Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry CHRISTmas!

Christmas Blessings to our family and friends and anyone else who happens to read this blog!  We truly hope you know and understand where true peace and joy come from...Jesus, our King, was born on Christmas to bring hope and healing.  We are all lost without him.  We have to acknowledge our lost state before we can truly appreciate the GIFT!

So, here in Haiti, it really is only a dream of a white Christmas!  We will have a very green Christmas with palm trees and beautiful tropical scenery!  Did you know that poinsettias actually grow here?  Instead of being nicely potted and tied with a bow, sitting on someone's mantle, they are growing in yards!  Besides that, we can wear flip flops Christmas caroling, wear a tank top while baking cookies, hang lights outside without freezing our hands off, and play softball and have dinner on the patio on Christmas Eve!  But, before you Midwesterners start to get jealous, it's a little difficult to get in the Christmas spirit when you are surrounded by things so foreign from what you've grown up with your whole life.  You can't recreate an Illinois Christmas in Haiti, but you can create new traditions and new memories and [try to] embrace the positives of living here! Praise the Lord we can celebrate Jesus anywhere and any day of the year!

We are thankful we were able to travel back to IL in November to enjoy Deer Season (a holiday in itself:)) and Thanksgiving!  We have been back in Haiti about a month now.  The kids are working hard at school (I think), Kurt is very busy at the hospital with year-end contracts and other stressful things, and I am trying to keep up with the Dr.'s hotel, feeding our very hungry children, and praying my way through each day as I feel such deep dependence on God almost every time I turn around (this even includes grocery shopping, getting the mail, taking a walk, and any time I hear someone say Madam Kurt at  my door).  But I try to remind myself that anything that makes us cry out to God is a blessing to us.

(Pictures were chosen and captioned by Toby and Joan)

our Christmas picture (do all kids love to play on escalators, or is it just kids from Haiti?)

helping unload the sea container

Barry and Joyce came and visited

mom and dad took a trip for a weekend while Barry and Joyce were here

fall party hosted by Carrie and the Hilltop House!

dad roasted his own coffee beans from coffee trees here in Haiti

Mom fills in as teacher when Kaitlin is gone (which is rare, thankfully!).

mom and Raya made butter braids

Enjoying pretzel bites with Anna and Kaitlin.

We enjoyed spending an evening with David and Orrin and Cass in IL!  So happy the kids haven't forgotten us yet:)

Illinois!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we loved the cold weather
we ate out several times during our two week trip

lots of time spent with cousins

all three of us boys got a deer!!!!!

 we went on several coon hunts

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All! 
Please leave us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

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!