Wednesday, October 4, 2017

1 Year Ago Today!

As I awoke this morning to a beautiful sunrise casting a warm glow across our bedroom, I just wanted to say, "Thank You God for a calm and quiet day!"  A year ago today we awoke to the howling winds of hurricane Matthew and experienced the worst natural disaster we've ever been through.  Little did we know of the destruction and clean-up that awaited us, let alone the emotional stress of hearing story after story of Haitians without roofs and houses crumbling and wondering how we could help.  Weeks after the hurricane, I was reading a book, and the author was explaining the verse in 1 Corinthians 13--Love bears all things.  The word bear is the word "stego" in Greek which means "to cover", as a roof covers a house.  So, in other words, love is a roof.  That really struck me as profound after seeing so many of our neighbors with, literally, no roof over their heads!  Even though I couldn't actually buy tin for everyone's house, I could still be a "roof" to them by showing them love.  I'm thankful God brought that bit of wisdom to me when I needed it most (and thankful to AnnVoskamp who wrote about it in The Broken Way.).  Today you would hardly know their was a hurricane that ripped through Bonne Fin.  The regrowth of trees and greenery has been amazing to see.  Not all the homes are repaired completely, but people are going on with their lives.  Our hope and prayer is that each disaster in this world can be a wake up call to lost souls, and that each one can learn to trust in God's control and not their own. 
A picture update of the last few weeks....
 My first time ever giving blood. A patient at the hospital needed my blood type, so I knew it would be worth it.
 Bag toss was our unit in P.E. to start the school year.
 Cy and Henry handing out tracts at the hospital.  They are great little evangelists!  The Haitians are very receptive of smiling little boys!  We like to visit patients on Tuesday mornings and sing.
Enjoying pie made by Reggie and Toby
We enjoyed watching a "Chopped" competition that was organized by our teacher, Katilin!  Reg and Toby had 1 hr.and 45 min. to make an appetizer, entrĂ©e and dessert with no recipes!  It was a great experience for them!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Let's Catch Up

Okay, so where were we?  I think we'll go back to March when we had my sister, her hubby, and two oldest girls visit us over spring break, and then in June, Kurt's parents came to Haiti for a week and took the kids home to IL with them, and then Kurt and I came to the States about a week and a half later to join them for our summer furlough!  So many sweet memories and fun times!  We were thankful to feel refreshed and energized at the end of our furlough time.  Thanks to all of you who encouraged us through your many acts of love.
 Brenna was super excited to have Val & Naomi here!
 We're always so encouraged by special visitors!
Reg speared a lionfish.
 Special sis time.  Thanks Jean!
Can you believe what you're seeing?!?  It's true!!  Joy and Derek brought us Uncle Bob's ice cream all the way from Eureka to Bonne Fin Haiti!  So, so yummy!  (if you're planning to visit us I'm sure Joy and D can tell you how to pack it in your suitcase and get it here without melting:))
We like to visit Woodley at the hospital.
Lots of speed Uno games with Grandma and Grandpa.

Brenna wishes this was her puppy, but it was just our neighbor for a little while.

Kids heading to IL with G and G.
 Baling hay

Birthday party with friends

Reggie got his permit and was driving all summer in IL!  EEK!  He loved it!

Lots of fun shopping:)

Food, food, and more food!                                        Hard to beat Burger Barge!                            

 We enjoyed several "campouts" at Grandma and Grandpa P's timber in July!
Fun times with Manz cousins

Brenna got glasses!

 Reggie tries to keep a line wet as often as he can! Longnose gar from Walnut Creek!

Wiegand weekend!

Good times with M and M!  Martha Washington style:)

Loved my day out with my friend, Amb!  Biking, eating, talking!

My little Rosie!

 Enjoyed catching up with the Kups on furlough!
The boys helped Grandpa unload hay bales on a super hot day! 

Warmed my heart to hang out with this girly!

Thankful for the time we spent with Zimms!

Target shooting

Fun vacation to MI with the Roths.  Perfect day to spend at Warren Dunes State Park. 
The girls all got matching swim suits!

Many hours spent at Leman's Last Resort!  Thanks U.Scott and A. Phyll!

A successful morning squirrel hunt in early August with Grandpa W!  Hadley & Toby each got their first squirrels ever!

And, back to school in mid August.  We're so glad to have Kaitlin here teaching this year!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What is Enough?

     Where do I begin...where does anyone begin to express the deep emotions of a difficult time?  As many of you know, we lost a dear friend and fellow missionary, Janella Zimmerman, in a vehicle accident on May 6.  We are hurting.  And we are trusting.  Trusting that God's will is perfect, and He doesn't make mistakes.  Trusting we will meet together in heaven, because the blood of Jesus has been applied to our lives.
      We were very thankful that our family was able to go back to IL for the funeral.  While there, I was talking to a dear woman who had recently lost her husband.  In our brief conversation, she looked at me with tears glistening in here eyes, and she said with deep conviction, "I have learned that when God is all you have, He is enough."  And ever since that day, I have been pondering that thought in my head; "What is enough?"   I look back at our past year,  and I can almost get overwhelmed at all the tough times we've been through.  I'm sure many of you have had years like that.  So, through the dark valleys, discouragement, frustration, exhaustion and grief, can we say with feeling, "God is enough!"?  Enough, to me, does not mean happiness or wealth or health or sleep-ful nights.  Perhaps God provides some of those things in the midst of our storms, but, "enough" does not encompass all those things.  When God is enough, it doesn't mean He promises all those things! 
      Recently I was reading in 2 Corinthians chapter 4, and I realized verses 8 and 9 talk about God being enough:  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed (God is enough); we are perplexed, but not in despair (God is enough); persecuted, but not forsaken (God is enough) cast down, but not destroyed (God is enough).  (I added parentheses).  So, at the end of the day, I believe "enough" means HOPE!  If we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead, WE HAVE HOPE (from Romans 10:9&10).  And, this HOPE is an anchor for our souls, both sure and steadfast (from Hebrews 6:19).  We can go through hurricanes, mental or physical challenges, discouragement, persecutions, loss of loved ones, etc, etc, and if we have HOPE--a confident expectation---in eternal life with Jesus, God will ALWAYS be enough!
      I would love to discuss your thoughts on what "enough" means to you in your life.  Our family will be in IL on furlough during the month of July, and we hope to see many of you then!

We have spent many precious times with David, Janella, Orrin and Cassia during the last 2 1/2 years, so we decided to add a few pictures of our memories with them.  Please keep this dear family in your prayers.
We first started to get to know the D and J at our missionary orientation during the summer of '14.
This was during a visit from some our Hospital Lumiere board members.
David's Mom was here for a visit, so they all came over for supper.
Easter Brunch at Plattner's--2016
Janella and I were in a Haitian singing group.
Lots of good times were centered around food!
Mystery dinner at Klop's.
We discovered this BBQ place together in Petionville!
Great memories of this weekend get-away we had together!
Bath time in our sink :)
Hangin' out at the guest house.
I baby sat Cass one morning, and she fell asleep in my arms.  I decided I had nothing better to do for the next couple hours than sit in the rocking chair and hold her!  It was precious!
Christmas baking at our house!  Notice Orrin is eating lettuce instead of cookies!  How many other four year olds do you know like him?  Cracks me up!
Orrin fit right in with the big boys!
Just a relaxing evening together at the Zimm's house!
Pizza on the grill on our porch.
Game night!
More games.
We love a house full!
Little princess
In April I hosted an impromptu tea party with the ladies and kids.  We are all thankful for the special time shared with Janella that day.
On Easter we hosted a sunset singing on our patio.
Thanking God for many sweet memories.