It has been a wonderful holiday season for our family and for celebrating the wonderful things God has done through Haiti ARISE Ministries. It is hard to believe that we are in our tenth year of ministry! We had a fabulous Christmas Appreciation dinner with our partners on Dec 13th. About 50 people came out to Silver Willow Sporting Club in Carstairs, AB to celebrate A Night to Remember with us. We had special music from the Lapp family, which was a beautiful tribute to our Saviour. Then we shared a slideshow update of what's happened recently in Haiti. It was very encouraging. We had gifts people could win at each table and a magnificent raffle basket that Pastor Ed Allan, from Daystar Christian Fellowship in Leduc, won. His wife was for sure blessed to find all the treasures he brought home for her, a basket donated by Elisa Humphreys of more than $450 value!

That weekend we took a jaunt out to Rocky Mountain House and shared at Rocky Mountain Alliance Church. We got to take the kids to the Christmas Lights Parade the Saturday eve. Marc, Austin and I stayed inside a storefront that had hot cocoa and treats and lots of other 'wimpy to the cold' people hanging out inside. The girls were thrilled to hang outside, despite the -20 weather, to catch candy and wave at the lit up vehicles passing by. 

This weekend I sang in an interdenominational Christmas choir at Airdrie Alliance and lots of friends and family got to come out to watch. It was a beautiful set of worshipful Christmas songs, about 20 songs. After I returned from Haiti in Oct, I got to join the practices in November with a wonderful group of singers and orchestra players. It's been a great opportunity to get to know the Airdrie community better and build some new friendships here. Asher and Miesha even sang in the choir too. After the concert yesterday all of our friends and family came to our house to hang out and have lots of yummy food. It was so nice to have a houseful, even though our place is small.

This is definitely a season to rejoice in all that God is doing...

But then at the same time, unexpected sorrows show up. We got a call early this morning from Haiti from one of our leaders. A young man in our church named Eli, who use to play electric guitar in our worship team, was suddenly killed yesterday in a motorcycle accident. Such a tragedy for this family at this time. This young man was bright and talented. He lived in Petit Goave and would travel every other day to come be a part of our church services. His family was fortunate to be the recipients of the 50th home we built through the EachONE BuildONE Home Rebuilding Program. He has 8 brothers and sisters in his family and one of his brothers just passed away last month from a long battle with a flesh eating disease similar to leprosy. Now the family has been hit again with another loss.Marc with Eli and his mother when they received their new home in May 2013.

Accidents remain accidents, but this situation with Eli should not have happened. There were so many facotrs wrong that caused this accident, which make it hard to comprehend why Haiti even allows these motorcycles to be so prevalent. Evidently, he was on the natioanal highway between Grand Goave and Petit Goave heading home. A heardsman was crossing the street with his heard of cattle. Eli slowed down, but still could not avoid hitting one of the cows, which sent him falling from his motorbike. He was stunned and hurt, but still alive... until seconds later. A following taptap (small pickup truck used as a taxi) that was probably traveling too fast or too close and may not have had proper brakes, or a licensed driver for that matter, ran over him, killing him instantly. The part that outrages me the most is that the taptap, full of passengers in the back, did not even stop.... it's these kinds of situations that we face often in Haiti that stir me to want to be an even stronger advocate for change in that nation. Too many meaningless accidents, wasted young lives, from thoughtless unnecessary and lawless acts.

We ask for your prayers at this time for this family, for our church family and for our young people who were close to Eli. We also ask for your prayers for changes to happen in Haiti, to help development come, laws be made and enforced to protect its citizens and young people.

Sorry to share such heavy news with you all. The sorrows of this life are often sudden, rarely forseeable, even though we may have warnings, and can come at inopportune times. But we do have the hope of Heaven to remind us that one day we will no longer endure these sorrows. And at this time of year, what better reminder than the story of Jesus sent as a babe to save us and provide us that access to an eternal hope. We pray that all of you have a wonderful Christmas season.