Back to Square One

images-1.jpegThe weather outside has gone from a beautiful, tropical Paradise this week to a rainy, slushy, muggy gray. It sort of matches our mood here lately. It seems that everything we’ve attempted to accomplish results in a lot of pushing, persevering, and slushing through to get anything done. For over a week, Prit has been calling the Isuzu Dealership in Port-au-Prince to see if they have any pickups available for purchase. Day after day, he was told they were still in customs and hadn’t been released yet.  Finally, we got the go-ahead to fly to Port-au-Prince to buy a vehicle and then the rain started. We were due to make the 25 minute trip over Haiti’s countryside to the capital city this afternoon. Then, we would make the seven hour drive on horrible roads back home tomorrow. I called ahead right before we left just to make sure Sunrise was still flying. Oui, you can come. Be here by 3:00. After a good 45 minutes of fighting bumper-to-bumper traffic and praying we wouldn’t miss our flight, we hurried to the front desk to pay before boarding only to be told by the clerk, Vol la annulé! After slushing through the interminable traffic of Cap-Haitian, we resignedly gathered up our bags and left the airport to, once again, slug our way back home. Our flight is rescheduled for tomorrow morning at 8:00 and we will try – yet again – to fly out.

Sometimes I’m prone to believe that Murphy’s Law originated in Haiti. If it can go wrong, it will. Life here is full of starts and stops like some of those old cars we saw on the highway today. But, thankfully, the truth of the matter is that he knows our ways and our steps are ordered by the Lord. Delays and disappointments can actually be his way of keeping us right on path.

At any rate, would those of you who are reading this please pray for good weather tomorrow, a completed wire transaction for the vehicle purchase, and a safe flight in that little plane over Haiti’s mountains before the next team comes in? We only have one more week before Orphans Promise arrives for the dedication of our new building. Thanks!

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Wrapping Up the New Year

 

IMG_0413.jpgBeautiful weather. Beautiful week. Beautiful company. Our son, Gabe, spent Christmas week with us and flew out today. Of course, the time went by way too fast, but we’re beyond thankful for this time with him. Since Gabe had not been here since 2010, our workers enjoyed fussing over him. Marie made him rice and beans with a creole sauce, banann pézé (fried plantain), and pumpkin soup. Cola brought him coconuts, fresh pineapple, bananas, and even made him a papaya milkshake minus the sugar. Elaide, not to be outdone, showed up with two avocados the other morning. They all got a big kick out of watching him eat. His appetite certainly hasn’t diminished! Today, he surprised many of our church members with his appearance and they all gathered around and greeted him.

Gabe will go on to spend a few days with our daughter, Deb, and her family. To say we’re a tad jealous is an understatement! It’s around 6 degrees in West Virginia and my daughter says that even her hair hurts! (That part we don’t miss.) We look forward to the whole family coming together this summer and celebrating the birth of new baby Edelen whose debut is expected on 2 June.

We wish you all a belated Joyeux Noel and a Bonne Année! We especially thank our supporters for making this a great year for Rehoboth Ministries. With you giving, you have fed the hungry, provided jobs for workers, enabled students to attend a university, sent the sick to the hospital, bought sewing machines to teach young women a trade and the list goes on and on. Thank you!

 

 

 

A Bittersweet Christmas

25550303_10155741276965042_5703535786885079655_nMy brother was laid to rest today and it was a beautiful funeral. My sister, Sarah, was so thoughtful to have a Wolfpack blanket draped over his coffin. Laney had attended North Carolina State University and although he didn’t complete his degree there, he always loved NC State.

I’m thankful for all of Laney’s friends and family that came to commemorate his life.  It’s a bittersweet Christmas season. Bitter because he won’t be there when we return in May. It’s hard to believe I will not see his face again this side of Heaven. Sweet because the memories are so. Laney excelled in love and traced a path for us all. He never complained.

I sent a poem to be read. It was our mother’s favorite poem and mine as well. One day all those in Christ, like Laney, will see our pilot’s face. I hope you will enjoy it. Thank all of you for your outpouring of love and prayers for our family during this time.

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

                                     

— Alfred Lloyd Tennyson

 

Born into Obscurity

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As I sit in our little den and gaze out our front window, I see sunshine, palm trees, and lots of greenery. Downtown Cap-Haitian doesn’t reveal much about the fact that we’re into the Christmas season either, except for an occasional pedestrian donning a Santa cap. Probably the main reason there is not much celebration  here is the simple fact that there’s little money for shopping, decorating and gift-giving. Many of the people here remain in a survival mode.

But, taking a look inside the church walls, one will see a different sort of celebration. It’s a holy time as the church families gather together to watch the Christmas story reenacted and groups sing special Christmas songs. It’s a time of laughter when the usual actor, who portrays Herod, enjoys his role a little too much or the battery-operated baby doll which serves as Baby Jesus gets stuck. The Christ child may cry incessantly until someone removes his battery. After almost 35 years in Haiti, I have yet to figure out why the Haitians always laugh hilariously when a young girl, “Mary” appears “great with child.” It’s a high point of the Christmas story. Her appearance always produces a thunderous applause and several minutes of nonstop, belly-aching laughter. There’s just something very special about these gatherings and celebrating the true reason for the season.

Don’t get me wrong. I ache when I think of not being present to watch our grandson, Sam, tear into the gift we send him each year and to witness his surprise and joy firsthand. I love a beautiful Christmas tree and its decorations, not to mention being able to shop in a store instead of online to find that perfect gift. I even love the shopping experience in the States and I miss visiting with friends and family.

