Saturday, June 8, 2013

We're Baaaack!!

It rained all night. Like poured.down.rain. 
I've always loved rain. At least for as long as I can remember.
As melancholy as it sounds, just about nothing puts me in a better mood than a good downpour.
Or even a whole day of downpours.
I remember my first short-term trip overseas.
 I was 16.
And only a recent convert to the "God-has-all-of my-life" Christianity instead of "God-is-part-of-the-many-parts-of-my-life" Christianity.

Noah & Pastor Clebert walking through our neighborhood to catch a taxi

Aslan before bed

My youth group joined other local youth groups from Las Vegas to go to Trinidad. There must have been 50 of us. I dunno. But,on some level,  I have to pity the folks we were helping. At the very least because they had to put up with me and my "part play-part dance-part sign-language" rendition of a Third Day song (not even done in their own language). 
It was done with the best intentions but I'm not sure it went far to aid them in their understanding of who Jesus is.
Or sign language.
Or music.
Or theatrics.
I remember it raining the exact same kind of rain as it does here. In fact I remember it being very similar to the Dominican Republic. And I remember falling in love.
So I marvel that 15 years later, I find myself sitting in the muggy morning, listening to a cacophony of birds, and being in love in the very much the same way.
Minus the interpretive dance.

Noah & Pastor Clebert are shootin' the breeze with topics like Sanctification and Justification.

Our first team this Summer, Renovation Church from Ohio, gets ready to leave for Haiti early in the morning. This was their second trip with us and they were SO great. My children will forever tell a story that involves their entire team and my entire family (that's 12 people) in a Toyota Corrola.
 The morning they left for Haiti it was pouring down rain but good news for them! Their ponchos can fit over 2 backpacks!! Without looking silly in the slightest.
This picture makes me think of a certain Sir Mix-a-Lot song.

Now where was I?

Flying into Puerto Plata
We've been here about 6 weeks.
If you've wondered why I am only just now updating,
turns out having my 4th baby outside the belly rather than inside the belly is providing me with less focused time to sit down and write.
I am starting to get up very early in a mad dash for some alone time,though. And my hope is that this will also provide me with more time to blog. 
The weeks have been full with all of the details of getting settled in here.
 We went almost 2 weeks without a refrigerator, which wasn't as bad as you might imagine.
Until I started to get all crazy-get-me-a-fridge-now-or-I'll-lose-it-lady.
We are still in the the car hunt, though there are some prospect of renting while here instead of buying. We have some furniture, much of which Noah built with lumber he got here.
 Some of which we found from a hotel going out of business.
So I'm sure it's tooootally clean.
But  we are so grateful for ALL of it, each and every piece, for it comes to us directly from others generosity.
Furniture, even when used, is terribly expensive here, as is the case when living on almost any island because it's all shipped in. So we will continue to save up and buy it piece by piece as we find it or most likely we will just save up for the lumber and Noah will build it for us. Noah is one of the most resourceful men I know and that has proved terribly helpful here.
Seeing as our life is a mix of "Dirty Jobs," "House Hunter's International," "Design on a Dime," and "Nanny 911."

My Dominican washing machine.
No, you can't have it. It's all mine.

We spent a couple of days recently building beds in an attmept to get the boys mattresses up off of the floor.
As minimal as it may sound, I really think that part of the boy's being homesick has to do with how temporary this home still feels. It's largish,with tile floors and stucco walls which provide a challenge to coziness. But then you add no couch or comfortable furniture and beds on the floor and clothes still in suitcases start missing home, and dressers, and beds, and rugs and couches.
Ya know?
All we need is some hammer and nail action to love on my kiddos.
And I don't terribly mind either. Perhaps some shelves or a side table,too?
I'm feeling all fancy just talking about it! What's next? Pearls, heels, and a cocktail dress?!

Grandmother's,slow your breathing.
I know this seems a little pitiful. But remember.
They will be men one day. Men who will have to dig hairballs out of shower drains at they very least and leaders of their country at the very most.
Building Character.

Noah meets with some local pastors over coffee and looks very important using hand motions while holding the sugar container.

Noah continues to advance in his study of the Creole language. I am so proud of him every time I hear his conversations. It's no easy task and he makes it look much easier than it is. He also continues to meet with local leaders and pastors to encourage church revitalization in the Haitian church, both in the DR and in Haiti. He hopes to get time to study and write on the topics near to his heart while here. Topics like the relationship between the church,poverty, and international Missions/church planting. We're constantly learning more about how to slow down, pay attention, listen, learn a culture, and equip people to own the change in their communities. Missionaries have a pretty bad reputation for being irreplaceable in a community. We hope to be folks who can, in many ways, be easily forgotten. Behind-the-scenes workers who are not at all easily traded in for the real Savior.
For this and many things, we need those of you who are praying folks to remember us as you talk to the Father.

