Thursday, December 29, 2011

We're Goin' to the Chapel and We're Gonna Get Married...

I am a sucker for weddings!  I love the white gowns, I love the anticipation leading up to the special day, and I love the commitment that follows.  My wedding day was by far one of the BEST days of my life.  I hope every bride is able to look back on her special day with fond memories as they struggle to fight the smile that forms when remembering this oh so special occasion!
I loved finding the perfect dress.  I loved sharing it with my girlfriends for the first time!  I loved telling everyone about Trey and how I couldn't wait to be his wife.  I loved celebrating with so many precious friends and family.  I am so thankful for where Trey & I are today but, I would go back and do our wedding day over and over again if I could.  Not only did I love having a wedding but I love going to weddings as well which is why as I sit here and write this I am struggling to hold back my excitement...
Early tomorrow morning Trey & I along with several others are traveling to the area of Muraille Lacee.  We will drive many hours and when the car can travel no futher because there is no road we will get out and hike for 2 hours.  The hike was originally supposed to be 8 hours but a few days ago another path was found, the Lord is gracious!  We are traveling to Muraille Lacee to witness a wedding for 91 couples!

Not, 91 people, but 91 couples!  Pastor Jean-Claude Smith is a pastor of Williamson Church, affiliated with Baptist Haiti Mission.  Pastor Smith and others from his congregation have been traveling to Muraille Lacee for several months now performing revival services for this area because there is no church.  Living together outside of marriage, and young girls mothering children has become quite common in Muraille Lacee.  Pastor Smith & others from Williamson Church have been faithful in bringing the gospel to this area.

MANY people have begun a personal relationship with the Lord in Muraille Lacee and now desire to commit their families to the Lord and enter into a covenant marriage relationship before Him.  This weekend will be a HUGE celebration and an amazing testimony to the people of Muraille Lacee.

The wedding ceremony is said to begin on Saturday morning.  Tomorrow will definitely be an adventure for Trey & I.  Our tent is ready and our toilet paper is packed.  We have no idea what all is in store for this weekend.  Pray for traveling safety.  Also pray that we would be an encouragement and be able to assist Pastor Smith and others who have been planning this event for quite some time.  I look forward to reporting NEXT YEAR about all that happened this weekend :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Camera Grabbing" Attention!

Psalm 121:1-2
"I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth..."
A few nights ago when I stepped outside I was AMAZED by the masterpiece my Lord was creating in the sky.  I quickly ran inside to grab my camera to try to capture just a taste of His beautiful handiwork.  Every time I would snap a picture and plan to walk inside I would look up again to see the colors & clouds rearranged for another breathtaking shot!
It was after many attempts to stop looking at the sky that I realized I was being wooed by my Creator.  At the end of a full day I believe He was so pleased to know for the first time that day He had my FULL attention.  As I stood outside and gazed at the sky it felt just like my Father was creating this masterpiece just for me!  What a blessing it is to be a child of the King.  My heavenly Father shows Himself to me day in and day out.  May I always show Him the "camera grabbing" attention He so richly deserves!
LIFT YOUR EYES today, how is your heavenly Father wooing you?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bright & Colorful Kitchen Spaces!

After opening our Christmas presents I am proud to announce our kitchen is looking a little different these days. You'll have to check out the post when I gave you the welcome tour to our house to really appreciate this new and renovated look!  In preparation for Christmas Ms. Patti & I went down to Petionville searching for a bike for Trey for his Christmas gift only to find they were incredibly expensive and only came in little boy sizes.

We made a quick stop into a furniture store. It felt like Crate & Barrel in Haiti! They were even serving freshly made coffee (I was so excited and I don't even like coffee!) with fun Christmas music playing in the background. Our "quick trip" into the store changed when I saw the cutest kitchen table. Trey & I have been keeping our eyes peeled for a kitchen table since we have arrived. We have been told if you ever see anything in Haiti you like, get it then because odds are pretty good it will not be there when you return.
Thank you Mamaw Peggy for the Christmas gift that "fit just right" and enabled us to get this new look for our house!  After our Christmas lunch with the other missionaries at BHM Trey was hard at work putting together our table and chairs.  He was surprised by the table and is excited at the idea of looking for his belated gift, the bike, as well.

My mother-in-law made curtains for our 'ol KY home when we first got married.  They traveled over ocean to make it to our mountainous, tropical, Haitian home.  After getting our new table in the kitchen I was pretty motivated to get our kitchen curtains hung as well.  They were a little bit too long for our windows so some sewing was in need.  I have only recently mastered the art of sewing on a button.  Lucy, Patti's mother who is here visiting taught me the fine art of the sewing machine yesterday.  She was oh so patient with me and didn't make fun of my not so straight lines.  A project that should have only taken an hour or two lasted the entire afternoon.  But, I do believe it was well worth it and am loving our new bright space!
Thanks mom for the new scarf, I love it! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Jwaye Nowel (Merry Christmas)

Enjoying the sunshine for a bit this afternoon

Jwaye Nowel Tout Moun!  Merry Christmas Everyone!  I hope at the close of this Christmas day your hearts are full of joy and peace after a day of celebrating the birth of our Savior.  As I write this our Christmas tree lights are on, our cinnamon spice candles are lit, and Trey is resting on the couch beside me with a book in hand.  It has indeed been a good Christmas day!

