To join in the festive fun, here is a photo of our house at night and our tree at night. (Yes, those are open windows! It's Florida!)
Insights into these Shoes' Soul
Sunday, December 21, 2008
First, we are really happy to have Devon home from CIU for Christmas! He was here for a day before he was off to play ultimate frisbee. He got a job with the same company he'd worked for during the summer, applying special coatings to garage floors, etc. He is staying with his grandparents in Naples for the time being.
During that day that he was here, he was able to help us with a small project. We found a doghouse on Craig's list and he helped us move it.
Of course there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not Duke will use it, but it sure looks great in the backyard!
After the Board meetings Dan spent a week in Texas. He was able to present the Sister Church Program to churches in Waco and Fredricksberg. He also had an evening with 2 current Sister Churches in Austin. RMI's Director of Development, Kent Commons, was with Dan on part of this trip. It was a good trip. Pray for these 2 new contacts. The pastors were very interested in the uniqueness and depth of the program - and the fact that it could minister not only to Haitian brothers and sisters but to their own people. We'd love to have them join the Sister Church Program!
And now he has unpacked his suitcases for a few weeks. It's great to have him home! In the last 3 weeks we've had Thanksgiving, a garage sale, lots of volleyball, the Board meetings, this trip to Texas, other RMI meetings -- a lot of stuff crammed into that time, so we are looking forward to having a Christmas break. We're behind in decorating for the holidays, cooking backing and shopping!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
What would we do without our Board members? Dec. 4 & 5 was RMI's semi-annual board meetings. We all had worked very hard to get reports ready, especially Rob. He recently changed RMI's accounting system over to QuickBooks. This meant quite a few more reports for the board. But this was a good thing! They had wanted these new reports.
We met in a conference room at our church, which worked great since it was close to the office, our home and the hotel where some of the members stayed. They even supplied our snacks and lunch.
We have great guys on the board. They are very involved and the knowledge they bring is so helpful to us. The meetings went very well. It's very encouraging to look back at the past 6 months and see how God has worked and the progress that has been made. And it's exciting and challenging to look ahead at the things in front of us. The economy has affected RMI and we do have challenging times before us. Pray for us as we continue to serve our Lord through RMI!
Devon and 2 missionary kid buddies, Kyle and Andrew Vrooman left Titusville, FL about 6 a.m. and got to our house at 9:30 for a big breakfast. I'd been up very early baking, baking and then doing some more baking. There was turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmellows on top, cranberry sauce, "pink stuff", scallop potatoes, pumpkin pies and chocolate cake. The cake was Dawn's request because it was Thanksgiving AND we were celebrating her 18th birthday (finally).
Herb, Shirley, Alyssia (Dave & Rosie's daughter), Doug, Cindy and their 2 kids made 13 people. As we were serving up the food, David, Jr. (Dave's oldest son), showed up! He'd driven over from Miami unannounced, but very welcome! Then as we were just about finished, Caleb (Dave's youngest son) and his wife called asking if there was any food left and if they could come over. That made 16 people. There was plenty of food.
The house was full to overflowing. I told Dan at the end of the day that people just trickled in then trickled out all day long. It was interesting - when we went outside, we looked up and down the street and saw that most of the homes on our block had multiple cars out front like our home. There must have been a lot of turkey being eaten and a lot of family time going on!
Devon stayed for the weekend. We didn't see much of him since he kept really busy. He and Dawn helped us out on the Saturday after Thanksgiving when we had a garage sale. Once we got things going, they went down to Naples to fish and hang out. It was a tiring day, but we got rid of a lot stuff. Now we can actually walk in the garage.
Sunday Dawn had club volleyball tryouts (God has made it possible for her to do club volleyball again!) - she made the team. Devon left to go back to CIU Sunday as well.
What a long, full weekend! But at least they left us some turkey!
Friday, November 21, 2008
It seems that a part of a missionary's identity is tied to suitcases. Suitcases mean travel, planes, airports, delays, packing, unpacking, leaving family, seeing old friends and making new ones, meetings, changing climates - the list could go on!
RMI staff have been traveling quite a bit these days.
