Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Trip Continues..

July 20, 2:00 p.m.
Fenwick, Ontario
"Do you think this is the right place?" I turn to Jason and he nods. "I'm certain it is. I recognize it from when we stopped by here three years ago." We're standing on someone's porch, with our kids and bags, feeling slightly worn and travel weary and looking like the gypsy family we've become.  

Up since 4:30 a.m. we had arrived at Laguardia International Airport, New York by 6:00 a.m.. Our flight however was not as prompt as we were. With some kind of mix up at the airport, planes coming in and out were stuck on the ramp waiting to get to their gates. This caused confusion and delay for both arrivals and departures and we departed New York much later than planned.

Thankfully the flight itself was only just over an hour since juggling three squirming monkeys was never an easy task. 

Once in Toronto we soaked in the 'Canada-ness' of the airport. Instead of paying six dollars for luggage carts they were now free and readily available. Internet was also complimentary and the Custom Officials were most kind. (We were not treated like terrorists trying to infiltrate the country!)

Jason and I kept grinning at each other as we noticed more things that were typical Canadian. I felt like breaking out in the national anthem, but figured we were a spectacle enough the way we were, trying to herd our three ring circus through the airport and checkpoints. 

MAF had a van parked near there for us and after a quick stop for lunch we were on the road to Fenwick, Ontario. Sitting in the front passenger seat I admired the beautiful sky with its changing patterns of clouds and sunlight. 

Now with nine hours of traveling under our belt, and after getting lost a few times since the GPS in the van didn't recognize the road name we were looking for, we've finally arrived at what we think is the right house.

Jayden pushes to the front and rings the doorbell several times. "Only once Jayden!" I remind him. "Otherwise it's rude!" 

There is no response from inside however, and I start to have doubts. 

"Are you sure they are expecting us Jason?" 

Jason pulls out his phone and although it is not activated in Canada yet, he is able to check old emails. 

"Yup, they are expecting us!" he replies. 

"But it looks like no one is home." I reply. 

"Maybe the doorbell doesn't work." He leans over Jayden and pushes it again, all the while listening for any sounds. "Nope, I don't hear anything." 

Hmm.. now what. "Oh, here comes someone!" I see a child peeking through the window and a minute lady a woman opens the door. She doesn't look familiar at all and I look questioningly at Jason. After awkwardly chatting for a few minutes she tells us that the family we are looking for moved several years ago. 

"I can give you their phone number," she offers helpfully.  Feeling dumber by the minute I tell her that we don't have  a phone that works in Canada and if we could please use hers. Thankfully she doesn't seem to mind, and we quickly find out that our host family moved to a new place nearby. Off we go again! 

We arrive at our correct destination several minutes later where we are welcomed heartily and the kids quickly make new friends. 

That night is also our presentation at the Jordan church.  Travel weary we don't give ourselves enough time to get there, and with the GPS sending us in the wrong direction, and then making us double back we arrive at the church only minutes before our presentation is scheduled to begin. 

Thankfully, working together and with the help of some friends, we get everything set up at lightning speed, and before we know it we're at the front, addressing the crowd.

By the time we're finished, and driving home, the sun is already setting.

We fall into bed exhausted that night!

We spend the next day writing thank you cards, letters, organizing gifts we brought from Haiti, and calling and meeting with friends and supporters. 

When my head starts to spin, I sneak outside and soak in the beauty of God's creation. There are fields of wheat,

 and corn and grass..and beautiful flowers. 

They remind me of the words in Psalm 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. 

The following day we say goodbye to our kind host family and head off to Toronto to the Missionary Health Institute. There we spend the day getting our mental and physical checkups.  Thankfully we've done this before and it's really not as scary as it sounds. 

Dr. Westwood, who handles the mental checkup, concludes we aren't any weirder than we were before we left for Haiti (phew!), although he did warn us that our souls had grown bigger in the time we've been away. (Whatever that means!).

The kids handle the physical check ups like pros.

Besides, the fact that we could all gain a few pounds there are no real concerns. The results from various lab tests, are still pending.

