Yesterday I was able to organize and get my house more in order while Scott did a few projects around the house. One of our projects was to put screening in an archway over the patio door. I had to sew the screening around a piece of PVC pipe. All of this in between visits from friends and ministry needs. My last day in Haiti is always full with last minute needs and conversations. Add that to trying to get organized and packed to leave. It was crazy! But what a blessing to have my friends come to visit! Titi and Solanje stopped over for a bit. Richard and Beverly Felmey came over to see our new place, then Joel Museau’s family came over and Jean Samul Fedelus’ family came to visit too! I am so blessed to have such precious relationships here! I look forward to having them all over again when I return in May.
Our time at the guesthouse was finished so we packed up everything and moved into our house. We don’t have a generator to power our house or pump water into the tank on the roof. But we have solar lighting and buckets of water drawn from the well.
Once we arrived we discovered that the house leaks. After it rained last night there were some big puddles in the kitchen and in the bedroom next to it. It is somehow coming in from the area of the door to the roof. We did a lot of mopping up and Pastor Joel shoveled some sand away from the door on the roof to try to get the rain not to puddle there. We’ll see how well it works.
I got into the nesting mood and started settling in while Scott started putting things together like my cook stove and our solar lighting. I bought this nifty inverter unit that will power two lights and charge our phones so he rigged it so we have light in the living room and the hallway. I have a lantern for the bedroom and two battery operated fans. Pastor Joel hauled buckets of water to both bathrooms so we can bathe and flush toilets. We may be roughing it by American standards, but it’s still luxurious by Haitian standards. Home sweet home!
We also visited a mother of three who’s husband is in jail. She had a stroke 5 years ago and a baby 5 months ago. She is in desperate need. We hope to get her a sponsorship too. Please pray with us for these people who so desperately need Jesus to show up in tangible ways right now.
We loaded up the truck with 10 suitcases, 4 carry ons, and 9 people, then headed for the Port au Prince airport. The drive went well and we had them there early!
After saying our good byes we drove into the heart of Port au Prince to deliver the wedding clothes to Pastor Sony who was waiting for us at the bus station. While they unloaded all six suitcases, I labeled them United Hearts with a sharpie so he would know which to take when he got to Les Cayes. Carnival is happening this weekend so traffic in Port was horrible. We had to take a different route to get there and it took us through some nasty areas of town. We even went by the iron market again. It took us all afternoon to get out of Port. We didn’t get back to Montrouis until 7pm! It’s been a long day.
We decided to bless a few of the local ladies and men that were planning on getting married within the next few months. So we had the ladies come over and choose the dress they liked and fit. The men chose suits. We had one father of the bride along so he chose his suit and a bride chose an evening gown for her mother and God mother. We have one more lady tomorrow morning to choose a dress then we will pack it all up and take the rest to Port to meet Pastor Sony so he can take them to Les Cayes. Pastor Sony’s church is going to hold a multi-wedding. They will marry 20 couples all at the same time. Then they will have refreshments for the guests. This helps those who can not afford a wedding. It’s nice to supply some dresses and suits for this important event.
After the team finished painting Pastor Joel took them to the snack shop to get food and cool off in the air conditioning while I started to set up my house a little.
The team returned and went for a swim in the Caribbean, but it was rough seas! They went in anyway and enjoyed the nice warm water.
When they returned the vendors were here to sell some typical Haitian artwork. The team enjoyed “shopping” and got some nice things. We got back to the guesthouse in time to enjoy their last delicious Creole dinner. Tomorrow morning the team will pack it up and we will drive to the Port au Prince airport to send them back home.
