Monday, August 29, 2011

true story: a hiding place in tough times

God is good, a hiding place in tough times. 
He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking for help, 
No matter how desperate the trouble. 

Nahum 1:7
(The Message)

Phoebe 2007

P and P ~  February 2007

Monday Updates:

  • Baby Miles (born last Thursday) will stay in the hospital and on antibiotics. He is doing better today. His mom and dad are so tired. (As you can imagine).  Prayers for strength and pockets of rest while they see his treatment through to completion are very appreciated..
  • Troy is done with Malaria meds but tires easily. He claimed he was exhausted and heading home at noon but I've not seen him yet. He rallies when required. Thankfully there don't seem to be more rats for him to destroy. :)
  • Alloune has settled in at Harbor House and a new person is beginning to emerge. All 8 teen moms are doing really well right now.  The three pregnant moms are gaining weight well and staying healthy as their due dates approach.
  • A few deliveries coming up at the Maternity program ... one young woman named Leanise had to be referred elsewhere due to Sickle Cell Anemia, she gave birth in a hospital on Saturday. All is well today.  Troy's girlfriend Mirlande is due any day.
  • The school is getting close to completion and our kids and tutors plan to begin the school year a week from today on September 5th. Anticipation is building.
  • Moses continues to grow in size and responsiveness. He will now put weight on his legs. It is amazing to see how fast he is learning things.  We think one day he will sit up and walk and skip and run. We're asking God for that for him.  We are working on one lead that may allow him the possibility of a family (adoption) but it is too soon to share more than that right now.  Please keep praying for God to provide for sweet Moses.  He is here with us. Sometimes we do great with it and sometimes we feel the heaviness of it ... but God is showing up and we trust He will continue to do so until the answers to all the Moses questions come to us.
  • Paige tested positive for Malaria today after a bad night  last night.  :( She has started Malaria meds already.  My cell phone rang at about 1:00am - Paige said,  "Mom, I threw up." I went down and got her room cleaned back up and started laundry and asked Troy to take Moses to our bed. After she was all showered and back in bed I went upstairs and as I laid in bed praying for her I got a text from her that said:

  • I laid there a long time thinking about all the things God has taught me through my kids (and the kids we've had live with us over the years) ...   He has certainly used Paige to teach us how to be more giving.  A barfing teenager offering to take care of a two year old?  What tha?  I assured Paige we could handle him (despite how incapable we must seem to her).  ;)  I feel horrible for Paige. She has really had a rough go this last month.  Besides wishing it wasn't her with Malaria, I'd like to wrap her in toilet paper and cover that with bubble wrap and set her inside of a bouncy house and then place the bouncy house in paradise and lock her away from germs and harm forever. Sick kids in Haiti is always something that jacks with my head. I believe God led us to this country and has us here now and I have to remind myself of that all day while I struggle feeling guilty about her Haiti-related illness. It's dumb and helps nothing - but I excel at dumb.
  • Isaac is complaining of headaches.  His Malaria test came back negative today. I am watching him like a hawk.   I apparently completely jinxed us a few posts back when I mentioned that 2011 had been Malaria free.  See, what did I say? Excelling at dumb.
In conclusion ....  I am thankful for my hiding place. 
God is good, a hiding place in tough times. 
He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking for help, 
No matter how desperate the trouble. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Rat Saga: Final Chapter

Adrenaline is an awesome drug...except when you cannot sleep because you cannot get it to leave your veins.  What that rat took from us, we can never, never get back. (No, seriously, we will never get last night back.)

Friday night Jen and Paige had already confirmed the beast still resided in our home. (See previous post.)

Saturday morning we went to a meeting. By the time the meeting was done Troy was not able to be upright anymore. He headed back to bed.

Mid-day Saturday Troy was in bed trying to deal with his Malaria when Buddy Evan came over to sweetly offer to get us some diesel for our generator and to swim with the kids.

The (EDH) power situation has been underwhelming for quite a few days.

Once I had him in my kitchen I asked, "Hey would you mind moving a stove?"  Not a problem for him. His arms are long enough to handle such a task as a single man show. Our boys already think he is a giant super hero, this stunt only solidified that belief.

