Our family

Our family

Monday, February 20, 2017

Haiti Journal ...Day 7 & 8

The beach 

Emelie visiting her friends

Moriah Baptist Church   

I have been trying to finish up my Haiti journaling blogs for quite a while now. However, we've had a bunch of snow days since I've gotten back, church activities, family time, a parent group meeting, doctors appointments, a hot lunch for school to prepare, a video presentation for church that I'm working on, oh, and more shoveling, and my iPad has not been working properly. Needless to say, I haven't forgot, but I have been busy.

We are on day seven, which is Sunday, January 29, 2017.

It is a day to praise the Lord! I slept okay last night as I used ear plugs to block out the sounds of the mosquitoes buzzing. I still woke up itching, but it was better than some of the other ladies slept last night.

The place we are staying at is a camp right on the ocean. It is beautiful and peaceful. I am enjoying the sounds of the waves crashing, and taking in a different scene from Haiti.

We had people heading many different directions for church this morning. Emelie, Debbie Lynn, and Joe headed to the church in Jocmel. Joe is giving his testimony of Gods grace and strength as Joe struggled with cancer. Hannah, Cory, Grandpa, Sam, and Hope Ann are heading to Gaya for a church service this morning. The local pastor's have an interest in starting a church up there, and Grandpa will be preaching this morning. They used an 8 seater SUV for their trip up the mountain. But since we are in Haiti, it actually held eleven people, two huge bags of medicine, and four backpacks! Pastor Kevin and I took a motorcycle ride to Moriah Baptist Church. I went along to teach a Bible lesson to the kids, but it ended up being to everyone. I had prepared the Wordless Book lesson and one of the  young men in the church helped translate the lesson for me. I guess it was okay as no one said it was good or bad!

I had the hardest time staying awake in church today! They wanted me to sit right up in front for the service...and I mean like up in front as where everyone can see you! It was a bit of a long service, but I think I stayed awake. It was the first time that I sat really still this week, and I think my body realized that it was tired!

After church the people tried to visit with me, but I could only offer lots of smiles and hugs. Then it started to rain so we walked across the road to Pastor Gabriel's house. Pastor Kevin can speak the language without even thinking about it, but my conversations are limited to lots of hand gestures and guessing!

The medical team arrived from Gaiya about 2:00 pm. They had had a church service and nine people raised their hands for salvation. Hannah said that it got a little bit crazy when they tried to do the clinic due to lack of space and everyone wanting to be first. However when it started to rain, it was clear that they needed to get off the mountain, and it was like God saying, "Its time to go." We will be praying that God will provide a national pastor for the church, and perhaps next year the medical team will do a clinic there again. The team did see about 45 people, and handed out what medicine they had to those in need.

We ate lunch at the pastor's house, and it was delicious. Chicken, fish, rice and beans, fried plantains were all a part of the meal. After lunch we hiked down the mountain to the truck that would take us back to the camp. On the way back to the camp, we stopped at a friend of Pastor Kevins. This friend had a small market place, and we had sodas...which tasted different than the ones in the U.S. However, it was a nice treat. Although I am certainly not going to be coming home   any skinnier due to all the carbs and sugar I've had this week!

We arrived back at the camp around four thirty, and spent a good part of the afternoon just visiting  and fellow shipping together. Pastor Kevin, Grandpa and Cory went to Jocmel for a graduation
ceremony at the local Bible institute there. Grandpa and Cory stayed in Jocmel tonight as they are flying back early tomorrow morning.

As for the rest of us, we are planning on attending a baptism service tomorrow he in Caya Jocmel at Moriah Baptist Church. Since Sam's grandparents help out at the mission hospital for many months of the year, Sam would like to stop there at the hospital tomorrow. Maybe we will have a chance to see the grandma and the little boy from Chota.

January 31, Tuesday
We are  waiting in the airport at Port au Prince. I didn't have an opportunity to write about yesterday's adventures, but since we have a while to wait, I will do it  now.

Yesterday was our rest day. We had breakfast at seven am, because we thought that we would be  going to the baptism service. However, Pastor Kevin had a difficult time finding motorcycles to take  us all up the mountain to the service. He found one motorcycle to help us out, so Pastor Kevin and Joe headed to the service first. Since Pastor Kevin was baptizing some of the young people,  it was important that he get to the service! The plan was for the driver of the motorcycle to take them, come back for another two people, and eventually we would all get there. Since we had an odd number of people, Hannah, Josh, and I would take the last trip (in case the motorcycle broke when we all got on it!) ...I'm kidding! By the time the Drive came back for Emily and Debbie Lynn, the clock was ticking towards mid-morning. Hope Ann and Samantha were heading to the hospital and then we would all meet there after the baptism service. By the time the motorcycle came back for the rest of us, we had decided that we had missed the baptism service and should just go to the hospital. Hannah, Josh, myself and the driver all squeezed on to one motorcycle! I wish someone had been able to take a picture but since we were  the last ones to leave camp, there is no picture.

We did arrive safely at the hospital and Samantha gave me a tour. Hannah and Josh had both been here before as this is the hospital we usually refer our clinic patients here. We asked the administrator about the grandma and baby that had arrived on Saturday. Hannah is friends with the administrator, and she was able to tell us that the baby was in a consultation room right then. No one worries about privacy acts or anything, but instead we were directed right to the grandma and baby. Although we couldn't speak the grandma's native tongue (Hannah was the best in the group), it was clear to see that she was happy to see us. The grandma was able to tell us that she was hungry, and we came up with a few snacks. None of us had very many snacks left at this point on the trip, but we came up with a few granola bars, some nuts, and a handful of candy canes. The little boy seemed to be a bit more alert, and he was actually uttering a few sounds in the room. I am praying that he will be able to get the help he needs.

After seeing the baby, we wandered around a bit, sat a bit, and became a little bored. Hannah suggested that we walk up the street to Pastor Kevin's friend's little market shop. The hospital is on the same road that the other in the team would be returning on, so we knew that we would see them coming. Since Pastor Kevin is well known in this town, and everyone in town seems to know Hannah as well, we knew it would be fine. We had just started walking when we saw Pastor Kevin and joe coming towards us on the motorcycle. We talked a few minutes and then we went to get drinks while pastor Kevin talked to a few people at the hospital.

