Monday, March 28, 2016


As my kids have grown older, my life has changed.
There are the usual changes: wrinkles, random gray hair, decreased metabolism.
And then there are other changes. A reaching for prose before poetry. Laughter that takes more work to come. Talks with teenagers that exceed my bedtime.

When we moved into this house almost 14 years ago, we said we would never move.
We loved it and it was home.
We walked to the park almost daily. We walked to story time at the library. We walked to swimming lessons at the pool. We held ballet lessons in the basement. Spanish classes as well. There were recitals under the trees and on the patio. Pony rides in the yard on birthdays. Blazing fires on winter nights with hot chocolate and books. Always a piano playing. Or a violin. Or both. Children playing dress up in the basement. Cookies in the oven. Kids sleeping in the tree house.

A never ending round of friends and family. Ma Glo walking up from next door. Natalie stopping by to pick up her milk and stay for tea. Julianna, Sarah, and I eating cherries on the porch. Tobi coming at the moment I happened to be delivering kittens. Dayna teaching me to can peaches in the kitchen. Jim and Nancy helping great grandma and grandpa up the steps to come in for dinner.

This house has been more than a house, it's been a home.

It will be hard to leave.

We have one more week in our home and then we move.

It is good. We are moving to a house that is close to everything I do with the kids. I will no longer have to spend half my life in my car. This is a huge blessing.

The house itself is lovely. Symmetrical. Solid. Well planned and lovingly maintained.

Ma Glo is moving with us. There is an apartment above the garage where she will perch. We couldn't do without her.

Ma Glo at her surprise birthday party that she almost slept through.

As my kids have grown older, my life has changed.
Some of these changes have caught me off guard.

But not one of them has caught God off His guard. He has led very obviously and we are so thankful for His clear direction.

So we are leaving our house, but we're taking our home with us.
Because our God, this family, these friends, they're coming, too.

And only God knows what other surprises are in store....

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Door and the Light

There is a door in the wall.

Last year when Dave and I went to Haiti to build a house, with a team from our church, we saw the door closed.
The community that was adjacent to that side, known as the Grand Ravine side of the seminary, was riddled with gang initiated violence. The shooting of a seminary watchman closed the door.
When Dave and I built last year, we built on the other side of the seminary. There have been over 30 houses built in that community. As the workers gave physical shelter the seminary students built relationships in the community. People have, and are, coming to Christ. Although the sights and smells were shocking to me last year, they were also alive with hope. People in the community smiled and sang with us, they nodded when we talked about Jesus. You could see God's Spirit at work.

This year we ventured back with our four children. We had heard that the gang leader from the Grand Ravine had approached our friend Mason, who is a missionary at the seminary, and asked him to begin building houses in the Grand Ravine. We rejoiced in this yet we were a little surprised when Mason told us we would be building on that side. Remember the four children part of this story?
We flew into Haiti on Monday and began work Tuesday morning. There were about 15 Haitians working on the house, plus Mason and our family. The first thing we did was make a human chain to transfer 100 concrete blocks onto the foundation to begin the walls. I passed a block to Rose and she promptly collapsed. The blocks were as heavy as she was and my only defense in handing her one was my optimistic nature. Rose was out. Then, I saw Dave pass a block to Avonlea. I saw all color drain from her face. Avonlea was out. We finished the block and the girls had better luck spreading mortar.

Rowan with some of his friends from the Grand Ravine

Dave and Grant holding the ladder

Rose washing her own clothes in the sink!

Jennica, our first friend in the Grand Ravine
After two hours Rose announced she was done. As I walked her back to Mason and Lauren's house to play with their kids, she asked, "Why are all these African Americans in Haiti?" Ummm. She wasn't quite ready for that history lesson.

The rest of the day was spent hauling block and concrete, playing with the kids, and building concrete frames.

At night we had dinner and hung out with Lauren and Mason. They were wonderful hosts.

The second day was more of the same. We built relationships with the children. I was amazed at the difference between the two sides of the seminary. The children in the Grand Ravine knew none of the hymns I tried to use to engage them. When I talked about God they shook their heads in confusion. The door into the Grand Ravine was open, but the darkness persisted.

Throughout the day I noticed a change. We taught the kids a Teen Mission song called Walking In the Light. We taught them This Little Light of Mine. We played and laughed and sang. The seminary students walked around and talked to people, sharing the gospel. I could see the Light starting to penetrate. As we left that day the children held our hands and accompanied us out of the door while we all sang Walking In the Light. Praise!

The house before the roof went on

playing with the kids

The Grand Ravine

Rosy's favorite friend Venessa

Thursday we went to Merger to see our sponsored children. Merger is a slum town where our church partnered with a national pastor to start a school. We played on the playground with the two little ones. Our older student, Ricardo, took us to his home. We had a translator and had a good conversation with him. Then we prayed over him. Rose first, then each of the children in succession of age, just like we pray at home. Dave and I prayed a benediction of Light over him. I was crying as we left. At lunch, we were told that one person in the Grand Ravine had responded and accepted the gospel while we were gone in Merger. Praise!

Merger kindergarten class

Rose was surrounded by cuteness



Rose was a little overwhelmed by the love
 Thursday night at 2am (Friday morning) I woke to incredible pain in my stomach. It felt as though my insides had been put in a Vita-Mix. This frothy concoction was anxious to exit through any possible channel. I was sick. At 3am while still excreting, the generator quit and the lights went out. I was in totally darkness, directing my vomit toward what I believed to be the general direction of the toilet. The darkness, the pain, the smell (later I found there were dead mice decomposing under the sink) were other worldly.

Rowan was sick by 7:30 am. All of us took antibiotics. Rowan and I stayed in bed all day Friday. We missed the key ceremony and house dedication. We missed breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a last night of fellowship with Mason and Lauren. But by Saturday morning, we were able to board a plane and head for Florida.

The scenery in Florida is beautiful but it doesn't hold a candle to the beauty of Haiti. God's creation is lovely, but the people He created are loveliest of all.
Oh the beauty of them!

This trip was a great gift. I was able to hold and love beautiful children. I was able to watch my children interact with all types of people. I could see the fruit of unconditional love in them, an acceptance of others no matter how dirty or naked. I was given a period of sickness to taste, for a bit, the darkness and despair of those around me without Christ. I was given fellowship with my husband and our friends, Mason and Lauren. I was given a front row seat in watching God open the door.

Walking out together

The door.
The door in the wall is open and the Light is pouring in.



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