Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cooking...Haitian Style

There was not a dull moment this past week here at Baptist Haiti Mission.  Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) hosted a conference here for some school teachers in Haiti.  There were speakers from the U.S. and Canada who came in for the week to lead this conference.  

The featured subject for the conference was mathematics (requested by the Haitian teachers.)  The entire week the teachers were trained on how to teach their students from a Christian perspective in every area.  There were approximately 140 teachers who came to this conference.  The teachers were eager to learn new ideas and ways to teach with a Christian perspective.  They were given a variety of ideas and some materials to aid them in their classrooms.  The conference was a huge success!  We pray that as the teachers return to their schools they will begin to implement all they learned.

Alongside the ACSI conference Baptist Haiti Mission was also hosting their Masters students.  BHM partners with Flet University to provide a way for Haitian students to receive their Master's degrees.  The students spend 1 week about every two months in the classroom with a professor at BHM.  They take that week cover a particular class they need for their Masters.  They are then given coursework to complete throughout the next several weeks on their own, which is then turned back in to BHM for grading and credit.  There were approximately 30 students here for their Masters course.

It was a FULL HOUSE.  BHM has a conference building to house the Masters students and other groups when they come to the property.  There were a lot of mouths to feed.  Madame Dodo, our cook for the conferences and events at BHM had a big task ahead of her.  She brought in several  ladies to help.  

My friends, Deborah, Bri, and I went down during lunch everyday to help prepare and serve the food.  We filled up huge dishpans (kivets) of rice and beans each day.  I learned how to slice potatoes, peel onions, and smash banan's QUICKLY!  Our afternoons were hot, noisy, fast passed, and oh so fun!

I loved getting to know the ladies.  It definitely forced me to start understanding Creole in regular conversations.  I still have a long way to go.  Deborah took her camera down to the kitchen two of the days.  Check out her blog for a visual journey of our time in the kitchen...

Side Note:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lessons from an Afternoon of Deep Cleaning and A LOT of Mold!

As I showered yesterday morning I noticed a small area of mold developing along the bottom of the shower curtain.  From there my eyes shifted to the corners of the shower and I saw MORE MOLD!  I then looked toward the walls and it was there too!  My plan for the morning was set, I was going to have to fight the mold.

As the morning progressed it did not take long to see that the mold had taken over the house!  As the sweat began to pour and my frustration rose the Lord quickly intercepted and began to remind me/teach me some very important lessons I wanted to share with you...

1.  Mold = Sin.  If I do not deal with the mold when I first find it, it will only get worse and continue to spread.

2.  When you start looking for mold be prepared to be overwhelmed when you see that the mold can be EVERYWHERE, and stick to EVERYTHING!

3.  It takes sweat, hard work, and chemicals to remove the mold.  (Chemicals = Christ)

4.  Just because I cleaned the surface one time where the mold is does not mean I am finished.  I am simply aware of the area the mold develops and must watch it closely, keeping my CHEMICAL in hand.

5.  Often our favorite areas in life can develop the most mold.  One of my favorite things to do is to take a warm relaxing shower and that is where the mold has taken over!  Mold (SIN) often develops the quickest and the thickest in our closest relationships, our favorite hobbies, etc.

6.  When I first discovered the mold in the shower I went to my neighbor and asked for any advice on how to best fight the mold knowing she had experienced it before.  Do not hesitate to ask for HELP when you are fighting the mold.  You are NOT the only one who is experiencing it and you will prosper in seeking counsel from others.

7.  Some mold is stronger than others in certain areas.  In the midst of cleaning the mold do not forget the little victories you have had along the way.

8.  It is so good to see and smell a clean and mold free space!  It is worth all the sweat.  Don't be afraid to look for the mold and start cleaning.  (Sanctification)

9.  After I clean the mold I am not the only one who benefits.  Those closest to me will see and notice and celebrate with me!