So, while I’ll wish for the umpteenth time that our den was large enough to accommodate a Christmas tree, I rejoice once again that the Christ child was born into circumstances much like our own. King Jesus made His debut, not in the palaces of the rich and famous, but into a lowly, borrowed stable among the common people of his day – born into obscurity.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Goodbye, Laney

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Laney’s 63rd birthday party with my sisters and friends. (Laney’s in the middle wearing the black toboggin)

I learned this morning that my brother, Laney, passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. He had just celebrated his 63rd birthday on the 4th of December. Although it was not a shock, one is never ready for the inevitable news that a sibling has passed on.

We were a family of five. Laney came before me and I was the caboose. I, the little sister, was forever trying to keep up with him. He was good at everything – sports, school, popularity. Upon receiving the news of his departure, my mind traveled back over the years to happier times when, in our youth, it seemed we would live forever. This summer, the doctor said Laney had a year to live due to lung cancer and a host of other maladies. He had been declining in health for some time.  I had a feeling when I hugged him and said ”goodbye” before returning to Haiti that it could very well be the last time.  It was a long, slow hug and he wept when I told him I was returning to Haiti. Knowing that we had prayed with him several times, I had the assurance that I would see him again.

If I could witness the reunion taking place now between he and my family members who have gone on, I wouldn’t feel quite so sad right now. I take heart knowing that he is now  pain-free and I imagine him in my mind’s eye as that tall, gangly teenager running up and down the basketball court making basket after basket. I am brotherless now and I weep, yet find comfort in knowing that I will see him again.

Goodbye Laney. To say you will be sorely missed is an understatement. I relish in the fact that the next time I see you, you will be completely whole. 

Thanksgiving Reflections from the Fourth World

61qzgxode9L._SL1100_.jpgToday marks a very special day of giving thanks. Yet, every day, giving thanks should be what marks us. Long before a day was set apart for this occasion in the United States, Psalm 95:2 declared:

“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.”

Writing from Haiti this morning, we missionaries tend to see this world and this day through different lenses. Dealing with fourth-world problems such as lack of electricity, water, lack of internet service (only to name a few), reminds us of what we walked away from almost 35 years ago. One only needs to spend a week here to truly appreciate the comforts of home in the United States. One pastor did so several years ago and when he returned stateside, he knelt down at the airport and kissed the tarmac! Only then did he realize how very blessed he was to be a citizen of the United States.

We grew up in a country whose infrastructure works. You can’t imagine the joy it gives us to drive down nice roads in North Carolina that are not flooded by heavy rains and not have to dodge trash filling the streets because there’s already a system in place to take care of these things. There are actually stop lights and rules that people must follow that create order instead of having to swerve around cars and motorcycles every time one goes to town. As an American, the lack of a normally functioning system vexes us to no end. Why? Because we did not grow up that way.

We have no regrets for moving to Haiti. This is our mission and this is our call. But, we are thankful for the time we have to return home and decompress after living in a nation with few laws and much instability. Yes, America has other problems and they are serious problems. We can’t be like ostriches burying our heads in the sand and look the other way when we have such major issues glaring at us from without and from within. Our country is spiritually sick and we pray for America now as much as we do for Haiti. Yet….. having said that, please be reminded that everyone around the world still wants to go to the United States. No one wants to be deported from there. On this occasion when Americans come together to give thanks to God, a part of us wishes we could be there too.

We want to encourage you to be truly thankful from the heart if you’re so blessed to enjoy the comforts of our homeland or that of another country where you have reaped manifold blessings. Pray for that nation which has contributed to so much of your happiness and welfare and remember to give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” — Epictetus

We Miss You, Vic!

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                                                        Left to Right: John, Vic, Prit

 

Last week, we were so blessed to have a great friend of ours travel all the way from Tacoma, Washington, to spend a few days with us. Vic Langel loves missions and spends most of his holiday time from work traveling to other countries like Nepal, Uganda, England, and Haiti. This deeply touches our hearts knowing that he could spend his vacation time elsewhere. Vic is a member of Trinity Church which is a longtime supporter of Rehoboth Ministries. I asked Vic if he would like to share some thoughts about his trip. Here’s what he said:

Flying into Cap-Haitian, looking at the mountains and the coast line, I was again reminded why it is called the “Pearl of the Antilles”. A truly beautiful country.

John Adams picked me up and we had to take the back roads to the Adams’ compound. I was again reminded of the unique issues they face in Cap. Students were blocking the main roads in protest to something. These types of protest sometimes produce adverse results and can occur most anytime. It makes traveling around the crowded streets of the city center of Cap even more interesting.

The Haitians I interacted with were always friendly and kind. The Haitians that work with the Adams are true servants of God.

The new church, which is almost completed, is amazing. I do not think there is another church like it in Cap. The people will have an experience similar to Joseph in Genesis going from the prison to the palace.

I have seen Prit, Dana, and their son, John faithfully work long hours. They face phases of really hot weather, unreliable Internet service, and power outages. They continue on because they know God is doing a great work in Cap. THE BEST IS YET TO COME.

I have always had a wonderful time when I have visited the Adams at Cap. I would encourage any church to work with the Adams and arrange a team to come and help with their work. You will not be disappointed.

I would encourage you to financially support Rehoboth Ministries. It is a great work and your help would be a great blessing to them.