31 May 2007

rice & beans, beans & rice

it's raining again! actually, it's storming, and i just heard one of the biggest claps of thunder i've ever heard. of course, the forecast is for rain tomorrow, too. i hope it doesn't rain much during the day, so we can spend time at the beach!

we didn't get to go to sisters of charity today. we drove there and banged on the gate and no one came. finally we caught someone's eye inside and they told us "no visitors today." marilyn thought it might be a holy day today. and steve told me i couldn't take a baby from there anyway - i'd have to be catholic. i told him i'd convert.

i woke up this morning with even MORE bites on my legs, and two on my hand. and oh! i didn't tell you: yesterday i got stung, TWICE, by the same bee! it stung my wrist and i reacted by brushing it off (before i saw what it was) and then it stung my shoulder. so now i have two more welts on my arm. i'm telling you - i'm falling apart. and my digestive system is really ready for my normal food. uff.

looking forward to being home!

30 May 2007


i gave Eliphete his Bible yesterday! he was very excited. in case you're wondering, it's pronounced something like "elephant" without the n. not like elephEEt.

yesterday i was on the roof (hanging over the edge - don't tell my mom), painting the edge of the building. it was very hot up there, and sunny. i put on lots of sunblock, though. steve was pouring water on me and making me drink a lot so i didn't get heat- or sun-stroke.

in response to one of the questions i've received: sorry - they don't have giraffes here. however, if i see another pig snuffling through a garbage pile, i'll try to take a picture.

we're hoping to finish up mephibosheth house today! we are planning on not being back there after today. we might go back to the sisters tomorrow...

depending on the weather, the plan is for us to go up to Kalico Beach on friday. it looks like it's going to rain, though. of course. it's in the upper 90s here every day, and then it rains every night, and it rained all day sunday and monday. but it would really be fun to see the caribbean, you know? and to maybe get some sun!

i woke up this morning with a sore throat and stuffy/runny nose. also, my stomach has really kinda been bothering me since last night. i'd like to be able to be FULLY present for the last few days, and not feel icky. i'd really appreciate your prayers!


28 May 2007

holding sick babies

this morning, we went to Sisters of Charity (some orphans, but mostly just very sick babies) to hold babies. it was so sad... i picked up a couple different babies that were crying in their cribs, and they stopped immediately and were happy just to be held. but they sobbed as soon as i put them back down. there were just SO MANY babies. i held a 2-year-old that weighed 12 lbs. we were there over lunch time, and i sat on the floor and fed a few of them: cooked veggies over rice, from a tin bowl. i was so sad to leave.

all: thank you SO MUCH for your comments! it's been so fun to read, from family AND friends! much love... amy

27 May 2007

i'm falling in love

yesterday, on the way back from the mephibosheth house, we stopped by pastor dio's church. (the church is located on a side-street - we'd barely call it an alley) the local kids recognized dio's truck, which we were driving, and they swarmed us. they had all sorts of things to say, and i felt bad i couldn't understand them. they all grabbed for our hands to greet us, and one little boy kept making a thumbs-up and fist-bumping me. i crouched in the back of the pickup and took pictures of them with my digital camera and showed them the pictures. they'd yell, "blanc! blanc! femme! femme!", point to themselves for me to capture their image, and then grab for the camera to see the picture i'd just taken, passing it around and laughing as they saw themselves and each other on the screen. there were about 20 kids and i think i took pictures of all of them. they spontaneously began clapping and singing "frere jacques." i videoed it, and they thought that was just great to watch. SO CUTE. they made me laugh so hard, as they kept asking me, in creole, to take more pictures and show them. this went on for at least 10 minutes... 10 of my favorite minutes here, so far. :)

after eating lunch, the past few days, we sat on the floor of one of the rooms we painted, to sing a few songs and talk. yesterday, two of the haitian workers (including eliphete, who i mentioned before and will talk about again in a few minutes) joined us. marilyn, who has been here several times and remembers an unbelievable amount of creole, began singing the song, "Jesus, i adore you. i lay my life before you. how i love you..." in creole. the two haitian boys sang with her, and those of us who didn't know the creole sang along in English. my voice cracked as i blinked back tears: there was something so incredible, so moving, about sitting with these two guys, worshiping the God we shared, in our native languages. it was amazing to know that MY God, who hears the prayers of my heart, in English, also knows the hearts of those boys just as intimately.

