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Friday
Mar272015

Full days

These days have been very full, sometimes I am amazed at how much happens in one day. There seem to be some days in Haiti that past very slowly, but the last few days have not been that way.
We are in our second day of our youth conference and nightly crusades. It starts with early mornings getting our whole family to the campus for breakfast and to make sure things are ready for the services. I was responsible to get the speakers' sermon notes translated and photocopied to pass out to all the attendees of the conference. We peaked at 400 today and expect more youth tomorrow since it's Saturday. Our kids and the Collin kids have been involved serving and preparing tables for the three meals a day we provide for all the youth. Miesha takes great pride in her service, even wearing her apron and hair covering. The littler kids, Jasmine, Ariana and Austin, along with Kanyon Collins, took to caring for some newborn chicks. Ariana got a bit zealous bathing them and Austin was a little rough and squeezed one a bit too tight. The boys, Asher, Kiki, Ken and Griffin also took part in the youth sermons. They got to learn all about purity and how to treat girls right.

But today held another twist. This morning Aida Collins was not feeling well. In fact, she was getting increasingly sharp stomach pains and fever. By lunchtime, we were all quite concerned for her. Praise be to God who knows way before we do when something is about to happen and makes a way to be sure His children are taken care of. Usually when we have a conference happening, everything else closes on campus- schools and clinic, sometimes even construction. But this time, Pastor Ed Allan brought along with him Dr. Helgardt and Senat so they could assist in the clinic. Though it was open all week, today I insisted the clinic close since all the staff were also involved in the conference. So when Aida came down sick, not only was a doctor available, he was right on campus and diagnosed right away that she had appendicitis.
Things got really interesting then. I was still trying to translate, print, and copy some last minute notes when we all suddenly had to decide what should be done with Aida. The next session of the conference was about to start and the show had to go on, but we all paused to convoke everyone to pray- the ladies in the kitchen, the whole church of youth and leaders and a message out to all of our friends through Facebook.
Now let me take a brief pause here to explain the dire picture of available, skilled and sanitary health care in Haiti- there is very little. In Haiti we have to trust God to provide and care. Most hospitals in the country are run down, not very clean conditions, costly to pay for services and the doctors are scarce or unskilled. There is one local hospital which, fortunate for us, is run by Cuban doctors. They are skilled and the hospital is relatively clean, yet they often lack the needed supplies and drugs. I had no idea if they'd be able to do an operation, but I thought they could probably do an ultrasound or refer us to where we ought to go. So for Andrea and Keith as concerned parents in a foreign land with all this to consider plus the uncertainty of being able to clearly communicate through language barriers of not only Creole, but also Spanish with the Cuban doctors, I can only image how overwhelmed they felt. In fact, Wade was already making calls to the travel insurance company to see about airlifting her to Miami. On top of that, Keith & Roy had made a trip to PAP for some very large and necessary purchases for our upcoming projects and they had only just arrived at their destination when he got the call from Andrea.
So we decided to take her to the local hospital. Again, God made concessions for us. Cadet, one of our staff, called a friend who works inside that was able to get the doctors to receive her right away. Just 20 minutes later and the hospital would have been closed. We also had a young lady from our church who's been studying in Dominican Republic come for the conference. She was able to accompany them to help translate since she can speak English, Creole, French & Spanish. Dr. Helgardt & Senat also went along to be sure she received proper care.
Andrea called me after their consultation with the doctors. They could do the operation here, or she could risk traveling to PAP to a larger hospital if she wasn't confident of their skill.... What do we do? What would you do? I knew right away a trip to PAP could take a long time and cause her appendix to rupture over all those bumpy roads. I suggested she trust them to do the operation right away. They did and Aida came through it in a very short time. The doctor even showed the appendix to Andrea and Dr. Helgardt- it was very inflamed.
So praise be to God. Meanwhile, the conference went on, the women in the kitchen prayed and rejoiced at the news of the successful operation and we had a powerful time of prayer and prophecy over the young people.

