Friday, June 14, 2013


Tonight was a beautiful night.  My heart was filled with sweet words from the children.  So many times, God speaks to me through them.  I had a special meeting with them to show them the photo DVD that I made and share home-made cookies with them. Before the video started I reminded them that I am leaving Grace Village on Saturday.  I told them that I was going to pray for them and miss them so much.  One of our guardians asked the children if they would like to come up to the microphone to tell me something special.  The children took turns thanking me or blessing me with kind words.

The first young boy that came up said, "I will pray that God brings you back fast!".  One of the older boys said, "Thank you for letting us watch football on your computer.  You are so kind.  May God bless you for your service in Haiti.  Bon voyage!".  A few of the girls thanked me for teaching them how to make necklaces, for playing with them, and for taking care of them when they were sick.  They said, "Thank you for being God's servant and for coming to Haiti.  We will miss you and will pray for you every day.".  One of the older girls said, "You are so kind to us and have patience with us.  You have wisdom.  I don't want you to go.  You have given so much to us and have been an example of God's love.  God says in Luke 6:38 that when you give, God will bless you.  I will pray for you every day."  Their kind words will forever be imprinted on my heart.

As we watched the DVD, their eyes lit up and immediately they had smiles from ear to ear!  They loved seeing themselves and their friends projected on the cafeteria wall.  It was uplifting to look back over the year and see some of the memories we all shared together.  They laughed and squealed at times.  The room was filled with the joy and laughter of the children!  Beautiful!

I tucked all 56 children in bed tonight...hugs, kisses, and I love you's!  As I went to each of their rooms they told me more sweet things.  Many of them told me not to leave.  But many more said they would pray for me, will miss me sooooo much, and will always remember me.  Some of them shared Bible verses with me or told me to read a specific verse tonight.  Seeing their faith in the Lord has been such an encouragement to me.  I am so thankful for how these children have come into my life and have poured out blessings on me this year!  The children will forever have a special place in my heart.       

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I thought I was doing well dealing with the emotions of saying good-bye to my friends in Haiti and have been getting ready to move back to Minnesota.  I started packing, I read a book about re-integration, I’ve been processing my thoughts and feelings, I started saying good-byes, I have tried to complete projects I am working on and have been organizing things for the next missionary to take over, and I have invested extra time with the children. I even made a special photo DVD for the kids of our memories over the year.  My emotions have been a variety of sadness to leave and excitement to go home.  A lot of change is coming, and I really don’t know how I will adjust to life back in Minnesota.  One thing is constant.  God is with me through everything!

Well, yesterday the tears wouldn’t stop.  In the morning, one of our elders who comes to Grace 3 times a week to get his bandages changed by our nurse, came to my window and sang, “Tiiiii Kaaaa!”  numerous times.  He came to pay Dominos, our favorite game to play together.  Sometimes he walks to Grace extra days of the week just to play more Dominos.  He has been like a grandpa to me.  Last Monday, I told him that I was moving back to Minnesota to teach next year.  I explained to him that I wouldn’t be living in Haiti, and that I planned to visit him.  He told me not to go and asked when I was coming back.  I didn’t have a ticket to visit my friends in Haiti, but I know I will come back.  The relationships I have built are too deep to not come back to visit. 

I brought my tin of Dominos to the front porch, we sat on my chairs made of banana leaves, and we emptied out the box of Dominos.  Ofane looked at me, with his big blue eyes, and he said, “Don’t go.  Live in Haiti.  I am sad and I love you.  No one can replace you.  You are very special to me.  I want you to stay here.  When you go my heart will break and I will miss you too much.”  When he told me his feelings and opened his heart to me, I was flooded with emotions because I knew it would be so difficult to say good-bye.  Tears flooded my eyes and he reached out and put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Pa kriye, cheri (Don’t cry, sweetheart).” I told him that I love him too and will miss him so much.  After more sharing and comforting me, we played Dominos.  Lots of Dominos.  He said I need to come back and play Dominos, see his goats, and talk with him.  I can’t wait for that day to come soon enough!

Tonight we are going to watch the photo DVD I made for the children.  It is a surprise for them!  I’m even baking them cookies for a special treat.  This year, we have made so many memories.  I feel as though I am a mother to all of them, but one boy has captured my heart.  The love I have for him is abundant.  I truly didn’t know I could love someone so much.  He has been spending extra time sitting with me, listening to and singing worship music with me, and talking with me.  We have a special bond.  He told me he will miss me so much and will cry every night when I am gone.  It is so difficult to say good-bye to all the children, but especially him.  My heart breaks as I think about it.  It makes me even sadder when I know that his heart is breaking too.

