Our family

Our family

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Day # 3, Haiti Missions Trip

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

God is so good! The original plan was to be ready to head to clinic at Bay de Orang at 6:30am. However, time is more of a suggestion around here, so we didn’t get going until closer to 7:30am.

The bag of medicine supplies had been found in Jocmel! Thank you, Lord!! Jeremy had called Pastor Kevin last night explaining that he had found a bag of stuff at the pastor’s house. Pastor Kevin handed the phone to Hannah, and Jeremy said he thought it was dentist supplies! However, after listening to Jeremy’s explanation of what was in the bag, Hannah told him to bring up all the “dentist” supplies that he found. She was fairly confident that Jeremy was describing the thermometers! Someone was supposed to be bringing the bag back up the mountain shortly after it was found in Jocmel. Originally the driver had said he would come up the mountain rain or shine, night or day. Apparently though the driver liked day and sunshine because at 7:30am, we still didn’t have the bag!

But at 7:30, it was time to go. We would just have to make do at the clinic until the bag arrived. The eleven motorcycles had arrived at the mission house to take us to the clinic. Three people to a motorcycle and a motorcycle to carry the medical supplies. Just as we were about ready to ride and everyone was ready, a motorcycle could be seen down the road coming our way. Was this the bag? Hooray! It was the bag of supplies from Jocmel- God is always on time!
 


We arrived at the location of the clinic about 8:15am. Faith and I rode together on a motorcycle and we were actually in the front of the line-less dust to eat that way! Hannah and Josh got into a bit of an accident on the motorcycle, but no one was hurt. Hannah did say that the front wheel looked a bit wobbly after the accident, but eventually we all arrived! There is much to do before the actual clinic can take place, so it was time to get busy. While the preaching of the Gospel is happening on the other side of the wall (which the wall is actually just a bedsheet hung up to give a wall), we are finding a spot to put our pharmacy stuff on, a place to see patients, a way to do triage in an organized fashion, a place to count out pills and vitamins...and trying to do it fairly quietly! We also needed a spot to test the urine samples, and Joe needed a spot to set up his microscope.

Upon opening the bag from Jocmel, we discovered that the bag did contain the thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, and some medicine. However, we are still missing some supplies that we had last year. But no time to worry about that right now, and God gave us the necessary stuff so it’s time to begin  our first day of medical clinic!


This location for clinic is a new location. As with all our medical clinics, we host them through a church. The church also has a school here in the same location, but there is no school today due to the medical clinic. The school here educates about 320 children! And there is no way to adaquately describe how that seems impossible when the size of the space is considered! The main area is made of tarps hung across rough beams and poles to create a large space. Then there are several smaller “rooms” off of that area that are divided by sheets and blankets hung up to separate the space. If this church can educate 320 children in this space, then I have no room to hear arguments about small spaces in our classrooms back home!

 
 


While we were setting up for clinic, several Bible college students preached to the people. I’m not sure how many people accepted Christ as their Savior, but I do know that several decisions were made. We started the clinic after the preaching and we worked hard and steady all day! Debbie Lynn and our Haitian nurse worked in triage. Several other team members were baggin vitamins, Tylenol, ibuprofen, acid medicine, and iron in smaller baggies so that the medical people could give them to patients. Everyone seen gets a thirty day supply of vitamins, and often worm medicine and acid medications. That’s a lot of vitamins! Hannah, Casey, Corey, and Faith are our actual certified medical people, so they worked with their translators on seeing people. Emelie and I ran the pharmacy and urine specimen table. Emelie and I are great at handling the pharmacy as long as our  medical people talk to us in colors. As in the “red pill” or the tablets from the “orange” box, etc. I mean, we get better at every clinic, but other than tums we probably shouldn’t be trusted to actually prescribe anything! However, we can mix medicine, test urnine samples, weigh babies, make worm medicine mixtures for kids (we call them worm slurpies), and laugh at ourselves!

The original plan was to end the clinic about 3:30pm, and walk back to the mission house. However, Pastor Kevin said that he would send motorcycles for us instead so that we could keep the clinic going longer. Praise the Lord for that decision as we were able to see everyone that came to the clinic.  At the end of the day, we saw over 312 people! Many of the families in this area have large families as in five, six, and seven kids, so we saw a lot of children! And they were all so cute!

We treated a lot of kids for cold and respiratory symptoms. It makes sense that they would all have a lot of the same symptoms since all these school kids must practically sit on each other to squeeze in here! We also saw a few people with heart problems, a mama with pre-clampsia, and a lot of kids with colds, coughs, and an odd rash.

Although is was a long day, the Lord gave protection, strength, and wisdom for all the members of the team. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this team again this year. It already makes me want to come back next year, which God could allow...if He provides another miracle.

At the end of the day, we were very thankful to see those motorcycles arrive to take us back to the mission house. It would’ve been a very LONG walk, and I like exercise, but I was thankful for a motorcycle. Although Faith and I had a good driver both coming and going to clinic, it’s still an opportunity to pray for God’s protection. The roads are rough and bumpy with lots of gravel, rocks, steep downhills, and back up hill. Yet we arrived safely at the mission house!

Tonight I am praising the Lord for a great day at our first medical clinic. God is so good!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Haiti Journal - Day #2, Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Day #2 in Haiti, Tuesday, February 6, 2018
It’s a beautiful morning here in Haiti. We are leaving the hotel this morning to head up the mountains to Seguin. While our hotel room smelled strongly of mildew, the sheets seemed clean and we had water for showers.

