Thursday, August 30, 2012

Christmas in August

Today you may find yourself in a pair of shorts just finishing up soccer practice.  Thoughts of the Christmas season are probably far from mind.  Would you allow me to step into the "Christmas Spirit" with you for a few moments?

Let's just try and see what happens.  Begin by pushing play on the song below:

The Christmas tree is decorated.  Family schedules are aligned.  School is coming to a close.  It’s Christmas time!!!  You know what they say, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

There are many details and planning that accompany the holiday season.  Let me help you with some of the logistics and details that are sure to be a part of your life over the next few months.

Many of you by now have seen and heard about the jewelry project I am a part of with several ladies from church.  Two mornings a week women gather together on the property at Baptist Haiti Mission to make hand-made jewelry out of cereal boxes.

A box of Frosted Flakes cut and ready to be rolled around the skewer to form a bead.
The purpose of the jewelry project can be summarized by Proverbs 31:27, "She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."

Several of the ladies hard at work.
Obtaining a steady income is incredibly difficult if not impossible for several families in Haiti.  By learning a trade and having an outlet for sales, families within churches connected with BHM are being changed.
Mothers, Children, and Grandchildren all enjoy making the jewelry.
Over the past few months I have heard from several of you that you would be interested in purchasing jewelry as Christmas gifts.  Well, ‘tis the season to buy some jewelry!  Due to scheduling, and delays that came come from relying on handy dandy snail-mail, I am currently taking orders for Christmas gifts and other occasions.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in purchasing some pieces, please contact me at:

For a few pictures and price examples of the jewelry, click on the "jewelry project" section you see at the top of this page.   We also have earrings $5. 
Don't delay, get out those pens and papers and figure out the names of those on your “gift list.”  The jewelry has been a huge success.  Little girls, teenagers, and women all love the pieces.  By giving the jewelry as a gift to a friend or family member for Christmas, you are also giving a gift to a precious woman in Haiti.
For the record, I am SEVERLY against listening to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving.  However, I was willing to put that to the side today for the sake of the cause.

Monday, August 27, 2012

When it Rains, it Pours!

9 p.m. Friday night the rain from crazy Hurricane Isaac officially began.  We then experienced non-stop rain all through Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday night!  During the 24 hour storm I could not help but think of what it must have been like for Noah and his family on the ark.
Did Noah’s family doubt him as they waited on the storm?
Noah’s family was on the ark for 7 days before they even saw any rain! (Gen. 7:1-10) As we kept up with the news on the internet concerning Hurricane Isaac and received phone calls and e-mails from friends and family telling us about the storm, I knew something was on its way.  However, as the days passed and we continued to follow the storm, the sky above was crystal clear!  The storm was predicted to hit on Friday, Friday morning there was not a rain cloud to be seen.  I began to doubt all I had heard.

Perhaps the storm was predicted, but it had changed its course.  I trust my family, but maybe the news in the U.S. is a little dramatic and not getting all the facts correct.  Just as these thoughts began, the sky darkened and the rain came.
What did Noah and his family think when it finally started to rain?
This was the very FIRST time the Lord had ever made it rain.  I am sure a great amount of fear and apprehension filled the ark as they realized the flood was really going to happen.  I also think the ark had to be full of praise as the family realized their God is faithful to do what He said He would do.  What joy they must have had to know everything was in His control.  However, the start of the rain was only the beginning of a very LONG journey.
How long were they on the ark before extreme cabin-fever occurred?!
We were indoors, together, for about 24 hours this weekend.  By “we”, I mean me, Trey, and Creole.  Can I just say our crazy canine experienced some INTENSE cabin-fever.  There were moments when he would get up and simply run back and forth from our living room to our kitchen (Creole, not Trey.) His energy was uncontainable!

My handsome husband, ready to battle the storm.  The blur beside him is Creole in the midst of some Cabin Fever.

He was up in our face all the time.  He would follow both of us from room to room.  No amount of petting was able to calm him.  How in the world do you think the animals were on the ark?!

Granted, each animal did not have the energy of a puppy.  I’m sure there were days when Noah’s wife had just had it up to her kneck dealing with certain animals.  How many times can you clean up after all kinds of livestock before you simply cannot handle it anymore?!
How excited was the family when they finally saw the sun?
24 hours later, at the first peak of sunshine, I went straight outside.  I wanted to look up at the sun and feel its warmth.  As I stood out on my front-porch after the storm, I looked down the mountain side and saw several families running outside as well.  The storm had ended and we were all more than ready to be outside again. 