Many of you sent special packages in the mail and Christmas cards to us this holiday season.  We have been so encouraged by the love you have shown us from across the ocean.  We are so thankful for you!  We are also incredibly thankful for SKYPE!  We have loved being able to chat with our families this weekend and still feel connected even though we have had to be apart.

Get some rest this evening, drink hot chocolate & watch one last Christmas movie.  After tonight it is on to planning how you're gonna lose all that weight after your Christmas goody indulgences.  Isn't it great that even though we may be entering back into the "regular routine" soon, we still get to celebrate our Savior every day!
Posing it up in front of our Christmas tree today after cleaning up all of our Christmas packages.
Thanks Kyrk & Deborah for letting us borrow your tree this year while you were gone, we have loved it :) 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Wanna be "Meltable"

I am aware that a lot of my recent blog posts have consisted of food in some form or fashion.  Let it be known, I have not moved to Haiti to become Paula Dean.  However, I do want Trey & I to have a fantastic holiday season with all the "Good cheer!" We all know a lot of those good holiday feelings are a result of the tasty treats we eat.  It is for this reason I have found myself with quite a few baking projects this week.  I made Oreo Balls to surprise Trey tonight.  I began crumbling cookies 8:30 this morning and after a few hours of freezing and some time of battling microwaves, stoves, and white chocolate bark I find myself sitting in the kitchen with a terrible mess and some very UGLY Oreo Balls.
I'm ashamed to even put up a picture of what they were supposed to look like.  However, I want you to receive the full affect of how "off" my Oreo Balls actually are.  Here is what I was hoping to see when I finished my baking adventure...
Pinned Image
I admit it, I've missed the mark on this one.  I followed the steps and put in the efforts and finished with a big wad of mess.  As I write this I am suffering from a severe sugar high from eating a lot of messed up attempts and licking one too many sticky fingers, my feet hurt, and my sink is overflowing with pots and bowls hardened with white chocolate.  I do not share all this information to complain to you, okay so maybe I do it to complain just a little.  BUT there is a bigger reason too.

The inside of the balls turned out just fine.  It was the melting of the white chocolate that caused the issues.  I first put the white chocolate bark in the microwave in 30 second intervals to prevent burning and still get the bark to melt.  On my third 30 second interval the chocolate was BURNT!  I decided to try again, I placed another piece of the white chocolate bark into a plastic bowl and placed it in the microwave.  The first 30 second interval and the bowl cracked!  It sounded like a shot was fired inside the microwave.  It was clear after this, NO MORE MICROWAVE!

I decided to boil water, place a bowl on top of the boiling water and slowly warm the white chocolate bark.  It still would not melt!  It turned into a thick icing consistency but the longer I stired and waited, it remained the same.  I needed to dip the oreo balls into the MELTED white chocolate.  An hour into fighting with the stuff to melt I became so frustrated.  I tried all I could to melt the white chocolate.  I changed my melting methods SEVERAL times and waited oh so patiently but still NO MELTING!  I gave up on melting the white chocolate and having a presentable dessert.  My efforts were not enough.  In the midst of recongizing this defeat the Lord instantly turned this into a teaching moment for me.

As I grow in my relationship with the Lord everyday I know He is shaping me and molding me to be more like Christ.  Oh the patience of my Lord to work with me day after day hours on end.  There are so many things I simply do not understand.  So many area's in my life I AM NOT MELTING.  He wants to use me for His purposes.  He has a plan and it is being fulfilled each and everyday.

I am so thankful for a Lord who does not give up on me and leave me in the pot to harden.  He works with me day after day hour after hour.  It was through this reminder this afternoon that I can boldly say I do not want to be like the white chocolate bark that was too stubborn to melt.  As He changes my physical location and I experience a variety of different situations each day I pray I will melt and spread!

Psalm 139:13 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." 

The same God who created my most inner being is still working on me today!  I am so thankful for the reminder today to stop fighting the shaping process of my Creator.  I desire to RELAX and become meltable!

Note: After many conversations with "expert" chefs and studying the box that my White Chocolate Bark came in I am left with no good reason as to why it would not melt.  Maybe the Lord just really needed to communicate with me His desire for me to stop being so stubborn and melt already :)



Monday, December 19, 2011

'Twas the Week Before Christmas

-I wrote the blog below for the Baptist Haiti Mission blog today.  I wanted to share it with you all as well.  Hope you enjoy!

'Twas the Week Before Christmas 
'Twas the week before Christmas and all around the world, presents are being wrapped for all the boys and girls.

Children are playing and singing with friends, with eager excitement that it will be Christmas when the week ends!
 As you finish your shopping, baking, and traveling plans, don't forget about the families and children all over the land!

In Haiti the Christmas traditions may be different than you own, however the name of Jesus Christ is still being made known.

You can make this Christmas special for a Haitian child today!  You can help us change their lives a variety of ways!

$25 a month sends a child to school.  You would equip them with a variety of tools!

