Well, time sure flies by! It's been two months today since I last wrote a blog. I just have not been able to find the time to enjoy putting my thoughts into a journal entry, let alone a blog. Marc arrived back in Canada to join the kids and I on Dec 6th and it was a joyful reunion. The kids and I were all so happy to be reunited, it was like this great peace settled over our family. The kids were well behaved and talked their dad's ear off. We had a wonderful week just enjoying being together. We took the kids to see the play Annie at the local live theatre, then went on a date with James and Michelle, Claire and Nelson Roberts to see another play, at a quaint out in the country theatre called Rosebud. The play was called May and Joe , which was a modern day story of Mary and Joseph. Wonderful! My dad flew in for the holidays, then my mom and I sang in a community Christmas choir concert that I had joined in Oct and thoroughly enjoyed.
On Dec 20th, we were pleasantly surprised at the early arrival of our newest little bundle of joy, Austin William Jonathan. He came in less than 2 hours from the first signs of labor to pushing out into the new world at 2:35am. He was determined to come before Christmas to enjoy the holidays with us! Unfortunately though, when baby and I got home the next day, everyone but my dad in the house was sick with the flu. Not a fun holiday pass time. We got through it without getting infected ourselves (baby and I) and still enjoyed the time just being together all as a family.
January 1st, Marc boarded the plane to head back to Haiti for the kick off of the new year 2013 with our 8th Annual Pastors and Leaders Conference. This year's conference was hosted by MFI (Minister's Fellowship International) and CrossRoads Church and we were pleased to have MFI guest speakers Bob MacGregor from Vancouver, WA, Phil Jaquith from Mexico, and CrossRoads pastors Shawn Hubert and Dallas Lundell. Marc said there were about 300 pastors that came from all over the western part of the island and God was present in powerful worship and ministry. Our church members drew together in various committees to help pull the whole production off with success; feeding all the pastors 3 wonderful meals a day, recording and copying CD's of the sessions, providing message notes for all the pastors and much more behind the scenes work. We have a great group of Haitians serving with us!
We are also so pleased to have Roy Ralph back with us in Haiti as Project Manager for the Children's Village duplex, as well as Wade and Marilyn Fitzpatrick as Team Hosts. Our other long term missionaries, Howard and Val Horner and Joe Park are still with us down there, making for a full house on the campus. We are blessed to have them all on board with us and ask you for your prayers for lots of grace and peace between everyone as we work together for a common goal!
The kids and I are still in Canada for another month, working to get baby Austin's passport done before we head back. I'm also praying that the political climate in Haiti will calm down, as it has been volatile lately with Aristide fanatics protesting, gangs kidnapping to try to get ransoms and communities rioting against their political leaders. The people are tired of the government and the UN not doing enough, or seemingly anything, for the people. Even in Grand-Goave there has been rioting against the mayor, who has been in office past his term and has done very little for our town. This is the same mayor who worked against us in the construction of our South Campus wall and cut down our mango tree on our main campus property line. Please pray for some security and stability to come to the country. Though I am eager to get back down to the sun of Haiti, especially with the negative degrees of weather here in Canada, I also want to be sure that the situation of security is somewhat improved. In all things, I trust God's direction and protection as we follow His will, and know that He will bring His peace for our travel.
If all goes as planned, Feb 10th we will be traveling back down with an entourage of folks. I was hoping to travel with at least one person to help me with the kids through airports and on planes and God has blessed me with not one but six travel buddies! Hey, I may not have to sit with any of my kids! That would be the most peaceful plane ride of my life! (Just joking, well maybe...) My travel partners will be returning team members, Chris Girvan and Olive Ralph (Roy's wife), as well as Todd Swisher, Mark and Anna Cole from Eastside City Church and Jim Riemer who we will be joining up with his team from Nelson and another team from Roy's church, Emmanuel in Miami, as well as John Finocchio and Bryan Vos from Harriston, Ontario. Those traveling with me will be helping do a youth/worship conference for four days when we first arrive. The other two teams will be working on construction projects and two guys will stay longer after their team goes- Wayne Hohn and Ken Rae- great handymen who were with us for a few months last year.
Well, it's a busy time of year for Haiti ARISE. We have a lot of projects on the go, as usual, and as you can see, lots of hands coming to help do the work. We are so grateful for God's provision of so many willing folks coming to volunteer their time, talent and energy. Thank You!
I also do not want to forget to mention that today is the 3rd anniversary of the Jan 12, 2010 earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people and left another .5 million homeless in less than a matter of minutes. Please pause to pray for the Haitian people and those who lost their families and homes. Pray also for the continued rebuilding of the nation. She is still in dire need of assistance to get back on her feet.