Our family

Our family

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Snowstorms, School, and Adjustments


                                     
                                                Snowstorm 

It's kinda crazy how fast time passes! I feel like I just updated the blog, but the truth is that it's closer to two weeks ago that I actually did write a post!

Emma is quickly adapting to "school" on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and she looks forward to their mornings. This past Tuesday Hannah came down in the morning, so I was able to spend some time with her while Emma was in school. There are not very  many exciting places to go in our town, but we did go to Walmart and the grocery store. 😀 I enjoyed the morning with her, and we actually picked up all the kids from school at 11:30am., on Tuesday, March 14. A snowstorm was predicted to start around noon, and it was flurrying by the time we picked the kids from school. It was quite the snowstorm with the howling winds and blowing snow. My kids were delighted at how fast the snow was falling, and they quickly went outside to build snow forts and shovel snow. We had about fourteen inches out by our home, but we had quite a few big drifts too. I was concerned that we  would have another snow day on Wednesday, but we actually ended up with only a two hour delay. I was very thankful that school was not called off. Every day missed is a day that we have to make up at the end of the year...and I'll be ready to be done as will our children!

I know I'm going backwards in time a bit, which might make it a bit challenging to follow along. But I'm just making sure that I'm writing down the memories that I remember! We had a day off of school on Friday, March 10, as the teachers had an in-service day. We also had our ladies Bible study for the second week. We had sixteen ladies from six different churches in the area! It's so exciting for me to see God's hand at work, and to see these ladies come together for fellowship and Bible study. We also had 23 kids come along with their mamas to the Bible study! Our pastor graciously offered to watch  the children in the fellowship hall while the ladies did the Bible study. I am thankful that  he was   willing to play and entertain the children so that we could have Bible study. There is a definite need for this type of ministry, and I am so thankful that God has worked in hearts and lives to bring this group of ladies together. Please pray for continued interest, spiritual growth, and for wisdom for those  leading the Bible study.

On Saturday the kids and I made lunch for the pilots and another family in our school. The boys have no concept of sleeping in on Saturday and by 8:15 am, we had made three pans of enchiladas, a rice dish, a chocolate cake, and cookies! I'm not saying that to brag; I'm  just stating that we had a busy morning! We took lunch out to the airport, and then I took the kids to a birthday party for one of the students in the school. I was telling Roger that we've made some good friends since school started. Back at the beginning of the school year, I wouldn't have wanted to attend a party without Roger. Now that we've become more comfortable and made some friends, it's easier for me to take the kids to things without Roger. I definitely prefer to do things all together as a family. But in nine months of living here, I've discovered that Roger's  job is not always conducive to that! I am learning to be more flexible (not always my favorite) and to adjust and adapt around the hours and days that he is working. I've also come to treasure the moments we have together a bit more, and I try to be aware of the days he is off and to guard our time carefully. All in all, the job is going well for Roger. As of March fifteenth he has been with the company for a year. Wow! Time has flown by! Roger also took a different position within the company a few weeks ago. He is now the assistant chief pilot, and while I know the position makes him a bit nervous, I know he will do a great job at it!

Again, I apologize as this blog post is probably a bit challenging and confusing to read. However, my iPad still has moments where it does not work correctly, so I just have to work with it! The boys are busy on academic fair projects which is also read as mom is busy with helping them, answering questions, and trying to stay sane! Thankfully, I have been helping with the researching and writing aspects, and Roger works with the boys on the project aspects! We have one child working on researching and writing about Penobscot Island Air, and another child on "Tourism in Page, Arizona".  And a child writing about "America's Dairyland",  and one researching a Maine lighthouse...anyone    care to guess which child is working on which project? 😀

I volunteered to work in the school library on Thursday as the normal volunteer was unavailable. It wasn't exactly how I wanted to spend my "free" morning as all the kids were at school for a few hours, but it's what I felt God would want me to do. I actually did have a good time with it as I read books aloud  to Wyatt and Travis' classes, helped Garett and Chandler's class pick out books and research volcanoes, and played a library scavenger hunt with the oldest class. It was a busy morning, but God blessed me in spite of not being excited about it. Travis also had a friend over after school, so I had  an extra child in the afternoon. Sometimes it works out well for Travis to have a friend over after school since I have to come back anyways to pick up the other boys.

