Thursday, July 31, 2008

party party party

  • Noah is all better, thank you for asking.
  • The 36th 29th birthday was fun, and not over yet - Thanks!
  • Troy is taking me to some sort of spa tomorrow (my gift - and yes, it is shocking that such a place exists here, but it does!!! I had no idea.) I have never had a pedicure before, but tomorrow that will no longer be true.
  • Luke Renner stopped in today - did a little of his camera guy media wizardry stuff - he is highly entertaining and makes us all laugh.
  • Annie is an easy little girl... But, ever since Matt visited she does not want to take her morning nap - so Jeronne says "Papa Annie te ga'te li" or "Annie's dad spoiled her."
  • We have not made a decision on a house -- mainly because we're cautiously waiting to see if it (the one we like) *IS* the house - you know, giving God a chance to remove the house - or something kind of twisted like that. We really truly will decided by Friday and if the perfect house that we really like is still available, and no other option appears ... we will just assume all the ends ($) will meet and that it is meant to be.
  • It is a nice clean house. As weird as it might sound, having a nice clean house seems wrong or something. I could spend paragraphs and days trying to explain that statement...but I won't.
  • Britt's fiance ... our future son-in-law (Chris) comes to Haiti tomorrow for a one week visit. That is so weird to write ... Son - in - law. Wow. I fell asleep and woke up living an older persons life.
  • Speaking of the starry eyed girl, Britt got to stitch up a finger yesterday in the clinic, it seems that doing stitches is like riding a bike, you just get back on and go - no problems.
  • Paige is not limping anymore. Swelling is mostly down. She tried on her uniforms - she is polishing up her mad-math-skills and getting anxious.
  • Phoebe is seriously one of the crankiest 21 month old on the face of the earth. It is all because of language. She said much more three months ago than she does now and I think it is because we've introduced so much Creole that she forgot her English - or it got jumbled up or something. It is really okay with us, we know it will come--- but boy does she get ticked off easily.
  • Luke tried to get Isaac to help out with a video project he is working on. The assignment was "don't smile - stand here and look serious" --- oh my goodness, there has never been a worse person for the job of NOT smiling. We quickly fired Isaac and gave Hope the job. She rocked the house.
  • I mentioned every child in one post. If I miss talking about one for a while people get concerned. They are all still here - and have now been given equal time. :)
  • Doh! I just realized I missed Lydie. Darn it!!!! It cannot be done.
  • We're going to be trying to get some big things communicated, done, and decided... therefore, in the next few days posting could be infrequent.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday To My Love

Today is Tara's birthday. I'm lucky to know her and to have her as a best friend.
The kids are lucky to have her as their mom.

This family wouldn't be the great and amazing and fun thing that it is without her.
Tara, you are a gift to us and we thank God for you.
I'm sure we don't thank Him or you enough, though.
Thank you.

Happy Birthday baby.
We all love you and thank you for the work you do and the love you give and the butts you wipe and the beautiful way you do every bit of it.
You are amazing.

-Troy and your tribe

"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead."
~ Louisa May Alcott ~

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

recent photos

The three musketeers studying the map, arguing about WHICH portion of it is Haiti ...

and now you see why they need to go to school. ;)
Saturday Paige taught a few Michiganites how to make Plantains Haiti-style.
Troy is looking at three more houses today and we will make a decision by Friday and move forward to RENT one ... thanks for your prayers, support, and encouragement as we try not to be forgetful.


Written by Troy-

Sunday morning I looked forward to singing and praising and joining with friends at church. I knew that it would be an uplifting time of worship and encouragement from fellow believers… I knew that it would be good to be in God’s presence and hear His word in a corporate setting… I did NOT know that God had a target on my head and had many parts of His perfect plan coming together to blow me away.

Johnny Mac (as I like to call him) was preaching a sermon about Jesus’ disciples, and basically how stupid they were sometimes. Ok, maybe not stupid, but definitely forgetful.

They fit right in with the pattern of fallen humanity and our forgetfulness through the ages –

“Adam and Eve, hello? Remember what I said about that tree? Apparently not…. Hey! Israelites! Remember being released from bondage and the provision in the desert and that little thing I asked about not worshipping other gods? Hmmmm, whose golden calf is that over there? …. Oh, and you’re worrying about your meals when I’ve made food fall from the sky and water come out of the rocks for you already?”

And so on and so forth through the generations right down to Troy and Tara Livesay.

The disciples were with Jesus, in the flesh, watching Him perform miracle after miracle. They watched in person as the food multiplied and fed the five thousand, then shortly thereafter freaked out when seeing Jesus walking on water. (Mark 6:33-52) Umm, hello? Disciples? What part of miraculous and God don’t you understand? Did you forget who He is and what He’s done?

I don’t think I’m that forgetful. Am I?

Oh, and then the guy who casts out demons and heals people with a touch of his hand and raises the dead is speaking to a crowd of four thousand people. When he mentions wanting to feed them, the disciples again act stupid forgetful and ask where in the world they are going to come up with food for such a large group. Guess what? They all ate. OK, guys, surely you have this figured out by now. Well, maybe not…because soon after they take off on another boat ride and start whining that they forgot to bring any bread with them. Jesus doesn’t put up with this nonsense in person. I like that. He really goes after them this time – not for forgetting the bread – but for forgetting all the miracles and provision they’ve seen with their own eyes. (Mark 8:2-21) Verse 21 ends with Jesus asking them: “Do you not yet understand?”