Of course removing the stove and finding the rat somewhere in it would have been way too easy. The evil varmint was nowhere to be found.  We went back to our busy day. At every turn things were breaking in our house and going wrong.  It was enough that it felt over the top - like watching some cheesy comedy wherein it seems totally impossible for so many things to be breaking, overflowing, shutting off, shorting out, and overflowing again. The marvelous thing was that I had cried so much on Friday (over the more serious unshared things) that on Saturday I laughed at everything. Like throw your head back crazy-person laughing.  I am telling you, it was ridiculous.

Late last night after a truly insane day and night we got home from visiting sick little baby Miles at about 11:45pm.  (No thanks to the bus we "bumped into" - the horrible road we attempted to travel - or the police stops every four blocks.)

I am nothing if not obsessive, so as we parked the car I thought, "I wonder what that stinkin rat is up to now?" We peeked into the windows of the house to see if we might see it in the kitchen before we entered.  The stove was still sitting in the back yard.  We entered the kitchen.  I told Paige to shake the fridge.  She did.  No movement.  We said goodnight to Geronne who had waited up to let us in so as not to wake up Malaria-boy.   Jen said something like, "Maybe we scared it away for good" at the exact moment those words were leaving her mouth the rat ran past me and onto her foot.  It did not matter how filled with parasitic blood Troy's veins were at that point, or how much he needed sleep. I screamed my ever-livin head off.  I am sure Jen wished for a hazmat-style washdown of her foot and all body parts attached to her foot.

Troy came to the top of the steps. We told him that we planned to end the rat once and for all.  He got dressed and came down.

Geronne began trying to scare it from under the steps. Troy stood ready.  The shovel he grabbed is used to clean up dog poop.  Troy said, "What if it goes upstairs?"  We all told him that was ridiculous. Twelve seconds after this photo the rat jumped to the fourth step in one single bound and Troy ran up the stairs slapping the shovel and falling down as he went. The dried poop on the shovel left evidence of every strike Troy attempted.  At the top of the stairs it was dark.  All the lights were out because five kids were asleep in their rooms.  Troy saw that the rat seemed to go to the right and straight.  We all came upstairs and began tearing the place apart.  We determined that it did not seem to be in the office area or the boys' room.

We searched hard in Lydia, Phoebe, Hope and Geronne's shared room.  I went to put on big shoes in case that rat tried to defile me the way it had Jen.  Finally I said, "I think that dresser would be really easy for it to hide in."  I pulled open the bottom drawer.  We all saw rat poop.  We decided to move the girls out of their beds.  Paige carried Phoebe down to her room to sleep with Moses.  I carried Lydia to our room and Hope woke up enough to move to our room herself.

Game on. 

If you love rats or are a member of PETA -  Stop here.  No, seriously - Stop here.

Troy and Jen and Geronne pulled out the second middle drawer. Jen took many tries at hitting it while it ran all over the room. She missed a bunch of times and then gave Troy the shovel and captured the rest on video for posterity's sake - this shall be accurately recorded in the annals of rat history ...

The best part of this video is that after all that noise, at the end Geronne whispers "M'panse li mouri" or "I think it's dead."  Why the whisper?  Respect for the dead I suppose. 
This morning I apologized to Isaac for all the noise we made trying to get rid of the rat.  He said,
"Yeah. The way you guys killed it seemed pretty violent."

Phoebe saw the photo of the dead rat and said, "Is that a dog?"

Truthfully, we are not willing to entertain the idea that there are two rats.  This is a tiny rat in terms of Haiti rats.  It seems this rat was upper class and had two homes.  He certainly knew his way between his two houses.  Today he will be laid to rest by family and friends.  Memorials preferred.
One week after the epic rat vs. human battle began, it is finished.

Rat saga part II

So many pretty intense things have been going on since Thursday that it is too overwhelming to process it all in writing ....   the high point was the birth of baby Miles late on Thursday to our friends Jared and Jalayne. Being in the room to see him born was beautiful.  One of the top moments of 2011 for me.

