I am so popular!! I don’t mean to brag but if you just check with my grandkids they will show you how popular I am. They want to sit beside me at the table. They want to sleep with me when I am visiting them. And I just learned from my daughter in the States that my little ten-year old DJ said he was going to stay with me when he goes to college at the University of Kentucky because he doesn’t want to get a roommate that might drink! This just blesses my soul. This week I went to the Mole where Jody lives and Nene went with me. Nene is Janeil and Heather’s older daughter. We were going to be at the Mole for five days to celebrate Malaya and Rosie’s birthdays. WE WERE GOING TO PARTY!!
We had a Princess Party which made it very difficult for Gabe–He didn’t want his nails painted or makeup on he just wanted them to CUT THE CAKE! He would stick his head out of his room and say “Time to cut the Cake Yet”? Jody had invited seven of the neighbor kids. Of course they had never seen anything like this. We turned on the music “I’m a Barbie Girl in a Barbie World” well those kids cut loose and in my days we would say they really “cut a rug”! They not only looked cute but they knew they were something special. You see they saw themselves as beautiful Princesses just like God looks at them everyday–His beautiful Princesses!
Tonight, Larry and I were able to get enough electricity to hear an entire sermon by T.D. Jakes. He was talking about our perception of things. I had just told the Lord after riding 4 hours to the Mole that I was too old to do this. To be honest I have been perceiving this season of my life as getting too old to tango, if you know what I mean. I have told the Lord, “I have lost some of my zip, my compassion, my vision and my joy. T.D. Jakes spoke as if it was to me the very words of the Lord “Satan may make you think that you are too old to serve and that you have lost your zeal and your good times are over but I am here to tell you that is a message from the Devil himself!” Well thank you Jesus for answering these feelings and reminding me that I live in the land of Satan and the way he can slow me down is to make me perceive I am no longer useful!! Well back up Satan….This Old Light Is Still Shining!!
We began our journey to St. Augustine this morning. We are going to the church that John Davis helped build. Today they are celebrating an anniversary. We rented a truck and crossed the big river. Then about 30 minutes later we arrived at the church. I can still remember when it just had poles and a thatch roof. How beautiful it looked today! Some Americans had been there during the last few days painting the outside. Today, the church was full and there were lots of little children. Then a strange thing happened- I met a young man from Mortonsville, KY – same place my Daddy taught school. As we talked, I soon learned that I knew his mom and dad and went to school with his uncle. Oh my goodness! In a place no bigger than the end of your thumb, I met Jeff Fint who lives only a few streets from my home in Versailles! Now what was the chance of that?
As if that experience wasn’t enough, they asked Larry to preach. Of course, I love to hear my husband preach but that was not the most exciting part of today’s events! The exciting part is who we were able to have interpret for Larry.
Let me tell you about Patrick. Patrick was brought to America when he was four years old. His family became American citizens. He went to school in Miami through high school. Unfortunately, Patrick got into trouble. Patrick got messed up with drugs and he was deported back to Haiti. His 82 year old grandmother knew he would not make it at age 17 in Haiti. Since he never really lived here -he did not even know the language! When we came to Twa Rivye everyone told me not to talk to him. They said he was crazy. But I didn’t listen to them. I remember him coming to me at the Waves of Mercy church saying “Madame Larry, I can’t even get a cup of rice”! Well that is when I decided this was one street boy who was going to hear about Jesus from me!
I began helping him a little and telling him he needed to come to church. Every time I would fly into to Haiti or fly out he would yell “Take care of yourself Momma”!
Then he began to work some with Larry and change was taking place. We didn’t see him drunk! We didn’t see him visiting the brothels!! And, he started coming to church every time the door was opened!
This week he was in the Bible Study with Pastor John. He told everyone how Christ had changed his life. He had accepted Jesus! Well today Patrick interpreted for the first time Larry’s sermon as he preached. I got so tickled because Patrick would get so involved in what Larry was saying about Jesus that he would forget to interpret the message! He was listening so intensely.
I am so proud of Patrick! In May, he will have been here for 10 years. He wants to go back to the States to see his family. His grandmother is now 92. Who knows what the Lord has in store for this young man. But everyone in the community is talking about how Patrick has changed! That is what happens when Jesus comes into your heart and you truly accept Him as your Savior!
Yesterday I spent the morning getting ready for the arrival of John Davis. He is one of our board members– each year he comes in to lead a seminar with the men of Trois Rivye church. Larry had gone to pick him up when a RAT ran in my front room and into my bathroom. I yelled “Presendieu! Presendieu!” He helps me everyday around the house– he is also a former orphan kid of ours. (Some of you may remember he was the young man trapped when the wall of dirt fell when Larry was doing one of his big building projects years ago). Presendieu runs in with a mop! I yell, “I don’t want you to clean him, I want you to KILL HIM!” That RAT was so FAT and BIG– last night I could see him every time I shut my eyes. I kept thinking “I am going to go outside in the morning and see all those RATS in chef hats making soup like in that cartoon “Ratatouille”!
