I am back trying to do better at updating!
Two times in one week!! LOOK OUT!!
I have a mission trip planned to go back to Haiti in April! Have you ever been on a mission trip? Ever thought about it?
I did think about it many years before going on my first one! I always thought I would go on a medical mission trip, but God had other plans for me.
Two-and-a-half years later, I have been six times! Sometimes I "nurse" while I am there, but most of my time is spent investing in the kids! Sharing God's love with them and just loving them!
My first trip was May 2011. You can find my pics from that visit on here in earlier posts. It changed my life. Here I was thinking that I would go bless some kids in a third world country when truthfully I was the one blessed.
Always pay it forward! You will always be the one that is blessed. I love my Haitian Sensations and can't wait to see them again in April! It can't get here soon enough!
I was reminding today to get back to blogging. Not that I have anything all that interesting to say, but I enjoy writing for myself. When I started this blog.... it was to be a little journal about my life for my own self and for my daughter. It was to have a place to post pics and be reminded about all life's little happenings. Now, it has been another 9 months since I have journaled. BUT... I am going to restart.
Let me see... where did I leave off?
I went back to work in Feb. after being off for six weeks. I love my job and the doctors I work for. I am so blessed to have a job with Bible-believing, Jesus-loving bosses. It is a fast paced and very busy clinic. I have worked there as a pediatric nurse for the past 10 years.
March 1st marked the second anniversary of my mom's death. I can hardly believe 2 years has passed since she passed away. It was literally the hardest thing I have ever endured. I miss her every day, but I am thankful for the legacy she left me and how I have been able to share love more abundantly b/c of her love for me.
I celebrated my 39th birthday in April. I also found out this month that I would have the opportunity to return to my beloved Haiti. This would make my fifth trip to Haiti. I have had the beautiful experience of ministering to the Haitian people and loving on 120 kids in an orphanage. I was able to spend 2 weeks altogether in Haiti. It came as a surprise that I would be able to return since I had just taken off for six weeks. God has really blessed me. My Tori-bug was not able to go (I had not renewed her passport from when it expired). I missed my family at home terribly, but it was a fabulous trip. I said I would never go without her again (or at least one of my family members). Seeing my "kids" in Haiti was so awesome. Myself and all of our team members held a vacation bible school for the kids. I was in charge of crafts. Putting together five days of crafts for an entire orphanage was mind boggling. If I forgot something, it wasn't like I could run to Walmart and buy glue dots!! HAHA
Tori-bug turned a teenager on June 14th. Hard to believe I had a teenager in the house. Tori is the light of my life. I have always said she is my mini me and it is true. She is!
We didn't get to do much camping this summer. Life was busy b/c I had already used my vacation time to go to Haiti. Kevin continues to own and operate a heating/air business and thankfully God has blessed us with work in this area too. He was really busy all summer!
School started back in August and Tori-bug started 8th. grade. Back at the top of the totem pole in her middle school. I remember when she first started in middle school in 6th grade she got in the car the first day and said she loved middle school b/c they "treat you like an adult, not like a little kid like they did in elementary school". Now she is really experiencing that (maybe too many responsibilities now).
Tori-bug is still very active in gymnastics although we pulled her out of her gym in May and placed her at a new gym in July. She did take about 3 weeks off in there, but you can't have too much time off in this sport or you fall way behind. We have found a gym that really suits our needs and she is LOVING it again! She had sort-of lost her sparkle for gymnastics the past year with one injury after another (first a back injury/sprain then a stress fracture in her foot). She lost a lot of skills that she had already mastered, like her backwalkover on the beam, but she quickly gained it back after being at the new gym.
Once again, I was surprised by a trip to Haiti. It kind of fell into my lap. My dear sweet Haitian friend and "son" had an appointment at the US Embassy on Sept 12, 2013 and I wanted to be there. Pascal speaks excellent english, but I was worried about him only being able to speak conversational english, NOT English-English!! I worried about him going to the appt. alone. Melissa, our American missionary was not in the country at the time so he was going alone. I had a dear friend purchase my airline ticket and I flew out on Sept. 11th by myself. Very scary for me to fly alone internationally on 9/11, but knew that God had called me to do so. This again made my now 6th time to Haiti. I am almost an expert at flying now :-)
I have learned to speak quite a bit of Haitian Creole although I still can't carry on much of a conversation, but I know a lot of single words and can get by. I need to tell about my Embassy experience.
