Monday, June 4, 2012

Ups and Downs

I've been meaning to write for a while now but I just haven't had the right words.  Things are moving right along and I can't believe we've already been here almost three weeks.  Craig and I have been noticing quite a pattern. It seems that for about three days, we are doing really well - getting things accomplished, emotionally stable, etc. Then, we crash. It feels like we are emotionally drained, and we have no energy left to see anyone, talk to anyone or do anything.  So we don't. It's strange to feel that way. It's hard to describe, but as we were talking through this, we realized that it is a LOT of work to simply have what should be a basic conversation. What should take 30 seconds literally takes 5-10 minutes and a lot of energy and patience.  Everything takes longer. That's not always a bad thing...just takes getting used to. We walk everywhere. There are a lot of hills and the heat is intense. It's exhausting. Our bodies aren't used to it.  It is so dry. There is dust everywhere. You can wipe your counters off and in the next minute they are covered with dust again.

One of the hardest things for me has been the cooking. Not because I don't cook often at home, but because when I go to the cupboard, I have to make sure I de-ant our food before I serve it. When we first got here and I found that ants had gotten into the Vanilla Waffer snacks, I tossed them out and said, Oh well! The kids won't have that snack anymore! Well, if I threw away everything that was infested with ants, we wouldn't be eating. I got out some noodles and had to rinse off a TON of ants before boiling them. I still found a few in my water and a few on the plate, but they were dead...just a little protein, right?! It really is just a mind change, but it's hard.

Last week, we had a team from our home town here. It was nice to have people here from home, but it also made me miss home.  Jaron woke up one morning last week and came to our bed and snuggled and out of the blue started listing restaurants he missed! :)  He must have been dreaming - "Bdubs...Applebees...Welcome to Moes!...Culvers...!  Then it came time to say goodbye to our friends. It was really hard seeing them fly off the island. Morgan had a really tough time and it was hard to see her so sad.  Jaron on the other had said, Can we stay here forever and ever?!  Love him.

Morgan saying goodbye to Mrs. Sneed                Jaron and some boys found some shade!

However, with the downs, we have had some ups!  On what could have been our most awful day - saying goodbye to our friends - we also found an amazing semi-private spot of paradise on the beach! It was our little piece of comfort that afternoon.  An American lady owns the place and gave us an open invitation for any time we want to come back.  And we did. Already. We spent both Saturday and Sunday afternoon enjoying the peaceful waves and shade and sunshine.  There is sand for the kids, and amazing snorkeling for the guys :)

A swing, and even a pavilion/picnic area behind me - we have plans to have a family picnic there SOON!

Our family the day our friends left for home.

Another "up" is that we are definitely making great strides in creating strong relationships with some of the workers at the orphanage.  Friday, Joanne asked us to join her at a soccer match that afternoon.  We were already planning to go, but we were super excited that she wanted to spend that time with us!  We also invited Faby. Faby just moved to Anse a Galets from Port au Prince a couple months ago. She told me that she doesn't have any family. Both of her parents are dead and she doesn't have siblings. She lives at the orphanage to help care for the kids. She told me that she is very lonely.  We traded phone numbers at the soccer game and that evening, she texted me, "I don't know what to say but thanks cause you're my friend. Now I'm not alone. God bless you. Everything is okay my friend. I'm happy cause you gave me the answer."

Ann, Joanne (secretary at the orphanage), Faby, Renee, Morgan - at the soccer game

Today, I will be attending a funeral. One of the long time cooks at the guest house died pretty unexpectedly on Friday.  The women here have worked together daily for almost 20 years and they are like sisters.  I know this is a very hard time for them. I'm thankful that their load is a bit lighter right now since we don't have any teams here at the moment.  God knew ahead of time that they'd need this week for a break! Haitian funerals are very emotional. It is cultural to wail for your lost loved one. There will be a service followed by a processional to the cemetery.  A lot of the missionaries have taken their summer leave already and so I will be going to the funeral just as a "white face" to give support to the family.  Mme Gelles meant a lot to the people who live here. I hope that just by being there, we will be able to give some sort of peace to them. Just praying that God will use us today.

Thank you for your continued prayers.  We really do need them.  Morgan woke up one morning last week and asked if Craig and I were going to the orphanage again. I told her that that was what we were here for. She was pretty sad and was missing spending quality time with us.  So - we cancelled our plans and had some family time. Pray that we are sensitive to our kids. They are doing so well, but Morgan more than Jaron goes through that same pattern of highs and lows.  Pray that we are open with each other and attentive to each other's needs.  This week is a big week. We will be meeting with Mme Solliette tomorrow to start looking through her books and records.  Pray that communication would go smoothly with our new translator Bee.  Pray that Mme Solliette would be open and sense our hearts to help her.

Love you all!!


Suzanne Howell said...

Have been praying for you Renee! Such an encouragement to my own heart to hear that even in your hard you are finding ways to praise Him and to look to Him for blessings! I know that He is proud of you.
Will keep praying!

Jewel said...

I have really enjoyed seeing all the pictures, but I am so glad to read this update! Thanks for sharing with us in specific ways how to pray! I know that you and Craig are both a blessing to the people there!

Renee said...

Thank you girls! We appreciate you both!