Tuesday, February 28, 2006

God's Business

Tonight the team (along with Troy) are in the village praying for the mentally ill girl we talked about last Friday. They also prayed for a woman next door that has lost her baby but has not miscarried yet, she is getting an infection and needs healing.

"Is God still in the business of miracles?" This is what is written on the jacket of the book I am currently reading. What do you think? If you believe the Bible than you know He was the God of miracles in Bible times. But do you think He is now?

Does He still multiply food, send financial resources where there were none, & heal the sick?

In our short time here we have seen some pretty amazing things. Things that make no sense. We believe God still does miracles, we believe He does them daily all over the world. We believe He cares for each and every child in Haiti just the way He cares for our kids.

What He chooses to heal, and what remains broken are a mystery to us. We just know that if you don't ask Him for help and healing, chances are, you won't receive either. Faith is the belief in things "unseen." We cannot see God, but we feel His presence. We believe in modern-day miracles.

We are so pleased and blessed to be here working and watching God work. In choosing to trust God daily, we find we are learning more about Him and ourselves. There is peace, and there is power in it, all at the same time.

Here is a photo from this evening. Paige has taken a REAL liking to our newest guests. These three are Lifeline "old timers" and have been to Haiti too many times to count. They have found a fast friend, in Paige, who is just hanging out with them and playing game after game. She is not nearly as big of a smack-talker with these folks as she is with us. It is good to see she can control the smack talk when it is appropriate. She came in, to get a new game, and I said "You ought to be asking them questions about their childhoods and learning something from those wise old people." She said "Oh, I AM! One of the ladies has a whole life-time testimony." Whatever that means? I am hoping she fills me in later. :) So cute to see her sitting there playing card games with them. She is the Julie McCoy of this family, all social skills and loves chatting people up.

Noah, Isaac and Hope are getting smothered with attention from our guests. One of the older ladies is just flirting with Noah and he totally has her number. She said "Oh, you...look at you, you've got sugar in your cheeks, I know you do you're so sweet." HA! Riiiiiiiiiight. That is the same kid that walks around saying "I'm MEEEAN -- I'm MEEEAN." Clearly he has pulled a fast one on our kind visitor. He's like his daddy that way, very tricky and flirty.

Isaac asked me today "Mom, what orphanage did Peanut come from?" After having Paige's friends here, and over-hearing some oprhanage talk with the team, he is thinking all things originate at an orphanage.

The tacos were superb and plentiful. Thank you very much. Britt is making pancakes for the whole crew in the morning. We are having Haitian cooking tomorrow, my first real up close look at how it is done. Not that I plan to ever make goat ... but it will be interesting to watch, at the very least.

Not much more to report for today. The plumbers & electricians got a taste of Haiti today when they realized half of what we planned to buy was not available because of it being Fat Tuesday. Lots of places were closed. Everything took twice as long as it should have. They are neat guys, very patient and kind ... plus, to their credit they brought really good junk food/candy/snacks that they are sharing with us.

More Mail Information

Troy Livesay
PAP 17871
c/o Agape Flights
7990 15th St E
Sarasota, FL 34243

We learned that once you send a package to Sarasota; you can expect it to take 2 to 3 weeks to get into our hands, occasionally it could be faster. Everything Agape brings in sits in customs in Haiti for a week before it goes to the Agape office where we pick it up. We'll work in the office one time a month, as does everyone who recieves mail through their service. We work for the first time at the end of March.


Eddie might be odd and he might be a scam artist ... but for every odd thing he has said & done since we got here, he has been redeemed.

Eddie called yesterday and said "hey man, it is Eddie I found your wife some diet coke. I bought her a case." He is fond of telling Troy "This is my country.(pronounced cone-tree) You just ask me man."

It's the little things in life that make me happy. My diet coke will arrive by noon with the next group that Troy is on his way to pick up.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday in review

Hey Everybody-
For those of you who spent the day concerned about my mental health ... just thought you should know I still have not needed to resort to eating the Zoloft clock.

I am fine.

Lunch and dinner was approved by the mission team that is here. They even went as far as to say they LOVED my dinner. Now THAT is funny. Maybe Troy paid them off.

This is the little baby that lost her Mommy. She came for her next can of food today. She is receiving formula and is doing well. Lifeline does not offically have a program to feed infants. Troy and I are hoping to start one. We purchased some formula with a surprise one-time gift we got and we are going to try to give out one can a week for anyone who comes and says they need it. We trust that God will provide enough formula for the people who show up. That seems to be the way His provision works.
Tonight's Sunset. I almost missed it! It was a good one.
These are the liars that said they liked my dinner. I am proud to say that I prepared enough food for the 14 people I fed tonight and no one was left hungry. Like the email my dad sent today said: "I can cook all things through Christ who strengthens me." Funny dad, very funny. Tomorrow morning we lose the two friends Paige brought home yesterday and gain four new people. Cooking for 16 tomorrow. Tacos...you cannot screw that up even if you try.

Dumb questions for ladies who have lady skills

Troy just left with the boys for a trip to buy cement down the road. This allows me five minutes to check in. I have been preparing since 6am, I am almost ready for these guy to show up at noon.