As I listened to the sermon I saw a vision of my own forgetfulness. I knew that I was at least one of the people that God planned this message for. I am that forgetful. Then, to make sure I was getting the point, God laid it on John’s heart to speak a word to us about our current situation. I was reminded that at one point God called our family to serve Him in Haiti. We of course acted very disciple-like and instantly made a list of all the impossible obstacles and reasons why that would not really work for us. Then God (who I find to be much more patient from Heaven than when in person on boat rides) moved mountains and crossed off all the items on our silly little list of ‘impossible’ things…and now here we are in Haiti two and a half years later…and starting to forget.

Note to self (and from Pastor John): The same God that did the impossible before is the same God that can do the impossible today… multiplying loaves and fishes – moving our large family to Haiti … walking on water – meeting our needs back then, since then, and today. Same one. Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. Faithful.

We have been forgetful. We have been worrying and calculating and questioning far too much for far too long. It has held us back and kept us down. We have claimed His promises and hoped for them to happen, but I know we hadn’t fully trusted Him to meet our needs. We wanted all the money to be in place before we started to buy things and make commitments… we wanted budgets to make sense and for all the columns to line up, and even hoped for a little bit of savings left over… we questioned His calling, His provision, and His promises.

We forgot.

He is faithful. In the midst of our fretting and forgetting, we had already found an incredible deal on a generator and hesitantly made the purchase, learned of inverters and batteries available for us to use, and then found a perfect vehicle for us on the first day on the first try at a price that just happened to be the exact amount of money we had in savings after buying the generator. We kept on worrying through all of it, of course, because we are forgetful. The only thing that pushed us into going for it on the vehicle purchase - was the recent 97 Seconds with God blog post/devotional we shared called “Go Before You Know”. Even as we bought the truck on Saturday - we agreed together that it felt stupid and questioned if we had just been irresponsible?

Instead of asking what our problem was and why we’re so dull and deaf, He just kept patiently prodding us along. And still we were forgetting and worrying … that the other donors might not come in and the existing ones won’t switch over and stick with us and should we have spent that money and what about appliances and does God want us to spend His money to work in Haiti and our family is too big and maybe we should not even be here and what if we don’t find a house and the rent is too high et cetera ad infinitum.

It had come down to this – renting a house here in Haiti is both difficult and expensive. From a forgetful human standpoint, that is. The fact is we have found a house, and it may be the perfect one – right location, right size, relatively safe, very clean and nice – too nice maybe – and we’re trying to decide if it’s the one. We’re still searching and discerning and praying for a final decision this week. Please pray with us on that.

The biggest challenge we faced (that God was laughing at) was the fact that current rent prices would not allow room in the budget for our three school-aged children to attend the school we want and need them in. We had already compromised and decided to only send two of them. Then we checked the numbers again and realized that even cutting corners and being careful we could only really send one so we were back to questioning everything. We tried to find ways to make it work and guessed and stressed over how it was going to be possible. Our conversations took us in circles as we plotted and tried to figure out how many more partners we needed each month in order to get our kids to school, etc. I’ve tried to reason that at least we’re like the disciples in one way – very forgetful.

Sunday after church I stopped to greet one last person that I hadn’t seen for a while. He actually does not attend our church, but was visiting. He asked how our plans were coming along. I was feeling down about it but tried to put a positive spin on things and listed the great stuff that had come together so far. He asked the question I couldn’t answer: “What about school?” I explained the situation with rent prices and the current budget and the compromises we were considering. Then I saw Jesus, in action, walking on water. I know how it sounds, cheesy, right? But I’ve honestly never been more humbled and moved by the selfless giving of another person.

This person, a fellow missionary, offered to close the gap and pay for the other two children to go to school for the year. I protested that he couldn’t do that, and he insisted that he could. As he explained the circumstances making it possible I couldn’t stop the tears from welling up. I argued more and only agreed to take him up on the start of the school year and promised to find a way to cover the rest. (I’ve since been called stupid and forgetful by someone who shall go unnamed . Thanks Johnny Mac.) ;)

I drove home in a state of shock and for over an hour I cried, prayed, and laughed hysterically while basking in God’s amazing love. While praying I couldn’t find the words and God told me I didn’t need any. I told Him I didn’t know what to do and He said ‘JUST OBEY, AND DON’T FORGET.’ I cried out about my unworthiness and He assured me that I am worthy through the blood of His Son. The tears turned to laughter and I’m sure I put on quite a show for the rest of the traffic along Route National 1.

I received a phone call after arriving home with the news that the whole year has been paid for. Tara and I are still in shock, humbled, and grateful for this unbelievable blessing.

Hudson Taylor, one of the pioneer missionaries to China who knew God supernaturally provided for him all along his life, said this:

'When God's work is done in God's way for God's glory, it will not lack for God's supply'.

