He loves like a Hurricane

Please excuse us for the time lapse since the last blog post.  We’ve been busy with birthdays, building, and visits from friends. Not having enough time to blog isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

April 1st was Jenn’s birthday. The big 2 - 4. When asked how she wanted to spend her day, she answered “a trip to the Dominican Republic, please.”  How can you say ‘no’ to this face?!



The border is an easy 1.5 hours away from Cap Haitien. We've both been across the border and into the DR several times. However we’d only ever travelled to the cities of Santiago and Santo Domingo. And only due to personal medical emergencies or to meet up with the International Children’s Heart Foundation, an awesome organization whose surgical team performs heart surgery for sick kids. What we'd never done was explore a beach town.

Let's just say it’s not a bad way to spend the weekend…Thanks Jenn for having a birthday!



From Dajabon, the Dominican border town, it took us one $5 bus, one $3 bus, and one $2 taxi to get to the town of Sosua. 

Arguably the most entertaining part of travelling in the DR is the sites and sounds one might be able to enjoy from the back of a bus. This gets my vote anyway. Small puppies sit on laps with their rear ends in plastic bags and men discover that their chickens are actually roosters as they set off on a extended chorus of cockle-doodle-doos, while the youngin next to me struggles to avoid death by an oversized popcorn bag, just to name a few. We always get a glimpse into this island nation’s favorite pop singles whenever 7 year olds, 70 year olds, and the bus driver all start singing and grooving to the same radio tunes. We love it.



He's young, traveling alone, and vulnerable to less then optimal seating conditions. 
I'm happy to report that the popcorn did not overtake him. Our little seat buddy survived the trip. 

Monday morning we picked up some friends from the airport! As we’ve mentioned before, we don’t have a mailing address here in Haiti which means we can’t receive packages that come in from the States or Canada. While almost everything we need can be purchased right here in Haiti there are a few things, like certain medical supplies, that must be hand delivered if they are to reach us. Monday night we were showered an amazing array of medical supplies and other gifts (thanks to our Moms and some exceptional friends).




Thanks Katie G. and your team for packing and sending the supplies to us.
We can’t decide what to be more excited about: the great Ziploc bags or all the life-saving medical supplies! Joke ;)

Seriously, thank you.

Warrick and Dana left on Friday to go back to Seattle. I think they enjoyed their stay. They got to see what our life is like here and why we feel so compelled to launch this ministry. The country itself is gorgeous and so are it’s people. The photos they took of the land and our neighbors capture this beauty to a T.







We were blessed to have them spend some time with us. Dana and Warrick, Thanks!

I do feel the need apologize to them for the ridiculous number of times we had to stop normal activity just so I could turn our apartment upside down and inside out. It’s not exactly the most hospitable thing to do but I had lost something of a certain significance.


The story ends well and is yet another example of how God provides.

I haven't yet written much of anything about my "job" on the blog. Shortly after Jenn and I returned to Haiti I had the opportunity to pick up some paid work through the Caris Foundation. We knew that the first few months would be mostly focused on managing projects and employees and those aren't exactly my strengths. We knew that Jenn would be handling that side of things and that I would have some extra time on my hands. I figured I would spend some of my time helping at local hospitals or something along those lines.



But, God provided something even better! Actually it was Jenn's idea that I contact the couple in charge of the Caris Foundation in Haiti. The previous year they offered me this same job but as I was still the nurse at the infant care center at the time I knew it just wasn't possible to do both Caris and look out for 40 - 50 babies. They returned my email almost immediately with a phone call. Not only did they have an opening but they had plans to be in Cap Haitien the following day. We could chat about the possibilities in person. 


We all decided that in the early stages of our ministry it would be possible us to juggle both organizations, especially with how well Jenn does managing the land and the work that is taking place. Neither of us were planning on "working" but this has turned out to be an incredible blessing. 
Essentially monday through friday I visit different hospitals in the North coordinating a program which gives hospitals the resources needed to test newborns exposed to HIV (babies born to HIV+ mothers). This test lets doctors know right away if a baby is HIV+ so that medication can be started before its too late. I feel very privileged to help out with this effort! The job has helped me to develop a better understanding of how hospitals in Haiti operate and I've made a lot of great connections with Haitian health staff. It's a win-win situation. Plus there's a pay check. 

Initially we figured I could send the money back to the States to continue student loan payments. That was the idea anyway. Instead, the last two months we ended up using a majority of the money to pay Second Mile Haiti’s workers and employees.


Tuesday I encountered a stressed Jenn! I knew that we were getting low on money but wasn’t too worried since we had a nice little nest egg in the form of a March paycheck. But Jenn’s Tuesday disposition let me know that we must be in a really tight spot. We were going to have to stop construction since we’d be unable to pay our workers.

It was just a really bad time to stop.


 


The trenches were already dug and the blocks were ready and waiting. We needed to build with the materials ASAP in case of rain. I knew that the work could continue just as soon as I could cash that check. The only problem,  I couldn't find it anywhere!

We joke that it was in God's plan for me to lose that check because something really cool happened as a result. 


On Tuesday evening Jenn and Dadou discussed how to approach the next day. Jenn shared with Dadou about how when working at the orphanage anytime she needed help with something the all she had to do was be present and willing to work as well. Multiple nights a week, when she wanted to clean the floors in the baby house she would simply grab a mop and begin to fill buckets with water. As soon as the nannies saw her at work they would grab their own mops and hurry to join. She asked Dadou whether he thought the community would respond in a similar way.  He was almost certain they would pitch in and help as well. They did! 


It was the perfect time to have visitors. We asked Warrick, Dana, and Adam, another friend that was visiting from PAP if they wanted to help. We wouldn't normally be wanting to replace the roles of the Haitien workers with that of foreign volunteers but Wednesday's circumstances were just a little different. 


When Jenn and our visitors first arrived at the land on Wednesday everyone (neighbors, workers, kids, etc) gathered under the tree. Dadou had Jenn give a speech about how we were temporarily out of money and couldn't pay any workers today. Our American friends were here to help for this reason. Dadou added that while no one was being asked to work today, we did still need help especially to pray for additional funds to finish the project. He challenged the group saying that if there were individuals willing to work that this would encourage people lot bo (Canada, America, etc) to donate once they were able to see that the community is behind Second Mile Ministiries.

About 40 people stayed to help and worked from 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. 



 



Women, children, and men, young and old all hung around to do what they could. 
If I'd been able to cash that check we wouldn’t have gotten to experience this.


The group accomplished three days of work in just one. Dadou, our project manager, awarded Jenn the hardest worker award. He told me that I should pay her for him. In light of the money situation I offered to treat her to a 25 cent Papaya smoothie instead. He accepted the compromise.  

The check stayed hidden the rest of the week which meant we were a bit low on just regular cash for living expenses. Once again God provided for us in awesome and unusual ways. We were down to just a couple of dollars when 1000 gouds ($25 usd) turned up in the pocket of a pair of jeans. This occurred just before running out of gas. Then the next day I was randomly flipping through one of the books our friend sent down with W & D. She had concealed $20 in the pages of that book hoping that we’d discover it at just the right time.


It’s fun, and sometimes funny, what you find lying on the other side of trusting your Maker.

In our weakness, or more specifically in our lack of money, his strength is revealed.
He used others to provide for our needs and allowed us to experience the generosity of our friends and graciousness of our neighbors. Everyday he's shaping us with His grace and love. He's helping us to grow in faith and become more in tune with his out-of-this-world ways. It's awesome. Sometimes his love rocks us and leaves us speechless. Other times we just have to blog about it.

Thanks for being a part of this process.