Wednesday, May 31, 2006


When we moved here we thought we were going to be SO SET UP with this internet Voice-Over IP thing ---- high tech missionaries. Not, not, not.

VOIP that works in conjunction with a Satellite is a bad combination. BAD.

Murphy's law means, only when it is a salesperson, does the reception work two-ways.

When I am being a big cry-baby and I want to talk to my mom or dad or sister ... nothing, I get nothing. I can hear them but they cannot hear me. Usually my dad says "hello, hello Haiti." then after I talk a little bit he says "I know this is you Tara because you always sound like Darth Vador." Then he gets a big kick out of going on and on "Darth Vador hello come in Darth"

Most of the time they go on to talk to me and tell me anything and everything and I just listen. I am becoming an awesome listener ...

My sister wins the award for gabbing the longest without taking a breath or caring that I cannot talk back. One day she talked for SIX minutes non stop (without taking a breath) and then said "well, I know you heard everything I said -- you are updated, I love you bye."

When I hang up I usually just sit feeling sullen and dejected for a few minutes. IT is SO lame not be heard. That is why I write so much, I cannot talk to anyone except the people that live here and already know everything about my day. They are bored with me.

Tonight I answered the phone. After the fifth time I said "hello", the lady said "yes, hello I could not hear you sorry -- I am calling for Isaac Livesay please."

I said "Isaac is four and is in bed, can I help you?" She could barely hear me but told me that Isaac is not eligible for whatever they were calling about because he is four.

Okay. Whatever. I know he is going to be SOOOO bummed to hear this tomorrow morning. I wonder what great thing he missed out on?

More Things

1. Rhonda has Malaria now. (Rhonda is the wife/mom of the other family that serves at Lifeline.)

2. Pastor Rony did not rest enough with his Malaria. Dehydration and fatigue caused a need for an IV to be placed.

3. Britt has a bad rash now. Troy took her to the Dr. and picked her up, they are not home yet but I talked to her, she is itchy and miserable ... no place to escape the heat makes a rash that much more irritating.

This too shall pass, but until it does these three could benefit from extra prayers.

For fun ... Isaac's prayer at the prayer rock a bit ago:
(word for word)

Dear Heaveneey Fader-
help us to have a good day
help britt and dad have a safe ride
and help noah to be good
and help ann to know i love her and she is my best friends
and help dad and britt to have a safe ride
and help noah to be good and not to be naughty
and help mom with noah
and help paige
and help the Hoppa's
and help peanut
and help us to have a good day
and help us to have a good day
and and aaaaand
and jesus name amen

Once again, I am squandering nap time freedom ... gotta get off the computer and get moving before my time is up.

Cool Story

So much of what we hear today is discouraging. I want you to be encouraged. I want to be encouraged. I was reading up on Angel's latest news from Ohio. To do that go to

Then after you read the post from Tuesday, read the comments by Rose. There is an amazing story there.

On February 28th, I wrote a blog entry about miracles. Below is part of what my thoughts were that day ... I have not been giving this enough thought lately, the posts on Sarah's blog served to remind me again. (Thanks Rose!)

From February 28 post called "God's Business"
"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 miracle, 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 expectant of one of those modern day miracles in Ohio, in the life of a sweet Haitian baby named Angel.

An Average Family?

Yesterday we took little baby Sophia to a rescue center. (Photo of her a few days ago. Scroll down, she is the big eyed beauty. Today the photos won't load for some dumb reason. Blogger is being a jerk.)

For those not into remembering details, she is the 11 month old baby girl that showed up at Lifeline on May 19 weighing about 8.5 lbs. She was dehydrated, refusing to eat, and just sort of lifeless. Her grandmother is 70 and is her current guardian/caretaker. She had been fed mostly flour mixed with water and some sugar, explaining her small size and malnourished look.

The people at the rescue center get their own separate blog entry...they were AMAZING. The real deal. More on them later.

Sophia is on our mind and heart right now. We think she is a gem of a baby girl.

She gained over a pound since May 19 so she is on her way to being a strong girl. It is so shocking to us to see kids this size. Britt was 8 lbs, Paige was 8 lbs and Noah was 7lbs, 5 oz. -- kids that are 11 months old should not be that size!