When we arrived back at the hospital, Emelie and Debbie Lynn were there also. Emelie announced that she was going to do some church visitation, and did anyone want to come along? Emelie had a few gifts to give away to some of the ladies that are dear friends In the area, and she was going to walk to their homes to give them the gifts. So myself, Hope Ann, and Debbie Lynn went with her. I can't speak the language but I can smile and hand out candy canes! The ladies were so happy with the small items of clothing and soap that Emelie gave away. It's convicting to see people so appreciative of the little things that I take for granted.

After a few stops, Emelie announced that she had one more elderly lady that she wanted to visit, but she didn't have a gift. I rummaged in my backpack and came up with more candy canes and some unopened lip gloss. We walked into the lady's yard and Emelie started chatty with a very old lady. The lady was very happy with the gift, and she gestured for us to come into her house. It was then that Emelie realized that she had given the gift to the wrong lady! We walked into the house to find an even older lady sitting on the bed. She was delighted to see Emelie  and chattered excitedly. We did not insert most of what she said, but she seemed to enjoy our company. I found another stick of chapstick and more candy canes in my back pack. It took a bit, but we managed to say good by. By the time we arrived back at the hospital it was almost 1:00 and everyone was getting hungry. Pastor Kevin came up with some motorcycles to take us back to the camp. We had thought that lunch might be ready when we arrived back, but she we are on Haitian time it's impossible to know. I do ow that I seem to be ready to eat about three hours earlier than when it's actually time to eat!  Since lunch wasn't ready a few people went for a swim in the ocean. I waded for a Bit but the sun gave me a very bad headache. I sat in the shade and talked to Emelie. About three o'clock the cook came to tell us that lunch wa ready....yay!! The fish was very good, and I just choose not to thinking about the head being attached. After eating and fellowshipping for a bit, we took  a walk on the beach. It was beautiful by the water, but it's hard to get past all the trash everywhere.  At the public beach there were some vendors that were delighted to see white Americans! Since Pastor Kevein can speak the language fluently, he did  a lot of the bargaining. Hannah and I both bought a painting for our homes, and a few others bought a few gifts to take home.

Okay, I have more to write about day eight, but my iPad is giving me a  serious headache right now. I will write more later. Thank you for your patience as I continue to finsh this journal for this missions trip.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Family Update and Day #6 (A Sad Day)

                                                A Beautiful Sunset in Haiti

I'm back on the blog, and I'll be working on finishing up the rest of my journal entries from the Haiti trip.

However, we have been busy here in the Northeast! I want to give a quick update on our family just in case this week passes by me before I have a chance to write a second post (which is entirely likely!).

                                                          The beginning of the snow fort

We had three snow days this past week turning the school week into only two days! I was a little surprised at two of the three, and I would've just assumed we had school. Coming from backgrounds with Wisconsin and northern Canada in our past, it was hard to believe that we were qualifying for a snow day here in Maine. But we also have not lived this close to the coast, and that certainly affects the weather. It can be snow where we live, and it'll be icy on the coast. However, my kids were excited when we finally received a decent amount of snow, and I certainly enjoyed having the kids home for a few days. Now we've used up all of our five built-in snow days into the school calendar, so anything after this will have to be made up at the end of the school year. Oh well!

It would appear that now that we've had our first major snowfall, it's going to snow now until spring! It's a good thing that the kids enjoy outdoor activities no matter what the temperature is outside! We have had snow falling almost all day today, and we probably have about twelve inches on the ground. The forecast is predicting a snowfall for tomorrow into Monday with 18-24 inches of snowfall...and my children are excited!! The forecast also predicts that there will be blizzard like conditions on Monday which doesn't look good for the school calendar or my dad's returning flight!

We also had doctor's appointments for all five kids this week, so we were at the doctor's office on  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday! This was our first interaction with our new doctor, and I think he will be a good fit for our children. These were just annual checkups for the children, and everyone appears to be healthy and happy. I have a few concerns about Travis's hearing and vision, so we will be doing a few followups on those concerns. All the kids are in the 50% or higher range for height (no surprise there) except for Wyatt as he is a little on the shorter side in our family. That's okay though, after all, his mama isn't exactly tall!

Roger has been working this week, and he's come home with some cold feet! We found some smooth rocks on the beach this past  summer, so Roger has been heating them up. Then all the kids ask for warm rocks, and it makes for a humorous memory with everyone sitting around with warm rocks under "their feet!

Okay, so I have much more I should probably say, but on to another day of the missions trip!

Day #6
Saturday, January 28, 2017
This was a hard day for me. I am emotionally tired, physically weary, and longing to hug my children.   As with all the other days in Haiti, we were busy! We had a half -day clinic planned in Seguin, but first we had pancakes for breakfast. I actually made the pancakes (okay, I added water to the mix). However, I did fry them on the griddle; and since they were all consumed, I'm guessing they were good! 

We had planned to start the clinic around eight am, but I've learned that time around here is more of  a suggestion. πŸ˜€ It was actually after eight when we started as Hannah, Cory, and Pastor Kevin made a house call before the clinic. On Wednesday, after the clinic, they had made a house call on a  baby that appeared to be very weak and dehydrated. Hannah had given the baby some medicine, and as of Thursday we thought the baby was getting better. However, the dad had come up to the mission house to find the "doctors" as the medical people are called.   

While they were making the house call, the rest of us headed down to the church to set up for the half day clinic. As we were working on getting things set up, the grandma and with the sick little boy from Chota came walking  up. This grandma had walked all the way from Chota with her grandson. She remembered that we had offered her a trip down the mountain to the missions hospital and she wanted to make sure she did not miss the ride. I have such a great admiration for this grandma and her deep love for her grandson. She would have to wait for several hours while we finished up the clinic and packed up for the trip down the mountain, but she did not seem to mind. 

