Friday, December 21, 2007

Running on Empty

People who are in the "giving" professions are supposed to always be ready with an answer, right? Of course, everyone knows that is unrealistic yet the expectation is still there. I think this is true for all the helping professions: ministers, teachers, nurses, doctors, etc.
Yet, when I was heading back to Haiti earlier this month I was running on an empty tank.
Have you ever been there?
I mean, I could hardly think of a postive encouraging thing to say to members of my own family, let alone people I might run into. This was the result of a month of travel and activity and stress leading to a mild depressive state or exhaustion. All that to say again, I was running on empty.
The morning I arose at 5 AM to meet our flight taking us home to Haiti, I remember praying: "God I have nothing to offer you." I hadn't felt that tired in a long time.
Still, I slugged through getting the bleary eyed kids up, dressed and in the car(s). Then hauling the seven pieces of luggage to grumpy airline personnel. Anyway, by the time we finally made it to the gate, I wasn't feeling any more energetic.
Still, as we boarded the flight there was a certain peace that only comes when you're doing what you're supposed to. I settled in our assigned row with my older daughter. She wanted to sit next to the window but I told her we'd have to wait and see if the person assigned there would switch with her. A few minutes later there appeared a youthful looking woman in jeans who didn't mind a bit if we switched seats.
As the flight lifted off, I told her again that I appreciated her kindness to my daughter. We began chatting about our children. Getting back into the Kreyol language was good, as there are nuances that just can't be expressed any other way. I found that her children were grown. She had immigrated to the states decades ago and then was summarily abandoned by her husband. She had spent the last few years working any possible job as she sent her youngest son to college. Further into the flight, she asked if I could help her fill out the Haitian immigration & customs card--she was illiterate. I found also that she was actually much older than she appeared-now approaching 60. Yet at this point in her life she wanted to go back to Haiti and run a small business to help those in her home village. Such a familiar story.
She asked some questions about me, as to how a middle aged white woman spoke Kreyol well? She said, "you know, I knew as soon as I saw you and heard how you spoke with me that you were a Christian." She was not surprised when she later met my husband and said, "he has the eyes of a pastor." I was startled towards the end of our flight when she broke down in tears and said, "not many people talk to me like this. I hope you will remember to pray for me. I'm not baptized yet, but I seek God." I assured her that I would. As we parted getting off the plane, I gave her a hug and told her, I would remember her.
I looked for her a few times after going through immigration and at the baggage claim, but there were two large international flights arriving and I never saw her again. I did keep my word and have prayed for her several times.
What later brought tears to my eyes was when I thought of how amazing God really is. Here I am, with absolutely no energy, no seeming resources of my own to offer yet HE can still use us to express grace and acceptance to those we meet. Only God can do that. It was an encouraging affirmation at this point that despite what I feel, what I little I may hope for, His purposes will still be worked out.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Market Days

This is an image I took a few months ago. It looks strikingly like many paintings done here in Haiti of the market women. Most of the folks that go to the market are female. I was told once this was because long ago men would be conscripted into the Haitian army if they were wandering around towns so they would usually stay at home on the farms and send their women in to do the buying and selling.
While the conscription is no longer a reality, it remains a woman's job to buy and sell. These gals will walk miles at times to go to the various community markets to sell their wares. This lady is selling mostly spices, onions, garlic and some chicken flavor bouillon cubes, all staples to the Haitian cook. Makes me smell the food just looking at this...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Downpour doesn't spoil a thing!

Today is, of course, a national holiday to Americans. As a tribute to our American guests, we invited some area folks over for a cook out of imported burgers, steak, etc. It was a lot of fun. The only challenge today was there was a huge amount of rain during the late afternoon. The nice thing was the kid's camp and fun still continued. Some of the kids even enjoyed the overflowing water! (see photo)
It's really about the simple things in life for all of us, isn't it? The camp ends tomorrow and the children will head home on the bus. Hopefully they will remember good times, laughter, and embrace the truths they've been taught.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Kid's camp

Whew, I'm tired tonight. I just spent the whole day out at Camp de la Grace helping out with various things on the first day of the kid's camp. There are 345 kids in attendance, about a dozen counselors, and about two dozen volunteers present. Today the kid's were making a small craft (tongue depressor, with Bible verse, & decorations). It wasn't much by U.S. standards but for these kids, they really enjoyed it. Just being able to make something new and to take home and show their folks was impressive.
Afterwards, lots of games, teaching of stories, and food. I was talking with the cooks today and they said these kids are eating the same amount of food as the women's camp week which had over 400 adult women enrolled. After eating the kids were just running around with the sheer joy of being alive and having full bellies. When the afternoon grew cooler, there was a scavenger hunt for the kids. I'm not really sure who actually won, but I know they had fun. That was the point anyway, that they feel cared for and have a good time. I appreciate those out there who are praying, as our vehicle is up and running this week and things are going well.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What's going on?

Not much, just the same old, same old. It's getting hotter in Haiti...current conditions, due to the clever craftsmanship of my abode are 85 degrees inside. Somehow, usually by 6 P.M. it's hotter inside my house than outside.
I've spent a lot of time praying the last few days for the desperate need of a reliable vehicle for the ministry's use. A used vehicle was donated last year to the ministry, which I really appreciate. However, it's not done well on the roads and with conditions here. In the past 10 months it's been in Haiti, it's broken down 3 times. I just have so little patience....I don't know how my Haitian friends do it. Anyway, I allowed myself to get frustrated with that. It's just I always wonder why the people trying to do such good things are always struggling with minimal resources? Yet I prayed about it, and left it with God as ultimately there isn't much I can do about it.
Still, I have to rejoice in what has been accomplished in the past year despite all the struggles. It's been good but tiring. All for now, really, I'll try to post more often.