As we drove her to the ministry that agreed to take her for a time and help her gain more weight, we asked lots of questions of her Grandmother and older brother.

This is what they told us.

The grandmother had three children.

One of her children is Sophia's mother. Sophia's mother died five days after she gave birth to Sophia at the age of 45.

Sophia's mother had Alex first, in 1980. He is her oldest son who is currently 26. I know his name only because I have met him and spent some time with him. Then came a girl in 1986, who is now 20...a girl in 1990, who is now 16...a girl in 1992, who is now 14...a boy in 1995 who is now 11...a boy in 1999 who is now 7...a girl, Sophia, in 2005 - who turns one June 21st.

Besides the seven kids listed above they told us that she lost three children. They did not know or remember the ages of the kids when they died. (No one keeps track of birthday's here and many poorer people do not have any idea how old they are.) (To illustrate this point, Britt treats this guy with a tropical ulcer. He is clearly at least 20 years old, more like 30 ... when she asks him how old he is he says he does not know or he says he is seven.) I asked what the three kids died of, the response: "fever." To me, that means curable disease such as Malaria.

So... Sophia's birthmother died at age 45 shortly after giving birth to her 10th child. She died in Petit Bwa, the village we hike to now and again on the mountain behind La Digue. Sophia was born there, as were all the kids.

I asked about the whereabouts of all the other children who were left without a mother.

26 year old is married with one child, lives in Petit Bwa in his own house.
20 year old floats between Petit Bwa and LaDigue.
16, 11, and 7 year old live in the house their mom died in with no adults. All alone.
14 year old is a domestic servant for a family in a nearby town.

Baby Sophia has lived with the grandmother in LaDigue for the last 11 months.

When I asked why the 14 year old was given away and not the 16 year old? They did not really answer that question, they said that it was "good because when her mom was alive she set it up for these people to send her to school" in exchange for her help after school. They said that now, the girl does not go to school, the family that has her stopped sending her. I asked why they don't go get her back now that the deal they made is not what is happening. They just said it is better for her to be there, that she would not want to come back up the mountain to live.

Haiti is known to have over 300,000 children living in that situation. They were given to someone with a little more money as a way to get them food and maybe an education but in reality they are slaves. Here they are known as "restaveks."

For disturbing and very sad information on that go to:
Disclaimer: (I am not endorsing this ministry, just sharing some facts about Restavek's.)

Here is what broke my heart today. Alex, the oldest brother who rode along to drop Sophia off said "I really appreciate what you have done to help Sophia. If you ever need any work done or any help just tell me I will send one of the kids to help you." I was horrified. I quickly told Alex that there are no string attached to our help and that we did not desire to have any child come work for us, ever!

This whole story is too sad to me. To them it is very average. Dads are not around, moms die, kids live scattered about and on their own. This is a reality for them. It is a reality that is difficult for me to accept. (As if not accepting it changes anything.)

This weekend Troy and I hope to climb up to Petit Bwa and see where Sophie was born and meet the her siblings, especially the three kids that live up there alone.

When I think about the things these kids have endured, it makes me hope for something better for Sophia. Living as a domestic servant is an ugly life, living without a parent is an dreadful reality. Clearly she is a fighter, or 11 months of poor nutrition would have killed her. I have concerns about what happens to her when her 70 year old grandma is unable to care for her.

The only thing I know to do is pray. That's what I am doing, I hope you will too.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Unbloggable? What Say You?

Troy thinks if there is any hesitation to say something on the blog that it ought to be my cue not to say it.

I think as long as it is in my head or is happening for real, then I should probably tell you about it. It is a little test to see if I can scare you away by giving you a glimpse at the real Livesay family.

To that point:

Noah is the weirdest kid in this country. No doubt about it. The other 6 of us voted and the results don't lie.

Recently he has begun referring to his boy parts as his "chicken." WHY WHY WHY? We certainly never called it that. Once he is naked before bath time, he wants to run around screaming "chicken, chicken, chicken!" Huh? What gave him the idea to call it that? This is the child of a proper missionary couple? Oh, no ... that's right, he is not -- or rather we are not.

Troy went in to get him after nap the other day. He proudly said "look dad, I peed right der" Sure enough, he took off his diaper and peed out of the crib rails. The puddle on the floor proved it.