a couple of weeks before i left on this trip, i realized i was missing romans 5 - revelations from my Bible. it made me sad because i've had that Bible since high school, and it has been with me through a lot of hard and good things. but i joked about it, asking ryan, "if you see my epistles laying around, would you let me know?" anyway, i looked all over our house and never found the majority of my new testament.
the week before we left, i kept intending to grab one from the bookshare or something at church (to bring with me to haiti), but on my way home from work on friday, i realized i'd forgotten. on friday night, ryan and i went out to eat at boca chica in st paul. when we were leaving, we backed out of our parking spot and ryan laughed. he
got out of the car and grabbed something off the hood. a Bible. now, i don't know about you, but no one has ever put a Bible on the hood of my car before. i laughed so hard and told ryan, "God gave me a new Bible to bring to haiti!"

so, i was painting the window sill in a bathroom while eliphete, who does "ceramic," was tiling next to me. i was chatting with him a bit and he asked me, "did you accept Jesus as your savior?" the direct question caught me off-guard but i said yes and asked him the same question. he grinned broadly and said, "yes. for almost one year." i told him i was happy for him and he said, "yes, i am happy, too." a little while later, he asked me, "do you have english Bible?" i said i did. he asked, "for me? to have?" i smiled, thinking of The Bible God Gave Me, and said, "as a matter of fact, i do!"

so, God gave me a Bible, so i could give it to eliphete. perhaps i'll find the rest of my old one when i get home?

26 May 2007

raining again

kim and pete! congrats on the house! i can't wait to see it!

kevin, i really hope you figured something out for the bulletin - it'd be awful if you didn't have church just because of me. :) maybe you had scott proof it?

mom, i miss talking to you on my way to work every day. :)

i'm pretty sure i have bedbugs in my bed. or something. i have sizeable red bites on my feet and ankles. well, i guess it's better than my face. tonight, i'm wearing DEET to bed, just in case.

i love creole rice and beans.

we met two girls at the store who spoke really good english. we asked them why it was so good, and one girl shrugged and said, "i don't know, i guess i watch tv a lot." heh.

i lost my white visor, riding in the back of the pickup. someone just got some brand new headwear.

it still reminds me of india. only the beautiful people are darker. and now i think i need a haitian baby. i warned ryan that i'm not sure how i can come home without one. :) the best part? he would be completely amenable to that. (perfect guy, really.)

i'm obsessed with the people here. who are they? what do they do? where are they driving/walking? what are their dreams? do they want more than this? do they even know there's more out there?

they live in a place that seems, to me, devoid of hope. their government doesn't care and there aren't opportunities. but you know what gets me? they DO IT. they get out of bed every day, hop on a tap-tap, and spend the day shining shoes in the park or selling mangoes at a busy intersection, so that they can feed their kids.

whether or not they know there's more out there, they live the lives they have. they don't pout or quit trying.

they work hard for the nothing they have.

is there anything more inspiring than that?

24 May 2007

White Girl: Out in the larger world

This is taken from an email Amy sent me tonight. It has been edited for your reading pleasure (I hope!):

today we painted a bubble gum room, a circus peanut room, and a robin's egg room. when i get home, i'm so painting every room of our house a different caribbean color. i love it. the splatters on my arm looked like a baby shower. i met a haitian today named eliphete. he's very polite and he liked the blue room the best. i said, "enchante" and he smiled. i'm pretty sure that means nice to meet you.

for dinner tonight i had an omelette de la creole (or something) - an omelet with peppers, onions, tomatoes and some creole spices. and frites. we eat at the same restaurant every night - a couple blocks down the hill. stuff is really expensive where we're at. steve says it's because we're in Rich Haiti - which is still rather dumpy (to me).

i'm feeling a lot better than i was. i think i just needed to adjust to the scariness and the dirtiness of everything. you know? i probably did this in india, too, but i was so young, and it was such a different experience.

it's odd how WHITE my TAN skin looks here. i'm remembering how I stood out as a white girl in India. little kids on the street smile with their white, white teeth and wave at me as we drive by. and steve is like a celebrity. as we walk down the street, all the street vendors call, "Passa Steve! i have _____ for you! gooood price fo my friend!" he's trying to get me a deal on a beautiful hammock. the guy told him his best price was 60USD, and steve told him i'm poor, so he should think about it and we'd be back. ha.

i'm really going to go now. i'm going to go read a magazine. :)

22 May 2007

sweaty and tired

it's raining here. POURING. marilyn and i almost got washed away down the street when we were booking it back to our hotel from dinner tonight. we're staying partway up the steep road up the mountain... so all the water sweeps all the garbage down the road to the lower parts.

