Saturday, September 30, 2006

Happy Birthday Dad/Papa!

Born October 1, 1950: A loving dad. A great man. A good friend. A bad golfer.

this is an audio post - click to play
Hey Dad-
I wish I could hug you. Consider this your cyber-hug and your birthday card all wrapped up in one. In case you cannot make out the hyper audio post, most everyone was saying "Happy Birthday," except Isaac, he said: "Hi Grandpa are you glad I am 5?" It's all about him I guess.
I could not ask for a better dad. I love you.
Troy's blog-card is below. He means it in the most loving way possible. He says in late November you'll be seeing a lot of this view at the lush Petionville golf club.

The kids said: They miss you, and they sure wish they were getting in on the Birthday lunch at the Monte Carlo. Enjoy your day. We can't wait to have you back down here again.

Kisses and Hugs, Britt-Paige-Isaac-Hope-Noah & Peanut too.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Haiti Fruit Lesson

Abriko n. large, round fruit with firm, orange flesh, similar in flavor to the American apricot

Chris and Leslie are the resident horticulture experts around these parts. We met up with them two weeks ago Monday to celebrate Mr. Big Stuff turning five. They apparently ran out of time to fly to the United States to shop at Wal-mart. Toys R Us has yet to make it to Port au Prince. So ... in true Haitian form they gave a gift of food. Ike was thrilled with his Abriko. We all got educated on another Haiti-grown fruit.

We had Lumen show us how to cut it up. Everyone tried it. Noah had an adverse response, demanding a napkin to spit it out. It does taste almost the same as a bland apricot.

On the counter in front of Isaac is a solar powered flashlight / radio combination --- with a SIREN feature. I know I often wish I could turn a siren on when I am searching for something in the dark. Thanks John McHoul for this marvelous gift.

We are currently formulating our plan for revenge.


Friday night, Go Rangers!


Isaac is a tropical storm, but a weak wimpy one. He won't make much of a name for himself by the looks of it.

Have a great weekend. All of our thanks, love, and appreciation. T&T

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Some things that Matter, Some things that don't

Haiti has not been notified that it is fall. Could someone please let her know? It is HOT.

To answer a few questions about the pending adoption of unborn baby - yes, we will take the baby right away, yes that will involve risk- but that means the baby never has to live in an orphanage- and yes- adopting while living here and caring for the baby means it will be considerably cheaper - like 60% less. Woot.

We are so pumped. We just found out that our good friends, Erik and Nikki, are Haiti-bound to pick up their baby girl. They come in next Thursday. The adoption is complete. Woot woot. We cannot wait to see them!

The blogosphere is an odd place. I like it, I just think it is nutty. We dig meeting cool new people and it is always encouraging to find a blog that makes you think and challenges the way you view things.

Tonight we were reading a couple of blogs written by young, visionary Pastors. One of the posts we read struck a chord with us. He was talking about a few things ... but this paragraph below is what jumped out at us:

There are divided agendas/visions because we won't submit to or honor Biblical leadership. There's division because we compete instead of cooperate for the sake of the Kingdom. There's division because we don't look after each other and just busy ourselves in our own little kingdoms, (contrary to Philippians 2:4, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.") Not to mention how this type of 'living' ignores Jesus' prayer for His people. (John 17)

So this got us thinking. About a lot of things. We were somewhat surprised to learn that the 'competing thing' applies not just to churches and ministries in America, but to ministries abroad as well.

There is a place for competition, like on a football field.

Everybody (ok, not everybody -- but the majority) is focused on making sure the next dollar is going to come in to keep the ministry floating... so this competition thing gets going. It is almost as if we have forgotten that we are all (at least in theory) trying to do the same thing. It is also as if we don't really believe that God will provide for us.

Like, if I tell you about a neat ministry doing neat things, next month I won't eat? Come on. That is so stupid. We also get a little tired of the big show that goes on when there is competition ... how many kids do you feed? Ooooh, really? How many orphans are you housing? It is ridiculous. God is feeding the hungry and He is housing the orphans and we are just the best thing He could come up with to get His work done. Can you imagine competing over this junk? Wouldn't the goal be to reach the lost and hurting and focus on sharing the love of the Savior with them? If the ministry down the road is feeding 200 more kids then Lifeline, we say GO GO GO, more power to you and Thank the Lord for His provision for your ministry. Oh, and how can we help you?