After we hiked back down we went back to the guesthouse and changed into paint clothes. Then we loaded the pillows, sheets and the team into the truck and headed for Pierre Payen orphanage to finish the work we started. This team jumped right back into painting as soon as we got to the orphanage. We split them up, half went to start painting the pink for the girls room (pink team) and the other half started painting the white primer for the boys room (blue team). The boys room held the paint better than the girls room so they only needed one coat of the white. We took a coffee break to let it dry. Madam Frito had coffee, bread, bananas, and peanut butter ready for us. After our break the white primer was dry so the blue team started in on painting the blue. We went for sky blue rather than the bright blue because we didn’t want the room to be dark. The girls pink room was toned down, but it was still very bright pink!
While the team was painting like crazy, Scott and Pastor Joel installed some outdoor solar lighting I had purchased for the orphanage. They put up three nice big LED solar lights one by the children’s dorms, one in front of the church doors, and one over the cooking area where they tend to gather most. They also installed a smaller one over the area near the bathrooms.
Because the blue team didn’t have a ceiling to paint, the two teams finished about the same time. We swept and mopped the girls room and started moving in the beds. Then we put new mattresses on them, letting the girls choose which mattresses they wanted. Then came the pillows and sheets, we let them choose the ones they wanted. They were so excited to make their beds up it was complete chaos! There were so many in their room at one time we could hardly move around in there. We finally got the beds made and I took pictures of them in their new bedroom.
Then it was the boys turn! The walls were dry so they moved in the beds and started moving in mattresses, pillows and sheets too. There are a lot more boys and the room was so crowded we just let them make their owns beds. What a joy it was to see the excitement and joy they all had with their new bedding in their newly painted room. When everyone was finished the children moved in their belongings. My next project is shelving in each room for their belongings.
After they were moved in the team just hung out with the children for awhile and played with them. Harbor Trinity Church rocks!
When we thought the paint was dry enough they did the second coat. It is going to take a lot of paint to get these rooms done so Pastor Joel and Scott went to St Marc and bought double the paint. The walls have never been painted and the cement is sucking it up. Tomorrow we will work all day. We hope to finish up the girls’ room and do the boys room too. Pray we get them both done. We really want to bless the children with newly painted rooms.
On our way back to the guest house we picked up the pillows I had Madam Hubert sew for us. They are just right and so cute! I’m so looking forward to setting up these rooms!
I had planned on sleeping at my house tonight, but when we went over there to clean it yesterday, I discovered there are rats coming into the house. So we had a mason come over this morning and seal up the gap in the roof entrance with cement. It took the better part of the day. I hope to sleep in the house tomorrow night.
I mentioned yesterday how we delivered the mattresses to the Piatre orphanage and took out the old ones to clean up and distribute to families who had nothing. We had asked the pastor in advance to do this, and we called and told him while we were there doing it, both times he said yes we could do this. He obviously changed his mind over night because he got very upset that we took the old mattresses away. He sent Pastor Joel a text saying we stole them from him and said some not very nice things. He was not happy with the mattresses we delivered either. So we prayed about what to do about this. I felt we needed to bless those who curse us. So we not only returned the old mattresses, leaving the new ones, but delivered $180 worth of food to them. There was some disturbing spiritual goings on when we arrived with the mattresses that has me concerned. I am praying about what to do. Please pray with me on this.
Our big blessing of the day was going over to Pierre Payen orphanage and sharing the blessing of this ministry with my friends Carol Irving Jaeger, Giff Jaeger, Terri Krehbiel and Dan Krehbiel who are here ministering with Feed My Sheep. They brought drumsticks, pillowcase dresses and wooden toy cars to share with the children. Then they played dot to dot with the children while I talked with Pastor Frito about bringing in new mattresses tomorrow. We also talked about bringing my team over to paint the dorm rooms and set up all the beds with new sheets and pillows. We gave my friends a tour of the orphanage and shared some of the challenges we are facing here. It was a nice visit. They got the bonus of experiencing a funeral march as we were leaving. There was a large processional coming the opposite direction when we were driving out so we had to stop and wait for it to pass us. It was a good cultural experience for them.