The children and I have been busy making beaded necklaces before I leave on Saturday.  It has been so fun seeing how their artistic creations are all so unique and beautiful…just like each of them.  It is beautiful to see their smiles as they look at themselves in the mirror with their necklace on them for the first time.  Some squeal with excitement and others say thank you and feel so proud of their work.  They said it was their first time making them and they also said they could make hundreds!  So, maybe I should plan a trip back to Grace to have jewelry making class with the kids.  I think we all would have so much fun and it would be a great way to stay connected with the children that I have loved all year.  

It will be so hard to say good-bye.   

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chicken Pox!

Oh dear!  Oh my!  Can you imagine 56 children exposed to chicken pox?  Well, we had one case a few weeks ago, 6 more cases two weeks ago, 3 cases yesterday, and one more case today.  Yikes...that's 10 children who have had chicken pox!  We have purchased lots of calamine lotion at the pharmacy and will probably need to purchase more.  Please pray that the children will continue to heal and get healthy.  They are so itchy and are sad they can't go to school.  Two of our younger boys were eager to have their picture taken this morning.  They are covered in Calamine lotion from head to toe!  Thank you to our nurse for helping the boys be less itchy!
Chicken Pox!


One of our sweet elders passed away last Saturday from heart failure.  She was home bound and unable to use her legs.  Now, she is dancing with Jesus!  The funeral was scheduled for today and a time was yet to be determined.  I received a phone call this morning from a friend of mine saying the funeral is in session and that I should meet them at the burial site.  I walked with Semy, one of our translators up and down rocky, hilly, shrubby paths.  We passed goats, people carrying water from the well back to their house, and people sitting by the side of the road washing their clothes.  We continued walking  to the top of another hill where our elder was being buried.  When we arrived, we greeted her family and friends, who were dressed in their best clothes.
Kathy and Carolle (nurse for our elderly)
The casket was carried to the deep hole that had been dug and they lowered it down.  It got wedged on a rock and they had to be creative in figuring out a way to lower it all the way down in the hole.  With human strength and shovels they were able to position the casket so it was flat.

Many who attended the funeral stood close to the pit and grabbed a handful of dirt and tossed it into the pit.  Some men picked up shovels and picks and began scooping dirt and rocks into the pit.  The men worked quickly while people silently watched them work.  After the burial, family and friends were going to gather to sing songs and enjoy each other's company.

Our elder's family saying good-bye
Carolle, the nurse for our elders, had her chauffeur pick us up at the funeral and drive us back to Grace Village.  We rode on a motorcycle together.  All three of us!  I was sandwiched in the middle.  It was a little tricky to get on the motorcycle in a dress, but the ride was nice.  It cooled us off, since we were hot from standing in the sun at the burial ceremony.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Oh my!  There was a knock on the door and Jess yells, "Kathy!  There's a medical emergency!".  I quickly went to see what was going on.  Little Mayck had blood dripping down his face.  I was so thankful that I keep a cabinet full of first aid supplies in our living room.  I quickly put on some gloves and applied pressure to the gaping cut above his eye.  Thankfully, our doctor was on site and we walked to the nurse's room.  Dr. Sem took a look and said, "He needs stitches.".  I wondered if we had the supplies.  We had never done stitches at Grace before.  After a little looking, we found everything we needed...including lidocaine.  He was a brave little boy.

He sat in a chair and held my hands as the doctor prepared him for stitches.  The worst part was the shot of lidocaine in the wound.  He squeezed my hands so tight as he cried.  I kept talking with him and telling him how brave he was and reminded him to close his eyes.  Dr. Sem covered his face with a special cloth and had cut a small hole out where he would be doing the stitches.  He only needed one stitch and Dr. Sem did a fine job of sewing up the wound.  The photo below shoes Mayck all done with stitches and ready for his bandage.

Mayck came over to my house to rest and relax while watching a movie on my computer.  He loved it and was back to himself in no time!

Helping with one head wound was a rush of adrenaline for all of us involved.  Well, there was another knock on the door and the man told me, "Dr. Sem needs you.  There is another head injury.".  I thought ...Oh my!  What a day!  Ok, I am on my way!  I arrived to the nurse's room and the doctor needed my help.  The nurse had already gone home, so it was up to me to assist.  Good thing God prepared me earlier this afternoon.