Okay ... I have my menus planned, but now that there are three more people coming late in the week - staying extra then my original plan allowed for, I need to come up with one or two other idea. My five nights are: 1. Shephards Pie 2. Taco's 3. Haitian Meal cooked by Mme. Maxo 4.Lasagna 5.Meat Loaf and Potatoes and Veggies.

Breakfast and Lunch don't scare me.

Yogi C. and Erik V. Where is the love? You guys are my two professionals and I wait anxiously (and not very patiently) for your ideas.

You saw in my kitchen photo that the kitchen is HUGE and has a ton of cabinet space. I finally went through all the cabinets and found a few items that I don't know how to use. I am sure there is some obvious answer. Here are my dumb questions.

What would you use Campbell's Beef Consomm'e (gelatin added) Soup for? The recepies on the can all require beef --- which I have not found yet --- so what do you think the previous people used it for? Why do I have 10 cans of it? (I have only found good ground beef, no roasts or other types of beef look very edible.) Also, I have massive amounts of plain bread crumbs, my meatloaf does not use breadcrumbs so what could I use these for? Mme Maxo is doing goat with what she prepares so I need to find a chicken thing to throw in the mix.

I like kids and running and sports. I am good at some mom things like cleaning and laundry and organizing. Cooking and gardening are not my things. Can you tell I am feeling panicky? I can do it, I can do it, I can do it.

We need a pizza place in LaDigue.

For Mom and Dad

If you are ever looking for your 1982 Datsun 210, your 1985 Toyota Corolla, or that yellow Volvo you had when Paul was born, they're here in Haiti. I've seen people driving all three of them this week. I'm sure of it. Oh, and Dad - those flashlights that don't need batteries are the biggest thing to hit the third-world since sliced bread, which I'm not even sure they know about here yet. I gave one away, and it's the talk of the town. This week will be crazy for us all. In addition to the every-day sort of responsibilities we have 5 guys coming today, 4 coming tomorrow and 3 coming Thursday. Most of the people coming will be doing construction projects in the new building.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Today was such a great day. Everything about it was wonderful. We left our house at about 7:30 to head into church. We left on time, everyone was happy and we had fun family time driving into church. The roads even seemed less congested and it was just a very peaceful ride ... even with the ridiculous roads.

We had some trouble finding the church but we called Beth and she came out to the main road and led us in to the correct spot. The church is English speaking, it is called Port-au-Prince Fellowship. It is about 40% American Missionaries and 60% English speaking Haitians. It takes place in a house in Delmas, a suburb (sort of) of Port-au-Prince. About 100 to 125 people attend there, by our count.

None of us even realized how much we missed singing and worshiping in our own language. The songs were familiar, the music team was great and we felt like we could have been in church in Minnesota. We kept smiling at each other because it was so good to be there. The sermon was great, (on Deuteronomy Chapter 6 & Psalms Chapter 1) all of it was exactly what we needed today. Troy may get to play guitar & sing once in awhile on their music team. That got him excited.

I got to see someone I met way back in our adoption days. (Summer and David) I got to put a face with a name of a family that we cooresponded with while we researched moving here (Lisa and Don)and we got to see John and Beth McHoul. It was so fun to feel like I have friends here. I wish we would have gone in two weeks ago!

John and Beth run Maranatha Childrens home and do adoptions. They have been in Haiti almost 17 years. They are such cool people --- they keep it real and Troy and I click with them so well. They are so interesting and are such an encouragement ... their experience here is very helpful to us newbies. John is also the pastor of the church. Beth is my running friend and we are toying with the idea of a "Haiti Marathon Team" -- running a marathon next fall to raise money for some ministry in Haiti that we both care about.

Don & Lisa have seven kids, four here and three grown and living in the States. One of their four boys here is Britt's age and they had fun chatting a bit. They work with Global Mission about 20 minutes outside of Port and do well-drilling work, operate a burn clinic and a few other programs. They got to Haiti last July. We agreed we need monthly game night with our two families.

After church our family, and Lisa and Don's family all went to John and Beth's for lunch. We had fun comparing crazy Haiti stories and I found out where I could find chocolate chips, ricotta cheese and diet coke. All the missionaries compete for these hard to find items and now I am joining the competition since I finally know where to look. :) The diet coke is priority one. They don't even know how big the mistake was of sharing this information with me. Their diet pop days are over. ;-)

Our Mastiff puppy, Peanut, is related to the McHoul's dog; shown with Noah and I in the photo below. This is Peanut's dad. They estimate the dog weighs 215 to 225 lbs. John, Beth, Troy, & their other Mastiff, in the background.

Noah cut his head there for the third time in three weeks. He came running to me with blood running down both sides of his face and all over in his hairline. After a brief moment of panic we determined the cut was not very deep. A blood covered child creates a fast heart-rate in a hurry! He fell down the cement steps. He seems no worse for the wear at this point.

Paige brought home two friends to stay over night. Troy will bring them back into town when he goes to Port on Tuesday. Nikki is 13 and is being adopted and will live in Ohio. Salou is 11 and will be going to Texas. Paige lobbied hard for them to come --- there is no school in Haiti until Thurday because of Mardi Gras, Paige thinks she is Haitian now and should also be off of school. Since she did some work on Saturday and promisies to double up on Tuesday we decided a sleep over was okay. This photo was taken in the truck, along the path home, when we stopped to get drinking water for the week. The girls sang worship songs (the same ones from church today) the whole way home, we could hear them inside the cab and people in the streets that we passed by, kept turning to see where the singing was coming from. It was cute.

