Pieces of the Week

So many stories, so little time (or, “So much to type, so little electricity for the computer”)…want to give you some pieces of my week!

  • A little boy fell and hit the back of his head on a rock – hard. It’s a small but deep wound. As it was cleaned and cared for, I talked to him about his bravery and I asked him if he could come back tomorrow. He told me that tomorrow was his birthday, he’d be eight! (Mind you, he’s the size of a 6 year old. And darling in a Chicken Little jammie shirt.) So last night Tiffany gives him a ball on a rope (the kind you attach to your wrist) & a candy bracelet…neither of which he’d ever seen before. And he was refreshingly just excited, big eyed as he found out that he could eat the bracelet, and shyly smiling as we sang Happy Birthday to him. He has a hint of a lisp and he’ll talk fast in his adorably high voice now that he’s comfortable with us.
  • In market, I try to buy from the same women. So I have a “bon-bon lady”, she sells Casino cookies & I try to only buy them from her. She’s extremely sweet (no pun intended) as we refer to each other as friend, she always asks me to sit in the shade when I pass her, and she’s patient with my broken Creole. I actually told her I wasn’t buying Casinos for a month, because I’ve been snacking too much, and she acted no differently. She gets a huge smile when she sees me, kisses me on the cheek, we tell each other how happy we are to see the other. She wasn’t in market all week and yesterday as I passed, the women around saw me and yelled “Your friend is here!” (except, in Creole). I walk over, wonder why she’s selling clothes today, and quickly kiss her on the cheek to greet her – it wasn’t her! I gasp, step back, laugh at myself and apologize as everyone watches, talks about it, and laughs as well. I walk around this poor woman and go to my bon-bon lady…who is right beside her. In my defense, it was bright and I had no sunglasses! And market is crazy! But my friend was still just as happy to see me, we laughed together, she told me I had just kissed her sister. And then, from what I understood, she told me that she wants me to meet her son – who she would love to see me marry. So she wasn’t too offended, which is great. This is just one of hundreds of embarrassing things I’ve done, in public, here in Cabaret.
  • Ephesians 5 in church last Sunday – “…life a life of love…”
  • We have an adolescent friend who comes to Shernando on an almost daily basis, and we’re always telling her she needs to be in school (because we know that she’s enrolled). This morning she came in her uniform, school won’t let her stay because she can’t pay. This is why she hasn’t been going. She’s a girl who lives in a poor community where she’s one of the only kids who can read – so she reads for the other children when they want her to. She only sees her mother when she happens to pass her in market and she doesn’t live with her father either. What’s she supposed to do? We’re working on answers for her. There’s no way that we can stay still when we happened to be born in America, by no work of our own, where education isn’t a question.
  • Our English class is going great, this past week I taught body parts on Tuesday & cooking vocabulary on Thursday. Kids care a lot more about vocabulary than learning how to use it, so I’m working on finding that balance with them. They’re learning respect and they’re used to having a white girl teach them – and I’m learning as I  swallow some humility while I butcher Creole trying to teach a room full of Haitian students. Ever had a group of kids sigh and sit back, done trying to communicate with you after they ask you a question five times in a row? The sigh is the same kind I know foreigners get back home when they’re trying to communicate. It’s not fun.
A glimpse of some kids at ECCC before class starts. Some are our students, some are kids who just want to watch....we're getting used to being watched with everything that we do.

A glimpse of some kids at ECCC before class starts. Some are our students, some are kids who just want to watch….we’re pretty used to being watched. Here, we were talking and using Google Translate on my phone as girls asked about random vocabulary.

  • Two weekends ago, we went to Flag Day – A big deal! We took a tap-tap to Archaiae and experienced the equivalent of a festival back home, like a community street fair. Vendors, President Martelli, dancing and presentations in the sidewalk – this culture is so beautiful, and these people are so full of potential! Also, Mother’s Day was Sunday. In church, watched the pastor’s wife sing and then come into the congregation to kiss the cheek of every mother. Then the whole congregation got up and kissed the cheek of every mother. Sometimes it’s just fun to do holidays here, see the differences and similarities, and just take in the culture.
  • And the same as every week, kids took my phone, saying they needed it for something. When I got it back, I had some great gifts that I’d like to share with you:

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Next time I write, it’ll be from the Sant Mouvman!