I brought the Collins boys home with our kids to wait until they could go see their sister. And we prepared to go to the crusade in town. Marc, Pastor Ed and Pastor Jeff & Karyn with the other missionaries were already there in a lively time of singing, dancing and gospel message. Andrea came to pick the boys and I herded the rest of the kids to the crusade. After it was all done, we got another call. They were hoping to take Aida home, but it seemed they upset the doctors with the suggestion since they explained they are responsible to ensure she heals completely. If she goes home and there's complication, they won't receive her back. So after some discussion, we agreed that Andrea should stay over with Aida in the hospital.
Sigh. All in one day.

Sunday
Mar222015

family movie night

So here is what our Friday family movie night typically looks like in Haiti:

1.Leave the campus early to go home and have enough time for a family movie together. Arrive home at 8:00pm
2. Spend 20 minutes debating whether to watch a DVD we have all seen (which in hindsight,would have been the easiest) or a new movie.
3. Finally decide we will choose a new movie from Netflix and try to watch it off of Asher's PS3.
4. start to get PS3 set up, but to access the internet, a Software Update is required. We start the update.
5. 10 minutes later, the update is only at 8%
6.The power goes out.
7. Search around in the dark for a flashlight to turn on generator.
8. Cannot find flashlight. The generator is out of gas.
9. Turn on inverter, restart software update on PS3.
10.Meanwhile, we try to start the movie on the iPad. There is only 10% charge.
11.Plug in the iPad to charge and find out charger is not working. Other charger is at the campus.
12. We send Rosney and Ken to go pick up the other charger, since our phones are also almost dead.
13.They come back with no charger. Must have got put in the office.
14.Meanwhile, the city power returns. We decide to wait out the Software Update before switching the power back over.
15.Miesha and I play Scrabble. The update takes another 30 minutes.
16. Update finishes, we switch the city power back on, restart the PS3, then it has to initialize- another 10 minutes.
17. Finally, we get to Netflix, but the internet is too slow and it cannot sign in.
18.By now, it is 10:30pm. We decide to scrap the movie. Miesha and I finish our Scrabble game, the boys play FIFA, as usual.
19. 11pm we all get ready for bed.

Movie night in Haiti is a bit of a challenge.

Wednesday
Jan282015

Day trips

With our long term missionary staff we are taking some day trips for research, cultural learning to get and see the country. On Saturday I went with Keith and Andrea and our driver, Yvon, to go on a tour of a ministry in Titayen north of Port Au Prince called Healing Haiti and Grave Village. We are working on building relationships and networking with other ministries doing similar work and seeing what we can learn from them. At first we just thought it was an orphanage and wanted to go see what they were doing. We were surprised to learn they recently changed their model and philosophy of orphan care to incorporate family units and homes. It was a great tour and connection. We asked lots and lots of questions and learned a lot! We met with the directors and shared vision together. It was very inspiring to see a place in Haiti that is implementing this model with success and seeing great fruit even in the short time they've changed things. They testified of how many behavioural issues they were encountering before with the children had virtually diminished to a very low percentage after the children were placed in the individual homes with parents. They have an onsite social worker and counsellor that meet with the kids and parents regularly to assess their progress. Many kids said now that they have a family, there's no reason for them to act out, cause it was just for attention. Keith, Andrea & I were rejoicing for God's confirmation through this divine appointment.

Then on Wednesday we got to take our mid-term missionary staff to Jacmel for a day out. We enjoyed a great day of site seeing through the historic city and I was amazed at the development and progress there's been in Jacmel even in just a year. There's a new Boardwalk all along the waterfront where Carnaval was held last year and many historic buildings are being restored. They are even building a bridge across the river that leads up to Basin Blue, a beautiful waterfall that we've visited many times in the past, but never enjoyed the treacherous route to get there. In fact, last time we got stuck in the riverbed when we crossed, with water streaming in the bottom of the doors. Some guys had to pull and push us across. That was the last time we went.