Pascal was nervous as a cat the morning of the appt. Everybody in Haiti dreams of coming to America. They realize that even a short trip here would show them so much of a different life. I have prayed about Pascal coming to visit me for 2 years. We got up early that morning and I had bought us matching outfits. Corny I know, but I had a very nice baby blue shirt and tie for him and a blue/white dress for myself (my Easter dress). We get downtown PAP, the capital of Haiti and see hundreds of people in line waiting to get in to the Embassy for their appt. PAP is the busiest city in all the world (I am not really sure about that- haha, but it sure looks and feels like it to a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white girl from Georgia)! We walk up to the line and finally figured out there were two lines and which was the correct one to be in. A nice lady and her nephew were standing in line behind us. When Pascal got up to the first of the line, they said I couldn't come in. I thought he might cry and that I would too. What was I going to do while he was in the appt?? I told him, unsure of myself, but with all the confidence that I could muster, that I would be fine. He handed me his keys and cellphone and went in. I walked across the street and sat down in the blazing heat on a sidewall. The US Embassy had a little shopping mall like place across from it and the stores were closed but there were two armed guards there and this white girl was going to stand next to them!! I tried to look "busy" on my phone, but I was truly scared out of my mind. Here I was in downtown Port-au-Prince alone and not knowing how long it would take Pascal when a young man came up to me and said in perfect English, "hello ma'am. How are you"? I replied back that I was fine. He sat down and started talking to me and said that was his aunt in line behind my friend. He asked me who Pascal was to me and what he wanted to go to America for and that his aunt was trying to go back to Miami again for a wedding. He asked me what I was going to do while Pascal was in the appt and I said I guessed I would just sit here and wait. He said it was about to be REALLY hot and there was no way I could or should sit in the hot sun. He asked if I felt like I trusted him enough to walk to the store in the shopping center. I did. Don't ask me why, but I did. He was a very nice young man, maybe 20 years old. This was so out of character for me that I could hardly believe I said yes, but for some reason I felt God telling me I was fine. We walked slowly behind the armed guards and into a little park. The stores were all closed, but there were several lawn care men sweeping, cutting, and what-not in the park. It was historic and beautiful. Lots of trees, beautiful flowers, and park benches. I never knew Haiti was this beautiful. All you can see from the street is poverty, cars everywhere, and people begging on the streets. Lots had already asked me for money and kept "eyeing me". He started telling me his testimony and his story. Turns out he is a computer genius and did Christian ministry in an orphanage. His job was to do speaking engagements and set up sound systems for ministers to have revivals. I couldn't believe my ears! We talked for more than 2 hrs and I lost track of time. I was able to ask him many questions about what Haitians believe about Americans, is racism prevalent in Haiti, what they think of our president, and share with him how Americans think of Haiti. I also asked stuff like what he thought Haitians can do to help themselves and how someone like little 'ol me could make a difference in his country. His answers were surprisingly candid. I wish I could remember all of his answers. They did impact me though. Turns out also that his aunt is the professor of nursing at the largest university in Haiti. That was a God-thing too b/c some of our kids in the orphanage want to be nurses and perhaps she could give us information on some of their programs. He asked me for my phone number, but I told him I didn't give it out. He was confused about that b/c he wanted to be my friend. I explained that good women don't give out their numbers to men and especially in a third world country and the fact I was married. He wanted to know if he could find me on FB and I said yes and he gave me his name and I wrote down my name for him. He said he would look me up on FB, but never did. When I got home, I looked for his name too, but guess what? I couldn't find him. I honestly believe it is because he was an angel. Perhaps or perhaps not, but to me THAT day on THAT busy street in PAP he was to ME! I was not scared one tiny bit.
Pascal had been standing and waiting on me for over an hour. He couldn't see me down in the park and remember I had his cell phone and his car keys! I knew he couldn't leave me. Pascal was denied the visa that day (they don't even really give you a reason why) but he WILL come to the U.S. some day. I know God will make a way.
Well hello friends! Long time no see. I swear I was trying to do better and getting back to blogging and I just never manage to get around to it. Since I last wrote, we have came and went to Haiti for Christmas and I had major surgery 5 days upon returning to the States. My surgery was planned. I've been out of work 6 weeks and I'm so ready to go back. I have the absolute best bosses in the world! They have been so good to me and I'm ready to get back to normal.
Going to Haiti for Christmas is wild and we had the best time. I'm going to blog my Christmas experience for you and also my Tori-bug's perspective. Getting to spend 7 days with 120+ kids was an experience like you can't even imagine. Like I said, it was wild! In a good kind of way. We were able to share so much this visit and learn so much about them individually. My hubby got to go too. We are already planning next year (not really bc I never plan my next visit) but we would definitely go again at Christmas time.
