I visited my brother’s grave today. “Laney” died last December, but this was the first opportunity that I have had to officially say goodbye — even though he is on the other side now. All that remains where he now lies is a grave marker with his name and picture on it. Multitudes of memories flooded my mind regarding days and seasons long past — times that will never be retrieved. Out of a family of five, he was number four. I was the caboose. I looked up to him. To him I was probably the annoying, tag-along sister.
A part of me grieves because he is no longer here. Another part feels happy for him because he is no longer suffering and riddled with disease. Yet, a third part makes me think harder about the rest of my days. Standing before a grave or attending funerals always does that. The graves of my mother and father lay right beside Laney’s.
We just returned from West Virginia where we celebrated a new life and the joy of meeting our new granddaughter, Lorelei, for the first time. Watching an infant who doesn’t conceive how very fragile she is and standing by a grave of one whose fragile life is now over places me somewhere in the middle.
“One life to live, ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” This was one of my mother’s favorite sayings, penned by C.T. Studd who served as a missionary to China, India, and Africa. I’ve been reminded today, both by Laney and Lorelei, not to live a mediocre life — for ’twill soon be past. Click this link for the full poem.
We are back from spending five days in West Virginia. We just met the most gorgeous grandbaby ever! It all went by way too quickly, but we look forward to our daughter, Deb, and her family coming to visit us in our new home in just a few weeks. Sam is 4 years old now and has what seems to be an endless supply of energy. He kept PopPop and Nana running! We had to come back to North Carolina just to rest.
Lorelei is the most beautiful baby girl on the planet. Ok, I know there will be many who beg to differ, but just look at that face!
Save the Date!
Our summer is passing by all too quickly and soon it will be July. If you would like for us to come share at your church, fellowship, or with your group, now’s the time to be making arrangements. It’s been a great year and there’s so much to share. Save the date!
June seems to be a month for celebrating. Friends and family threw us a housewarming on June 2. I celebrated a birthday on June 6. Our new granddaughter was born on June 11. Our 37th wedding anniversary was on June 13. On Monday, we’re heading to West Virginia to see our little June Bug (Lorelei) and visit with Deborah and her family. It can’t get much better than this! Of course, if we weren’t doing anything, we would be happy just enjoying our new home. We’re so thankful for this time of rest. We also look forward to seeing many of you.
We celebrated our anniversary at Mike’s Farm outside of Jacksonville. This place is incredible – all you can eat! They serve a complete country meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, string beans, sweet corn, and a macaroni and cheese that has no equal! For dessert, we had our choice of banana pudding, cheesecake, or strawberry shortcake. Très délicieux! This is the best shot we could get since it was dark inside.
Since the last few weeks have been a whirlwind, I am finally getting caught up in writing an update. Below are pictures from the final week before we boarded the plane with longtime friend, Pastor Matt Garrett, (from Sanford) to return stateside. Pastor Matt was our guest speaker for the week. What an amazing time we had! Matt did a 2-day conference for our present and former Bible school students and was the special speaker for our Bible school graduation. What a powerful message he preached on Receiving and Giving. Matt also ministered to our mother church in Petite-Anse. His ministry and fellowship was superb and it was an excellent way to crown the year! All our students were tremendously blessed and we thank Pastor Matt for enriching our lives and ministry.
A Final Salute to Pastor Dick Iverson
This year our graduates did something that touched us deeply. Normally, the graduates have the opportunity to choose a great reformer such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, or John Knox to represent them. The reformer’s picture is posted on the front of the program for the graduation service. You can imagine our surprise and delight when they asked if they could honor Pastor Dick Iverson instead. Pastor Dick spoke at our last Bible school graduation and ministered greatly to our students.
Pastor Dick was the founder of Bible Temple and Portland Bible College in Portland, Oregon. He also founded MFI (Ministers Fellowship, International) of which we are members. Pastor Dick and his wife, Roxy, traveled the world over encouraging pastors and missionaries in the faith before he left this earth to find his eternal reward. How very grateful we are that he was able to come to Haiti two years ago and leave such an incredible deposit of faith with us. Obviously, he made a huge impact with our Bible school students!
Since we returned to Jacksonville (NC), my sisters and some friends had a housewarming party for us. How very blessed we were to receive gifts and gift cards for our new home – especially since we’re almost starting from scratch.
We had such a great time catching up with relatives and friends. Thanks to everyone who made our party so special! (I have no idea what Prit is doing here. I guess he’s still in preaching mode.) We have had so much fun slowly getting our new home organized. It’s great to be back in the good ‘ole USA!
Lorelei Edelen – already contemplating
Being travel weary, getting our taxes caught up, and working to get our new home in order, I haven’t had much time or energy to post. But this one can’t wait!
Lorelei Edelen made her grand debut into the world at around 5:10 this morning. We have a granddaughter! We are so happy for Ben, Deb, and Sam. Welcome to our world, Lorelei! Sam is going to be an awesome ”Big Brudder.”
I watched as the suitcases went around and around on the carousel. We were finally back in Jacksonville, NC! It wasn’t hard to pinpoint the two that belonged to us. They were the dirtiest and most beat up of them all. I watched as my once royal blue suitcase came near and Prit quickly pulled it off before it went around again. I felt just like that suitcase looked. Beat up. Tired. Travel weary. Ripped in some places. Loaded down.
Don’t get me wrong: It’s been a great year in many ways. We have received a myriad of answered prayers, plus we dedicated our long-awaited building. People we haven’t even met yet bought us a brand new, double-cab pickup and we now have a first-rate generator in place to get the long-awaited water system up and running. It will provide pure water to the thousands of residents in the Petite-Anse area. We have been the recipients of much grace and are so thankful for those who made all this possible, not to mention all the faithful ones who support us regularly.
However, living in a fourth-world country and overseeing a huge ministry takes its toll. The incessant heat, constant problems related to electricity failure, the monthly responsibilities of paying salaries, plus no outlet to take a mini-vacation anywhere weighs down the soul. In addition, there’s the constant spiritual warfare and the feeling of the overwhelming needs of a people living permanently in crisis-mode.
We love the people of Haiti and we love Rehoboth Ministries. We also love the fact that we are stateside. We are in much need of physical and spiritual rest. As I write, no one’s banging on our bedroom door to notify us of an urgent need or to let us know that a visitor has shown up – yet again – with no appointment. We don’t hear the wash lady and other workers just outside our window talking. For a missionary, luxury is found in the most unforeseen places. We can actually walk outside our front door without being approached with a need. We can also go to town without weaving to miss the potholes and horrendous traffic. I wonder if the people I see in Walmart or in the restaurant have any idea of how blessed they are to live a life of such simplicity.
So much has happened in the last few weeks that I will have to gradually catch you all up. For now, we’re only too happy to be on the slow track for once and off the carousel. Thank you for your prayers for a safe trip home. It’s good to be back.