After we rented the house we went to buy extra food for Pierre Payen orphanage and delivered it along with Manna pack boxes of food to them. I quickly took a look at their bed situation and asked Madam Pastor about the sleeping arrangement. Pastor Joel was unloading food so I was relying on my basic Creole to ask her how many beds they had and how many they needed. I was asking how many beds for boys and how many beds for girls? Madam Pastor was saying for all of them. I was confused because I saw at least 15 beds. After asking “konbyen chabon ou bezwen” several times and getting the same answer “pou tout timoun” I finally asked “chabon pou domi?” beds for sleeping? Madam started laughing and said “Oh! Ou bezwen konnay konbyen kabonn!” I realized then I was saying “charcoal, chabon” when I was trying to say “bed, kabonn” in Creole! LOL! No wonder she was wondering why I needed to know how much charcoal for the boys and how much for the girls she needed! We had a good laugh together! They need two “kabonn/beds” for each by the way…
It was a quick visit because as we were delivering the food, Pastor Joel got a call that the rest of the mattresses were arriving in Montrouis shortly. So we rushed back to Montrouis in time for Joel to pick up the rest of what we needed, 19 mattresses, plus 13 more for another orphanage that Feed My Sheep is helping. So we have all our mattresses! They are not big mattresses like you would expect for a twin bed, because our beds are made 29″ wide to be able to fit more into a room. So we have to have mattresses to fit them, and the only ones that fit are foam mattresses 3″-4″ thick. But if you saw what they are sleeping on now, these will be an improvement! We stashed them in the container until we can get them delivered.
I’m not sleeping there yet, although I hope to do so soon. I need to set up for a security guard and I need a small gas burner for cooking.
Everyone insists I need electricity. I don’t see how I can afford a generator right now, about $1500 for a small one, and I know I can’t afford a solar system. The most basic system will cost me $2000. So I have a few solar powered lights and a little system to plug in my phone and computer. I should be good for a bit. I’ll just use a bucket to draw water from the well once the tank on top is empty. I camped enough times I can do this!
Tomorrow we will hopefully deliver mattresses to the Piatre orphanage.
So we hung around Feed My Sheep most all day.
I did convince him to go meet with a lady who sews to ask her if she would make us some pillows for the children. I asked her if she could make 56 pillows! I wanted some for the pastors and their wives also. She said she could do it! I asked her if she could get it done by next week and she said she will try. We gave her a deposit so she could buy the materials and went back to Feed My Sheep. Pastor Joel was getting bored so I pulled out some pieces of vinyl that Feed My Sheep had on hand, to see if we could use it to cover some of the mattresses for the bedwetters. They had the corners sewn so we cut them open to lay them flat. We measured and calculated, but we didn’t have enough to do anything with. We decided to save it for benches or something else. But he was a good sport and had no problem sitting there helping me cut each corner open with a scissors.
After lunch we discussed different needs and how we can help. Finally the mattress man called! Pastor Joel left to go get the mattresses while I stayed home. If I go with him the price of the mattresses will go up. So while I was waiting I fell asleep! I had a good nap while he went and got 28 more mattresses! Our container is getting full of supplies. We now have 31 mattresses! We need 19 more and we will have a new mattress for every orphan in both of the orphanages. We will be delivering 29 of them to the Piatre orphanage this week.
Feed My Sheep had returned from Port where they had picked up their California team. It was so good to see some of my friends and to meet everyone.
No pillows anywhere. I am going to talk to a lady that sewed some for Feed My Sheep, and ask if she will sew some for me. I won’t need them as big as the ones they got so hopefully she will give me a good price.
Sister Joel was with us and she found some of the medicines we couldn’t find in Port. So she has a good supply of medicines now.