10.  When the mold becomes too much, the BEST and ONLY thing you can do is spray it heavily with your chemical (Christ), and let it soak for as long as it takes.  After all, it is the chemical that already has complete victory over the mold before you even noticed it!

2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

None But Jesus

Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

As I spent time with my Jesus this morning I read Oswald Chambers, "My Upmost for His Highest."  The reading discussed how often we work and work with endless energy but fail to have a private life with God.  The purpose of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is for us to have a personal relationship with Him, not public usefulness to others.  This has to become a discipline!

It takes discipline to come and be still before our Lord.  I do not want to waste my time in overactivity.  I have listened to the song below several times this morning.  Oh how I pray that I do not miss Jesus today!  In the chaos, in confusion, in the quiet, in the stillness...there is no one else for me, none but Jesus!

Google Image

Hillsong- Mighty to Save

In the quiet
In the stillness
I know that You are God
In the secret of Your presence
I know there I am restored
When You call I won't refuse
Each new day again I'll choose

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

In the chaos in confusion
I know You're sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do Your will
When You call I won't delay
This my song through all my days

All my delight is in You Lord
All of my hope
All of my strength
All my delight is in You Lord
Forever more

Monday, October 17, 2011

Child Sponsorship

Check out the new blogpost on the Baptist Haiti Mission Field Journal.  If you are interested in learning more about our child sponsorship program don't hesitate to let me know.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Comments Comments Comments

     It has been brought to my attention that there are several of you out there reading this blog.  I cannot adequately express how happy that makes me!  However, I have also been informed that many of you have made quite a few attempts at leaving comments and not been able to do so.  I am proud to say that after some searching and assistance from my sweet friend Deborah Baker, ANYONE can now leave a comment on ANY post they choose!
     I hope this makes you as happy as it made me when I finally figured out the solution to the problem.  I am eager to now be able to hear from you as well! Happy Sunday to you!

A Couple of Days at Camp

One of my favorite things about Haiti is there is no such thing as a regular routine.  There is plenty to do but there is also time to mix things up a bit.  A generator arrived at the mission and needed to be delivered down to the BHM camp property.  We were excited about the opportunity to visit camp.  We eagerly volunteered to travel down with the generator to help set it up, and spend some time down by the water.

The truck that delivered the generator was rather large and was not allowed to travel on the road between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.  This is the time that many children are on their way to school.  Because of this rule we left the mission at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday to make it to the camp.  This was quite the early ride!

We spent two nights at camp.  It was great getting to spend time with Chris & Kelli Lieb and their five kids.  We also enjoyed continuing to build relationships with the Haitian staff.  The Lieb's used to live on the mission and are now living at the camp.

Trey spent his days building a trench to provide water for the mission.  He developed plenty of blisters and some sour smelling clothes to prove that he worked hard.

This is a picture of some of the guys as they worked on digging the trench.  Noah is serving as a short-term missionary from the states.  We love spending time with him.  Moise is one of the staff working at the camp.  It is exciting to get to know the guys who are working so hard to make the dream of camp a reality.

It took quite a bit of the guys to maneuver the very heavy generator.  Everyone is so excited to have more power at the camp.  After much grunting and a lot of sweat the purr of the generator in the evenings is music to the ears!

I was given a machet to use throughout the day!  Can you believe it?!  The machet is used for pretty much EVERYTHING here in Haiti.  The Lieb's house on the camp property has seen it's fair share of wear and tear.  The tile floor is covered in a very thick and tough brown skum.  They are working incredibly hard day in and day out, one tile at a time to scrape off the mess.  When the kids complain about doing school work Kelli suggests they scrape the floor and all of the sudden the idea of homework sounds amazing!

Sitting on the tile floor in akward positions and scraping for several hours can became quite uncomfortable.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship and great conversations with Kelli and the other girls at the camp.  I left truly encouraged by my sisters in Christ and blessed to be able to serve alongside them.

We managed to work in our fair share of swimming in the ocean as well.  Trey has developed a love for snorkeling and a dream for scuba gear.  I however get slightly claustrophobic under the water so I did my snorkeling in small portions :)  I prefer to float with my face above the water.  