As you finish your to do list, check it again, would you give a gift to a Haitian child this Christmas and enable their hopeful future to begin?
 In this Christmas season as you prepare to give gifts to friends and family we ask that you consider giving a gift to a child in Haiti.  Our child sponsorship program has been in existence for many years.  We depend on your support in order to provide school uniforms, books, basic health care, and one meal a day to the children in BHM sponsored schools.

Many families in Haiti do not have the money to send their children to school.  It is crucial for the development of Haiti as well as individual children that they receive proper training in their formative years.  Help us expose children to the Word of God and equip them to read the Word as well.  Begin sponsoring a child today, visit: www.bhm.org.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One Week Away...!

I'm sure you are wondering who decorated these amazing looking Gingerbread Men...well wonder no more, it was ME!  I must warn you at this time it is crucial to not become jealous of my insanely artistic abilities.  Spending this Christmas season in the Carribean I had to make a "surfer" Gingerbread Man, note the little man in the blue shorts :)  I am incredibly excited that Christmas is only one week away!


This time next week we will be talking about what a wonderful Christmas it was and waiting to do it all again next year.  This is my first Christmas in my entire life to spend away from Corbin, KY and my sweet sweet family.  It is a bittersweet time.  I am so thankful for the family the Lord has blessed me with in Trey and our new friends here at BHM.  This season of life where it is just Trey and I is a season to be treasured.


We are learning so much about one another and growing in our relationship everyday.  As we quickly approach CHRISTMAS DAY I wanted to challenge you to not miss this special time.  In the midst of the travels, the baking, the visits with sometimes challenging family situations, EMBRACE every moment.  Enjoy having your kids home from college.  Enjoy still having parents and grandparents around to celebrate with.  Enjoy snuggling on the couch to a great Christmas movie.  Enjoy the mess that gets created in the kitchen due to all the treats being prepared or all the people in the house.


We are enjoying making new Christmas traditions for just the two of us this year that we know will be carried on for years to come.  We are enjoying seeing how the Christmas season is celebrated in a different country.  We are enjoying listening to Christmas music!  We are eagerly anticipating opening packages sent in the mail from loved ones back in the states.  We are enjoying reading the Scriptures in anticipation for the day so many people set aside to celebrate the birth of our Savior!


I say this as a reminder to myself and to you, in the last week before the Birthday of our King, Do NOT miss it!  Embrace the little moments.  Sing the songs, wear the Christmas colors, eat the goodies, praise our Savior!


Wherever you are, BE ALL THERE, live to the hilt every moment you believe to be the will of God. -Jim Elliott

 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Haitian Cooking Lesson

We have officially been in Haiti for 3 months and 3 days!  Trey & I along with the other missionaries here at BHM eat dinner together every night.  Each night we eat fresh bread!  This bread is made by one of our sweet cooks, Nadine.  Since we have arrived I have wanted to learn to make this homemade bread.  For the past few weeks I have done quite a bit of "desk" work collecting stories for our BHM newsletter.  I passed Nadine this morning and asked her if she would be making bread today and she said yes at 2:00 p.m.  The plan was made and I was so excited.




It was a lot of fun working with her and I think she really enjoyed getting to teach me.  She only speaks Creole so it was a great hands-on Creole lesson for me as well.  I brought a book with a Creole dictionary in the back for some added assistance.  As she made the dough she would explain each step to me and wait for me to write it down.  I would write the explanation in English first and then write it in Creole to make sure I got it correct.

At different steps in the baking process we would have to wait for the bread to "monte" rise.  I learned a lot about Nadine today, I have had brief conversations with her here and there but it was nice to spend some time together this afternoon.  Nadine is 42, she is a single mom of three girls, 19, 16, and 15.  She loves the Lord and is truly a joy to be around.  We talked about a variety of things this afternoon.  She told me how much she loved Jesus and that He was everything to her!

We discussed wearing skirts "jip." We talked about her daughters.  She asked me all about my parents and family.  We exchanged smiles and laughter and struggled through sentences at times.  It was definitely an enjoyable afternoon.  I told her I would be making bread soon and I would let her know how it goes!  Today Nadine was my Creole teacher, Baking instructor, and girlfriend.  Say a prayer for Nadine today and the other precious single mom's of Haiti who are working oh so hard for their families each day. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Boys Will be Boys

The child sponsorship program of Baptist Haiti Mission seeks to provide children with their uniform for school, one meal a day, and the funds to attend school.  This program comes alongside the family and enables them to send their children to school.  One of my FAVORITE things to do here at BHM is to go out with visitors from the U.S. and other areas when they come to Haiti to meet their sponsored child.

The excitement and smiles from the kiddo's at the school warms my heart.  I love seeing them in their uniforms and listening attentively to the instructions from their teachers.  However, after every visit I am never surprised to discover some unique pictures of the little boys.  It never fails that at least one boy in every classroom enjoys putting on a show for the camera.
 They stick out their tongues, they give bunny ears to the person in front of them, they cross their eyes, and the list continues.  If you look at the picture below, the little man on the far right was definitely working hard to entertain me one afternoon.  I didn't want to encourage him to carry on but it was oh so funny!  There were teachers trying to to tell him to tell him to sit still and look forward but the excitement of the camera was too much.  He changed facial expressions so many times for me in an effort for me to take his picture.  I pretended to take a picture of all the students behind him but I think he knows he won and made it on the camera in all his glory.

