Saturday, December 13, 2014

New View on International Adoption

Since moving here to Haiti, my mind has been stretched in SO many ways. One of those ways deals with International adoption. I never knew how to share my heart on such a passionate topic without coming across as heartless. Before we moved to Haiti, even though we never wanted to adopt internationally, we did feel that God had asked us to be obedient to take steps down that road. Now, I feel like God put those feelings in our hearts and had us take those steps so that we might be able to understand, somewhat, what others are feeling who are in the process of International adoption (on a very small scale) so that we could be empathetic with them. However, I am thankful that God closed that specific door for our family.

Before too many of you get offended, (because I worry (too much) about offending that I actually have blogs written from a year ago that I haven't shared...) I'll let you hear from someone who has been in the International Adoption trenches twice and has come out on the other side and who can share her heart MUCH better than I can.

For those of you who don't know of, or have never read anything by Jen Hatmaker, you're MISSING OUT! Please take a minute and read this. It is everything that I wish I could say, but don't feel like I can because I have never truly been in the situation of an International adoption.

The Adoption Crisis Part 1

I want to let this article speak for itself, but a couple of things that made my heart race and my body practically jump from my chair screaming "YES!"...

If you have made it this far and are still reading...thank you. Like I said, I really don't mean any harm by this blog, but I just pray that it will challenge you to think. For your eyes to be opened like mine were. I have so much more on my heart to say about this and would love to continue this conversation with anyone who wishes. And, please know that I understand that this is NOT true for all orphans, all adoptions, all cases. But we must be careful and be informed.

I LOVE these children who we are working with and definitely want what is BEST for them. Is that to be adopted into a life in a first world country with a new family? For most, I say no. There is a reason that Mme. Soliette has chosen not to get her license for her children to be adopted. I love that she is trying to reunite families, help them to get back on their feet and support them to take care of their own children. She makes very difficult decisions every day when another family comes to her door asking her to take their child because they can not feed or educate them.

Even if you have never felt like God is calling you to adopt, there is something you can do. You can pray. You can pray for the children who have been orphaned. Whether they are true orphans, or financial or abandoned orphans, they need your prayers. And you can pray for those who feel called to adopt. That calling is not light. It is not for everyone. It is heart wrenching. And sometimes God calls us to be obedient to agree to adopt and to listen to Him, but then we need to CONTINUE to listen to Him. Does God sometimes tell us that it's okay to step away from the process? Even though we clearly heard Him say to go down that road another time? Yes. He clearly opened the door and closed the door for us. Was it easy? No. Is it ever easy hearing God's voice and being obedient to what He says? Sometimes. But not always. Please pray for these families.

Jen continues her discussion with The Adoption Crisis Part 2 and Part 3. Feel free to read for more information.

**After Craig read this blog, he said he didn't really feel like he knew what I was trying to say. So, if you feel the same way, my first question is...did you read Jen's article that I linked? (He said no..haha!) So, go back and read it if you didn't. And if you still have questions, please, leave me a comment or feel free to email me! :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014


I have always known that many Haitians practice Voodoo. Even those who go to church. Believe in Jesus. Out of fear, they make sure to cover their bases. In Kreole, God is called "Bon Dye" or "Good God." There are many different gods in the Voodoo religion. The Haitians want to make sure that they are pleasing all of the gods, so they make sure to pray to the "Good God" as well.  My experience with Voodoo was non existent before moving to Haiti. I really didn't understand it, nor do I really understand it now, and had a naive perspective about what it even looked like. While there are stories of humans being changed into animals (I have an American friend who married a Haitian man who says she's personally witnessed this), sacrifices done to the gods and lots of curses being placed over people and families, I wasn't prepared for how Voodoo had really been incorporated into everyday life. I didn't even notice it. I was prepared for crazy ritualistic displays, but what I found was much "simpler."

One day, while visiting with a neighbor, I noticed that one of the ladies had a piece of string tied around her toe. We asked her why and she said that it was because she had a stomach ache. This is a Voodoo practice. Another time, there was a little boy - maybe a year old - who had a string tied around his stomach like a belt. It was the only thing he was wearing. We asked why it was there and were told that it was to protect him from the curses of Voodoo. Many people, when sick, will visit a "witch doctor" and drink many different kids of concoctions given to them and perform other rituals before actually visiting the hospital. Then, as a last resort, pray to "Bondye," God. Often, by the time the person arrives at the hospital, they are more sick from waiting and from doing the rituals that sometimes they end up getting very sick and even dying from a simple sickness. We've heard stories of times when people would be thrashing around on the ground when different curses were put on them, but most of the time, the impacts of Voodoo here are so small and "normal" that they can go unnoticed.