Pray for the Lieb family and the work that they are doing down on the camp property.  Pray also for all the details that will have to be worked out between now and summer.  There is a lot to do but the Lord is faithful and we are confident that there is no task too great for Him.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's Time for School!

White knuckles, clenched toes, bobble heads, these are just three phrases I would use to describe our Friday morning drive through the mountains.  School is officially in session in Haiti which means it is time for the first of several Baptist Haiti Mission food deliveries.

As the new missionaries here with BHM we are eager to see what the food deliveries were all about.  The workers at the mission were gracious enough to allow us to accompany them on this "fly off your seat" 2 hour ride.  We loaded up on the Blue Canter with sacks of rice, beans, oil, and a variety of other items to deliver to 2 different schools.

Baptist Haiti Mission partners with two organizations in Port-Au-Prince to provide food for 18 schools in the mountain regions around Fermathe.  The schools are given food every 6 weeks.  Our drive to Bolosse on Friday was the first of many deliveries for the year.

Upon arrival we definitely attracted quite the audience.  The students were thrilled to see the food arrive.  They smiled and waved and talked to one another in excited voices.

A few of the workers from Baptist Haiti Mission as well as leaders from Bolosse worked quickly to unload all the sacks of food.  The schoolroom that the food was placed in began to fill up fast.

This particular delivery was not just for the school of Bolosse.  The food will be divided with a school in Hudicourt.  Unfortunately we are unable to drive to Hudicourt since there are no roads to access that community.  Some of the adults and students of Hudicourt will make a 7 hour walk to Bolosse to pick up their delivery.

We were thankful for the opportunity to travel and see one of the schools that BHM supports.  The steep drops, sharp turns, and unpredictable road conditions made us thankful we traveled on an empty stomach.  While traveling on an empty stomach is preferred, learning on an empty stomach is not.  We are pleased to know the students will not be learning on an empty stomach.  It is a blessing to see the Lords provision for all of these students.  It is through His care that they are given the opportunity to grow fully in their knowledge and understanding of Him as well as learn several other subjects.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Searching for the "Honeysuckle Blessings."

There is ALWAYS something that needs to be done.  I find that the very moment I think I am finished I instantly remember five more things that need to be accomplished.  Rather you are a stay at home mom, a businessman, a student, or serving in Haiti I think it's safe to say we ALL find ourselves caught in the trap of "Go, Go, Go..."

Living a lifestyle that is always on the go causes us to miss so many of the blessings that the Lord gives us on a daily basis.  My mother-in-law refers to these blessings as "honeysuckle blessings."  These are the little blessings the Lord gives us each and everyday that we fail to recognize or "stop and smell."

The above picture is a cactus that sits outside Ms. Elsa's house.  Ms. Elsa is a missionary who has been serving with BHM well over 20 years.  A few weeks ago Ms. Elsa invited us to her house at 10 p.m.  This is VERY late in Haiti considering it gets dark at 6 p.m.  She told us she had been noticing her cactus outside and knew that it was going to be a very special night.  With our pajama's on and flashlights in hand we walked across the mission to see Ms. Elsa and her cactus and we were not disappointed.

There sitting on top of all the pointy needles and in the old dingy pot sat this BEAUTIFUL flower.  This is a night blooming flower that only blooms once or twice a year.  As I stood and looked at this flower I was amazed at the timing and the work of my heavenly Father.  Ms. Elsa said it best when she said it was as if God had given her that flower for just that one night to say "Look, my child, and enjoy!"

How many ways is the Lord shouting at us saying, "Look my child, enjoy this!  Look my child, don't miss this!  Look my child, can you believe this?"

Psalm 84:11 says, "...No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly."
Matthew 7:11 says, "...How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"

Oh, how quick I am to forget.  Oh, how quick I am to move on to the next task.  Oh, how quick I am to focus on the sharp edges and the dirt in the pot that I miss the beautiful flower my Father has created for me to simply ENJOY!