We continued to get ready for the clinic, and I glanced out the door to see Hannah and Cory returning from their house call. I could tell from the way that Hannah was walking at the visit had not gone well. Hannah said that when they arrived the baby was already practically gone. His extremities  were cold, his expression stoic, and pupils fixed. Cory and Hannah  tried to do what they could with their very limited resources, but the baby was already gone. It's a sweet assurance to know that that  sweet little baby is safe in the arms of Jesus. Even now, two weeks later, it's hard to write the words from my journal without my eyes filling with tears. Death, especially death among children, is fairly common. Just as I do,  these parents also love their children fervently but their culture expresses grief and a reaction to death differently. 

Well, we did not have much time to dwell on that incident, as people were waiting to be seen. We've  passed out ten thousand adult vitamins, twelve thousand children's vitamins, ten thousand Tylenol, ten thousand Motrin, and lots of worm medicine. The medical team will have another half day clinic after church tomorrow, but hopefully we will have something to give away. A boy came to the clinic today for a follow up visit. He had been seen on Wednesday for a burn right near his eye. The antibiotics he had been given were working and his eye was looking much better. That was an answer to prayer.  

We had to finish up the clinic aound eleven so at we could eat lunch and get ready to head down the  mountain to Caya Jocmel. After the clinic  we had to sort through all the remaining medicine so that we could get ready for the last half day clinic in Gaiya tomorrow after church. After taking out the medicine we would use for the clinic, we had to inventory what was left so that Hannah will know  what to buy for next year. While we were sorting through medicine outside the mission house, there was plenty of yelling and hollaring going on. I don't know if the whole story will ever be clear, but apparently the man who stole the rebar showed up at the mission house very upset because he had been accused. Haitians talk very expressively and passionately and since I don't know the language, I just watched. Eventually, the crowd dispersed, the man put away his machete, and we finished up  what we were doing. Hope Ann, another nurse, was a big help in the inventory process as most of the  stuff Hannah was pronouncing I had no idea how to spell!  

We got on the road to Caya Jocmel about one thirty. It was a full dump truck load coming down the mountain with three  people  in the cab, three Haitian cooks, three Haitian translators, twelve Americans, two extra Haitians ...I'm not sure where they came from...maybe they'd just needed a ride, and a grandma with a sick baby. The grandma tried to make herself comfortable on someone's  bag,  and she held that little boy for the entire three plus hours ride down the mountain. That little boy didn't make a peep, he didn't move, he didn't talk, he didn't cry, he just laid there. While I'm not an expert on children by any   means, I do know that that is not normal three year old behavior! 

It was long  ride down the mountain with not very many comfortable positions, but we all made it  with fairly good attitudes. πŸ˜€We arrived at the camp about 5:00 pm., The camp is in a beautiful location right on the beach. The temperature is a lot warmer than up the mountain, and the mosquitoes are in abundance!  

Tomorrow I am going with Pastor Kevin to Moriah Baptist church, Emelie and Josh's parents are going to church in Jocmel, and the other people are going to Gaiya for a church service and the  clinic. I will be able to do my children's lesson for the church tomorrow, so I am looking forward to that. Josh's dad, Joe, will be giving his testimony to the church in Jocmel. Grandpa will be preaching at Gaiya. There is not an established church there, but she of the national pastor's are praying about starting one there. Hopefully the clinic will help open the door for a church to be started.  

My heart breaks for the parents that lost  their baby today. It makes me want to hug  mine a little  longer and tighter when I get home. The truth is that life is in the hands of our Creator every moment. We may feel like we have a certain measure of control with all the access we have to medicine and doctors in the United States but the Bible clearly states that it is the Lord who gives us our every breath. Today was a good reminder for me of God's sovereignty as well as His love. It gives my soul a sweet peace to know that the baby is at Home  in Heaven.  

And tonight I will also put in my earplugs so that I won't hear the mosquitoes buzzing in my ear!  



                                Sharing a cup of syrup


                                         Medical consultation
                                                              Friends....Emelie, Hannah, and I

                               Debbie Lynn and I ....we have enjoyed each other's company this week πŸ˜€


                               Hannah and Josh (my favorite younger sister and her husband πŸ˜€)


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Another day in Haiti...Day Number 5

Friday, January 27, 2017
Day #5

I took the following paragraph from an article my sister wrote a while back about her missions trip to Haiti several years ago. I thought it was fitting for what I am working to describe.

*Some people may tentatively step out on the water and others are prone to jumping in with both feet, but if I want to experience first hand the miraculous power of God, I have to get out of the boat. No hanging on with a hand, a finger, or toe.  I don't want to be stuck in the boat watching what God's power can do, I want to be wrapped up and consumed in the miraculous power of Christ and the Cross. So I'm abandoning ship!

I am exhausted from the day's events, but I am filled with excitement as I reflect back upon the day. I am also delighted that I have a bunk bed to sleep in. The mattress might not be fabulous, but it is a mattress!

Today was our medical clinic in Baie d'Oranges. We were supposed to leave about 7:00am., but the truck was getting re-welded. My dad said he didn't know how that dump truck made it back yesterday without the sides falling off other than the fact that God's hand was upon us! The welder man is from
somewhere....I'm not sure where, but his certificate of welding is probably not from the U.S.! He only wore sunglasses to protect his eyes, and his two helpers didn't have any eye protection! However, they certainly didn't seem too worried about it, and the truck is better than it was yesterday. The welding job was not quite finished by nine o'clock, but Grandpa told the man that he would have to finish it later as we needed to get going!

We loaded up our medicine, our backpacks, and water for the day. We traveled for about an hour to the church/school. This is a big school as they have several buildings for all the students that attend. Attending school in Haiti is a big deal, as it is a privilege and not a right. The parents must pay for their children to attend school, and even though the cost may not seem much to us, it's a sacrifice for the parents to allow their children to attend school. We arrived around ten, and we scurried to get the clinic set up. Today we have a bit more space, so that will help with the smoothness of seeing the patients. Many people were already waiting for us to come, and they were listening to the Gospel message as we set up the clinic for the day,

It was a long day with over 235 patients seen today. We are out of adult vitamins, running low on children's vitamins, but we are praising the Lord that He provided worm medicine for today! One of the local pastors, Pastor Amos, was able to obtain some more worm medicine for today. The pills are rather large, but most of the kids are able to swallow or chew them up. But for the little ones, we have been making a "worm cocktail" πŸ˜€. It's just a fun way of saying that we smash the pill, add a little water to it as well as some type of water flavoring. Then the child either drinks it or we use a syringe to give it to them. Most kids do amazingly well about taking the medicine, as they open and chew when mama says to do it.