One of our construction workers was hit in the back of his head by a cement block.  His wound was quite a bit bigger and he needed a few more stitches.  Well, we found all of the needed materials and we were ready to stitch him up.  I was a true nurse.  I opened all of the sterile materials and handed the needed items to the doctor as he asked for them.  At the same time, I tried to distract the injured man's brother since his eyes were growing big and he looked a little woozy at the sight of the blood.  I brought him a bench to sit on and talked with him in Creole to distract him.  He was very concerned about his brother.  Dr Sem loves to teach and so he kept showing me what we was doing.  He wanted me to see where to give the shots of lidocaine, how to grab the skin with the special needle to sew, and how to tie the knots with the needle and clamp.  He showed me his every move.  After the stitches, I helped clean up the area and medical supplies.  I assisted with packaging the medications for pain and infection and explained how to take the medications in Creole.

What a day!  I am so thankful that we have trained professionals at Grace Village to help in medical emergencies.  I am extra thankful that Dr. Sem was still here at Grace Village when the construction worker got hurt.  The doctor was supposed to leave 10 minutes earlier, but he stayed a little late.  God had a plan.  I think God knew I would need help.    

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Let's Fly a Kite

Last night, I was talking with one of the boys and he was telling me that he knows how to make a kite.  He told me he uses sticks, a plastic bag, and string.  I asked him if he could show me how to make one tomorrow.  He instantly lit up with a big smile and said "yes!".  This morning there was a knock at my door around 7:30 with a boy holding some skinny sticks and asking if I had yarn.  I went to get a ball of yarn and followed him to the patio of the boys dormitories.  We sat together and soon a dozen boys were gathered around wanting to make kites.  They ran off and found skinny sticks, old plastic garbage bags, and small pieces of string.  They ran back to the picnic table where I was sitting and laid all of their supplies on the table.  We helped each other by holding the sticks a certain way while someone else tied them together with string.

Soon, the "trash" turned into a kite!  They even trimmed the edges of the plastic bag to make it look fancy and added a tail using scraps of fabric.  They showed me how to tie the plastic to the little sticks.  So carefully and slowly they wrapped the thread so that the sticks wouldn't rip the plastic.

They also showed me how to wind the yarn around a small stick.  This yarn was tied to the middle of the kite and the person flying the kite would hold the stick of yarn as the kite flew to extend the kite higher into the sky.

The children are so resourceful.  It amazes me how they can take "garbage" and turn it into a treasure!  That reminds me of Jesus.  He sees all of the garbage in our lives, he loves us and accepts us just as we are.  When we choose to follow Him, He takes the sins in our life, and cleanses us.  He makes us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).  He turns us into treasures.  He delights in us when we live a life that glorifies Him.  We are precious in His sight.  You are a prince or princess because you are the daughter of the King!       

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I Can See!

I heard there was an eye doctor coming to Titanyen and knew it would be a great opportunity for our children and elders to get a check-up.  The doctor was going to be at the clinic next to our orphanage for 5 hours.  It was free to see the doctor and free to get glasses.

We had some children and elderly that had been complaining about their eyes, so I brought them to the eye doctor. We waited 1 ½ hours to be seen by the doctor.  In Haiti, you don't make an appointment.  You show up, wait, and when it is your turn you are seen.  Some people may wait literally all day to find out that the doctor's work is done for the day and they cannot be seen.

I was amazed at how their eyes were checked.  There was a special eye chart called an "E chart" that hung on the wall.  It had many E's turned to the left, to the right, and upside down.  The illiteracy rate in Haiti is so high.  Many people are not able to write their name or read.  I have seen many people write an "X" in place of a signature.  So, they are not able to use the kind of eye chart we use in America.  They would tell the eye doctor which direction the E was facing by pointing with their fingers up, down, left, or right.  Wow!  The E's got smaller as they progressed their way down the chart until they could not read them accurately.

If they had difficulty reading the chart, the eye doctor would use a special computerized machine that would give him more information.  In the photo below, one of our children is using the special machine and you can see the image of his eye.

One of our elderly needed bifocals.  When the doctor put them on his face he shouted, "Mwen ka we!" (which means, "I can see!").  He was so thankful to be able to see.  It was precious! I am so thankful that there are organizations that can help our children and elders.  What a blessing it is when people give of their time and expertise to help those in need.