Dear Lord, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Give us your power and strength to continue seeking you and your will for our family. We praise you and glorify you for being so faithful and providing for us in every way. Thank you for letting us come to you and being so patient with us. Help us not to forget. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, July 28, 2008

God's answers to prayers aren't always what we are waiting for. 
His provisions don't always come from the places we expect them to.
His plans are certainly higher than ours, and some  most of the time they don't make sense to us in the present with our limited understanding. 
His promises and faithfulness are constant and unchanging, we forget that sometimes  all the time and fret over it all and forget just how awesome and mighty and powerful a God we serve. We are very forgetful.
Tara and I have experienced all of these things and struggled with them at length over the past months. We've learned that we can struggle and wrestle with Him all we want - He always wins. His plans are always perfect, and they are always for our benefit. 
Hmmm, seems like I've read that somewhere before....
More tomorrow. :D

Monday Update

The group should be home by now, somebody let me know you made it. I dropped them off to a very busy airport yesterday. They had a great trip to Haiti ... enjoyed time in LaDigue and visited Canaan, Petit Bwa, Bercy, and the beach.

Paige turned her ankle and has a giant swollen cankle now. She is limping a bit. Noah was pretty sick and started acting like he had Malaria. Fevers alternating with no fever with frequent bathroom runs (pun-intended). In true Haiti fashion we diagnosed him ourselves and started treatment, after two doses of Chloroquine he seems much better. He'll take two more doses and we'll go back to being responsible and taking the preventative dose EVERY Friday. (Sigh.)

Britt and I went for a 6 mile run yesterday and found that wearing headphones really cut the comments down. We were barely noticed (okay, maybe that is an exaggeration) and even though it was 108 billion degrees it was fun. The last 1/2 mile was in the rain, it was awesome.

Troy and I had an amazing God thing happen, but he is going to share the story later.

Gotta Go - have a great Monday!

I want to eat you, I want to be your friend

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald~

Happy Birthday Luke Renner! See you soon. :)

Friday, July 25, 2008


Chapter 46 - Go before you know

In Genesis 45, Joseph asked his long lost father to come to move to Egypt. This is no easy feat given the size of Jacob’s family. Plus he owned a ton of livestock and moving goats by foot has to be an unpleasant experience. In chapter 46: 1-4 it says:

“So Israel (Jacob) set out with all that was his and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”

"Here I am,” he replied.

“I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again.”

Note the progression of events here. Jacob sets out with all his goats in verse 1 and then eventually in verse 4 God says "I will go down with Egypt with you.” Not the other way around. If I were Jacob I would have thought “That’s great to hear God because I’ve kind of already left.”

Jacob had to move his entire family, everything he had ever known to set out for a strange land with only his faith in his relationship with God to back him up. No detailed plans, no vision, no promise of success.

Why doesn’t God always give us an instructional sheet for the journey ahead? I think it’s because He’s brilliant and knows that if I had a sheet, that sheet would eventually become my god. When times got tough, I wouldn’t cry out to the one true God in confusion, I would look at my sheet and trust in it for clarity. I’d make an idol out of His instruction and put my faith in the piece of paper instead of Him.

I don’t know if you have a big goat move ahead of you, but if you do, don’t think that God isn’t with you just because He hasn’t delivered clear directions. His silence might be the greatest sign that He wants you take the first step long before He’ll tell you the next one after that.

Photo Post Friday

Pray as though everything depended on God.
Work as though everything depended on you.
~St. Augustine~

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Too tired to type. Must sleep. Goodnight!

Petit Bwa Photos

Troy had a long talk with Pastor Rony yesterday about our move to town. Rony seemed encouraged that we were not leaving Haiti all together, but also seemed to tell a lot of parables where in the end the person who left, returned. Troy told Rony we'd leave it all in God's hands and see what the future holds day by day. In a month we'll move this circus to another location, but a piece of our heart will always be here.

Working without a conscience since 2004 ...

Noah Matthew, continually misusing and abusing powders, shampoos and urine for the entertainment of one and the frustration of all.

He is sick today though... Which puts a serious dent into his destruction capabilities.

Nonsense and some pictures

I could not bring myself to blog Wednesday. Literally. As it turns out, when the "Health" magazine suggests 20 reps of a certain lunge exercise, it is NOT reasonable to say to yourself, "Self, if this here magazine says 20, well then, 30 is probably even better!"

Walking to the computer on Wednesday, not an option. Thankfully, Britt led me in some sort of Yoga workout, resulting in limited use of my stems by late afternoon.

Also, Troy should be blogging. He is the one with eight million things going on at once and stories hitting him from all directions.

I figure it is best not to bore you with the run down of my days ... in short, it goes like this: wiped counters, wiped butts, wiped counters, wiped butts…. Repeat repeat. (Stand-up sit down fight fight fight.)

The Supreme commander of the left half of Hispaniola has been jetting here and jetting there, giving entire truck loads of intimidating police rides to Port au Prince with guns loaded and all, leading teams up mountains, almost losing his life (and the lives of multiple others) on certain mountain roads, wheeling and dealing on vehicles in the developing world, witnessing big God moments ... the man needs to sit down and get those stories to the people.

