Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice when He could do something about it. But I'm afraid He might ask the same of me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

• Time For Friends •

This weekend we got to meet Dale, Jon and Keith. Dale is the founder of Life Connection Mission, Keith is a mission director and is an incredible singer and guitar player (we got to hear a bit of his music from his CD that was recorded for the mission), and Jon works with Dale and helps with the mission. Jon is originally from Haiti and his son Roberto was one of our guides and host on our trip there.

What a treat to meet these three men. Total strangers one day, and they feel like family the next. Sometimes I find it incredible that so many people can have a heart and a passion for the same thing yet lead very separate lives. But when they come together it's like a family reunion. Talking about the country, the people, the mission. We enjoyed a bar•b•que at Diane's house Saturday night with guests from Chillicothe that participate in the mission as well as Dr. J and his wife Chris from Trenton. Sunday morning Dale and Keith attended church with us at Dockery Chapel and Jon went with Dr. J and Chris to their church.

Our kids were all away on weekend visits and were upset they didn't get to be here. Taylor was determined to make it back in time to meet them. She was excited (even if she was too exhausted to show it!) lol. She flew back from Washington and rode home just in time to hop in the van 15 minutes later only to drive right back to the airport, just to meet and visit with these three new friends.

Jon was just as excited to meet Taylor I think as she was to meet him. He hopped out of the van at our house and said he wanted to be the first to meet her. I think Roberto has shared stories of our visit with our friends. ;o)

I want to thank Diane for being our hostess this weekend. Thanks Chris and Dr. J for our visit to your home when dropping the guys off, and thanks to Dale, Keith and Jon for sharing and coming to see all of us this weekend. I hope you enjoyed your brief stay as much as we all enjoyed having you. And, as Taylor said to Jon when we left "We hope to see you soon in Haiti!" (except she said it in Creole... smartellic little thing. ;o) lol

Friday, July 10, 2009

• More Friends •

Today was a trip to the airport to pick up some friends of the mission. :o) Dale, Keith and John came to Missouri for a visit with Dr. J, Diane and others of us that have been touched by Life Connection in our area.

It was so nice to meet these three gentlemen (even if poor Dale slept all the way back to town from the airport...under the weather I think would have been an understatement for his day). Tonight they visit with the medical team members at Diane's house for a short dinner, tomorrow is a bbq for the rest of us Haiti lovers! ;o) Lots of pictures tomorrow, I'm sure, and blog love to come. I just wish Taylor and Kelsey were home to visit and meet everyone. I know Taylor is upset she is missing the new friends since she's away in Washington again.

I must admit our ride home was a 'mini-adventure' though. Taking time to stop in the Amish community on our way. Dale still napping and Keith and John up for anything. We visited the vegetable market for fresh produce, stopped at the dairy and cheese factory, as well as a small local grocery store. It's a new experience for the fellows from the east and I'm sure a big difference in cultural differences from Haiti. John is Roberto's dad (remember our wonderful host on our trip?). We shared many stories of our memories from Haiti and it was just a welcome change to be in their presence. I can't wait till tomorrow to hear and share in everyone's stories of the mission.

I pray that their visit and experience here will bless them each in their own way, and that they will have safe travels as they head back home to the east and to Haiti on their next trip (which I hear is VERY soon!). :o)

They will be visiting Dockery Chapel on Sunday morning to conclude their visit if anyone wants to say hello and welcome them!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

• Coming Home •

Wow, so many mixed emotions. "Parting is such sweet sorrow." I know Kelsey is anxious to be home with her family, as are the rest of us. But somehow some of us are just not ready to go. Taylor and I will miss Haiti terribly and look forward to the day when we can return. It will never come soon enough. Kevin is just miserable due to his ear infection and I know he likes it here, but probably just wishes he felt better. Weather that's here or in America where he can get a good antibiotic for his ear! Diane is at home no matter which country she's in and after 11 trips, it probably doesn't seem like such a long way home for her.

We were afraid we would oversleep this morning so we ask Alex to be our alarm clock. Which he said would be no problem as he sounded out the tune of a western... It gives spaghetti western a whole new meaning, hearing our Haitian friends do sound effects. lol We were up before Alex gave the signal below our windows, anxious to hear his voice make the funny noises we knew we'd miss after going home. Listening to the ocean waves crash against the shore line every morning, the sound of the men working in the yard... and it's only 5:00 a.m. Why doesn't this happen at home? I wasn't a morning person before Haiti got ahold of me.