Firday is chapel day for the students. I play the piano for the chapel service which is something I enjoy. We also had a special missions  chapel on Friday. I was able to present the Haiti video to the students, and talked for a few minutes about the trip.  The video always brings back such good memories,  and it reminds of  the deep needs of the Haitian people. I was thankful for the opportunity to share with the students about Haiti.

 Friday is our ladies Bible study day, and a morning  that I  really look forward to.  I made banana bread for the ladies, and helped set up the Sunday school classroom for the Bible study. We could just leave the tables and chairs the way at they are set up for Sunday school, but it's nice to put a little extra effort into making the space warmer and a bit more welcoming for the ladies. While I do enjoy the Bible study, I also recognize the need for someone to work in the nursery. I offered to do it this week, and we had eight children to watch while the mamas were at the Bible study. Bible study ends at 11:00 am., and Travis is done with school at 11:30. That means it is a busy half-  hour  to put everything back,  and get Travis picked up so I can go home. Usually my friend, Allison, helps me put everything back, but this week she stayed home with a child that wasn't feeling well. As much as it's a bit inconvenient to put everything back, I am thankful for the opportunity to minister  to these ladies in whatever way possible. God has presented us with the need for this Bible study, He has opened the doors, and I feel that He has already started to bless these ladies. I'm looking forward to  seeing God continue to work in our lives.

Also, today was Garett and Chandler's spelling test. I think I get as nervous about it as they do, but we are making strides in the right direction. Both boys got one hundreds on their tests, and that was a huge answer to prayer for all of us!

Well, if you made it to the end of these rambling then congratulations, and you know that I am blessed. It was a busy week, and I'm thankful that it's Saturday. Saturday is a day to relax a bit and prepare for the next week. I am teaching Children's Church tomorrow, and  we have a church dinner tomorrow after the worship service. I am still working on my lesson for tomorrow, but I have already  made white chicken chili, desert, and bread for tomorrow. Okay, I didn't make the bread, I bought it. My bread making skills are still lacking, and I don't want anyone to feel like they have lead in their stomach tomorrow.

I am going to close for now, but we appreciate you all. Our hearts are full, and we are blessed. My mind  has been mediating on Ephesians chapter three and verse twenty and twenty one. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, amen. 

https://animoto.com/play/RcUggWWkxFs8tQcmGWqEOA

This is the link to the Haiti video that I made for church. It's hard to condense 700 pictures into a four minute video, but this is what I came up with!




Saturday, March 4, 2017

Winter Break...and Back in Routine

This has been winter break week for the kids, (actually it was last week as this posting is so late) so we have enjoyed a few days off of school. The weather has been beautiful which means lots of walking, building snow forts, and playing in mud and melting snow!

Roger had off of work in Monday so he was able to take the three older boys flying. Roger's boss allows Roger to use one of the company's smaller planes if it's not needed. Garett has been asking to go flying with Roger for several weeks now, so I was thankful to see it happen. Garett has a strong interest in aviation, and we are trying to encourage his interest without being pushy about it. Garett was able to do some of the actually flying today, so he's been on cloud nine. Chandler was also able to fly the plane for a bit, and while he likes it, he doesn't have the same interest in it that his older brother has. Due to weather conditions, Wyatt was not able to have a turn in the front seat, so Roger said that I could maybe drop him off at work one of these afternoons this week.

On Tuesday I was able to attend a ladies Bible study at a church of one of my friends from school. This was a really good time of encouragement for me, and it was a reminder of something I'd like to come to more often. I was thankful for the time in God's Word, the fellowship with friends, and the opportunity to share our thoughts. After the Bible study, a few ladies from our church met together for lunch to discuss starting our own Bible study with ladies in the church/school. I am thankful that Beth, our pastor's wife, has a desire to help other ladies grow in the Word. The four of us came up with some good ideas, and I think it will come together quickly in the next week or so.