The stressful and low points are kind of numerous and I don't feel like complaining about it so I'll just say that between Friday and Saturday there has been enough stress for a month. Troy has Malaria. Jared and Jalayne's baby is now hospitalized with an infection. (Please pray for baby Miles to heal on antibiotics.)

Outside of those two more serious things, the list of crap going wrong is truly comical. 

I will be able to write about the comical stuff that went wrong today (Saturday) later.  For now, this (video below) is Jen and Paige's second attempt at catching the rat (blogged about the first attempt with our bugspray last Sunday night).  This video is Friday night around 9pm.  

I am happy to report that shortly after midnight (an hour ago) the rat finally died under a shovel in Phoebe Hope and Lydia's bedroom.  That was after Jen and Paige and Evan all gave it a shot last night and/or today. Holy cow was that a sneaky evil smart rat.

Facebook Status for tonight read:  "Time of Death - 12:11am 8/28/11 Rat met his maker at the hands of  Troy Livesay and Geronne and Jen .... Tara and Paige get the assist for standing outside the room listening to the horrible sounds of death.  Bourgeois rat had two homes. One in the north (upstairs drawer) and one in the south (bottom of oven). Sick out. It ran ON Jen's foot tonight. Touched her bare foot. Screaming woke up sick Troy -- he got a shovel, we chased it upstairs (not actually part of the plan) and decided it was in the dresser. Moved sleeping kids out of the room. Shut doors. DID BATTLE WITH RAT. The end."

The full detailed and final installment of the rat saga coming soon ....  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

random photos & tidbits: moses, evan, marjorie, lydia, and more

All three of the boys under ten in this house got haircuts.  We were so entertained to learn that Moses loves the clippers and laughed his head off the entire time we were buzzing his hair.  It was priceless!

He has come alive this week and we've seen such improvement in his responsiveness. Our big plan not to become emotionally involved has officially been declared a FAIL! We're starting to accept the fact that no matter what decisions are made for Moses it will be painful and complicated  ...  Loving people tends to be that way.  (sigh) We're continuing with investigating leads and praying for direction and peace.

Isaac & Moses

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Aaron H. w/ Hudson, Lydie, Phoebe

Ryan & Melissa and Evan fanning them while they grill
Heartline recently filled a twelve week opening for a "designated driver" - not necessarily for the drunk missionaries to get home from the bars ... Just a designated person that does a lot of driving to and from the airport. 

Enter:  Evan

We knew before he got here that he was an upbeat guy.  Most of his emails had SO MANY!!exclamation points !!!!  =) and spazzy!!!! things in them!!! =)

Once he got here and we saw that he is a giant human being, and is just as animated as we assumed he would be, Paige declared that he reminded her of a real life version of Buddy the Elf.   Now we are trying to convince him to perform a few of Buddy's 2003 lines ...  

" We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.  ~ or ~  The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear. I'm singing/I'm in a store/and I'm siiiiiingiiiiing!/I'm in a store/and I'm siiiiiingiiiiing! ~ I just like to smile! Smiling's my favorite.  

He has not obliged yet but we still have 11 weeks to work on him.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The first day I laid eyes on Marjorie is one of the more vivid post-earthquake memories I have.  Jen and I had gone to "trade" patients with a organization called Merlin. There was lots of transporting that happened in those weeks. After I dropped Jen and Marjorie off at the Heartline field hospital I got back in my truck and melted down.  Without exaggeration - I had never met such a profoundly sad person.  She seemed like she had given up hope. It was one of the saddest things I remember from the weeks following the EQ.  The story doesn't end there. As you can see by looking at this photo, things changed.  John McHoul wrote about her here, please go read the latest developments in Marjorie's life.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

'Irene' passed to the north. It brought those of us in the PAP area a few hours of rain. The little girls love to get back to basics and play au natural in the rain. As with many recent rains, they made the most of the hurricane rain.

Lydia continues on in her tradition of being the neediest child in the house.  She holds tightly to her beloved title. Moses has given her a run for her money and even attempted to dethrone her ... But so far he's been unsuccessful. 

