November 2012

"There's someone I'd love for you to meet," my Father-in-Law told us. 

"Her name is Ms. Elizabeth and she is just right down the street from us. She is a dear friend.

And so, we set off down the road. 

We were filled in on the fact that Ms. Elizabeth was in the final stages of breast cancer and told to prepare ourselves for the sight we might encounter.

We stepped thru the curtain-as-door and were greeted by Ms. Elizabeth's official greeters and led into the one room that served as her home. 

We met and talked and prayed together. And then we sang...

Amazing Grace and 10,000 Reasons. Creole and English intertwined.

I'll never forget the image of her eyes closed and frail hand raised, worshiping with the intensity of a person who is close to meeting the object of her worship.

We would go back and visit again. My in-laws numerous times, administering meds to keep her comfortable, praying, and singing...always singing.

And then, a few weeks later we got the phone call letting us know that Ms. Elizabeth was free from her struggle and singing in the presence of her Jesus.

Later that week, we were eating dinner listening to music when 10,000 Reasons came on. Jeremiah and I looked at each other and the tears welled up as we mourned and rejoiced the privilege of having met Elizabeth and knowing she was no longer in pain.

Those tears led to questions from the boys. Mom and Dad don't usually cry at the dinner table, after all. And then, the story of Ms. Elizabeth ultimately led them to the story of Jesus and they both started their own story of following after Him that night.

July 2016

When discussing their baptism, the boys really wanted to do it in Haiti. And so, on our last trip, the boys publicly declared their faith in Jesus. Just down the street from where Ms. Elizabeth lived.

How cool is it that their baptism was witnessed by so much Haiti family!

Pretty cute onlookers.

The story doesn't end here.

After the boys were baptized, Zoe jumped onto the steps, looked directly at me and said, "I want to be baptized too!"

I explained to her that being baptized was a big decision, one that happens after she made a decision to follow Jesus. I told her that we would talk more at bedtime. And then, in the rush that is life and dinner and showers and teeth brushing...I didn't bring it up again.

But she did. As I was tucking her in, she, again, directly looked at me and said, "Remember Mom, you were going to tell me about becoming a Christian!" 

And so I did. And in her completely trusting and sincere 5 year old way, we prayed for her to begin her own story of following Jesus.

Ms. Elizabeth never had a single facebook like in her lifetime. She had no bank account, no degrees or books written and died a very painful and undocumented death.

Yet, the legacy she left by her simple faith and joy, found in a Jesus who was real and present to her, will live on forever in our family. 

"I thank my God upon every memory of you." 
Philippians 1:3

Progress. Just 3 left.

Future florists of America.

Ezra to Eli: I think it's time we start working out.
Eli: Yeah.

Gardening joys.

Photo cred: Jeremiah
Hummingbird cred: Jeremiah, who possess much more patience than I.

Bucket fail at the Safari Zoo.

5 year old in her happy place.

35 year old in her happy place.

5, 8, 9, 10. As it stands.

 Before we head back to Haiti, I figured I better finish documenting the last trip.

Life just keeps truckin' on, doesn't it...

One of the best parts of this particular trip was having our good friend and missionary to Madagascar, Tim Norton, join with us for the week. I was amazed all week at how interested and attentive the Haitian people were to hear of a different country other than America. I'll admit, I was fascinated as well.
And very grateful that Tim likes to take photos: a ton of photo credit goes to him on this trip.

Our friend and neighbor, Alfonse.

Teaching the "three circles" at one of our kids camps.

We made some new friends on this trip, visiting a small, entirely Haitian run orphanage. When I asked the directors daughter why they had taken these children in, she simply stated, "My family loves Jesus and children." 

Another highlight was the opportunity to photograph the merging of a new family...friends and adoptive parents meeting their children for the first time. My favorite kind of photo shoot.

And, of course, seeing my cutie nieces is always a highlight of a trip to Haiti!!

Of course, there's more...there is always more. 
Haiti can never and will never box neatly into a photojournal or story. And that's okay.

Until the next time...

Picking berries was on our Summer Bucket-O-Fun List, so on a rare and treasured "free" day we all headed out to Blacksburg to visit 3 Birds Berry Farm and made a family day out of it...

We last left off on our walk...

We kept walking and walking...and it truly was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. A little excerpt from my journal later that evening:

"We traveled out to Mirabelais with Pastor Anuel...and it was beautiful and lush and green. We walked the village road through the community afterwards and I met another Momma to three with a brand new 1 month old little girl. Her home was small but clean and graced with little touches that revealed pride of ownership - and a yard that was shaded by a kanip tree. It was a lovely little spot where I was just a mom talking to another mom."

We stopped in the shade of a large avacado tree and listened as Pastor A shared his heart and vision for his community...

A few more pictures from our time there...

And finally, we headed home...
On our way home we had a brake caliper lock up.
But, you know, it's not really an authentic trip to Haiti until you've had a breakdown and been stranded on the side of the road.

More pics of our trip to come...

Jeremiah and I just returned from Haiti, again. 

This trip I made it a point to document a day that we traveled outside the city. Any day that you can get outside the noise and dust bowl known as Port-au-Prince is a good day in Haiti.

We traveled for a couple hours until we turned onto a side dirt road and followed it for a few more minutes. We finally pulled into the church "parking lot". We've been friends and partners with Pastor Anuel for years now and love his heart and vision for his community. This is his recent church plant building.

We were greeted by curious stares.

We didn't waste any time, as there was already a large crowd gathered inside, waiting for us, hungry for teaching and instruction and encouragement.

Pardon my mush for a moment: but I grew in my love and respect for my Jeremiah this trip. He's my favorite.

I made friends with a young Momma that morning and loved my time holding her sweet 1 month old little girl. 

Okay, maybe I loved my time with all the kiddo's.  I was trying to get this one to tell me her age =)

We had over 120 kids in attendance that morning.

Praying after our kids Bible study and before our meal together.

After our meal, we took the kiddo's outside to teach them the ultimate game of Death-ball. 
They caught on super fast. And we're amazingly competitive. Good thing we decided to play with beach balls and not volleyballs as there would have been some broken noses.

After our teaching and kids camp time had ended, Pastor Anuel insisted on a walk through the community.
And so, we set off...

Our team from Thaxton Baptist Church,
our good friend and IMB missionary to Madagascar, Tim Norton,
full time missionary in Haiti, Makayla Price,
Summer intern to Haiti, Taylor Jones.
Pastor Anuel,
and our friends and interpreters, Clark and Daniel.

We walked, and walked, and talked, and talked...and made new friends, prayed over needs, admired gardens, and got a beautiful gift of a glimpse into province life in this tiny community.

We stopped to pray and deliver medical supplies to this man with a badly mangled leg from a recent auto accident..and he prayed to receive the ultimate healing that afternoon as he asked to make Jesus the Lord of his life!

Part two, to come...