Outside of all of that, I was recovering from the horrendous sight below. And that is not something a person just gets over. These things take time. Before you view this photo of Nate and Troy, I beg of you ... Shield your eyes ... Maybe, as if you're watching a horror movie ... just put your hand over your eyes and peek between your fingers.

(The shirt story - here & here.) And now we know why these two hit it off from day one. The mutual admiration society for dorks wearing butt-ugly shirts. (TMASFDWBUS)

Smooshy, gooey, yummy Lydie. Jeepers Creepers, where'd you get those peepers?
A very fun photo of Annie and her Daddy that I was *just* made aware of ... 20 days later ... communication is everything in a marriage folks. ;)

Caption: "Seriously? You want us to what? You white people are straight-up crazy."

Caption: "This lady might be a grandma ... but she is not *MY* grandma!!!!"

Lydie B. actually likes Marge, she just needed to let off some steam. Teething is not something to joke around about.

More soon!

With Love-

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Various Things on Tuesday

I have been back on a regular running schedule since late May. It is amazing how much better I cope with stress when I spend an hour or two sweating and praying. (Thank you God for nap-time!) Running is my think time.

Yesterday I found myself unable to get adoption off my mind. I don't talk about it much here, and I won't in the future ... In my experience it is so deeply personal and so emotionally charged that it is easier for me to just compartmentalize and set aside the entire topic.

Some people wait well, sometimes they struggle greatly ... most of us flip-flop between the two constantly ... I understand all responses. I cannot think of a tougher thing than watching a child you love languish in an orphanage for multiple months, even years, and all because of red-tape and corruption.

I believe God can deliver these children. I believe He sees and cares. I also believe that man and evil get in the way of it being easy. I have zero faith in the process. Actually, after looking at the process it shocks me that it ever works. I am too much of a realist to expect the process or the people to change. There is only one reason any adoption is ever completed. It has nothing to do with any gov't office of any country. It has nothing to do with which lawyer or program you use; it is truly God's providence alone that delivers these children.

Yesterday as I ran I prayed for all of you waiting and for the entire process. I mostly prayed for peace and endurance in your hearts - and for longer stretches of deep calm - because I know it hurts and I know there is incredible struggle for most who wait.

Dear Lord -
Deliver them. Protect them. Fill places of grief with unexplainable peace and even joy. Help us all wait well. Heal the hurts. Help us accept the things we cannot change, give us courage give us strength.

Yesterday the team had a great day in LaDigue and Barbancourt. They worked hard and went to bed exhausted. They are a great group ready and willing to take it as it comes. Today they split into two groups. One group left at 6am to walk to PetitBwa and the other is riding up with Troy. If I had less than a half dozen kids I would be with them ... Sigh. I love the feeling of arriving in PetitBwa. I know they will too. The photos below were all taken there on past trips. It is a beautiful spot in a beautiful country.

Adam and Amber (new missionaries) are doing a great job with the team and have jumped right into their new role. It has pointed out to us how much better a couple without a boat-load of kids can host teams. It is so much less complicated, they're going to be great at it!

We saw another house yesterday. We really liked it and pray it will work out. As of this moment the owner would not budge on his price, we are hoping he might come down about $150 per month. It was by far my favorite house, and near friends that would help us feel more supported.

We're not quick to make decisions ... we never decide under pressure. That is okay, but sometimes it means that the decision is made for us when the thing we wanted - is purchased by the next guy in line.

Ever since 1999 when Troy bought an old, high miles Toyota Previa MiniVan (on my 27th birthday no less) and I cried and cried at his decision and the news of the purchase of said hideous vehicle ... we think things through slllloooowwly together.

If you're driving a '95 space-machine Previa - I am sooo sorry. You cannot see the driver of this Previa, but I assure you ... she is crying her eyes out. She has taken her hands off the wheel and is about to take that van to the bottom of the lake.

Our Previa took the four of us to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore in Sept of '99. Then after the 30th stall along the mountain road, we sold it to a rug dealer who probably also cried after the deal was complete.

Peter went with us to look at the house. Sometimes when you're dealing with money, you just want to hear that your Creole has not failed you and that you have not promised ten thousand Dollars instead of ten thousand Gourdes or USD instead of Haitian Dollars ... or anything along those lines.

As usual he was full of strong opinions and had a lot to say. He talked, we listened, it was wonderful.

Many kids are awake and hungry. I better go.

Monday, July 21, 2008

This explains everything

Today I overheard Noah calling Isaac a name.  I could tell he was saying something mean by the tone of his voice. I walked in and said, "What are you calling your brother?"  Isaac answered for Noah and said, "Ma, he is calling me conscience!"   

I was perplexed.

I asked Noah if he had any idea what the word means.  He said "Dory says it on Finding Nemo"but other than the fact that Dory says it, he had nothing.

 I then explained what it was ... he stopped listening early on and it was clear he was hearing Charlie Brown's mom's voice - the lights were on, but no one was home.

Troy decided to see what Noah retained.  This video documents his near total recall and stellar retention of complex information. Not.

It also explains why he pours bottle after bottle of shampoo out and why he frequently urinates in the wrong spot.  The boy was born without a conscience and his parents have not taught him a darn thing.  

Tonight as we walked up the drive together, Noah said "Ma - see that cross?" (pointing to gigantic cross on the hill at Lifeline) "That cross got died on!"  