This weekend he learned to say "No photos please!" That is more than entertaining to him.

Other new phrases: "Watch it" "No Saaaassing!" "I'll beat you!" A crowd favorite, yelled at the top of his lungs, "NO NOT!" (Sometimes "No Not" is accompanied by laying on the floor and kicking and screaming ... until voila, he finds himself in his crib for a time out.)

I know, I know ... you are sending Haitian Social Services to remove him from our care. We cannot even blame you.

God sent him as our fifth child for a reason. We never could have handled him earlier in our parenting journey. God knows stuff.

PS- Thanks for the rash ideas ... I have some work to do to go research it further on those sites. It starts out very weak in the morning. By bed time it looks the worst. It could be fungal I guess. Really not sure. Thanks for the ideas though, I had not taken time to look on-line yet. Bad mom.

Brief News Update

Scott Tanner and his cool photography again.

This is a weird week here. Lots going on, everyone going different directions. New projects changing the flow of our daily routine, (or as close to a routine as you can have here.)

Britt is in Port for the whole week (unless she bails out early because she misses her wonderful family.) She visited some ladies yesterday at an orphanage, they remembered Isaac from when he was there under their supervision in 2002. She said they were so excited to talk to her and hear how he is doing.

She is at Beth and John's helping Beth with some painting and then in addition she is touring a few ministries with Ann. Tomorrow she is working the Agape mail shift with Troy, no one will even know the difference, people can't keep us straight here. Were one in the same, sort of interchangeable.

I have a few interesting stories & brand new experiences to share when I get the time to write it all out. I feel lighter today, for unexplained reasons ... other than, someone must be praying.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for that. When I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul wrote- (in 2 Corinthians Chapter 12 Verses 9 and 10)
9And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I would rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


Photo Credits- Scott Tanner, May 2006

I feel like our blog goes in waves. Some weeks you get trivial story, after trivial story of Eddy and Toro and Guinness and total nonsense. Some weeks I am sharing every little thought God puts in my brain. Notice, the word little ... my thoughts are so little; little and repetitive. I KNOW I am repeating myself. I wish I could alternate funny post, serious post, trivial post. It just doesn't work that way.

Lately, I am in a much more serious place. You probably picked up on that. I think this "place" I am in is mainly due to a lot of trying really, really hard to understand why God does things a certain way. The things He does that I don't like or get.

It is stupid. (I am stupid?) I am spinning my wheels and I need to quit trying to understand it all, and just trust Him. (Repeat theme, yes I know it is.)

We love it here. It is a difficult place to live but we love it.

We do think that Haiti will bring out the worst in you if you are not constantly checking yourself. We have found that if you have any sort of patience or anger issue, this place will test you and magnify those issues.

Too bad Troy is so angry and impatient. KIDDING!

Seriously, we are learning to control our tongues; to control our lack of patience and we are coming to understand what Jesus asked when He told us to love our neighbors. We don't think he meant love them if you feel like it or love them when it is easy. He meant love them when they don't tell you the truth and love them when they don't return your kindness.

Dishonesty is real all over the world. We know the USA is not some shining example of honest, perfect people. Haiti and its poverty seem to breed dishonesty and pride. If you do not constantly ask for the Lord's guidance it would be easy to get angry at the people you are here to serve. Getting angry and being less than loving would sort of make you ineffective as an example of Christ and His love for ALL people.

This blog entry has gone astray ... as usual I have NO idea what my point is. I mainly want to convey that we are learning as we serve. God is faithful, even when I don't get what He is doing --He is faithful.

Below is the coolest song by Jill Phillips. Troy and I really dig it. There is truth in these lyrics for us. If you can get ahold of the song we bet you will like it.

We really love you guys and thank you for helping us be here learning as we serve.

