Our summer travels have wound up to a close. We made our final long trip down for the Minister's Fellowship International conference in Portland, OR the first week of October and had a fabulous time. MFI is a fellowship of leaders and pastors of non-denominatinal and independent churches seeking to have relationship and accountability with other like-minded churches. We have been members since before we started Haiti ARISE, while we were still serving in leadership at Eastside City Church in Calgary. It is a great fellowship and a lot of our contacts and churches that partner with us have been relationships built through MFI. This year, we were exceptionally excited because two of our Haitian leaders, Ceres and Sterling, were able to come up for the conference with us! It was both of their first times out of Haiti and quite the experience for them. We picked them up on Friday night and took them across WA state from Seattle to the Tri-Cities as we were scheduled to speak in Prosser, WA before the conference. It was a great chance for them to see so much landscape. Ceres kept remarking how well the government of the US obviously has thought about it's people and provided infrastructure and laws to help govern the country well. They were so impressed with all the highways, trains and ferryways. It is always interesting listening to an outside perspective. They thoroughly enjoyed the conference too, the worship and the sermons, although at times it was tough for me to translate accurately for Ceres with all the American humor and slang! They were adventurous with food too, willing to try different kinds of 'strange' cuisines.
At the end of September, Marc traveled to Saskatchewan speaking at numerous locations in Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, and Regina. I joined him for just the weekend, shipping the kids off to grandma's and auntie's house so we could have the time together. We got to meet with lots of friends and Vernon and Kathleen Harrison, our team coordinator, treated us to a Saskatchewan Roughriders game. That was a lot of fun, minus the foul language and smell of beer behind us. We felt a little like foreginers wearing 'normal' attire in a sea of green jearseys. It was a good Saskatchewan cultural experience for us to join in on.
Our last exciting adventure of this fall was the surprise visit of Marc's brother-in-law, Manno, from Haiti. He spent a few weeks traveling around Canada and got to come through and see us in Calgary. We took him into the city, site-seeing and on a trip up the Calgary Tower, which was my first time up there, and the kids first time too. It was pretty cool standing on a think piece of glass that separated us from the hundreds of feet above the street below.
So, it's been a very full and fun summer, traveling from Alberta through Montana, Idaho, WA, Oregon, California, BC and into Saskatchewan and Ontario. We covered a lot of ground this year, visiting Haiti ARISE partner churches and friends, and building a lot of new relationships for the growth of the ministry. Thank you to all of you who hosted us and toured us around! We look forward to many of you joining us in Haiti on teams this year.
Marc left yesterday morning to head to Kingston, Ontario for the weekend, speaking at Impact Church. Then on Monday he will carry on towards Haiti, flying through NY. He's meeting up with Howard and Val Horner, who served in Haiti with HAM last spring and will be in Haiti for the year, and Joe Park, a mechanic from Ontario, who will be going for 6 months to work with HAM. I have mixed feelings, seeing Marc go, as the kids and I have decided to stay behind until after the new year to wait out baby #5's birth. I will not be doing much traveling in my stretched out state. He is due on Christmas Day! We are excited for another Honorat edition, a true gift from the Lord to be coming during the holiday season. But I will miss not being in Haiti this fall for all the action. I will do my best to keep up on the blog updates from the Haiti perspective with Valerie's help on the ground. Marc is eager to get work continued on the tech school to hopefully open for dedication and classes in January. He'll be back up here in December though, granted NO earthquakes or other natural disasters happen this year, to be here for the baby's birth. So keep Marc and the others in Haiti in your prayers that God's hand of protection would be over them, and for the kids and I up here in Canada that we don't freeze to death in the coming winter while papa is away. :)