Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Road Trip

April 4, 2015

Jason often works Saturdays, but this past week he had the day off, so we took a road trip to visit friends in Mirebalais. 

Shortly before lunch we packed the kids into the car and off we drove.

The sky was blue and the noon day sun beat overhead as we wove through traffic.

Before leaving the city behind, we stopped by the Artisan Village.

It was on my list of places yet to see, and since it was sort of on the way, it worked out well. 

The place was alive with the rat a tat of hammers and nails banging on tin.

Whoever had come up with the idea to make tin art from empty oil drums was genius and had provided many people with employment. 

They made everything from pencil holders to towel hooks, lamps to furniture, and of course wall art in all forms shapes and sizes. 

The finished products were spectacular.

After completing our tour of the area, we snaked our way through narrow alleys and over decrepit bridges back to the main road. Shortly thereafter we left the city behind and headed out into the country. 

We crossed rivers,

and passed by lakes.

We wound around mountains,

and through valleys.

Occasionally we would get stuck behind slow moving trucks or busses as the roads were steep and curvy.

Approximately two hours after our departure we arrived at our destination. 

The children's homes at our friends' place were still under construction, so he took us to visit a few other places as well. One was a guest house on a beautiful acreage.

Another, an orphanage whose children hoped to transition to their children homes in the near future.

It was nice spending time together and for our kids to run around and play with theirs. 

After a delicious dinner of chilli and sourdough bread we headed back home, just as the rain began to fall.

The sunset that night was beautiful! 

Looking at the various photos now makes me think of the words found in John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

But on the other hand, if  ....the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:23b

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April Update

The weather in Haiti is interesting. Temperatures range between warm and hot and rarely, if ever, drop below 20 degrees Celsius. 

There are two seasons: rainy or dry. In the rainy seasons, clouds form in the late afternoon and rains pound the city at night; sometimes for mere minutes, sometimes for hours. Rainy season brings cooler temperatures, but also mud and mosquitoes. 

In the dry seasons there are endless days of sun and warmth and the mosquitoes all but disappear, but are replaced by dust and drought. 

The seasons are very fluid; it will be dry for months and suddenly, without warning it’s rainy season again. Then, just as abruptly it ends, replaced once again by dry, sunny days. Every year, which months are rainy and which months are dry seem to be different. 

What is also interesting is that there is no winter. I’m not meaning no snow or the likes, (obviously) but the fact that there is no barren period in the vegetation. Leaves fall down and as they die are replaced almost instantaneously by new ones.

Right now on our property the ground is caked with leaves.

Yet, as I look up at the trees, new flowers and leaves are already replacing the old ones.

We are thankful to report that everything is going well with our family. 

Jason has been busy flying and organizing various projects. One of his recent flights included transporting a girl who was badly burned after the house she lived in exploded.

Her family had a business selling gasoline in small jugs on the side of the road, but took the barrel containing the fuel into their house for safe keeping at night. Something went horribly wrong one night when the barrel caught fire with the girl trapped inside. Jason was part of the MAF team who helped transport here to the capital for further care. 

With some of the local airlines having issues, Jason has also been busy trying to organize alternate transportation options through MAF for missionaries needing to get to the capital for dentist/doctor appointments or flights out to North America. 

I took the liberty of downloading some of his recent photos off his cellphone:

Through the church we attend, Jason has also gotten involved with  helping a group of young, trained men, with funding and logistics for outreach trips to other parts of Haiti. The group known as the Timothy Leadership Training Group has gone on several trips now and came back full of stories on how God worked through them as they shared His Word with others. Isaiah 53:7a says How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good that publisheth salvation; You can read more about their story in our newsletter that we hope to send out in the next day or so.

Besides my regular duties of wife and mom, and some of the additional roles I’ve taken on as hostess, I’ve also been busy helping Denise increase her cooking and baking skills. I’m thankful to share that she’s catching on quickly, and it’s a very enjoyable time for both of us! I will surely miss her and her family when we leave this summer. 

 I’m also thankful to report our three boys are doing well! Jayden has morphed into an avid reader and I love watching his skills in that area grow so rapidly!

He also loves to read and play with the neighbour kids.

Justin is growing rapidly; both physically and mentally. It's a joy having him around and he has a great sense of humour which keeps us laughing a lot! Him and his brother are also getting along much better now, thankfully!

Alexander is now ten months old! He still sports that super sweet smile that makes your heart melt, but under that endearing exterior he’s also showing signs of being a mischievous little monkey. Even with 5 different straps and belts he still manages to wiggle out of his high chair and he has quite the little stubborn streak too!

Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I'm back to taking pictures of sunsets. Below are two that I've recently taken from our property.

The last one portrays a lot of emotion. I don't normally dwell on the fact that we live behind high security walls topped with cruel looking razor wire, but when I studied this picture, it just struck me how far mankind has fallen. 

