Once Upon a Time
ONCE UPON A TIME, IN A LAND NOT SO FAR AWAY, THERE LIVED…
Like most everyone, I imagine, I often find myself thinking about my own life. What am I doing with my life? What do I want? What do I have? Where am I going? Why do I do this or that? How can I be better? Sometimes this kind of thinking can seem all consuming.
Perhaps you, like me, sometimes find yourself in a setting that causes you to think about the lives of others. What is it like to be in that persons shoes? What do they have? Where are they heading? What are their dreams and goals? What is motivating them? How are they feeling? And I realize, the same way that I think about the details of my life (my Lord, my family, my church family, my work, my successes, my disappointments…) they are having those same thoughts. And I realize that the same God who sees the end from the beginning, who is the author of the hope that sustains, is aware of all these things and cares for them, just like I know He cares for me.
“Take my picture, Pastor Lex!”
The Shopping Trip
Earlier in the week Amy, Edna and I made plans to go to the grocery store in the “big city” – Port-au-Prince. I knew we had a group coming in on Saturday and I wanted to be sure to have what we needed to feed them. I was pleased when Lex decided that he would take us himself. He dropped us off at the grocery store and headed to the “Home Depot” of Haiti (aka MSC+), which was much more interesting to him.
There are a couple of new stores right next to the grocery store, so we decided to check them out first. One of them was a beautiful furniture store. Now ever since Cindy Brown had us stay in her amazing lakefront home, Lex has decided he likes recliners. Perhaps one day we will have one, but it was NOT going to happen that day!
Klodson demonstrates how to use a recliner.
We all enjoyed the “North American” feel of the grocery store – especially the nice air conditioning. We did our shopping and Lex was back to help us check out. That’s when the work began. We packed the back of the car just like we pack our suitcases when we’re coming to Haiti. Items are taken out of their boxes and stuck into every nook and cranny of space. It probably took a good 20 minutes or more to get the car packed, but we felt good about our success.
As we headed back toward Grand-Goâve we encountered a considerable amount of traffic. It was hot in the car and the car itself began to overheat. While we sat in traffic, Lex turned the car off, but when he went to start it again…nothing. I won’t go into all the details of how we pushed the car across the lanes of stop and go (mostly stop) traffic, but in the end, we were parked in a massive mud puddle. I couldn’t get out of the car without entering into standing water that I just couldn’t imagine letting touch my foot. So, I stayed in the car while everyone else went to stand in the shade.
Klodson and Amy shooting the breeze while we wait for a ride home
As I sat there by myself, my thoughts turned toward the people around me. The women selling their wares a few yards from me were sitting under their makeshift “store fronts” waiting for someone to come buy something. A little boy kept taking a towel and swatting the merchandise to remove the dust. Within seconds another big truck would rev their engine, sending a cloud of dust over us again and the boy would return to beating off the dust.
I wondered what it would be like to live in their shoes. To sleep and wake in this overcrowded city. To breathe in the stench of standing water, the smells of raw sewage and the grit of what we call “dust”. (It’s all the nastiness that covers the dirty streets and walkways – it’s not like the dust you wipe off the TV screen in your living room once a week.) I think about the contentment I see in the faces of the “mountain” women. In their ignorance of what they’re missing out on in the city life, are they actually really living life?
We spend our lives striving for success, but what IS success? How do we measure whether we’ve achieved it? Is there a dollar amount attached to it? I’ve heard it said that the ends never justify the means. Could it be that when we are driven by our own lusts for power and “stuff” the end “success” is a hollow chocolate bunny? Even if it’s one of those huge ones that every little kids hopes to unwrap one day, it’s still hollow. It’s still very fragile. It can crack or crush under the slightest pressure or from the tiniest knock. After a little experience, the child discovers they’d rather obtain a solid, milk chocolate bunny, rather than the hollow (and often fake-tasting) big one.
When I look back on my life, I realize the best successes I’ve enjoyed have never come from striving for my own ideas of success. They don’t come from looking out for number one. They come from Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Success does not come from getting what we want. It comes from considering the people around us and how we can do for them what we’d love for someone to do for us.
The Garden Hose
I often think of an analogy our former pastor, Kerry Twing, shared with us one day. He said we are like garden hoses. The hose in the means to delivering the blessing – the water to the plants that are thirsty. The water is not for the hose and yet by being the means of delivery, the hose itself gets wet. When we let God use us to deliver his blessings to others, we “get wet” in the process.
