Nailing Jello To A Tree

Parenting is a lot like trying to nail jell-o to a tree!

Oh How He Loves Me!

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. Just to take Him at His Word. Just to know His loving presence. Just to say, “thus says the Lord.”

A couple of weeks ago, I was praying (for days on end) that God would remind me that “He’s got this!” I have peace about Kirk’s job situation and peace about the trip  to Uganda. But I kept praying, “God you’ve done so much for me already and you’ve written an entire book for me to read about how much you love me, but could you just show me again how much you love me.” I felt selfish asking again, “prove your love to me.” I spent hours each day reminding myself of all He has already done for me throughout my life, reading the Bible about all He has done throughout history. Yet still I had the audacity to ask again, “God, show me again that you’re in this and you’re working for my good.”

While writing my last blog post, I was planning to ask my readers if they wanted to donate and support the cost of the trip. But God told me, “NO! Don’t ask.” So I obeyed.

One day in school, a rep came to promote their NCLEX review course. She announced that she would do a drawing at the end, she didn’t say what the prize would be. I prayed, “God, if you love me, let me win.” Immediately I felt profound guilt. How dare I demand that of God and put Him in a corner. If He didn’t have my name drawn, would I really doubt His love, NO. So I repented and told Him it wasn’t fair, and that I know He loves me. Guess what, my name was drawn! I won a small gift card to Subway.

I thought, “wow God, you didn’t have to do that. Thank you! ” Little did I know He had so much more in store. That night, I got home from school opened the mail and there was a card from a friend with a gift certificate for the EXACT number of tires we needed for our van. We don’t need a full set, but I hadn’t said in my previous post what we needed. But God knew and He sent that amount. It reminds me of the Israelites getting manna each day. Only enough for that day, except on Saturdays when they could gather enough for Sunday too.

I am so grateful to God for continuing to remind me that His hand is in this. And this selfish girl will continue to ask Him to “remind me again that you’ve got this”. And I’m grateful that He listens patiently and shows me again, despite all the previous proof I can look to, He takes the time to show me again.

“Oh what I would do have the kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I’m in, onto the crashing waves.” Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief!

He said “YES”

You know how you can pray and pray and pray for something to happen? Asking God to open doors, make a way, make it happen, clear the path, etc. etc. etc.? And then He responds at the craziest possible time and says, “Ok, now.”

As a couple, we have prayed for years for God to open the door for DH to use His teaching gift and extensive knowledge of the Bible. We’ve pushed against the wall a few dozen (ok million) times and nothing has ever really opened up. Now, in the midst of him being unemployed and no discernable income in the near future, the door has been flung wide open with a giant, huge, massive “This is the way, walk in it!” neon sign from God.

Really God? Now? I’m in my senior semester of nursing school. We have no income. It will cost us precious savings. The kids and I will be alone over a holiday. We need new van tires. The kids need braces. Another needs 4 teeth pulled. Now? Are you sure? Trust me when I say we put out a lot of different fleeces asking God if He was really, truly sure. All of them were answered with a resounding “YES!”

So, in the midst of our crazy, mixed up, full-time student in my last semester of nursing school life, DH has been invited to Uganda for 2 weeks to teach at a pastor’s conference. We said “YES” to the call. We’re all in. All in for whatever God asks of us. All in for wherever life may lead us.

The amazing thing…we have complete peace. He will be gone my last 2 weeks of school. Peace. This includes a comprehensive final, comprehensive predictor tests, exit interviews, Quality Improvement project presentations and more without him by my side. Still peace. He arrives home on Black Friday, his Thanksgiving will be spent on planes, ours will be spent without him and no other family nearby. More peace.

It feels as though we have been on a roller coaster chugging up a big hill for a long time. Now we are at the peak, making the top of the hill and the half second pause that occurs as the weight begins to shift before the big rush down. All we can do is throw our hands in the air and enjoy the ride.rollercoaster

Waiting….

Waiting is hard. Waiting is definitely not my strong suit. Let’s face it, waiting sucks! It’s during times of waiting that we grow the most. It’s during times of waiting while we are champing at the bit to run free that we learn to dig deep and find the energy to be still.

Energy to be still. Total oxymoron. Yet it seems to take more strength to be still than to run full speed through life. I’m not there yet. I’m still learning stillness. I’m praying I learn it before the wait kills me.

Waiting…

DH has only been out of work since June 15, but waiting for the phone to ring or email to chime is becoming a challenge. Each time his phone dings I look at him in expectation. Nothing. No calls, no interviews.

Waiting…

If one more person says, “All it takes is one!”, I think I’m going to punch them in the throat. DH said he’ll sell tickets to the show. Might even make enough for bail money.

Waiting…

In the meantime, life moves on. How can life move on when we’re sitting and waiting? But we’re not sitting and waiting. I’ve started a new job. I’m preparing for my final semester of nursing school. In this strange new life, I’m working and he’s not.