Love Doesn’t Give Up

Many of you involved with CPR-3 or my prayer updates have heard a little about Jessica & Hope – two adorable sisters who were dropped off by their mother at a CPR-3 site last June. Jessica is about five years old, although she’s small enough that she was wearing a onesie last week, and she’s beautiful. She’s hesitant to show emotion and it’s common to talk to her all afternoon and get nothing more than her looking at you when you talk as the biggest reaction for the day.

Jessica in March, our first month in Haiti

Jessica in March, our first month in Haiti

When we (Tiffany and I) first arrived, Jessica would stand far away, just watching us. She slowly warmed up as visits passed, playing with other kids while we were there, but still didn’t get near. The first day she followed the children to play with Tiff’s hair, we celebrated on the tap-tap home afterwards. We visited with Amanda and I watched patience and love as Amanda, no matter if Jessica responded or not, continued to ask questions, read, and talk about the day. It’s hard to keep this up visit after visit – you catch yourself “Does she understand?” “Is this pointless?” “Why am I trying so hard, it’s like I’m not even here”.

Last Sunday, Jessica played with me. My church is in her community and when I got out she was laughing, playing, talking in her adorable squeaky voice, and responding to my questions. I was overflowing, laughing with her and talking to her the whole time. (If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you saw a picture of her laughing last week!) In the afternoon, she got quiet again…no reason to it, but I went back to talking and asking questions despite her lack of reaction. Coming to me if I motion that I can carry her, or walking around the corner to sit by my as I talk with the girls doing laundry – but silently. We took the kids to the ocean (a ten minute walk!) and carried Jessica and Hope while the other kids skipped along…continuing to pour into them, even when they weren’t reacting.

Last Sunday - you can hear the laughter just looking at her face!

Last Sunday – you can hear the laughter just looking at her face!

This Sunday, she was quiet again. Sharing my lap with another girl, not really talking as I asked her questions, she sat in silence for about a half hour. Then she turns her head up to look at me, and in a voice so quiet I have to lean down, I hear “lanmè?” (Creole for “The sea?”). I hid the fireworks inside and gently asked her if she liked the ocean, if she wanted to go, if she remembered last Sunday. She timidly replied back “wi” to all of the questions, nodding her little head slowly with a hint of a smile creeping onto her face. I promised her we could go tomorrow and she smiled, content as I repeated the promise in her ear while she turned back to face forward.  She remembered! She asked a question, on her own, and is moving to understand our love for her and that we WILL come for her! That she can ask, and we will respond in love!

You should have seen her face when Amanda, Kellie & I showed up yesterday to take her.

What a parallel to God, right? We are the Jessica’s – hurt by this world, not responding, definitely not talking and laughing with Him. He has no need for us, no reason to keep visiting (especially since it’s a lot of time spent with no reaction anyway)…yet he continues to show up and pour into us. When we aren’t responding, he keeps coming. I can definitely remember times in my life where He could have asked “Why am I trying so hard, it’s like I’m not even here”. His heart is broken with ours. He wants to show us our potential, he wants to see us play, he wants to talk with us, he wants to take our hand and walk with the ocean with us. The ocean that he created, under a blue sky and shining sun. And we are silent, we aren’t responsive, we’re in our own world.

But he keeps coming.

He’ll remain by our side – no matter how we’re reacting to Him in the moment (if we’re reacting at all). And you know what? After a long time, some of us react. We don’t turn around completely all at one time, we may shut back down that afternoon. We don’t start talking to him every time and we don’t open all of ourselves up – but we start to trust Him, because He keeps showing up, and when he shows up – He is good.