Hoping to have my awesomeness in both parenting and teaching affirmed I said, "Yeah buddy, who died on the cross?"

Long Pause...

crickets ...


Linking You

If you have time, watch some of the videos and/or the trailer for this project called "Repiblik, Every Voice Has a Story to Tell".

Go here.

Michigan Team

Today the team has prepared a VBS program for the kids in the village of LaDigue. They will go up to Petit Bwa and over to Barbancourt to offer the same program later in the week.

In the past we have seen how sometimes it is hard to get things to translate to this culture -- but honestly, there has never been a more planned out and well-rehearsed VBS than the one that these folks from Michigan put together. We watched in awe last year as they managed to keep all the kids engaged and busy and interested in learning more.

I will try to convince Phoebe to tell me where the camera is and get some photos of the group and the kids they are here to serve today.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Excerpt from "The Shack"

(The Holy Spirit is explaining how we humans take words that are implicitly active and based on living and moving (verbs) and turn them into legalism and deadness.)

"Let's use the example of friendship and how removing the element of life from a noun can drastically alter a relationship. Mack, if you and I are friends, there is an expectancy that exists within our relationship. When we see each other or are apart, there is expectancy of being together, of laughing and talking. That expectancy has no concrete definition; it is alive and dynamic and everything that emerges from our being together is a unique gift shared by no one else. But what happens if I change that 'expectancy' to an 'expectation' -spoken or unspoken? Suddenly, law has entered into our relationship. You are now expected to perform in a way that meets my expectations. Our living friendship rapidly deteriorates into a dead thing with rules and requirements. It is no longer about you and me, but about what friendship is supposed to do, or the responsibilities of a good friend."

A friend of mind sent this to me. I read and liked The Shack, and yes I know that some people are up in arms about the book.

Setting the controversy aside, the above portion of the book is so true. I am thankful to have a few friends with whom I experience "expectancy" rather than "expectation" - it is a wonderful picture of friendship as God designed it.

Wishing you expectant, alive and dynamic friendships; free of the drain of expectations.

Living between the Two

A friend wrote this post. She nails it...Out of the park.

Going between the places is the hard part. We like both places. Just cannot reconcile it. Not trying to anymore!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Guest blogger, my favorite hippy, John M.

By John McHoul
Perhaps you have at times felt like the disciples who were in the storm tossed boat (Mark 4: 35-41) with Jesus, who was in the back of the boat asleep. The boat was filling with water and of the disciples we read, "FRANTICALLY THEY WOKE JESUS UP, SHOUTING,"TEACHER, DON'T YOU EVEN CARE THAT WE ARE GOING TO DROWN?"

Perhaps there have been times, when in following His will, you have found yourself in a difficult, trying place and have wondered why it seems that God has left you alone and is not responding to your prayers and cries for help. Especially in that you are in a hard place because you have obeyed His call.

The disciples were not alone; Jesus was with them. It was their faith that wavered. In Mark 4: 40 Jesus asked them, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?"
The issue here was not really the storm and the danger of drowning, as much as the disciples doubting that Jesus who was also in the boat, and Jesus who was the one that told the disciples to get in the boat and to go over the other side of was not in control.

Just because we follow God, it does not mean that everything will always go smoothly and that we will be without struggles, hurdles, storms and difficulties. But it does mean that we are in the best place possible, because we have followed Him to that place.

Some people ask, "John, how can you live in Haiti, isn't it dangerous?" And my reply alway is that for us it is the safest place to be because it is where God has called us. Yes, there have been trying and dangerous times, but we have never forgotten that the God who called us here is also here and that we are not alone.