Live By The Sword - Jill Phillips

I don't see why I don't see what bothers me
And I don't know why I don't know what won't let me go
I should have listened to myself when I had it down
This dose of my own medicine is too big to swallow now
This is the time when I find what's inside of me
This is the time when I decide what I believe

If I want to be real in this world
Then I have to realize
If I am going to live by the sword
I'm gonna have to die by the sword

It's easy to be calm when there's no crashing tide
It's easy to be quiet when it's loud outside
It's easy to be humble when you're glorified
But now I'm out here on my own and screaming from inside
This is the time when I find what's inside of me
This is the time when I decide what I believe


You stripped me down to basics
You left my heart exposed
There is no pride in times like this
No one said it was easy
No one said it was fair
But nobody's happy when it is

Lord, I need your loving arms to carry me
When I look in the mirror and don't like what I see
I know you know what I desire to do -- So help me follow even when it's not easy to


Monday, May 29, 2006

Rash Experts?

If you know what this is, please comment in the comment section below or email me. This kid has had this for about ten days. It is mainly on both temples, his neck and one shoulder. Nowhere else. We got some scabies type lotion; that is not working.

It could be heat rash, but it is hot here all the time so is he stuck with the rash until he moves back to Minnesota? He does not try to scratch it at all. Weird. Haitian Doctors are not experts at white-kid rashes. ANYONE?????? Good and bad guesses welcome.

Finally, Some Rain

Our rainstorms can beat up your rainstorms!

It is about stinking time. We heard prior to moving here that it would rain almost every night for a few months. That is not what we have experienced.

Until tonight.

It rained with a vengeance in LaDigue tonight. There is water on our porch, down the hall and into Britt and Pagie's rooms.

"When it rains it pours" is just a dumb saying, but when it comes to rain in LaDigue it is a true dumb saying.

Of course the ground is a veritable rock-solid piece of hard dirt, so it just runs right off and creates little lakes for mosquito breeding. No good.

Troy is cleaning up the rain, I am blogging. Seems fair to me.

Three Unrelated Items

Please keep praying for Sophia. Specifically pray that God will protect her and help her grow big and strong. Even more specifically, pray that if it is the Lord's will for her to be placed for adoption that He would work in the hearts of her family and help them see the positive side of that decision.

It is not Memorial Day in Haiti. It is odd to think about all of you meeting for picnics and parties. To us, it seems that things in America cease to exist if we are not there experiencing it. Self-important thinking? Yes, I guess so. If you have time today, on your day off, will you write us a note and tell us what is happening in your life? Pleeeease?

Yesterday, as the missionaries were leaving the Bible study, Isaac stood at the bottom of the stairs saying, "Nice to meet you, thanks for coming, nice to meet you, see you next time." He said that to each and every person as they left. Troy was at the top of the stairs snickering at how cute and outgoing he was being. When he got up to the top of the stairs and saw Troy standing there he said "Hey dad, did you just hear how nice I was to those people?" He was quite proud of himself.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

More Mailing Information

I need to apologize. A few people have emailed asking for ideas to send stuff to us via our missionary mail service and I put the emails on the back burner long enough for it to become too long and then I feel dumb replying a month later so I don't reply at all. Sorry.

For light items our Agape mail account will work. The address is:

Troy Livesay c/o Agape Flights
PAP - 17871
7990 15th Street East
Sarasota, FL 34243

Agape is nice but it is spendy. They charge us $3.00 per pound now. There are also customs taxes on this end, but they are not too terribly high on most items.

If you wish to help off-set the $3.00 per pound that Agape charges to cover their flight costs from Florida, it might be best to send that to Lifeline with a note that explains it is a one-time gift for the Livesay's. We see on Agape's site that you can send it there too but we don't really get the way that works, it seems like they charge us the full amount either way.

Lifeline's Address:
Children's Int'l Lifeline
16106 Brookwood Drive
Buchanan, MI 49107

I was asked for ideas. I think only light items make sense. Shipping in heavier items would end up being too spendy.We might even be able to buy it here cheaper after paying all the shipping and customs taxes. So, I am only listing light items. ~Beef Jerkey ~Fruit snacks ~DVD's/Movies ~Granola Bars ~Candy

If you would like to donate the heavier items it would be best to send it to my parents address and we can get it to Haiti in July or August in suitcases and not pay any shipping or customs taxes. The heavy items are: ~Powdered Gatorade ~Baby Formula (for babies in the village.)

If you want to do that you would ship it to:
Randy Porter
131 Powell Circle West
Big Lake, MN 55309

Agape seems to take about two to three weeks to get to us from the time it is mailed. You can send letters and cards without any fees being charged to us.