 A few days later, I read this: 
Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 2:3 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8: 35-39

Friday, March 27, 2015

Alberta Team, Journal 1

Below is a blog post by Daniella M., from Alberta. She and her husband came to Haiti for the first time last February together with their two oldest children. They spent time in Port au Prince and Anse Rouge and shared their experiences on our blog.  This time they came  as chaperones for a Grade 12 class trip. Since the group totalled 16 we split them in half so that they travelled a day apart and we only had half of the group at a time staying at our house on either ends of the trip. The rest of their time they spent in Pignon.

February 11 & 12

The day has finally come! We are off to Haiti! After waiting and planning for months, our team was quite excited to begin our travels. For us chaperones, Dave and Daniella, it is our second time visiting Haiti, but it's the first time for six dedicated, adventurous CCS Grade 12 students. 

As we fly we admire the changing landscapes; everything from snow covered rocky mountains to the bright blue Caribbean ocean!

After 21 hours of traveling we were quite excited and relieved to finally arrive in Haiti!

We loaded our suitcases on top of the taxi and then began our drive through the busy capital to the Krul’s residence. 

The drive was a unique experience to say the least!  The crowded streets were filled with a chaotic jumble of tap-taps, motorbikes, school children, vendors and pedestrians. Colourful, hand painted buildings nestled between shacks and shanties. Vendors lined the streets waving their products, trying to sell their wares.

Many people seemed unhappy. We learned that countless people flock to the capital city looking for opportunities and employment, only to find none.

What also struck us were the many security walls topped with razor wire and the heavy metal gates surrounding most places.

After unloading our suitcases at the Krul’s we headed off to the Baptist Mission. Again there was lots of interesting sights to see out of the taxi windows.

It was hard to see the street kids knocking on our taxi windows, begging.

Up in the mountains, at the Baptist Mission we enjoyed the cooler temperatures and lush surroundings. 

We ate lunch there,  visited the museum and had our first experience with Haitian shopping! Some of us learned to barter quite well, others not so much!

Back at the Kruls we ended our first day in Haiti with a delicious spaghetti dinner. As day turned to night we  thanked God for bringing us to Haiti safely and protecting and helping us thus far.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet

A friend emailed us recently about danger in God’s mission field. Over the years we’ve faced danger and opposition here in Haiti, some of which we’ve shared on the blog and some of which we haven’t. In his email he asked us what our perspective on danger was.

As I was mulling over his question, God directed me to scripture to encourage him and his family. How does He do that? Well John 14:26 says:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

God directed me to His Word:

Psalm 119:105
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

He then reminded me that He knows everything about us:

Psalm 139: 1-6 
1 O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

Psalm 139:16-18
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

He knows us better than we know ourselves and He has compassion on us:

Psalm 103:13-14
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

He promises to be always with us: 

Hebrews 13:5b-6
5 for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

He values us and tells us there is more than just this temporal life: 

Mathew 10:28-31
28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

In Him only is peace in any situation:

John 16:33
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

The Holy Spirit comforts and teaches us: 

John 14:16
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Our times are in His hands; we can’t add a single moment to our lives: 

Psalm 31:14-15a
But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand:

Psalm 104:29b
Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

He is trustworthy:

Job 13:15a
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:

Our citizenship is not of this earth: 

Phil 3:20
For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 11:13-16
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

God is preparing a place for us:

John 14:2
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

He will wipe every tear from our eye:

Revelations 21:4
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

In His presence is fullness of joy: 

Psalm 16:11
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Replace worry with prayer and He will give you peace:

Phil 4:6-7 
Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Of Pictures and Stories, Thankfulness and Praise

I pick up my camera and turn it on. My smile quickly turns to a frown as I scroll through my memory card. Is this really it? Just a handful of pictures in 3 months? That’s odd. Usually, I easily take over a hundred pictures each month. I love photography and trying to capture the moment. That and writing are definitely two of my hobbies! So why so few pictures in 2015 so far? I turn to my calendar and soon discover the answer as I start to count how many people we’ve hosted since January 1 of this year. One, two, three, four; by the time I’m finished counting I’ve reached 55! Okay that would explain the lack of pictures! 

Now that the last team left this morning things will be much quieter around here and hopefully I will have more time to post pictures and stories again! And although we still plan to host guests in the coming month it will be on a much smaller scale! 

 I’m also thankful to share how everything is falling into place so well as we prepare for our move back to Canada. Together, Jason and I have already gone through everything in our whole house and were able to pack and send 8 suitcases of our personal belongings back with the team that left this morning. In my mind that is about half of what we plan to take back with us so the giant mountain of work that I was dreading a few weeks ago, now seems like a much more manageable hill. 

 And although I haven’t taken many pictures recently, I do have some good ones taken in the last year or so that I wanted to share!