This morning Noah comforted Lydia while she dealt with the life-altering tragedy of not getting her way during coloring time with Phoebe.  Are you ready for this? It turns out Phoebe wanted to color something in her own coloring book a color that Lydia didn't think was the best choice. (Gasp) Phoebe would not hear Lydia out. That's some really tough stuff for Lydia to sort through, as I am sure you can imagine. 

It's been funny to watch how Moses' presence has caused Lydia to regress .... but not ha-ha funny.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Late today we are off to visit old friends about 35 miles north in the village of LaDigue.  Our memories and experiences from that time are both bitter and sweet. We left there to move to the cement city three years ago this week. It should be fun to see everyone out there and get updates on their families and lives. Truthfully, I'm mostly excited to get to be with Troy for a few hours today and take a walk down memory lane - because in the words of Buddy the Elf: I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jars of Clay

Our friend Tim Sexton recently said,  "Unfortunately pain gives way to some of the best blogs." He was referring to Amie's post she wrote here.

I don't know what makes for a good blog post. I just know that the funny ones are so easy and enjoyable to write.  The pain-filled ones not so much. I hover over the publish button thinking, "do I really want to say this - and to strangers?"

This Moses thing has me upside down.  I am uncomfortable with almost every emotion and sin that his presence brings to the surface for me. 

As we've struggled a bit the past few weeks and as I've been overwhelmed, emotional, and completely conflicted over the situation, and choices still to be made with Moses  -  especially on top of many other things going on -  Troy has caught me in moments of fatigue and frustration and said something along these lines:  "You're doing great. You're a broken but beautiful jar of clay."  Both times he said that I burst into tears.

I don't feel beautiful, I feel overwhelmed and uncertain. I feel inadequate and and short-tempered.  I feel weak and stressed. I feel very protective of Paige. I don't know what the right thing to do is and I feel guilty that I don't really want our family to be a long-term solution for Moses  - yet at the same time I don't feel good about not being his long-term solution. I want him to go away and I want him to stay safe here. I tell myself not to get emotionally involved. It doesn't work. At times I feel resentful at the weight of responsibility he represents --- yet I  feel possessive ownership when it comes time to hand him off to someone kindly offering to help.  None of it makes sense. I hate learning I am capable of resenting a handicapped two year old. I hate that the world is full of this brokenness and loss. I hate my own brokenness.

We don't have an answer for his future yet and we don't yet know what the right thing is. Each day we chat with folks about him and each day we decide that many available options are unacceptable to us.

Indecision and uncertainty is an uncomfortable place. 

This post from our 10th month living in Haiti speaks to some of what we've been thinking and feeling of late. It is written about Mozambique, Africa but it could easily be written about Haiti.

Along with figuring out what is right for Moses, Troy's phone rings off the hook with requests for school money and rent money (many of these calls coming from folks we worked with three plus years ago in a rural village). Emails and calls come in asking for advice that we feel too unqualified or too cynical to intelligently answer - and as things that need attention keep getting pushed to the back burner -- these portions of that post ring true:

"We barely find time and patience to handle one drastic crisis only to run into ten more the same day. We pour out love and compassion one minute only to run dry and turn irritable the next."

"We are asked for counsel and direction as though we have the answers at all times -- How do we become missionaries? How will I support myself? Can I please have a truck? How can I run my churches in my district without a phone, an address or even a pencil and paper? We haven't eaten in weeks. How will I get to Bible school? What will happen to my family? Can you pay for my child's funeral and buy a coffin for us?"

As those portions ring true, we ask God to help us stand firm on the truth found in this portion of that post too ...

"Yet in the face of everything Satan can do, we maintain that there is always enough."

"We are, in fact, hard pressed, perplexed and struck down-but not destroyed. We don't know how we will endure through the day or the week. We don't know how to please everyone, answer all our e-mail, send all our reports, pay for every need ... We don't know how to keep all our staff, brief all our visitors, reassure the disappointed, lift the weak and provide clear direction for everyone. We are only a few jars of clay! Yet Jesus has revealed that because He died, there is always enough, and we will never deny that revelation."

"We are only jars of clay, but God's power is made perfect in weakness. And in all our weakness we will keep submitting ourselves to Him, that we can see His glory, that we can be part of His answer for Africa and the world."