We had always planned that maybe once a month we would go in for English church, but after going there and realizing how much we miss it we think every other week is a better idea. It is necessary for us to support the Lifeline church too, so we need to be here 1/2 of the time so they see that we care by our attendance.

Our mission teams arrive in three small groups, starting tomorrow. The menus are planned, the food is purchased, the beds are made and we are as ready as we are ever going to be. Since this is all new to us we don't know how our time will be used. We might be quieter than usual on the blog.

Much Love from LaDigue. Have a great Monday. ~Tara

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Saturday Review - More than you care to know

6:00am - Wake up.

6am to noon - Work on Purchase Orders, accounts payable, accounts receivable (ha- that was a little joke) payroll, and other boring administrative stuff. Eat Breakfast, email Mom and friends, do laundry and cleaning. Send head cook to the market for a few misc. items, Troy is not ready to return to the market yet. ;) Send her in a tap-tap. Paige and Britt do schoolwork and chores and play with the dogs.

Noon -Mac & Cheese for lunch. After lunch I say "Britt or Paige, go get Pouki off the porch to clean up Noah's Mac and Cheese from under the table." Isaac says "Okay, if Pouki doesn't want it, I'll have it!" Not sure when he got the impression that there was not enough food available to him, or that he should eat it off of the floor.

After Lunch- Paige goes to unlock a school room and begins playing school with Hope and Isaac as her students. Within 15 minutes she has 8 students and is teaching her siblings and a few children of employees. They cannot understand much of what she says but they all sit in desks looking forward with eyes focused on Paige. She teaches everyone how in to count to 10 in English.

1pm, during nap for Noah- Britt and I decide to attempt to climb the mountain behind us and go up to the village at the top called Petit Bwa, an hour and a half hike, straight up. We make it 1/2 of the way and turn back around. Every Haitian we passed giggles at how odd we are to be climbing for no reason. We are happy to provide entertainment and get some excerise all at the same time. During this time Troy does more boring administrative stuff and calls our boss to deal with business issues.

3pm- Paige still teaching a bunch of kids, her class size keeps growing. Britt emails with cousin and friends. Troy asks Tara to go on a "date" to get gas for the generator - about 15 minutes away. Britt agrees to watch all four kids, two are sleeping. Before we leave the bottom of the driveway, four other people are in the truck who want a ride to the main road. Tara bails out on date and returns home... the romance was missing.

3pm- While Troy goes to get gas, Madame Maxo yells for me to come to the canteen. She is preparing food for the tile crew that is working in the new building. She asks if I want some. I really don't, but I don't want to hurt her feelings. I pick up baby Shenidine (not Madame Maxo's baby but she seems to be caring for the baby half the time.) and accept a plate with goat meat on it. I eat my potatoes and carrots but am dreading what happens when the meat is all that is left on the plate. I don't think I like goat. Madame Maxo asks if I will watch the baby while she brings food up to the workers. I agree and use the opportunity of her absence to toss my goat over the ledge to another goat who happily eats it. I take Shenidine up to our house to see if Jack is awake yet.

3:15- Jack-Jack is awake, I go in to get him with Shenidine on my hip. He is angry to see me with a baby. He acts like a fool and screams and whines for 20 minutes. I put him in his crib to go return the baby but when I do he is so angry that he jumps up and down until the matress falls through the frame. I go back in to see if he has been injured in the process and he says "baby go bye bye mama." The request was pretty clear. Paige held the baby, Britt brought the baby back and Jack went back to being a happy guy.

4pm- The man whose wife had a baby emergency c-section a few weeks ago - that Lifeline helped with the bill - came to show us his baby and his wife. The baby is tiny and the mom is happy and says she is feeling well. We take their family photo and Troy thanks them for coming to let us see the baby. They stand around and visit for awhile and then Troy realizes they want a ride home. Troy wonders if he agreed to giving a ride without knowing it.

5:10pm- Troy drives the family home while two pastors arrive and agree to wait with Rony to ask him for money for their churches. Troy takes the four youngest kids along for the ride down the road. While Troy is gone a huge dumptruck shows up and wants me to sign for a delivery of dirt or cement or some substance that I cannot identify. I sign a piece of paper and take the delivery, hoping it is what Troy wants. Hope gets her hair re-braided since Madame Maxo is not impressed with what we did with it after washing it on Thursday.

5:32 - Troy is back, the 2 Pastors, friends of Rony are asking for money, the kids (not Hope though) are swinging and the dinner is on the stove. 6pm- Troy finishes witht the Pastors. Madame Maxo finishes Hope's hair so we invite her in to have dinner and go over some mission business. She agrees to come cook for the team next Wedesday night. We have fun having her for dinner. She and Rony are two of our very favorite people that work for the mission. They are both amazing people and hard workers.

7pm- Madame Maxo leaves, Pator Rony shows up to talk to Troy.

7:30pm - Rony leaves, Tipap (tee-pop) shows up to talk to Troy

7:32 - As soon as Troy is done talking to Tipap we are locking the gate, putting the little kids to bed, turning off the computers, and playing games.

Oh yeah, just remembered, still need to call the boss back.

The positive side ... No attacking dogs, no dead dogs and no weird un-gloved veterinarian. A busy day, but a good one.

