Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Monday, December 15, 2014
Sunday, December 14, 2014
I've been back in Haiti for less than 48 hours now, and wow, is it good to be back!
There's the BIG things that are great about being back-- like being with the kids and staff, being back with our friends here in Haiti, and feeling "at home" for the first time in several months. (This truly is the most wonderful time of the year to be in Haiti. PERFECT sleeping weather!) But believe it or not, that's not what is making me smile the most. So I thought I'd share some of the beautiful things I've experienced since being back.
I took the kids to the beach yesterday and while at the beach, Fritzie came up to me and (in English) said, "Mom, I have some good news to tell you. I did something I never did before. I asked God to live in me. And now I have God in me!"
And Wildarne said, "Me too, Mom. I did too."
Immediately tears sprung into my eyes and I hugged them both and kept saying over and over how happy I was for them to make such a good decision for their lives. Nia overheard and started clapping and jumping up and down and went over and hugged them, too.
It wasn't some big grand announcement. It was just this little moment they wanted me to experience with them. My heart felt as if it would explode with gratitude for the gift these girls are to Nick and me.
(Side note: People have asked us why all of our children aren't Christians, knowing that we are missionaries. Quite simply... that is not our decision to make. And Nick and I, knowing the pressure that missionaries often put on kids to convert (ie- at VBS, at medical clinics, feeding programs, etc.), have made the choice that we never would pressure our kids in terms of religion. Instead we strive to model grace and truth as we followed Jesus, and pray that God would use his spirit to call them to Him. We are thankful for God's faithfulness.)
It's been a crazy whirlwind since I've been back. I came in heavily loaded down with baggage-- lots of Christmas presents for the kids and staff, and just other stuff we needed. (In addition to, you know, our clothes and stuff.) There were eight 50 lb bags, and four 40 lb carryons.
Because things were packed so tightly and almost all of them had some Christmas surprises inside, I had the job of unpacking solo. So yesterday I spent a great portion of the day unpacking and sorting things into piles of where they needed to go. As I worked, I heard Prisca doing her after lunch chores. She was washing dishes in the other house and signing her heart out- praise songs to Jesus. I was so inspired by the beauty of this example. Here she was doing chores-- something she probably didn't want to do. But instead of doing her work with a bad attitude, her attitude was THE BEST. It was almost as if she was enjoying her work. And I had the thought, "Wow, I need to be more like her." What a gift her example was to me.
Fast forward to the later on-- once all the Christmas stuff was tucked away, I had Manita and Josiah help me get things where they needed to go. By the afternoon, the house was a wreck. But I was still busy. I had promised the kids a quick trip to the beach, I had to give flea baths to the dogs, and our big boys were coming over for a visit. So, unbeknownst to me, while I was occupied with the dogs and the big boys, (and then getting the boys home as well), Prisca was working quietly in my kitchen/living room.
I came home from dropping off Yves and Jerry to a sparkling clean kitchen and living room. She'd arranged all the junk, washed the few dishes, and swept and mopped the floors. You guys! That GIRL! What a sweet, beautiful servant heart she has!
We don't make Josiah go to Haitian church. (Don't judge.) He just can't handle it. I am sure that if we lived in the States he'd be diagnosed with sensory issues. (And believe me, Haitian church has a lot of sensory stimulation!) He's a highly sensitive child and it just isn't worth the fight. (He does go to ex-pat church with us, though... just needed to get that little bit of image management out of the way.) BUT, I digress.
Anyway, this morning Josiah and I were hanging out and I told him that it was fine if he stays home, but that I had to wrap Christmas presents, so he wouldn't be able to stay in the living room with me. I suggested he go into his room and watch a movie on my laptop.
He gave me the pouty face and I was all frustrated. I was irritated but I asked him what was wrong. He said, "Do I HAVE to watch a movie? Couldn't I just go outside and play?!"
Y'all. We just did 3 months of third floor apartment living. There wasn't much outside time, and believe me, my American three were more than content to settle into the couch and watch a movie. Then it got to the point where I had to BEG them to go outside and they were just lazy couch potatoes---either watching a movie or playing on an electronic device. But this morning, all Josiah wanted was to go outside and play. (The very thing I'd been begging them to do for the last 3 months.) He's been at it for over an hour now.
What a gift it is to be back where my American kids feel comfortable, where they are surrounded by a community who "gets" them, and where they are free to be kids.
Here's to looking for the beautiful things that are all around us. I hope you will join my search for beauty and that you find lots of truly beautiful things. And may all of us have the ability to recognize the gifts we're all given each and every day.