"We will always say, 'Go to Him. Eat and drink of Him. What we don't have, He has. Be desperate for Him. Have faith in Him. Love Him. Look into His eyes. His body and blood are enough for all who will receive Him.' And we know we will see more revival. We will keep testifying to the Gospel of God's grace."

Go to Him. Eat and drink of Him. What we don't have, He has.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Today the plan was simple:

It looked like this-
Wake up around 7am. Go to church around 8:30. Lunch at Guesthouse to welcome our tutors/teachers with all the Heartline peeps at 1pm. Head home and relax by 3pm.

It went more like this:
7:30 wake up and see that Beth started texting at 2am about a birth happening.
Decide not to go to birth.
Realize Phoebe cannot leave house without much hair work.
Start working on that. Work on that for a looong time.
8:55 leave for church 20 minutes late.
Lydie sits in front of church refusing to listen acting like terror-child. She army crawls across front of church. I pick her up gently. She makes a scene and pretends that I abused her and screams that her arm hurts. For her own safety I send her outside to be with Aaron and Heather.
At church get text from Beth that says "need help, this lady has inverted nipples".
At church get a text from Heather that says "Lydie needs to poop, this sick bathroom is flooded. Now what?!"
At church get a text from Paige that says, "Ma, I don't think I want to go to lunch. My head hurts, plus Moses is sad today."
At church get a text from Troy that says "I love you". He is sitting next to me.
Answer texts in front row of church hoping John (preaching) doesn't notice.
Dislike myself for texting in church.
Leave a little early from church to deal with Lydie poop needs.
Go to store for Moses foods. Paige has texted again that we're out of what he needs.
Go home and finish brownies I am supposed to make for luncheon.
2pm Get all seven kids and three pans of brownies out the door.
Lunch and worship time (something PLANNED!! and it HAPPENED!!!)
Realize the team has been with us 24 hours and they've not had a chance to see much.
4:30 Take visiting Austin Stone Church team on a short little tour.
Arrived home around 6:15pm.  Jen has had a stressful day. She picked up a patient from the Comfort Ship who is sitting on couch waiting for Jen to change blood soaked bandages. Patient was operated on yesterday but due to coming hurricane but was let off the ship right after that so the ship could leave.
Kids say they are hungry. Troy makes popcorn.
Paige feeds Moses his baby food.
We feed other kids popcorn dinner.
Kids watch movie together before bed.
Heather shows up with the inverted nipple mom. Jen needs to see the baby because of some concerns Heather has. Jen finishes bloody bandage change gal in family room and comes to kitchen to see Mom and baby.

I say to kids "Go get your water and head to bed  - but there is a lady that had a baby today sitting in the kitchen so say hello to her."
Isaac says, "WHAT? A lady had a baby in our kitchen!?!?"
Put kids to bed.
Go downstairs to grab water and say goodnight/goodbye to Heather and new mom.
As Heather is leaving she calmly says, "I just saw a rat run under the steps".
I tell her she is a liar.
She says, "Wait. You don't want to know that there is a rat in your house? Okay then, I'm kidding."
We decide to believe Heather and call Geronne.
Geronne marches in the house full of vigor and moxie. Pleased to be given this assignment.
"Kote?" (where?) she asks.  Heather points.  Geronne grabs a can of bug spray.
Geronne begins moving things under steps. The rest of us stay back in the kitchen.
The new mom chuckles at the scene.
Geronne says "M' we li" (I see it) and sprays unending amounts of Baygone bugspray at it.
Rat runs out toward all of us in kitchen.
Heather, Tara, Paige jump on table. (Screaming.)
New mom stands off to the side laughing. Jen grabs her camera.
Geronne chases rat with bug spray. Starts to try to move refrigerator.
Jen takes photos.
Rat runs out from behind refrigerator and does a few circles. Geronne tries to beat it with a broom.
Much screaming.
We jump from table to higher spot on kitchen counter.
Rat runs from refrigerator to stove.  Troy finally comes down. He has a shovel in his hand.
(He thought we were being attacked but had just finished showering and was grabbing clothing and a weapon.)
Troy informs us we woke up all the kids.
Geronne moves stove. I ask Troy if a propane explosion is possible? Isaac and Hope come to kitchen. They jump up on counter with us.
Rat cannot be found.  Lydie starts crying in bed upstairs because of screaming.
Troy gives up on finding it behind or under stove.
Geronne claims it is drunk on bug spray and will die.
Heather and new mom leave.
Kids get put back to bed.
This blog gets written.
I lie awake for hours thinking about the rat that is still in my house.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

two links and two prayers

Link One:
I think this post written by friends in Haiti is one you'll want to read.  I'd go ahead and say "you must read it", but if you are anything like me you would rebel against being told what to do and not read it.