We don't want to use our Blog as a fundraising tool. (Or a forum to ask for things other than prayer!) This will be the last time you see a post with this information. Thanks for being patient, sorry we did not reply to your emails to answer these questions!
~ T & T ~

Weekend Photos

We hope you had a terrific and restful weekend. We were blessed to host a Bible Study group today of other missionaries from the North, most of whom we did not know too well. It was fun to hear about their experiences here and get connected with a bunch more people.

Sometimes, if you take your eyes off of God, you forget things. You forget God sees, you forget He cares. You forget to thank Him in the midst of your circumstance. You forget that He can use any situation to teach you and to grow you.

We have been a little sad about baby Sophia and had hoped she might be able to be placed for adoption but have since learned that she will likely be staying with her Haitian grandmother and family. She is so tiny and malnourished we had just hoped they would see the possibility for her if she could be adopted and have a mom and a dad. God knows His plan, we don't. What God does, even if it makes us sad, is what God knows is best for His reasons. His ways are always higher than ours.

Keep praying for Sophia. Ricardo/Moses is doing way better. Angel has had two surgeries and seems to be hanging in there, much more recovery to be done for her.

Enjoy the photos and the devotional below. Have a great week!

On a walk in the village ...

On a visit to the market...

At home...

Pieces & Masterpieces

Ron Hutchcraft - A word with you May 9th

They just don't make garbage like they used to. Do you remember the good old days when you could throw away everything when you were done with it? Actually, those were not the good old days, because we were also trashing our environment. I don't know how it is in your neighborhood, but we lived in a neighborhood where we had the privilege of sorting and putting out what used to be just garbage: bottles, newspapers, cans and glass. They're now called recyclables. It's amazing how they can take that garbage, and then recycle it into something useful again.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Pieces and Masterpieces."

Our word today from the Word of God comes from Genesis 50:20. Joseph is speaking to his brothers who left him in a pit, and they thought that was the end of him. Now he's the Pharaoh of Egypt, saving their lives with the food program he's developed. And he says, "You intended to harm me. But God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Joseph had a lot of garbage in his life. There were broken family relationships, he was falsely accused, and he spent time in prison for something he didn't do, and then he went through the disappointment of false hope. Eventually, the great plan of God led him to become Assistant Pharaoh, which gave him authority over Egypt, even though he was a Jew. Then he was able to save thousands of lives, including the lives of his own family, who were the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel ultimately. Up close, this looked like tragedy. When you look at the big picture, it was the wonderful tapestry of God.

See, God is the original and the ultimate recycler. He can take the trash of your life and recycle it into treasure. You have to bring Jesus what is broken, and then He makes those pieces into masterpieces. How does He do that? He'll do it with His power, if you will do your part in the recycling process.

First, you have to ask the right question. "Why is this happening" will probably not get an answer. Why don't you work on asking this question: "How could God use this?" Secondly, tell it all to Jesus. Bring Him all the pieces, bring Him all of the darkest feelings you have about what's broken right now. And then thirdly, cancel all your pity parties. Self-pity will become a prison for you, and the Devil already won one victory. If he traps you in pity, you have just let him win two. Fourthly, look for other people who are hurting. Through the hurts of your life, God gives you a brand new sensitivity to the hurts of others. He uses the broken pieces of our life to show us how to touch the lives of other people who are going through the same thing.

Think about the garbage in your life right now. What's broken? A broken family? A broken budget? A broken marriage? Maybe a broken child? A broken body? There might be a broken dream or even a broken heart. Bring Jesus the broken pieces.

The ultimate breaker of our hearts, the ultimate breaker of lives is an awful force inside us and all around us that the Bible calls sin. Jesus said, "The Lord has sent me to bind up the broken hearted." He's come to put what's broken together again. You know what it took? If you've ever had communion of the Lord's Supper or the Eucharist, you know these words, "This is my body which is broken for you."

Jesus literally was broken to pay for every sin you and I have ever done, so that He could begin to put together what only a Savior who took care of our sin could put together. The Bible actually says, "By His stripes" - by His wounds - "we are healed."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Random Photos for Your Viewing Pleasure

Random phots in random order of random things from random times throughout the last weeks.