Our most serious patients today were a woman with some type of skin condition. Hannah says that she has seen her at this clinic before but her condition is getting worse. The tips of her fingers are basically gone, and her facial skin is very tight and gaunt. She told Hannah that her situation is getting worse, and she doesn't have anyone to take care of her. It breaks my heart to hear of her plight, but we have so little that we can do. However, we can tell her the plan of salvation, assure her   that she can have a home in heaven, and give her pain medicine to keep the pain at bay. I took some
pictures, but I won't post them publicly as it may upset some people. We also so an older lady with
scary high blood pressure, lots of people with worms, and many urinary tract infections.

We divided into two teams for lunch again today. Like yesterday we have so many people to see that we don't feel like we should all go to lunch at one time. Lunch is the biggest meal in Haiti, but lately we've been too busy to enjoy it. It's usually a fine meal of rice and beans, fried plantains or potatoes, and some type of meat. We are usually hungry by the time we return to the mission house in the evenings, but Haitians don't generally eat much of a supper meal. I'm thankful for friends who brought cans of chicken, packets of mayo, and crackers! We usually just bring out whatever we have for supper, and everyone kinda just picks out something to eat. It's another reminder of how spoiled I am back home.

I haven't had a chance to do my children's Bible lesson, but maybe that's opportunity will still present itself. We will see. We've just been so busy with the clinics, that it would be really hard for one of us to get away...and I need a translator!

The construction team has been working hard just as we have been. The preparation for the pouring of cement is coming together. My dad and Mr. Lenny have been sleeping outside on mats in the back of the dump truck. Cory also sleeps outside in a hammock strung between two pillars. Everyone is tired, but the spirit of peace and unity is at work in our lives.

Emelie and I rode back from the clinic today with Gilly, one of our translators. The motorcycle was not a very big one, and it's a lot of uphill  climbing back to Seguin! We did have to get off and walk at one point in time, but Gilly says we aren't too fat! πŸ˜€We are  bigger than the Haitians however! Oh well, it's something to laugh about as I remember my first motorcycle ride in Haiti. We arrived back at the mission house about forty minutes before the others arrived back on the dump truck.

I'm missing my kiddos and my family today. I do enjoy interacting with these kids here even if it's only to offer a piece of candy or a smile and a wave. They keep trying to talk to me, but about all I can say is " good day". But I know more than I did on Monday when I arrived! It's been so amazing  to see the hand of God at work, and it is my privilege to be a part of this missions team.

I'm also including a link to the missions organization I went with this year. This is the ministry that will pay for any additional care those in our clinics might need. Like when we offered to take the boy and the grandma from Chota down the mountain on Saturday. Parakaleo will pay for the medical expenses, but obviously they are in need of volunteers and donations as well.


One  of the big bags of medicine 

Emelie...the pharmacist 


Hannah and I with one of our translators, Gilly 

Love these kids! 

       Clifford could speak barely any English, but he was great about seeing things to do and helping out! 

                                 Grandpa is translating for one of our nurses, Samantha
This man takes care of Hannah's sheep. She was given a sheep for her birthday but obviously it can't come to the states. This man takes care of it and gives her updates every year when she comes to Haiti

Handing out treats and worm medicine 

The hammock and the dump truck...both provided places to sleep 

The ladies are making coffee 

Part of the construction team...Hannah's husband, Josh, and his dad, Joe. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Haiti Trip...Day #4 ....January 26, 2017

                                             Some of the medical team and translators

            The mission house on top of the mountain and the church building is in the lower right corner


                                                 The Pastor's home

                                      Hannah had to get some foreign object out of this kid's ear

                                               The pharmacist and the urine specialist πŸ˜€

Debbie Lynn in her new position 


In case the words are hard to read.....this is the church/school building in Chota

Grandpa is presenting the Gospel to the children 

January 26, 2017
Today is Chandler's 9th birthday. It's hard to believe that those nine years passed so quickly! I am missing him today and the opportunity to help him celebrate his special day, but this is where God planned for me to be. Maybe I'll be able to use someone's phone that has a SIM card in it to call home tonight.

It was an early morning for all of us. The Haitian cooks get up early to get started cooking, and I'm thankful for their willingness to cook. However, I'd love it if they didn't use garbage bags to put all their blankets in at the crack of dawn in the morning! Oh well! We were all up by 5:15 am whether we wanted to be or not! Emelie and I sat at the table using a flashlight to fix our hair and do makeup. (No, I don't have to put on makeup, but since I'm up, dressed, Bible read, and ready to go, I might as well have a few laughs to start the morning!) πŸ˜€

We ate breakfast, which was oatmeal and coffee. Haitian oatmeal is different from oatmeal in the U.S. It's more of a porridge that you can drink, but it's not bad. I ate a tortilla with peanut butter on it to help me stay fuller longer as I know the day will be crazy. Hannah brought peanut butter from the U.S., and I used that. I've tried the Haitian peanut butter which is homemade...obviously...but it's also spicy!

By 7:00 am., we were on the dump truck for our medical clinic in Chota. We rode along for about an hour on a road that would not be considered a road at home! We saw many people heading for the market in Seguin which is this morning. I just wonder how much they could possibly sell as everyone
seems to be selling the same things which are onions, cabbage, plantains, chickens, and other items from their gardens. Pastor Kevin says the culture does a lot of borrowing and owing things to one another. So, they work it out for whatever they need, or at least they hope they sell enough to provide
something for their families. These people out here are among the poorest, yet they would smile and wave as we bounced by in our dump truck. We tossed candy to the children, and they certainly
enjoyed that!

