** We're back from Haiti!!!! And were in love. Were in love with Haiti, with our a/c, with our children, with so many things I long to tell you about.It was really amazing. Thanks for asking. Now one to other things...
Bwahahahhh (evil laugh)
Why do I think it's so funny to do that?!
Of course I'm going to tell you allllll about Haiti, or at least I'll try.
See, what I really wanted to do was blog while I was there so you could all join me on the journey. But we didn't have internet access, soooooo, I am going to let you join me on the journey, only a week or so later. What I'll do is try to do a handful of posts with pictures and write some things I journaled while there. Just try to pretend I am still in Haiti, sitting on a dusty floor in the midday heat that makes me battle having an anxiety attack, computer on lap, music playing, me writing, sharing.
Even though I'm now back in my a/c filled bedroom:)*****
Though I could exhaust an entire post on how challenging it is to prep for travel, especially going overseas...I won't. It's just depressing.
Much less when your leaving your three young children at home...alone. Ok, so i didn't leave them home alone. If you've seen that movie you know it turns out badly. But there is still a lot to think about when going overseas and leaving three small children, one with special needs, at home. But I must point out that the ONLY reason Noah and I feel the freedom to leave the kiddos for a week and travel to Haiti is that God has given us this freedom by giving
us amazing and might I add young;) parents. There were so many people who made it possible for us to attempt such a feat, but my parents took on the majority of the care, living at our house and taking care of the boys day in and day out. But since they are the ambitious, servant type they also made time while we were in Haiti to...ahem, prepare your self for parent envy....shampoo the carpets in my entire house, replace my bathroom sink with a brand new one, dropped off all of Noah's dress shirts at the dry cleaners(it's not like my "to iron" pile is years old or anything, I'm sure they were just being gracious:) hung numerous pictures I had leaning in corners around the house, reorganize my laundry room... I'm sure I am forgetting things...you get the point.
Yeah, they leave me speechless a bit often.
Thanx Mimi and Papa.
Anyhoo, where was I? Ah yes, the table above is all of the presents for Haiti Aslan's friends and family brought to his 5th birthday party. It was so special to be able to personally pack these up and head to Haiti just weeks after his birthday. What an opportunity from God.
Thanks to other peoples generosity those sandals on sale at Target...
...are these sandals, needed on these beautiful feet.
And what would have otherwise been a harmless Bob the Builder set...
became a helpful pile of dishes...the only dishes these children have to eat off of.
Thank You to all who attended the birthday party and generously gave. It was such a treat for our family to share these memories with you.
After we packed, and after a very difficult good bye with my oldest, we were off to the airport. While waiting to board, I wrote this
"Distracted with my anxiety over flying mixed with my sadness over leaving the kids. But they are yours and we are yours and You hold our lives...You are BIG, bigger than my fears, bigger than a little boys fears, bigger than the dangers I may face in the coming week..."
We did survive the flight.
Little did I know how safe a piece of large metal propelling through the clouds would feel once I rode in a dominican bus propelling itself down the pot hole filled streets of the Dominican Republic. in the middle of the night.
Don't get me wrong, this guy isn't nearly as villainous as he looks in this picture. The driving is just a Dominican thing.
But unlike the airlines, there wasn't a single concern about losing our luggage.
As you can clearly see, it is on sec-ure, my friends.
So secure that while you feign sleeping, because it's 3am and your exhausted, but you barely muster half-sleep in between the prayers for God to "keep the drivers eyes open as if there were toothpicks holding them open", and you are shooting like a bullet down the dark and dusty roads, and you "awake" to a huge bang against the front of the "bus"(let's call it what it is- a worn down mini-van) and you realize that those not feigning sleep saw us hit a dog who was sleeping in the middle of the road, while going 300mph, even THEN, when you get out to check ...your luggage is still tied on.
Maybe the airlines can take notes?
After a good night sleep that began at 4am and ended around 9a, I crouched in the "shower" (let's call it what it was...a bird bath) and cupped my hands to collect the trickling water out of the faucet and then fling it over me. I did this until I got a complete "shower." Don't get me wrong, I won't be taking birdy baths at home to conserve water or anything but it really wasn't all that bad.
We then met with Pastor Willio, who runs the orphanage, school and church in Ouanaminthe, Haiti, and these guys "helped" us (let's call it what it is- Haitian Hulks) with our luggage, pulling it ALL on a wagon by hand, from D
ajabon to the border.
This is the border from the Haitian side.
And this is the river separating the two conflicting countries.
People bathe and wash clothes, but the hatred between the two countries is still very real. There is a very violent history associated with this river.
Your first clue.
The river is called the "River Massacre"
You can read about what is often called The Parsley Massacre HERE
The memory still burns vivid in many Haitian hearts and minds. It is actually an integral part of Pastor Willios story and how he came to trust Jesus, but more on that later.
As we crossed the border into Haiti, we saw some fascinating and unexpected things, for instance...
1)Woman carrying intricate wedding cake on head. The one in the front said, "look mom! no hands!"
ok so she didn't, but they speak kreyol, who knows? She could have been saying it.
and a small truck
LOTS of bananas
and a REALLY small truck.
Then again, let's call it what it is- a Haitian low rider.
This boy is what our trip was all about. This boy is who God is all about. He seems alone. He's not.
But his life is very hard and seemingly hopeless.
And not just him, but his whole country.
They need someone to rescue them.
Someone immeasurably greater than anything the human mind can conceive.
Nothing less will do.