This mornings post was for me, more than it was for you. It is especially for me now, after the day of emotions we had. I need constant reminders that God's ways are higher than our ways and that He has a purpose for all He does.

We are okay, it was just one of those hard days in Haiti. This weekend is very full of things to do and things to pray about. Because of that we are going to stay away from the blog for the weekend.

We will report in Sunday night. Have a blessed weekend and please know that you are loved and appreciated by all of us.
T&T B, P, I, H, N ... & Peanut too!

On the Journey with God

Photo Credit: Scott Tanner, taken on a hike to Petit Bwa, May 2006

The things that Jesus did were of the most menial and commonplace order, and this is an indication that it takes all God's power in me to do the most commonplace things in His way...All the ordinary sordid things of our lives reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of.

You do not know what you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing...It is this attitude that keeps you in perperual wonder--you do not know what God is going to do next.
-OSWALD CHAMBERS, My Utmost for His Highest, 1935

I believe that nothing that happens to me is meaningless, and that it is good for us all that it should be so, even if it runs counter to our own wishes. As I see it, I'm here for some purpose, and I only hope I may fulfill it. In the light of the great purpose all our privations and disappointments are trivial.
-DIETRICH BONHOEFFER, Letters and Papers From Prion, 1943-1944

Thursday, May 25, 2006

More Thursday Photos

This afternoon the injured school kids lined up for their turn to have their wounds cleaned and redressed. The boys in the middle are the ones with machete cuts. The little girl has a knife cut and the boy furtherst away was a new patient today. His toe was cut.

Britt and Peanut attracted quite a crowd today. The kids were asking if she was mean and Britt told them she only ate naughty children. They thought that was hilarious.

Lifeline's Barbancourt feeding center

By the end of the day the boys decided it was too hot for shirts. Massive physiques on those boys, don't you think? Who needs a watchdog when you have these guys and Malaria boy around?


The chocolate supply made it to La Digue, along with the Hot Tamales, granola bars, trail mix, Beef Jerkey, stuff for Troy's guitar, Paige's clothes that she needed and NEW running shoes!!!! THANK YOU so much everybody, especially Mom and Dad! What fun it is to unpack the loot, everybit as fun as a trip to Wal-Mart with a gift card. Thank you for loving us!

Britt and the kids at the Barbancourt feeding center earlier today.

Thursday Thoughts

Noah was making a phone charger into a weapon. I asked him if he was violent. He said NO, I'm not "Violet", I am No-Va. Isaac and Hope are excited about having Ann here today. They keep calling her Kris though, she looks a little like a friend from IL so they are getting confused.

Troy is back in Port au Prince getting the luggage and 20 Palm trees that will be planted around the Lifeline campus today. We are touring Ann around the different Lifeline feeding centers later today. Below is Paige with Don King. Nothing more to report today. Have a great day!


Poverty n.
1.The state of being poor; need
2.Scarcity of something needed.
3.Meagerness; inadequacy

Some days the poverty hits you. Other days it does not. I continue to find that most of the time I am able to keep myself from being wrecked by it. Every so often something will set off the tears and then they just come ... making up for however many days or weeks it has been since I last cried.
The harshest realities are always babies and widows. A hungry 20 year old is very sad, but nothing like a 2 year old boy or a 70 year old woman. The other terribly difficult thing for me personally, is physically handicapped people.  I think it is hard living here, and I have a nice big house and water and food. I can walk or drive wherever I need to go. Seeing a man who drags his limp legs behind him while he goes through the market is something I will never be able to see without weeping.

Psalm 113:6-8 Far below him are the heavens and the earth. He stoops to look, and he lifts the poor from the dirt and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes.
Psalm 72:12 He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.
Romans 8:35-37 Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? ... NO ... overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Finally Here

Paige and Ann arrived safely this morning. Their bags did not. We go back for bags tomorrow. Nothing is ever too easy when it comes to traveling here. Blah. They enjoyed a complimentary night in Miami due to flight cancellation yesterday. They are tired but happy to be here. Thanks for asking and praying. Have a great night!