When I was sitting on the porch with my neighbor, I didn't even really think twice about the string tied to her toe until later. It seemed like such a small, harmless thing. I thought it was weird and silly and almost laughed it off, but these small things can open the door for evil to enter and rule their lives.  1 Peter 5:8 tells us to "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." These people are opening the door the the enemy, and out of tradition and fear, giving him space to rule in their lives.

Last week, we were told about another tradition. We were sitting around our dinner table talking with friends when they told us to be very careful about what we were eating and allowing our children to eat outside of our home. They said for now that it was very important to not accept food from anyone and not to pick up any food or money, or anything else for that matter, off the ground. All year long, people have been making deals with the gods. For example, if they are given wealth, or health or protection for their families - in return, they will give a certain number of souls to that god.  Well, their deal has to be met by the end of the year. So people are looking for souls to give. They do this in a number of ways - one would be by poisoning food. People will put poison on candy and crackers and then drop them on the ground for children to find and eat. Or, they'll tamper with motos and vehicles and hope to cause an accident.  

I was not sure I believed that this really happened, so I asked a lot of my Haitian friends and they just confirmed it, telling us to be very careful because this was a dangerous time of year. We are by no means living in fear, but we want to be wise and aware of the reality that is around us.  The other evening, I was reading a book and kept noticing things moving around out of the corner of my eye. I started feeling like there was a presence there. My spirit was alert. I walked through that area of the house and just rebuked the presence over and over in the name of Jesus. I had peace and no longer saw the movement.  Last night, Morgan came into our room crying saying that she had a "really bad dream." She was very scared. I felt my defenses rising. My spirit was ready to fight. We talked about her dream and prayed and I couldn't help but think that the enemy is always roaming...looking for someone to devour. It's hard to explain to kids why God allows them to have bad dreams.

During this time especially, will you pray for us as we feel this very real spiritual warfare? We are so thankful for the body of Christ, who we know supports us in prayer while we are here. There are so many things that we are unaware of. Pray that God will keep us alert. That He will guard our hearts and minds. Every night, as we tuck the kids in for bed, we go through putting on the armor just like it tells us in Ephesians.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

                                                                                               Ephesians 6:11-20

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Visit to the States

For those of you who don't follow along on Facebook, I wanted to include a link to an album of pictures from our time in the states!

Just click on the link below...even if you don't have a Facebook'll still be able to view them.

Thanks for your support!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Father, why did You choose to bless me with being born in the United States? We are so free from persecution for our faith. My heart breaks for the people in Iraq who are being killed and whose children are being beheaded for the Christian faith. What makes me almost as sick is that I would guess a majority of American Christians don't even know what is going on. And if they do, they're so far removed from it that it's not their reality...they choose to not dwell on the fact that it's happening. They'd rather just not think about or read about those awful things that are going on...just keep scrolling past those awful articles on Facebook...if I don't read it, it won't effect me.

"Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No. There is no other Rock; I know not one!"
-Isaiah 44:8

I'll just go on with important things...making sure I remember to document the first day of school and figure out what I'm going to eat for lunch, who is going to take the kids to their play date, and when I'm going to find time to work out because for goodness sake, I'm going to look good when I put on that bathing suit or little black dress!

"I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize the Lord is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest positions He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient." 
-Hudson Taylor

But what if it were me? What if I had to leave my home and hide in the mountains with my family, fearful for our lives? Wondering where our food and water would come from. Or worse, witnessing my children being killed in front of me because I LOVE JESUS?!  While I knew people in other places in the world took their religious freedoms for granted...who complained about the church because people didn't reach out to them or they just didn't "feel it."

"I am not sure what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, He will not ask, 'How many good things have you done in your life?' Rather He will ask, 'How much love did you put into what you did?'"
-Mother Theresa

I know there is a balance. We can't just ignore what is happening. And we can't completely drop everything that we're doing. But we can reflect on what is important. Is it important to work so many hours that we are spending maybe two awake hours with our children so that we can live in our dream house and drive two vehicles and put our kids in every extra curricular activity that they want and make sure that we are keeping up with everyone else? We only live this life once. If we truly believe that God is most important (not church, but God), our family is second and everyone/thing else our lives reflect that?

"Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your savior, your guide? If He is, you don't need to search any further for security."
 -Elizabeth Elliott

We are called to LOVE. That is all. God is love. There is freedom in love. So what does love call us to do? What does love look like in action for you? Are you being LOVE?