It has often been the case that before we even get our prayer requests out to our supporters, God has answered them.

 It was less than 24 hours between the time we asked folks to pray for a fridge over Facebook and we had one being delivered for the price we needed.
I wrote a newsletter to our supporters asking for prayers in the boy's transition and missing home. Within days and before we even got the newsletter out,we had met a family down the street with 4 kids, living here, from Tennessee.
Here, Aslan walks to our neighbor's house , The Miles, with a stick to scare away local dogs.

Haddon & Addy (age 7) cannot be in the same room and NOT color together- even if the power has gone out- so Addy is holding a flashlight for them to be able to continue. 

Gabe (age 10)  & Aslan doing what boys always seem to do.
Shepherd & Asher, ahem.
I mean Batman & Iron Man.

And then there's Lyla and Joey, who are 6 month apart and are naked in all their pictures together, so...
and then
they are due in July with another little baby girl, Quinn, and I bet they'd love tons of prayers for Quinn's birth.
Jenni and Patrick will be having a c-section here in the Dominican, just like they had their Lyla and just like with her, they expect God to show up.
And He will.
 I know they'd love to be lifted up by the body of Christ over the next couple of months. Will you remember their family in your prayers?
The Miles family lives near a field in our neighborhood and all the kids like to go cow tipping there.
  Well, maybe not yet, but if our poor kids end up spending their teenage years in the DR, you never know what they'll be doing for fun by then.
Cow tipping is the best of what I imagine.

Another answered prayer is our foster dog, Mister Copper. I think they named him that because of his color, but I like to say it in a british accent and be referring to a tough cop like, "Ey thers a mean Coppa."That may largely be my attempt to convince myself that he's a legitimate guard dog.
 He is big.
He's a full-bred Rhodesian Ridgeback and he barks like he's going to eat you alive...if you're another dog.
People not so much.
And he has no front teeth, some arthritis, and sleeps most of the day.
But he is big.
Did I mention he's big?

At least that's what I'm hoping some teenager who wants my Iphone is thinking.

Seriously though, he's a serious answer to prayer since our poor doggie, Auggie is stuck at home without us.
And by poor I mean she's with our close friends who have 4 kids, take her to parks and have even been rumored to give her a night light and classical music to sleep with.
And, no she has never tried to leave our house to go home with that friend once we were back in the states and said friend was hanging out at our place. She wouldn't think of laying down in the cul-de-sac on the pavement in front of said friends van in an attempt to be taken away from her real home.
Yeah, Auggie's basically living like little Orphan Annie on vacation at Daddy Warbucks house, if ya know what I mean?
Anyway,Mister Copper is gonna keep us safe, especially when Noah heads out for Haiti, which is often this summer.
And he's great with the kids, which is all a mama could ask for.
And he is big.

Joey enjoys some raw sugar cane in place of a teething biscuit. If she ends up having a serious sweet teeth, I'm blaming the Dominicans. 
Madam Clebert (Pastor Clebert's wife) makes us the most delicious Haitian and Dominica food you can imagine
We've been meeting new friends and spending time with old ones.

We're doing really well most of the time. Struggling through some times. And learning more about God and our selves all the time.
We are really happy to be here and getting so many opportunities to meet new people, love on people, minister to people, and be ministered to.
More and more, it seems to me, that this isn't particular to a place or a people. I am confident that there are people in every town and in every country who need to be reminded that God is real and He is among us.

Chiefly myself.
And God is central to this mission, not us.
We are confident that God is right slap-dab in the middle of us.
And there is no better place to be than that.
Thank you for keeping up with us. Thinking of us. Praying for us. Caring for us.
We hope to do the same for you.

Shep & Haddon trying to stay cool

Our new "bath time." With no hot water in the house no one's dying to soak in a tub so we generally just take a bar of soap outside and get er' done.
Shep loves it.

We're slightly gentler with Joey, bathing her in a rice pot of cold water. After all, she is a lady.

And when we're not enjoying cold showers and good conversation,
we're managing pests of the more exotic kind.

Like baby lizards in your bed...

And hanging homemade fly traps

that don't work.
I even went hunting on our lawn and got a scoop of dog poop to make this thing (you know poop attracts flies).
It was worth it if it would bring the quadrillion flies out of my house and into their wee little poop trap.

It didn't.
I just wanted you to be clear on how desperate I was.

And on that note.

I'll be kind enough to leave you with a picture of a cute baby girl, instead of hanging poop.
You're welcome.

1 comment:

The Advisors said...

um, ew. I can't remember anything about this post now except that you made a poop fly catcher and hung it in your yard.