I like it when other people write about the things that I want to write about but cannot figure out how to address politely.  I think Corrigan handled himself like a (funny) gentleman and I plan to request he write about a few other difficult topics on my behalf very soon.

Seeing some of the real life damage that short-sighted distributions and feel-good aid can cause, often make people angry and persuasive.  In my experience with addressing these sorts of difficult topics there is a fine line between being perceived as a cynical jerk, and being received as informed, experienced,  and gracious. I'm trying to keep my mouth shut unless I'm fairly certain I can pull off the latter.

Link Two:
Totally unrelated, I followed this link from a tweet today and found myself feeling understood (and slightly weepy).  Don't ask me what that odd photo with the article has to do with anything, but the article itself hit so close to my heart.  Most readers may want to skip it, but those considering raising kids abroad (or doing it) may find themselves nodding in agreement.

Prayer One:
The Harbor House: A place of refuge 

The decision about the newest Harbor House teen mom was made.  The three girls that were being considered all had some serious challenges, as expected.  There was however one story that stood out. The young woman pictured here will be moving into the house tomorrow.  Alloune is the 8th teen mom in the house and there are now three Harbor House moms due to deliver within a few weeks of one another.  As we get to know her  we'll probably understand more but we know she is without support of any kind and was raised in a sad situation, living most of her chilhood as a restavek. Please pray for 16 year old Alloune. We can only guess, but it seems probable that for the first time in a long time she will be on the receiving end of true nurture ...  And love that is not asking for anything in return. We don't know if she will even be able to receive it with all she has been through in her life. She'll leave her tent and find herself here tomorrow.  I can only imagine that this space invokes a bit more peace and calm than a tattered tent on the hard earth.  

Prayer Two:
Moses is coming alive. He is responding more and becoming comfortable. Hayden Hendrick found his tickle-spot and the giggles were so beautiful to listen to for all of us. The last couple of nights went a lot better and today he was a cherub and we listened to a lot of Sara Groves while we moved about the house getting things done. 

Lydia went two totally different directions with the Moses situation ('sitch' as we say here).  One, she reverted to requiring me to spoon feed her "like a baby" after seeing me spoon feed Moses.  Two, she said she was the "mommy of Moses" for a little while and made beds for herself and him next to my desk. She then declared to Moses, "I am your mommy and I will keep the bugs off of you."  A zapping bug-racket in the hands of a three year old so near a helpless child allowed me to snap just one photo before saving Moses from being treated to a little shock.  We're praying for his future tonight. (Not just because of Lydia.)

Port au Prince Guesthouse

Need a place to stay in Port au Prince?   Know someone that does?

A perfect location, open to the public, please check this out:

Meet our new guesthouse managers, Ryan and Melissa.

Staying at the Heartline Guesthouse offers you a safe, clean, convenient place to rest your head  - and it helps to fund the work of the Heartline Women's Programs  - serving moms and children in the Tabarre area.

It is a win - win !

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday in Photos

5am wakeup call - 6am nap
We stayed up way too late Tuesday night larding with our Minnesota friends. (They are technically the original lards.  We just skated in and earned our lard badge off of their good graces.)  It is always so good to steal moments with them when possible.  Friendships that remain close over many miles aren't always uncomplicated, but they are always deep.  

Today we sent Moses to the Maternity center where Cherline watched him all day.  Paige left to go translate for a medical clinic.  Her arm abscess draining went well last night.  Jen has her loaded up on meds and she is already improving.