God is going to provide, because He said if we seek Him we will find Him.

In no particular order, here are just a few of many good ministries (in our humble opinion) doing work in Haiti. They need your prayers. Maybe one of them will match up with your interests or talents.

Lets compete on the field, in a game or race. For the rest of it, lets work together to advance the Kingdom. There is enough work for everyone.

God's Littlest Angels
Providence Minisitries
Clean Water for Haiti
Isaiah 58:7 Ministries
To the least of These
Double Harvest

Troy & Tara (Lifeline)

A Hard Afternoon

Written Wednesday night, by Britt:

I sometimes question God. I know that it’s stupid and always realize so quickly afterwards. I’ve noticed that the ‘bad days’, which in my definition is a day in which I either accomplished little and am angry with myself about it, or a day in which too many bad things happen – particularly medical things. Today was one of those ‘bad days’ in the medical category. I often remember the phrase “Whatever God asks you to lift, He gives you the grace to carry.” I think I have a control issue. I struggle with letting go of the things I have no power to change. I need to be praying on it more and improving. Because as we all know, there is little anyone has control over, in a place like Haiti.

This knee belongs to a 20-year old guy named Gauzman. He is a motorcycle driver by trade and got this of course, from a motorcycle accident. I’m serious – I so wish someone would come down here and start a ministry – some sort of driver’s ed for motorcycle drivers. Yes I know, the roads are unbelievably bad but one would think that after driving on them and practicing the special techniques for Haiti driving (watch out for larger bumps/dips, garbage, and animals of all varieties) that the drivers would get to be pretty good at what they do. Not the case – motorcycles are my biggest provider of patients, along with machetes. The actual accident occurred on the 16th, on that day he went to ‘someone’s house’ who knew something about something and they told him that it needed to be sutured. He told them that he wasn’t going to let it be stitched and that was that. Sorry buddy, I hate to tell ya, it would have been far less painful to have it stitched than to deal with what it is now. The guy can barely walk; he stiffens and swings his leg around with every step. He first came here a week ago but didn’t return until today for a bandage change. Please pray that he starts caring enough to come everyday and that we get this nasty (did I mention that it made me gag the first time? Smells are my weakness) infected mess healed up.

I removed Mackenson and Gladimir’s sutures today. They both healed very well. I'm not posting after photos, just because a closed up wound isn't all that exciting anyways. :)

These are two beautiful babes that I had the privilege of meeting on Sunday. They are 3 month-old twin girls. I asked what their names were - their mom replied “Shilen and Shilin” (She-lin and She-leen) to which I said “huh?” but Tipap was quick to pipe in with the ever-popular “Ayicien Sistem” line … which just means, it’s a Haiti thing and you, silly blan, shouldn’t try to understand it. The girls had a tiny start of some rash on their scalps and the mom says they are constantly scratching it. Otherwise they looked very healthy and are in my opinion, large for their age (by Haiti standards). Rashes don’t usually get through the gate but I’m sure the Creole word ‘marasa’ (twins) made it an exception. I gave them hydrocortisone, but if it is scabies, it won’t help much. It seems that half the village has scabies, so it is not a problem that I am equipped to address anytime soon.

A little girl came with an ear infection (I know, diagnosing … but there was gunk leaking from both ears and pain – sounds like an ear infection to me). I gave amoxicillin. I’ve heard that ear infections in the US are now hardly ever treated with antibiotics and allowed to just run their course. I reasoned that it might make the pain go away faster and decided to give it a try.

This arm belongs to a baby girl, named Kiftanya, who is 19 months old. She was pictured in a post below; she is the big-eyed baby with the hat on. Her grandma brought her here on Monday. They live in the mountains in a village called Leje. It is past Petit bois which some of you who have been here on mission trips know is the town at the
top of the mountain behind us that we climb up to ... From what I hear, Leje is a long way up there, my guess is a 4 or 5 hour trip on foot. The photo is a little shocking … I was kind of beside myself when I saw it but when the grandma told me they live in the mountains, it all made sense. She went on to say ‘people in the mountains, they don’t have a chance.’ The thing that makes that sad is that it is so true. This burn happened 15 days ago from a cooking fire, and the only thing they could do was put toothpaste on it and hope it dried up. There really isn’t much help for people in the mountains and that’s not being negative – it’s being honest.

