It has been a hard week here in Haiti. I won’t lie. Not all my email updates are going to be about how wonderful, exciting, and fun it is to be a missionary serving the poor here in Haiti. Because the truth is that it will not always be happy happy joy joy. There will be many difficulties, trials, and suffering that we will go through…and this week was a week of just that. As I write this, my stomach still feels like it is the excavation site for the lost city of Pompeii. I have been very sick for the last week. I am now on antibiotics, but it is slow going to recovery. Because of being so stomach sick, I lost everything in my system…everything. As a result, I became very dehydrated which has caused some additional ailments. So, now I am forcing myself to drink about a gallon of water per day. Sadly, Maria now is experiencing the same stomach problems. She just started taking antibiotics this morning. Prayers are needed. Thankfully, the girls have been great. Usually, when I am as sick as I have been, I have the comforts of a nice warm bed, a TV to just veg out in front of, and the ability to get any food (hot chicken soup) or drink that my body desires. But that has not been the case here. I have had to continue to travel to St Marc every day, with the exception of one day where I just couldn’t move, to work on getting my container out of customs.
This I had to do because every day that it is there I am being charged storage fees. So yesterday when everyone was back here on the compound having a big American style Thanksgiving celebration, I was sitting in my car outside the custom office in St Marc ( a long 2 hour bumpy ride that doesn’t feel good on a good stomach, let alone a sick one) sipping on Gatorade and nibbling saltines all day long while my broker was inside trying to get our final paperwork processed. Unfortunately, the computers went down and he was unable to get the paperwork. So, basically it was a complete wasted trip and we have to turn around and go up again this morning. Also, it will cost more money because I hired a truck driver to come up since we were supposed to be loading the container on his truck to bring it back here. So, now he needs additional money since his day was wasted yesterday as well and since he needs to come back an extra day. When all is said and done, the cost of us sending our vehicle and our belongings (most of which is stuff that was donated by people to give away to the poor) and getting it through customs and into our possession will have been over $10,000. It is crazy!! The truth is that these officials in customs are making themselves rich because it is a known fact that so much of this money is going right into their pockets. And there is nothing that I can do about it. Very sad. So, needless to say, prayers are needed.
After going to Gonaives to visit my missionary friend who is doing some awesome work up there among some of the poorest, it was very clear to both Maria and I that we are not called to go there. I love my friend Emory and I am amazed by the things that he is doing there, but it is not the place where I want to bring my family. It is intense…much too intense (yes, I know Haiti itself is intense, but Gonaives is like the intense of the intense) It is a big city that has been utterly destroyed by the hurricanes last year, which the city was still rebuilding from the hurricane floods of 2004. The city is covered in dust three inches thick everywhere you go, both inside and out. So, it was just not a good fit for us and what we envision doing.
We envision a place where children can run around outside for fun and not have to be dusted off before they come back in. We are praying about another possibility that was given to us to temporarily take over an orphanage that is about 15 minutes up the road from where we are currently staying. We have visited there two times and have gotten the opportunity to get to know some of the children. They are precious children and we really enjoyed sharing with them. There are however some concerns with some of the logistics. Prayers are needed.
I will end on an encouraging word that God brought me through the Living Word several days ago. It was on a day that I was overwhelmed and feeling so defeated. I felt like I was being taken advantage of throughout this crazy customs “process”. I felt so weak and helpless. I went downstairs one night to get alone with God and just cry out to Him for help. As I was praying, I was reminded of Psalm 62. I read the psalm over and over and it seemed like every word just meant so much to me. I was so encouraged by the last verse, “One thing that I have heard, two things God has spoken to me, that you O Lord are strong, and that you O Lord are loving. Surely, you will reward each person according to what he has done.”
My God does not feel weak by the corruption in customs like I do. My God is strong!! It is not my money that people are taking deceitfully, it’s His. My God is strong AND He is loving. His name will be vindicated. All I have to do is continue to do what He has called me to do here – LOVE. He will provide everything else that is needed. He is the one who will reward each person for what he has done, whether good or bad. I don’t have to worry about it. For that reason, my soul can find rest in God alone. Thank you to all who have been faithfully praying and giving towards this ministry. May He be glorified in all that we do. Please continue in your efforts as we continue in ours. May He give all of us the strength to persevere through the trials, the grace to love Him more than our lives, and the hope that secures our hearts in Him.