Sunday, March 24, 2013

New Experiences

I keep thinking about new things we could blog about, but then have a hard time finding the time to do it.  I decided that instead of writing a long blog about each thing, we could just share a few of our experiences from the past week.

In Michigan in March we typically experienced a few snow storms, much rain, and maybe a sunny day or two.  This morning it was 80 degrees at 6 am.

Cold showers would be much more miserable if it wasn't so hot,  but they actually feel pretty good most of the time.  Zion Hope still hates them, but we heat water and give her a bath more now that our friends gave us a bin to use.  Also, if you take a shower in the middle of the day, the pipes have been heating in the sun, and the shower is pretty warm for at least a minute or two!

Lizards, toads, spiders, and many other bugs are pretty common in our house.  Thankfully none of us are TOO freaked out about this.  I have to admit I just try really hard not to think about one of those HUGE spiders crawling on me in the night.

You can see, hear, and smell most everything going on around us all of the time.  Drums from the village, garbage burning, babies crying, children playing, nannies singing, roosters crowing, dogs barking, and toads croaking.  When you only have screens on your windows (no glass) you are more in tune with everything going on around you!  And it means people can hear everything going on INSIDE our house also!

Jade, Dan and I usually take turns doing our individual quiet times on the roof of our house in the morning.  We have a beautiful view of the mountains,  can watch the little birds play in the sugar cane and chase lizards on the tree, see men walking their cattle and goats out to graze, and view horses helping haul the harvested sugar cane.

We see hungry people.  The pictures you see of people that look hungry in the news or in magazines are not just pictures.  People are hungry.

Learning Creole is challenging, but we are working on it.  Sometimes we get laughed at, especially Gabe and Dan.  I think it is because Dan tries much more than me.  He is more brave than I.  I think Jadyn might end up being the family translator!

We didn't have any mirrors in our house for the first week we lived here.  Lizz took one, but I broke it about 4 days in.  I had one tiny 2 inch mirror.  Try not looking into a mirror for a day or two.  It isn't easy, but there is no vanity!

We like Haitian food, with one exception.  Spaghetti for breakfast was not a favorite
 but Zion Hope really loved it.  Most of the time the meal includes rice and beans, but there is always a sauce and some vegetables included.  We have enjoyed the meat that is served, also. 

Guava smoothies are a new treat!  Dan was the smoothie maker and we enjoyed them so much we decided to make them for our friends tonight after worship together.  Thanks to some tips from the Stolbergs, we have a treat to enjoy when guavas are in season. 

We are dirty a lot.  Everywhere we walk there is sand or dirt.  It brings foot washing to a whole new understanding!

There are things that AREN'T new.  The older kids still do not enjoy math.  We still have to work through things together as a family.  We are forming great friendships here, and continue to appreciate all of our friends and family in the States. 

The main thing that isn't new is that God is good and kind and patient all of the time.  He knows everything we are facing, just as He did before.  Praise Him with us for the ways He blesses us each day.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It is difficult to even begin to write about what has been going on in our lives the past week.  We keep saying we need to update the blog, but sitting down for long enough and thinking about what we are experiencing and feeling does not come easy.

What we do know, is that God is good.  He is good in the fun, in the hard, in the sad, in the new, in it all.

Many people have asked about our travel.  It went very well considering the details of traveling with 5 children and 3 adults, 10 suitcases, planes, cars, different airlines, and a total of 5 ascents and descents.  A few instances of motion sickness and several of those fun little bags they supply, but we survived it fine.  What a blessing to have Lizz traveling with us.

Our friends here waiting for us blessed us, also!  Our house was stocked with some food, our beds were made, and they welcomed us with open arms.  So excited to be living life with these people.

The children are experiencing new things everyday.  I believe the favorites are the new friends they are making, the babies they are helping with, the lizards, and the spiders (as long as they are not in their room).  They do miss their family and friends, but it is fun to have technology to cross the miles for us.   There are also other challenges each of us are facing, and we know there will be many more.

We are so grateful for the prayers and words of encouragement people are sending.  In the rough moments, it is what helps give us perspective.  Prayer requests at this time are for health, patience for all as we adjust and experience many emotions, adjustment to weather and a new schedule, and for us to have the ability to learn Creole quickly.  We are reminded of John 15.  Jesus spoke to his disciples just before His arrest.  His will is that they bear fruit, more fruit and much fruit.  But they must abide in Him.  He is the vine, we are the branches.  We must abide in Him.  That is a key command in this passage that is repeated several times.  In verse 5 Jesus said, "...without me, you can do nothing."  Please pray that we will truly abide in Christ.
Photo: New friendsOur first day in Haiti.  New friends are a blessing!