Waiting…

He’s waiting. He’s lost. When I’m off work he follows me around the house like a lost puppy. He doesn’t know what to do with himself. I don’t know what to do with him. I go to my office to have my devotions and he sits in there with me. Uggg….can’t worship with DH watching me. It’s too personal.  Last week he followed me to the bathroom. I love him dearly, but he needs to get a job so he can be busy.

Waiting…

Thankful for this time while hating this time. He’s been sick. Very sick! The shingles have knocked him on his butt. He was out for nearly 3 weeks, incapacitated with pain and swelling and nasty huge lesions. Still I waited and hoped someone would call for an interview. How can he even interview looking like that?! Rejoice in tribulation, patient in suffering. Praise God DH has just been able to “be sick” and go to bed and spend time recovering.

Waiting…

 

Day 6

Today was a fabulous last day in Haiti. Tomorrow our luggage leaves for the airport at 6 a.m. And we’ll be following it about 2 hours later, because it takes longer for the truck to drive than the van we ride in.

Following morning worship and breakfast, the men finished construction on tables for the school of ministry and us ladies sorted clothes that we all are donating here. Many of us are leaving most of our shoes and clothes for the Haitian’s.

After we finished sorting, perfect for someone with a touch of OCD, the Arise Haiti missionary (James) said there were 2 more tasks we could do. One included painting an area near where the cat sleeps. I chose the unknown task behind door number 2. Tell her what she’s won, James! He said, “For the other task, I need you to pull everything out of these 2 closets and sort and organize them.” I literally squealed with delight. Hey, if you’re going to have a little OCD embrace it!

We emptied the closets and had them sorted, in bins and labeled in no time flat. Apparently the girls I was working with have a touch of OCD too. :-)

After that we all went to an “American Restaurant” in downtown Les Cayes for lunch because the mission cook has chikungunya. It was a treat to have French fries, hamburgers and pizzas for lunch.

The afternoon was spent in Kidz Kabob (Kids Club). 200 children came to the mission for worship, games and a bible lesson. Our team presented the bible story, a hilarious version of Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzer’s dream. The kids fell in love with The team member who played “Nezzy” (Nebuchadnezzer). Great hilarity ensued as he fell off his bed in fear of the dream, shouted that he was going to kill everyone and made a very proud, imposing king. Great job, Rocky.

Each child who memorized the bible verse gets a pound bag of rice to takr home to their family. We also got to hand out candy to each child as they left. That was an awesome mob scene of kids, begging for candy. It was a blast to get to give them a treat, no matter how small.

Our dinner was spent with the kids members of our team are sponsoring, followed by driving them home or remaining in the compound talking and praying. Pray for travel safety tomorrow and strength, grace and patience for the long day it will be.

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Day 5

What a ride! One of our teammates arrived at the airport 15 minutes late saying, “If that’s the worst that happens to us…” Later that day he lost a crown and said, “If that’s the worst that happens to us…” Following a 4 1/2 hour bumpy car ride he again said, “If that’s the worst that happens to us…” We told him he had to stop saying that because one day, that worse moment is going to come along. Exploding sinks and lack of air conditioner have all followed those moments.

Today just might be that worse day. If you get up for a recreation day to grey skies and choppy ocean, something worse might happen. If your transfer boat to a private island is an hour late, something worse still might happen. If your transfer boat is intended for 10 but carries 21 instead, something worse might happen. If some of your team members get sick and puke over the side of the boat, something worse might happen. If you run out of gas in the middle of the Caribbean, nothing worse can happen, right?

We floated on the ocean for about 45 minutes waiting for another boat to bring a barrel of gas. We were just starting to decide which team member to eat when the gas arrived.

The resort greeted us on the beach with rum drinks, I guess no one informed them we are a church group. Eventually we made it to the beach and some glorious beach chairs. Swimming in a bay of the Caribbean did a lot to ease our troubles as well. Lunch was a buffet in the resort followed by more beach time.

The ride back was significantly smoother. The storm had moved through and we were transferred via a much larger boat, with only about 14 people on the boat.

You know the saying, “The worst day on the beach is still better than the best day at work.”? It’s still true.

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Day 4

What happens when a group of 10 Americans get worn out? Sarcastic jokes start flying. Today included many, many moments of stopping to laugh, usually because of a pun, choice sarcasm or joke someone told. Some days, laughter truly is the best medicine.

Today began like the others (except exploding sink day) with prayer, worship and breakfast. After that, we went back into project mode. The men began construction on 6 tables for the School of Ministry while us ladies finished up the painting projects.

The men designed table legs with 2 boards forming an L shape. They took a router, mounted it upside down under some boards, attached spacers for depth and essentially created a table router. Impressive wood work without a wood shop!