I meant to post this last Friday, but as I saved it, I lost half the post. I'm convinced computers have their own will and sinful nature! I'm actually posting from my phone now, as my computer has completely crashed yesterday, leaving me feeling at a loss with lots of projects needing to be completed from the computer. Amazing how reliant we become on such things that are not lasting then act shocked and dismayed when they die or fail us. I'm reminded of Paul's words to the Colossians in 3:2 to not set my sights on earthly things, but to set my eyes in things above. I'm constantly reminded of this actually, in this environment where very few things last or run as would normally be expected. And with the teams we have coming too I think that's a major lesson God teaches them as projects don't always end up working out like we have planned. Especially coming from a society where we can just run to the closest Home Depot, Staples or Apple Store to replace or buy the supplies we need. I'm now trying to figure out how to get a new laptop here or how I can get mine repaired and mindful that I'm going to lose a lot of 'productive' time while I wait for a solution. But even in this, god in His grace and sovereignty knows why and how. I must trust that He'll work it out.

I ask for your prayers as we are embarking on the establishment of the Children's Village. We are feeling much resistance in the spiritual realm from the enemy. We know this is God's heart to care for widows and orphans in their distress (James 1:27) and to set the orphan in a family and place of belonging. The enemy is not happy. Yet we still know Gods hand of favour is greater! Believe with us.

Monday
Jan052015

A New Year Dawns

We are back! It's a new season, a new year, a new day! 2015 I believe is going to be a year of completion, a year of fulfillment for the ministry, as 5 is representative of the five-fold ministry and 3 is representative of God's completion, perfection and fullness. So we are walking in this inspiration! I believe too that God is going to personally fulfill the gifts and ministry that He has in each of those who are called His. I don't mean by this that after this year, it's all done! But that He is bringing into fullness all He has for us in ministry. I can see it! It's a completion of the beginning, an establishment of all He's called us to. I am anticipating this new day.
We are back in Haiti now, finally! We barely escaped the wave of freezing cold weather in Alberta and have come to a perfectly warm 26 degrees Celsius in Haiti. We arrived on the last day of the year 2014, in time to celebrate and worship God for His great works this past year. We had an amazing dance party of a church service to bring in the new year! We finally crashed in bed at 2am.
Our weekend has been getting settled back into life in Haiti, and that often takes effort and patience. The city power situation here is worse than before. We've hardly had power at all, maybe for three or four hours at night between midnight and four AM. So we are trying to get power set up for our house so we can have water and some lights at night. At the campus we've been repairing generators and getting them filled up with gas. We also came home to a dry well at our house, which doesn't help the water situation. I'm grateful that we have some strong boys around to help carry buckets of water from the local well to bring home so we can shower, brush our teeth and flush the toilet. Turns out we have to buy a new water pump as well as dig our well deeper. Oh the fun of living in a developing country. But, even with all this, I'm actually grateful to be here with less amenities because it helps my focus turn to spiritual things rather than natural things. I have such a hunger for God, which I feel is in the atmosphere of Haiti helping us draw near to God.

We are also so glad to have some great missionaries with us this year- of course, the Fitzpatricks again, the Sampsons and we also have the Collins family with us til June and Scott and Carling, a young medical couple to work in the clinic for six weeks. You can check out their blogs under Long-Term Missionary Blogs at haitiarise.org

We started our Pastors Conference today. We already have more than 300 pastors! Exciting.
I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday
Dec102014

Sleighbells ring... are you listening?

