This is the average Haitian mountain church gathering place.
It is so good to be back. SO good. I always wonder where "home" is for me - and feel uncertain of that sometimes. Yesterday it really felt good to be coming back - Haiti is becoming more and more a place I can call home all the time. It is nice to say it and truly feel it too. It also occured to me that Tess & Jen have very much become family and I was almost as excited to see them as I was my kids and darling husband.
While we were gone, Phoebe cut two teeth, Annie got muscular, Hope and Isaac improved their addition and subtraction skills, Noah started napping every single day and seems much sweeter because of it, and the (rain and) bugs increased exponentially.
I cannot blog about Jen and her baby delivery excitement. It is her fun story to tell. All I will say is, she did go into Pediatrics to avoid certain areas of adult bodies! But that all went out the window yesterday as she both delivered, and then stitched up the Mom afterward. The baby was the first ever to be born in the clinic, and Jen holds that claim to fame now. (It is after all - so all about fame.) (That was sarcasm.) Troy actually had never been present for the natural birth of a baby, so he now has his own claim to fame ... Father of 7 finally witnesses child birth. Story at Eleven. He summed it up for me this way, "Owie - I am glad I never had to see you do that."
I asked Tess and Jen if they were tired of Troy after that time hanging out with him. They said no, but then Jen said- "He does chit-chat more than any dude I have ever known." That made me laugh.
The team that is here visiting is mainly a youth group, with a few other adults from another church. Today they are getting the lay of the land and checking out some of the areas the mission serves. Tonight we'll all be having tacos together thanks to the fact that the Champlin, MN Target store was cleaned completely out of their supply of taco seasoning. That is just one of the valuable items that were carried from MN to Haiti yesterday.
Below, my favorite photo from our trip. Seeing Britt was so great - for both Paige and I and Britt too. MAN, do we miss her terribly. Our time went so quickly but it was a huge blessing and the time until Britt comes to Haiti will hopefully go quickly. The first semester of college has been harder for her than she anticipated, both because of the work load and major homesickness - but she has made it more than half way and plans to finish strong. As I pointed out to her, being a country away from your family at age 17 is pretty big. I did not move more than an hour from my mommy until I was 33!
On the flights home I listened to a few sermons from MN pastors that were very good. A couple from Open Door and a couple from Woodland Hills - they spoke to my heart, to places that have been hurting and struggling- and needed encouraging - it was very much what I needed to hear.
May you stay rooted by the stream of water that gives you life and causes you to produce fruit in its season. And may you walk boldly towards what needs preserving in this world - bringing great value to it - knowing that it is God who declares that you can do it. And may you live the radical life of a revolutionary - prompting the world to ask of you, "What are we gonna do with you?"
(Prayer/Benediction from Church of the Open Door Sermon entitled "Salt that is Worth Something")