The sad news is that today the mom (who lives down our road) told me that Kiftanya will be returning with her grandmother back to the mountains tomorrow. I said “why?!” and she tried to explain to me that she didn’t want to keep the baby and that the grandma would be taking it to a ‘doctor’ in the mountains. Interesting, since the reason they came down here was to find some help with this burn because there was no doctor up there. I wanted to smack the mom upside the head, but somehow contained myself. I tried to reason with her, explaining that the burn would probably take a few weeks to heal and that with everyday dressing changes it would heal entirely. Isn’t it worth it to have to take care of your own child for a few weeks so the burn could heal? This scenario is all too common; I have to keep myself from kissing the mom’s who actually care about their babies. I don’t know how well my points came across … but she did say towards the end of the conversation that if the ‘doctor’ in the mountains doesn’t have a good ‘remed’ for the burn that Kiftanya will come back down here. I flat out asked if the doctor she was referring to was a witch-doctor. She of course said no, but I just ended by telling her that it was a bad idea to mess around with infection with such a young child. Frustrating, yes. Discouraging, definitely.

Before that, a baby came who had ingested bleach. It was not the liquid form, because I had the mom bring what the baby had eaten … they were tiny crumbs, probably of a bleach tablet that they use for washing dishes, ect. The baby, whose name I forgot to write down, somehow got into it and ate about a teaspoon-size amount. I called our good friend Dr. Jen, who is a pediatrician, to ask what to do. The internet/resource books were not giving clear answers. We have syrup of ipecac but I read that sometimes when mixed with certain substances, it makes the affects of the poison worse. I ended up giving her a glass of milk; that is actually what they came here asking for in the first place – I guess that is how they treat any poison problem. The baby was probably about 18 months and was somewhat limp and seemed tired in a sick-like way. I told them not to let her sleep but that if anything changed or got worse to go to a hospital.

Krispe came today. I don’t really know where to start …. I was explaining how the tight-socks that are coming would itch and be tight and uncomfortable but that it would help with the vein/blood-flow problems in his shin and ankle. I had turned to the side to write something down in my medical log … Krispe got up to go and then staggered down the step, collapsing on the ground. But not only did he collapse, he fell somersault style, landing on his head. Luckily Tipap and Pastor Rony were there talking and my dad was on the other side of the garage. Together, we got him off the ground to a chair – he was convulsing, making weird jerky movements. He was crunched over with his chest on his legs and making a gagging noise spitting up spit and snot. Continuing to convulse, I finally convinced Tipap and Rony to move him to a laying-down position (seriously, we were arguing about what was better. Rony kept saying ‘it will be good, just wait’ as Krispe’s convulsing and spitting up crap). Once we got him lying down, he continued to spit and snort, but also seemed to be going limp. Then the snorting, spitting sound turned into what sounded like snoring. He was now in a sleep-like state. That was weird … I obviously am not familiar with seizures and so I didn’t know if he’d had a concussion when he landed on his head – because then sleeping definitely wasn’t good. He ‘slept’ for probably 20 minutes before we finally coerced him back into consciousness. He was way out of it for about 15 more minutes and didn’t remember falling and had a scary glaze to his eyes.

By this point, I’d gone to look up ‘fits/seizures = scariness’ in the Where There Is No Doctor book.

I think Krispe has epilepsy. I really, really do. I know. I am not a doctor or a nurse. I am unauthorized to diagnose. But the symptoms were exactly like the seizures of epilepsy. And the book lists the following as factors for the cause of epilepsy in third-world countries: “it may come from brain damage at birth, high fever in infancy, or tapeworm cysts in the brain.” Those three are all very likely to occur in babies here.

I also learned later that Rony knew/ had ”heard” that Krispe does this. I guess that I was just supposed to assume that ‘tet maladity’ (sick in the head) also meant that he had seizures. Man, I can’t believe no one told me this before. One time when he almost fainted, I wonder if he wasn’t on the verge of a fit. So it’s not as if this was just from not eating and the heat. (Krispe later told us that he hadn’t had anything to eat all day … maybe what caused the onset of the seizure?) But Krispe did say that it happens more often when he doesn’t eat for a long time, but I could not get any clear answers on how often the seizures occur/when was the last time it happened. He said that he’s had them his whole life. But the problem is, his mom or somebody else, isn’t involved enough or cares enough to keep track of when the seizures occur, ect.