Man, He is patient with us. I’m so thankful that He has continued to come hold my hand, talk to me, love me – even when I’m not responding.

Glimpses of April

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Pouring the roof a few weeks ago.

Hard workers every day at the Sant Mouvman!  The progress this month is crazy – it looks like there’s a week worth of new work every day when we stop by in the afternoon! There’s a core of about ten workers who are now working 7am – 7pm each day, while more workers work 7am – 4pm.

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What the guest house looked like earlier this week – not even a week later, it doesn’t look the same today!

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Small glimpse of a classroom at ECCC. This is where we held our first ESL class (we’re now in a classroom that is made up of more benches than desks), you can see Tiffany talking with a student who stayed late to talk. Class is from 2-3 in the afternoon, but the crowd has grown after class and we’re usually at the school until 4.

I’d love to have a few more pictures of the class for you – but pulling out my phone means that I have to spend ten minutes of the class just settling kids down again. (Teachers, I’m sure you understand!)

This is before class (these girls aren't in the class, they're some kids that we love to visit with when we're in Bercy) - see what I mean about the pictures? I love Loughani's face here :)

This is before class (these girls aren’t in the class, they’re some kids that we love to visit with when we’re in Bercy) – see what I mean about the pictures? I love Loughani’s face here 🙂

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Our latest team from Grace Canada in CPR-3’s Moringa Center, watching the process of dried leaves turning into powder. This plant is the key to CPR-3’s initiative against malnutrition – the tree only grows in malnourished countries, with leaves that carry all of the vitamins that a person needs each day in just two tablespoons.

So cool to see this process from planting seeds to seeing the progress of two sisters who looked like twins last June. The girls are 3 years apart (the oldest is five) – yet they were the same size, with sad faces and noses that were constantly running.  The sisters, Hope and Jessica, are now two different sizes! They are healthier, starting to look happier, and they represent the potential to turn lives around with proper nutrition given by this ‘miracle plant’.

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Amanda feeding some rice with moringa to Hope – a girl that was abandoned on a CPR-3 construction site last summer. Love, attention, prayers, and moringa have made a difference in this girl’s life over the past 10 months!

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Beyonce & Fritzlande – two girls who live in one of our partner villages. Beyonce has the biggest smile and her favorite place to sit is my lap. Some of the best afternoons are spent in Laborderie building relationships with teenage girls after school while this 3 year old giggles with me.

Laborderie is a community just a few minutes away from our future home in Bercy. This is where I go to church, visit Stefan (a boy who loves our similar names) to help with ESL, and sit in the shade on a chair that is brought out for me to just talk in Creole with girls. The girls have moved from standing off to the side to sitting across from me and asking questions while answering mine. My goal is to focus on this exact group with the theme of worth & beauty as a daughter of THE king. I see beauty and potential in each girl, overlooked or underestimated by others.

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Same community – Laborderie is near the beach. The last team, Grace Canada, walked with the kids down to the water. On the way back, Josh (with the guitar) was singing as he walked with a crowd behind me!

And some pictures of day to day life…

Picking up green peppers in market, 3 for 25 gourde  (Yeah, I know I have an outdated hair clip in...it's hot, all I care about is getting it up somehow!)

Picking up green peppers in market, 3 for 25 gourde
(Yeah, I know I have a 90’s hair clip in…it’s hot, don’t judge!)

And cooking...no part of the animal is wasted. Amanda & I don't like being watched by the fish, our friends laugh at us and suck the eyeballs out before eating the entire head.

And cooking…no part of the animal is wasted. Amanda & I don’t like being watched by the fish, our friends laugh at us and suck the eyeballs out before eating the entire head.

Progress! This was a few days ago on the top floor of the Sant Mouvman. Tthey're already done with the finish work, it took half of a week for the finish work with the concrete in this area.

Progress! This was a few days ago on the top floor of the Sant Mouvman. Tthey’re already done with the finish work, it took half of a week for the finish work with the concrete in this area.