I’m sitting outside by the ocean. As I listen to the waves,  soak up the beauty of the water, and observe what’s in front of me, I’m reminded that we serve an unchanging God. God today, God tomorrow, God He’s always going to be. I so appreciate God’s faithfulness and unchanging character as we are surrounded in life by things that constantly change. I do love the fact that while I don’t know what today will bring forth, I serve a God who’s hand is covering it all!

Pastor Kevin told us yesterday that the van driver had asked the Lord to be his Savior! Apparently this van driver has driven for the Parakaleo team members several times when coming from the airport to Jocmel. The driver has been presented with the Gospel several times, but yesterday he realized that salvation was a gift for him. It’s so exciting to see God at work!

Later today:
We made it to the mission house - praise the Lord! The mission dump truck needed some repairs, so we needed to find a different one. The hotel owner had a small dump truck that he agreed to rent to Parakaleo. The hotel owner drove his own truck up the mountain, dropped off the luggage, people on the truck, and headed back down the mountain. God brought that man along in our lives for a purpose! Because this dump truck was smaller than the mission truck, and we were getting a later start than we wanted, it was decided to not try to bring along a load of sand at this time.

We only had a few motorcycles to start out with this morning. Those that weren’t on motorcycles yet would ride on the dump truck to the town at the base of the mountain. At that town we would get more motorcycles for the rest of the team members. As we started off from the hotel, I was among those riding on the dump truck. The dump truck was full of supplies, people, bags -it was a full truck.    I found a spot up on the bags, but a few miles down the road, I felt like my pants were damp. Yeah, I had sat on someone’s backpack and liquid was on my pants...oh well! We passed the people on motorcycles as one of the motorcycles had run out of gas. That’s not good, but better to happen now than later! Pastor Kevin said that we would reach the base of the mountain first, but to please not get out of the dump truck as we would be swarmed by people wanting us to ride on their motorcycle.

This town has a two-way Main Street, but it’s really only one way. It was market day today and the street was flooded with vendors. Trying to get through the street without hitting anything or anyone is a feat not for the faint of heart! After much effort we did get through the market street, and waited for the rest of the team on motorcycles. Pastor Kevin showed up and he found drivers to take us up the mountain. Getting out of the dump truck and getting on the right motorcycle can be a bit of a challenge. I only want to get on one that is authorized to take us up the mountain! I found Faith, and we found the right motorcycle. So there’s three of us on a small motorcycle heading up the mountain without helmets - sounds like a plan! Faith and I were at the back of the pack, so as we took off I turned to look back at the dump truck. Oh no! The driver had accidentally hit the lever to dump the load, and the dump truck was rising up with our stuff, people, and all kinds of stuff! Thankfully, it     only took a few seconds to realize what was happening, and the situation was fixed! A bit scary, but all is well.


     


We arrived up at the mission house around 1:30 pm. That meant that we had plenty of daylight left to figure out medical supplies. Everyone started opening up their bags and taking out what they had brought. It’s a rather interesting scene when fourteen team members start opening bags and pulling supplies out of sleeping bags, from amoungst clothes, and various other places in bags and suitcases. There was a whole bunk bed full of supplies that needed to be organized and sorted for the next few days of clinics. I am happy to help, but I’m not too helpful when it comes to getting that stuff organized. Instead I made beds, helped provide an extra set of hands, and tried to help wherever I could.

I walked outside the mission house to see that the men were busy trying to rig a way to get the generator up on the roof of the mission house. Why’s that? Well, it’s a lot harder to steal if it’s on top of the roof! There method would never be approved back in the states as it consisted of a person on the ladder (my dad), a few pieces of ratty rope, a few people on the roof pulling up, and a few people below pushing up! The rope that they were using was really not in good shape, and I remembered that  Travis had tucked rope in my bag before I left. He said maybe it could be used for something. Yes! I found the rope, and it was added to the rope that was already being used. It wasn’t the safe environment, but the generators did make it to the roof! Praise God!

Back to the medical clinic people...they had a problem. After everything was dragged out from   everywhere, it became apparent that we were  missing some supplies. We were missing blood pressure cuffs, medical thermometers, more medicine-stuff that is a big deal! I could tell that Hannah was about sick over it, and she told me she thought she wa going to throw up. We need these items to do the medical clinic, and where is that stuff? We prayed first and then searched. Nothing! We realized that there was a possibility that the stuff was back down the mountain. We had had a clinic last year down the mountain on a Sunday afternoon, so was it possibly the supplies had been left at the pastor’s house? After we discussed it, we realized that there  was a possibility that the bag had been left in Jacmel at the pastor’s house which was a long ways away. We need this bag so it is a huge prayer request that this bag can be found and brought up the mountain by tomorrow morning.  Jeremy (one of our Haitian friends) was sent down the mountain via motorcycle to see if he can find this bag. I know what our prayer request is for tonight!

I brought lots of candy and treats. Travis’s class had collected snacks for me to give to the Haitian  children. As soon as one treat is handed out, the hands multiply! And just like children back home, they aren’t always honest either. A lot of them look alike, so I’m sure that at least one child had two treats! However, they did go and pick up some flowers. Their faces are so cute!

I’m excited to go to bed tonight, even though this bunk bed reminds me that I’m not eighteen anymore! It was a full day of travel, organizing and preparing for the week. We are going to be with hearts asking God to allow Jeremy to find that medical bag tonight.




Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Haiti Trip! Day #1

It’s been almost a week since I’ve returned from Haiti. I think I’m about caught up on all the laundry that I brought back, stuff put away, and trying to get back into our schedule. But this week is winter break for the kids from school, so we aren’t on much of a schedule right now. That is fine by me as I’m just enjoying sleeping in my own bed and trying to get my energy and steam back!