The guy obviously doesn’t need any more problems, it is just too much to take. Maybe it explains a lot. If, after talking with some nurse/doctor friends of mine, (it is good to have connections) we decide that he does indeed have epilepsy – there is a cheap drug (Phenobarbital) that can be bought in Haiti to help prevent fits.

How to wrap up this post? …. I guess I really don’t know what to say. Or how to say it. Sometimes Haiti is too much. But I am reminded that it is never too much with God and is totally ‘doable’ if I get over my anger/control issues and give it all to Him – and allow Him the room to give me the grace to handle it. Because clearly, there isn’t much I can do without Him in control. I’ve been trying to fool myself into thinking that I can still be in control and handle it all. But I can’t.


This makes me laugh...

My dad is a big Zig Zigler, 'Successories,' positive thinking, power quotes, kind of a guy. I am too I guess ... but this more accurately describes how you feel a third of the time, while figuring things out here. It's entertaining, even if it is poking fun at all the posters hanging up at workplaces everywhere.

We had a crazy - challenging Wednesday afternoon, one of those days where you feel inept but also where you just shake your head at your weird life. Britt wrote about a lot of it so she'll post later.

Troy and the school director are shopping for school books today. Yes, yes, school started on September 11. Getting the books PRIOR to school starting would be a radical idea. Welcome to Haiti. Troy inherited this project of shopping at open markets to piece together the curriculum.

Mme Bozor's funeral will be on Sunday afternoon. It is important to us to attend, but I would be lying if I told you I want to go. I kind of dread it. Funerals are different, but not the kind of different that makes you feel comfortable as an American. The grieving is weird to anyone not of African descent. I am not saying it is wrong, I am just saying it is different --- thankfully we have a little better clue of what to expect this time around.

Britt and Troy and I sat up chatting about the craziness of the day last night. We decided that if you even a tiny patience problem, Haiti will test you. If you have even a little bit of a anger problem, Haiti will test you. If you have any delusion of 'controlling' anything at all, Haiti will test you. If you struggle a lot in any of those areas, forget it. You will be chewed up and spit out. We all agree that if you come here unprepared or unwilling to toss your hands up and admit you can do nothing without God, you probably won't stay sane. We are refining and perfecting the art of praying for guidance and winging it.

Six minutes to school time and Paige just rolled out of bed, I better go motivate some kids.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Scenes from Cazale, Haiti

Things that go on in WISE people's heads

Thoughts from Henry Blackaby's book titled, 'What the Spirit is saying to the Churches.' (Sent to TL7 by a wise oooooold man, who happens to call himself both 'Dad' & 'Papa' -- Merci Anpil Dad, we love you too!)

"Then you will know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me (Isaiah 49:23 NKJV).

God is never too short or too late to provide for our needs. But seldom does it come before the time table He has created for us. As we grow in trust and love toward the Lord, we see how He meets all our needs as His children.

As we walk the walk of faith, it becomes painfully clear that our actions reveal how much we really believe in Him.

God tells us to pray and believe – that is our part. As we trust Him, He will show us day- by-day what it means to believe in Him and follow Him.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we *drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt 6:31-33 NIV).

(*We shall drink Milk!)

Things that go on in my head...

... And I KNOW I am not alone.

You are crazy too. Admit it. Make me feel better.

It seems many of you following this blog are adopting. You are on the fun, scary, exciting, happy, nerve-wracking, adventure trail of faith-building.

Maybe because Hope and Isaac were basically easy, and quick adoptions ... I am telling myself this won't be easy. Today the thoughts in my head are irrational, random and just stupid-goofy. It appears that the positive Tara has left the building (at least for the day.) Or the devil himself is messing with my mind. Or both. Yeah, both.

As I sat down to write a list of things we need to get prior to the unknown arrival of said baby, instead of getting excited- I got freaky. WHY? Why do I let myself do this?