Haiti is a country that truly LIVES in the great outdoors.  The markets are outside on the streets.  Most walk everywhere they go.  We have our windows open in our home 95% of the time.  When rain hits, it truly cripples the country.  I cannot imagine the extreme contrast it was for Noah’s family, a family who had no choice but to do everything in the great outdoors, and  move everything inside an ark for over 1 year!
How does one move forward after such a terrible flood?

The Lord caused the flood in Noah’s time to destroy the entire earth.  My God promised He would never destroy the earth with water again.  The storm that hit Haiti a few days ago is so small in comparison to the world wide flood.  Still, many in Haiti right now are struggling due to flooding and other damage from hurricane Isaac.
Many have lost their homes, gardens, and animals.  Several of the churches associated with Baptist Haiti Mission have experienced severe damage.  Would you pray for BHM as we seek to discern how to serve our church families during this difficult time?  We have heard of many needs today, and know we will continue to learn more as the days progress.

We are thankful the Lord brought the rain, and has now brought it to an end.  He was faithful many years ago and continues to be today. 
One of the best ways to help is through giving undesignated gifts. If you would consider giving financially to BHM as we seek to assist the churches please let us know, or visit

Friday, August 24, 2012

Joyful Noise

Psalm 100:2, Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into His presence with singing.

I LOVE to sing.  I love learning new songs, and having times of praise when I just belt it out.  However, if you have spent much time around me, my "songbird" voice is probably not one of the key things you would use to describe me.

I will never forget sitting at the dinner table one night with Trey, I told him I had learned a new song and wanted to know if he would like to hear it.  With his fork suspended in the air, and eyes large he looked at me and said, "Are you going to sing it to me?!"

I could not help but burst out laughing.  I had the song ready to play on Youtube, not to serenade him myself at the kitchen table.  Don't get me wrong, Trey and I enjoy our fair share of tunes together, I am simply not Reba Macintire.  Even without a songbird voice, I have managed to learn a few songs here in Haiti that I absolutley love.

I find as I learn a new worship song in Creole, I think about the meaning and truly sing from my heart.  Because Creole is obviously not my first language, I have to think about the words and what they specifically mean in order to sing.  It is for this reason, my heart, mind, and spirit are so in tune when I praise my Father through singing in Creole.

I have recently become slightly obsessed with the song below, check it out:

Wi mwen kwe = Yes I believe

The lyrics in the song sing the truths of God.  Some of the phrases are as follows:  Savior, Yes I believe you are God.  Yes, I believe you are the Prince of Peace.  Yes, I believe you have all the power.  Yes, I believe you died and now you reign.

As threats of Hurricane Isaac approach the country of Haiti today, I pray we remember the truths of our Father.  He is the Prince of Peace and He reigns today!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


As I write this Mom & Mamaw Peggy should be high in the sky on their way back to the USA.  I loved spending the week with two of my all-time favorite women in the world.  There was LOTS of talking, plenty of laughing, some work, and just an all around wonderful time.  I wanted to share three pictures that are a perfect summary of our week:

Mom & Creole bonding time.
Mom and Creole hit it off well!  Each night they enjoyed "rough housing" together.  It was hillarious to watch mom play with a dog that is already almost as big as she is.  We are definitely glad he is a big fan of her also.  There is no doubt she will be missed by us, as well as, Creole.

Mamaw Peggy's face after seeing the price of cereal.

It was so much fun watching Mamaw Peggy discover many of the characteristics that make Haiti so unique.  She truly embraced the culture.  I must admit, our trip to a very "Americanized" grocery store was priceless.  She was in shock at the prices on all the imported products.  I think we'll be receiving quite a bit of goodies from the Dollar General from her in the future.

Several kids enjoying watching themselves on moms' camera.

Thank you Mom & Mamaw Peggy for coming and loving on us and the people of Haiti.  Keep traveling safe!  Give our hugs and love to the rest of the family in the States for us.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Engaging Haiti

We are having a wonderful week with my mom and Mamaw Peggy.  They are definitely troopers and fully embracing everything they are experiencing.  Today we loaded up in "Big Red" to visit some work sites the mission is involved with, and to do a child sponsorship visit to the sponsored child from my sisters' youth group.  Mamaw Peggy loved the ride, and mom and I held on tight.

