Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Feelings and Photos - blog post from Easter week

Went to this orphanage today. This is the first day of a feeding partnership. 43 kids live in this house that is partially finished. The orphanage has had very little western help - it is on the road to the city dump. The husband and wife that started the orphanage have beautiful hearts and are raising these children to love one another and The Lord. The kids sang for us....my heart overflowed at the sound of their sweet voices singing about how God is always with them. 
I got to see where the kids sleep. Broken down cots with a little foam - not enough to keep the springs from poking through. And my eyes were full thinking of the little girl who left this dolly on her bed. 
More sad to think of how many kids sleep here at night. 

Photo with our new friends - and OTB staff. 

Then returned to the kitchen - today was a cleaning day. I took the opportunity to remind our staff that I generally have a different idea of clean than they do by cleaning alongside them all afternoon. It started a little slow...but we made it work. By the end everyone was having a great time working so hard and accomplishing a great task together. For a minute I had trouble discerning whether I was cleaning or in some kind of water fight :) 
After it was all finished - Francoise decided she thought the floor was clean enough to take a nap - I told her I would say it was clean enough to eat off of :))

We ended the day visiting about this week. We have had some trouble with the guys in the neighborhood again. One in particular - is Noel's disciple - Gilbert. Seems he made a mistake yesterday and demanded the OTB staff give him food since he is a friend of ours. Noel has seen more than 15 young men come to pray and ask Jesus to be Lord of their lives in the last few weeks. He and our friend Spencer meet with them twice a week by the kitchen at the tables our friends built a few weeks ago. 
We don't serve anyone food directly from the kitchen - we are not a restaurant - OTB produces lots of food and delivers it to other places where it is served/consumed. Feeding behind the hospital just outside of Cite Soleil creates a mob. We have learned that it is not safe to do this - we refer people to area ministries where our food is served and many of them are able to eat however we still get asked and harassed about providing food on a daily basis. The guys that come to the Bible study have made a commitment to not harass or threaten our OTB staff. 
Some of the guys getting their first Bibles last week. 
Noel and Gilbert studying together. 

Yesterday - Gilbert crossed the line. He was hungry. He knows what he needs to do to make things right. In fact - he shared himself what the Bible says about what to do if you have wronged someone.
Our staff is having a hard time letting this go. They want him to pay / they think we are being used - and worse yet they are very concerned we may be betrayed by our new friend and brother in Christ. 
I listened to the accusations as they piled up - the speculations and questioning about whether or not he is even really a believer...and then gently reminded them about this week of remembering Jesus. 
I reminded them about how much I respect, admire, and love my husband and that he calls Gilbert his disciple and I stand with him. 
I wondered out loud about how Jesus must have felt when he was betrayed. I wondered how many times he ditched his disciples because they made a mistake or looked a little rough around the edges. As they talked about the tattoo of a gun Gilbert has on his stomach - I wondered why they hadn't noticed the praying hands on his arm with the words - Lord have Mercy. I wondered which one I should judge him by. Then I decided I would stick with Jesus. I told my precious coworkers how sorry I was that one of our friends spoke harshly with them and asked them to give him another chance because we believe he is worth it. I reminded them that when Noel and I decided to move to Haiti and come to work everyday in a place where this week they told us we should go home a little earlier because the gang turf wars were starting and gunshots would be fired soon - that we already laid our lives down. This is serious business. We have considered the cost and we believe in the power of the gospel to radically change lives. And if one betrays us - well that would be sharing in the suffering of Jesus and He is worth it. And He says Gilbert is worth it too. 
Sign me up! 
And as I looked around the room - my eyes fixed on Schnaider. Even now I am overwhelmed at what The Lord says about him and how much He loves him. And I thought back a few months about how Schnaider was the loudest guy outside of the kitchen - constantly talking about needing food and a job and that we needed to give him both. In January - Noel and I met with him and told him how we knew he was a great leader and had a lot of influence and that could be used for good - or not. We asked him to give us a couple months to figure out some things in the kitchen. We asked him to refrain from harassing our staff daily - and we reminded him that God knows his need for a job. Schnaider respected what we had asked and started helping with small tasks without asking for payment simply because he could. The Lord gave us the opportunity to give him a full time job for food delivery and kitchen assistant in March. He has done an excellent job and everyone loves having him on the OTB team. It was good to remember what happens when you give second chances and see the best in someone - even calling that forth. I expressed how proud Noel and I are of Schnaider. It was a Holy moment. And a little later I saw Schnaider outside. His heart is tender and I believe he is feeling the love of his Heavenly Father. All this is new to him too - he made the decision to walk with Jesus yesterday.  Good job Schnaider - Bon Travay!