The ever-so-Dutch part of me said these things: "How can you afford this baby?" "Have you thought about four teenagers at once, DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH teenagers cost?" "You are nuts, lady." "Milk prices, have you checked the cost of a gallon of milk, that alone will put you in the poor house." "What if Troy is horribly maimed and never works again." "College in the year 2022 will be seven billion dollars per semester." "Diapers, after four years, you were almost done and now you are starting over?" "FOOL!"

Then, unrelated to the deep Dutchy in me, there is just plain fear, it sounds like this- "You are going to attach to this baby, then something is going to happen and you won't be able to handle it and you will be hurt and it will fall apart and and and ... blah blah blah." "What if, what if..."

(And yes, I remember my 11 year old just wrote a little mini-sermonette about "What if.") Shut up about that already. *I* have not been 11 for a long time.

Filed under, "just plain nuts" would be- "If it is a girl, you will have TWO heads to braid ... and you don't even know how to braid." "If it is a boy, well ... there goes the four moments of silence in your day. Gone."

After I finish with this ridiculous diatribe inside my head, I hear this incredibly apropos song- (Sara Groves)

~ Morning by morning I wake up to find the power and comfort of God's hand in mine.Season by season I watch him amazed, in awe of the mystery of his perfect ways CHORUS: All I have need of his hand will provide. He's always been faithful to me ~ I can't remember a trial or a pain he did not recycle to bring me gain. I can't remember one single regret in serving God only and trusting his hand - CHORUS- This is my anthem, this is my song, the theme of the stories I've heard for so long. God has been faithful, he will be again. His loving compassion, it knows no end. ~CHORUS ~

So after I sing the song the little voice says -

"Having kids is waaaay more fun than having money." "God knows, He has a plan." "The children we have are the five best gifts we've ever been given!!!!" "Milk is overrated." "Banks love to loan people money at high interest rates." "We could buy a cow." "Other people know how to braid." "Silence is not all that golden." "God's grace is sufficient to get you through whatever is ahead." "Diapers are not that bad." "Hope is going to KNOW her full bio sibling, she is going to LOVE that." "Keeping them together is SO COOL." "I can sleep when I am dead." "Just let God work. Quit with the worry already." Oh, yeah ... and last but not least, "Troy seems totally unafraid."

Remember back in Highschool, when you had to write those 'Compare and Contrast' papers? If I were writing one today, I would compare Troy's thoughts to my thoughts. He is one cool, collected cucumber. This morning while I was making a list, sorting through clothes and acting generally spazzy he says "This is gonna be fun, how exiting!" I guarantee you never once has he wasted time on worrying about braids, milk, a house full of teenagers or money. One of us is not normal.

And it is him. ;-)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


In early August Hope said "Mom, I want you to have another baby." I said "Why Hopie?" Her response was so cute- "Noah is not a baby anymore and I cannot be a mother yet!"

We asked that you pray that we would have discernment and wisdom to make a big decision.
We *think* we know what we should do but we have asked God to close a big heavy door in our face if we are wrong. We don't have a telegram with instructions, we're just moving forward in faith and counting on His steering.

I recognize that my apprehension to share has more to do with fear, than with anything else. It is analogous to telling your family and friends about a pregnancy when you are just newly pregnant ... it feels risky because you just never know what might happen. Having thought about that quite a bit, (and having experienced the loss of two babies) we decided that even if it all falls apart, or is not to be, we still would want our family and friends to know --to encourage and support us and most importantly pray us through it.

SO- Here is the latest ...

Back in June we learned that Hope's birthmother (pictured in the white dress) is pregnant. We learned that the baby has the same birthdad as Hope as well. We were intrigued but she did not make a peep about her plans for the unborn baby and neither did we. It is not something we would ever assume or suggest. We figured she must be planning to parent the baby.

Two Sunday's ago John told us that she had come to him to let him know that she is due in the next six weeks (her estimate) and that she does not intend to keep this baby. She asked him to let us know.

We are totally content, our kids keep us busy and happy. We were not necessarily seeking to adopt, although we are definitely open to it. We had always said our interest would be much greater if it was a sibling to either Hope or Isaac.

When we took care of Sophia for those few weeks we pretty much decided that in order to adopt again there would need to be a family connection or a big neon sign from God. (Hope with Sophia in early June, below.Hope LOVES babies. She thinks she is a mommy.)