Sunday we go to an English speaking church in Delmas and to eat lunch at a friend's house in Tabarre. I only have to bring bread. This is a good thing.

Real Estate

We took photos of some of the houses we pass on our way home to the Mission. We thought you might like to see what is available in this market for single family housing.

A church down the road from us.

Interested? Call Dave Foy at Counselor Realty, he'll take care of you.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Kooky Country

We are back from Port and Petionville.

Everything that happened today was weird, at least to an American.

The people we were taking to the hospital were here and ready at 6am like we asked them to be. We were ready at 6:08, which for this family; is very impressive.

So, the reason the family from our village asked Troy to bring them to the hospital ... they have a daughter about 18 year old, that is mentally ill. They have struggled with her illness for years. At one point they had medication that helped her, but the Doctor who prescribed it left Haiti and they ran out of money to pay for a new Doctor and new medicine. Each time we have seen her she seems okay, maybe a little out of it or odd but nothing too scary. Apparently she had been acting out violently towards her father and they gathered some funds to take her to this psychiatric hospital near the Palace, in downtown Port. They were scared to go in a tap-tap because she acts out at unpredictible times and they wanted the safety net of knowing that if she did, they could still keep their ride, and not risk getting kicked off the tap-tap.

All of our eyes bugged out this morning when we saw that they had tied her hands together for the ride. It was depressing. She did sing and shout at people along the way but they always seemed to get her under control. We were in the front, cab part of the truck and they rode in the back. It was just weird, and sad.

As we approached Port we realized that our timing to get to the vet was going to be tight. Troy decided to drop us at the vet then go to the hospital then come back to get us. That sounded fine until we got to the vet and I got scared. I just started thinking "what if he does not make it back to get us?" I envisioned myself standing with the dogs and the kids for hours (or daus) in this dumpy, weird little vet office in Petionville. It smelled like swine and burning trash. Three tears escaped my eyes and I asked Troy if he was really going to get back quickly. Ha, like he has any control over the crazy streets of downtown Port-au-Prince. Off he went and there I stood with two dogs and three kids. I laughed so I wouldn't cry. I chewed myself out for thinking ALL of us should go into town with Troy today. The idea seemed really bad in that moment.

So, we watch dogs go in and out and we wait our turn. One Rotweiller comes out and the owner lets go of the leash and he attacks Pouki while we scream and run away. That was great. The vet got totally ticked and made sure the guy who owned the Roteweiller knew he was not happy. Pouki seemed fine and Peanut just sat there shaking while we stared at each other trying not to freak out. Then our turn came. The vet speaks English. He has no personality or if he has one, he does not want anyone to know it. He answers all questions with one word, whether it answers the question or not; he seems limited to one word answers.

The sickest part, he does not wear gloves to examine the dog. Not even to touch the nasty south end of the dog. I thought it was disgusting. He seems to know what he is doing and gives both dogs shots and instructions and says Pouki is probably 2 years old and was just in heat and not pregnant. He gave 6 shots total, did two samples under a microscope and examined each dog for a total visit lasting 1 hour. The bill was $31.00 U.S. Maybe he keeps his costs low by skipping the latex gloves.

We witnessed a dead or dying (we could not tell) dog getting dropped off. The owner was crying and they had a guy come out with gloves to get the dead/dying dog. (They must save the gloves for dead dogs.) Paige wanted to watch, the rest of us turned the other way. Paige says "They're double bagging it!" Sometimes she has an odd sense of humor. :-) Again, you laugh at things so you don't cry!

Weird, weird, this place is weird.

Then we went and stood near his gate at the top of a sloping driveway. We stayed there until some other Rotweiller came around the corner and charged at us. After that we decided we were safer back inside his office. Troy called the office and asked to talk to me. He said "Hi honey, are you okay? I am on my way back to you, don't worry I know you are going to be okay." I thought "Yeah, we are totally safe from humans but we have almost been mauled by two different dogs!"

Troy got there shortly after that and looked so relieved. We were okay, sitting there watching the movie "Andre" (about a seal) in French, in the waiting room.

We went back to pick up the people from the hospital, which took two hours, and headed home. They were not able to tell us what was done for her but they seemed satisfied with the visit.

Port au Prince is beoming less and less appealing all the time. I like the village scene way more. Peace, quiet, no diesel fumes & less chaos all together. There are no pictures to go with this blog entry. Sorry to disappoint you, I really should have taken a picture at the vet.

Thursday was Salon Day at the Mission

Hope fell off the swings and into the dirt. Her braids were caked with dirt so we had to unbraid it and wash it while she screamed. We need to find Madame Maxo tomorrow to help us fix her back up again.
Having fun being silly while her big sisters laugh at her very tall afro.Troy is at my mercy. Great Clips has been over-charging him ... this hair cut does not require any professional training. I only made one mistake; it is on the back of his head so he does not even know! :-)

Today we are all taking off for Port au Prince together. We are bringing some people to the hospital there and while they have their appointment we will take Poukisa and Peanut to the veteranarian in Petionville. Everyone wants to come along. It should prove to be entertaining and challenging (read: stressful).