Dan's suitcases (along with him) went to:
Haiti in September.
Lafayette, LA in October to see Trinity Bible Church as well as another trip to Haiti.
Chicago, IL to visit The Orchard Evangelical Free Church and Village Church of Bartlett. Then to the northeast to speak at Calvary Baptist Church in Pemberton, NJ and to visit with Great Valley Presbyterian in Philadelphia, PA -- all in November. (There was snow!!)
Lakeline and NewChurch Georgetown in Austin, TX will see him in December. Several new churches in that area and the Waco, TX area will be visited as well.
Rob's suitcases (accompanied by him) went to:
Haiti in September.
Chicago, IL to visit The Orchard Evangelical Free Church and his supporters in that area. He took his whole family, so there were quite a number of suitcases.
Billy & Debbie Moses' suitcases, although recently unpacked, went with them to the RMI office for a week in October. They were there for QuickBooks training and administrative meetings.
Pray the RMI staff as they go about the everyday business of operating RMI. Pray for them as they travel, that God will bless their meetings and the contacts they make, that the trips will be successful and profitable.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I know because I was one of them! It started with being at our precinct at 5:30 a.m. From that moment on it was intense activity. We had to have everything ready for the doors to open at 7. There were 45 minutes to 1 hour waits at our precinct, which wasn't too bad from what I was told! Since Florida had it's little "hanging chad" incident a few years ago, they wanted everything to go smoothly. All of us workers learned very exacting procedures that would create a paper trail if it was ever needed. I ended up having one of the jobs that was the most labor intensive, but at least it was a sitting down job. My legs and feet have gotten so bad, that I couldn't have taken standing on my feet all day. My co-worker and I worked all day with very few breaks. Wow, what a job. By 5:00 we were finding it hard to smile and be cheery to every single person (and certain other poll workers who had difficult personalities). But in general, we found most voters pleasant and quite eager to vote. It was interesting to see the cross section of society that came in....little old ladies, big burly biker dudes, blue collar workers, lawyer-type business men and women, medical professionals, teachers, new citizens, and I think we even saw "Joe the plumber"! It was cool to welcome first time voters, most of them "newly minted adults". The first voter in line was there at 5:45 a.m., a young man who was a first time voter. He wanted to make sure he got to vote, to be the first one and have his vote count. Did they all know what a privilege it is to be in a country where they could easily, freely and privately vote? I hope so.
Oh - and one new voter was our daughter, Dawn! She DOES know what it means. Really cool.
Yes, it was a long day and I'm glad that I was a part of it. Just wish it'd gone differently for the candidates, but that is another subject for another time.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Oct. 24, 1990 Debbie gave birth to our 2nd child and we named her Dawn. Today, Dawn turns 18 years old! She was born in Cayes, Haiti, the first birth of a missionary child in the mission maternity clinic in over 10 years. Within 2 hours of her birth, the windows and doorways were filled with Haitian faces who came to see this little white baby. At the time she was 6 lbs. 13 oz. and 22" long.
My, how things have changed!!!!
She has grown (and grown and grown!) into a lovely, fun-loving, caring, insightful, mature, classy (with a style of her own), fantastic Christian young woman.
We are so proud of her. She is a joy to have in our family.
Her high school volleyball days are drawing to a close. The official season is over and this coming week is the district playoffs & championship. If the team takes that, they will move on to the regionals. She is the captain of the team, but it's been a tough season, especially after losing their coach at the beginning of the season. Right now the team is undefeated in their division. We'll let you know how this week's playoffs go.
This last week was her senior volleyball night, where the team and school honors the seniors of the team. Since she is the only senior, she got all the hoopla all to herself, which was actually nice.
Pray for her as she finishes her senior year and especially as she considers colleges. She wants to play volleyball and really needs a scholarship (actually it is us that need a scholarship!!). A couple of Christian colleges are interested in her, but it will take a lot of grace....or something to entice her to play where there is snow. Sunny beaches and warm Caribbean breezes run in her veins. So please do pray for us as we help her consider her choices!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
As you are well aware, Haiti has undergone the worse flooding probably in its history. The flooding and destruction has been nationwide. I cannot remember this happening before. The reports we are getting from our sister churches are heart wrenching as we hear of the complete destruction of crops and the tremendous loss of livestock in so many areas. Many have lost their homes and belongings. Some have lost loved ones. Thankfully, it seems the loss of life has been minimal in the areas where we minister.