We spent the week tossing around the scary parts and the awesome parts and decided that the risks are worth taking. The fact is, we think we should move forward and the parts that are scary and uncertain are not too big for God to handle.

The main issues are boundary issues and clarifying that we cannot give our birthmother anything, as it can be construed as "buying" the baby. We have to be clear on what her expectations are and on what our limitations are.

We are not really concerned that she will change her mind. This will be her fifth child being placed for adoption. Before Hope, there were three others placed. She knows what this will feel like. We are a little concerned about adopting while living down here -- since we have only done it from the USA, and the process will be different.

John and Beth have assured us they will help us. As with ALL international adoptions, there are risks. Until the child is on U.S. soil, with your last name, anything can happen. Anytime a foreign country wants to put an end to adoptions they can, no questions asked. No refunds. No sympathy for broken hearts. That is the risk for everyone who adopts. Nobody wants to attach to a child (and vice versa) only to lose the child ... but it is hardly a reason to throw in the towel and miss out on such an amazing experience. So, with all of that in mind we will be letting Hope's birthmother know that we are willing to take the baby when it is born and begin the paper chase to legally adopt him or her.

We feel eight months pregnant. We're nervous and excited. (And freaking out a little bit.) Plus, now that we're telling you - it makes it seem very real.

We'll see what God does-

Tara and Troy

Blahbity blah blah


I can't put my finger on the mood ... it's not melancholy, anger or the blues. (To quote an excellent Sara Groves song.)

Today is a weird day. I am restless.

Troy was dropping the Hoppa's at the airport for their journey back to Michigan, then meeting with John to get some wise advice on our decision. He was supposed to be back a long time ago.

I am anxious to hear John's thoughts so it feels like Troy has been gone for days. Three phone calls got cut off within 30 seconds --- that does not necessarily leave you feeling like you are on the same page. Now I can't get a call out. Stellar phones/communication in this country.

At nap time I attempted to distract myself from my impatience and nervyness with a good run --- but it did not really work, I just kept slowing the treadmill down to see if I could hear the truck coming up the drive.

Additionally, I think training to run a marathon without two Chiropractor appointments a week - may just be a pipe dream. How quickly I forgot, that the only reason I was able to do this in the past was because I had somebody fixing me up every four days.

Time, and my poor aching lower back and ankles will tell I guess. Blah. If you know of a Chiropractor, who wants to give up his or her practice and cushy life, to move to the developing world and work with a patient that does not want to pay much for the help, send them this way. If they can come tomorrow, that would be better.

Trrrroooooyyyyyy where are you?

(Troy is home now. Don't worry Mom's)

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Recommended Reading

We have yet to find a book club to join down here, so we are just out there on our own, fishing for great Hatian reading.

As of late, the camera has lost Troy's attention.

All waking hours not dedicated to work and family are now going to "Parol Granmoun" - a book of "Haitian popular wisdom."

This book is filled with ways to say nothing at all while saying something very important. Make sense?

For example:
#92- Makak sou pa domi devan pot key chen

Which (according to this book of great wisdom) means:
The drunk monkey doesn't sleep in front of the dogs door step.

You all surely know what that means, right?

In case you don't --- it means, "Even when a man is drunk, there are things that he won't do."

Jumping ahead past hundereds of sensible proverbs, (not) we come to:

#867- Pye bef pou pye bef, m'pito achete-l ka pratik

which clearly means:

When it's a matter of a beef's foot, I'd rather buy it at the house of my favorite shopkeeper.

and of course that means- "If I have to suffer about something, I'll suffer with my friend."

Troy is walking around here proud as a peacock with his new silly little phrases. It does not even matter if they make sense or apply to the situation at hand, just the fact that he knows some of these proverbs is gaining him popularity among our friends and employees. Who doesn't love to be popular?

Let me leave you with this-
Krapo fe kole, li mouri san deye/san bounda.

The frog gets angry; it dies without its behind.

(Of cooooourse!) ???????? Yeah, I get it.

(Trying to understand Haitian Proverbs is like trying to understand Haiti.)

Check It Out

I have linked to this blog (today's post) before.

They are a family of four, attempting to become five through adoption. Here is sort of an introduction post.