Fun, fun...the Livesay traveling circus is headed to PAP!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Adoption Thoughts

Today (February 23) is a day that has huge significance to my (Tara) family. Thirteen years ago today my sister gave birth to a little baby girl, a baby that she had not planned; and ultimately decided it was the most loving thing to do, to place her for adoption. 13 years is a long time, but the feelings the day of her birth stirs in me are much stronger now than many years ago. Maybe because I have a more well-rounded view of the sacrifice. Maybe because I am not 20 anymore.

I hate the term "give her up" - something about that has a negative connotation. Usually if you give something up, it is some bad habit. If you "give up" your baby, in most cases you are doing it out of nothing other than love. My little sister lovingly placed her daughter for adoption. There was nothing self-centered or uncaring about it. It was an incredibly painful decision to make.  Thankfully a loving family stood ready to adopt my niece.

Watching my sister go through the emotions and living with the sacrificial choice she made, has helped shape my view of Isaac and Hope's two first-moms. Their reasons for placing Isaac and Hope were probably much different than my sisters reasons. Even with different lifestyles and economic situations, I can only assume it hurts deeply to lose a child, no matter what the reason for placing the child. I can only assume it doesn't stop hurting.
Isaac & Hope - 2006

I love those two first moms for a handful or reasons but especially because they lovingly carried our two wonderful Haitian Sensations into this world. I am so thankful that God used these women to give Hope & Ike life and that I ended up as their adoptive mom.  I grieve their loss and know that my gain was loss for them.

I am not sure this post about adoption has one true point. I just think a lot about adoption each February when my nieces birthday rolls around. I think about my sister and how it feels to be missing her daughter's birthday party, and the deep unending hurt in that loss. I think about the way Hope and Ike's moms feel. I think about how I can never really understand or reconcile it all. I wish I could. I pray that if the day comes that the tap on the gate is the tap of my sweet little Hope or Ike's other moms, that the presence of God will be evident in that moment, and that I will know how to handle it just like Jesus would.

Post Script edit added July 2012 - We met both first moms in late 2006 and have been in regular contact with them for six years now.

A story - Paige wants to tell

Paige had such a fun time on Wednesday that she wanted to tell you about it ---- I (Tara) am typing for her as she speaks, she says it is too long to type by herself and she wants to tell it before she forgets --- here she is word for word:

Yesterday my friend Watson, who is the 4th grade teacher, asked me to come to his English class that he has for the teachers after school. (He teaches the teachers English.) --- I said “sure� “if they can learn English, I can learn Creole too.� So the class started at 1 o’clock. I was there a minute early and the class had not started yet, Watson was not around. So, I came up to my house for a bit and went back down at 1:08 --- and he said “You’re late� in a very serious way. But I was late because I thought he must be on Haitian time. So then the class started and I took a BUNCH of notes (my hand hurts). During the class Watson asked me to read the notes and he would say “Is that right?" after he tried to say the English words and I would say “NO� because he never pronounces the letter “R� in English words. They say a “W� in place of the “R.�

Then I would like have the teachers repeat after me until they said the English words correctly. During the middle of the class the 3rd grade teacher asked me if I would come to her class on her break tomorrow at 10am, I said “sure�. (She wants my individual help with her English tomorrow during her break.) Then, like 15 minutes later ANOTHER teacher asked me to come help them on their break! I had Watson interpret for me and I said “I can help you, but I JUST TOLD HER, I would help HER at that time.� Then they all laughed their heads off, I don’t get what was so funny. SO, I said “I will have to come to you before my other appointment “… so now from 10 to 10:30 I will be teaching English to grown-ups.

At the end of class today, Watson said; “Do you know how to pway?� and I said “HUH????� He spelled it and said �P- R – A – Y? Do you know how to pway?� But then I knew he meant PRAY – so I said; “Yes, I know how to pray, do you?� He said “yes, I do too. But will you pray for us before we leave to go home?� I said “sure� and prayed for the teachers before they left. I thanked the Lord for the teachers and that they were learning English and that they would all get home safely and that they would all come back tomorrow safely. Then when I said "Thank you" to them for inviting me, they all laughed again … they laugh at me but I don’t know why. My mom says it is because I am so cute. Well, now I better go study my Creole because my teacher, Watson, is quite strict. But I will say; they are just as bad at English as I am at Creole!
(The photo is of me and Watson.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Baby update

We took a tap-tap to the home of the orphaned baby who needed formula. We dropped off a can and checked on her. She looks great (tiny, but Haitian babies are tiny) and is not running a fever. We found out her name is impossible for white people to pronounce correctly. Troy and I agree that we have no good idea of how to spell or say it --- but it starts with "LOVE" -- lots of kids have the word love in their name here.

Baby Love-something, is good and getting better. Troy and I had been so worried that if she really had not eaten for four days she would certainly die.

So when the family came to get formula this afternoon, Troy was not here and they left without talking to me. That is why we went to find them tonight. Troy asked "This baby did not eat for four days?!?!?" Because that seemed impossible, for as good as she looked. The cousin said no, no, that she had run out of food yesterday --- so it was more like a few hours without anything and just 36 hours with the wrong kind of milk. All is well. Troy held her while we stood and chatted in the darkness outside of their little hut. We are not sure why the family members yesterday said it had been days without food but it could also be a translation issue. Just wanted to report the good news. We just give one can of formula at a time so we can moniter how much they use and better discern if the baby is getting it. In the past we have known of people who steal formula to re-sell it. So, one can at a time, and we will keep you posted on how she does. ~Tara

Psalm 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

A bunch of Pictures from the last two weeks

Deep Thoughts on Managing Sadness

The other night (Monday night) I finally did it, I broke down. The kids and I have been here almost three weeks. I have been attempting not to let any of the sad things I am seeing, get to me... at least not in the moment that I see it.