Roger did a great job with our “tribe” for the ten days I was away, and I’m sure he could’ve kept doing it as long as needed. The kids enjoyed the week as they were able to have play dates with several of their friends, a lady from church (Judy) brought them McDonald’s for lunch at school twice, and the kids were able to spend some time at other places. Truth be told-even though they missed me-they had a great week! Roger and the boys kept the house picked up and I came home to a clean house, no laundry piled up, dishes done, and a bed bouquet of flowers. Roger did admit that while he was happy to try to manage it all while I was away, he was very thankful that I was home again. He said that he just isn’t cut out to be a stay at home dad and he would much rather go to work for fourteen hours than try to manage the schedules, meals, and life at home. Oh, it’s good to know that they missed me even though they did just fine!

I am so thankful for the many friends that helped out while I was away to Haiti. Some brought meals, picked up our kids from school, had our kids over for play dates, and helped everything run smoothly. We are so blessed to have people in our lives that love and take care of us. I’m thankful for each person that encouraged and assisted our family over the time that I was away.

I am planning on writing about the Haiti missions trip in a manner similar to how I did it last year. I kept a journal while I was gone, and I’m planning on writing about each day on the trip. God showed Himself faithful and strong, just as He always does. He brought the team together on this trip and    coordinated details in a way that the human mind could just never do. We serve an amazing God!

 




Day #1 February 5, 2018 - Monday

It was a night short on sleep, but the water was hot at the hotel and the pillows were comfy! Hannah, Josh, and I arrived at the hotel around 10 pm. The other gal that came from Maine, Faith, had been on a different flight out of Maine and unfortunately, she was delayed. Faith and I were sharing a hotel room, but due to her flight delays, she didn’t get to the hotel until about 3:30 am., and we had to be up at 4:30 am.! So even though I didn’t sleep that great at least I got a few hours of sleep!

When we had arrived in Miami, we weren’t sure if we had to collect our checked baggage or if the bags would stay at the airport. I asked to different airline employees about our checked bags and they both gave the same answer. The bags stayed at the airport, and the bags would be put on the flight to Port-au-Prince in the morning. Okay! While that makes our check-in quicker in the morning, there is something a little unnerving about those bags being out of our care for so long! Our most important items are in those bags for clinics in the mountains.

4:30 am. Came early for all of us, but especially for Faith! It was nice to take hot showers before heading to the airport for our last leg of the journey to Haiti. Coming back into the airport, we had to go through security again. Most of us made it through without a hitch, except Josh. His carry on was taken apart and then nothing would go back in it the same way! Our carry ons are packed very full, and my back pack weighs about 34lbs. Hannah managed to help Josh get his stuff back in his suitcase, which took a bit of mad packing skills! Oh, I forgot to mention that the TSA agent was the first one to wish Hannah a “happy birthday”! Yeah, my brain is a bit foggy this early in the morning and without coffee!

Faith and I found a spot to get coffee and Hannah and Josh tried to find a place to pick up some lunch for later-no success! We were kinda hoping to find a place that would pack us a lunch because we will be waiting in Port-au-Prince for about four hours before the rest of the team arrives from the States.

Our flight was scheduled to leave from Miami at 7:10 am. After realizing that the Subway place was on the other side of security, Hannah and Josh needed something to eat before boarding. There was a bagel place right near our gate so Hannah decided to grab a bite to eat. The flight crew must have been anxious to get the flight underway as they started boarding at 6:20 am. Hannah was in line for food, and Josh was waiting for her. So Faith and I went ahead and boarded. The flight was not full, but everyone was seated. Hannah and Josh got on at 6:45, and Hannah said that they had actually been paged! Like I said, apparently someone was in a hurry! And of course, it was “hurry up and wait” as we sat in the plane and then took off at 7:14am. But Praise the Lord, all the people from Maine are on board and heading to Haiti!

We arrived in Port-au-Prince at 8:50am. We had several hours to wait before the rest of the team arrived, but the time passed fairly quickly. I discovered that my bag was wet, and we had to wipe down and repack several of the Childrens cough medicines. I am so thankful that all my clothes were packed in baggies, and that nothing was ruined. All of our bags arrived-praise Jesus! We passed the time eating snacks, playing games, and visting together. We needed to go through customs together as a team, and the Port-au-Prince airport on the baggage side is a little plain and boring, but we were able to get comfortable on camp chairs and suitcases.

The rest of the team arrived about 1:45 pm, and it was a flurry of happy hugs and happy reunions. Last year I was the new member on the team, but this year I knew just about everyone as we only had two people that were new to the team. It was fun to see everyone from last year, and see so many friends. Everyone managed to find the bags that they came with and there were certainly a bunch of them! My dad came from Wisconsin so it was good to see him again too! Next up-customs!

Last year I pushed a luggage cart, but I was smarter this year! I carrried my backpack, another backpack, and pulled a suitcase. With a cart a Haitian always wants to help you, which is fine, except then they’d like a tip! I managed to hang on to everything, and I got in line with the rest of the team. One of the custom guards started jabbering away to me, and I had no idea what he wanted! I asked Grandpa (Pastor Kevin’s dad) what the guard wanted and  Grandpa told me he was telling me that I didn’t have to go though the line. Okay! Fine by me, I just walked out of the line as did several others  on the team, and we waited for everyone else to finish up. Customs seemed to progress fairly quickly and we didn’t have any snags...many thanks to all those who prayed!

Four of us from the team rode on the back of the dump truck with the bags. The rest of the team members piled into a van. I don’t mind riding in the van, but mountain roads, an empty stomach, and lots of new smells pointed me to ride on the dump truck! A tarp was put over the top if the truck to protect from the sun and dust, however, that tarp was so loud that I thought my ears would bleed! Finally, I got smart and pulled out my headphones. I gave my extra pair to my dad and that greatly helped!

