As the East Coast comes out of SANDY, I'm finally getting back to normal here myself. Sandy was here over a week ago now, but the internet is only now becoming reliable. We had more wind and rain than I ever remember having in a storm here in Haiti. Sustained winds...I'll always heard them talk about that. Now I know what they mean. Wow!
Despite SANDY delays, Jason Stoltzfus was able to finish Steel Building #1, which will be my living room, dining room, kitchen. We moved in yesterday. It's awesome. It's an unfinished look, which means when you're inside you see the steel 2x4's and outside tin. BUT, that gives it a bit of a log-home feeling...and I LOVE a log home feeling. Last night I made myself some hot chocolate and read a Reader's Digest by lamp light and felt quite Rocky Mountain-ish. Except for the mosquitoes that kept attacking me. :(
Our church worship band is doing good work these days. I'm so proud of their development as Christian musicians trying to lead worship by getting out of the way! It's all about Christ! As John the Baptist said, "I must get smaller, and He must get bigger." That's my own paraphrase. But it's hard for musicians here to not 'appear' in the service. We're making good progress lately. WORSHIP GOD. Those two words are profound for me. It's the name I chose for the book of worship songs I've written for the folks here...in Creole.
Back in Haiti! The trip was uneventful, just like we like it to be. Now I’m back ‘on the ground’ here in Haiti. Feels good as always.
It’s always a pleasure to reconnect with people and see how they have grown and/or changed while I was away.
I was able to help a 9th grader with a homework assignment the other night…at 9:15pm! He was supposed to give some details about the death of Haiti’s first president, Dessalines. We learned a couple of gruesome details. Ugly story of treachery. BUT, a great chance to help a student.
BIG NEWS: The container is on the way to Passe-bois-d’orme! Whew! It’s been several months, but the pile of supplies and materials that I sent last winter are now very close to making it here! This is exciting. They say the container may show up in town later today! J I’ll keep you posted!
DENVER, COLORADO! Wow! Superb, Splendid, Glorious. I had the chance to drive from Estes Park down the Peak To Peak scenic pathway to Black Hawk. It was so amazing. Words can’t describe it. The only thing I could compare it to would be…a calendar. I guess I thought those amazing pictures on calendars were photoshopped somehow. Apparently not!
The pine trees were amazing, and then there’d be a bright orange deciduous tree in the middle of them. Oh! And the blue, October sky! Cliffs, boulders, streams. I drove right up on the Coors office building in Golden Colorado, apparently. A seven -story building in the middle of Rocky wilderness. Almost thought about trying one. J
I sat beside a trickling stream, and I walked by a mountain-top lake, Echo Lake. I was walking fast by that point because the scenery looked like the scenery in every bear sighting I’ve watched on TV. I found myself looking in 4 directions at once just to be sure I’d see him coming.
Longs Peak was the only really dramatic peak that I got to get a good look at, and it was dramatic. There’s something about mountains that makes you feel different...it does me, anyway.
PLUS, in Denver a attended the annual gathering of LCMC (Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ). We had some great teaching about the mission of the church…the mission for us as ambassadors. Great stuff. And I had the opportunity to meet a lot of very nice people from many different states…each with their own story. God’s kingdom is the place to be! No doubt about that.
My objective in going to Colorado was to seek contacts that would support ASAPH Teaching Ministry in the future. No ideas as of yet as to how successful we were in that.
Nwaziliz was a friend to me since 1992. She lost her 'husband' during the first months of my time in Haiti, and his death introduced me to her and the boy they had been raising together. Nwaziliz was left to finish raising young Anosther on her own. Anosther grew up and moved away leaving Nwaziliz as a family-less widow. We had many, many conversations about salvation. She, like many of her generation, had some twisted beliefs about God. After years of conversations, Nwaziliz began to change. She committed to attending church. She chose to be baptized. Since then she has been a faithful member of our congregation.
A member of CLC Dallastown purchased an AM radio for Nwaziliz. I delivered it to her. It was her faithful friend for many years in her little home. She listened only to Christian broadcasts. I remember several times when she shared things she had learned from Haitian pastors on her radio. It was impressive.
Nwaziliz died last weekend. When I left Haiti, she had just visited a hospital for a growth on the side of her neck. The doctors said it was nothing serious, and she was happy again after several months of worry about the growing lump.
I'm going to miss her. She was always funny and full of Haitian proverbs. Nwaziliz was apt to say that she needs ONLY Jesus. Nothing else at all interested her. It's a good position.
Emmanuel Sanon has struggled through many trials during his 30 or so years in Haiti...accidents, illnesses, operations, a poisoning, death threats... He had another accident this year. He hit a boy and broke his leg. Emmanuel took the boy to a hospital and did what he could (which is next to nothing) to pay bills. The family of the boy became violent as they faced a sick son and huge bills. Time went by and I helped Emmanuel to cover some of the bills. Last weekend I learned that the boy has died from the injuries. I don't know how that happens. A broken leg shouldn't kill a boy. Haiti is a tough place. Now the family has taken Emmanuel's possessions and are actively seeking him for revenge. Emmanuel had only recently acquired equipment that would allow him to weld for a living. He has suffered through years of hardship waiting for that equipment. Now it appears to be gone. It's the Haitian dance. One step up, two steps back.
I look forward to the day when we'll see things as God sees them. From down here, it doesn't make much sense. But I am convinced that God is in control and works out his perfect will day to day. Our daily business is to love with a pure love and be light in this present darkness.
Missionary in Haiti.