Hmmm, not sure I have heard the sound of sleighbells at all lately, in fact, I am not sure if I ever have! But, hey, it's Christmas time and everyone seems to be crazy about this fat, jolly old man with an overgrown beard for a month solid. Society is bent on convincing us that we need to shop more and buy our kids lots of stuff so that we can lie to them and get them to believe in this guy who does not exist, with a bunch of flying reindeer, somehow tresspassed into our house on the eve of Christmas to fill our house with more stuff. The whole thing baffles me. How far have we come that we can hardly even mention the real reason for the season in public. Why is that? Well, for the conspiracy theorist that I am, I believe that the enemy of our souls is doing a real good job at getting our society dooped, guilting parents into debt and deception, all in the name of miracles, magic and dreams. But why? Is Jesus so hard to believe in that we have to replace him with a make-believe man of few words(hohoho)? A man that most children only have the hopes of having one glimpse of in the whole year and that will only honor their wishes once a year- if they are nice and not naughty? And really, do any parents ever give their kids coal anymore? So, we are essentially telling even the naughty kids that its ok, they can get away with it and Santa will still reward them. The whole thing actually really gets me. In fact, I think that Satan has our culture worshipping this made up god in a huge anti-Christ effort to cloud over the true meaning of Christmas and draw people away from meeting the actual Savior of our souls. Satan is tricky. He likes to use bright colors, flashy costumes, sparkly fairy dust and incredibly ridiculous settings to draw our interest away from the exact opposite God presents to us- a simple child, meek and mild, born in a humble stable with no huge audience or huge announcement (except to a few wise men and shephards who were observant enough to be watching). Jesus' Christmas was not piled with useless shimmery wrappings, but was presented with a few very special and significant gifts- gold, frankincense & myrrh. He was not untouchable, but born in a very real and commonplace way, accessible to anyone, yet not demanding our attention... just... inviting it.

Shouldn't we rather spend our time remembering the true reason we celebrate? Others may wish to partake in all of the false god celebrations of Santa Clause (forgive me if that is sounding harsh). I won't judge any who do, but that is not what its about. I just would rather teach my children that there is a more precious gift than just a wrapped present under the tree. And there is a more priceless sacrifce that was given for us when God sent His one and only Son, a babe wrapped in cloth and placed in a cattle stall. I would rather reminisce and spend my time worshipping the King who came to deliver and save, His birthday that was fortold for generations. And I would rather celebrate together with my family the awesome fellowship and privilege we have to know Jesus everyday through His love, Word and grace, rather than have my kids write letters to Santa for their own selfish gain. I would rather find ways to reach out with random acts of kindness to show God's love, not just this month, but all year around. I would rather give of myself and teach my children to do likewise, just as our Christ does for us. That is the true meaning of Christmas, to celebrate the greatest birth of all. The most beautiful of stories foretold in Isaiah 9:6 (and all througout the OT), and brought to pass in Luke 2 (and all throughout the NT).

Those are my musings of the season. Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas time with all the lights, decorations and smells. But I love the why most of all.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday
Nov292014

Inspiration through a cold winter's day

Well, today's post is far from Haiti, but more of my personal musings and inspirations. With Marc still away in Haiti, surely sweating as he works hard to get things lined up for construction projects and medical team clinics and such, I am back up in Canada literally freezing my butt off today. The blizzards of winter have finally hit. I have to be grateful for the beautiful summer and fall this year and for it taking a while to get the winter snows caught up, but when it comes, it comes in a blast. So my days are mostly inside, busying the kids with school work, starting in Christmas crafts and to my bubbling joy, giving them some art lessons. Of course, on this very worst day so far this winter of -21 degree Celsius weather, all the kids had afternoon activities we had to get out to and after battling the gusty winds of snow that kept drifting over the van, we made it ever so gingerly to gymnastics and Asher's taekwondo testing for brown belt, which I might add he passed fantastically. When we got back I was determined to get the van back into the garage so we wouldn't have to be abruptly thrust into the cold winds and struggle to get the vehicle warmed up next time. This required some maneuvering since we have some stuff in the garage that had to be moved around. But we got it! Yeah.