I was wondering how I would respond to Port-au-Prince after seeing if for the first time last year. Honestly, it’s still hard! I would want better than to be selling chicken beside a burning pile of trash, I would want more than a shack to live in, and I would desire a better future for my children. Yet it’s what they have. Just as I didn’t choose to be born an a American, in a Godly home, and the conveniences that I live with, they didn’t choose this. However, God,  in His sovereignty, is still in control. It’s very overwhelming -the trash, the filthy conditions, the skinny dogs, the dirty children, the droop of the shoulders of tired mamas, the constant traffic and fumes. Yet the real need is not to fix a temporary need, it’s a relationship with Jesus Christ. I pray that this week we will be able to help with some of those temporary medical needs, but more importantly, I hope we can point them to Jesus. And I will say that these Haitian Christians are some of the most joyful people I know, and I can certainly learn a lot from them!

We arrived at our destination for tonight after about a 3 1/2 hour drive. I thought I was going to be sick as we climbed the steep mountain roads, but God gave grace. While my headache was intense, we made it! Praise God! We did have a very close call with a semi trailer flatbed, but God is so merciful.

We are staying in a little hotel tonight before heading up the mountain tomorrow. Hannah and a few others from the team went to the pharmacy to get more medical supplies. The rest of us unloaded the dump truck as nothing can be left unattended overnight.

The hotel is right in the water and quite lovely. The showers are still cold, but not freezing! The hotel also provided a lovely meal for all fourteen team members. The meal included chicken, goat, fish (the whole thing!) lobster (it did NOT taste like Maine lobster) and of course rice and beans. Since it was Hannah’s birthday we had ice cream for dessert. Let’s just say it wasn’t my favorite! The first ingredient is sugar, and the cookies and cream kind tasted like rum-yuck! But now I can say.. I tried it!

We are going to bed so that we can get up early tomorrow to ride motorcycles up the mountain. The dump truck isn’t working right so Pastor Kevin is looking for a different one for tomorrow. He would like to take a load of sand up to the mission house, and the luggage will go in top of the sand. And on top of the luggage will sit some people...why that sounds safe, right?!  Most of us will be going up to the missions house via motorcycles. The good news is that the ride will be much shorter than on the dump truck as in probably about 1 1/2 hours. I will be praying for safety on this adventure as those roads are steep, gravely, and sometimes treacherous. God is good!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Life...and Look Who’s Ten!

This month is flying past me, and I’m getting behind on writing about our family’s events. Truth be told, I write so that I can keep track of the memories in our lives. And also because I’m getting older, and someday I might be forgetful!
 

 


Roger had to work last Saturday (1/21) as there was a charter flight that needed to go to Bangor. The kids had been begging to go ice skating for a few days, and I told them that if Roger didn’t get back in time we would go in the afternoon. Roger called as I was getting the kids ready to go to the little pond down the road. He said that he was almost done,  and he had seen a ice rink in town that looked like smooth ice. I was a little bit irritated as it was already three o’clock, and the little pond would be closer...but we would also probably have to shovel it off. I agreed to bring the kids to town and check out the ice rink. When we pulled up, the rink looked a little crowded and the boys weren’t sure that they wanted to try it out. They like lots of space and to play hockey. However, here we were and it was getting darker by the minute! As we walked over to the ice, we realized that we knew most of the people on the ice! A friend of ours was having a family birthday event on the ice...they have lots of extended family! So the boys jumped right into playing with their friends, I got to visit with Allison, and Roger played with the kids (he didn’t have his ice skates with him, so he was the goalie) I didn’t  have skated as Garett is wearing them, but it was a fun afternoon after all! We finally left after it was good and dark,  and the boys were skating to headlights on the truck. The boys told Roger what a  good time they had, and he replied, “Sometimes you have to try something new before you decided you don’t like it.” Hmm...truth for me too!

Roger had to work again on Sunday. They are short a few pilots right now, and Roger is trying to  snag a few extra days as he will be short on days when I’m in Haiti. I was asked to give a short talk about my upcoming missions trip to Haiti, and I really struggled with what to say...shocker, I know! I just knew that I only had about five minutes, and I really wanted to express my heart. I thought and  prayed on it all Saturday evening and Sunday morning, and then I just asked God to give me wisdom. I did manage to keep it to about five minutes, and I think I did an okay job. After it’s over, I can always think of about 500 things I could’ve said, but I also know that I’m just a vessel and God uses me as He sees fit.

After lunch on Sunday the boys wanted to go ice skating again. I texted Allison to see if they were going skating that afternoon, and she said that they would meet us at the ice rink. The ice rink is actually not an ice rink. It’s a spot close to the ocean that is a bit of a low spot. As the water crashes over the rocks, it settles in that low spot. This year it froze well, and it’s a nice big spot for ice skating. Emma wasn’t crazy about going again, but she found a slight incline and spent some time sliding down that as the boys skated. No one was ready to leave, but it was time for the kids program at church. Actually, I was ready to go...and Emma!

On Monday, I taught music classes at the school. We are studying some of the composers, and I had a few pictures of Mozart, Hayden, and Beethoven. The first graders were convinced that one of them was a photo of George Washington, so we spent some time discussing that these people are music composers...not presidents. Oh those kids are so fun! Monday is always a full day for me with music classes, lunch duty, and the start of a new week.