(ryan must have recorded our brief phone conversation last night, because he wrote it so perfectly! it's amazing to have someone mirror my thoughts and emotions like that.)

one correction: Haiti is currently in the same time zone as MN - apparently they never sprang ahead.

today we cleaned and sanded and painted. very dusty. i'm still picking my nose. just kidding (not really). there isn't as much done in the house as i was expecting. like, there's no toilet. and we were there ALL DAY. use your imagination. no, don't.

it smells like india here. that may be because i haven't been to many other countries. i don't know, but i think i could fall in love. there are so many beautiful people and palm trees and flowers and fruits. but there's so many potholes and trash piles, and i'm not supposed to eat the fruit. a word on the potholes: it's a lie. there aren't potholes; the roads are one big pothole. like, i think many people would be nervous to drive their off-road vehicles here, but pastor dio
said about his compact car's tires (by way of explaining their relative longevity), "the tires know they are in haiti."

thank you for your prayers.


First Impressions

Amy phoned me last night around 10:30 ET from her hotel in Petionville, Haiti, right outside of Port-au-Prince, and gave me a little bit of information that I thought I would pass along:

She has arrived at her destination: safe and sweaty. She said that when they arrived it was about 90 degrees and utterly humid. Pastor Dio picked up Amy and the rest of her team at the chaotic airport and drove them to the hotel. Upon arrival, the concierge informed them that they did not have a reservation for them, but after a bit of a wait they were provided rooms; Amy has a second floor room with one of her teammates. They have standard electricity, which was a mild comfort because she brought a 10-inch fan with her to sleep and a battery charger for her camera.

They were able to leave the hotel to get pizza for dinner. She said that it was dirty and beautiful. So many people. Garbage everywhere. People selling mangoes and shoes and roasted corn. Children in school uniforms and pregnant women.

She is a little lonesome, but is excited to see what God has in store for them today. Pastor Dio will be picking them up this morning and taking them to the Mephibosheth Home to begin their work.

She also let me know that the hotel does have a computer, but it wasn't working on Monday, so she isn't sure when or if she'll be able to post. Although I'm not nearly as interesting to read as my eloquent wife, I'll do my best to post whenever I have some new information to relay.

Thank you for your prayers for both Amy and myself.


20 May 2007

India ruined me.

Seven years ago, I had the privilege of traveling to India. It changed my world - by expanding it. No longer could I believe that the world was made up of just places I had lived. To see real people living real lives in someplace as, well, foreign as India was mind-boggling. To see God in that place, in those people. To realize that He was not just "mine," but was known in real ways, in a completely different language.

Tomorrow, I have the privilege of traveling to Haiti. We are going to put the finishing touches on a home for special needs kids. In telling people about my trip, I have gotten various responses. Some people have been really excited, but also among these responses are ones like, "Haiti?? Why would you want to go there?!", "Did you know that the government has a travel advisory against Haiti?", and "Haiti is a hopeless place - there's nothing you can do to save it."

Yes, I know Haiti is a hopeless place. There is no saving it. I don't hope to save the world, and I know I can't even save Haiti. But in Haiti, live people. People that God created, people that I believe God loves just as much as He loves you and me. "For God so loved the world, He sent His Son..." Jesus came to a world that, at the root of it, wasn't a whole lot different from Haiti. God Himself put on dirty human flesh to BE WITH US. He loved us enough to come down to this place that we, in our selfish ambition, have stripped bare of even hope. And in loving us so recklessly, He was killed.

I'm not going to Haiti to be a martyr. That is certainly not my intention. My only intention is to touch the lives of a handful of special-needs Haitians. Jesus said, "Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me." Well, if Haitians are the least of these, the special needs kids are the least of the least. I am going because I feel called to go. I want to touch people from a different world and be touched by them. I want to love as I have been loved.

In struggling with all of these thoughts - along with my fear that I can't love in that way, that I can't be selfless enough to leave my comfy home and my amazing husband for two weeks to serve people the rest of the world couldn't care less about - I heard a song (by Sanctus Real) on the radio that made me cry, because it is my prayer:

You are the face that changed the whole world
no one too lost for You to love
no one too low for You to serve

so give us the grace to change the world
no one too lost for me to love
no one too low for me to serve
let us be your face

Thank you for your support and prayers. I can't wait to see (and be!) the face of God in Haiti...

I hope to be able to write again soon!