Anyways, that's all just to paint a backdrop for you for the imagery on my canvas that God is inspiring in me lately. I have asked myself often this fall, why am I here with the kids while Marc is down in Haiti doing the work? We should all be down there and for all practical reasons, we chose to schedule things this way for the last couple years- to supposedly save money, to focus some attention on the kids and their schooling and activities... I often have to remind myself of these practical reasons when I'm feeling bored with such a 'normal' life here. But I am also finding that God is using these times when I feel shut in by the snow and a bit disconnected from Haiti to spark in me a passion that I've felt has laid dormant for many years. See, when I felt God called me many years ago into missions I was actually on my way to pursuing my own dreams- out of high school, first year of art college, which I landed in with the help of a number of art scholarships and a dream to live my life for art, maybe going into advertising and graphic design. Funny how God works things, cause I guess in a sense I am doing just that these days for Haiti. But in someway, I thought answering God's call meant abandoning my own dreams. And maybe it was supposed to be that way for a time. But now I have this deep urging and sense that God is reviving my passion for art and that it does not have to be a separate part of me or another life.

When we attended the MFI conference this Oct, God really spoke clearly to me in a number of ways. One way was through a workshop we attended where our good friends, Rob and Cindy Litzinger, who pastor an amazing church in Santa Maria, CA, were the speakers. He spoke on creativity and how God wants us to create because we are called to be like Him and how there really is nothing new under the sun, nothing truly original cause it all comes from God in the first place, but then is recycled, revamped, revived through many different people. He shared a great little book with us that was like a revelation to me and it ha so enlightened me. The book, called 'Steal Like an Artist', basically encourages to not be afraid to be creative, to not wait til you get some amazing epiphany of greatness that you think is so original, but instead seek out to emulate, copy, reproduce and then add your own spin on things that you truly find inspiring. It's actually quite Biblical in theory as even Paul encouraged to Timothy to follow him as he followed Christ and to be like him.

So, I'm going for it. I'm breaking out and I'm going to answer Gods call to be creative, to live creatively, to see life like He does, like an artist, finding beauty and fascination in everything around me.
I love these few quotes from the book. This first one really made me laugh, cause I have always labeled myself a procrastinator- even wrote a paper on it in college for which I procrastinated. My professor ironically commented that the paper could have been much better if I had not procrastinated. But this quote brought some light to me. I've often wondered why I find some of the things I'm required to do are such stuffing tasks that I'd rather leave for later.


And the next graph is exactly the process of creativity that has often kept me bound from even starting in the first place. That awful fear of failure, or not being good enough. But that's the awkward grace of humanity, that we all fail and yet can learn and overcome our failures til we one day create a masterpiece.

I love this last one, as I've (and we probably all do) try so hard to busy myself with all the things I think I or other people think I SHOULD be doing, that I don't often allow boredom to creep in. But in fact, it's the quiet times, (sounding Biblical again) those times we force ourselves to not DO, but just BE, that we can actually hear better- hear God, see things we normally would not, and be inspired to something new... Maybe that's another part of me being here now when I think I should be in Haiti.

I'm eager to see what is in store. So, though I do miss

Haiti terribly, I also cherish these times when the cold and the isolated culture here renders possibility for God to prompt me to try something new, to draw me to seek Him more and what more He has in store.

I hope you too will be able to find some inspiration wherever you are, whether in the cold or not.

Friday
Nov212014

Amazing Celebrations

I left Haiti last Friday on a high. What an amazing time the Grand Opening celebrations were. We had a fabulous time with all of our visitors from North America. It was the biggest crowd we have ever had all at once and every single bed in the place was full. It was amazing how well everyone got along considering they were packed in like sardines in the place. I am sure there were some personality clashes, but they were not evident. We have such amazing partners and it truly was a big party with all of our favorite people.

The Tuesday night was so much fun. The Haitian thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment, as we had the most famous Haitian comedian, Tonton Bicha, come to perform, as well as an amazing gospel group called Dift. They did some powerful evangelistic skits. There were over 1500 people in attendance and it was beautiful. I had interpret the jist of the play and skits to our North American guests since it was impossible to translate word for word during the performances. Once people understood, they too thought it was pretty funny. The best part was just having the time for everyone to come together from the community and be able to offer them some entertainment to enjoy. In the midst of such a hard lifestyle of survival, it was a great relief for many, I am sure, and brought the community together.