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
-Ephesians 5:1-2

I love that evidence of Christ in me are the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Those things that we're always praying for and asking God, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Father, less of me. More of You.  The only way we will desire less of this world is if we get rid of our selfish desires and allow You to live through us.

"Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you."
-Psalms 143:8

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Independence Day!

When we first moved to Haiti, we so much wanted to be accepted. We wanted the locals to see us as one of them. We were excited when the started calling us, "Blan Haitian." (white Haitian) It showed that they knew that we were more than just a passing tourist or another team member spending a week in their home. So many people pass through that sometimes we wondered what the locals thought. We didn't want to associate ourselves with "The Americans" who came and thought they knew everything that the Haitian's needed and how to do it. To be honest, we had a bit of a chip on our shoulder about being Americans here in Haiti. As an American, much is expected of you. However, after being here for 9 months, we are realizing how blessed we are to be able to call ourselves Americans. There are hundreds of Haitians every day lining up to attempt to get their passport and visas to get into the US for a chance at a "better life." Somewhere where there are jobs, quality education, unlimited amounts of clean water and electricity and hope for the future of their family. Those times when we struggle with aching joints and high fevers and sweaty nights and upset tummies and frustrating cultural differences, we then remember that we have a US Passport in our back pocket and we can pick up and leave whenever we want, simply because God chose for us to be born in America. No other reason. And for that we're thankful. Even though this year, we did not celebrate the 4th of July with family and friends and cookouts and fireworks, (we did a few sparklers), I wanted to make sure to say that we're so thankful for the freedom that we have! Thank you to all who have made that possible for our country! Even though many argue and disagree over so many things about our crazy country, remember...we are blessed.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Here in Haiti the current exchange compared to the US dollar is 45:1. This means that 45 Haitian Goudes equals 1 dollar. But does it really?
If a person made 500 goudes PER DAY here, it would be considered a decent wage. That comes to $11.11 at today's exchange rate. That's it for the day!
Now lets compare that to someone who makes $10.00 per hour from Indiana. This means that they will make gross $80.00 per day. (yes, yes, before Uncle Sam.)
In Haiti you can buy a 500ml (16.9 oz) bottle of Coke for 25 goudes or rather $0.56 cents.
That $0.56 cents divided over the average daily wage in Haiti is the equivalent of someone making $10 per hour, paying $4.00 for the same bottle of Coke in Indiana.
...and that's only if you are one of the lucky 10-15% of the population who has a job. Next time you go to Culver's or McDonald's or Starbucks stop and be thankful for the MANY blessings in your life. Don't squander your blessings.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Don't have the words.

I know not all of you who read this blog follow us on facebook...which I would recommend if you'd like a more regular update on our life!  It's just easier for me to post a picture here and there and a short blurb explaining it. It's hard to sit down and pour out my heart...which is more of what I think a blog is for.

We are learning so many things living here in Haiti. I have so many blog posts running through my head, but for a number of reasons, fear of offending, thinking I can't get the words out right, etc, I just can't write them down. So many others have already blogged some of my same thoughts, so I'll just let you read it from them. Here's one...and before you read, I want to admit that we WERE THAT FAMILY. Every time someone would ask for money for something, I would roll my eyes and think, really? Again? But man, God has changed our families heart. We have woken up to how INCREDIBLY blessed we are and how much we have. Living here, with SO much less than what we had before, sometimes it's still awkward and embarrassing living among others who have SO much less.
"Become wildly generous. Give your life away. It’s easy to give when we have a lot. But when we give and it costs us something–that is true generosity. I’ll say it again: There is nothing more gratifying than giving someone something they need instead of buying something we want."

Just something to think about...are you sleeping through your American dream life? Do you even realize that we are NOT the norm?

Please read this blog from Kristen and try to keep an open heart.

And, on a lighter note...I've started a YouTube account to post little videos about our life here in Haiti...make sure to check it out once in a while...if you want ;)

YouTube Channel

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Call to Encourage

Since this is my personal page, I'm going to be honest. Yesterday, I posted this (below) on the Okipe facebook page. Over 1400 people saw this. 4 people gave. I don't want to guilt you into giving. But it made me really think. I know $100 is a lot of money. I know $35 is a lot. But we are so blessed financially. That is one thing that I have seen over and over living in Haiti. Even those times when we think that things are tight, I encourage you to look around and see the things in your house that you could live without. Jesus calls us to a different life. Even living here in Haiti, our Western culture and habits are sneaking in. Our house is somehow mysteriously filling up with "stuff." It breaks my heart when I see people holding on to things so tightly and who are miserable. Then, I look around at my neighbors and friends here, who have next to nothing, and are just filled with joy, love and generosity for others. If there is ever a need, or even a want, they are there to give. The other day, Craig said, "I stink...I need a shower!" They instantly stood up and said you can shower here! Then they headed to get some water until Craig stopped them. That may not seem like a big deal, and it's just an example. But they don't just have water at their house. They have to walk to one of the public wells every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and then carry water back to do basic things like wash and cook.

