Wednesday, June 12, 2019

By Isaac Livesay

Hello folks! This is Isaac writing to spill the tea on what my family and I are going to be up to this summer! You ready? It is exciting for us.
To start things off everyone, including KJ but excluding my Dad, will head to Florida. From there we fly to Tennessee and spend a week at friend’s cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains. I am so happy about being in Tennessee, not only because of the people I will get to see but also because of the environment. I love a change of scenery, and Tennessee’s change of scenery is definitely a good one. I also enjoy photography so I’m hoping to take a lot of pictures on that visit.
After our trip to East Tennessee comes to an end Hope, Noah and I will break away from the group and head our own ways. Hope will be heading to Minneapolis, Minnesota to hang out with our oldest sister Brittany. Not only will she be there to hang with Britt, but she will also help with caring for Gideon and Eleanora (Brittany’s young children) while their mom is away at work.
Noah will be traveling to Colorado to stay with his godfather and godmother for a week. They are friends we made in Haiti and Noah told them he wanted them to be his Godparents and that was that. While there in the Denver area he will see and do many things including ice skating for the first time in his life.
Lastly I will be venturing to Michigan for two weeks. I will be staying with Lee Ann, my amazing and brilliant veterinary medicine professor, and her husband at their little farm house. While I am there I will helping them around their farm with whatever they need. I will also be going on a few adventures with Lee Ann. I’m not exactly sure where yet, but I know that it will be awesome. Here’s the big catch about going to Michigan; other then getting to spend time at the farm with Lee Ann, I will also be shadowing her at her work. What this means is while she is doing her thing at the clinic I get be by her side and watch and maybe assist her. It sounds so exhilarating and I cannot wait.
When my time at Lee Ann’s is done I will fly to El Paso, where by second oldest sister Paige lives, and meet up with Hope, Noah and the rest of the fam just in time for the Fourth of July. We watch fireworks at Fort Bliss, it is very fun. After all that action and excitement my Mom will leave with the two little girls to go back to Haiti and its pretty much just going to be hanging out with Paige and her two boys for the rest of the summer. To me that’s a summer well spent.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Story Time: The Joy&Frustration of Cross-Cultural Communication

Lydia - 3 years old
Mastiff Marley,
quite old at that time
Living cross-culturally means that we are entertained half the time - and enraged the other half of the time and the good folks we live among and work with feel the exact same way about us. 

It's good times, I tell you. GOOD TIMES.

I am keenly aware of my bent toward ethnocentric thinking. I call that out here and now and I say to you this:  I know there is more than one way to skin a cat.  (That's a weird expression.)

I know that because I VERY MUCH think driving in an orderly fashion with rules and systems is FAR better.  However, that does not mean it is the only way.  Obviously.  People are doing the opposite thing here every damn day.  Generally, they get where they are going.  (They are much much angrier than if there had been just SOME rule, but I digress.) 
So, I know ... There are two or more ways to do most things.  

Okay.  That is established.

Friday afternoon the security guard that works at our house 6 of 7 nights per week had a big emergency.  We know him, he has been with us a year.  He was responsible and awesome and he called the security company we contract with, that he works for. Then he called us, he called Geronne too. He made sure we all knew he could not make it to cover the night at our house.  

Troy called the contact we have right away too.  They said they would bring out another guard.  That was around 4pm.  The shift begins at 6pm.  This is a service we pay for and want. We love that we know our two guards and it gives us a sense of security to know the man walking around our yard all night. If it is false security, we don't want to know that.   Shhhh. 

Back in the days of TWO Mastiffs, Peanut has gone on to a better place.
Hazelnut on the left.

Around 9:30pm a bunch of noise was happening at the gate.  Troy went to answer.  It was a group of guys saying that they were dropping off the agent to cover the night. The dog was mad and barking. (She has never bit anyone except a goat but she sounds mean.) 

The temporary security agent was too afraid of our large Mastiff, Hazelnut to enter our yard.  Troy said to the men, (In Creole)  "You know what, it really does not do me any good if you are afraid of the dog and won't move around the yard.  Why don't we just forget tonight. Also, it is 9:30 now and it is dark and I don't know you and it doesn't really help anyone here feel safer for you to come in at this time. You're late! Thanks but no thanks, as the customer we will decline your services this evening."   

To our American way of thinking, this is perfectly reasonable.  The dude fears our dog. We don't know him from Adam (that's an expression too) and he has annoyed us by coming 3.5 hours late.  

We set off a bit of a storm with this decision. Phones were ringing all over town and the guys would not leave our area and everyone was arguing about whether or not Troy could just decide that - Boom, just like that. 

To our host culture Troy was being unreasonable and inflexible and they wanted a compromise.  They wanted Troy to accept that they were late and let that go and then to agree to lock our dog up for the night inside the house.

This went on for a good hour or two. Troy dug in, they dug in.

I just stayed in my room reading and relaxing and laughing at it all. (That is where entertained half the time comes in. Laughing at Troy.)

Living cross-culturally means that we are entertained half the time - and enraged the other half of the time and the good folks we live among and work with feel the exact same way about us. 

Sunday, June 02, 2019

The Table

With the recent tragic passing of Rachel Held Evans, my husband Troy and I have been reflecting upon a moment in the last year that moved us both to tears.  

We were at a conference that Rachel co-founded with our friend, Sarah Bessey.  At the end of the two day event communion was made available to those that wished to come to the table. 

That moment felt like an intentional whisper of love and a promise of light from God. It happened last October in what was for us a year of relative darkness.

As we stood to receive communion we chose the station nearest to our seats. We stood in line a short time. When we reached the table we looked into the faces of three beautiful reflections of the image of God.  (Genesis 1:27)

We were offered the cup and the bread by: 

Author, Nish Weiseth

Spoken word / Hiphop artist, Jason Petty (known by most as Propaganda),  

Author, Jeff Chu.  

The three of them come from entirely different backgrounds and upbringings and religious traditions.  Their lives, struggles, hurts, joys, and experiences are quite different, save one thing. They all call Jesus their Lord and follow hard after Him. The all believe that God is love.

When we were served the cup and the bread by these three, we wondered if we were experiencing our own personal peek at the Kingdom.  (On earth as it is in Heaven.) 

Perhaps you read or heard of William P. Young's book, The Shack.  If not, it is a story written about a very human God.  

The book forces the reader (well, it forced me) to look at the nature of God. 

In the book, written 12 years ago, Young dared to picture God as female. Beyond that the author intentionally developed the Trinity into the characters of 

"Papa" a large welcoming and always beaming African woman 

Jesus, a Middle Eastern man wearing a belt of tools; ready for physical labor, 


the Holy Spirit, an Asian woman in the clothing of a groundskeeper or perhaps a gardener.  

The book was controversial because it did not play by the rules and some of the thought police felt it sacrilege.  

I loved it.  

If God is Love and we are created in God's image, then we are also created to love God and one another with the same compassionate and intense love exemplified between the Trinity in The Shack.

The day I was served communion by Prop, Nish, and Jeff, I felt closer to God's heart than I had felt in a very long time.  

I won't ever forget it. 

"This is what the kingdom is like: a bunch of outcasts and oddballs gathered at a table, not because they are rich or worthy or good, but because they are hungry, because they said yes. And there's always room for more."  
-Rachel Held Evans