 I enjoy the spunk and personality that boys offer.  The longer Trey and I are married the more I see the many differences between boys and girls.  I must admit, I would not smile and laugh as much as I do if it were not for Trey.  He adds an entirely different element to my life and for that I am oh so thankful!  He too is very similar to the boys in the school...always entertaining in every picture...
 Thank you Trey for your joyful heart and bringing so much spunk into our family.  Oh I cannot even imagine how our little boys will behave one day on and off camera!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas...

We have been without internet in our home the past couple of days.  No internet means no blogging.  I know it may sound strange but I really missed it!  However, lack of internet meant time for the hands to work.  Without further delay I would like to show you some splashes of Christmas in our little Haitian home.
 Here is our very own hand made advent calendar.  Each picture has a number on the front of it.  During lunch everyday we take off the corresponding number and see what fun little thing we will do to make the day special as we prepare for Christmas.  I made up things that would apply to us as a family and wrote them on the back.  No worries, I have forgotten the order the events come in so each day is still a surprise for me too!  On our first day celebrating advent we...
 Strung popcorn and hung it on our Christmas tree!  I will admit I was a little apprehensive about this task.  Haiti is not the most rodent free country to say the least.  The LAST thing I want to do is invite these little creatures into our home.  However, due to the moisture up here in the mountains things become stale INSTANTLY (or so it seems to me).  If any little creature wanted to chow down on our tree I doubt he would enjoy it and I could almost guarantee he wouldn't invite his friends to join him.  Yesterday our fun Christmas activity was to eat a tasty Christmas treat.
 Thank you Pinterest!!  While Trey was at the office trying to fix the computers I put in a Christmas movie and made this Cinnamon Roll cake.  It was NOT from a box!  I am pleased to announce that it was soooo good.  Trey came into the house right as I was taking it out of the oven and was VERY surprised.  He could hardly wait for it to cool before he had to have a piece.  He said it was like eating the middle of the cinnamon roll with every bite, every bite was the best bite.  Now if comments like that do not make a wife want to bake goodies for her husband I do not know what does :)  Finally, my favorite little dash of Christmas in our house...
The picture above is our coffee table.  The centerpiece was made by my father-in-law for us last year.  There are 25 holes to place our candle on as we move Mary and her donkey each day on their journey to Bethlehem.  I love our handmade advent wreath.  My mom has sent us a devotional by Ann Voskamp to do each day of advent that corresponds with this wreath.  We do this at lunch as well.  I love getting to light the candle every night.  I love knowing my mom & mother-in-love have this special wreath in their homes too.  To the left is a handmade scripture card by my mother-in-love.  And at the right is our Haitian nativity scene.  Although Christmas in Haiti is not quite as cold and sparkly as Christmas in the U.S. the anticipation of the birth of our Savior is as strong as ever!

One last story to close:
This morning at church two of the ladies who work with the children during the service pulled me to the side to ask me if I was coming to the children's Christmas party on Christmas day.  They explained to me there would be games, singing, and food.  The children and their parents will come to church for this fun party.  I told them we would love to come and asked how I could help.  They told me we would be singing all kinds of songs and they would get me a list with the words next week (so I can practice in Creole).  Towards the end of the conversation they asked me one more thing...


They said they were in need of having someone come as Santa.  They explained that it was important that Santa be "blan" (white) and asked me if I knew anyone.  I wanted to laugh so hard because I knew they were hoping that I would volunteer Trey.  I couldn't do that to him there in the moment, I told them I would see what I could do...needless to say I think we are in store for a very eventful Christmas day.
 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Labour of Love- Andrew Peterson

In the days leading up to the celebration of the birth of our Savior I love thinking about how it must have been many years ago for Joseph & Mary.  I'm sure they each experienced a great amount of fear as they trusted in God and held fast to one another.  Along with the fear I'm sure there were feelings of eager expectation as they too awaited the birth of the Savior!  With friends and family members in the middle of pregnancy I am so intrigued by the blessing of carrying a baby.  I cannot even imagine what it must have been like to carry the Savior!  Below are the lyrics to the song, Labour of Love by Andrew Peterson.  I would encourage you to find the song on Youtube and listen to it while you read the lyrics.

STOP: Go find the song and then return to see the words :)

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph at her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love

 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Some of the Many Blessings in Haiti

 Luke 18:16, But Jesus Called the children to him and said,
 "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them,
for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

Last week I traveled out to a medical clinic with a team that was working with BHM.  There were so many children and families at the clinic.  Above are some of the pictures of the kiddo's I took while I was out.  I can't help but look at them everyday!  I wanted to share them with you as well.  Pray for these special blessings in Haiti.  Pray they will grown in their knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ and one day enter into a personal relationship with Him!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Welcoming the Morning

True confession, sometimes I simply do not like the morning.  Why? You may ask.  I may have had a restless night and the thought of beginning another day so early is just not at the top of my list.  Perhaps there is a task or activity to be done in the day that to be quite frank, I do not want to do. Or maybe I do not feel well physically and struggle to even remove my head off the pillow.  Honestly, I simply love laying in the bed.  I could continue with the list, I do not have a problem coming up with reasons to not necessarily enjoy the morning.  A few days ago I read this quote by Baillie on Laura Dawkins blog:

Forbid that when all thy creatures are greeting the morning with songs and shouts of joy, I alone should wear a dull and sullen face.

