Thursday, March 27, 2014

One Year

One year in Haiti.  Some days it feels like we have been here for much longer, and then others it feels like the time just flew.  The Lord has taught us so many things and we still have so much to learn.

We have had so many new experiences here!  Our life is so full.  It is difficult to sum up our year because we have had so many thoughts and emotions.  We will try to give a quick summary.

Our family has adjusted to Haiti in many different ways.  Some of us have been quite sick at times, and others did not experience much sickness at all.  The heat has been hard to deal with for all of us.  The past few months have been cooler at night so that has been a huge blessing.  To feel a cool breeze is a wonderful thing.  We know that many of you have experienced a very cold and snowy winter and long for warm weather, but we often long for a little cold and snow.    When we see pictures of snow, sometimes we just want to dive in it!  It is difficult to be away from precious family and friends.  We miss so many people and are very homesick at times.

We have, of course, grown to love the children we care for in our home.   We have a very difficult time thinking about saying goodbye to them so for now we are focusing on loving and caring for them and later we will prepare for those moments.  We care deeply for so many of the other children on campus in the Joy House, the baby house, and the other international staff children.   We have experienced death and so many children returning to their Haitian families or going to their adoptive families.  These goodbyes are often bittersweet and not without tears.   It has been such a blessing to us as parents to see our biological children really loving the Haitian children in our home and forming strong bonds with them.  It is not always easy to live with nine other children, but they are all doing quite well, even in the trials.  Some of them claim to want to stay in Haiti forever and some of them would like to go to visit America tomorrow.  We process these feelings often, and continue to pray for God to make things clear for our future.

We also have grown to love so many others.  The women that work in our home are so dear to us.  They put up with us day in and day out.  I have said here before that some days I long to be in my own kitchen by myself or to not worry about cooking for anyone else but my family, but I love these women and they have become like family to us.  They care for us deeply, and we for them.  So many other dear friends here, both Haitian and international.  It is hard to imagine that we didn't even know most of these people one year ago.  They have become so precious to us!

We have experienced a huge range of emotions here in Haiti.  Some days we just wanted to "go home".  We are overwhelmed and exhausted and irritable and frustrated.  Then there are the moments like this morning.  I walked Zion Hope, Fritzlin, and Loudena to preschool and we all held hands and sang all the way to their class. To see these precious children singing and loving one another makes me smile.  Or the times when we return to the home after being gone a few minutes or a whole day and have children pouring off the porch with arms open wide yelling "mama....papa"!   We have laughed can you not when you live with six toddlers?

We have cried over the probable death of one of the women who worked in our home whom we loved, and also over so many other things that grieve our hearts.  Friends who might not eat some days, people without homes, death in families both young and old, sickness.  And there are days when we don't see the hope.  We have cried because we long to be in our comfort zone once again in Michigan.  There are days we are so glad we have come.  The relationships we have been so blessed to have, the people we have met, the ways we have seen God work in our children and in us.

There are many people that know The Lord and walk in truth here in Haiti.  There is also spiritual darkness and voodoo.  Our desire is to speak the gospel whenever possible and to be willing and ready to speak truth to anyone.  We love that many of you have made it possible for us to hand out Bibles to many of our Haitian friends and acquaintances.

We would love your prayers!  That God would direct our steps in the coming year and that we would know His will.  That our children would be at peace with living here for now, and an uncertain future.  That we would have wisdom and discernment in each situation that we are faced with each day.  That our Haitian children would be matched with their adoptive parents soon and that those adoptions would process quickly.  That their hearts and our hearts would be prepared for those transitions.  Most importantly, please pray that gospel penetrates hearts and that many people will come to faith in Christ.  Thank you!