We are entering our fifth week of back to school after Christmas break, and we have yet to have a complete week! This past week also held a snow day for us on Tuesday due to “inclement” weather. I have to admit this Wisconsin girl is a bit flabbergasted by these snow days! It seemed to be more rain than anything else, and since Roger had off on Tuesday we spent the day working on projects. We went to the dump, cleaned up the basement, made a grocery list, and had some LEGO boat races with the kids. It was a fun day and also productive!

On Wednesday the kids returned to school, and it was ice skating day! I took Travis over to the ice skating lesson after his speech lesson at school, and then stayed to help with kids on the ice. While I can think of about 500 other things that also needed doing, this was important to our kids. And I had a lot of fun! The kids coach told me that I should play with the women’s hockey league. Hmm...while  I think that would be a lot of fun, I don’t think that my time allows for that right now! After Emma was done with school, we did the shopping for hot lunch, ran a few errands and picked up the boys from school. I actually thought that the roads were quite a bit more slippery on Wednesday than on Tuesday, but we made it safely to and from school.

Thursday was spent making memories with a friend. Everyone should have a least one good friend with whom they can have a good time no matter what the circumstances! Emma, Allison, and myself took a trip over to a consignment store in another town. Nothing around here is close, so it was about a forty minute drive. I have some clothes that Emma and the boys have outgrown, and I’d love to get at least a store credit to purchase clothes that they need. Allison agreed to come with me just because well, sometimes it’s nice to go someplace different! We browsed in the store for a bit, and then headed back. I’m not very familiar with this part of Maine, so as we headed back, I asked Allison about a different road.  She didn’t know where it went, but I figured it appeared to be running parallel  to the road we had come into town on.  Well, after wandering around on the back road for about ten minutes, the low fuel Light came on in the  truck...and where were we?! Allison tried to turn on her GPS on her phone, but we couldn’t get a signal. I figured we’d have to come out to a main road soon! Sure enough we came to a road I recognized...right across from where we had started! However we made it back to town, found a gas station, decided that was enough adventuring for the day, and headed home on a route we knew! It was a morning full of laughs, good conversations, and memories!

Friday was Chandler’s tenth birthday! Where oh where has time gone?!  He doesn’t really care for cake, so he asked for ice cream to take for his treat to school. It was a busy day for me as we had chapel in the morning, a few errands to run, hot lunch to serve,  lunch with a friend, and then a trip to Bangor as a family! Terri is keeping the kids for two of the days that Roger is working while I’m away, and I wanted to meet with her to answer any questions she might have.  We had a good visit together, and I’m thankful for her willingness to watch the kids for us.

Roger was having ground school on Saturday in Bangor, so we decided to go up as a family on Friday night. I was able to find a good deal on an area hotel, and we took the kids out of school early. The hotel pool was an older one and it was nine feet deep! Our “fish” were delighted! They swam for a couple of hours, and then we met up with Hannah and Josh for supper together. Last year I missed Chandler’s birthday as I was in Haiti, and it was good to get away as a family for a day before I leave this year. We dropped Roger off at ground school on Saturday morning, and then we returned to the hotel. The kids did swimming again while I made a grocery list for Sam’s Club.

I spent Saturday with the kids running errands in the “big” city. We tackled Sam’s Club, Target, Toys r Us, The Dollar Tree, Walgreens, Walmart, and Mardens together! The boys were very excited about our trip to Sam’s Club as we bought more prepackaged snacks than they’ve seen in a long time! They will need easy lunches while I’m away, and they were excited about applesauce pouches, little bags of chips, etc. (It was fun!) I had a gift card to Toys r Us, and the boys have never been in that store. They were a little disappointed as nothing was in their budget! I did purchase a gift for a birthday down the road, as I wanted to use up that gift card! All the kids did great while shopping, but everyone was ready to go home!

Here’s a funny story: while at Sam’s Club,  I fed the kids lunch. Emma had dragged her baby doll into the store, and then she had left it by the table leg as she was eating lunch. I was busy handing out food, giving directions to our troops, and supervising when an older lady rushed up to me! She  grabbed the baby doll out from under the table, and said that she had about had a heart attack! She had thought the baby was real! Oh for crying out loud! I may have five kids, but I hope that I would have realized if  I was missing a child under the table! She was practically in tears, and I did feel bad. But it also gave me a bit of a chuckle!

Roger came home  from ground school a little before six, and since he was able to get a ride home with the other pilots, I was able to be home first. It was a busy twenty-four hours, but
it was a good time!

Also this week the kids received a box from my parents. Mail is so exciting, isn’t it? They were thrilled to open the box, and Emma is looking forward to trying out the ice skates that came for her! My mom loves me....I think....but she sent a loud whistle, a toy gun that makes noise, and a pretend snake! (The boys were delighted!)

Overall it was a good week! I’ve been busy with meal planning, coordinating schedules for Roger and the kids, trying to find a teacher for music class, and making sure that the bases will be covered. I know that evrything will be fine, but I want to do my part to make it as easy as possible on Roger! My pile of items to go to Haiti is quite enormous, and there are not yet any clothes in the pile! The needs there are so great, and I want to be able to help and be a blessing as much as possible. I appreciate your continued prayers as we embark on this journey in a few short days!


We talked about this in Sunday school last week:
Extraordinary in the ordinary....
It does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours in every day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a disciple, to live an ordinary unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus.  It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God, but we have not.  We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things.~Oswald Chambers~

I enjoy reading Oswald Chambers book My Utmost for His Highest,  and my desire to stay faithful, content, and hard at work with the ordinary things of life and allow God to do whatever He chooses with my life.

Our love,
Sarah

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A New Year

Can you believe that we are already two weeks into the new year?! 2018 is already here! While I’ve been busy getting ready for the missions trip to Haiti, we’ve been busy with other activities as a family.