By early afternoon we are finished, and on our way to Guelph, Ontario, where MAFs headquarters are located.

The following day we begin our debrief with them. We really enjoy our time at the office; sharing and reconnecting with the staff. 

After two days we are finished and head to Jordan, Ontario, to spend some time with Jason's Aunt and Uncle. We always love staying with them and they make us feel right at home.

There, the two youngest enjoy an afternoon at the park while Jason and Jayden go with cousin Mike and his wife and their oldest son to help at an outreach program in downtown St. Catharines. 

From Jordan we drive to Mitchell, Ontario for our next presentation and stay at another host family. This couple owns a farm, and the kids enjoyed seeing and playing with the animals.


As we speak and share with whoever we came in contact with God reminds me that what I spend my time talking about is important.  

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Since we haven't seen our friends and supporters for over 3 years it's easy to get sidetracked and talk about material things, but like Jesus said in Matthew 5:13: Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

After a night in Mitchell, Ontario, we are on the road again.

Jayden is positioned between the luggage in the very back..

While Justin and Alexander take the two middle seats.

Since Alexander is in a rear-facing car seat. This is all I can see of him.

We make multiple stops on our way to our next destination, Grand Rapids.. Sometimes it's just for a quick chat,

..while other times for a coffee/juice break.

Then we drive and drive and drive some more.

As we travel, I doze off and on and think about the people we've met, the beauty of God's creation we've experienced, and His faithfulness along the way.

O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. Psalm 136:1

Friday, July 24, 2015

In the Air and On the Road

July 14, 2015
2:15 p.m.
“Jason Krul… Jayden Krul… Family Krul..” Our names are barely recognizable under the thick French accent of the American Airline announcer. Although we had arrived early enough at the airport, Jason had spent the last hour trying to help his Dad with his delayed Air Canada flight issues, so now we are running late getting to our gate.  It doesn’t help that we have a lot of carryon baggage too. With two strollers, a car seat, four carryon suitcases, three backpacks, a diaper bag, a purse, and three kids; arms full is a bit of an understatement! 

Thankfully we’ve done this many times before, and after going through our final security checkpoint we race through the gate, which is closed behind us and quickly find our seats. Since the seats are not together, I take Jayden and Alexander, and Jason takes Justin.  Phew, we made it!

2:35 p.m.
With Alexander in my arms and Jayden beside me, I lean over to catch my final glimpses of Port au Prince. 

Strangely, I feel nothing. Maybe it's simply to much to process.. 

It doesn't take long before the city disappears from view and we are surrounded by clouds.

5:00 p.m.
The flight is almost over. Alexander’s smiling face looks up at me from the tiny floor space in front of me. After struggling to hold him for several hours now, I finally gave up and just let him play at my feet, much to his delight!

 6:00 p.m.
We’re about to land and guess who just fell asleep in my arms..

6:15 p.m.
I catch my first glimpses of New York City. I’m excited, tired, happy, sad; at least I’m feeling something.

9:00 p.m.
We’ve arrived at friends in New Jersey. The two older brothers quickly fall asleep.

The littlest monkey plays in his crib. There are too many new things to see and do to sleep.

July 15-20
Our time in New Jersey flies by. We have our first presentation and are really encouraged by the turnout and interest. Jason and I both enjoy sharing about what God has been doing in Haiti and in our lives.

We spend time with friends and supporters, who spoil us with picnics,

give the kids their first ever ride on an old fashoined carousel,

take us on a boat ride around the famous statue of liberty,

and give us a great view of New York's skyline!

We fish,

 enjoy campfires and fields of green grass, 

study fire flies, swim in the lake, pick raspberries,

and simply enjoy God's beautiful creation.

Friends take us to the beach

 where the kids enjoy the freedom of miles of sand and water,

collect shells,

and examine freshly caught fish.

In the evenings we watch beautiful sunsets. 

Sometimes our family runs like a well-oiled machine and other times I feel more like I'm part of a traveling circus!

Through it all, God reminds me that He is enough, His grace is sufficient and He wills supply all of our needs
2 Corinthians 12:9a "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Upcoming Presentations!