By 5:30 we needed to be heading to the airport. Bags are packed, being loaded into the trucks, saying our good byes is not easy. Bobi brought her mother back to the compound to go home with us. It wasn't easy for Barb to leave her daughter behind yet again. More friendship bracelets were passed around. We've made new friends and family here. How do you let them go? I remember leaving my sister's house every summer as a kid when my granddad took me to Oklahoma for visits. I cried for at least the first 30-40 miles after leaving her house. Somehow it got easier the farther away we drove, but I was miserable at first. It's hard to fight back tears when Alex is standing in the driveway waving and yelling "God Bless You! God Bless Your Families! Give them a big hug for us! Come back and see us soon!" It was a very quiet ride to the airport. Taking in all the scenes that we now understand after our short week visiting the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The hogs atop the trash piles, the broken down buses, the people walking, the smell of charcoal and sulfer. It all feels so familiar now. Not pleasant, but familiar. We want so much for Haiti. And then we pass an older man squatting on the side of the road drinking from a mud puddle where people have walked, cars have driven through, animals have drank from. That's something we won't see at home. Something we can't make other people understand without seeing it and experiencing this country called Haiti.

Roberto could tell we were emotional about leaving and having the heart he does, he begins singing our song again, making us smile and laugh. Then I realize we're at the airport. That long ride that seemed like it would never end when we arrived has come and gone in what seemed like 5 minutes as we're going home. There's chaos everywhere, people wanting to cart your luggage for you, unloading the car in record time as Roberto can't stay parked next to the curb for any extended period of time and had to get to the other side of the airport to pick up the next group traveling in. There are no long good byes here, a strong hug, a quick smile and a God Bless You is all we have time for. We will miss Roberto.

People are butting in line, shoving their luggage past you, we have to go through customs and immigration again, the long lines and the 'dumping' of our luggage to exit the country. When all is said and done, and our wait is over it's time to board the plane to come home I walk slowly going across the pavement to the steps to our plane. Taking in one last look at this country that has stolen my heart. The smells, the sounds.... it will never be forgotten.

Arriving back in the states seems odd. We've been warned about 'reverse culture shock' and transitioning back into our 'normal' lives. Normal doesn't seem so great anymore. We haven't seen a television in over a week, and oddly enough living with three teenagers, it was never once talked about or missed. It seemed strange to see a newscast on the airport television. Even more strange to see commercials for beer or pizza hut or even old navy. I want to yell for everyone to take the time to experience Haiti. To come closer to their Lord, closer to the ones He has created in other parts of the world. It's a long and odd process coming back into the states. But, once we're through immigration and realize we are closer to home the hunger pains begin to get our attention. After all, we didn't eat breakfast and it was past lunch time. Our American heritage takes hold and we head for Chilli's! Everything is done with a new perspective now...I eat a platter of food that would feed 4 children (at least!) and take the time to thank the Lord for the blessings He places before me on a regular basis.

After a very long transition getting back to our homes at 2:30 a.m. I was ready for a hot shower. The only thing I really missed while being away. I'll never complain of a cold shower again when the kids empty the hot water heater. It could be worse. Coming home was something I looked forward to, but at the same time has been so difficult. I broke down and cried at the site of my 5 yr old sleeping peacefully on the couch where he tried to wait up for me in his spiderman jammies. I cried, not because of how much I missed him, but because of how fortunate I am to be his mother and be able to provide him with so much. Somewhere in Haiti I know a little boy his age that sleeps under his mother's bed, in dirt and rocks.... and he's happy. Happy to be with his mother, and happy that he was able to eat today. My oldest son anxious to see us and share all the things we've missed over the last week that are 'routine' in our house. Television shows we never miss that he can't wait to tell us about and watch with us, video games he'd really like to have because he was able to play with friends' this week. How do I explain to him without hurting his feelings that it just doesn't seem as important anymore? He is important to me, but those other things will have to take a back seat.

Kelsey was so happy to see her mother we thought we'd have to hold her back in order to have the car come to a complete stop before she bolts from her passenger door to throw her arms around her mother. A child so greatful to have a mother who can provide so much for her. We all have been changed by our trip, in one way or another. God has touched us in ways that are hard to explain yet we're eager to share about. Someday soon.... I hope it will all make sense to everyone. Why maybe we cry a bit more from time to time, why we feel the need to wear a skirt (when it's not our normal style), why we see people just a bit differently.

If you followed our trip with our blog thank you. Bless you for thinking of us while we were away. We hope we can someday share Haiti with you through all our pictures and videos and stories. Keep following the blog because we'll share updates and visits and photos from sponsored kids. We won't forget Haiti, it's our hope that you won't either.