 
The Pantry was a catch-all over Christmas, but now it is tidy again! 




We returned to school on January 2, the kids had their first school ice skating lesson on January 3, we had a snow day on January 4, and a delay start day on January 5! So the first week back to school was a bit crazy!

I have to admit though that we certainly enjoyed the snow day! Roger didn’t have to go into work, the snow was beautiful, and we had a great day together! The boys build up their snow forts, and built a snowboard ramp off of the picnic table. We also made  many, many snowshoe trails in the woods. Then the weather turned really cold for a few days, then it was really warm for a few days, and it rained! So, now we are back to no snow, as of Monday  but the weather is cold again! The kids are praying for more snow, and while I don’t mind the snow, I don’t want to use any more snow days!



Last week (January 8-12) we managed to get in all five days of school! However, music class was a bit tricky for me to coordinate last week. Chandler came down with a head cold, and he did not sleep good last Sunday night (1/7). I teach music classes on Mondays, but since Chandler wasn’t feeling well and Roger was working, I had to cancel music classes on Monday. It was good to spend a Monday at home, and I felt like the day was very productive. We’ve been eating through the pantry, so I was able to get it nicely organized again! And  I even got to visit on the phone with one of our dear friends from Alaska, Damaris. Chandler suffered through a head ache for most of the day, but he did feel much better on Tuesday.

The boys had their second ice skating lesson along with the rest of the school on Wednesday. (1/10) Roger had been able to go with them the week before, but this week he was working. Travis has been having speech lessons on Wednesday morning, and that has made him miss the bus to the ice skating rink. So I’ve been driving him over after his lessons, so that he doesn’t miss out on the fun. I went to each lesson last year with the kids, but I haven’t gone with them this year. I didn’t think the boys would mind if I didn’t come along, but since they have all asked me to come along this Wednesday, I’m going! However, Garett is wearing my ice skates this year so that means that I am out of skates! Thankfully, I can borrow some at the ice skating rink. These kids are growing so fast!!

Roger caught the cold on Wednesday, but he went to work anyways. He spent the day tired and cold, and he was very glad to come home. The flu has also been going around, but so far we have managed to escape that!

My friend, Annah, offered to watch Emma on Thursday morning so that I could teach music classes that day. Due to the rain the night before and the slippery road conditions, we had a one hour delay on Thursday morning. That actually messed up the music schedule a bit as I teach classes all morning long. I ended up skipping one of the classes, and shortening a few of the others, but I was able to teach music this week. I didn’t want to miss this week, as we had started back to school on a Tuesday after Christmas break. So I had already missed that music class, and the next week we had off for Martin Luther King day! I was thankful that Annah was able to watch Emma in the morning, so I could squeeze in the music classes. After teaching, I quickly picked up the food I needed to prepare for hot lunch, picked up Emma, ran home, made four pans of Mac n Cheese, and then picked up the boys from School...on time too! It was a busy day! Generally, I make extra of whatever we are having for hot lunch on Friday, and that is what we have for supper on Thursday night. The boys never seem  to mind having the same meals so close together!

Friday was quite a bit warmer as in almost fifty degrees! Although overcast, it was a nice day! I played the piano for chapel, Roger and I snuck away for a quick cup of coffee together, and then I  headed back to school to prepare for hot lunch. One of the best gifts I’ve ever received has been my nesco roaster. This week I roasted the vegetables for hot lunch in there, and it worked out so well that  I will definitely be doing that again!

After hot lunch, my friend, Sharon, and I went over to the home of one of our elderly church ladies. She was needing someone to clean her house as she was having over Family on Sunday. One of her daughters had recently passed away and the family would be coming  over after the funeral. To be honest, it’s not what I wanted to do on Friday afternoon, but she is a friend and she needed a blessing.  Thankfully, Sharon and I were able to get the rugs  vacuumed, kitchen cleaned and mopped, house dusted, and everything tidied up in a little over an hour. I know that this dear lady felt much better  about her home (although to be honest, her house was probably cleaner than mine is  before we even started cleaning!) Sharon and I had a few moments before we needed to be back at school, so we had a good time chatting over coffee. Roger had Friday off, so he had taken Emma home after hot lunch, and he met me back at the school to pick up the kids. Except...I forgot that it was Friday and the boys had piano lessons today! I was sooo thankful to go home!

Saturday was a chilly day! But we got to spend most of the day at home! Roger had to work on Saturday, but it was a fairly short day for him due to the weather. We met up with some friends later in the afternoon to go bowling together.    The Philbrook family and the Chappell family came as well, so we had twelve kids and six adults between us. The bowling place was not very full, and we sure did have a great time together. I had to let my competitive nature go as Emma wanted to try her hand at bowling, and she bowled with me! Oh well! I’m not a great bowler anyways, so it was fine! Garett can really throw that ball down the lane, and he beat both Roger and I! After bowling, we invited both families to come over to our house for supper. A few people weren’t able to come, but we ended up with ten kids and four adults for supper. I had gone grocery shopping today , so that made it much easier to have people over for supper! We had chili dogs, chips, and cheese and sausage. Nothing fancy, but no one seemed to mind! It was a good time of fellowship and fun together!

We had another day of school off on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King day. Roger was  working, but we had a good day. We had some friends over that used to come to the boys’ School, and we have kept in touch. It’s always good to catch up with friends that we don’t see as often, and I know the boys have missed seeing Wes and Levi every day at school. It was a fun day. The boys found a tiny patch of ice in the back woods, so they have made it into an ice skating rink...just use your imagination a lot! It’s more like a big puddle, but they have played out there the last few days. It makes me wonder how difficult would it be to flood a portion of our yard? Then I wouldn’t have to take them to the fire pond. Not that I mind doing that, but it’s definitely not Emma’s favorite thing to do!