On a number of occasions I have felt myself make a conscious decision not to cry or not to let something affect me.

There are 20 examples. Like the baby with no mom that has not eaten formula for four days. Another one that comes to mind; is the baby up the road. We heard early last week that this little baby girl, about six months old, had been ill and just four days earlier her twin sister had passed away. Pastor Rony asked Troy, and Jason, and I (Jason is the dad/husband of the other Lifeline family serving in Haiti now) to come to the home of the baby and pray with them that evening.

I have never left the gates after dark. Every step feels risky because the ground is so uneven and you cannot see a thing if the moon is not out. We walked just around the corner, what would amount to a block if we were in MN. We got to the little house and the ladies busied themselves getting it ready to invite us in. After a few minutes they invited us in. The house is made of rocks and cement with a piece of tin for the roof. It was approximately 12 X 12 in total. They had a kerosene lamp creating some light so we could see each other. The floor was dirt. The walls were cement. The entire house was smaller than my bedroom and 8 people sleep/live there.

There was only enough room between the two "beds" in the house and the table, for us to stand sort of huddled around the surviving twin baby. Pastor Rony started singing Amazing Grace and Troy and I sort of hummed a long the tune and were glad they had chosen a song we could at least know what the words were & meant. Then Pastor Rony read from Psalms 43 and we followed along in our own Bible. After that we took turns praying for Shenidine (Shhh-nie-Deen). Apparently she had been very ill for a few days and they were all so scared because of her sister's death. WE prayed for healing and good health.

It was a strange place to find myself. It just felt un-real ... if that makes any sense. The gravity of it all felt heavy on my shoulders, but I could still feel myself distancing or pushing back from the situation. I just wanted to pray for her and not fall apart. I tried not to think about my surroundings, they played into the sadness I was feeling for baby Shenidine.

Every sad situation you see, whether it be an infection due to a cut of some sort, or a hungry baby, or a mom with too many kids to feed --- a mentally ill child, a child with HIV, a dad who cannot get together the money to get his wife out of the hospital ... all of those situations are so heavy. I am struggling with dealing with them without letting it completely wreck me in the moment. I want to be compassionate without being a puddle. I don't know if that is weird or normal. Whichever it is, that is where I am right now.

I will cry in private here and there when I need to. I cannot allow myself melt down on a daily basis. Maybe at some point I won't feel the need to, but for now it is all new and shockingly sad. I love these people. I never want to stop feeling for them this way, I just need to find a way to manage it.

So having said all of that, I just needed to bawl last night. So I did. The three littlest kids get so concerned when they see me, or anyone, cry. I had all kinds of back rubs and kisses to comfort me. I had said to Troy "living here is so sad" or something similar ---- and Hope, who is always listening and thinking, said: "Mom, living here is an adventure." I did not even know she knew that word.
That made us laugh.

Thankfully much of the poverty is not recognized by four and two year olds. Hope and Isaac undertand that the feeding program is for kids who are hungry, but beyond that, much of the desolation goes unnoticed by them. Paige crys once a week, which seems to be a coping-plan that works well for her. Britt seems to be pushing back from it when people are around, then dealing with it later.

Little baby Shenidine, who we were priveledged to pray for, is doing much better. Thanks be to God for His protection & healing of her when she was ill. Here she is a few days after we prayed for her. Isn't she a beauty?

~A. W. Tozer:
"Peace of heart that is won by refusing to bear the common yoke of human sympathy is a peace unworthy of a Christian. To seek tranquility by stopping our ears to the cries of human pain is to make ourselves not Christian but a kind of degenerate stoic having no relation either to stoicism or Christianity."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Good Afternoon-
No time to proof this or mess around with witty writing & photos.

I just wanted to quickly post a need that came up today that we think will be on-going.

Remember that baby that Britt was holding the very first Sunday she was here? There is a photo of her in early February holding a baby in church.

That baby is six weeks old now. The mom died giving birth. A cousin is taking care of the baby. We had given the cousin a couple of cans of formula since we met them that Sunday. We assumed she would be handling it from there, especially since we did not see her again last Sunday, or hear from her again.

Today at 5pm a few of the relatives of this orphaned baby, came to tell us they need formula. They have been out of it for FOUR DAYS! My jaw dropped open. I cannot understand why they waited this long to come tell us. Because it was so late in the day we could not get to the two closest towns that sell formula so we gave them powdered Carnantion milk --- which we know is NOT what a baby needs. Tomorrow we will get formula but for tonight we just did what we could. Please pray for this little girl. Last I knew they had not named her but I will check tomorrow to see if they have since I last checked.

If you ever feel moved to mail something to us via AGAPE mail. (See post from Monday 2/20) Please consider adding a can of formula. Mom's sometimes die here, or if they live, they have trouble producing enough milk for their babies. This is something that will always be needed and we promise to use it responsibly and get it to people who need it. We can buy formula here but it is more expensive than in the U.S.
Gotta run-

Just another manic Monday

Monday, I started my day at six a.m. in the canteen where the food is prepared. I needed to get four new cookstoves installed and operational before the day's cooking began. I didn't beat any of the cooks to work, they are always the first ones here. I'm no expert at copper gas lines and propane stoves, but a little wrenching and teflon tape and they were good to go.