Thanks to all for the suggestions of places for Moses to possibly go. We began following up on those leads in case the government choice doesn't work out or doesn't happen.  At this point we are instructed to call them again tomorrow to see if they have a place (of their choosing).  We'll choose ourselves if they don't follow through soon.  Speed and efficiency are not special skills that most government agencies ever perfect ... or exhibit even a tiny bit.  Maybe it is their way of making us all feel better about ourselves. All things being relative ...  Look at us! We're awesome. We're organized.

We took all the kids to the land ...

walking toward new building on new land

The MK Education Center ( because school is for suckers)

MKs posing

more posing of said MKs

MKs plotting against establishment (see land on right!)
Eventually this land will be home to the sewing school, a maternity center, some housing, and more. For now it is home to the Heartline MK educational center and it will also be home to Jimmy and Becky.  Once the Hendrick's house is done they will move there too.   We'll be renting for another year (maybe more) ... Actually, we pay rent for the year each August and the painful day where we question God's economy and financial planning wisdom is about to roll around again. Our landlord loves this day.

A few other hours of today were spent in traffic.  We saw a man with a really cool looking marionette puppet while we sat forever-in-a-day still in traffic.  That was entertaining. The Hendrick boys told jokes to Isaac who takes everything literally and asks for explanation thusly ruining the jokes.
Tonight we hastily tossed together a couple of cakes and went over to the Harbor House to celebrate the 18th Birthdays of Lourde Milla (due in October) and Joanne (mom to Ricardo).  They were cute and gave short little speeches sharing their hopes for the coming year.  These young women are such a gift.  Our birthday prayers for them are that they realize their full potential as individuals and as mothers and experience the love of Christ at the Harbor House.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

want to see what an answered prayer looks like?

On the third try, Living Water struck gold (water).

now this is happening

Just your average Tuesday night at home.  Lying on your dining room table having your arm sliced and diced by your good friend. (Who happens to be trained to do it.)

And ... the preferred method of moving large vehicles filled with rocks.  Or not.

And after all that ... a guy needs to sleep.

(Moses hasn't found his new place quite yet. Keep praying.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting ready ...

colors going inside the schoolhouse

The boys and I spent a few hours at the land today. We got the big classroom done. We have a hallway, bathroom, and two smaller classrooms left to paint.  If Troy is the electricity nazi, John is the painting nazi.  By looking at that hair and clothing one would not be able to tell that he has quite the inner perfectionist buried deep inside - at least when it comes to painting anyway.

The hallway and bathroom and closet/storage area will be taupe, one classroom blue, the other one yellow.)  We're so grateful that God provided us an awesome building (thank you H and G!) and uber smart/experienced teachers too.  He is good like that.

Dr. Versatile Jen arrived safely - and just in time to drain a painful little abscess on Paige's arm tomorrow. (How is that for excellent timing??) At Hope's request, she also came prepared to pierce Hope's ears.  She's a Doctor that doubles as a cosmetologist, veterinarian, and many other things she was not trained to do -  but excels at anyway. 

Please pray Moses gets placed in the perfect spot tomorrow.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

i wanna hold your hand

The prenatal program is technically supposed to serve local women. It makes sense for ladies to travel a short distance to get their care and it makes sense for them to be able to get to us quickly once they are in labor.  Most of our ladies come from about a two mile radius.  Occasionally someone will come from up to six or seven miles away.  That is of course not a long distance in most places, but here in the greater Port au Prince metroplex six to seven miles can easily be an hour or much more travel time.  The plan to serve mainly local women makes a ton of sense. There are more than enough pregnant women very nearby. 

The trouble is, Troy has a serious problem. He has always had a soft spot for prego ladies and for more than two years he has been showing up with pregnant ladies he meets when he is out and about.  After the earthquake he sheepishly brought us a lady in labor and said he couldn't resist, that he'd met her and she needed help and things were nutty enough in those days that one more baby wasn't going to push us over the edge at that point. Lucky for him all the people capable of delivering babies were too deliriously tired to beat him for that stunt.