After about an hour of driving, we came to the end of the road. From here we would take a donkey to carry the heavy bags of medicine, and we walked for about 45 minutes. This walk was a trail right next to the mountain drop offs. It's definitely a walk to pay attention on! There were a few Haitian children that greeted us at the trail head, and it was clear that they were very comfortable with the trail. They scampered up the trail in their school uniforms and dress shoes, while we cautiously maneuvered up the trail. It was a scenic walk to the village though and I enjoyed the walk. As we continued walking towards the village, the children started to multiply. I'm not sure where they all came from, but we started with about four at the beginning of the trail.  By the time we arrived, we had about forty kids following us!

We arrived at about 9:00am., and we got ready to start the clinic. Again people were waiting for us, and the Gospel presentation was presented. Grandpa presented a message to the school kids, and he said tha he thought about 12 kids raised their hands in response to the salvation message. It's exciting to see the seeds planted!

Debbie Lynn moved to triage today. Basically the way we run the clinic is that everyone gets in a line, the ones working triage will take temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. Once that is done, they get a band with a number on it. We take the numbers in order and it helps us know how many people we see in a clinic. We also take off the bands when they leave the clinic, as past experience
has taught the clinic personnel that they will often try to get the band off and give it to someone else so that they can go to the clinic. Debbie worked in the pharmacy yesterday, but our space is smaller today, and Hannah asked her if she would be willing to do triage instead. And Debbie has found her calling for this week. :) She is delighted to have more interactions with the people, and it will be a good fit for her.

I was the official pee dipper again today, and I am getting much faster at reading the results! I also do pregnancy tests if needed.

We had a very small space today for four medical staff, three translators, one pharmacist (Emelie) and one pee dipper. However, we made it work. The ground wasn't exactly level so it took a bit of creativity to find a spot where the pee samples wouldn't spill, and to try to find a spot to put out the medicine we brought along.

We had to be leaving Chota by 3:30pm., so we worked quickly for the hours we were there. We saw about two hundred and twenty people in the six hours we were there. We saw one teenage boy that had broken his femur about a year ago. It was never set, so it has now healed improperly. He still manages to walk on it fairly well, but I wonder what will happen as his body continues to grow. It really needs to be broken and reset, but the majority of these mountain people don't want to leave what little they have to get medical help for fear that someone will take what they have while they are away. We did offer him a ride down the mountain on Saturday when we leave to return to Jocmel. There are ministries that would help pay for proper care, but the people have to be willingly to take the first step and let us help them get down the mountain to the hospital. There was also a mama who had broken upper arm about a year ago when she fell down the mountain. Her arm just dangled about about the elbow down, and it too would require a surgery to break and reset  the bone. There was one other patient who stands out in my mind, and he is just a little boy of about threeyears old. He clearly has some serious struggles going on inside his body. The whole time he was at the clinic  he was vomiting. The grandma said that his mama had died, and that something is wrong with the boy as every time she gives him food he starts vomiting. He is so undernourished and his legs are like little toothpicks that just dangle. We offered them a ride down the mountain to the hospital on Saturday as well. We will see if they come for a ride. There are just so many needs that it is overwhelming at times, but God is just as much in control of life here as He is  at home. We treated many people for worms and stomach aches. The majority of stomach issues could just be that they are hungry, but again we do what we can.

We left Chota about three thirty and arrived back at the truck at about four pm.,. It was a little faster coming back as a lot of the trail is downhill, and we had less stuff. The road  was in such bad shape that more of the dump truck frame started to come apart. We were left with not very much to hang on too, as the sides were no longer secure...at all. We had to stop at one point and build a little ramp with rocks so that the truck could keep going. It is only of the Lord that we made it back safely.

We did get back to the church in Seguin at about five pm. The. We had to get all of the medicine
ready for the next day's clinic. Hannah and I ended up climbing the hill to the missions house to get some remaining medicine that was up there, while the rest of the team waited at the church building. Hannah found the medicine at we needed and I found two pairs of pants for some little boys at didn't have any pants. I brought a few articles of clothing from home, and one of the little boys could wear Travis's old pants if we rolled them up. The other little boy had to wear pink pants that had been Emma's, but he certainly didn't seem to mind. They didn't have any underwear, but they seemed thrilled to have pants to wear even if one pair was pink!

Hannah and I walked back down the mountain to help get the supplies ready for the next day. We discovered that two of the medicine totes we had left there today were now looked up in the pastor's house for safe keeping. Since we didn't know when the pastor would be  back to get the totes out for us, we decided to carry the supplies that we had back up the hill to the mission house! I put the fifty pound bag of medicine on my back and my smaller back pack on my front and thought about all the good exercise I was getting as I climbed up that mountain!

The construction team also had a busy day today working on the mission house. They should be ready to pour the cement for the roof next week. All that cement will be mixed and carried by hand, and they will probably have to pour through the night to get the job done. My dad also fell off a ladder today. He says that he is fine, but he is also not twenty four anymore! All in all, he will probably be fine, but it was rather scary to hear about.

Pastor Kevin is sleeping outside tonight as eight pieces of rebar walked off last night. My dad and Cory were both sleeping outside last night, but neither heard the rebar being carried off. My dad said that he thought he heard people unwrapping candy wrappers at about two thirty am, but he didn't realize that the rebar was being stolen!

It was a good day...and exhausting day, but a day filled with seeing God at work. We could use some more worm medicine for tomorrow's clinic, so it would be nice to see God provide that for tomorrow.

I was able to use Josh's phone to call home tonight. It was good to hear Chandler's voice and his excitement about his birthday. He told me how much he loves  me and is praying for me. I am so very thankful for my family.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Haiti Missions trip ...Day 2 & Day 3

                                                          The Dump Truck!
Day 2
 Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Oh Praise Jesus! Another day is almost over and what a day it was! We were up by 5:15 am., to get ready for the day. The truck did not appear to be fixed, but we loaded it up anyways. We ate breakfast, re-loaded the truck, had a little devotional and got ready to try to find a comfortable spot in the dump truck. Hannah, Cory, Samantha, Hope, and Pastor Kevin did not go on the dump truck excursion with us. They headed to the pharmacy to pick up the remaining medicines that we would need for the clinics. Then after that they would head up the mountain via motorcycles. Our destination today is Seguin which is somewhere between 3.5 and 4.5 hours away depending on road conditions and the truck.

Breakfast was a good meal of bananas, bread, eggs, and coffee-which did not taste like coffee at home!