Visitors drop by almost every day. Tiffany: "I wish I could be your age again. Just be cute, color, and eat snacks all day."

Visitors drop by almost every day. Tiffany talking to Maryanne’s daughter: “I wish I could be your age again. Just be cute, color, and eat snacks all day.”

Eating melon off the rinds that I was cutting for family dinner with some freshly painted nails.

Eating melon off the rinds that I was cutting for family dinner with some freshly painted nails.

"Trampoline" for a boy bored at his mother's stand in market.

“Trampoline” for a boy bored at his mother’s stand in market.

Trying to carry lots of plants & plantains back from market, we tried to organize it into a bookbag. She had a long walk ahead of her and leaves kept falling!

Trying to carry lots of plants & plantains back from market, we tried to organize it into a bookbag. She had a long walk ahead of her and leaves kept falling!

And finally...what I get on my phone after letting a friend use it for music. You should have heard my laugh when I went to upload pictures from my phone and found this surprise. Half a dozen selfies, mixed in with some videos too. This is Beyonce's dad, he loves Akon & had a new haircut the day that he borrowed my phone.

And finally…what I get on my phone after letting a friend use it for music. You should have heard my laugh when I went to upload pictures from my phone and found this surprise.
Half a dozen selfies, mixed in with some videos too. This is Beyonce’s dad Dadiye, he loves Akon & had a new haircut the day that he borrowed my phone.

Happy Friday! Right now we’re boiling water for rice and visiting with kids who are helping our new intern, Kellie, learn Creole. Tomorrow is Fet Drapo (Flag Day) here in Haiti, we’re already seeing celebrations start today. Kindergartners are running around with miniature flags and as I bought food for family dinner everyone was talking excitedly in market about their plans.  Praying for our friends tonight, and how each dinner makes an impact for His kingdom!

“Movement”

CPR-3 isn’t called a missions organization. CPR-3 is a movement. So what does that look like, day to day? How do you even define a movement?

I can tell you that movement is what I see when I compare May 16th to March 2nd.

Movement is what I see rippling out as a  new team arrives back home and I can see the awareness spread as they can’t contain everything they experienced for a week here.

Movement is the differences in openness in relationships.  I’ve been putting myself out there for during the past two months, praying that God will soften hearts for ministry to girls here. The toughest girls, the ones I never would imagine I would pour into here, visited Shernando – for the first time since CPR-3 started!  I visit them throughout the week, I go to see them before church starts, and I sit with them afterwards.  They’ve transformed from standing and talking about me to pulling up a chair to talk with me.

I see movement in children correcting each other before I say a word, passing on lessons that I have been trying hard to pass to them.  THAT’S real change, that’s what will really last.

Movement is getting a new intern and beginning to teach her – just to sit back and realize “Was it only two months ago I was in your shoes?”.  It’s seeing the changes in yourself, interacting with people who treat someone else as the new girl and you as the girl that they’re getting to know.  It makes a difference to be here on the ground and show people a different picture of a missionary in the community – one who is focused on the long term development in their country.  Someone who believes this development is possible, that we’re past the handouts you give to a country in disaster.

Movement is what happens when you trust it all to God and you pray, with all your heart, for everything you touch that day.  And it’s happening, here on the ground in Haiti.

God is moving

…but our Internet is not!

Sending this from my phone to let you all know that I’m still alive & well – we haven’t had working Internet for the past couple of weeks.

Right now Grace Canada is here for the week with a team, processing Haiti and refreshing us with their new perspectives as they take it all in. Every day is full if the highest highs and the lowest lows – that’s the reality of living on mission.

Today I’m praising God as he covers us in his Father’s love and I’m crying (literally, crying) to God as I can’t forget the sounds and feelings of a small body crumbling into tears as she has to say goodbye, as she just radiates brokenness and hopelessness. I want to cover her in love – and I’m begging God to lead her to Him one day…I will always have to leave, he never turns around for one second.