I didn't even get the tools put away and there was a man here needing first aid. He apparently ran into a board, from what I could understand. I didn't get a lot of details, but whatever it was, he hit it hard with his face. I cleaned and covered his wound up as best I could, and again thought how nice it will be to have the medical clinic once it's finished.

After a few phone calls and getting everyone organized with their duties for the day, I headed off to Port Au Prince. I spent the day with the infamous Eddie, getting our permanent residence cards done, and trying to get Tara's driver's licence (that she will probably never use). The most interesting realization I had came, while standing at a desk, applying for a permit to legally live here as a permanent resident. I looked over and saw another line, stretching out doors - down halls - outside - and teeming with Haitians. This was the line for passports to get out of the country. I was standing at this desk, with no line, applying to stay in this country. Something is definitely wrong here.

I also picked up the inverter and batteries for the new building. The new building will have missionary housing, seminary classrooms, and a medical clinic, in case I haven't mentioned that. We have a team of electricians coming next week to work on the new building, so I'm trying to get all of the supplies here and in order, and hopefully find time to do some of the rough-in work.

I tried to get to a place to buy the water cistern/tank and water lines for the new building, but due to traffic and slow-moving staff at the other places I never made it. That is the biggest problem with going to Port- I always have too many things to do in the time I have, especially when you take into account the transportation nightmare and the slow pace of everything. There are always a few errands that get left behind. I did get the water tank and line ordered however, and I may be able to get it delivered here. We'll see.

On the way out of town, I picked up our new family member and some canine supplies, and made it home just after dark.

PS - In case you were wondering, Eddie and I are still having some communication problems. I tried for much of the day to speak with him in Creole, but he still found the need to try and say: "This is why you need to keep in touch with me."
Only... you can guess what he actually said:
"This is why you need to keep touching me."
Funny now, yes - but that's going to lose its comedic value in a hurry. Hopefully I won't have to keep mentioning this issue, but I'm not holding my breath, because the last time we spoke on the phone he also said "could you hold onto me for one second?". I'll let you figure out what he meant for yourself, because I'm not sure I even want to know anymore.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Retraction & Livesay Dog - Final Upgrade

Okay, the retraction first. (For the news junkies, you will understand what I mean when I say; this is a retraction of Dan Rather proportions.)

Am I embarassed? You better believe I am.

Pouki, the Golden Retriever, is not pregnant. Late last week I said "as sure as I live in Haiti, that dog is pregnant." That is a strong statement. Yet, I seem to be very wrong. Today we think there is a 5 - 10% chance she is pregnant. What we have on our hands is a dog with larger than normal breasts, and a few other peculiar issues. My bad. Please accept my apology for false reporting about the new dog. I will, for the record, state that I still find bringing home a dog, that COULD be pregnant, to be an odd thing to do. Done and done. Apology Accepted? (The dog will be going to a vet this week to try and determine the cause of her condition.) She is an awesome dog, nothing like Benny. She is gentle with the kids and calm and nice...oh, and she listens.

Because Pouki is so nice we decided we needed to challenge ourselves with a second dog. Pouki has not barked once since we got her so she really is not the "watch dog" we were looking for. Our friends, John and Beth McHoul are in the business of Mastiff's. We have aquired one of their "grand-puppies." Photo above shows the kids (but not really Hope) with the new dog. The kids have decided to call the new dog, Peanut. Pouki and Peanut (who will grow to be the largest dog in La Digue and the surrounding villages) are settling in nicely. The kids are happy. That makes the parents happy. When you don't have TV you have much more time for pets.

That's the update for Monday.

PS- Check out the nasty owie Noah got today. He took an award-winning fall down the gravel steps. I gave him the reward of having it cleaned out while he screamed. No good.

Mail Information

There is no "Haiti Postal Service" so, in order to recieve packages in Haiti we will be using Agape Flights.

Agape is a ministry that serves missionaries in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

To get more info go to www.agapeflights.com

http://www.agapeflights.com/missionary_contact.asp is the page with instructions for mailing things. The instructions are very detailed and helpful.

To ask any questions you can email gomissions@agapeflights.com

Mail to: Troy Livesay - PAP 17871

7990 15th Street East

Sarasota, FL 34243

We are doing great and most of what we "miss" having are not items you can mail to us. (Unless you have a great idea for getting a Godfather's pizza here.) I was asked to share ideas about things that are hard to buy/find here. The biggest ones are: fruit snacks, granola bars and candy. We will always appreciate books and movies but the suggested donation of $2.00 per pound may be somewhat limiting on heavier items. We have plenty of sunscreen and bugspray and pain medicine so for now those items are not needed. We love you and thank you for asking. God is good, all the time!

Troy's Excellent Adventure

On Saturday, I needed to go buy more water. (I wonder how many people reading this can say the same. But I digress, and it's a little early in the post for that.) We have a water filter that we'll be using to ensure our drinking water is safe, but I haven't gotten it set up yet - so, I had to buy more water. We get bottled Culligan water in 5 gallon jugs from a roadside store about 30 bumpy excruciating minutes away.