I have thought about the quote above quite a bit.  I am so quick to allow my temporary feelings to affect me and ultimately lead me to sin.  The Lord is faithful and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)The entire earth is full of the Lord's creatures (Psalm 104:24) How wonderful are His works!  Yet, how often I allow my present circumstances to distract me from the blessings of the Lord.

I doubt I will ever be fond of the roosters that begin around 5 a.m. every morning.  I don't think my body will ever scream "Yipee I love the sweet sound of my alarm telling me to get out of my warm cozy bed beside my husband whom I love." However, just because this situation does not feel good to me does not give me an excuse to be short with Trey, lazy in my morning hours with my Savior, or idle with my time in the remainder of the day time hours. 

Psalm 20:12-14, "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.  Return, O Lord! How long?  Have pity on your servants!  Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may REJOICE and be GLAD all our days."

It is crucial for me to take my thoughts captive and turn to praise in the morning hours when I know I am the most vulnerable.  I find it so beneficial as I lay in bed in the morning after the alarm sounds to immediately begin to whisper prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord for His faithfulness through the night.  Psalm 121:3,"...He who keeps you will not slumber."  I am thankful that I can rest peacefully all day and night because my Lord never slumbers.  I also find it helpful to hit play on my praise music ASAP to ensure that my thoughts stay directed toward the Lord as the feelings of the morning increase :)  For all you "Morning People" out there, I admire you!  Although I am not by nature a "Morning Person" I am thankful for my Savior who has made me a new creation so I too can praise Him in the morning!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tis the Season!

Happy first day of December!  I love love love love love the Christmas season!  I am working on a newsletter right now for BHM while listening to Christmas music.  I love reflecting on the birth of our Savior.  I love singing about Him as a child who came to save the world!  What a precious gift that completely changed the course of the world forever!

Over the past few days I have been "inspired" to do a few different Christmas decorating projects.  I wanted to share with ya'll some of the ways we are going to be doing our first Haitian Christmas.  I have never celebrated Christmas in a place where there was no chance of snow.  So, in order to get the Christmas season off on the right foot I knew our home was in need of a snowman.  Yes it is POSSIBLE to have a snowman in Haiti...
Although he is quite unique, he provides a great amount of spunk to our kitchen.  It also helped me clean off some of the clutter that quickly develops on the refrigerator.  Not to worry, it will all begin to accumulate again after Christmas when the "snow" goes away.  Hope this brought a smile to your day!

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm Hooked!

I have a confession to make.  I have officially fallen hook, line, and sinker for the children of Haiti.  One of my main tasks in Haiti is to take pictures and write stories for Baptist Haiti Mission.  This means I get to travel quite a bit throughout Haiti which means meeting new children!  Yesterday we traveled to a church for their "Bon Fet".  Every year the churches celebrate the birthday of the church.  Pastor Baker (Field Director of BHM) was asked to attend this particular churches Bon Fet.  He asked us if we would like to come with him and of course we accepted.  We left the mission at 5:30 on Sunday morning to make a 3 hour car ride to support the Pastor and his church for their birthday!

To say that we were noticed by the church and the children especially would be an understatement.  The church is currently in the process of receiving a new building so the service was held outside sitting underneath several tarps tied to surrounding trees.  There were a variety of groups who traveled from different churches to sing, a competition in the offering between the men and women, and pastors from surrounding churches who traveled in support of this church.  The service began at 10 a.m. and ended at 1:30!

We were given seats behind the pulpit.  We sat among the other pastors who had come to show their support.  My chair was on the end with several empty ones beside me.  I noticed half way through the service one little girl had her eye on the chair sitting beside me.  She finally snuck over and sat down next to me.  It wasn't long after that several of the other children came over and sat in the other chairs around or they simply stood.  I slowly began to feel pokes on my skin as they would dare one another to touch me.  Tiny fingers began to play with the back of my hair.  Then the chatter began.

As I said we were sitting right behind where the pastor was preaching so we were in clear vision of all the people.  I kept whispering to the children and telling them not to talk.  Of course they would giggle, be quite for a minute, and then the chatter would resume.  Trey informed me later that I look too sweet and even though I told them to be quiet and sit still they were not scared of me.  At one point they were all shooed away by one of the other pastors sitting in the area.  They left...for a few minutes, and then one by one returned when the pastor was not looking.

I hate to say it but I was so ready for the service to end in eager expectation of getting to talk and play with the kids!  Trey and I had so much fun getting to chat with the groups of kids.  They were amazed when they found out we were married.  One little boy spoke up from the crowd and told us to kiss.  When we did all the kids cheered and laughed.
We definitely had a great Sunday.  I am so thankful for the precious smiles and spunky personalities in the children of Haiti!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Haitian Thanksgiving!