Meanwhile, Roger took the kids sledding this morning. Wyatt had taken a spill this morning while wrestling with his brothers, and while sledding he fell off the sled and landed hard on his stomach.   Roger said he sat really still for a while after that and then threw up twice in the bushes on the    sledding hill. It was a rough day for Wyatt! He seemed to feel better after an afternoon nap; and since  we were going to my sisters place for supper, I just figured I'd ask her about Wyatt! We had a great time visiting with Hannah and Josh and it's nice to get together to do that. The kids enjoy playing with their dog, and it was a good evening together. Wyatt seems to be back to himself, so apparently it was just a bit of a rough day.

 
Emma and Garett at the airport 

 
Top: Emmanuel and Travis; bottom: at the airport 
Wednesday morning of winter break was celebrated by having a play date with some friends from school. The boys have enjoyed getting to know some of the kids in their classes better, and I like play dates because it's a good opportunity to get to know the parents better. Bethany brought me coffee so    that was especially nice! 😀 The boys enjoyed a morning playing outside, building forts, shooting nerf guns, and eating! I'm thankful for the friendship that Bethany and I have been developing, as well as for their children and the friendships that my children are building.

Thursday was an impromptu play date with another family from school. The Philbrook's have two girls, but our children are not partially partial to gender playmates. They just enjoy having anyone to play with them! We had tacos again for lunch as that's an easy lunch for play dates as the boys certainly didn't mind! Allison and I have never run out of things to talk about so it was a good time by all. Allison has become a dear friend to me, and I am very thankful for her friendship.

On Friday we hung out at home, cleaned up the yard a bit, and just enjoyed a day without anything much on our schedule...except grocery shopping! These boys can eat...oh my! I'm already learning just how expensive our grocery bill might be when we have teen boys that are 12,13,14,and 15 years old! I think it might be time for us to look into raising chickens, and getting some seeds started for a  garden this spring!

On Saturday I made a crockpot of white chicken chili and a dessert. The kids and I took lunch out to  Roger's workplace to share with the other pilots on duty today. It was a beautiful day, and I'm  thankful that God provided Roger with a job that we can drop by, bring lunch, and see him for a few  minutes.  

I had the opportunity to play the piano for services on Sunday. It's an opportunity that I definitely   enjoy, and it blesses me far more than it probably blesses those listening.

It was a good week of winter break. Although it didn't seem like a much needed break from school because we've had so many snow days in the last two weeks, it was a good time to just spend time with our kids. The boys also have the academic fair coming up in April. Since this is our first experience with this event, I'll let you know how it goes! They each have to written  report on a topic, and do some research on it as well as a presentation board. We started on the projects a bit over break,and it was a good reminder of how God has blessed me with the Christian school. Could I homeschool them? Yes. Would I want to? No! I love our children but I am much better at just being ther cheerleader, coach and mom than being their education instructor.  God is so good to me!

Monday, February 27, we returned to school. Yay! Getting back into a routine and schedule is one of my favorite things to do!

Tuesday is music class day at the school. The music teacher had asked if I would be willing to teach music class today as her  husband recently underwent a surgery. I said yes, but I knew it would be a bigger deal for Emma than myself. Roger would be working, and I didn't want to have Emma sit  through several hours of music classes. However, the school also has a pre-k class for three her old school that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I mentioned to Emma that she could probably go to the class if she wanted to while I taught class. It was as though I had handed her the moon! She wasso excited, and she told her  brothers all about it as soon as they came home from school on Monday. I was thankful to see that she was excited about going, but I was curious to see I found she would be as excited when I walked away from the classroom door on Tuesday morning! Sure enough Emma was all excited about going to "school" on Tuesday until we walked into the classroom. I knew she would be fine though so I walked away. I think it was harder on me than on her. That was my baby  that I left for the morning! But I did have a good time teaching music classes, and Emma did fabulously in her class. I also have lunch duty on Tuesday, so it was a bit of a long day for all of us.

Wednesday was Roger's day off of work, so he spent the morning doing a few errands that needed his attention while Emma and I attended the parent group meeting at the school. After the meeting and picking up  Travis, I came home to make a meal for the music teacher and her family. I've learned over the years of making meals for people that often the best meals are the simplest ones. I made the  same meal that I've made for several years now for families that I bring a meal to. It's one my kids enjoy and it's simple and tasty. I made stuffed taco shells, hot bean dip, vegetables, chips and a dessert. I wouldn't t say that I am a gifted cook or anything, but I do enjoy making a meal for someone on occasion. What a blessing to minister to others as I've been so blessed!

