Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An ordinary workday turned celebration for Anna's 10th Birthday!

After a special pancake breakfast (Anna's had chocolate chips), while Brian headed out with the international team here to capture a glimpse of ministry opportunities here in Haiti, the rest of us headed to our respective work sites-- Brian and Byron to an orphanage where they were constructing a building; Dave, Cathy, and Lori to roof shelters in a nearby neighborhood about a kilometer down the road from the base/TG operations center, the Haitian Queen. I was riding along with them as Steve and I would be accompanied by Miguel, our translator so as to obtain GPS coordinates for recently completed shelters, meet the homeowners, and pray a blessing over their new home so the moving in process could begin!

Lunchtime back at the base, but raindrops turned into pelting sheets of rain as we headed to the worksite in Gressier to obtain tools left in anticipation of the afternoon's work--tomorrow would come soon enough, and work would resume. Preparations for celebrating Anna's 10th birthday could be done in a more relaxed manner--new Haitian friends and EFCA missionary applicants (and their 3 kiddos) visiting family in Christianville will be joining us for the celebration.

I wonder if Anna is still working out the details of her latest birthday request? She decided instead of a Barbie dreamhouse, she'd love a younger sister....and the others were headed to the orphanage again. Maybe tickets to a Jonas Brothers concert in Costa Rica aren't such an expensive proposition?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Initial Impressions of Haiti

Much of the world’s focus has drifted from the devastating images from January 12, 2010, when a 7.0 earthquake leveled buildings in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. As our airplane touched the tarmac, my husband marveled at the empty fields that had been occupied by major humanitarian agencies just weeks before. Passengers were still transported to an outlying warehouse for immigration and baggage claim, and I found myself reliving scenes from my past in other third world countries, wondering what my next week serving in Haiti with Reachglobal/Touchglobal would look like.

Throngs of people speaking a mix of French and Haitian Creole (neither of which sounded familiar now that I’ve lived in Costa Rica for two years), individuals offering their cell phones for a fee, taxi drivers, and vendors hawking food and drink crowded outside the chain link fence which separated the newly arriving passengers from that chaos. My stomach churned as we realized that our neon green-shirted Touchglobal driver was nowhere in sight, and that a wait would include time in the tropical sun with two large duffel bags, assorted carry-on pieces, and Anna, our soon to be ten- year-old daughter. My mind recalled a similar situation twenty years ago in Quetta, Pakistan, and I relaxed. God had brought me through situations there I wasn’t ready for with our infant son in tow, and He would be with us during the week ahead in Haiti.

Crumbled buildings, mangled autos burnt beyond identification, shells of businesses long since vacated or demolished remained, as did hopeless faces. Tents, temporary shelters, and newly erected tarps and organization-branded, Tyvek -wrapped structures dotted the dusty, rutted road to Gressier. Poverty marked indelibly by a major earthquake remains, but Sunday would dawn with a different sound—the sound of praises sung at sunrise, and a worship service with over one hundred smiling Haitians, the joy of Christ evident on their faces, dressed in their Sunday best(be it well worn, torn or stained from lack of adequate shelter)worshipping in an outdoor sanctuary without walls, shaded by a canopy of green trees, cooled by a gentle breeze, partaking in communion with one another and white-faced "blancs" from a myriad of countries.

God is at work in Haiti. Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Anything but Ordinary


Although clinical practice that includes antenatal care and prenatal education may often become routine, clinical practice with an international flair may be spiced up in some unusual ways. Several months ago, Dr. Deliana and I were deep in discussion, when the clinic receptionist posed a question that initially had us giggling. A woman had walked in off the street and asked the theoretical question, “Can someone tell me when my baby will be born? ” Most mothers know that children rarely pay attention to their due dates, so we told the receptionist to make an appointment for the next clinic, only to hear groaning from the waiting room. As much as I would have enjoyed “catching” a baby, our clinic is not set up for emergency deliveries, and after a quick assessment and a few questions, we realized that birth could be imminent…and I grabbed sterile gloves two sizes bigger than my hands, a dirty bulb syringe, and some linens in case the inevitable happened only to plod down the bumpy, pothole-laden road, behind numerous garbage trucks and buses hoping to reach the public hospital in time. I whispered words of comfort (yes, in Spanish) into this young teen’s ear, while lifting silent prayers for a safe and timely birth of a healthy infant anywhere but in the uncomfortable backseat of that car! She wasn’t under the clinic’s care for this pregnancy, but I pray that our desire to share the love of Christ in such a situation will bring her back to clinic-offered health education and parenting classes, and eventually to a Bible study planned for the mothers of La Carpio.

Pray for those involved in providing care for the people of La Carpio, for opportunities such as these, caravans to the jungle(next update), and opportunities for Reachglobal staff and healthy partnerships to reach 100 million people for Christ in the next decade.
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Me?. the jungle?

This month has been one that has stretched my faith and fortitude in unimaginable ways.
Being willing to go wherever God intends has been ingrained in my heart ever since an unforgettable morning on Front Campus, Wheaton College in 1982. There are times when my North American background and psyche becomes overwhelmed with suffering, poverty, cultural difference, and screams, "Why me?" But I would like to challenge us all to step past our comfort zone and do something outrageous--for your neighbor, for a stranger, for one another, and for God. Those small steps could lead to something life-changing, mind-boggling, and always better than we could imagine.

Pray for us (Brian, Anna and I) as we head to Haiti next. Me? In Haiti? Yes, and I am smiling as I think how many steps outside my comfort zone this life has taken me...and the many unique ways God has enlarged my vision. Start small....just one step!
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Representing Four Cultures

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