After such a miserable night, I was up by 6:30 a.m. because the men of the church were coming to my home for breakfast and the seminar. We served 17 men peanut butter on bread and Haitian coffee. The coffee was so strong that John Davis started losing some of his hair!! After serving the men, I came back inside the house to check email and to listen to John’s teaching on James. When he finished, the men had so many questions. I wanted to cry as I heard these men talk about the Lord. One young man said “We need to really teach the youth because when I was young I went astray during my youth days–I got in bad shape doing things I should not have been doing.” He kept saying how Waves of Mercy is making a difference and that he had been in this area ten years and could see the light in the faces of our Trois Rivye children that he had never seen before! Well that made me cry! One older fellow confessed he could never remember the sermon when he gets home from church and that maybe he didn’t need to come. John told him “No, you do need to come. You are an example for everyone who sees you there”. On and on, the questions came. The men are striving so hard to be Godly men and they get so excited when John comes and teaches them.
Over the last two days, I have been happy, afraid, and a bit depressed. Our furnace has gone out, I mean really gone out. I had my nephew check on it after my neighbor in Kentucky emailed to tell me my house was very cold. The repairs are too costly and a new one is in order. As my nephew quoted the price of $1600, I thought “My Lord, what a way to start off the new year!” I know I should be thankful I have a house to come home to… I know God will provide the funds we need… Most of all, I know all I have is His.. I know He will bring a blessing…
So with shaking fingers but a heart set upon my Savior’s providence– I emailed my nephew and told him to go ahead and get the furnace but don’t cash the check til Friday!!! I always loved that song “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills”! I am more than sure He can take care of us.
By the way– tomorrow we are fixing spaghetti topped with hotdogs for the men’s breakfast. We told them if they were late we were going to give their plate away!! Believe me they will be here early tomorrow!
Today as I was sitting in church I realized that I have been blessed and I have been touched by an Angel. Hey isn’t that a TV show?? Every Sunday there are always children sitting beside me. There is never a Sunday that one of them doesn’t touch my hair. They can’t figure out how I have this big gray stripe in the middle where my roots show! I am waiting on Becky Powell to bring me my Lady Clairol! Well after they stroke my hair they proceed to touch this little fat thing hanging from my neck. It seems to jiggle a bit and that makes them laugh. Then they move to my arms and they call them “grow” which means BIG! So my underflaps really give them joy as they wave back and forth. I have always said I don’t need an airplane to fly I just need to flop my arms. Then they spot a brown mole. I can’t tell you how many have tried to take that brown mole off my arm. Finally it is time to stand and I direct them to sit in the children’s section. Yes I have been touched and hugged and kissed each Sunday by God’s sweet Angels. Remember He said “Let the little children come unto me and do not stop them for the Kingdom of Heaven is such as these.” Our church runs a little over 200 and at the end everyone greets everyone and they kiss each other. Teenagers, babies, old people, men , women all hug one another and us before they go out the door. I think that is the way Jesus meant it to be.
Now on a funny note. It is awesome being married to an OLD Man!! As we were leaving in the truck today. He starts to take off and says “Oh no I forgot my glasses”. Larry goes back upstairs and has to open three locks to get inside our apartment. When he gets to the desk– he can’t find them. Then he looks in his shirt pocket and they were there all the time!! Just now coming home from church he reaches in his pocket to unlock our doors and realizes he locked the keys in the truck!
I can not believe it has been a year since the earthquake. Quite frankly, it seems just like yesterday. I still see many of the earthquake victims. I see the pain still in their eyes. You cannot go through what they went through and be okay quickly. Maybe you can never be okay after seeing family and friends being crushed by buildings tumbling down upon them.
When I go to Port-au-Prince to fly in and out of the country–it seems the tent cities just get bigger. Our mission has helped many of the victims in the tent cities. Our daughter Jody picked a group of 50 families near the capitol. We joined her and for several months fed them. You know I read all about how the “well to do” missions are just hurting the Haitians. Some say that we are enabling. But I ask, “What do you do when you go to a hospital and see many people just laying on the bare concrete because there is no room?” They come by bus loads to our area and have broken legs and broken arms on a bus ride that is a ride from Hell. No one has medicine at the hospital– so we buy medicine. We don’t wait to go through a committee because if we did they would be dead. So you listen to the Holy Spirit that God plants inside of you and with a broken heart you reach out as we believe Jesus would have done.
We have been here 30 years. We know there are con-artists and crooks among the truly needy and desperate– here there is a desperation that I feel no other country has. The government gives them nothing. Everyone takes– so they learn to take without asking! One year later, little has changed to the naked eye but I do believe some hearts have turned to Jesus. A year ago, many thought today was the end of the world. Many cried out that day for Jesus. And…many are still crying out for Jesus.