Catching Up

Starting with Haiti/Mission stories:
  • The former school director that settled in court but reopened the case even though it was settled ... because TIH ... settled does not actually mean settled ... he wants a bunch more money and Troy got totally irritated with it all ... but the attorney advised that it is best to just pay and not try to get justice. That messes with our overdeveloped sense of justice.
  • A staff person at the mission made a bad choice and is now facing some major consequences. It has been heartbreaking to watch and we're feeling sad about it all. People are talking and the story has turned into entertainment for all - which stinks for the poor person who is being gossiped about.
  • Paige and Jeronne had a great heart to heart about gossip and how hurtful it is - this culture spends a lot of time talking ... Jeronne got teary and they agreed that it is not an easy thing to deal with when the false rumors are about you. Paige has dealt with this herself, we've been amazed at her poise when facing it.
  • Lumen's brother (Lumen has worked in and around the mission house for many years) was very ill yesterday. He looked on the verge of death. Troy offered all sorts of options but no one was biting -- literally they seemed not to care about getting the guy help. It turns out that he had done something wrong to his brother Maxo and the entire family just determined he was probably getting what he had coming to him - in the form of a curse or just karma or something. They did not want to get him more help for fear of getting in the middle of the problem and making Maxo mad. This was very hard for us to understand.
  • The new missionaries arrived about a week ago. Their names are Adam and Amber. They seem to be soaking it in and coping well. Prayers for them are appreciated.
  • A team of 16 arrive from Michigan this afternoon. I don't know how much blogging will be accomplished over the next week, but I will attempt to keep all interested parties informed.
  • Paige is giddy excited about this team, she has friends coming. :)
Kid things:
  • Annie met her Daddy and Grandma in early July. Most babies fear Matt and his large bald head. Annie seemed to find him lovable. We were pretty happy about that! Both Noah and Lyd screamed at Annie's age when they caught sight of their scary uncle. Here she is with her grandma.
  • Isaac and Hope and Noah are the three musketeers and have been counting the days until Britt arrives. Photo below shows one of their all-night jam sessions. Isaac is playing the part of Madonna - or Garth Brooks.
  • Hope's new thing - when asked to do something ("Hope can you go grab me a diaper?") she says, "Why of course mother - I'd love to." She is a gem of a little girl.
  • Britt arrives on Sunday for a month.
  • Last week Troy saw a house for rent and had the boys with him. It was a bit gaudy and overdone and Isaac said, "Dad, this house makes me feel like my brain is rattling around in my head."
  • Isaac would make a great President. Vote Livesay in '08. Sorry Barack, you just got upstaged by a far more handsome black man.
  • Phoebe is very two - even though she is not two. Do NOT, I repeat - do NOT make her mad. You will pay.
  • Britt and her best friend Chris (who she met in Haiti in 2006) are engaged to be married next year. Prayers for them as they prepare are also appreciated.
  • Paige is getting very excited about school. She got all of her uniforms and if all the plans fall into place she will start school in mid August already!
  • Lydie is army crawling all over the joint. If we wet down her shirt first she acts as a mop, picking up crumbs and dog hair along the way.
  • Photo of Lyd and Phoebe hitting the shower together. Lydie has reverted back to the startled look again.
Random Personal Things:
  • We officially sold all possessions from our USA life. Gone. No tools, no lawn mower, no couch or lamps or decorations. It felt good and bad all at once. Good because it was high time. Bad because when an entire storage area and ten years of marriage sells for two grand - there is a bit of "ouch" that goes with it. Thanks to all who helped make the garage sale happen. You people rock the house all the way down.
  • Recently we got a nasty comment on the blog that caused a little upset and hurt. It was in Creole and was generally rude and borderline threatening. The fact is, it probably should not matter to us. Who said this (or anything) is supposed to be about being liked? Of course it is not. The only thing we're realizing is that it is important not to give out so much information about our whereabouts and to just use more caution when sharing. Maybe the comment just served to help us be more cautious in the future.
  • The house hunt is a major stress right now. We thought we had one, then it fell through. Long story there, won't bore you with it - we are lucky that we did not hand over four months rent, we think we were getting scammed. Then yesterday we thought we might be ready to move on a different one, but right after seeing it a person we kind of consider in-the-know told us that he would NOT rent in that area.
  • Long story short, house hunting here is stressful. Rather than deciding between suburbs vs. urban and three car vs. two car garage -- we find ourselves evaluating the safety of the area and the previous record of kidnapping. We have not made a decision on any house. That feels uncomfortable and uncertain and we're trying hard to wait on the right thing at the right time. If it were Troy and I we would pitch a tent on the beach, but with seven others who tend to be high-maintenance, the beach plan lacks prudence.
  • We are also searching for a reliable used vehicle. This is easier said than done. Troy heard today about an auction opportunity that he hopes might bring the answer.
  • When you go with a realtor to a house here - you pay them $20 USD for their time and gas - even though you picked THEM up and gave them a ride. TIH.
  • Troy found a generator. He likes it, he thinks it is a deal - he is a big fan of electricity and plans to buy it soon - but it needs a house to go with it. I cannot really get on board with being excited about a generator. It is a guy thing.
  • God has provided for all of our start-up costs!!! (Between gifts and our house-sale proceeds.) That is super cool! Those things are: generator, batteries, vehicle, three month rent down payment, and internet installation.
  • The whole fundraising thing has always been very uncomfortable - maybe due to pride - maybe not - I don't know anyone who really loves it ... We are used to getting a second job or finding ways to earn it ourselves when the budget increases -- so to have to ask people for help now that our budget has increased has been humbling for us. But, here goes...
  • We are in need of monthly sponsors who might consider helping us serve in Haiti by committing to $30 - $50 or $100 per month of support. In order to cover rent and be able to send Paige and Isaac to the school they hope to go to we are trying to raise about $1,500 more per month. That is our current shortfall. Would you pray about this and pass it along to others as well?
  • We're moving forward and waiting for God to show up - that is all we can think to do.
  • If you're interested in joining our support team, please contact Pat Mortensen at
  • We're not playing the lotto to try to fill the budget gap. Super Top Bank has none of our money. Just saying.
  • Thanks to everyone who shared their education and job stories. If only there was a clause in the student-loan that said, "If you don't end up in a career that matches your education, your loan is forgiven. Have a good life." :)

Welcome Friends

How fun would it be to actually own and use this towel sometimes? I know you can think of someone you'd love to set it out for next time they come to your house. If you can't, you are so much nicer than us, and you're lying. :)

The last couple of years have been a great growth experience for us. As a family we've all grown. It has been very good for us to learn about hospitality and serving others. The kids roll with it and do a great job with the varied schedule. Troy and I have figured out how to communicate under the pressure, we even get along for most teams now! Honestly, I can cook for 30 people without wigging out at all. I learned something, I learned something! Shocking, I know.