Thursday was a fun morning for me. After Emma had enjoyed preschool so much on Tuesday, Roger   and I talked about allowing her to continue to attend. Since she would be free, and she seems to enjoy    it so much, we decided that we would continue to allow her to go for now. She was still a bit hesitant when I dropped her off, but she was  happy to be at school like the "brothers". I was able to go on a run...the first one in a while. I definitely enjoy and need exercise, so that would be a huge plus for me in Emma going to school. However, I also want to make sure that I am making the best decisions for my child and not allowing my selfishness to get in the way. I was also able to have a coffee date with my friend, Allison. We discussed everything under the sun as well as the ladies Bible study that will be on Friday morning. This Bible  study is one that we are both excited about and thankful for the opportunity to reach out to other ladies in our area. The kids ended up with a half day at  school  today. There was a problem with the heater and the boiler, so school was dismissed at 11:30. Allison and I took the kids to the bowling alley. We haven't been bowling since before our move to Maine so that was fun! It was a bit like stepping back in time though as it was a very "vintage" bowling alley! But we had a lot of fun and laughs while doing something fun with our children.
  
A view from my run; the boy's  fort; adventures at the bowling alley 

Friday was our kick off day for our ladies Bible study. I made some treats for the ladies who came, and Allison made coffee. We managed to squeeze in a few minutes to pray together for the study before I needed to leave to play the piano for the school chapel service. Oh, how my heart is full! I desire to encourage these ladies in God's Word especially the mamas with young children. I remember the days of fatigue  and frustration with my lack of opportunities  to study in God's Word. It's hard for me to believe but I am quickly advancing to the side of no longer being a "mom of young children"!  Emma is 3 1/2 years old, potty trained, and sleeps fairly well at night. However, I remember with  great clarity the days of four boys in four years! I want to make sure that I try to reach out to other young moms in the trenches and encourage them.  I have offered to take a turn at providing  childcare for the moms that need to bring their children to the Bible study. I want these moms to have ever opportunity to be  able to  enjoy fellowship and a study in the Bible.  We had nine ladies attend the Bible study today. I am thankful for each one that's came, and I truly enjoyed digging into the Bible as we studied on "storms in our lives". I'm looking forward to seeing what God continues to do in and through me as we continue our Bible study.

William Carey said, "Expect great things from God. Attempt great  things for God."

Dr. Pat Robertson: "Attempt something so big for God that unless He intervenes, it's bound to fail."


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Last Day in Haiti and my Summary

Friendships established over the week

Fishing boats

Joe and Debbie Lynn 

Hannah's birthday dinner and cake 



I am determined to finish up this Haiti journal even if I have to write I out by hand and take a picture of it! (Trust me, I don't know if you could read my journal scribblings from my Haiti journal as even I have to work at it sometimes!)

So after our trip to the beach on Monday evening we came back to the camp. Since we needed to be ready to leave for the airport in Port au Prince early Tuesday morning, we headed to Jocmel to stay at the mission house at the church there. We packed up our bags and willingly said good by to our mosquito friends who were waiting for nightfall so that they could eat us alive!

We arrived in Jocmel about eight thirty in the evening. Everyone was tired, exhausted and ready for bed. However the pastor of the church announced that some of the ladies were preparing supper for us. All the suppers that I've had in Haiti have been very light as in bread and cheese, porridge, or bread and peanut butter. I kinda expected this supper to be along the same lines except the pastor said that they needed about thirty five more minutes to finish the lasagna! Ahh...well, it happened to perhaps be a bit more than thirty five minutes! We all kinda sat around in a sleepy stupor waiting for supper. Around ten-thirty, yes 10:30 pm, supper was ready! It was a delicious supper of lasagna, white rice, and fried chicken. The lasagna was good with some type of ground meat and some deli ham in it. (I never saw any ground meat the whole time I was here, so I have no idea what kind it was!) It was a bit of a heavy meal at 10:30 pm, but I am blessed by the willing hearts and hands that prepared that delicious meal for us.