Over the next several weeks we have a few presentations planned in New Jersey, Ontario and Michigan.  Below are some of the locations and dates we will be speaking. We encourage everyone to attend - we would love to connect with you!

Kinnelon, New Jersey
Heritage Reformed Church
129 Boonton Ave, Kinnelon, NJ
Saturday, July 18 at 7:00 PM

Jordan, Ontario
Heritage Rerformed Church
4171 Fifteenth St., Jordan, ON
Monday, July 20 at 7:30 PM

Mitchell, Ontario
Free Reformed Church
6000 26 Line, West Perth, ON
July 26 at 4:00 PM

Grand Rapids, Michigan
PRTS Chapel
2965 Leonard St NE, Grand Rapids, MI
Wednesday, July 29 at 7:30 PM

Monday, July 13, 2015

My Cup Overflows

Our last week in Haiti flew by. One beautiful sunset after another; I tried my best to capture them all.

MAF hired an armed guard for us as we had many people coming and going to pick up furniture, appliances and household items; and there had been some serious security incidents in our neighbourhood recently. 

Although it definitely helped us feel safer, God did remind me that: "Except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." (Psalm 127:1b)

Jayden and Justin dealt with the changes of an ever-emptying house very differently. One morning when there was no chairs left to sit on to eat breakfast, Jayden excitedly jumped on the counter and proudly announced that he could now eat his breakfast there. 

Justin, on the other hand, got quite upset and asked me in a very sad voice where he was going to sit and eat his breakfast. I ended up putting him in Alexander's high chair for the time being.

When the high chair was picked up as well, they ended up just eating on the ground. 

Grandpa (Jason's Dad) arrived on the 6th to help us pack and we were all happy to see him.

Thursday, July 8 was the final day in our home.  The electrical was unhooked, 

The beds were taken apart.

And then everything was picked up, loaded and transported out the gate.

Djempsky also came from Pignon, to spend time with us and help out on our last day.

He had grown up a lot since we first met him during language school, seven years ago. He cried when we said goodbye as Jason had been like an older brother to him.

While Jayden and Justin spent their last hours playing with their friends, Nicholas, Sabboule and Jocemine, Alexander watched the proceedings from the safe confines of his pack and play.

By dinner time the house was finally empty, and we said sad goodbyes to Anoud, Denise and their children.

It was especially sad to see Jayden say goodbye to his two "brothers". 

When the work was done and the goodbyes had been said we headed off to the Broyles home, another MAF family, where we would spend the next few days as we completed our final preparations for our transition.

The following night, Friday, our MAF team and friends had organized a goodbye barbecue for us, which we really appreciated.

They spoiled us with delicious food, burgers, and cakes.

It was special to have this night together with friends who have become like family to us.

Saying goodbye to everyone was hard.

The following day, Saturday, we went on our last MAF flight as a family. The Broyles took a second plane and joined us for the day as we flew to Cap Haitian, took a tap tap ride to the port, and then a water taxi to a secluded beach. Karen took this snap shot of us as we flew beside them.

I, like always, enjoyed the changing views from the airplane window.

On the ground in Cap Haitian we hailed a tap tap, put Grandpa and Alexander in the front and piled the rest of us into the back.

There was lots to see, 

and smell...

At one point I could even taste the city on my lips, so dirty was the air.

When we got out of the city and into the mountains, the air became somewhat cleaner and the view was spectacular.

When we arrived at the port there were plenty of water taxis available for use.

A fifteen minute boat ride took us to a pretty beach cove.

While the kids played in the sand,

and explored..

I relaxed in a hammock and just thought about life.

On the flight back we experienced some bad weather, as rain smattered against the windshield of our airplane, clouds marred our visibility and lightning zigzagged around us.

I felt no fear, however, just faith. God has been teaching me a lot lately and I felt no matter what happened we were in His hands.

Psalm 23 says:The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

He has also given me peace by directing me to this verse, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." (Exodus 33;14b)

And you know what? I'm excited. I'm excited to follow wherever He leads us. Jesus said: "I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10b) And that's what He's done for us. He's given us this abundant life, so abundant in fact that my cup overflows.