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.