Craig and I have always hated asking for money. But I have no guilt in campaigning for these children who have no hope otherwise. I challenge you to pray. If you feel like God is asking you to give, even though you don't know how you might get through the next week, do it. Our God is so much bigger than I tended to think when I lived in the States. He is just waiting to show us some of His blessings. We just have to give up some control and give Him the opportunity.  The people living around me a lot of times are unable to control their circumstances and therefor MUST rely on God to  provide for them. AND HE DOES. Not always in the ways that they might have wanted or thought originally. But God's ways are higher than ours. 

And, if while you're praying and seeking God's will for your family, you feel that He is asking something more of you; something more long term, please email me. I will talk with you about how you can help give these kiddos food, education, medical care and so much more with just $10 a month. 

"You will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." Ephesians 3:19


Guess What?! We have an opportunity to be a part of something BIG! Everyone has their own ways in which they are helping the children at the Jesus Home for Children of La Gonave.
Doug Barden, a New Director from California, decided a year ago that he was going to participate in an IRONMAN to raise money for the children! Talk about HARD WORK! His goal is to get people to sponsor all 140 miles that he is biking, swimming and running!! Over the past year, he has trained and told the story, but guess what? He is discouraged. Not many people are responding to his plea for help. I LOVE when people dream big. Originally, Doug was asking people to sponsor a mile for $100. He would be able to raise $14,000 for the Children's Village!! After seeing the lack of response, he has cut his goal by more than half and lowered the donation to $35 per mile. I would LOVE to see people jump on board, if you're able, at his original goal! Let's blow Doug away with our generosity and get behind him as he trains for these next 7 weeks!!

Please take a few minutes to click on the YouTube link below and watch the video that he made. He explains everything VERY simply and it's very well done. 

Then, if you are able, go to his fundraising page and choose a mile to sponsor by clicking the green DONATE button at the top of the page!


Monday, April 14, 2014

March in Review! (In pictures)

Hold on to your hats! This is one LONG post of pictures covering our month of February.

Miss Nancy is a Global Partner's missionary who is teaching adult English classes. On Saturday mornings, she comes to the Children's Village to teach three English classes to the older kids. Morgan decided to help one week.

We had a team from our hometown visit this month. Here they are doing a medical clinic for the staff (and some children) of the Children's Village. 

 Our crazy boy! It's funny how the kids find this one small patch of grass at the village to play on!

This month we tried our hand at making cinnamon rolls from scratch. I've got some great helpers!

Straight out of the oven! We added a little frosting to the top....YUM! They were SO good!

 When teams come from our hometown, they usually come with gifts for the kids from grandparents, family and friends :)

 Out on one of our Sunday afternoon snorkeling trips. If you can believe it, this day was actually a bit chilly! (Probably still in the mid to upper 80's but it still felt cold!)

 Carnival is celebrated in Haiti. It is kind of like Mardis Gras. However, it is celebrated for about 5 days. All week, this party bus would drive around with LOUD music. People were just having fun, but when you're woken up at 12am, 1am and 2am from the loud music from the bus coming down your street...not so fun.

 We had another team visit from our hometown! This team was partly made up of some nursing students from IWU. They did a CPR training with the house moms at the Children's Village.

 Jaron...being his usual self...CLIMBING!

 We invited the team over for brownies and some time to talk. It was nice seeing some familiar faces and meeting new people as well!

 Before we left, we bought this chair at IKEA. We decided this month was as good as any to put it up for the kids. We knew we wanted to wait a little so that it would be something new and fun. The kids love it. They spin each other in it an I don't know how they don't get sick! They also like to read in it. They call it their nest.

 February was a busy month with teams! This team came from Canada and spruced up the paint on some of the pods. They also did some crafts and songs with the kids in the afternoons.

 Jaron is so sweet. One of the house moms had twins in November and he LOVES to hold them an play with them. This is the little boy.

 If he's not climbing...he's usually upside down. :)

 One of the kids' favorite things to do is catch animals. Chickens, goats, donkeys, lizards, etc.  I love that they are not afraid at all.

 Playing at the Children's Village. 