After we had eaten, Pastor B. (I can't spell his Haitian name) brought out a cake for Hannah's birthday which will be on Sunday. He gave her a beautiful and thoughtful speech about how thankful he and the other national pastors of Haiti are for her love and concern for the people in the rural areas of Haiti. She is truly gifted in her nursing skills, and it's easy to see that those who know her love her.

Needless to say, it was a short night on sleep! We were up by 5:15am., and on the road by 6:15 am. We traveled to Port au Prince in a van, which is the most comfortable vehicle we've traveled in and the roads are mostly paved on the way to the big city. The trip took a little over three hours, and by the time we arrived at the airport both Hannah and I were feeling the effects of carsickness. The motion in the vehicle, the heat, the diesel fumes, and the smell of trash made me feel very sick. The smells and sights of Port au Prince are indescribable. Unless you see it all for yourself, it's hard to convey what it's really like.

We arrived and  were checked into our flights by 10:00 am. We had a little time to visit with Josh's parents, Hope Ann, and Samantha before they had to leave on their flight. What a delight it was to get to know these people better this week! Josh's mom, Debbie Lynn, and I made some wonderful memories together and I have been blessed by her friendship this week. Hope Ann and Samantha were a lot of fun to be around, hard workers, and we've shared many laughs over the last week. Hannah, Josh, and I were on a different flight so we had a bit of a wait before our flight. That's okay though as it gave me an opportunity to wrap up some of my journal entries.

Summary:
Truly it would be impossible to describe all that I learned, saw, and felt on this trip. We worked many long hours, walked many steps up and down mountains, and saw God at work in every clinic we did in Haiti. I think about 22 people were saved as a result of the Gospel messages before the clinics. Please be in prayer for these souls that they will be discipled and grow in Christ. We gave away 10,000 adult vitamins; 12,000 children's vitamins; 10,000 Motrin; 10,000 Tylenol; 1,000's of stomach meds and worm medication. We saw over 835 people in the course of three full day clinics, and two clinics that were 1/2 days. We saw people with serious conditions, undernourished children and  adults, and people who came because they were curious. This week long Missions trip has put so much in perspective for me. Do you have any idea how blessed we are in the United States? I have so little to complain about, and God has truly blessed me.

A few words come to mind when I look back on this  trip. First of all...joy. These Haitian christians worship the Lord with all their heart. They are some of the most joy filled people I have ever met. I was blessed by their churches services as well as getting to meet several of the national pastors. Secondly, another word that comes to mind is contentment. I have so much compared to these people, and they have truly learned what it means to "cast their burdens on the Lord". They depend on God to provide the food for the next meal, something for their child to wear, and other such daily things that I don't even give a second thought to in my life. Truly God's grace sustains and empowers them in  a real and personal way.

I made some new friendships on this trip. It was a special blessing to get to know Hannah's best friend, Emelie, better this week. Emelie and I will always have fun memories to look back on such as our laughter at our pharmacy skills and putting on makeup in the dark! I also enjoyed getting to know Debbie Lynn this week. She is Hannah's mother-in-law, and I was so encouraged by her this week. We figured out how to count out medicine quickly, we laughed our way through the dump truck rides, and she gave me snacks to eat! 😀

I am so thankful to each one that prayed for me and our family, supported me financially, and encouraged me to go. It was a unique and special blessing to go on this trip, and it's not one that I take lightly. I would love to go again, but I'm not sure when God will provide that opportunity again. However, if He should open the doors to this trip again, I'd be happy to go.

Roger and my mom did a great job here on the home front while I was away. I'm thankful for a husband that is so faithful and consistent at being a great dad. I'm thankful for his love and support of me as I went off to another country for a week...I am blessed. I'm also grateful for my mom's help in getting the kids back and forth to school, helping with schoolwork and always attacking the never ending pile of laundry!

Thank you for your love and prayers,
Sarah

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. 😀 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. 😀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!  


     

                                                                 Pancakes

 
                                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 😀

           

                               Hannah and Josh (my favorite younger sister and her husband 😀)

                       
 


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" 😀. 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! 😀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.

http://www.parakaleointernational.com/

 
     
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 😀

  
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
Thursday
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!) 😀

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.