I don't know these people, but I like what I read. They seem to be in similar places in their thoughts about ministry and life as foreigners in a new land. The dad does most of the blogging for this family, he is a runner and a Doctor. Check them out & pray for them when you have time. They've been in Kenya for two years. They seem like the real deal.

Last Monday we said this:
"We learned some news yesterday that has put us into prayer mode. We will likely have a big decision to make in the next few months and ask that for now you would just pray that the Lord would give clear answers and direction. Eventually we'll share more. For now we don't want to hear any opinions except God's so it is easier just to ask for prayer for our discernment and God's will and not share the details yet."

This Monday we feel like we have a plan for moving forward. We are going to cautiously move ahead and trust that if we are on the wrong path, the Lord will shut doors in our faces. As a matter of fact, that is what we are asking Him to do if we're wrong.

If you could keep praying for wisdom and discernment we would really appreciate it. For us, as with most people, the hardest thing is not knowing what will happen or how God will answer. We also know that in all other times where we waited on His answers, and trusted them to be for the best, we were blessed beyond measure. Either way, we cannot lose. (Bondye konn. He knows.)

More details later this week when we have time to lay it all out there for you. Thanks for praying. As always, please email us if we can be praying specifically for any concern of yours.

Weekend Stuff

We had a busy weekend.

Saturday we cleaned and did all the nasty jobs that we almost never get around to doing. Dusting the corners, dusting picture frames, cleaning cob webs from high corners, deep bathroom cleaning, washing rugs ... such fun.

Troy attended Pastor's Training to watch the format and prepare for the future, when he will be organizing and sometimes teaching/leading it. Yet another example of the way God can use you even in areas that you don't feel the least bit gifted.

On Sunday most of us went down to church here at Lifeline. Some of us went to the 'church of the treadmill.' After church we got ready for friends from our Port au Prince church to come out for a late lunch. It was Beth's birthday, we hosted her party. As usual we had no idea how many were showing up and we just hoped we had the right amount of food. Four cars pulled in so it seemed doable, right up until 14 people got out of each car. John just laughs and says "The Livesay's are flexible, that's what I love about them." Meanwhile I was pacing around telling my kids to gnaw on their arms if they were hungry - because I did not think I had enough meat to feed all the people.

As it turned out we had a little of everything left over, the taco meat was multiplied like the fishes and loaves and everyone went away full and happy. As is the case every time we make Taco's, everyone went on and on about how good they were. Any chance I get to fool people into thinking I can cook, I'll take it. At some point you would think they would realize, "Hey, every time we come to Troy and Tara's we have Taco's ." But not yet. Until they notice we will just keep scamming them.

Madame Bozor's father came to see if he could get a loan for her funeral. He shared that he has a cow to sell but everyone knows that he is desperate for money. If he sells it now he won't get what it is worth. That's why he wanted the loan. The funeral is probably going to be Thursday, they are working on the plans now. We have attended one funeral since moving here nine months ago. It was a cultural experience. We did not know that young girl well, so this will certainly be a different, more personal, experience. Paige grieved so much when the burns happened that she seems to be doing pretty well with the news of Mme Bozor's death. Thanks for your prayers for the Armond/Bozor family - and our family. We feel loved and supported.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sad News

Mme Evanotte Bozor passed away late yesterday afternoon. All the reports we heard since Monday, had been that she was improving. Her family tells us she got sick yesterday with a fever and died at General Hospital very shortly after the onset of fever.

Her father told Troy this morning, that yesterday, when his cow tripped and fell he knew something must be wrong with his daughter. Everything is shrouded in superstition. To many Haitians, all bad things are related and mostly caused by bad spirits and curses placed upon them.

Please pray for her family. We told a little bit about one side of her family back at this post. Her father is an involved member of the church here (Lifeline) but as we have shared, it is hard for us to know (even after asking) where people stand with the Lord.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Fun (?)

After Paige aced her test for today and Britt completed all of her schoolwork, the girls talked me into a walk to Barbancourt. Barbancourt is a neighboring village, about a half an hour walk from home. These school kids were walking home and thought we were very weird to walk just for the fun of it. (They got LoveBundles today too.)