The Wednesday morning ceremonies were beautiful. We had dignitaries from the local government- the mayor, deputy, chief of the police, commander of the UN, congressmen and the Minister of Social Affairs. There were some other officials there as well and about 800 guests in attendance. We had a band play the national anthem for Haiti and Michele Roberts & Margaret Roberts sing the US and Canadian anthems. We had speeches from the various officials and from Tracey Minke with CrossRoads Church who solely funded the reconstruction of the technical school, and Dr. Bob Cutler who funded the construction of the medical clinic. After all the wonderful speeches, we led a tour of the facilities and did a ribbon cutting. There were tons of local and Haitian national meida there taking photos and video. We did interviews in the computer lab and we've heard that the footage has been on tv stations all over Haiti. So exciting!

I want to specially thank everyone who took the time to come and celebrate with us. For our Haitian staff who worked tirelessly to make it all come together. For our International board of directors for their tremendous support and efforts together to make Haiti ARISE a success. And to all the Haitians who participated from our church, community and schools.

Now coming back to Canada, the frozen north, its a bit of a downer. I wish that the kids and I were all down there with Marc still. I have to remind myself that for the sake of the kids we stay through the fall so they can participate in important sports and social activities for their development. But my heart is truly in Haiti and I miss it terribly when I am not there. I love Canada and it is just as much a part of our lives, but being here in winter and while Marc is still in Haiti is not my favorite. The only real downer from all the festivities that happened is some of our guests got sick on returning home, including myself. I have an impression that the food that was catered may not have all been up to par, although it was tasty and beautiful. I am really sorry for any bugs anyone may have brought back with them from that tasty meal. We rarely have food issues with our visitors cause we do all of the cooking in our own kitchen and ensure that health safety standards are kept. But this event was catered by a company from PAP that was supposedly professional at what they did. So, I'm praying and hoping everyone who got sick gets better real soon!

I am really looking forward to getting back to Haiti by New Years and being in the sun!

You can check out photos from the event here:

Wednesday
Nov122014

Grand opening set up

I'm getting more and more excited by the minute! It is Wednesday, the day that the Grand Opening celebrations are going to begin. The yard is a hub of activity as everyone is helping prepare. We built a stage, we have landscaping done, the electrical in the shops is being installed. Chairs and benches are being moved to set up tables and dining areas, and the whole kitchen has been cleaned beautifully.
The best part of the festivities is all of the wonderful people that we have here with us. They're more than 50 guests from North America that have come down to join us and they've all been helping out to get things ready. Every single bed in our residence building is full and no one is complaining. It's been so fun to hang out and have our partners get to know each other. We have people here from Washington, Alberta, BC,and Saskatchewan. Our staff and workers are thrilled to have so many people here as well. We had a fantastic leaders meeting with all of our Haitian staff leaders and our international board yesterday. All but two of our board members are here with us, as well as a large number of the Roberts family- our matriarch, Claire, as well as her two sons, Lane and James (who are Haiti ARISE Chairman and Vice-President) and their wives Michelle & Margaret, as well as three of her grandchildren- Micah, Emily and Nicole.
We had some artists from a mountain town called Vallue come to paint some murals on our walls at the entrance of the property. It is strikingly beautiful! I can't wait for tonight's activities. It's going to be so much fun. We have a famous Haitian comedian called Tonton Bicha coming as well as a gospel group called Dit. It's going to be so much fun, and it will be interesting to see if all of our foreign visitors will be able to understand the skits since they will be in Creole. 😀

Here is an album of photos you can see all the activity of the preparations.

 

Wednesday
Nov052014

Thrilled!