Hello friends! I'm trying really hard to keep this blog updated a little better. It sure isn't bc I don't have lots to share that I've not been blogging more regularly. Lord knows I have lots to talk about!
I've been doing a sheet fundraiser for my next Haiti trip! I'm selling 1200 count sheets and I've done quite well. I've sold more than 200 sets so far and have already earned enough money to purchase our plane tickets back to Haiti in Dec. I've even earned enough to ask my sister to go along with us. My sister has Lupus and therefore can't go when it's hot (she can't be in the sun). She would love to go but we are trying to convince her hubby that it's ok she will be gone over Christmas. I'll be posting more as the time nears but we are so excited about spending Christmas morning with 120 orphans!
WOW! A lot of time has passed since I last updated this blog. I kept promising to update it and telling myself how much I love to blog but never got around to it. Let's start from December 2011.
Tori-bug and I, along with a friend Amber took off for Haiti Dec. 1. I tried my best to prepare both Tori (my 11-yr-old) and my friend about things they might see, smell, and experience. I'm not even going to pretend I was not a little anxious with three females traveling alone to an extremely poor country. Haiti can be dangerous but thankfully we were very safe. After getting settled and introducing Tori and Amber to everyone we headed over to the orphanage. The kids absolutely fell in love with my little "blanc" or white girl that was their age. All the big girls thought Amber was beautiful as well. We got to do so much on this trip. Decorated for Christmas, made homemade Christmas ornaments, even bought two 4ft Christmas trees. We had 120 baked ornaments hanging all over them. The trip was very short and I hated to leave but it went by fast. Tori came home with this fire lit under her to serve again and was determined she would go back when our youth group went in May. I was trying to appease her so I said she could if she raised her funds. Little did I know that little thing would have all of her money raised before me!
I thought I'd have to send her in May without me but I was able to get my fundraising too. This past May our church took a group of 23 of us. The orphanage director was not able to be in the country during our trip so myself, Brian (our youth minister), and my nurse friend Lillie lead this team. It was the largest team they had ever had visit them. Great experience and lots of new ppl went with us. I was able to reconnect with my dear friend Paschal (who calls me affectionately "mom"). He's 35 and has two kids. I'm only 38! Hehe! They had just had their second son Carlinsky in Jan. a lot of my friends helped us raise the money to get this child born safely in the D.R. Mom had lost a baby the previous year and she has lots of pregnancy issues. I love this family. They are like my own. Our project this year was to tile the boys dorm We also painted it and their bunkbeds. We were able to build a dresser for the girls to put their clothes in too. This trip was a little more stressful with me running the team house and organizing bc I'm not used to that. But, we made it. I think the highlight of this trip was the guys sleeping on the roof each night. They absolutely loved it! Every group that came after us has chosen to sleep up there as well.
NOW, on to the most exciting news! I have just purchased our plane tickets to fly back to Haiti Dec. 22-29. My husband, Tori, and myself! Spending Christmas morning with 120 orphans is going to be the best!
Tori-bug and I are getting so excited about our trip to Haiti. We leave in 28 days!! Woohoo!! I can't wait to see all the kids at the orphanage and I am excited to see how Tori-bug interacts with kids way less fortunate than she is. I think it will make her to have an even bigger heart than she already does. She said she was willing to give up her Christmas presents for the chance to go.
I was really nervous about taking her with me to begin with b/c she is so young. I didn't want to overwhelm her with the sites of pure devastation, but after we prayed about it, we felt like God wanted this opportunity for her. I didn't do any fundraising this trip (warning..... you will probably be getting a support letter for us to go back in May..lol) so coming up with two full price tickets was a big deal. When Tori-bug found out that it costs so much she said she will give up all her Christmas to be able to see these kids and take THEM Christmas. What a sweetheart! Isn't that what we want our kids to know about the true meaning of Christmas anyway? It's not about them getting, but giving to others like Jesus Christ did for us. This will be a great learning moment for her and she will never forget it. All 127 kids were sponsored for Christmas. Thank you, Jesus. What a blessing! Another friend, Amber is going with us too so this will be her first trip and I believe her first mission experience. Hopefully between the three of us, we will be able to make a difference for the few short days we are there. Please be in prayer with us for safe travels, safety while we are there, and an experience like no other. May those kids experience the true gift of Christ through us three girls.