We had a great first Thanksgiving in Haiti.  Work at the mission was still in full-swing, since Thanksgiving is not quite a Haitian holiday.  However, the missionaries took the afternoon hours off in order to have a Thanksgiving meal.  We enjoyed all the staple items, turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, etc.  It all tasted sooo good!  We had several desserts, I made a pumpkin roll and it actually worked!  We definitely had a good day, but missed our family and friends from the states as well.  Here we are after lunch with vant plen (full stomachs) for a Thanksgiving picture:
I was asked by a good friend back in the states to share some thoughts about what it was like to spend Thanksgiving in a country like Haiti that lives in so much poverty.  I have thought about this quite a bit over the past few weeks.  As we spend more and more time here I am beginning to realize what I am truly thankful for.


Do not get me wrong, there are times I miss many "things."  I find I miss the guarantee of a warm shower.  I miss wearing blue jeans.  I miss the anticipation of having a "White Christmas." I miss the idea of having a night out to the movies.  However, if I never experienced any of these things again it would be no real loss.


As I see the poverty here in Haiti and seek to understand my brothers and sisters here, I am vividly reminded of the things that truly matter in life.  The typical Haitian family struggles to provide a meal for their family each day.  The majority do not have running water in their homes.  There are a variety of physical struggles they constantly experience.  In the midst of these circumstances an incredibly high value is placed on both faith and family.  The close family ties and devotion to Christ seen in the Christian families here in Haiti is truly a blessing.


I am thankful for the beautiful reminder to place high importance on my family and more importantly my relationship with Christ.  I am so blessed by the family the Lord has given me.  I conclude this time of public thanksgiving by sharing a picture I took outside after our Thanksgiving meal.  I am so thankful that the Lord's glory shines here in Haiti and He is truly in the business of making Himself known among the nations!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 15 & 16 ish?

Today I am thankful for eye opening experiences.  The past two days we traveled out North in Haiti to a town called Atrel.  It took us 6 hours to travel roughly 160 miles.  We were bumped and jarred and shook more than words can express.  When I ate dinner last night I noticed my jaw was so soar and it was difficult to fully open my mouth to take a bite.  I realized throughout the entire drive I had been so tense trying to hold myself in place that I was definitely gritting my teeth.  However, I am so thankful we made the trip.


We were exposed to a whole new side of Haiti.  We live in such a DYNAMIC place.  I was never bored during our drive because there was so much to see.  We drove through salt flats, we drove up mountain sides with beautiful ocean views, we drove past little girls riding their donkey's to the market, we drove past ladies gathering water at spring wells, and the many many more eye catching sites!  There are so many people in Haiti and so many amazing things to see!


I am in awe of our God who knows my name and the number of hairs on my head.  In the midst of such a densely populated country I can quickly become overwhelmed by the masses of people.  It is overwhelming to think of all the individual needs that plague this country.  It is in these overwhelming moments that I become insanely excited at the reality that my God knows and cares for each one of these people as well!  He does not look at the chaos and gawk with eyes wide open like I do.  I am thankful for the eye opening experiences that the Lord gives me to remind me that He is God and I am not. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 14!

Today I am thankful for weddings.  Today I wrote a blog for Baptist Haiti Mission about an upcoming wedding ceremony in Haiti.  While I wrote the blog I reflected on how thankful I am for the gift of marriage.  I wanted to share our wedding vows with you.  I began reading through them today and was so encouraged as I reflected on the gift of marriage.


I, Trey, take you, Chelsea, to be my wife.
I commit to love you as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25).
I will lead you by serving you (Mk. 10:45).
I will encourage you to treasure Christ...
above everything else in this world (Phil. 3:1-10).
I will forgive you as Christ has forgiven me (Matthew 6:9-15).
I will care for you with humility,...
kindness, gentleness, and patience (Col. 3:12-17).
I will please you...
by putting your interests above my own (Phil. 2:1-11).
I will honor you with my purity (Hebrews 13:4).
I will join with you...
in the global mission God has entrusted to us (Ps. 67; Matt. 28:18-20).
I will sacrifice my life for your sake (1 John 3:16-18).
I will cherish you as a child of God (Gal. 4:4-8).
And by the grace of God,
I will be faithful to this covenant
as long as we both shall live (Gen. 2:22-24).

I, Chelsea, take you, Trey, to be my husband.
I commit to love you as the church loves Christ (Eph. 5:23).
I will trust you by submitting to you (Eph. 5:24).
I will encourage you to treasure Christ...above everything else in this world (Phil. 3:1-10).
I will forgive you as Christ has forgiven me (Matthew 6:9-15).
I will care for you with humility, / kindness, gentleness, and patience (Col. 3:12-17).
I will please you / by putting your interests above my own (Phil. 2:1-11).
I will honor you with my purity (Hebrews 13:4).
I will join with you / in the global mission God has entrusted to us (Ps. 67; Matt. 28:18-20).
I will sacrifice my life for your sake (1 John 3:16-18).
I will cherish you as a child of God (Gal. 4:4-8).
And by the grace of God, / I will be faithful to this covenant / as long as we both shall live (Gen. 2:22-24).