I can't believe how thrilled I am to be back in Haiti. I feel so much more at home here than in Canada. Wierd to say... but it's like that old TV sitcom, Cheers (yes, I was a bit corrupted as a child to watch this as a family show). Norm always loved going to the bar, cause that's where everyone knew his name. He was at home there. I could definitely say that of Haiti. There is no striving to feel like I belong, I just do. Despite my blazing white color and blond hair, no one here seems to even notice anymore. They are quick to embrace me, to be sincerely happy to see me, ask how all the kids are and hug me some more. Even the lady at the Natcom office where we get our internet and phone service. Love it. They do, however, always remark how I've gotten 'gwo', bigger, even if I have not gained weight, cause in Haitian pleasantries, this is a highly flattering comment- not one I particularly enjoy, but accept because I know they mean to compliment me. 

This trip is going to go by too fast. I can already tell. I left the kids behind in Canada, much to their dismay and contrary to their begging to come along. We've all missed Haiti this fall, (although it has been one of the most beautiful Canadian falls we've had), but since they are still engaged in various activities, I could not bring them and I can only stay away from them for a short time. It's a new feeling to travel without the herd of kids in tow. I actually went into a grocery store in PAP the day we landed and DIDN'T buy anything! It was a rereshing feeling to be saving money, since I didn't have anyone to buy something for! No diapers needed, no special cereal or snacks... wonderful. 

I traveled down specifically for the Grand Opening, but with James Roberts (our Canadian HA vice-president) and a team of electrical guys from Eastside City Church. I was glad to have Olive Ralph, Roy's (aka Papa Noel) wife, join us as well as Edna Vega also from ECC, so I was not the only female. Hard to compete with all those die-hard Roughrider fans. I did manage to force them all out of green and into their Haiti ARISE team t-shirts though before entering Haiti, even James! He's such a rebel at heart, but who can resist complying with a sassy, bossy female. :) So they are all working hard to get the elecrtrical worked out and installed in the new Tech School shops. We've purchased a new generator to power the shops and James and Bill went on a shopping trip to get all the supplies. And the team brought lots of stuff along in our bags.

We also have three great couples here long term- Wade and Marilyn Fitzpatrick are back as Team Hosts, Paul and Diane Sampson are here to work in the clinic and in the mechanics shop, and Laurens and Louisa VanVliet are here as our Agriculture and Goat Program Developement Coordinators. It is such a pleasure seeing God's provision for what we need in the way of skills and human resources. Laurens and Louisa are busy getting the grounds ready with landscaping, Diane is painting the clinic, Paul is working with the team and servicing all of our inverters, batteries and fixing AC units, and Wade and Marilyn are moving things around to prepare more rooms to fill with all of our guests coming for the Grand Opening. We have about 40 more people set to come Nov 10-14. Can't wait. It's going to be such a blast with some of our best friends and partners here with us to celebrate. So, we are all working hard, getting things up and going... I, of course, am making sure everything has enough money to get done and preparing for some artistic decorations, and taking lots of fun pictures as I go. Look, we have a new sidewalk going to the clinic!

Last word. I of course am sooo thrilled to be back with my amazingly handsome husband. I'm complete with him.