I want to challenge myself and you today to not miss the blessings.  May we start each day asking God to show us Himself.  May we ask to see and recognize the blessings of our Lord.  At the end of the day, when we place our heads on our pillows, may we Praise our God for his blessings the "big" ones and the "small" ones.

The Lord has placed a heavy desire in my heart today to search for His blessings and for this I am so thankful.  I wanted to share with you just a few that are running through my mind this afternoon...
1.  The gift of laughter first thing in the morning!
2.  The smell of warm food in the oven.
3.  The ability to read and write, to learn and understand.
4.  Technology, living miles away from friends and family but still being able to connect.
5.  Attending church with my brothers and sisters.  The "honeysuckle blessing" from this morning, a special guest pastor from the States preached in English!

I pray I do not allow the list to stop there.  May we search for the blessings and at times search hard.  The blessings are always present.  "Look, my child, and enjoy!"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oh What a Journey

As I sit here at our kitchen table this morning I hear the sound of children singing at a nearby school.  A majority of the words are unclear but the AMEN that is shouted at the end of each verse is music to the ears.  After a couple weeks of travel and experiencing life in Haiti we are excited to be back to our home on the mission.

We spent the past week and a half with Pastor Ellison and his family.  We LOVED getting to know the sweet sweet people in the mountains of Haiti.  The families all live in the same area with the Grandparents living right next door to the children and so forth.  Trey said, on more than one occasion, that we had brought Corbin to Haiti.  I will never complain about that.

The days were hot and the nights were hotter.  The Lord was so gracious to us and we were able to learn quite a bit of Creole and still have a lot of fun.  On the first day we were sitting out on the front porch studying and one of the guys who lived on the compound came walking over to us with a toilet seat.  We were very surprised and asked him what he was doing.  He informed us that Pastor Ellison sent him to get a toilet seat for me with hopes of making the bathroom more enjoyable.  After spending some time in the outhouse I had never been more excited to see a toilet seat in my life!

About a 5 minute walk down the gravel road was Pastor Ellison's church and school.  We would spend some mornings there learning Creole.  Pastor Ellison does not speak English but he was a great teacher.  (He would smile all the time, except in this picture.)  Baptist Haiti Mission builds schools alongside the churches they plant.  There are over 800 children in Pastor Ellison's school.  They have two session of school per day to accommodate all the children.  Pray for the teachers and the students of this school, it is A LOT of work.  The job of a Pastor is never finished.  We were encouraged to see how many house visits Pastor Ellison made and how loved he was by his family and community.  He truly loves the Lord and this is evident in his servants heart.

The afternoons were very warm, it was the perfect time for bathing!  The kids showed us a nice private river that was about a 7 minute hike back through the fields and pig trails where we could bathe.  The first time we went it was just the two of us.  The second day we had some visitors...

It is not everyday you see blan's [white] bathing in your river.  We were quite the site to them.  When we would visit a new place the children would shout "Blan Blan."  I would respond by saying, "Pa blan, mwen rele Chelsea" translation...I'm not white, my name is Chelsea.  They would then laugh and say "Chelsea!"  We loved spending time with the kids and playing lots and lots of games!  The quicker the game was and the more clapping the game involved the more they loved it.  

Our evenings consisted of hanging outside with all the kids and families nearby until bed time.  This was our favorite part of the day.

The kids loved Trey!  They would always sneak up behind him, but would run away screaming and laughing when he would notice them.  It was truly a blessing to have such a warm welcome.  We look forward to continuing our relationship with Pastor Ellison and his sweet family.

Pray for us as we are now figuring out what our role specifically looks like with Baptist Haiti Mission.  We are eager to learn and be used in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.  Pray that we continue to make studying the language a priority!  Thanks for keeping up with us.  We look forward to staying in touch with you via facebook and skype.  Know that even though we are in Haiti we are constantly thinking and praying for friends and family in the states as well :)