Whew! I feel like I've been running a marathon lately. (Well, not literally because I can't remember the last time I ran... perhaps it was January 12, 2010 as the earthquake was shaking our home???)
We're in one of those really busy seasons in life this past month. Now, some would argue that we're USUALLY in one of those really busy seasons just because of the country in which we live and the fact that we have a dozen kids. This, therefore, makes it nearly impossible to get ANYTHING done in a timely manner. But a specific challenge comes in to play when we actually schedule things that need to (or want to) be done. It's as if the universe cosmically conspires to make us crazy. Still, God has been faithful to remind me that this is the life I signed up for and the life that I love.
Here's a few tidbits that have been happening. I will call this my, "State of the Mangine Family Address."
- We are in the midst of two overlapping teams.
- Team 1 arrived on July 12 and is comprised of 4 ladies connected in some way to Doris Frame (our "diaper lady.") They've been sort of a hybrid team, doing lots of different projects-- painting our home, distribution of diapers in Bwa Vital, hospital feeding, distribution of about 300 homemade dresses/shorts in Bwa Vital, and just generally loving on our children and the children of Kay Ange (another children's home in the area.) This team is amazingly generous. They brought in over 3,500 diapers for the Konekte diaper program, the funds to feed every patient (and their family members) at the hospital, 300 hand sewn dresses/pairs of shorts for the camp, funds to purchase paint/supplies to paint our home, all sorts of gifts/blessings for our kids (including soccer uniforms!), and a bunch of soccer equipment/balls for a recreation program in Bwa Vital (Jacmel's biggest IDP camp.)
- Team 2 arrived July 17 (although that was a day later than anticipated due to an airline delay). They are from TBA church in Lakeland, FL. They are working with Mikey to rebuild a house that was destroyed in the earthquake. Joy in Hope construction teams are all led by Mikey/Gette, and they ROCK it out. When we rebuild houses, we do permanent rebuilds as we believe this supports the long-term recovery effort. This means that teams need to raise more funds, and overall we get to rebuild fewer houses, but as the Haitian expression says, "pa za pa" which means "step by step." This is the TBA progress on the house they are re-constructing for a man named Martinez and his family.
- We're going through a rough season behaviorally with one of our older kids. I am not going to go into too many details, but please be praying about this. We've found a great psychologist here in Haiti that's going to start meeting with us regularly (starting this week) to help this child (and the rest of us) understand some of the dynamics of abandonment and how that plays out in behavior. For the short-term we've added some new staff members to help us better supervise. We've always been a place where we have low staff to child ratios. Some might say it's wastefully low. We believe, however, that we need to do whatever possible to help our children heal from the trauma they've experienced in life and we need extra hands on deck for that to happen. THEY ARE WORTH the extra cost. We're not just trying to keep a whole slew of kids alive, we're working towards redemption/growth of these 12 kids God has given us. Your prayer support in this situation would be greatly appreciated. Because of this situation and our desire to walk through it well, we're having to change our furlough plans and not travel together so that we can consistently have either Nick or I here as we walk through this therapy for the next 3 months. This means that we won't get to see everyone we wanted to. That's super disappointing to me from a purely selfish standpoint, but I will get over it. It's more important that our family is healthy.
- Josiah has been sick. (Yes, AGAIN.) We're not sure what he has but it's very similar to what he had when he was hospitalized last month-- vomiting, fevers, extreme lethargy. We've agonized over whether or not to go back to the states with him. In the end, we decided that he's headed back to the states with me tomorrow (Wednesday) to get some testing done to see if we can get to the bottom of it. This presents us with a unique set of challenges in that I have a bunch of appointments (dentist, therapist, etc) that I have to attend, but will be back in the states alone with a sick kid. I might need some local (Triangle, NC) people to help out with Josiah at times... Here's the only catch, while we don't BELIEVE he's contagious (as no one else in our home has gotten sick), it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Fair warning. Email me at gwenn@joyinhope if you might be available (specifically next Monday). Also, would you pray for some kind of diagnosis so that we know how to proceed?
- We're adjusting well to having an infant in the home again. He's doing GREAT and we all are just so thankful for the ways he's blessing our family. He's growing quickly and, well, thriving. I love just sitting there "chatting" with Schneider. He's quite the little chatterbox these days.
- Nia is in the states visiting her grandparents. Nick had to go in to the states about two weeks ago for a memorial service, and since we had a furlough scheduled shortly there-after, she went along with Nick with the intention of staying through. She's having a great time with her grandparents. When I ask her about her favorite part of America, she says, "Sour cream. Definitely sour cream." (Well, sour cream IS pretty good.)
- I have been helping out with Sarah's clinic a bit since she's been gone. (Not nearly as much as I had planned to be helping out because of the above-described activities.) However, I spent a day (and a night) this week with a young woman named Yolande who has connections to Joy in Hope through one of our employees. She's been in early labor for about a few days now... would you pray for her body to open up and to deliver her baby? I am hoping that I get to see the new little one before I leave on Wednesday, but you know how these things go!
- We've been in the process of getting some organizational paperwork completed for about nine months now. It's a long and stressful (and expensive) process and we keep hitting roadblock after roadblock. It would be no exaggeration to say that we've had 20+ trips to Port Au Prince (probably far more) during the past six months trying to get this settled. Would you pray that we could finish this process and move on with life? It's frustrating to be spending so much time, money and energy on this process while living in the midst of so many real needs.
- We're LOVING having a dog. Piman is a really sweet, sweet dog and pretty well-behaved. We had a scare with her a couple of days ago as she was sleeping under the truck and we didn't know it. She ran out as we were backing up but she hit her snout on the metal brushguards giving her a bloody nose and a bit of pain for a couple of days. She's much better now, but her nose is still a little swollen. Poor baby! We're far more conscious about where Piman is now when we get into the truck. And she's definitely not interested in laying under it any more! We're so thankful that this accident wasn't worse. In other dog-related news, we are borrowing Casey, the Whittaker's dog, for a few months while they are in the states having their new baby. We all love Casey, and she and Piman have become good friends. Finally, in a third tidbit of canine news, Mikey came over and built us a doghouse for Piman. It's cute because both Casey and Piman sleep in it. Hopefully Piman doesn't grow TOO much before the Whitakers return and get Casey or it will be crowded quarters!)
- Don't forget the "Back to School" drive going on now. The online registry for the needed items is located here: Joy in Hope (Mangine) Back to School. We need to receive all items by no later than August 7th in order to get them back to Haiti with us.
Thanks for your prayers and partnership. I've said it a million times, but we can't do this without you-- your support (emotionally, spiritually, financially) is WHY we are able to live this life. Thank you!