At lunch all projects were cleaned up and we prepared for the Unveiled Kids program in the afternoon. The Unveiled Kids are children who have been identified as having the greatest need and matched with a sponsor to supply 2 meals a week and a bag of rice to take home to their families. On Wednesdays and Saturdays they come to Arise Haiti for worship, bible lessons and a meal. There are approximately 100 kids currently enrolled in the program with another large group of kids waiting for sponsors.

Today we had the privilege of serving these kids. During this time, we danced a hilarious song, which involved placing a pretend ball on various body parts and dancing with it. The kids really got into it and had fun laughing at us white folks trying to dance.

The remainder of the day was spent with the kids, getting to pray over them, worship with them and feed them. After that we had a late dinner as a group and then evening prayer.

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Day 3

Exhaustion. Pure, total physical exhaustion. And it feels amazing! Our day began at a much more sedate 6:30 with worship and prayer. And then we kicked the projects into high gear. We finished removing the pillars and a wall on the rooftop dining area and the rest of the group did more touch-up painting around the Transformation Center.

Highlights from today included getting covered head to toe in concrete dust, eating Haitian tacos (Taco Tuesday) and buying Haitian ice cream.

The dust on our bodies was so thick, I think we all lost about 10 pounds just from showering. As a cover up for the concrete dust, we sealed in a layer of wood sanding to completely conceal all human form. The sawdust was from creating tables for the school here. Tomorrow we get to stain and finish them.

One side note, due to the mosquitos and chikungunya disease they carry, we live in layers and layers of Deep Woods Off. So immediately after showering, we reapply a fresh layer giving us a consistent sticky layer on our bodies at all time.

The ladies also spent time putting together a skit of Friday about Daniel being taken to Babylon, can’t wait to see the guys acting out their parts for the kids.

Each night we have group worship at 7:30. Last night we took the night off because several of the interns and missionaries were sick. Please continue to pray for health for all of us.

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Day 2

Exploding sinks, Prayer Mountain, heat stroke, freon, paint, sledge hammers and “Everything is Awesome”. What could all these things possibly have in common? They sum up our day today.

Our day began at 5:20 when the sink in the ladies bathroom literally exploded off the wall shooting a stream of water up over a wall. During the process of attempting to shut it off, the valve came off and water then began to shoot into the men’s dorm. Good morning, Monday.

After a fabulous time of worship and breakfast from 6:30 until 9:30, we drove over to and climbed up Prayer Mountain for extended worship and prayer over the city. After another 3 hours of worship, prophetic and speaking truth over the city, we returned to Arise Haiti for lunch and afternoon projects.

Painting, cement roof demolition with sledge hammers, and various cases of heat stroke made up our afternoon with much progress being made. Major kudos to the second youngest member of our team who came up with the idea of using tarps and a 4-wheeler to create a slide which we could use to remove the debris from the rooftop dining area saving us the back-breaking labor of lugging the crushed cement down by hand and bucket.

Tonight, for the first time since we arrived on the island, the men’s dorm has air conditioning, turns out all it needed was freon. Last night, the men were too hot to sleep so they sat in the kitchen watching The Lego Movie. Today we all randomly would break into song, because, despite it all, at the end of the day, “Everything is awesome”, when you’re living the dream!

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Day 1 in review

We arrived in Port-au-Prince at noon yesterday and made the long, tiring drive to Les Cayes, Haiti. One doesn’t really just drive in Haiti, it is nothing like hopping on the interstate in the States. The trek included many, many potholes, swerving, passing 4 wide in a single lane road. We made it safe and sound arriving in Les Cayes around 5 pm.

The guys immediately set in on helping clean up a roof that had been removed. After dinner, group worship and brief introductions, we made our way to bed. With the unpredictability of electricity, the air conditioning in our dorm rooms worked intermittently. Despite that, we were all able to get some sleep in preparation for Sunday.

Today we went to a church in Les Cayes. The service was an amazing experience of love for God and one another. Following church and lunch, we packed up some of the gifts we had brought and spent the afternoon at an orphanage, playing soccer in what felt like 100 degrees, coloring, blowing bubbles and making balloon animals. It was a phenomenal experience to see how blessed the kids feel, despite sleeping 4 to a twin bed, living without air conditioning or a solid working roof. The conditions at the orphanage are far better than loose in the slums and alone on the streets.

Tonight we will be joining into a community worship service in the Arise Haiti compound.

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T-minus 12 hours!

In just under 12 hours, the Radiant Team will be boarding a plane for our flight from Raleigh to Miami, then a puddle-jumper from Miami to Port-au-Prince, Haiti and followed by a 4 hour car/truck ride to Les Cayes, Haiti.

Follow our team through these blog posts. We covet your prayers and look forward to a rewarding trip of working hard to touch this impoverished nation with the love of God and Radiant Church.

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