That took the whole morning and part of the afternoon. We got back for a late lunch and went to test drive a truck for sale. Joel drove it up to Dr Bolte’s clinic to see how it would do on the mountain roads. It did ok as far as going over rough terrain, but then the engine light came on and a check transmission light went on, the air conditioner stopped working, and a few small things were wrong with it. So we decided to pass on it. I don’t need to buy someone else’s problems. I’ll hold out for a new one. My God will supply all my needs.
In the afternoon I made another attempt at renting the house I’ve been trying to rent since I got here. The owner, who is in the states, has had me dealing with his “wife” all this time. We came to a good agreement but then a stand still because she was broke and couldn’t quite finish all the projects. Finally we compromised on things and we’re ready to sign an agreement.
Suddenly I discover his wife did not have the authority to sign the agreement. The owner gave his brother the authority. So I am now dealing with a whole different person. We meet, all the compromises are good, we agree to have the owner fax written authority to my husband. Then the brother looks at the agreement I had typed up.
He did not agree with one statement, that should a natural disaster come such as a hurricane, the owner has sole responsibility for damage done to the property. But this is what the wife and I had agreed to. He wanted me to share the cost of repairs. I said no it is not my house. I will not hold him responsible for any damage done to my belongings should a natural disaster occur, but I will not be repairing the house. He didn’t like that and started ranting and raving. Then I saw the ring on his hand. It was a large gold ring with the Masonic symbol on it. I realized he was a mason. At that point I said enough. I told them I was finished, I will not agree to sharing the cost. And I walked away. I will not sign my name to a contract with a Mason.
So that is that. I will start looking for a house again in a couple days. I suspect we will get a call from the wife again. I will tell her I will not sign my name to the agreement with that man. I will sign it with her if he gives her authority. But in the meantime I will continue to look for a house. I really thought that was the one.
Shorty after I got back to Feed My Sheep, Richard arrived with a new motorcycle truck. He got a good deal and it is a nice new machine. God has blessed Feed My Sheep once again! God is so good!
Tomorrow we are going to make another attempt at buying mattresses and pillows for the orphanages. We’re going to the St Marc market day. It should be crazy busy! But we’re hoping to find what we need. Please pray we find good mattresses these poor children need them so badly!
Then when I got back, Guerschom came by to help me fix my phone/computer problem. It turns out it wasn’t my phone that was messed up it was my computer. He had to back up my phone so we had a lot of time to chat. It was nice to sit with him and get to know him a little better.
Then Pastor Joel returned and we went to go talk to the owner of the house that I want to rent again. We are at a stand still right now. She can’t complete the work to be done because she has no more money. I can’t give her any money until the house is done and I can move in. Ugh! We’re both frustrated, I need to pray about what to do. It was late and getting dark when we left.
I made plans to meet my friends, Bruce and Amy Kulfan at Mulin sur mar, a resort in Montroius. They minister on the island of La Gonave but we’re off island for the night because they had friends visiting. Marcie, Kim, Bonnie, Charlotte and the Kulfan’s friends are all leaving tomorrow to go home. We gathered together to enjoy one last time together.
Earlier Charlotte had talked with Pastor Joel and told him she would like to be baptized and asked him if he would baptize her in the ocean. So while we were waiting for our food order we all went down to the beach and prayed over Charlotte. Pastor Joel said it is customary in Haiti to sing a song so we sang “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Pastor Joel asked me to help him baptize her he needed someone to help bring her back out of the water. So I had the honor and privilege of helping baptize this precious young lady. One thing I will never forget, is while we were standing in the water Pastor Joel told her this is her time to say anything she wanted to Jesus. She didn’t need to say it out loud, just to Him. We stood there as she silently spoke to Him, I looked up at her face and she was glowing like an angel from heaven! That beautiful image will be forever etched in my mind.
I don’t know why God allows me to be a part of such precious experiences, but I am so very grateful!
Pastor Joel and I went to St Marc to see if we could buy mattresses, but no success. Then we stopped by to visit my friends, Kate and Jay Fisher at YWAM St Marc. It was good to see them! Their little ones are growing so fast!