Above is a photo of Mirlande T. and a photo of her humble abode.  She lives out near the five houses that were built in an area now being called "Jerusalem 7".  (The community where the well is currently being drilled.) That area is no less than six miles from here. It is tough to get in and out because it is back in the foothills. Troy was out checking on progress of the latrines a while back when  he met Mirlande and spent time getting to know her story and her family. He called Beth to ask for a special admittance pass into the prenatal program. (We always have a wait list, we always have people trying to get in that we cannot admit.)

We now refer to Mirlande  as "Troy's girlfriend" and that name is sticking. We've asked Troy to try to control his urge to help every pregnant lady he sees. So far he is mainly failing. Last Thursday he tried to bring another woman from Jerusalem 7. As I was writing this I told him he should become a midwife if he loves pregnant ladies so much. He said, "No way. I don't want to deliver babies. I just like the big round bellies. They're so cute."

Below is a photo that has many quotes attached. We were out in Luly visiting a Pastor out there that we have known for a number of years. When the visit was over the Pastor grabbed Troy's hand to walk him to the car parked quite a distance away. Culturally this is what friends do. Men and women hold hands all the time when they talk or walk.

Troy said, "I hate you for that photo I hear you taking." When I showed him the shots I captured he said, "Ugh. I don't care how acclimated I get to this culture, that's just llyyach." (llyyach is apparently a more disconcerted form of blech)

All this to say that Troy has girlfriends and boyfriends.

This little guy never woke up during our visit.

Besides Troy's main focus in life, (looking for pregnant women to pick up), the weeks ahead look beyond nutty and uncontrolled. There is so much going on right now. We're guessing the last three weeks of summer will be butt-kickers.

Here are some of the extra haps that are happening on top of the regular haps:

~New guesthouse managers from Minnesota arrived not too long ago.  Ryan and Melissa are getting acclimated. The Heartline Guest House is under the direction of "our people" from the northland, obviously we're at ease with them.  People from the north "get" other people from the north. Plus we can all sit around and listen to each other pronounce O's the right way. Oh yah. You betcha.

~Evan Hunt arrived today to do a seven week assignment with Heartline as a driver. He'll help Ryan and Melissa with the huge job of running a guesthouse and likely be assigned all sorts of duties.

~Heather and the Hendrick boys arrive back in Haiti today. The kids reunited equals ornery trouble multiplied, but happy trouble!

~Dokte Jen arrives Monday she will be here six weeks.  We love that Jen lives with us and we're all very happy she gets to stay so long.  We're so grateful (thank you Lord) that 2011 has been such a healthy year for us. (Just Paige and that MRSA battle.) Zero Malaria is unheard of for 8 months in this family. Once Jen is in da house Livesay kids are allowed to need stitches or get sick. When Jen shows up at our house my stress level drastically decreases.  (No pressure or anything Jen.)
Jimmy & Becky

~Our friends the Ericksons from MN may come spend Tuesday night with us. Marcia is one of Paige's favorite people on earth. (Minnesota, hats off to thee, To thy colors true we shall ever be, Firm and strong, united are we.Rah! Rah! Rah! for Ski-U-Mah,RAH! RAH! RAH! RAH!Rah for the U. of M.)

~Jimmy and Becky Burton (teachers) arrive Tuesday. We have two and half weeks to get the final things done on the building,   and for them to get settled before the year officially begins.

~The interior school painting begins Monday. We'll take photos. It's going to be cute. We're building shelves and assembling desks and making it look totally legit.

~There are about four ladies due to deliver anytime soon. We're really REALLY hoping they space things out for the sake of all that is good and sane. Things could get interesting.

~The next team from Austin, TX arrives Saturday the 20th.

~A new teen mom will likely move into HH on Thursday. Thank you to those that prayed over the interview process and decisions.

~Moses is probably going to get moved to an orphanage on Tuesday.  He'll be going to an orphanage that the Mayor of our city chose for him. We think it is a pretty good choice and know a few encouraging things about the program. Your prayers over this situation matter to us and Moses :) Paige is tired from his late-night parties and refusal to sleep from 3:30am on ... She has an interpreting gig lined up for Wednesday through Friday.

As always, we really appreciate that you engage with what is going on here and that you lift up the heavy situations in prayer. We're grateful for your love and care.

tara for all of us