Sometimes when a visitor launches into a four point - two hour long sermon about what we SHOULD be doing to fix all of Haiti's problems, along with a list of 30 things that are not new ideas, I fantasize about sticking a mango in their mouth and walking out mid-lecture...But this towel would be equally as satisfying. In reality I stand and listen and nod my head, acting like I have never heard anything so brilliant before in my life.

i.e.: "Haiti needs infrastructure." REALLY? Great observation.

For now I will simply say - we won't be setting the towel out this week. (Partly because we don't actually own that towel.) Our friends from Lighthouse Church in Michigan are headed to Haiti today and we're all ready for their arrival. They will be with us until next Sunday.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Breaking News

We knew the political scene in the US was a mess as usual, but we had no idea it was getting this bad.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The deal ...

"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 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.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Truthfully, one of the reasons for the break from the blog is that we are having trouble believing Him and waiting on Him. (And maybe His provision for needs is not at all what we think it will be!) There is so much uncertainty and we feel kind of paralyzed by it all. We're wrestling God and we're wondering why He is leaving us uncertain -- but still trying to trust Him with the details - and wait too. Everything is very busy and challenging.
Thanks for understanding.
-troy and tara and tribe

Go here - This post was helpful to us this week.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Book Winner

Hey Melissa, email us your current mailing address and we'll send you your book!
(Paige picked a random number between 1 and 56 and it was your comment.)

Rocks in the Sun has now sold 49 copies!!!

We'll be back Saturday. Happy mid-July.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
George Washington Carver

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Book Review

"i just got my copy of rocks in the sun.....tears huddled at the surface while i poured through it twice..... the boys not quite men...those pictures make my heart ache for i wonder what is to become of them and do they have a hope for their future?........we are in the process of adopting a 19 month old boy from haiti, we have a 10 year old son and a 3 year old daughter from china......i never thought god would take me to haiti...i never really knew haiti existed.....i have been eager to see it through your families eyes and i am thankful to god for bringing me near......troy as i opened the book something very spiritual hit powerful is that...that god using your eye and a camera and a few words can speak to me miles and miles away ......and i felt it......thank you"


Trying to keep you entertained ...

Still on mini-blogging-hiatus.... but figured we'd try to toss something up here and there.

Having done a fair share of counseling - and also feeling very much like we're in a long drawn out wrestling match ... we thought this post was good ...

And speaking of good counselors ...
Our former counselor was/is truly amazing. Sometimes the small things are the things that stick with you. Once when we were expressing concern with not understanding where God was taking us ... she said -- "you guys, it is okay to say -- I don't know where I'm goin', but I am on my way!" (Quoting the Little Rascals)

(HI MARY!!! We love you!)

We don't know where we're going - but we're on our way.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Amie Sexton Guest Blogger

Just as I am.
Let's see according to the songwriter this meant: utterly hopeless -without one plea, darkly blotted in our souls, tossed about, conflicted, doubtful, frightful, fight-ful, poor, wretched, and blind.


Yet we believe that our Savior, Jesus Christ, meets us in that wretched state and by His abounding mercy and love draws us to Himself "just as I am."Amazing, isn't it?

But then somewhere along the way, thanks to our "maturing" in our walk we decide that this same God who met us just as we were can no longer handle us just as we are. We start believing that we Christians are supposed to be dignified in our pain.

Then, if by some horrible loss of our witness, we respond to devastation by throwing ourselves down and pitching a royal fit, we quickly shroud ourselves with guilt; making excuses to God and apologies to others.And if we don't immediately plunge into the sea of self-guilt, it's not long before some pious Christian brother or sister -usually some legalistic nitwit who's only half way down their check list for earning (or keeping) their salvation; only half way because they just can't get past that "stop sinning" box - gazes down on us through piteous eyes, shaking their heads, and sucking their teeth...for shame, for shame, for shame.

I'm going to say something right now that might get me in a lot of trouble...hesitating... hesitating...gonna say it anyway. If you haven't bitched God out for something that was beyond your ability to understand and that shook you to the core of who you are in the past year or two of life, you may as well go and plant your fake, plastic behind in a department store window. You are a mannequin. A hollow imitation of humanity. And what's worse -you are the only one who is convinced by the mask you wear. Like some poor sap who doesn't know his toupee is on backwards.

I've seen too many instances recently of Godly people who are truly wounded by life, sin, or circumstance who just need permission to feel something less than super spiritual.God tells us to cast our cares on Him because He cares about us.

This makes me think of my children. Sometimes they come to me with quiet words expressing a fear or concern. But suppose one of them falls off a bike and finds themself sliding spread eagle down the pavement.

How do they come to me then? Are you kidding me? In legs pumping, arms flailing every which a way, screaming their lungs out, body writhing agony. And I can say with a soft, soothing voice "baby, it's gonna be okay." At which point they will yell back at me "BUT IT HURTS!!!!"