Beyond Miami

The other night we entered a conversation with Emmanuel and Tipap about where we are from. (Geographically, I mean, not like the birds and bees, I hope they understand that part already.) I was telling them that Minnesota, the state we are from, is farther away from Florida than Haiti is. It was obvious that they thought I was either an idiot or had lost my mind entirely. They asked over and over if it was true, just to make sure I was an idiot, and shook their heads at me. They even called in a third witness (Merilien) to confirm that they were not hearing things. I reassured them all that there were places in the world farther away from Haiti than Miami.

In the Haitian experience, geography seems to consist of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Miami, New York, Toronto, and Boston - in that order. These are the places flights to/from Haiti travel (and where Haitian immigrants have settled), so therefore they are all that exist. Except for Japan, which produces the best "machines" - as vehicles are called here. In review, the world consists basically of parts of Canada, the US, Haiti, Dom. Republic, and Japan. This is evidenced by the hand-carved globes they sell as art here. The geography is atrocious. The last one I looked at had Philadelphia somewhere in Texas and Georgia bordering Canada.

We had fun showing them a puzzle the kids have that shows North America, and pointing out the states and cities they are familiar with, and their relation to Haiti. It was obvious that they were quite surprised at Haiti's small size in comparison.

Then things got really interesting. I turned on the computer and showed them the Google Earth program. It shows satellite images of the entire world, in relief and detail down to streets in some areas. As we searched for the places they were familiar with, the globe spun and zoomed in on the different countries and cities. These three guys were totally amazed by it, and probably a little freaked out. Then we turned our attention to Haiti. There are detailed photos of Port-Au-Prince, down to streets, and relief maps with cities marked for the rest of the country. We spent the next hour or so looking all over the country, and they talked incessantly about every new city and village name that popped up - who lives there, how much rain they get, when they visited that place, etc. It was really fun, and a definite learning experience for us, too. We often take for granted all of the education opportunities and experiences we have had. People without those luxuries are often so eager to learn, but don't have the chance. All three guys left that night shaking their heads at how big the world is. -Troy

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

2 P's Left

I am at John and Beth's. We have 2 P's left.

Paige is still in Miami but is with Ann so things are good. We did not learn of the delay until the time we were ready to leave Beth's to go to the airport. Hopefully they leave Miami SOON!

The propane place closed at 3pm. We got there at 3:30. Troy had a little mini tantrum. Wish you had been there to see it. I asked why, after more than four months of living here, he still lets that stuff get to him ... he should know by now that your plan is just your plan, and nothing more. Slow learner. :)

Troy says if the blog becomes a forum for publicly mocking your spouse then it will need to go away. I retract my statement above.

Five P Tuesday

Photo Credit: Scott Tanner May 2006

P.O. for Payroll

We are headed into the big crazy city to pick up Paige, to fill propane tanks, and to get money for payday for Lifeline employees on Friday. We are also picking up an old adoption friend, Ann. She adopted the little guy that slept right next to Isaac back in 2002 when they were in the orphanage. We are excited to see her and help her plan her time in Haiti. Paige is traveling all day Tuesday, pray for safety for her as she comes to your mind.

All the Hoppa kids have a goofy rash. Noah is the first to have it over here. It looks like heat rash, but does heat rash take over your entire body? So far Noah has it on his temples but if you judge by Faith's experience with it, we will watch it spread.

Today Troy called Dr. Sajous to check in. When Dr. S. answered instead of hearing "hello" on the end of the line, Troy heard "oh, this is they guy that does not listen to me." Troy said "what? hello???" Then Dr. S said that he had seen us in Kabaret yesterday on our way home from church and what was Troy doing in Port when he was supposed to be resting. Troy took the tounge lashing and was told to expect up to two more weeks of decreased activity and decreased energy.

Last night I mentioned three babies to pray for. Tonight I will add some good news and some additional information to those prayer requests.

1.Moses/Ricardo - Is doing a little better. He is a twin, he is the tinyer twin. His grandmother placed him with Rhonda and then for adoption because she believed that all of her daughter's children (her grandchildren) were cursed. She gave the twins away because she wants them to live. For that reason, and many more Ricardo needs to live. He and his twin brother are the only two living children that remain. Their mother had five before she died giving birth to the twins. (The twins are number six and seven.)

