisan Village.

It was on my list of places yet to see, and since it was sort of on the way, it worked out well. 

The place was alive with the rat a tat of hammers and nails banging on tin.

Whoever had come up with the idea to make tin art from empty oil drums was genius and had provided many people with employment. 

They made everything from pencil holders to towel hooks, lamps to furniture, and of course wall art in all forms shapes and sizes. 

The finished products were spectacular.

After completing our tour of the area, we snaked our way through narrow alleys and over decrepit bridges back to the main road. Shortly thereafter we left the city behind and headed out into the country. 

We crossed rivers,

and passed by lakes.

We wound around mountains,

and through valleys.

Occasionally we would get stuck behind slow moving trucks or busses as the roads were steep and curvy.

Approximately two hours after our departure we arrived at our destination. 

The children's homes at our friends' place were still under construction, so he took us to visit a few other places as well. One was a guest house on a beautiful acreage.

Another, an orphanage whose children hoped to transition to their children homes in the near future.

It was nice spending time together and for our kids to run around and play with theirs. 

After a delicious dinner of chilli and sourdough bread we headed back home, just as the rain began to fall.

The sunset that night was beautiful! 

Looking at the various photos now makes me think of the words found in John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

But on the other hand, if  ....the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:23b

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April Update

The weather in Haiti is interesting. Temperatures range between warm and hot and rarely, if ever, drop below 20 degrees Celsius. 

There are two seasons: rainy or dry. In the rainy seasons, clouds form in the late afternoon and rains pound the city at night; sometimes for mere minutes, sometimes for hours. Rainy season brings cooler temperatures, but also mud and mosquitoes. 

In the dry seasons there are endless days of sun and warmth and the mosquitoes all but disappear, but are replaced by dust and drought. 

The seasons are very fluid; it will be dry for months and suddenly, without warning it’s rainy season again. Then, just as abruptly it ends, replaced once again by dry, sunny days. Every year, which months are rainy and which months are dry seem to be different. 

What is also interesting is that there is no winter. I’m not meaning no snow or the likes, (obviously) but the fact that there is no barren period in the vegetation. Leaves fall down and as they die are replaced almost instantaneously by new ones.

Right now on our property the ground is caked with leaves.

Yet, as I look up at the trees, new flowers and leaves are already replacing the old ones.

We are thankful to report that everything is going well with our family. 

Jason has been busy flying and organizing various projects. One of his recent flights included transporting a girl who was badly burned after the house she lived in exploded.

Her family had a business selling gasoline in small jugs on the side of the road, but took the barrel containing the fuel into their house for safe keeping at night. Something went horribly wrong one night when the barrel caught fire with the girl trapped inside. Jason was part of the MAF team who helped transport here to the capital for further care. 

With some of the local airlines having issues, Jason has also been busy trying to organize alternate transportation options through MAF for missionaries needing to get to the capital for dentist/doctor appointments or flights out to North America. 

I took the liberty of downloading some of his recent photos off his cellphone:

Through the church we attend, Jason has also gotten involved with  helping a group of young, trained men, with funding and logistics for outreach trips to other parts of Haiti. The group known as the Timothy Leadership Training Group has gone on several trips now and came back full of stories on how God worked through them as they shared His Word with others. Isaiah 53:7a says How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good that publisheth salvation; You can read more about their story in our newsletter that we hope to send out in the next day or so.

Besides my regular duties of wife and mom, and some of the additional roles I’ve taken on as hostess, I’ve also been busy helping Denise increase her cooking and baking skills. I’m thankful to share that she’s catching on quickly, and it’s a very enjoyable time for both of us! I will surely miss her and her family when we leave this summer. 

 I’m also thankful to report our three boys are doing well! Jayden has morphed into an avid reader and I love watching his skills in that area grow so rapidly!

He also loves to read and play with the neighbour kids.

Justin is growing rapidly; both physically and mentally. It's a joy having him around and he has a great sense of humour which keeps us laughing a lot! Him and his brother are also getting along much better now, thankfully!

Alexander is now ten months old! He still sports that super sweet smile that makes your heart melt, but under that endearing exterior he’s also showing signs of being a mischievous little monkey. Even with 5 different straps and belts he still manages to wiggle out of his high chair and he has quite the little stubborn streak too!

Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I'm back to taking pictures of sunsets. Below are two that I've recently taken from our property.

The last one portrays a lot of emotion. I don't normally dwell on the fact that we live behind high security walls topped with cruel looking razor wire, but when I studied this picture, it just struck me how far mankind has fallen. 

 A few days later, I read this: 
Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 2:3 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8: 35-39