What a Sunday we had at our little mission church! First of all, I was sitting on the side of my bed ready to begin the day when I saw a big old mouse run into my closet. Well, I hate “meeses” to pieces! I tried to wait him out, but he never came out. How is a girl suppose to get dressed when a mouse is holding her clothes hostage? Finally with the quickness of a pouncing cat, I grabbed the first clothes on my shelf. Who said pink stripes and red checks don’t go together? I may have started a new fashion statement.
As we entered the church, it was packed and everyone is singing “Heaven came down and glory filled my soul”! It sounded like a group of angels. This Sunday was special as we celebrated our 3rd anniversary of starting the mission church–even more so because we had not even planned to have a church. We had planned to just do a street boy ministry but God had other plans and now our church runs over 200 each Sunday. Last nigh,t we shot off the last of the fireworks in honor of our anniversary. We had lots of special music and a wonderful meal. God has been so good to us.
Of course in Haiti with joy sorrow follows. Yesterday morning we found out that the blind man we had been feeding had hung himself. He lived down by the river and they are putting a bridge across the river. His house was in the way and they tore it down. Hopeless and afraid, he ended his life. I believe this happens many times in Haiti. This country is so full of desperate people.
And just like that, we understand why we are here… bringing hope to hopeless country. Celebrating with joy as much as we can to give them just a glimpse of what life in Heaven will one day be if they know the Lord.
One of our greatest blessings is our street boys who now live upstairs. I remember when we first began this program–we picked six boys and told them to go find six more boys to bring our total to 12 disciples. Each year for Christmas we take them to Jerry’s Restaurant by the ocean for a big buffet meal. Last night they had goat, chicken, pasta salad, potato salad, french fries and rice and beans. They enjoyed the meal so much and it was so good to hear them laugh and joke around with each other. We have become a family. Thanks to many of you the boys were able to unwrap wonderful gifts of clothes and shoes. We also invited those who no longer were in the program due to various reasons. We still love them and try to help them as much as we can. All of these boys are down at the river washing mopeds each day.
One of the first boys we ever helped was Briole. He and his friend Jude were beggars at the airport. Briole had a horrible life growing up. He was physically and sexually abused. Many times the voodoo people would come and get him and have him participate in one of their services forcing him to drink goat’s blood as part of the ceremony. His life was full of pain and when we began the mission house everything seemed to be looking up for him. One day Briole and a friend decided to hop on top of a bus and go to another village in hope to make some money. The bus almost turned over and in a panic Briole jumped to the ground. One foot completed turned around the opposite way. Thank God for Dr. Dale and the surgery team at the Northwest as they were able to operate and fix it. Briole was never the same after that. It seemed he had lost his strength. He decided he wanted to go home to Jean Rebel and we did not see him for a while until a few months ago when he came to me so weak. I thought he had Aids or TB. Again I sent him to the Northwest and they tested him. He did not have AIDS or TB but was anemic. After being treated once again, he wanted to go back to his home village for he had no strength to work on the streets. I think Briole lost his fight to live. Yesterday we received the word that Briole had died. Someone cut his throat with a razor. I don’t know the details. I just know that a boy I loved with all my heart is dead at the age of 17.
Briole was far from perfect. He did accept Jesus and was baptized but like many of us he had strayed away. There was a lot of goodness in Briole too. I will never forget the little two year old boy who was put on the mission steps covered in his own poop–it was Briole that tended to him. Women passed by the boy and never cleaned him up. But Briole (on his crutches) stooped down and picked the child up and cleaned him up. Maybe he saw himself in this little child.
Special thanks to Andrea Kolhman who brought these shots out for Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad still have trouble sustaining a connection to the internet long enough to send out pictures.
Yesterday, we gave out gifts to the nutritional children and actually had 60 more kids show up than was expected! Have no fear we worked it all out and everyone got something! I played Ton Ton Noel (Santa)! Lori had given us a mega phone for Christmas so I had a siren and everything welcoming my coming! I had on plaid boots, flashing Santa hat a face painted and big glasses and a big red noise! I had bells on my pants and I had bells on my wrist! I also had a toy flute that I really loved playing! The children laughing was all I needed to make me dance and keep the party going! After the give away they ate their lunch went out with happy faces! I told them Jesus loved them even more than Santa and that Jesus wants them to come to church every Sunday.
On a different note, yesterday morning while I was giving Larry a back treatment a man came to see us from La Croix. He had been one of the earthquake victims that we had received food from our mission. He did not ask for anything but instead brought us a gift. He gave us a big bag of grapefruit. He just wanted to say Thank You. It reminded me of the story of the Lepers in the Bible. Jesus healed ten but only one came back to say Thank You. This man walked a long way to say Thank You. This act started our day out with joy because someone came so far to see us and express his appreciation.