2.Sophia- Is under 9lbs at 11 months of age. She has been anemic and malnourished for a long time. This has caused her to refuse food when it is offered. She is being force-fed and needs prayer. She is also an orphan. Her mother died within five days of giving birth to her. Sophia's grandmother is the sole caretaker and needs prayers for peace about making a decision to place Sophia for adoption. The grandmother admits that if she dies she does not have anyone to take Sophia and as of now she is unable to feed Sophie or herself.

3.Angeline-This little girl grabbed our attention back in April when we heard about her and wondered if there might be a way we could help. It ended up that the family that adopted her were people Troy and I had connected with months ago. This little girl is a medical miracle. She lived months without surgery with Spina Bifida. That is unheard of. By the grace of God she was able to get out of Haiti last Wednesday. She is in Ohio undergoing MAJOR medical treatment and remains in serious condition. Go to for the latest photos and ways you can pray.

God's heart is for children. Each and every one matters to Him. There are no unwanted children. Please keep these three that are special to us, but even MORE special to HIM in your prayers.

Lastly, we cannot say it enough or too often. God has blessed Troy and I and our kids with an amazing circle of support. The emails from friends and strangers alike have been a total encouragement to us. We thank God for each of you. We are beyond blessed by your prayers and support. May you be blessed abundantly in return.

Tara for us all

“We're the best of friends, and I pray for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health--that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul! (3 John 1:2, The Message)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Conversations from the Lunch Table

Lunch menu: PB & J, Mozzarella Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Pringles

Noah: "Ma ma ma ma, I want dat cheese." (pointing to Mozzarella cheese)

Tara: "Okay buddy I hear you."

Isaac: "Noah, you like the white cheese because you are white!"

Isaac: "I like the lellow (yellow) cheese because I am ... oh, oh, oh...Nevermind!"

The obsession with skin color and what it means continues.

Definitions & Deep Thinking

Charity n.
1.The giving of aid to the poor
2.The aid given
3.An institution, organization, or fund for the help of the needy
4.A feeling of good will or kindness towards others
5.An act of good will or kindness
6.Tolerance; leniency

Generosity n.
1.Liberality in giving or willingness to give
2.Nobility of thought or behavior; magnanimity
3.Amplitude; abundance
4.A generous act

Deep Thinking
One of the many things that have been hard to understand and adjust to revolves around the aforementioned words. We came here knowing the needs were many and the needs were great. We came here thinking that by acting generous and charitable we would somehow feel fulfilled. I (tara) think we were wrong. I don't think you can be expect to feel fulfilled by helping people who need help. I believe the only way you can feel fulfilled is by trusting God with your life and looking to Him for fulfillment.

While helping someone out with a financial, practical or material need might feel nice in the moment, it is not a long term solution for fulfillment. This is especially true as you learn that even when you *think* you have done something special, something helpful, something big ... you will soon find out that in a country with poverty of this magnitude, what you have done is just a small blip on the radar screen. You constantly need to check your motives to be sure you are not doing it for a thank you or a warm fuzzy feeling.

A perfect example, we had gotten about four or five items for an employee as a gift. We can afford it, he needed it and it really would not matter in our budgeting to help him with a few items for his household. At the end of the day where we had been picking up items for him all along the way, he said "Hey, what happened with my tennis shoes? Weren't you going to have Britt get me some shoes when she was in the States?"

Now, we won't lie ... that sort of stuff causes us to be taken aback. It does not line up with the way we give or the way we expect to be treated when we give. BUT ... it is a good lesson.

God asks us to give when the Holy Spirit prompts us to give. He asks us to be open handed. He asks us to trust Him. He asks us to show kindness. Nowhere in those directions does it say that the person will be thankful, that you will find fulfillment from giving or that it means you should walk around patting yourself on the back.

We dislike entitlement. We enjoy being generous. Many people here assume that because you are American and have more than them, you OWE it to them to help. We don't think that, but we do think there are lessons for us.

The important lesson for us has been to stay focused on following the Lord's leading & prompting, showing love to the best of our ability and finding our fulfillment in HIM alone.

You can do no great things, just small things with great love.
~Mother Teresa

Photo Credit: Scott Tanner May 2006