                                  The picture with all the vehicles is the automotive repair shop!

 We made it a whopping 25 feet out of the driveway of the church yard before the truck broke down! The wheel was making funny noises last night coming up the mountain, and now the sounds were even worse! So those that had some automotive experience tried to figure out what the problem was

with the wheel. We were about to have to call to try to find a different dump truck to take us up the mountain, but somehow someone managed to find the pieces we needed to fix our dump truck. We
had carefully driven the truck down the road to an automotive repair shop...that really means a yard with a bunch of broken vehicles in it! However, God was good, the repairs were made, and on ward
and upward we went. There were thirteen of us on the back of the truck along with a bunch of totes, backpacks, a generator and other supplies that were needed for the week. It wasn't the most comfortable ride in the world as we went up and over the roads and the load shifted. You could find a
fairly comfortable spot for about ten minutes and then the load would shift demanding that you move some part of your body to avoid being crushed or bruised.

I woke up this morning with a terrible headache probably due to lack of sleep, no caffeine, lots of emotions and a comfy (or not!) ride on the back of a dump truck. It was so hard yesterday to drive through Port-au-Prince and see people with so little. The images that my mind processed were a bit overwhelming to try to process with an intense headache!

The view from the top of the mountain, Mr. Lenny working with "helpers", and Emelie and I ...these pictures are in  Seguin

By the time we were an hour into our ride, my headache was so intense that I thought I might throw up. I think the bouncing around, the smell of lots of diesel fumes, and the smell of onion and garlic was almost too much. I took more medicine, drank more water, tried to be as still as possible, and prayed for grace!

We stopped of a potty break  (in the shrubs) at one point in time and we realized that the strong smell of onions and garlic was coming from one of the food bags! The plastic container had probably been sat on or something too heavy placed upon it and it was everywhere! It had oozed out over several suitcases and backpacks, which is another reason I am glad that I put all my clothes in ziploc baggies! We cleaned up the mess with our limited resources and carried on. One of the guys also noticed that

the back tail gate was not shut properly. I just praise the Lord for his protection as that could have been a bad accident if the generator and people had fallen out the back!

We went through a village that was having a market day. The Main Street was so crowded that it was hard to navigate the dump truck through the congestion. One person was hit in the head with the side mirror and we hit a motorcycle, but we didn't stop. When in Haiti, do as they do!

My headache finally started to abate a little bit, which was a welcome relief. As we started to ascend the mountain, the houses became even smaller and the vegetation more sparse. But the people that we passed seemed happy to smile and wave even though they have so little.

At one point in time on the trip, I asked Micah how much farther it would be. He replied that we were probably only about half way! I told him that if he couldn't say anything nice not to say anything at all! πŸ˜€ I was kidding...mostly! All in all everyone had good spirits and we got along well with lots of laughs along the way.

The Lord had his hand  of protection upon us as the sides of the dump truck are not welded together very good. Although the back of the frame broke, and the front weld broke, and the sides were creaky, it did hold together enough that no one fell out. We arrived safely in Seguin.

The team members that had gone to the pharmacy  passed us before we arrived at the mission house in Seguin. The children are adorable up here,  although some do not have proper attire for the mountain region. We brought what we could, and we will help as we can. These people are among the poorest of the poor, but their spirits are happy and bright. Definitely could take some lessons in contentment from these people!

Once we arrived, we spent several hours on the mission house project. We moved rebar, and wood, and lots of other stuff. We cleaned and swept (my first time sweeping with a broom made from leaves) and found everyone a place to sleep with night time came. We are tired, dirty, and gearing up for a full day of medical clinic tomorrow. To God be the glory great things He hath done!

Day 3

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Honestly, I had to think about what day of the week it even is tonight. We are all so tired both the
construction team and the medical team. The medical team saw over 200 people today at the clinic, and we worked well past the daylight hours finishing up the clinic by flashlights and lanterns.

We arrived at the clinic about 8:00 am, and there was plenty to do right from the start. The clinic was held in the church building. The people came into the main meeting room to hear the Gospel message. Meanwhile we cleaned out the two Sunday school/education rooms from construction stuff and worked to set up places for the nurses to see patients and a spot for all the medicine. We had
carried all the medicine down from the missions house to the church's building...and it was a lot! We are at an altitude above 6000 feet so walking can be difficult and it's made much more difficult by
adding weights walking. I'm thankful for all those  miles I walked at  home with Emma on my back!

The most severe patients we saw today were a grandma who appeared to have had a stroke, a baby
with diarrhea and mal-nutrition, a baby with some type of lump on her spine, a woman with a bad case of shingles, and many patients  with worms.

My favorite part was seeing the children, and they are beautifully cute! I handed out lots of animal crackers, wiped runny noses, and gave out small treats. The babies I held were damp because they don't wear diapers and are wrapped in blankets, but I certainly enjoyed holding them anyways!

Hannah has a great gift in her  medical field. She does a good job of assessing the needs of the patients and figuring out what medicine would be best for them. Each of the nurses on the team are very helpful and great with people. We also have a physicians assistant, Cory, from Georgia and this is his second year on this medical trip. The medical team was brought together of the Lord and it is truly a delight to see Psalm 133:1 fleshed out in reality. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."

It was a crazy, busy day. I am so tired, but so is everyone else. πŸ˜€When we came up the hill to the mission house for lunch, we had to bring up these metal poles that they needed for support beams for the construction team. That was a work out! I carried up two...mostly because I wanted to make sure that I could do whatever  Kristen could do. :) Kristen is from Montana and she is a hard worker. She's also young and strong, so I will work at it to keep up. πŸ˜€

We worked well together as a team today. It's so awesome to have a group of people who love Jesus's and are willing to serve wherever needed.

I was the official "pee" dipper today. Sometimes we take a urine sample to see if any types of infections show up in it. Basically t hat means that I learned how to read a urine test strip and dump urine in the weeds.πŸ˜€

We separated out the medicine tonight into two different piles. Tomorrow we will be going to Chota which is quite literally not on the road. We will drive in the truck for a little over an hour,  and then hike up the mountain to Chota.