Tuesday was back to school ...again! Roger had off today, and it was actually a very unproductive day for us. We spent the day around the house enjoying each other’s company, playing with Emma, and talking about our plans and goals for this year. (So I guess it was partially productive!) After we  picked up the kids from school we headed to one of the local ponds to ice skate with some friends from school. The ice isn’t that great since we had rain last week, but we’ve definitely skated in rougher ice! The boys didn’t mind as they were happy to have friends to play hockey with! Emma lasted for a little while, but she wasn’t crazy about it. She actually doesn’t have skates that fit her, and neither do I...since Garett is wearing them! I didn’t have ice skates for today, and I managed to get a wet foot within ten minutes of being at the pond. Oh well! I just wore one of Garett’s boots!  We had a good time, and I’m thankful for friends to do fun things with.

Wednesday was a snow day...again! We’ve now used up all the scheduled snow days into the calendar so anything used after today will mean an extra day in the spring! Roger still went to work on Wednesday as there was plenty to do with snow removal and paperwork. The boys really wanted me to take them to the pond to go ice skating, but that seemed like a bit of a crazy idea with the way the snow was coming down. We would’ve had to shovel it off to skate on Wednesday, and then when we want to use it next time, we will have to shovel again! Instead they just played it outside for most of the day rebuilding on their snow forts and using their imaginations. When Roger came home  from work we sat down for supper at the table together. Roger said he knew the boys had been outside for most of the day. I asked him how he knew that and he replied, “Well, we went through fourteen eggs and three dozen pancakes in one meal! I think they were hungry!” Yes, they were! I need to go grocery shopping again with all these days off they’ve had and all this outside play time! Oh well!

The snow is beautiful, and we are returning back to school today (Thursday). I’ve been preparing and making lists (and then losing the lists) for Haiti. I’m trying to make sure that all the bases are covered for while I’m gone to Haiti. It’ll all come together, but I’d like it to be as smooth as possible! Thank you for your continued prayers!
Love,
Sarah

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

An update on The Haiti Missions Trip- Jehovah Jireh!

Sisters! 


“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7

“Pray without ceasing.” I Thessalonians 5:18

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things ,which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3

Truly we serve an amazing God, and I am here to write and sing His praises! Jehovah-jireh (the Lord will provide) provided above all that I could ask or think!

When I wrote last week about my upcoming Haiti trip, I included the opportunity for people to give should they feel the Lord leading them to do so. Roger and I had also long ago decided that we weren’t going into debt for this missions trip so if necessary the funds would come from our emergency funds. However, when God made a path clear last week, He left no room to doubt His plan! People from all over the United States gave money towards this trip! Friends and family from    Alaska, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and South Carolina gave towards this missions trip! I don’t know what the God has planned for this trip in February, but He intends for me to go and not worry about the financial aspect! To each one who has given a gift, told me they were praying that God would meet our needs, and loved us, I offer you my heartfelt and sincere thanks. And God answered my prayers above all that I could ask or think!

 My friend, Emelie, texted me on Friday morning to tell me that someone had donated $200.00 towards my missions trip! Wow! That’s a significant amount of money! But before I could get over that shock, she texts me again to say that someone had donated...wait for it...over $600.00 for my trip! At the time, I was running a few errands with Emma. We had stopped to pause in the toy aisle at the Dollar Tree. Emma wanted to know why the toys were making me cry! I was just so incredibly overwhelmed by God’s goodness to me, that my eyes overflowed down my cheeks! Every amount given helps in a tremendous way, but that was a gift that surpassed my knowledge!  Emelie just told me that the donor wanted to remain anonymous, but they had a great love for Haiti and for me! I mean, I can think of lots of people that might love me, but that’s a gift that God just allowed to be given to me simply because He is God. He uses His faithful children to bless others and even though I might have been a little FAITHLESS, He chose to bless me. I am thankful for all those that are willing to use their hard earned dollars to give towards a missions trip because they know that’s what God wants them to do. Amazing!

I am leaving with my sister, Hannah, her husband, Josh, and another gal from Maine on February 4, 2018. It takes a while to get anywhere from Maine even if you are flying, so we leave on Sunday afternoon but we won’t arrive in Haiti until Monday afternoon. We will be returning to Maine on February 14. It will be a busy and full ten days, but I am so excited about returning and seeing what God has to teach me and show me on this trip.

Roger will be flying solo in Maine with our five children, so he could use your prayers! Don’t get me wrong, he’s an amazing daddy! But...we do have five kids! I am working on a meal menu and plan for while I am gone. Chandler has already told me that he will do the grocery shopping while I’m gone (um...he might need Roger to drive him to the store!) Garett told me that he would try to remember to empty the dishwasher but he’d really like to not be the one to make the food! “But I’ll eat whatever is cooked,  Mom”, he told me! They will do just fine. They probably won’t eat as many fruits and vegetables as when I’m home, but neither will they go hungry. My biggest need is to try to coordinate child care for Emma on the days that Roger needs to work...how on earth do families with  both spouses working figure all this stuff out?! (I know...it becomes routine and habit!) I tend to be a very organized person as in numbering the frozen meals in the freezer with which one is to be eaten when, and Roger tends to be more of a look in the freezer thirty minutes before supper kind of guy! It’s hard to believe, but Chandler is all over this cooking and food preparation. He sat and made a list of easy meals that he or Roger can make and gave me suggestions on what we could make for freezer meals. They will be fine! Emma has been praying for the babies in Haiti, and that Aunt Hannah can help them be healthy. When I told her that mom was also going to Haiti again to take care of the babies, she replied, “No, I’m the baby. You’ll have to take care of me!” However, when I mentioned that perhaps she could go play at her friend Sadie’s house while I’m gone, she wanted to know if I was leaving tomorrow! I am thankful for friends in our area that had asked how they can help, or pray specifically, pick up kids from school, or other things that are needed! I know that we serve a God who is taking care of the little needs in our lives as well, and that my children and husband are just as protected and loved here as I am in Haiti.