Our team in Haiti has been meeting with as many pastors as they can to get information as well as find out how we can best help them in this time of need. They have also met with the Executive Committee of the MEBSH to gather their input and advice as to how to best help their churches during this very difficult time. As they have gathered this information, one theme has been echoed by many. The pastors have shared that although food is a great need for the people, it can be bought in most every area at this time. Rice, beans, etc are available locally.
The real issue is the funds to purchase the food. Another aspect that many brought out is that many people might have greater needs than food at this time. Many have had their homes damaged or washed away entirely. Many have no problem with their home, but due to water getting into the home have lost many of their possessions, clothes, etc.. Again, funds would be a better solution for them than a bag of rice at this time. Another consideration is that funds can be distributed much more quickly and in a more orderly fashion than can food. Still another consideration has been the local economic benefit that an influx of funds would supply.
After several conference calls between the team in Haiti and Rob and I, we have determined together what we feel is the best course of action.
Therefore, we are now asking our Sister Churches that are desirous and able to help with relief to send funds through RMI to be distributed to each Sister Church. As mentioned before, to help join the relief effort, RMI will not be assessing our typical 10% administrative fee.
The RMI team in Haiti will get the funds exchanged into Haitian currency and then distribute the funds to each Sister Church Pastor. The Pastor will then meet with the church leadership committee to determine how the funds will be divided up depending on where the greatest needs are.
Recipient families will be given money to help them with their specific needs. A report will be given back to RMI from each Sister Church on who the funds were given to and how the funds were used. These reports will then be forwarded back to each donating church. As you can imagine, we are working hard to address the issues of security, transparency and accountability throughout this effort.
How much aid is needed for each church? I am afraid the answer is whatever God provides. One way to present this to your people is for a family to help a family. A 50lb bag of rice, a 20lb bag of beans, and a gallon of cooking oil together would cost about $110 US. So for $110, a family here in the US can potentially help a family in Haiti with food that would last quite a while for them. Again, please be aware that the funds will be divided up on site according to need and situation and not exactly according to the above. The funds could also potentially be used to purchase other food items, clothes, transportation, medical care, agricultural supplies, livestock, roof and house repairs, etc.. Yes, the needs are great! Hopefully this gives you a guideline for you and your congregation as you seek to “do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.".
If you are a member of a Sister Church, please contact your church's RMI Sister Church Program Coordinator to find our if your church is collecting funds. If so, you can give through your church.
If you are not able to give through an RMI Sister Church, you can give individually by sending a check to RMI or by giving online. Your funds will be used to provide relief as our RMI team in Haiti deems appropriate.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Monday we learned that Devon had sprained his ankle severely. He went to an orthopedic walk-in clinic to have it examined. The conclusion was that it was a very bad sprain. At least it wasn't broken! They gave him a boot to walk in and some meds because even though the injury was more than a week old, it was still very swollen, black and blue and painful.
Will it slow him down? Extremely doubtful, but at least he won't be jumping down flights of stairs in one flying leap for a while!
He says his studies are doing better than last year. He is still working through the process of getting a loan to pay for this semester. Pray for him in this aspect. He does want to continue, but has no funds for it. Pray also for his ankle to heal well and that he'll obey the doctors orders.
As the captain of the Varsity team, Dawn is working hard at providing strong, spiritual leadership. Here she is encouraging her team as a game starts. She is number 33.
There is a reason some call her Air Dawn!
So far the team has won the first 2 games in their division. They are learning to work together as a team and working on ramping up their playing level to varsity level. The 2 wins really encouraged them!!