I'm looking forward to a great day tomorrow!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Haiti Missions Trip...Day One, January 23, 2017

I am back from Haiti! It was an amazing week both for cultivating new friendships and seeing God at work. I am very, very thankful that I had the opportunity to go, and I am already praying about going next year. Remember that I asked for prayer that I would be a special blessing to someone? Well, I don't know that I was a blessing to anyone, but I certainly received a blessing by being a part of this missions team. I journaled while I was in Haiti, and while I certainly couldn't record or remember everything, it's s way for me to catalog my thoughts. I also want to have the opportunity to look back on the trip when I need a reminder of the faithfulness and goodness of my Heavenly Father. I'll be writing the days in chronological order, but they will be over the course of several blog posts. I'm sure some will be more interesting than others, but hopefully you will be encouraged and blessed as well.

January 23, 2017
It was an early morning or a short night depending on how you look at it! We left home about 3:00am., but we did make good time to the Portland airport. Between myself, Hannah, and Josh, we had five bags total. We thought that we would have to pay $25.00 for the first three bags and $35.00 for bags four and five. However, when we went to check-in, we realized that each of us would get one free bag, and we would only need to pay $70.00 for bags four and five. That was a pleasant surprise to start the day! We used every single pound available to us through the airline, which was a total of 250 lbs. We also each had a backpack that was filled to overflowing and not very light on the pounds! 

We flew from Portland to JFK with a layover in JFK before heading to Port-au-Prince. The layover was long enough to get a bite to eat and do a little walking for a few minutes. It's about a four hour flight from JFK to Haiti, so I knew I would be twitching if I didn't do some walking. I also found a place to buy a water bottle...the first expense of my trip! I had a water bottle, and I had left it in the truck when we got to Portland. Oh well, I'm thankful I found one, as that will be a necessity. 

I'm thankful that Roger was able to drive us down to Portland this morning. It's hard to leave my kids and husband for eight days, but Roger is a fantastic dad. My mom will help cook meals, do laundry, and get the kids to and from school. I had a hard time saying good by to the kids last night, but I know that they have been praying for this trip also. Travis has asked me several times if I could bring down some rice in my suitcase for the children that are hungry...oh, if only it was that easy! I made up nine small gift bags for our children, so there is one for each sleep I am away. The gifts aren't big or electorate, but I know it will help them count down the days. I also wrote a personal note to them for each day. I was a busy mama trying to get everything together before I left! 

God orchestrated so many events to come together smoothly for this trip. We will never forget how our local church body supported us in this endeavor. Their finanacial support, love and prayers have been so much above and beyond what I could imagine. God used a small body of believers to provide for the majority of the cost of this trip. It's been amazing to see God at work. We've also had several other dear friends and relatives support us on this trip also, and I'm thankful for each one that contributed towards this missions trip. 

Late Monday ...er, early Tuesday morning! 
It's a few minutes past midnight, so it's actually Tuesday. However, my journal entry is still for Monday, so I'm going to finish this journal date and I'll do Tuesday's journal whenever I get to where I'm going today! 


Hannah, Josh, and I arrived in Haiti about one o'clock. We had a little bit of a wait in the airport as we waited for the other part of the team to arrive from the states...they flew in from Fort Lauderdale. About four o'clock,  the other twelve people arrived from the United States. My dad came from Wisconsin along with a man from his church, Lenny. A girl from Montana, Krissy, came as well. There are two nurses from Maryland and Pennsylvania that are friends. A Physicians assistant from Georgia, named Cory, came from the states also. Also Pastor Kevin (the pastor from South Carolina) along with his wife, Emelie, and their son, Micah. Josh's parents also attend the church there in South Carolina,and they came as well. Pastor Kevin's dad came along also...everyone calls him "Grandpa", so I guess I will too. πŸ˜€We have a team of fifteen people from various parts of the United States. I can't wait to see how God is going to bring us all together to work for His Kingdom! 

Then it was a mad scramble to get the bags, head through customs and load up the vehicles. Customs went really smoothly for having over nineteen checked bags plus everyone having a carry on. 

 Hannah's best friend, Emelie, is the pastor's wife from a church in South Carolina. When Hannah and Emelie greeted each other with hugs and tears, I was practically in tears myself. I recognize that deep, deep friendship. It was a reminder of a dear friend that I haven't seen in a while and how much 
I miss her! 

After loading up the dump truck and the van, we headed for Jacmel. Jacmel is also on the coast, but it's over the mountains to the other side of the island. I opted to ride on the back o the dump truck with five other American team  (including my dad) and two Haitians. The Haitians kept trying to talk to me but I didn't understand any of it! Maybe by the end of the week, I'll know something. The rest of the team went in the van. It was an eye opening ride as we drove through Port-au-Prince. The trash, the broken down shacks that people live in and the lack of cleanliness is staring  at you from all sides. It can't be comprehended through pictures or an explanation in words, it's truly overwhelming and incomprehensible. It bought tears to my eyes to realize how blessed I am and all that God has given me. 

We left Port au Prince about five pm.,or somewhere around that time ... and arrived  in Jacmel  about nine pm. Although it was dark for a good portion of the ride, the stars  were beautiful! I did get cold as we went over the mountains, but as we came off the mountains the weather warmed right up again. When we arrived in Jacmel, supper was waiting for us. It was a delicious meal of roast chicken, roasted goat, fried plantains, bread and several types of vegetables. I do not normally eat my canned vegetables cold, but I ate them. πŸ˜€

After supper some of the men went to try to work on the dump truck as it had started making some funny noises and we have a long ride up the mountain (different mountains than the ones we just came over) tomorrow. The ladies went inside to unload the checked bags and repack them all. Because of all the tools and medical supplies we had brought along, it had been mixed up with clothes and boring stuff to try to help insure that we could arrive with as  much intact as possible. So everything had to be unpacked and reloaded for the travels tomorrow. And since the majority of the team will be riding on the back of the dump truck with the bags, we need to try to pack the stuff so nothing will break. 

So now after a long day, we are getting ready for bed. We have beds here in the mission house next to the church and the use of a shower. The shower is not warm...at all...but I'm told the water up the mountain is even colder! Since it's the last shower I'll probably get for a few days, I better take advantage of the opportunity! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

It's Friday!!!