Here's the address for the Baptist Haiti Mission Blog:
http://www.baptisthaitimission.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 13

Today I am thankful for cute items that make doing daily tasks just a little bit better!  I am thankful for crafty day planners.  I am thankful for purple post-it notes.  I am thankful for bright colors in the kitchen.  I'm thankful for fun laundry totes!


Thank you Susanne White for the great laundry bag!  Add some cuteness, some color, some fun, some WOW to your daily routine today!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

TWELVE

Today I am thankful for baby steps!


Your eyes are not deceiving you.  This is indeed my VERY handsome husband holding a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies!  Made by me!  If you remember from one of my blogs when we first arrived here in Haiti I attempted to make chocolate chip cookies.  It took an entire afternoon to borrow the ingredients from a variety of people, use the oven in a neighbors house, and after all that the cookies were terrible!  


Quite a few weeks later Trey actually requested that I bake cookies!  They fluffed when I cooked them and, I only had to borrow one egg today!  This my friends, is an accomplishment.  While I was baking the cookies today I was reminded of how important it is to thank God for the baby steps He enables us to make.


Living in a new place can be quite frustrating when I cannot speak the language, I am learning a new schedule and simple tasks become quite difficult.  It is in these moments that I must remember how far the Lord has brought me.  2 months ago I didn't even know how to say "What is your name?" or "How old are you?"  Today, I am quite the pro at these phrases and more!  2 months ago I could not even bake cookies in my own house.  Today, our house is feeling like home and cookie dough is in the refrigerator ready for the next baking session.  I am not only thankful for baby steps in my daily life here in Haiti but I am thankful for the baby steps in my spiritual life as well.


In Beth Moore's bible study "Stepping Up" she describes the joy she receives watching her grandson grow up.  She said she truly celebrates every step he takes.  The same is true with our heavenly Father.  It delights my heart to think that God relishes every hint of maturity He see's in me, even at those times when I feel like I am not making any progress at all.  I can often be my own worst enemy and wish that I knew more about the Bible, I wish that I was able to spend more time in prayer, or even I wish that I could be a better wife.  I am thankful for the Lord's grace that I am making baby steps each and everyday.  I am thankful that it is okay to be patient with myself and celebrate the little victories, the baby steps.  I am His child and that is NOTHING I can do to make Him love me more.  Through His guidance and direction I'll be running before I know it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 11

Today I am thankful for Friday nights...it means I get to sleep in on Saturday mornings! (For the most part.)  To bed I go, thank you God for Friday night.



Thursday, November 17, 2011

DOUBLE DIGETS!



Today I am so thankful for my first birthday in Haiti!!  I turned 23 today!  The Lord was so gracious to me and I have been deeply encouraged by my friends and family on this special day.  For starters I was awoken at 5:30 a.m. by a team that had been serving with us this week from West Virginia.  They decided they would give me a good 'ol wake up call and sang Happy Birthday in our front yard!  I was so surprised, it definitely made the day begin well.  Trey made scrambled eggs for breakfast and my morning e-mail contained picture e-mails from my mom with encouraging b-day messages and e-cards of birthday goodness from the in-laws :)  

Deborah and her oldest daughter, Naomi and I had a girls day out today!  We went shopping and enjoyed being "out on the town."  I was introduced to "Epi Dor" today, a Haitian McDonalds (ish)  IT WAS SO GOOD!  I made Deborah act like a tourist with me and stand in front of the duck holding the ice-cream cone.  I guess after living here 12 years you just don't do stuff like that anymore.

Trey surprised me with flowers and a confetti cake when I got home!  He is so good to me and I am so blessed to be his bride.  I love doing birthdays with him.  It was then down to the dinning hall for a birthday dinner!  I am blessed by the new family we have been given here at BHM.  They truly went out of their way to make me feel loved and welcome here on my first Haiti birthday and for that I am oh so thankful!

 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day Nine

Today I am thankful for women who eagerly study the Word of God.  Some of the ladies here at Baptist Haiti Mission are currently doing "Stepping Up," a Bible study by Beth Moore.  We meet on Wednesday afternoons to watch a DVD of Beth Moore and discuss the work from the previous week.  I absolutely love this time!


It is so encouraging to hear Beth Moore and others like her speak and to read their writing.  I LOVE her transparency.  Her desire to love the Lord more everyday is contagious!  Her speaking and writing cause me to laugh at times, cry at others, but more than anything I leave with a heart that has been challenged and redirected toward our great God.


The Lord has blessed me by placing a variety of women in my life who are devoted students to the Word of God.  I am thankful for the legacy of these women that ignite in me the passion to study and grow as well.  It is my prayer that my desire to read and understand the Word of God would increase throughout the years as I continue to be challenged and encouraged by those who have gone before me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

EIGHT

This palm tree stands in the corner of our front yard.  It is absolutely HUGE!  It is so tall in fact, that we had been living here for a few days before I realized I had walked past the tree several times and never taken the time to look up and and find the top of the tree!  Each day when I walk past the tree I try to remind myself to stop and look up to see the entire tree.  I literally have to lean my head all the way back when standing beside it to find the top.  As I stopped and did the big lean of the head this morning (yes, I am sure I may have looked a little strange) I realized what I am thankful for today...