When we got back I sent Joel home for awhile and I took a nap. In the evening we took our master electrician, Guerschom Olivier Charles, to the Piatre orphanage. Their solar system was in need of some work. Guerschom checked the whole system even climbing on the roof! We bought two new batteries and he cleaned up the system and installed them. We were all so excited when the lights came on! Watching Guerschom was like watching a master artist at work. He’s amazing! What I saw as hopeless, he says, “I can make it work.” With limited tools, light and equipment, he did! Thank you Guerschom and thank you Lord for blessing us with Guerschom!
In the morning Pastor Joel Museau and I met with Marcie Bergstrom of A Light of Hope ministries to discuss women’s bible studies. This ministry supplies study materials and Bibles all in Creole, along with training women to lead Bible studies. Pastor Joel brought two ladies with him who are leading studies now. It’s exciting to see how God is bringing His Word to the Haitian women in this area! Please pray the Lord blesses this ministry.
In the afternoon we drove Marcie’s team to the Artbonite valley to visit Tom Braak’s agricultural nursery. He is growing a huge variety of plants. He goes into an area and teaches agriculture then provides plants and seeds and teaches the locals how to grow food in their area. He’s been here for 20 years and has an amazing collection of plants! He gave us a few to take back try to grow ourselves.
On the side Tom makes and sells pizzas. So Marcie bought 4 pizzas and we brought them back with us to eat for dinner. Yum!
Update on my foot: I’m completely healed! I guess the little bit of spine I had left in my foot at some point came out because it is fine now. I had no problem with it all day and there isn’t even a bump anymore. Thanks for the prayers!
We finally went to go see Pere Decamp and found that he was not in the country at this time. I was disappointed that I missed seeing him before he left. This also meant we had to change our plans for the orphans.
Pastor Joel and I revamped our plans. We were to pick up a couple young ladies from the US that were visiting various ministries across Haiti. They wanted to visit a few orphanages. So we bought our usual food supplies and took the ladies and the food to Piatre orphanage and played with orphans for a few hours. No matter how stressful my day is, when I get to go play with these sweet children my day is all better. Tomorrow is church and then we play with the Pierre Payen children.
We have some good news, Madam Julio had her baby! She had a beautiful baby boy. His name is Eliezer. After the truck was repaired we went over to visit her family. Eliezer’s big sister Ania is blossoming and becoming such a sweet child. She really loves her baby brother too. Can you spot the photo bomb?
Tomorrow we take a few friends of Bettie’s to visit the orphanages. If the truck keeps running! Please pray for a new truck for us. This one has had it! It’s been an old faithful friend to Sam and I but it is time to put it out to pasture!
Jesmy, one of the boys at the orphanage, can play drums well, but he had been playing with carved pieces of a tree branch for sticks. I had promised him I would bring some real drum sticks next time I came. So he was very happy to see I remembered and went to work playing right away!
After we returned Chuck to Alex’s house, Pastor Joel Museau and I went to visit my dear friend Bettie Snyder. We also had the pleasure of meeting some of the people who own the beautiful place Bettie is managing. We made a plan to take some of the ladies to visit the Piatre and Pierre Payen orphanages on Saturday. Bettie and I spent a good long time talking and catching up. Bettie is in her 80’s and has been a missionary in Haiti since 1968. I love to hear her stories!
For those of you who don’t know, I am staying with Feed My Sheep Ministries here in Montrouis. They have merged with House of Bread ministries and Richard N Bev Felmey live at the top of a huge three story building. The stairs give me a thorough cardio work out and my legs are burning by the time I hit that last top step. I must take those stairs at least 5-6 times a day because I can’t seem to remember to take everything I need down the stairs. Or I realize I need something upstairs when I am downstairs. Well, you can’t say I’m not getting my exercise here!
Tomorrow we will be in Petionville all day at a conference on creating jobs for Haitians. It looks promising!