Along with most people, I have been thinking about my dreams, goals, and expectations for the new year. And...I'm still thinking! I actually have a list of books that I'm compiling that I want to read, I have a Bible verse I want to use for this year, and I have several goals written down. However, I say all that to say that I'm not writing about any of that right now! πŸ˜€

I want to write a few things about what is happening in our lives, and I will come back and revisit that first paragraph another time. We have been adjusting to our back-to-school routine. The boys truly enjoy going to the Christian school, and it's been a good experience for them. I do have a few prayer requests about a few things though. Our youngest and oldest sons seem to both find school particularly challenging. We are in need of wisdom on how to help them succeed and how to encourage them. Please pray that both parents and students will be encouraged!

The boys have started taking tennis lessons along with the rest of the students at the school. They had their first lesson today and they came home full of news on the topic! It's so fun to see them excited about their experiences!

                                     Snow from last week! This week it warmed up to 45 degrees!

It's been a slow year for snow (or at least in the mind of these people from Wisconsin)! We get s little bit and then it warms up and melts. The boys have enjoyed every bit we've gotten thus far, and our yard is a swarm of trails, forts, and snow piles  (they are trying to make it last, but putting it in piles).

We attended a birthday  party at the ice skating rink last Saturday, and the boys certainly enjoyed that. They have made some really good friends through the school, and we are thankful for that.

My mom has been staying busy with folding lots of clothes, reading lots of books to Emma, helping with chauffeuring children to school, and playing uno with the boys. I'm thankful for her willingness to pick up or drop off kids, or to keep Emma at home while I drop off or pick up kids. I helped out with the hot lunch at school last week, and it was nice to have someone to watch Emma while I did that.

Hannah came down last week to help me put a video presentation together for our church. Our pastor asked if I would be willing to present my upcoming missions trip to Haiti. I don't have any of my own pictures from Haiti since I haven't been there yet! Thankfully, Hannah has many pictures tochose from! πŸ˜€ She came to our church on Sunday and did the presentation with me. I almost mad it through the entire presentation without tears, but this missions trip is especially close to my heart. I am so excited to be going on this missions trip with her. God has proven Himself strong and faithful at every step of this journey. The church has taken up an offering for the missions trip to Haiti, and I'm thrilled to report that I have 75% of the cost covered! Roger and I took a step of faith when I committed to going, and I have been completely amazed at how God has provided. We are leaving two weeks from today, and I am looking forward to seeing the Lord at work. It's so easy to become complacent and lukewarm in our walk with the Lord in America. We aren't in need of food, clothing or shelter, but yet I can find much to complained about. I'm praying and anticipating that God is going to do a great work in my own life during this trip. I'd also like to be a special blessing to someone on this trip, so please pray that I will be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Emma's dentist appointment pictures! 

As excited as I am about going to Haiti, I am leaving behind my awesome husband and five great kids. I know that God will take care of them, but wow... I'm going to miss them like crazy! I wish Roger was able to go on this trip with me, but God just did not give us peace about that happening.

Today (Tuesday) I spent the day taking Emma to the pediatric dentist which is about 1.5 hours away. We left our house at 5:30 am, but we made it to the dentist on time! She has been very nervous about this dentist appointment, and she has prayed about it every day for the last month. The dentist gave her a little sedative to relax her, and then they took X-rays and filled a cavity. She did very well, but her mouth was numb on one side after the appointment. By the time I had driven ten miles down the
road, we had to stop. She had kept biting her tongue and cheek, and we had blood everywhere. Emma was very distraught about that, but we fixed it. She hasn't been herself all day, and I miss my active, happy girl. She was upset at bedtime because she couldn't suck her thumb because her tongue is swollen. I am praying that a good nights rest will help us all feel better.

Tonight (Tuesday) Roger and I went to the deacons meeting at church. We are interested in becoming members of the local church here in Maine. One of their requirements for membership is coming to a deacons meeting and sharing your salvation testimony. I actually really enjoyed the opportunity to share my salvation testimony as it is such a reminder of all that Christ has done for me. Emma came with Roger and I as she has been clingy all day. Roger and I are looking forward to joining the church  and becoming involved in people's lives.

Emma, myself and my mom went to visit an older lady on Thursday morning. She's been a pastor's wife for years, but doesn't get out too often these days. She has seemed to really enjoy having our children visit, so I try to make a visit there every other week or so. This sweet older lady took the time to pick out small gifts for each of our children. Her thoughtfulness and generosity were a reminder to me of how much God blesses us. He brought this sweet grandma into our lives in the first week we moved here last June. For whatever reason, He knew that I needed her friendship, and she needed some children to love on.

Okay, it's now Friday morning and I need to wrap this post up! I've been working on it since Tuesday!
A few updates and then I will be done! Emma has had a rough few days which is code for "So has mama!" . She chewed up her tongue and cheek so badly when her mouth was numb that she has had a hard time eating or drinking anything. I think we are through the worst of it now, and hopefully we can all get a good nights sleep tonight!

Roger and I are getting away for a "mini date" next week! Someone at Roger's work heard that we were trying to get away for a few days by ourselves, and that our budget was very small for this adventure. He offered us their family cabin up in the woods of Maine! We are leaving on Monday when  Roger gets home from work. We will return on Wednesday morning. We have not been away by ourselves since last June when I came out to sign papers on the house. I am very excited about hiking in the woods, trying out cross country skiing, uninterrupted conversations, and memories to build a stronger marriage. We don't leave our kids very often, and since my mom is willing to take over for a few days, we want to enjoy this time together. I know of some married couples that don't ever want to leave there kids, and that is fine if that's your conviction. However, I know for Roger and I that our marrriage grows stronger, our parenting corrections are more aligned, and our desire for Christian growth is flamed when we take a day here or there for ourselves. It might sound selfish, but as I've been told before, "Yes, you only have your kids at home for a few short years. But remberer that when these years are past, you will still have the man you married. You better make sure to keep the flame alive!" πŸ˜€

It's time for me to say goodbye for now and get ready for the day! Happy Friday! May we use today for His honor and glory!