I am so thankful for moments when I feel small.  As I gaze at the mountains of Haiti or tilt my head wayyyy back to see the top of the palm tree I feel small.  When I see the smoke from a plane that has just flown overhead I feel small.  When I wrap up in a large blanket or lay in the arms of my husband I feel small.  It is in these moments that I am quickly reminded that I am such a small small piece of God's GIGANTIC puzzle.  Although small...


I am loved, I am cared for, I am protected.  As soon as I typed this phrase I thought about the movie The Help, "You is kind, you is smart, you is important."  If you have not seen this you should, great movie!  Back to the point...


I am so thankful that my identity is in Christ.  I know I am wrapped in His overwhelming grace.  Psalm 139:14, "I will praise YOU, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are YOUR works, and that my soul knows very well."  I hope you feel small today.

Monday, November 14, 2011

SEVEN

Today I am thankful for DARK CHOCOLATE!
I love the secret messages inside each wrapper.  I love the smooth chocolate goodness!  I love that you can eat 5 individually wrapped pieces for only 200 calories.  5 pieces can be spread out over quite some time, trust me :)  I love that someone somewhere said there was something about dark chocolate that was good for you...BRILLIANT!  I always thought something that tasted so good had to have some good health benefits to it, just took someone a little smarter than me to say it to be believed.


P.S. I put up a new blog on BHM page today, check it out:  http://www.baptisthaitimission.blogspot.com 



Sunday, November 13, 2011

VI

Brisk walks, leaves changing, cool evenings wearing jeans and a sweatshirt.  These are three of my favorite things of about fall.  The fall season is slightly different here in Haiti.  I am learning to be thankful for the differences in our life here in Haiti while still keeping some of my favorite things from Kentucky.


Today, I am thankful for my Kentucky meets Haiti fall decor!
This is a picture of our kitchen table.  The leaves on the table came all the way from Corbin!  One of my favorite things to do when spending time with my mom is to go on "powerwalks."  Throughout this season she has been collecting leaves on her walks and lamenating them for me.  Just last week I received a package in the mail of fall leaves :)  I have loved scattering the leaves all over our house.


The card is designed by my mother-in-law.  She sends 4 homemade scripture cards to the family every month.  This particular card has Psalm 100 written on it.  We love all the unique ways she creates the cards to display and reflect on the Word.  I particularly love this one because it just screams fall!


Finally, the roses and other flower were all cut right here on the mission.  We have so many beautiful plants!  I am amazed each day even as I simply walk through our yard.  There are so many bright colors here year round.
In closing, I am thankful for our first Kentaiti Fall.



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day Five

Today I am thankful for CALM evenings and board games!


When you work on the same property of which you live it seems like there is never a dull moment.  There is always a job to be done or some work to be caught up.  This evening we went over to Pastor Baker & Ms. Patti's house and played Mexican Train.  It was so nice to not have to worry about a thing!  We laughed, chatted, and simply enjoyed a relaxing evening.  I'm thankful for the ability to work hard, but to rest hard as well!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day Four!

A few weeks ago we traveled with one of the food trucks as they delivered food to a school far up in the mountains.  I took this picture of some of the kids as they ran to the school to see the food truck arrive.  The sheer excitement and happiness displayed by the little girl in the blue dress makes this one of my favorite pictures I have taken in Haiti so far.  Click on the picture to make it larger if you are not quite catching her excitement.  It is this image that reminds me of what I am thankful for today...


I am so thankful for those little moments that happen in life that no matter how hard I try I cannot keep the happiness and excitement from showing all over my body!  It's those times when if I could do a backflip I would do 1,000! Sometimes it comes from the anticipation of seeing a good friend or loved one I haven't seen in a while.  Other times it may comes when simply receiving good news.  I felt this way when Trey proposed!  I felt this way when I found out Dempsey and Selena were expecting their first little one!  I feel this excitement on Friday afternoon when our mail is delivered!  


It comes in big moments and in little everyday moments.  The explosive happiness arrives when I think about the pilgrimage we are on as Christians and how AMAZING it will be to be face to face with my King!  It is the moments of intense expectation of what is to come and the confidence in knowing it's going to be oh so good!  Treasure those moments.  May we never become too grown up to experience and eagerly welcome EXPLOSIVE happiness and excitement!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Twazyem Jou (Third Day)

                                           
Today I am thankful for the gift of Girlfriends!  There is just something special about being able to share secrets, laugh over crazy things, and simply be yourself with your close girlfriends.  I love seeing the friendships in Haiti.  Although the culture is different, the love is still the same.  I'm so thankful for the encouragement, accountability, and laughter that comes from my girlfriends!
Note: This picture was taken from a crazy scavenger hunt for a Boyce College ladies night.  Yes, I do know my shorts are on inside out :)