Marc, kids and I have started on our travels across country, after spending two relaxing weeks in Airdrie, just being a "normal" North American family hanging out at the house, BBQing, buying groceries etc. We did have the honor of accompanying Jessie and her family to her awards night gala in Edmonton. She was one of 24 CPA's that were honored out of 10,000 in Alberta, for her Distinguished Service in Accounting, especially for her work with Haiti ARISE. It was a lot of fun to get dressed up and go out for the night.
We got packed up to set out south. We drove by caravan with our other Canada board members, Jessie Lawrence, James & Michele Roberts, Eric and Sharon Fawcett and Alice Smedes down to Eureka, Montana to meet up with our US board members, Randy and Lynda Fox and Gerald and Lea Santo, and have a weekend of Strategic Planning and evaluating. It was a great weekend of relationship building and vision-casting for the coming year of projects and ministry focus. We are really at a point in ministry of operations and staff development, as construction projects get closer to completion and staffing and operations is getting underway. This is causing us to look at ways to boost our general support base to help fund our growing Haitian and missionary staff team. Just since the earthquake, our Haitian staff has increased from 12 to 40 full-time! So there were lots of plans and ideas happening.
On Sunday, July 1 we shared at New Covenant Church in Kalispell, MT and had a fantastic time with the church people. Marc spoke on a theme carried from the church of Let Love Talk. He was anointed and powerful, speaking the simple message of our calling as Christians is to love, not just with words, but in deed and action. In the evening we spent a great time with the leadership team from the church and had a powerful time of prayer. Monday we enjoyed a day on the lake with our friends at their cabin in Montana. Asher and Miesha loved going on the innertube and flying over the wakes as the boat went faster and faster. Finally, Asher raised his hand to slow down as Miesha's screams of delight had subsided into a look of fear and fatigue from hanging on so tightly. Tuesday we headed west through Montana, Idaho, and Washington, stopping over for a night with our good friends from Prosser Community Church in Prosser, WA. They always have piles of kids at their home and lots of adults too hanging out, so we had a lot of fun visiting. We then headed further west, actually all the way out to the tip of the Columbia River where it meets the Pacific Ocean, in Ft Stevens, Oregon. We spent the week for July 4th with my (Lisa) sisters and their families and my dad. The weather was great and the kids all had a blast with their cousins, riding bikes, hiking trails, shooting off fireworks and playing on the beach. On Saturday as we were getting ready to leave, Asher had an incident that is a story worth telling. As he was attempting a jump with the bike, he crashed, slamming into the pavement on his chest and chin and splitting his chin open with a gash big enough to put my finger into! We had to drive him to Urgent care and he got 9 stitches. It was a bit traumatic, but he survived to tell about it and tell he has. We even got a picture for him to share. He is doing fine after a few days of talking funny and working to get his jaw back in align.
We have now arrived in sunny and hot California. Loving the weather! It's like Haiti minus the humidity. We will be sharing at Impact Church in Roseville tomorrow night and then in prayer service at The Father's House on Thursday. Then taking a drive down south to Santa Maria for the weekend. The traveling has been fun so far and in between engagements, we are getting some good family time.
Back in Haiti while we are not there, the leaders are doing a great job making sure the wheels keep turning. Work on the tech school continues as they do finishing touches and get the site cleaned up. The elementary school is closed now for summer. The biggest challenge right now we are trying to get solved is the release of a container we have had in Port-Au-Prince port since February. The government has changed a lot of the rules and has refused to grant us the tax free status for this container. We have to apply every time a container comes. So we paid the tax, then they proceeded doing inspections to be sure we really are doing all we say we are doing. Now we just found out we have to pay for the weight of the container, even though everything inside is for the community. The total cost has come to about $15,000 US! Seems crazy, but most all the contents of the container are equipment we cannot get in Haiti, for the medical clinic and about 30 water filters to be installed on every well we have drilled throughout the communities and on our water systems on both campuses. So in the long run, though it's a pain, it's worth it.
In the mean time, we are enjoying the North American side of Haiti ARISE. Visiting and connecting with our wonderful friends and supporting churches of HAM.