Snow Day

snowbranchLast night we watched as a gentle snow fell here in Fayetteville. Just a couple of days ago, John and I took a walk in 66 degree weather. It’s now somewhere in the high 20s. Such is the unpredictability of North Carolina’s climate.

After a long day of filling out tax receipts for our ministry yesterday, Prit and I went to grab a bite to eat at the Chick-Fil-A only to find it had already closed. Long before snowflakes had even begun to fall, schools, banks, clinics, and restaurants had already shut down. I do imagine I heard a chuckle coming down from our friends in the great white North. One Canadian pastor told me once, “We love a good blizzard!” I’m sure he and many others got a good laugh at all the scurrying about of their Southern friends as they loaded up on groceries and settled into their warm homes for the night.

Still, there’s almost something magical about the fairy dust. It’s like a dear friend who pays us a rare visit once in a while. Memories of my mother making snow cream for us carry me off to an era long ago. There are few things as beautiful as gazing out the window at a blanket of white that covers the landscape. It seems to make everything new.

This afternoon, the roads were cleared and we did manage to get to the Golden Corral with Prit’s mom and dad. The lady that rang up our ticket was from Cap-Haitian, Haiti. She has lived in the States for 21 years which means she left Haiti during the embargo. As my mind turned to Cap-Haitian, I was reminded of warm tropical breezes, a front door which stays open, and where flip flops are the norm. I also thought of my Haitian friends who have never seen snow in their whole lives and realized that we have the best of both worlds.

Put On Hold

redlightPut. On. Hold. That’s what seems to have happened to our lives recently. Just a few weeks ago, we were busy wrapping up an MFI Conference in Haiti, then boarding a plane just a few days later for Ft. Lauderdale. All of us were scurrying about getting ready for Deborah’s wedding, then making our 8-hour trek back to North Carolina.

Life is like that. One day, you’re hurrying about, wondering how you’re going to catch up on all there is to do. The next thing you know, the momentum shifts to a slower pace.

We thought we’d be back in Haiti by now, but attention to last minute details concerning the ministry, as well as waiting on a doctor’s appointment for John, have caused us to switch lanes. So, like Paul, we’re making ourselves content with our situation.

This morning we shared at the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship here in Fayetteville. It was great to be back among such a great group of friends again. We’ve also enjoyed spending time with friends, family, and supporters. Earlier this week, we were delighted to receive a visit from some longtime friends and supporting pastors, Matt and Becky Garrett. Matt and Becky brought along their daughter, Emily and her husband, Julio. Emily and Julio are missionaries to Columbia. We hadn’t seen Emily in several years and it was our first time meeting Julio. It was so great to catch up with one another and gain a new friend.

It looks like we may be around for another week. If you’d like for us come minister in your church or group, contact us! Meanwhile, we ask for your prayers for our leaders who are overseeing the work in Haiti.

In Sickness and in Health

I was going to write a post about our visit with a very dear friend today and his wife. John beat me to it and I must say did a much better job than I would have. Therefore, I’m including his most recent post. Needless to say, this has been an emotional and blessed day.

pinch_back_smallThere’s a picture of my friend George and his wife, Patty, slow-dancing in their old age that hangs next to Patty’s bed. I did not realize until today how sick Patty was. George, who cares for her nearly constantly now, told me the story today of how they met in the late 1960s. At that time, Patty was a part-time secretary at the N.C. Forest Service and a young widow with two small children recovering from her previous husband’s tragic death. (His truck had plunged off a bridge in Michigan into a river in the middle of January.) George, having narrowly avoided a trip to Vietnam after being drafted, had taken the first job he could find and was a stranger in a strange town. He says Patty “conned” him into their first date, loudly exclaiming her disappointment over the office phone that her friends had backed out of their bowling night at a time when he was sure to be listening. He took the bait and asked her out, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, Patty no longer recognizes George and could not respond to him even if she did. He talks to her plenty anyway, feeding, bathing, and caring for her every single day. His love for her is clear—he always refers to her as “my wife,” as in “Excuse me, I’m going to go into the other room real quick and turn my wife onto her other side.”

“People ask me occasionally whether I wouldn’t enjoy a day off,” he says, grinning. “Wouldn’t I rather someone else took care of her for a while? That just ain’t me. I want to be near her as long as I can.” There’s a joy in his voice as he says it, the same joy evident in his eyes in that picture of better days that hangs next to his wife’s bed. With the benefit of retrospect, I know that the love in that picture was genuine, for it has not faded, even though she cannot return his gaze, even though she no longer remembers his name.

Slowing Down

debandben“The last 2-3 weeks have been one long blur,” I told some friends last night on the telephone. It seems like just the other day we were catching a delayed flight out of Cap-Haitian to Ft. Lauderdale.

As I relayed in our last post, all flights bound to North Carolina had been cancelled and we were rerouted to Washington, D.C. With the gracious help of a beautiful young Haitian man, we managed to find a hotel that night. I reluctantly parted with the heavy coat he had lent me on the trip from the airport.

The next day was spent frantically searching for a mother-of-the-bride dress to wear in the upcoming wedding. With the help of a wonderful young lady, I finally managed to find something appropriate. That afternoon, Gabe flew in from Portland and we were on our way to Shepherdstown. Fortunately, the next day I was able to find some matching shoes and stockings for my dress.