This month, the kids found a tiny, little baby goat. It couldn't have been more than a couple days old. The neighbor kids convinced our kids that the mama had abandoned the baby goat and that it would die if we didn't take care of it. (I honestly don't know if the mom had abandoned it or not, but we did walk back over and look for the mom and she wasn't anywhere around.)

Morgan named her Cola.

 At first, we fed her with this straw thingy. Then we bought a baby bottle at the market and she drank from that really well after she got the hang of it. Morgan and Jaron did a great job taking care of her. She would eat every couple hours around the clock and the kids would get up to feed her during the night.

 Can you spot Craig's head? He was playing a game on his phone. The kids are all so fascinated with technology!

Sleepover! The kids invited their friends Ella and Rebecca to sleep over. You can see Cola in her little box bed at the end of the beds. Morgan put her stuffed animal horse in there so Cola would feel like she was sleeping with her mama.

Fresh veggies to make some salsa!

 This month, a brand new gas station and super market opened up on the island. We were invited to attend the inauguration. The tickets said that it would start at 4. We knew not to come then, but we did arrive around 5:00. The actual ceremony didn't start until around 6. It was HOT sitting there waiting. However, we are very excited for this new establishment. So far, they only sell gas and some drinks, but they are working on getting more things for the supermarket! Maybe I will be able to get more groceries on the island now. We'll see!

 The entire ceremony was in Creole and lasted about two hours. This about sums up how we all felt ;)

Well, despite our best efforts, we just weren't good enough for Cola. She was just too young and needed her mama. She ended up dying in the night. We had her for about a week. This was SO hard on Morgan. We had some good talks and decided that it would best that if we ever found another baby goat that we thought was abandoned, we should leave it for a while and make sure that the mama really doesn't come back. It was a fun week for the kids to take care of Cola and I'm sure something they'll remember for a long time.  So, we had a little funeral and buried her with her little collar that Jaron made her and her bottle. (Thanks Caleb and Michelle for the box of goodies! It made the perfect "casket" for Cola!)

 This month, we also started a new worship service on Wednesday nights. This is the property where we are currently holding the service. We had some time to do a prayer walk and pray over the property.

Craig meets with two of our Haitian friends once a week to go over the passage that will be taught that week. This time has been very meaningful to all involved. We have learned a lot about the Haitian culture and are thankful that we have been accepted to be a part of this service. 

 Some of our friends who were here to oversee the hospital build left this month. Here we are at one of their favorite rooftop "restaurants." 

Morgan, Jaron and some of the neighbor kids. I promise I did not make them do this. It looks like some sort of torture punishment! They thought it was pretty funny :)

 We met a doctor from Korea. Some of our friends are working with him and we invited them over for dinner after church. I love that he got down on the floor and started tying balloons together with the kids to see how long of a chain they could make. I'm so thankful for all of the precious people we have encountered while we've been here. What a blessing!

Jaron climbing again...this time on the neighbor's wall.

 At the "airport" saying goodbye to our friends. They have been in Haiti for 2 1/2 years and are now heading back home to England.  

Goodbyes are never easy.

 The kids had been planning and working all day to put on a party. It was all very secretive. Here Jaron is up on our roof getting ready for the party!

The rooftop party! The kids were so excited. They had decorated the roof with balloons.

They had water and snacks all ready :)

 The neighbors came over!

 Little Miss Deborah - love her!

 What party is complete without a little music? So we pumped some tunes and started dancing!

 And jumping rope! These girls are amazing...they make it look really easy!

 These are four sisters who live across the street. They have three other sisters. 
Ymma, Edna, Me, Rebeka, Tidodo

We drew quite a crowd...

 We partied until the sun went down. The balloons were transformed from decorations to some crazy headpieces. 

This month, one of our hens had chicks. Unfortunately, one died :(

 On our way to our first church service!

 Worship time

 Back at the Children's Village. Jaron always seems to find the babies :)

 Another team came and had a time of worship with the kids. 

We are getting into the windy time of year. All of the kids are making kites. Here Jaron's upset because they won't let him fly it ;)

 Goat catching!

 Jaron has been SO creative. Every day, he makes multiple things. He's learned how to use a glue gun, multiple tools, including power tools, and a machete. Here, he made a cross and then he and Morgan wanted me to take a picture of them acting out Jesus being crucified and Morgan was kneeling.

 Soccer buddies at the village.

Whew! My shoulders are sore from sitting here at the computer! Thanks for keeping up with our crazy journey! We're so thankful that we are able to be here. We are learning new things every day and growing individually and as a family. Thank you for your prayers! I never know who all reads and looks at this blog - but it always encourages me when someone tells me that they love to follow along! It makes us feel like we're not quite so far away.