Greetings all! Well, it’s getting hotter and hotter in Deschappelles. March, April and May are the hot months here, I’m told. In May, when the rains come, it gets even hotter, probably muggy with humidity. My in-house-weather-reporter, Marguerite (our house staff) says we will have anpil anpil chaleur (lots and lots of heat). In Haiti, there is an expression, “nou degaje” which means, “we make do” or “we get by.” We are getting real talented at ‘degaje.’ God is ever present here.
We have a breeze nearly every day and are thankful for that. On the days that are still, we remember those breezes. We turn on the fans, thankful that we have them and the power to run them. I have those little neckerchiefs that you soak in water and then keep in the fridge. They help me through the heat of the day and help me get to sleep at night. Nou degaje and we are thankful, Lord.
When we turn on the tap and have water, we are thankful. When we turn on the tap and don’t have water, nou degaje and we are thankful that we saved the tub of water sitting on the floor. Since we are in dry season, we are thankful when we have water in the well. The strange thing is that the sewer is full…we are trying to be careful in using water sparingly, which is a challenge when it’s still 30 above at 10 o’clock at night and you’d like to just stand in the shower. Nou degaje and we are thankful, Lord.
When we turn on a switch and have electricity, we are thankful. The Delco is old and has a tough time charging the batteries in two houses now. Nou degaje and pray that we have enough power to allow us to have fans for the nights. Turning the switch back and forth from Delco to inverter keeps us hopping. We have uplugged anything and everything we don’t need; printer is only on when it’s needed, freezer has been unplugged and nou degaje with our fridge freezer. No microwave…takes too much power; no problem, as I was training myself to use it less and less…butter still melts in a pan on the stove, you know:) Meat takes no time at all to thaw.
When we turn on the computer and have internet, we are thankful. There’s no degaja for this one. We simply do without. Last week, the tower for the internet satellite dish fell down and it took all week to get it back up. Now we have no internet and this time, we’re not sure why. Getting the kids’ schoolwork sent in is a challenge. I try to phone my Mom through Skype once a week and Brad phones his Mom, but we pray they are not worried by this little gap in communication.
We have had propane consistently and are very thankful for a propane stove that does not depend on electricity. Do you know you can boil water on the stove and pour it through your coffee maker and still get coffee??? Nou degaje:) This oven makes great cinnamon buns and banana muffins. We are blessed!
We were thankful for hot water to do dishes and wash one load of whites per week. Too many nights of being dry…too late we discovered the hot water heater was draining out when we turned the water off each night…and the element is gone. Back to degaje with the propane stove…amazing how little hot water we use here!
Each evening, when we sit down to supper, we are thankful for Marguerite who cooks and cleans for us. Tasty Haitian food is always waiting for us at the end of the day. There is more than enough work for her, so we continue to do simple things. We make our own beds, fold our own clothing, and keep our rooms tidy. I use the washing machine to wash clothes. Brad & I hang it the wet clothes up together and we do dishes together each evening. In our wedding vows, we vowed to work side-by-side for as many years as God gave us and we still enjoy our working side-by-side time. I often make lunch and Kaeli is beginning to take a turn at lunches too. We are thankful we have food and even though we went 3 weeks without going to a grocery store, we had our staples of rice, spaghetti, cornmeal, bread, chicken and ground beef. We are thankful.
Speaking of food…Karen often provides food to those less fortunate than us. She has Germaine buy rice, cornmeal, beans and gallons of oil. All the dry items are measured out into bags; 12 measures of rice, and 6 each of cornmeal and beans. Luckner will decide on the people to invite to come here to collect the measured gifts. We all lend a hand in the preparing and then the food is handed out to those who need it most.
Each day, I get to know the house mommies better and I am thankful for that. This is the real stuff of the work. I would love to share that I am thankful for each one, fort heir ability to work; cook the meals, sweep the yard, bathe the children, do the dishes, sweep the floors, wash the floors, braid the girls’ hair, wash the kids’ clothes, wipe noses, sing and pray in morning and evening devotions, iron the clothes, and still greet you with a smile every time you appear. I’ve probably missed some of the tasks they do. Please pray for Antoinette, Cifila, Leona, Magalie, Naomie and Yolene. They do this job, sleep overnight with the kids several days a week, and take care of families at home. It’s a big job and I am thankful for each one.
I’m thankful for the children and feel that I know them quite well by now. I have noticed leadership skills, I have noticed some with the ability to see what needs to be done and the work ethic to do it, and I see some who consistently have the ability to notice when a younger child needs some help. I see mischievous eyes, twinkling eyes, and sparkling eyes. I see eyes full of longing and eyes full of love. Please pray for Vladimy, JJ, Moïse, Djemima, Leica, Josee, Dieunel, Judel, Karena, Jofky, Anne, Sandra and Jonathan. Jonathan is one and half, the youngest, and Vladimy is 17, the oldest. What a blessing it is to work with these children. We pray that we can help raise them up, that they might follow God’s will for their lives.
I’m thankful for the huge mango tree that stands outside our front door, with no less than 1000 mangoes waiting to ripen and fall. The first few are ready and when they fall, the children are there in a second! Soon, there will be enough for us all and I hope to try and preserve some. As anyone who has been here in Haiti knows we have the best mangoes in the world!!
Please pray for all of us as we work, love the children, miss our families, think of you at home with thankful hearts, and strive to do the work the Lord has laid out for us to do. The next biggest project we have taken on is to ask some of you at home to give us a one-time gift to help us buy a second vehicle for the mission. The last few weeks, we have been without a vehicle, borrowing Luckner’s truck when we absolutely have to pick something up. Karen’s vehicle is in PAP for repairs. We had always counted on God’s provision and we have heard that someone has already donated $5000
toward our vehicle fund. Please pray that God would move hearts and help us find the perfect second-hand vehicle.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1: 3-6
It’s all about God and His will for our lives.