We are blessed in order to be a blessing to others. What if the hose were to decide it wanted to keep the water all for itself? I prefer to keep getting wet by making sure the water is spraying out of me!
BLESS BACK WORLDWIDE IS BACK
We are so happy to have another team from Bless Back Worldwide here with us this week. I can tell they are going to have an awesome week, as they are all troopers. Their flight from Miami was delayed and then their bus ride was extremely long, as there were traffic issues (gridlock) in the city. Nevertheless, everyone was up and at ’em this morning. They attended church in Thozin, toured the new library, began setting up the clinic, and unloaded all the supplies they brought along. Tomorrow they will begin on their main focus: doing well-child checks on all of our elementary school students, including eyes and teeth this year, and giving them their bi-annual worm medications.
Bless Back Worldwide on their way from Charlotte
Bless Back Worldwide in Haiti
CHARLIE AND RACHEL DETELLIS
We were so thrilled to have Charlie and Rachel DeTellis join us at church this morning. Charlie blessed us with an encouraging message about being complete, not in our own abilities, but in Christ, who is our EVERYTHING. We enjoyed a time of food and fellowship with them at the missionary compound after the service. Charlie’s parents, Pastor George and Jeanne DeTellis, are the founders of New Missions, which was my “point of entry” into the mission field of Haiti. Pastor George was very much a mentor to Lex over the years. When we started Mission of Hope International, time after time Lex would think back to how Pastor George would handle similar situations. Pastor George freely shared advice from the Bible and his decades of experience in the ministry. Our years in Haiti have been sprinkled with smiles each time Pastor George and Jeanne’s names were mentioned between Lex and I. We love and appreciate them so much and are blessed to see their dreams and love of God and family continuing on in Charlie and Rachel.
Charlie and Rachel DeTellis
I just wanted to share this picture of my friend with you. I call him Mr. Daniel. He worked constantly (for about 2 years) as a laborer when we were building the school. He’s older than most of the other workers, but I never noticed him standing around instead of working. He was like the tortoise in the fablef the Hare and the Tortoise. Slow and steady. That’s how he managed to continue working for so long. He would greet me with a big smile and a “Bonjou Madame” each morning. Now, I look forward to seeing him each Sunday morning in church. Sometimes providing someone with regular work not only changes their ability to care for the family, but, as in Mr. Daniel’s situation, it can impact their spiritual and eternal life. Mr. Daniel reflects the love of Jesus and I feel so happy whenever I get to see him.
Many of you know Feyo. We often say “he came with the property”. While this is a true saying, the reality is that we are very grateful for Feyo. He brightens life each morning when I see him. I call out to him, “Feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-yyyooooooooooooooooooooooo!” and he giggles as he replies, “Madame…hehehehe…Madame…hehehe.” There’s just nothing like Feyo’s giggles. Recently, we trimmed back some of the mango trees at the missionary compound. There was a small branch that got caught in the tree and never made it to the ground. Over time the leaves turned brown. I would see it every time I walked out my door and it just really bothered me. It was too far away from the porch to reach and too high off the ground to get to. I tried lassoing it – I’m no cowgirl, that’s for sure! One morning I pointed it out to Feyo. He grabbed a very long stick (he keeps it on hand for knocking down mangoes that are ripening in the trees) and in a matter of seconds the dead branch was gone. And I was relieved.
Martine has been a part of the church in Thozin since the very beginning. She was one of the young women that sang in one of our first choral groups. She worked as a teacher at the school and later became a key leader in the micro-financing for women project called Fondespwa. She married our friend Dulcis and they now have two children. A few years ago Martine decided to go back to school. She has now completed her nursing degree and volunteers at the MOHI clinic. We are so grateful for her willingness to give back to the community in this way. At the same time, we pray that the Lord will make a way for her to earn a salary at some point, as well.
Martine has a gentle manner
Amy has now been with us in Haiti for just over two weeks. This past week was a challenge for her as she’s not been feeling well. She seemed to be feeling better this afternoon and spent some time with the team. Would you pray for Amy this week, as she continues to recover and begins working as the host for the team? Thank you.
Amy and Baby
GLIMPSES OF HOPE
Our preschoolers love their new shirts – thank you World Wide Lighthouse Missions!
Food and Happiness