We serve such a faithful and amazing God! I hope that you have been blessed by reading about His faithfulness. I know that when I am old, I will never regret the time that I took to write all these memories down and to be able to reflect on all that He has done for me. I am truly just in awe of His goodness and faithfulness to me. My prayer is that God will use me mightily on this missions trip this year.

For His Glory,
Sarah

This song is one of my favorites. I pray that it will bless you too.

https://youtu.be/HGpu6QBUz7M


 
This wonderful lady, Debbie, is also returning to Haiti this year! 

 Love these sweet children! 

 Debbie, Emelie, and myself on last years trip 


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Returning to Haiti!



As many of you know, I took a missions trip to Haiti in January of 2017. The trip challenged me to grow in my walk with the Lord, opened my eyes to the needs of the Haitian people, and refreshed my faith. I knew when I left Haiti that I wanted to come back in 2018 should the Lord make that possible.

This is a video I made from last years Haiti trip, perhaps it will help you see why I want to return. Please watch it! 



And here I am writing about a trip I’m taking next month to go back to Haiti! It was a difficult decision to make about returning to Haiti because to be honest, I don’t yet have all the money. When it was time to purchase a plane ticket I had saved enough money to buy a ticket, but not the remainder needed. And as soon as I told my sister to purchase a ticket for me, Satan began to hurl all kinds of darts! “How are you going to get the money?” “What about leaving your kids?” “Is it right for you to go and not Roger?” And on and on and on.  

Let me backup a bit and say that missions trips are important to both Roger and I. We met on a missions trip in the northern part of Canada, and we’ve both been on a few over the years. When I came back from Haiti last time, I told Roger that I wanted him to come with me. I started saving coins, clipping coupons with a passion, and cutting out costs that weren’t necessary. But when push came to shove, and it was time to buy the tickets, we didn’t nearly enough for one of us let alone both of us. And since we have five wonderful children, but we also can’t manage to get a date night much     
less an overnight or ten for a missions trip, it was decided that we probably both could not go to Haiti. Roger doesn’t get paid vacation time at his work, so after much prayer and discussion we  bought one ticket to Haiti...mine. The truth is that we would both love for Roger to go to Haiti, but we’ve also discussed how much we’d like to take the boys on a missions trip in a few years. It’s important to me that Roger go on that missions trip with his sons in a few years, and it will be  expensive. So after much discussion and prayer and more discussion, we decided that I will return this year. Most likely neither of us will go on a missions trip for a few years as we work to save for when the boys can come along. I went on my first missions trip at age 13 and it changed my life. God has blessed me with the opportunity to live in America, but much of the world does not have the same privileges that we have here. I truly believe that taking our boys to Haiti would be a huge eye-opener to them and perhaps burden their hearts for those around them. 


So why return to Haiti? Aren’t there other missions trips to go on and help out with? Yes! Absolutely yes! But for me, Haiti is where God has burdened my heart and opened the door, and given me a desire to return to. These people are so poor that many of them can not provide proper clothing for their children, their diet is extremely limited, and yet they are happy people! The Haitian Christians love to sing, laugh, and worship the Lord. Their joy is not based on their outward circumstances and situations, but rather on the joy of Jesus. I have so much I can learn from them. It’s not that other missions trips aren’t important or that I don’t want to go on those trips, but these Haiti trips tug on your heart strings, open your eyes, and compels you to beg God to show you how you can meet some of their needs. I love the fact that we work with the national Haitian pastors, we eat Haitian food, we serve alongside them for the nine days that we are there. I’m not an overly talented person, I don’t have any medical experience, but I do know that I an original person created by God. I can provide an extra set of hands, give a child a treat, measure medicine and take a pee sample! 😀 I have an open heart, willing hands, and a desire to be a vessel used by God. 

So, will you pray with me? I have several requests. 
1) Pray that God will be glorified in this trip. Pray that we will have love, unity, and harmony among each of the team members. 
2) Pray for God’s protection as we travel...these roads and vehicles are nothing like those in the U.S.!!
3) Pray for wisdom for Pastor Kevin Faulde (he’s the one who organizes and sets much of this trip up) and also wisdom for the medical personnel. 
4) Pray that God will continue to provide for my financial need. We  have managed to pay for the plane ticket ($463.00) and for $400.00 of the trip cost. The total trip expense is $1,500.00  

I made quite a bit of the money I needed through a grocery rebate app called Ibotta. It’s an app that will give you money back for purchasing certain items. I combined the rebates offered with coupons and managed to snag some good deals as well as save money for this trip.  The link for ibotta is here...https://ibotta.com/ and my referral code is aefg. Feel free to use it! 

Also, if you feel that God would have you to give financially to this trip, I would be most appreciative. I realize that there are many wonderful people going on missions trips that also need money, but if God compels you to give to this trip, please do! I did a go fund me page last year, but I was disappointed with the percentage that they take out of the donations received. This year you can donate directly to Parakaleo. This is the missions organization that I am going with. All you need to do is make a note on your donation that this is for Sarah Robertson’s missions trip. http://www.parakaleointernational.com/donate

Blessings, 
Sarah