(The photos are not Troy-quality (my apologies) because Troy did not come with)

It was a beautiful path, we enjoyed the walk. We turned around to head home. I don't walk around in fear here, I really don't. As a female I am a little chicken about distance running alone and carry mace if I have to go without Troy, but overall I trust most of the guys we come across will not try to mess with me. When I run with Beth in Port I feel a little edgy but I figure she knows when to be afraid and I just follow her lead.

Today I was not the least bit concerned or on alert. I was in back with Britt leading and Paige in the middle. We were walking single file along side of a water canal so there was a lot of noise. Out of nowhere an arm was around my shoulder ---- I totally went nuts on the arm ---- CIA agent style. My reaction to an arm and hand on me without any warning was shockingly Alias-like. I whipped around fast and pushed off of the unknown body next to me -- all Kung-Fu style.

It was then that I saw Krispe, totally out of breath from running to catch up to us and scared for his life because he had no idea why I was about to pound his face in. I have a little cut on my lip from moving so fast that his nail scraped my face ... my fault, not his. The poor guy was scared to death. Britt explained that I was startled by his arm and had not heard or seen him approaching. OH, and that I don't normally violently attack people who are trying to greet me with a pat on the shoulder. I don't think he was convinced ... he walked way ahead of me the rest of the way home, turning around to check my position every so often.

Hopefully the word will get out that Madame Troy is not somebody to sneak up on ... unless you want to get a serious beat-down.

Makenson - Post Suture Smiles

(The boy from yesterday.)

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Go Rangers

The little things in life are the most exciting when residing in the Third-World. Friday morning we wake-up thrilled with the prospect of listening to a football game on the internet. It makes us feel connected to the people we are closest to in Minnesota.

Last week the 47 to 7 victory was enjoyable even though the announcer seemed not to understand his job, or speak English. We listened to crowd noise and heavy breathing for two hours, but felt we were in the stands just by enjoying the crowd noise.

The Forest Lake Rangers head to Woodbury tonight to take on the Royals. The Royals are coming off of their first win of the year against Jefferson last Friday. Woodbury hopes the rain will slow down the Ranger rushing attack, which is tops in the conference, but those might just be high hopes. Coach Cleary expects an even better game from his boys this week and the Rangers should score early and often. His goal is to get the lead early and rest some horses for a big 3 week stretch. Playing on the road in this conference is tough, but Cleary thinks his team is ready. With a win, the Rangers will stay in 2nd place in the conference with Cretin in its sights.

Woot woot. Ten hours till game time.

Ladies Only Post

I cannot resist telling Troy's embarrassing story for the week. I especially enjoy it because when Troy came in to tell me he was still reeling and traumatized from the horror of it all.

As the Hoppa's prepare to exit, they have been giving some of their stuff away. One of the items placed in the give-away pile, was a box of Tampons.

The box of stuff emptied fast, all except for that one item. None of the cooks knew what it was. Troy had noticed when he opened things up one morning that there were a few opened packages around the canteen. He was curious but not curious enough to ask what that was all about, and especially not when it would require asking 9 ladies.

Later in the day our interpreter, a 27 year old guy named Robenson, came to Troy and said, "The cooks don't know what these are, can you explain it to me so I can go tell them?"

If you know Troy very well this is much more entertaining. Troy tried to give the dumbed down version and walk away, but Robenson really insisted on exact information.

HA ... poor red-faced, humiliated Troy. His job duties extend further than he knew. Add 'ladies personal hygiene consultant' to the growing list.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sisters Team Up

This little guy slipped and fell into the canal. His head hit the cement edge, slicing it open pretty deep. There are cement canals that run along the dirt road. The United States put them in back in the 50's ... they divert rivers into different canals as needed. It is a consistent supply of (dirty) water for laundry, dishes, bathing, playing, and watering fields for many rural villages.

Britt had an able assistant in Paige today. She talked to Makenson to keep him from being too afraid, held his hand and assisted Britt as needed. Paige said her main two duties were dabbing Makenson's head when it bled and dabbing Britt's sweat. She wants to point out she used different pieces of gauze for both duties. :-)

Makenson's grandma was not too fond of blood, needles or watching the girls work. She was very nervous. The ladies forgot to take an after photo but he comes tomorrow for a cleaning so they said they would get one for you then. Seven stitches, he's as good as new.

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