Friday
Aug292014

End of Summer

It's amazing how quickly the summer sun seems to shy away behind the clouds of rainy days as the fall hastily approaches. I keep praying the cold weather will hold off a little longer, or I will be longing to get back to Haiti sooner than later. It's nice to be in Canada when it is bright and sunny, but the cold... well, it makes me rethink. It has been a busy summer and our busyness is not done yet. We still have about eight more churches to visit, our AGM and board meeting coming up September 19th and the MFI Leadership conference to attend. And in the midst of all that, we are working on developing our little basement in our Airdrie townhouse to make a little more room for the kids while we are here in Canada. So the rest we always hope to find while we are back in Canada, before being thrust back into our activities in Haiti, seems to elude us. We do get a sort of rest- more time as a family and couple together, a chance to travel and enjoy the beautiful countryside, and visit lots of our friends and family. So it's all good. We sure are learning a lot though about construction and the differences in building practices and styles from here and Haiti. Drywall mudding and taping to me is like art and I enjoy it, while 'boarding' (in laymen's terms, putting up drywall), is NOT my favorite, especially in a stairwell on the ceiling. By the end of each day, Marc and I are so stiff, we each take a nice hot bath or shower and then collapse in bed. We have big hopes to get this little project done before Oct 15 when Marc will be heading back to Haiti. We will see... I can understand how homeownership can become so life consuming for some people. It is important to have a secure, comfortable and restful home and really neat that you can have the possibility to express your passions and talents through things like gardening or home projects, but there is something freeing when we choose to live simpler and not so consumed with just our own desires or environment. We did not have a home in North America for seven years. It was hard to be a nomad when we'd travel around all summer, but we were also free in a way of the burden of homeownership maintenance. I don't know, there are pros and cons... I am actually very grateful that we now have a home in Canada to come back to and to be able to provide a place of security and stability for our children. Between our home here and in Haiti, they know where they belong, whereas when all we did was travel they were always wondering where we would be next. Yet, I think there can be a marriage of security and simplicity while still having a heart to be free so we don't miss opportunities to reach out and go beyond ourselves and our own environment. That's what I strive to teach my children.

Meanwhile, back in Haiti things have still been busy. We get news regularly from our Controller, Kerby Aristhene, who calls us with updates and questions on the activities happening around Haiti ARISE. There has been a lot of church activities with the youth, children and women's groups. (Check out the Haiti ARISE facebok page, as Sylvio posts a lot of pics) Construction has continued on three homes we assisted in building and on the construction of a storage depot next to the newly finished carpentry shop. We are really excited about the container that was shipped from Vancouver, as it finally arrived on site in Grand-Goave, with all contents safe and sound and accounted for. A big thank you to James Roberts and Eldon Ortlieb who coordinated the loading and shipping of the container, and Lifeline Christian Mission, also located in Grand-Goave, who helped us by receiving the container for us in port and helping it to clear customs smoothly. This container will be a tremendous blessing to the technical school as it has all the tools necessary to well equip our shop classes for carpentry, mechanics and welding. (I'll be sending pics right away in a newsletter.) We can't wait to get down there to set up the shops! I can't wait also for the Grand Opening that is scheduled for November 11-13, 2014. This is going to be an amazing time with lots of important people present! In preparations for that, our staff has also been hard at work planting flowers, landscaping, writing invitation letters to government officials and planning for the ceremonies.We also will be having an electrical/plumbing specific team coming just before on November 1 to help us get some final things set up and resolved. I am hoping to travel down with them if I can secure childcare for two weeks.

I'm getting my head ready to get back into homeschooling with the kids. Classes for the elementary school and technical college should be opening back up very soon as September is right around the corner. We have a number of young people as well that have been a part of our Education Fund program who have graduated from high school and will be continuing on into college. It is so exciting seeing this next generation of youth rise up and many of them are eager to learn so that they can in turn serve their community and Haiti ARISE Ministries.

I just want to thank you all who support Haiti ARISE and us, the Honorat family, in your prayers, friendship and financial support. Without you all, we could not be making the difference we are in Haiti today! And we want you to stay involved with us! Many hands makes the work light. So make sure you come and register with us in our upcoming events:

Annual General Meeting- September 19 @ 5-8pm being held at Eastside City Church, 1311 Abbeydale Dr. SE, Calgary, Alberta. Dinner will be provided. You can register online at: www.haitiarise.org/agm-registration/

Ride for Refuge- Oct 4, 2014- Join us for the ride! You can bike and help us raise funds for Haiti ARISE. Check out how to be involved by visiting the www.rideforrefuge.org site and make sure you do it in support of us! We already have four teams signed up to ride in Red Deer, Calgary and Saskatoon. You can ride or support.

Grand Opening- Nov 11-13, 2014- This will be the major event of Haiti ARISE's history thus far. Ten years in and we are finally having it! We can't want to see all of you who are joining us for these celebrations. If you have not solidified your plans to come yet, register online at: www.haitiarise.org/event-registration/

Can't wait to see you all!