The pastor of the Lifeline Church, Pastor Rony (pronounced "wonny" - which is not his real name - but that's another story - like the car accident I still need to write about), told me that his wife needed to go to the same town I was heading to. I agreed to give her a ride and we headed off on our way. Isaac and Noah were along for the ride, too. As we made our way down the gravel road, I saw the director of a school that Lifeline supports and stopped to say hello. His name is Osnel. I asked him if he needed a ride anywhere and told him where we were going. He said yes and got in the truck with us, and we had an uneventful drive to the store. That's where it all went crazy.

When I got out of the truck, the Pastor's wife (Madame Rony, we call her) and Osnel got out too. Osnel and I began exchanging the empty water jugs, and the next thing I knew, Madame Rony was gone. I asked Osnel where she was, and he told me she went to the "mache". That is Creole for market, and I hoped that meant like a market across the street or something. But I feared he meant that she went to the actual Market, like where everyone in the region goes to buy everything they need on Wednesdays and Saturdays. While we loaded the water into the truck, a few Haitians gathered around, mainly to watch and stare at Noah. He of course put on a show for them, complete with yelling DADDY DADDY and rocking wildly back and forth in his carseat. White babies are apparently a real oddity here, especially crazy ones like ours.

I got back in the truck, and began questioning my friend Osnel as to the whereabouts of our friend Madame Rony. He speaks no English, and my Creole is still questionable. His Creole, however, is excellent, and he can apparently only speak it extremely quickly. I gathered through hand gestures and repeated phrases that she had, indeed, left and taken public transportation down to THE market. I realized at this point that I had no idea where I was supposed to have taken her, what she was planning on doing wherever that was, and how she was planning on getting home. Keep in mind that Pastor Rony is the sweetest man alive, and I was touched that he trusted me to drive his wife somewhere in the first place. And now I lost her.

Side note: I wondered at some point during all of this what this would be like if it happened in the US. I could only find it analogous in this way...The Pastor of our church at home (New Joy) is also a very sweet man and I consider him a great friend. He also has a wonderful wife who we think highly of, just like Madame Rony. His name is Rich Hubert, and his wife's name is Karen. (If you are from New Joy church or you are Rich and Karen, you already know these people:))
I couldnt' help thinking that even in the US, running errands with your Pastor's wife and then losing her would be a very bad thing.

Having no idea what was expected of me and my chauffer duties, I headed down the road to the market to look for her. There is no way to describe the market accurately with words. I can only say that it is complete sensory overload - there are throngs of people, a myriad of smells, and unbelievable noise. There are untold vehicles and pedestrians and vendors all vying for the same few square blocks. Did I mention the tables full of raw meat and the sweltering heat? It's basically the Minnesota State Fair on steroids with the volume and tempo and temperature cranked up. Needless to say, I was not excited to go down there, especially looking for a Pastor's Wife in a haystack.

Once we fought our way through the crowd and found a "parking spot" (more accurately - landed the truck on the curb between a bus and a telephone pole), the fun really started. Osnel got out and went to look for Madame Rony. That seemed to me like sending someone into the ocean to find a particular wave. I was now sitting with my two sons all by ourselves in the truck in the middle of mayhem. I wasn't nervous for the first fifteen minutes or so. Unfortunately, though, we attracted quite a crowd, what with the white skin and the screaming crazy boys and all. Isaac and Noah were putting on quite a show, and I was trying to keep smiling while the audience pushed in. Many people were reaching in through the windows. The truck was actually getting moved by the people pushing by. A seemingly nice man came and shook my hand and chatted with me about the boys. It was a relief right up until I realized he was drunk, and that he wouldn't let go of my hand. I got to hear about all of his political, religious, and social ideas and plans while he listed back and forth. Then the pitch came in, asking for money. Fortunately he was too drunk to realize that what I handed him was the equivalent of about two cents and he staggered off. I was getting a little anxious at this point. Then I saw Jean-Leon, the School Director from Lifeline. He is a very nice man who speaks some English, and we discussed my dilemma. He agreed it was troubling, and also agreed to help find Madame Rony, I thanked him and offered him a ride home once we were all back together.

Soon after, Osnel returned, but without Madame Rony. I was tempted to just leave at this point, but now I had two people out there waiting for rides home. I laughed to myself when I started thinking... "I started with a Pastor's wife. I added a School Director. I lost the Pastor's wife. Then I lost the School Director. Then I gained a School Director, but not the one I lost" and so forth.

The boys were getting hot and tired and so was I. Osnel left, and Jean-Leon returned once more. Still no Madame Rony. Eventually I had both School Directors there at the same time and made them both stay. Right when we were decided to just leave and trust she had taken public transportation home, the passenger door opened up and she sat down next to me with her bundle of goods like nothing ever happened. I could have kissed her. But I figured I was in enough trouble already, since my 40 minute trip for water had stretched out upwards of two hours.

During the ride home, I learned that Osnel never actually needed to go anywhere, but he thought I was asking him to go because I needed him. We all made it home safely and I decided to chalk it up as another reason to get fluent in the language ASAP. Hopefully I won't lose anyone else in the meantime.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support. It is in times like this that we're able to have peace and confidence, thanks to the knowledge of our mighty God who is by our side.