Saturday, we celebrated the beginning of Ben and Deborah’s new life together. Thanks so much for all your prayers for us as we traveled from Haiti, as well as for the new couple. Most of the pictures are still being put together, but here are just a few from the wedding.

In the midst of the coming and going, we recognize that January will always be remembered for special events other than the beginning of a new year.

…January 10 marked thirty-one years of service to the nation of Haiti.

…January 11, our only daughter changed her last name from Adams to Edelen.

…January 12, Haiti remembered the 4-year anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake which took an estimated 250,000-300,000 lives.

Next week we’ll be back in Haiti and once again on the fast track. For now, we’ve slowed our pace and are enjoying a little down time with Prit’s folks here in North Carolina.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Wedding

Written Wednesday.

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This has been an unbelievable day. We left Haiti around 2:00 p.m. Our 9:30 flight had been delayed meaning we would arrive to Ft. Lauderdale much later than planned. Our connecting flight to Charlotte, N.C., was no longer available. Our attempts to reroute to Raleigh, NC, also fell through. The only destination that remained was Washington, D.C. It was the only logical choice since we have to be in Shepherdstown, WV, on Saturday for Ben and Deb’s wedding.

On our flight to Washington, Prit struck up a conversation with another passenger. Patrick is a Haitian who grew up in Port-au-Prince and is now living in this area. This wonderful young man realized our dilemma of landing in the nation’s capital with no winter clothes. At baggage claims, he quickly pulled winter coats out of his suitcase for Prit and me and put them on us to shield us from the cold outside. Then he piled us into his car and drove us to a hotel. Imagine coming from the poorest nation in this hemisphere to our nation’s capital only to be met by none other than a Haitian who treated us like royalty. It has truly been awesome watching the Lord work in our behalf!

Tomorrow, we’ll shop for some warm winter clothes for the wedding on Saturday and meet Gabe as he flies in tomorrow night. It’s been a long day and it’s great to finally be relaxing in a warm hotel room.

MFI Marriage & Family Conference

MFI Conference

This weekend we hosted an MFI Conference in our newly renovated conference room on the Sainte-Philomène compound. Pastor Bob and Sue MacGregor along with Pastor Phil and Judy Jaquith were our guest speakers. Pastor Bob is one of the Vice-Presidents of Ministers’ Fellowship International. The Jaquiths have been missionaries to Mexico for over 30 years. Each couple took turns Friday and Saturday sharing principles for a good marriage. Pastor Bob also shared about building strong families. He shared how imperative it is to have strong families in order to have strong churches. We were also blessed to have Daniel Stark, a member of Pastor Bob’s church, who came along for the visit as well.

Over 100 leaders attended the 2-day conference. They were very engaged in the teaching and later requested that a DVD be made available in order for them to use the teachings in their own local churches. It was a very rich time for us all and we sincerely thank the MacGregors and Jaquiths for such a wonderful impartation. This year, our own cooks prepared the meals for everyone. This is the first time we didn’t have to rent a conference room downtown and pay a hotel to prepare the meals. Thanks to Pastor Rollie Simmons’ church in Tacoma, WA, we were able to get the conference room ready in time for the MFI Conference.

Sunday morning, both Pastor Phil and Pastor Bob preached at our main church in Petite-Anse and their wives shared as well. Daniel shared a moving testimony concerning God speaking to him years ago that he would be coming to Haiti one day. This trip was the fulfillment of that word from the Lord and he was visibly moved as he shared this story with our church members. Afterwards, we took everyone to Cormier Plage (a beautiful beach area), where we enjoyed fresh seafood and a little relaxation before our guests flew out Monday morning.

It has truly been a blessed weekend. Prit, John, and I also immensely enjoyed the fellowship which is something missionaries greatly value. Thank you Ministers’ Fellowship International for sending some of your choicest servants!

Departure

Even though the conference is over, there is no slowing down for us. Wednesday we depart for the States and will be traveling all day until we reach Fayetteville around 8:00 p.m. Thursday morning, we will be on our way to West Virginia to arrive in plenty of time for Deb and Ben’s wedding on Saturday.

We’ve been reading the weather reports and know that the weather is pretty bad in some areas . Would you please pray for us, that we will not have any difficulty traveling from North Carolina to West Virginia for this special occasion?

$20,000 Challenge

This is just a reminder concerning the $20,000 challenge that has been set before us. We have just a little over three weeks to raise $20,000 in order for a fellow supporter to donate matching funds. Would you please pray that we will be able to raise these needed funds that will help us build our main church facility in Petite-Anse? Would you also ask the Lord if he wants you to be a part of this challenge?

New Beginnings

Happy New Year everyone! 2014 has arrived and with it has entered new resolutions, hopes, and expectations. We wish to sincerely thank you, our friends and supporters, for the strength of your prayers, the value of your friendship, and for your unfailing support. You mean so very much to us. We remember each of you in our heartfelt prayers today.

Wedding Plans!

DSCN0387We would like to announce that our daughter, Deborah, and her fiancee, Benjamin Edelen, will be married on 11 January, 2014. We’re busy winding things down here in Haiti so that we can be stateside in time for the wedding. So, with the commencement of another year, we’re gaining a son!

We ask the Lord’s blessings upon the new couple and covet your prayers for them as well.