BHM has a child sponsorship program for students in the Christian schools associated with the mission.  $25 a month sends a child to school, provides a uniform, vaccinations, and one meal a day for the school.  My mom met precious Ann Sophie when she first came to see us in January.  Today was a wonderful reunion for the two of them.  She also had plenty of gifts and letters to give, via the youth group.  Ann Sophie loved your note Skyler!

Trey is doing a FANTASTIC job hosting several of the women in his life this week.  Today he took us out to lunch and even drove us to the grocery store!  I have been blessed with a good man.  He came down to check out our work with the jewelry yesterday and had too much fun sporting our cute bags.

We are looking forward to all the rest of the week will contain.  Kounyea nou bezwen repoze!  Now we need ot rest! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Three Generations

All is well for the Salter family and Baptist Haiti Mission.  We are thankful to have a team visiting from Ohio, they are building 3 homes for families in Haiti this week.  We are also staying busy with the Summer Bible Institute.  SBI takes place for 2 months every summer.

Throughout the 2 months Christian leaders in a variety of churches come for training and courses on several subjects.  This is the first formal training for several of the leaders.  In the midst of the "daily" activities at the mission, we also have some unique and exciting things going on this week...

Three generations of Ballou ladies are serving in Haiti this week.  It is a true blessing to have my Mom and Grandmother visiting this week.  My sophomore year of high school was my first trip overseas with these beautiful women, and it is a joy to still have the opportunity to serve alongside them.

We had a wonderful Sunday worshipping the Lord with our brothers and sisters in Haiti.  Today we enjoyed a variety of projects on the mission property. Tomorrow will be our first day working with the jewelry makers of Kouri Deye.  Mamaw Peggy is beyond excited about working with the ladies tomorrow and I am sure we will have plenty of pictures!

Friday, August 3, 2012

101 Days

Wednesday officially marked the 101st day of my Facebook Fast!  April 24 was the day I committed to stay away from Facebook for 100 days.  I made this decision because I knew I was struggling with contentment and comparing myself to others.  I was wasting time looking at Facebook and not investing in the relationships around me.  Here are a few highlights and discoveries from my time away...

*I discovered how much time there is in a day.  So often when I would get on Facebook, I would simply zone out.  An hour would pass and I would wonder, where did the day go?!

*My mind was still.  When I look at pictures and stories from everyone all the time my brain races 90 miles a minute.  I would think about all the things going on with friends in the States, my own personal life & family, plus my brothers and sisters in Haiti...ALL AT ONCE! The Lord did not design my brain to work this way, I needed to chill out.

*Trey noticed differences in me as well.  He said I was no longer talking about other people and all they were doing...I was HERE and in the moment.  He said overall I seemed much more content and not concerned over the small things.

What's next you may ask?  Am I going to break my computer and avoid any form of social networking from here on out?  Not quite!  I do not think that Facebook is evil, and that anyone who logs on has committed the unpardonable sin.  However, I am also not naive to my weaknesses.  I plan on taking extreme caution as I begin to explore the realm of social media again.  I desire to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, MIND, and strength.

15 minutes a day.  Everything in moderation.  I found it shocking that the thought of spending 15 minutes a day on Facebook seems so short to me.  However, ask me to run in place for 15 minutes, wow that's a long time!  Or, ask me to be on my knees in prayer for 15 minutes everyday...The things I do and the way I spend my time are a true reflection of what is in my heart.

Here in Haiti, I cannot walk out on the streets without a little kid hollering, blanc.  This term refers to the color of my skin, and labels me as a foreigner.  It is who I am, and I cannot hide it.  When I was out north last week, the children would literally shriek when I passed because it is very rare for them to see blancs.
A few of the new friends I made last week.
The precious kiddos took notice of the fact that I looked different than them.  They would run their fingers through my hair, and laugh as they tried to rub the freckles off of me.  As I spent this time being "observed" I was hit with the question, "When is the last time someone has looked in my direction and yelled, Christian?"  

Oh to live my life in such a way that there is NO denying what I believe, and to whom I belong.  As believers, we are the aroma of Christ.  My love and relationship with Him should shine from me, even more than the very color of my skin.  People will see and take note of my love of Christ, by the love I have for others.  

John 13:34-35, "A new command I give you: Love one another, as I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another."

They will also see it by the words that flow from my mouth.  The way I spend my "free time" and the choices I make are also very clear indicators of whose I am.  I pray these things will remain on the forefront of my mind as I step ever so slightly back into the Facebook world.  

May the words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14