FEBRUARY 8, 2019
One month ago today, we embarked on a journey that we still can’t comprehend. God saw something in us that we couldn’t and had a task for us that we still don’t understand. Why would He bring us to Haiti as full-time missionaries? We had no idea why and we still don’t. We’re just learning to trust Him more each day. The first few days we were almost in shock. We sat and just stared at each other wondering what was next. Marie Jean was such a blessing. She kept us from dwelling in our own heads too much. One thing is for certain, no matter how many times you have been to Haiti on mission trips, living here is a whole different ballgame. We are in constant prayer for strength, endurance, and wisdom.
The missionary couples we have met have been huge blessings and encourage us frequently. Missionaries that serve here frequently have been great sources of knowledge. We receive encouragement often from our good friend Rev Fred with Light of Life Missions. He calls several times a week to check on us, to see if we need anything or to just talk. Encouragement and prayer are so very crucial for every missionary, especially the ones on foreign mission fields. It’s hard being away from our families and friends and being out of our comfort zones constantly. Satan is constantly telling us we can’t, or we aren’t good enough to do this. Pray intentionally and boldly for us and let us know you are praying! Pray for our families. They sacrifice as much if not more than we do. They sacrifice holidays, birthdays, school plays and games, milestones that they wish we were there for.
We are so thankful for technology so that we can be in contact with our family! We can video call, text or just call using an app that is free. We were able to do a video call to our grandson, Riley’s fifth grade class. They’re the ones that sent us letters of encouragement. We loved opening one each night and reading it. The heartfelt message on each card was precious. During the call, they read their “I have a dream” papers, asked us questions about what we were doing, about the kids at the orphanage and about the culture of Haiti. Marie Jean was up in the center of it waving to all the kids. They touched our hearts! We so appreciate Mrs. Amy and her class for their letters and their interest in our journey!
Miss Phyllis is such a vibrant lady of strength and dignity. She helps more people than even she can count. She is a very respected leader in the community and beyond. There is a certain protection that comes with living with her. A lot of people won’t bother you if you’re hers. She teaches us so much every day about grace. David told her he was praying for patience and she replied, “don’t pray for patience, pray for grace.” Voodoo clans have attempted to get to the orphanage and hospital, typically to try to get money, and were turned back quickly by the security guys at the hospital. Miss Phyllis stood outside her door and prayed until they were gone.
We have already met several people coming in on teams. A group from Illinois was kind enough to include us in their excursions. We went with them to Baptist Haiti Mission over two hours up in the mountains. It was cooler, and the colors of the vegetation were much more lush. We weren’t aware until we were there that it was the Turnbulls mission house. I had heard about them, seen their books, and heard about their ministries for years. Mrs. Eleanor Turnbull and Miss Phyllis are good friends and were able to visit and catch up with each other while we looked through the gift shop and ate lunch. When David & I were introduced to her, she said “I have rooms for missionaries. Whenever you need to get away either for a night or a week, call me.” Miss Phyllis reminded her we had only been here for two weeks. Mrs. Turnbull replied “now, Phyl, you know at some point they will need to get away. I just want them to know they have somewhere to go.” She autographed her book and included her email for when we decide to get away. It was a wonderful day and we can’t wait to return!
We didn’t receive our things/supplies from home until late evening on February 1st. Almost a month after our arrival. I won’t lie and say it was easy, but we didn’t go hungry and even though I wore the same dress for three Sundays in a row, many other women do that because that’s all they have. It was sure nice when it arrived to unpack our pictures, clothes, food, and especially the cleaning supplies! We got to work unpacking, organizing and then deep cleaning. It felt like we finally made it our home.
One thing we learned during the first few weeks was to listen and wait. Be patient, observe, learn, and wait some more. God kept telling us to just take things slowly, watch the kids, learn each one, their personalities and take things slowly. For the ones that know us, you know that wasn’t an easy task. But we did it. Some days we sat outside watching soccer games. Some days we just watched them play various games. Other days we pulled out corn hole or playdough. Ever so slowly, the older ones are starting to open up. It may be a smile, a couple of words, or a full conversation, but they are learning to trust us. We prayed about how to begin our small groups. David said, “I think we need to start with the leaders.” We went to Miss Phyllis and asked her which ones she considered as leaders. She gave us a list of names and off we went. We had a meeting with them and discussed leadership versus bossing. We told them right off the bat that we weren’t here to change their culture. We didn’t expect them to learn to speak English better. We are in their country and we will learn Creole. We told them we wanted to walk and work beside them to make things better, but we needed their help. We could almost see a visible relief come over them all. Things began to change after that. We continue to have meetings frequently and the bonds are beginning to form. We have quickly realized that with a group this size and with the wide variation of ages, we need help. We don’t know how Miss Phyllis has done it as long as she has.
Through this journey, we are learning to listen to His voice and wait for His guidance. We are learning to follow even though it may be a different direction than what we thought we were going. We are learning to trust Him more. We are trusting Him to fill us, guide us, and give us wisdom. Through it all we are learning to seek Him in everything. “In view of this, we always pray for you that our God will make you worthy of his calling, and by His power fulfill your every desire to do good and your work produced by faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12.