Now, I could look at them and say "well, if you were a slightly more mature eight year old you would be handling this with more dignity." Of course, if they drag it out for six years and are clearly wallowing in the mud of self-pity I'll certainly give them the "buck up camper" speech. But I don't expect my child to stoically swallow legitimate hurts and I don't think God expects that from us either.

I have a song in the wings that will hopefully be ready for intro soon (at least to our church family crowd). One of the verses deals with this very thing:"You are faithful when I am faithless,You are strongest when I am weak.You are mercy when I'm blinded by anger I throw my fists in Your face, You gently lay me at Your feet.You are faithful. You alone are faithful."Copyright 2007

Let's take off the mask and get real with God and each other. You have my permission. ;-)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Child Slavery In Haiti

There will be a story aired on Nightline (ABC after local news - 11:35pm ET) tonight highlighting the child slavery and trafficking problem that is prevalent in Haiti. This is way more common than we ever realized, and the kind of thing that is deeply disturbing and discouraging. 
Click here for a news article telling some of the story.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


In the next couple of weeks there is a ton going on here. On paper it looks a little bit impossible. It is summer and you're likely preparing for some exciting party or event anyway. We've got people coming in and out and we think it makes sense to take a summer break from this here blog. We'll be back around July 20th. Until then we encourage you take part in a contest. It will be described at the end of this post.

At this post we were talking about my illustrious career in the exciting and glamorous world of travel (read: hotel front desk clerk) -- let's take a look at other brilliant education choices I made along the way:

After a couple of years working front desk at the Radisson I became disenchanted with the high profile life of a front-desk agent. It was then that I determined I desired a more exciting career. The McConnell School of Travel had not given me everything I had dreamed it would. When one imagines a career in travel, I think they envision - you know -- TRAVELING. The front desk in Plymouth, MN lacked the thrill-seeking adventure I had imagined. Like I said- disenchanted.

Enter Brown Institute. Where you can earn an exciting career as a disc jockey. Or so they say. Because spending a lot of money to be trained to know hundreds of airport codes wasn't enough. I decided some money should be spent to learn to talk like Casey Kasem. I also know the hand signal for "wrap it up" - something you probably don't know very much about. Somewhere in a box in a dank storage locker in MN lives a video tape of my weather-girl debut, working the mid-west map with big hair and a gray and pink pinstriped suit, standing in front of the blue wall. Aaaah, the memories.

One semester into that adventure I put my dreams of having a radio show to bed, quit Brown Institute and re-focused on my travel career; climbing my way out of front desk duties and into the fast-paced, high pressure sales office.

There is more to my vast education story... best saved for another time. There were two more schools before a degree was actually earned and produced. Announcement - Let it be known: indecisiveness costs money.

This brings us to our contest. I have to believe that I am not alone in my random education choices. The things I went to school for (including the degree I eventually earned) have nothing to do with the gig I have now.

The contest:
What you went to school for - as compared to your current position. Example: you went to school to be a aerospace engineer, and now you are managing a Payless. The winner will be chosen randomly from a drawing, the only thing you need to do to be entered is share one way your education does not match your job/career. Winner will be drawn on July 16th and announced shortly there after. The prize: One signed, hardcover copy of Rocks in the Sun.

While we're away, go here to check out Rocks in the Sun. Thanks for shopping.

Have a great two weeks! We'll be back.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Meet and Greet

Annie has a visitor! Her Daddy and Grandma came to Haiti to meet her for the first time. They will be here for the weekend.

Phoebe, O.T. hater?

Phoebe is easily one of the most peculiar little people I have ever known. She has a switch that she pulls - this switch controls which Phoebe you might be interacting with that day. Some days it is silly, off the wall odd Phoebe. Other days it is everything makes me mad Phoebe. It keeps us guessing.

She is 20 months old now. Her newest trick is to randomly destroy whatever she can lay her chubby little patties on and looks like a fun thing to wreck.

The other day I walked into my room and opened up the wet wipe box to grab a wipe for Lydie. Inside there was crumpled up paper. Upon closer inspection it was pages from my Bible.

Phoebe does not want me reading Numbers chapters 1 through 3. This means I won't be able to study and commit to memory the names of the Israelite tribes or their leaders ... Manasseh son of Joseph, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur ... this is now information that I will forever be lacking.

Phoebe has to live with that.

paige reporting from the field

Yesterday Paige came in to report that there was a Haitian American girl her age visiting LaDigue for the first time. The girl was visiting with her mom. Her mom was born here and lived here most of her life, but moved to the USA. The girl that Paige met is 13. She had never visited Haiti or her Mother's hometown before this week. Paige is also 13 so this was quite an odd thing for her.

I enjoyed hearing Paige talk about her. Paige said these things:
  • "Yeah, her mom is going to leave here early to take her back to Florida to make sure none of the mosquitoes gave her Malaria! Ha. Can you believe that? They want to just go test right away. Instead of staying two weeks they are going home for that reason."
  • "I asked her if she wanted to go swim in the dam - she said, no, she would not go in that water. Mom, she won't go in the water!"
  • "I asked her if she liked Haiti, she said "no it is kind of weird, the bathrooms are different and it is hot and there are so many bugs."
  • "Mom, she is less Haitian than me. I could tell she thinks I am weird. It was very interesting."
(old photo of paige and kerline)