So tonight I am reflecting on the feelings of the day and so thankful to live, learn and love here. I believe - in the power of the Gospel. I believe in the lost being found and the blind seeing.  That amazing grace saved a wretch like ME. That God sent His one and only Son to pay the price for our sin so we can be in right relationship with Him for eternity never gets old. It's as real to me today as it has ever been.
I wanted The Lord to do a work in me the Easter season.  I wanted it to be much more than a church service. 
Thank you Lord for this day to see You active in drawing people to You - and causing us to take an inventory of what we believe and how we live it out. 
Thank you for making us disciples and giving us directions on how to multiply Your Kingdom in Haiti as it is in Heaven. Let Heaven Come!
Awaiting the day where we are at the table with You, King Jesus!

Monday, March 17, 2014


Last Friday I met Tamara.  I can't quit thinking of her.  
I went into the hospital with a friend who was visiting and who had offered to get some video footage of the Outside the Bowl Ministry.  I always have mixed feelings about any videos or photos - especially since I have lived here.  These are our friends, people we serve.  Many times it just doesn't feel right to snap photos - and we never do it without asking.  On the other hand - I know their stories are important - if people understand the needs and see the faces they may be impacted to help.  I know how that has happened in my own life.  So we asked Tamara if she would share her story.  She agreed.  She told us she had given birth 3 days before. Her first child, a son, she has named Christopher.  He was laying in the bed next to her - having just nursed he was sleeping peacefully.  I asked Tamara if anyone had come to see her in the hospital and she replied that her mother dropped her off for her delivery, but it is not easy for her to come back to visit.  We did talk about the Outside the Bowl meals she had been getting and she expressed her thankfulness - she explained that they were the only thing she had to eat since being at the hospital.  She said she thought that another patient in the room would share with her if she had need of anything else.  I told her what I know - that Jesus loves her and sees her and cares for her and her baby.  She smiled and agreed and we put our heads together and talked to Him about her needs.  Tamara just turned 15 years old.  A young girl with a baby in such a hard place.  Will you pray too - that the Lord would provide for this Mom and her baby.  I know the area she went home to - hard is not a strong enough word to describe it.  Pray too that we would soon find a way to minister to these Mom's after delivery.  Perhaps a church in the area - and an organization in the US that would sponsor daily meals there for new moms - maybe for the first month postpartum.  And a Haitian ministry that would come alongside to disciple and love.  The possibilities are as endless as the needs here.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Our first Christmas and New Year's in Haiti were full and fun! We went to a cookie decorating party.  Lily sang at church on Christmas Eve and then went to our friends for a feast - Christmas Day was quiet, restful and we spent time at the park with friends.  We went for an overnight to the beach and saw more friends there, had a homemade pizza party, cooked at the super kitchen while a team from Wisconsin gave the outdoor restrooms at the Women's Hospital a face lift, we have had multiple families and friends over for dinner, Louis had a big part in the Best Little Christmas Pageant Ever - performed on New Year's Eve and the other kids were in the angel choir for the play.  We took NYE communion and prayed with friends and ended the night with a dress up party and sparklers.  Gearing up now for a great start to 2014.  We have been reflecting on 2013 and anticipating what the Lord will do in 2014 as a family.  Tomorrow we sign official paperwork with our first 4 full time employees for the super kitchen and next week we will have some training days and then cooking on a full time schedule.  
We pray that 2014 is a year of revelation about who Jesus is and who we are in HIM for us and for YOU, friends….and that out of that REVELATION we will all come into a life that is completely surrendered, fully abandoned, and incredibly satisfying in the ONE who will never leave us and who has amazing adventures planned for each of us.  May we all PURSUE HIM more than anything - may our passion for anything of this world - even good things - be minuscule in comparison to our LOVE for JESUS and our INTENSE DESIRE to see HIS KINGDOM COME on this EARTH as it is in HEAVEN!  2014 - Let it be a year where we say WE SAW THE LORD and HIS GLORY in NEW and LIFE CHANGING WAYS!  We love you all!  Happy NEW Year!
Cookie decorating party!
Walking to church on Christmas Eve
Ready for Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Morning - talking about what is in their hand carved treasure chests and how each item relates to Jesus - our treasure. And what God most treasures - US!

Day at the beach to celebrate Christmas. 12.26.13

Louis loves homemade pizza!

Getting ready for the Best Little Christmas Pageant Ever.

Big Buddies with their tough guy look.

New Years Eve 2013