Here are some of our pics from Haiti. I wanted you to be able to put a face with a name. The boy to Kevin's right (in the black shirt) is Tirelli. He had just turned 15 when we were there. He never left Kevin's side the entire time. Most of the kids in the orphanage don't act their stated age. Some don't even know their age. He is 15, but acts more like 11-12. They just don't have the same socialization that our kids have. Tirelli wants to be an interpreter when he grows up. A very good career that could be. He speaks English pretty well and definitely understands a lot of English. I would venture to say that more than half of the kids can speak English fairly well inside this orphanage. Most of the older kids can speak it and understand at least some. The younger kids, not so much. When you first get to Haiti they won't open up to you very much. They are leary about you, but when you show up several days in a row they start to share with you and become comfortable. The older kids usually don't think they will ever see you again so they have a harder time opening up to you. I told them that I would be back. They will be thrilled when they see a familiar face again in December. It is so hard to leave them. At least I will be able to tell them I will be back again at the end of May. I honestly never thought I would like doing this kind of thing when we first decided to go. Now, my heart is so invested in these kids. I think about them constantly and worry over what they are doing and how they are getting along. I worry about the money and them having their basic needs met. It makes me want to send every extra dime I have to them. I am not a rich woman by American standards and I don't have a lot of money, but I have SOOO much more than they do. I know that my $30 a month is truly being spent to feed, clothe, and educate them. I feel so strongly in the mission that Melissa is running and I know what a great job she is doing so sending my support to help a child every month is easy for me. Who doesn't waste $30 a month on stuff we really don't need? $30 a month goes a LONG way in Haiti if you get it to the right people.
This picture was taken at the team house. We stayed in a very nice house by Haitian standards. We had clean facilities, bathrooms with showers, stove, refrigerator, and freezer. We ate EXTREMELY well. Full breakfast (eggs, bacon, blueberry pancakes, juice, and oatmeal every morning. Mikela (in the middle next to Melissa, who is holding baby Leekson) is the team house mom. The average life expectancy in Haiti is like 45. Scary isn't it?? Mikela cooked and cleaned for us three meals a day and did our laundry (with the help of the other two young ladies in the picture- Yprolin (holding Takesha) and Woodland). Yprolin lives at the orphanage and she helps a lot to look after Leekson and Takesha. She brings them back and forth from the orphanage to the team house when there is a team there. These two young ladies are 18-19 years old and have lived a lifetime already. Mikela is 42 I think they said. Neither of them speak much English. Woodland has lost both her mom and dad. She was the young lady crying that Sunday when we came home from the beach (I think I wrote about that story). When I finally figured out why she was crying (b/c she doesn't speak English) it was because it was Mother's Day in Haiti and she missed her mother. I had just lost my mom 2 months prior to our trip so I sat down and boohooed with her. We used a whole roll of toilet paper, but we bonded without words. I love that girl. Please say a prayer for her. She is having a difficult time at present. I hope I can dig a little deeper into this situation when I return in December.
Something I recently found out is that once a child turns 16 they are no longer adoptable. Not sure why that is, but that is the way the Haitian government runs things. We are hoping that the new president will relax some of the laws in Haiti so that some of the kids could get a temporary visa and passport so they could come go to school in America or at least come visit. How they expect these kids to learn a new way of life and take it back to their country to teach others is beyond me? I am hoping we can get Melissa's orphanage some chickens (laying hens) when I go in December too so they can at least have protein in their diet once a week or so. They used to have some laying hens, but once they get to about a year of age they stop producing eggs so they ate them. They need more. Also, prior to Amber and I going in Dec. I am going to learn how to milk a goat so they can milk the goats they have for calcium. They do have several goats running around inside the orphanage, they just don't know how to milk them. I'm making it my personal mission to learn how, teach them how, and see what happens :-). That ought to be fun!! Lol. Anybody wanting to help me by purchasing a chicken- they cost $10 each and if you know how to milk a goat and are willing to teach me, hit me up!!!
Derline is my girl! Don't know why I didn't get Kevin to take mine and her picture, but she is the young girl in the pink dress. She is the same age as my Tori-bug. She is a fiesty little thing that is all attitude. She wouldn't let anyone get near me the whole 9 days. She said I was hers. Well, besides Dieunor (pronounced Juno). Dieunor is in the looney tunes shirt. This was at church on Sunday morning. Dieunor is a very sweet, mild mannered boy that is being sponsored by my friend Mama Nell. Sonson is in the orange shirt and is being sponsored by my friend Linda Gail.
We have all these little guys in the above picture sponsored monthly and for Christmas. Want to help? There are still things you can do!
I am a pediatric nurse that absolutely loves doing what I do. I married my high school sweetheart and he is the most wonderful husband. I have one step-daughter that is 17 and one daughter that is 8. We are a very close knit family. Still live in the same small town we grew up in.