Pray for Dawn as she tries to keep up with her school work in the midst of a tough game schedule. She is finding her classes hard this year. She is also feeling the pressure of looking at colleges, searching out scholarships, etc. For the last 10 days she's had a cold/flu type of thing that has triggered her asthma, so she's worried about getting mono again. Overwhelmed is the best word that describes her state of mind right now!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
RMI missionary, Billy Moses, posted this yesterday. Hurricane Ike was the 4th hurricane/storm to go through Haiti within 2-3 weeks. Ike's rains have pushed a bad situation over the top to be the flood of 30 years! The result is devastation to the whole country, it's crops, it's people and what little infrastructure there was. The RMI team is working hard (despite having their own homes flooded!!) to try to get word from the various sister churches scattered all over the southern peninsula. They are also working with MEBSH leadership to put together flood relief. Keep an eye on RMI's website at www.rminet.org/blog for updates on how you can pray and help out. In-country flight service is still running, but we're talking about 13 passenger planes! But as long as the roads to the sister church is open, we'll let the teams fly in as usual. But now fuel & food & other supplies will be an issue!
"As we move about in Les Cayes today, we see the sun shining, people are going about their business and things seem to have returned to normal. However, this is not the case.
We thought that when it quit raining, the rivers would subside, the roads would dry up, and things would return to normal...well at least normal for Haiti. We received news yesterday that in the town of Miragoane there is a big problem. Miragoane is on the northern coast of the southern peninsula about halfway between Les Cayes and Port-au-Prince. Some of you might remember it as the place where they had a restaurant in the middle of the road. About 2 miles outside of town towards Port there is a river that flows across the road and into a large lake. That river flooded, the lake filled and flooded, and the road has disappeared. For a while people would arrive there and shut down their engines and then pay to have their vehicles pushed across the river so as not to flood out their engines. Then it got too deep for that and the people would ride across in buses. Then it got too deep for that. The next solution was to arrive at the river/lake and pay to be ferried across in a boat where they would then board another bus and continue on. Not too many days ago a boat capsized because there were too many people aboard and two people died. Now the UN has completely shut down the road there, even to the extent of putting up chains to prevent people from trying to cross.
The problem is that the lake has no outflow. There is no drainage for the lake. The water will stay across the road until it evaporates. Unless they come up with some kind of solution it could be a long time until the road opens again.
What does this mean for Les Cayes and southern Haiti? This means that all traffic going out the southern peninsula will shut down. As a result everything in Les Cayes and southern Haiti will be in short supply and more expensive. We tried to fill the tanks of our vehicles today and there is no diesel for sale. We also tried to fill our gas cans with gas and they will not sell gas that way. They will only sell gas if you put it into a motorcycle or car. We are going to town today to try to stock up against shortages. This is the first I've ever heard of stocking up after a hurricane. Please pray for RMI missionaries and staff and for your Sister Churches as we don't know what the next days will bring."
On Sept. 2 received the following email from Rod Wray. The pictures were taken by Tim Wray. The Wrays are fellow missionaries working in southern Haiti that live on the mission center where we used to live and where our RMI missionaries are now. Keep in mind that this was BEFORE Hurricane Ike went through there 2 days later!!!!
"Poor Haiti is really suffering this year, having been hit by Hurricane Fay, Hurricane Gustav and now by Hurricane Hannah. All three of these storms have deposited a lot of rain, but over the past 12 hours Hannah has dumped so much rain on Haiti that people in our area are saying that this is the worst flooding that they can ever remember.
These pictures are all courtesy of Tim Wray.
These are the corn fields down below our house.
This is the high school where we just poured the new sports courts. You can see the volleyball nets in the background.
Hundreds and maybe thousands of homes are completely flooded.
The flash floods came so fast that some people were stranded.
Most all the main roads in town are flooded.
The flood waters are almost flowing over the bridge leading into Cayes.
People were stranded at the half finished cement block house on the right
Even churches were not exempt. This is First Baptist Church in downtown Cayes.
A group of crazy guys out exploring during the flooding..
Please continue to pray for us and the people of Haiti. So many people around us have no food, no dry clothes or shelter, and no dry charcoal to cook with."
bye for now,
Love Rod, Deb and gang
Monday, September 1, 2008
It has been a very, very difficult week. So much has happened that it has been hard to write and have it up to date.
Last week on Tuesday, Dawn's volleyball coach was fired by the school. No reason was given when the administration told the team. The same was true the next day at a parents meeting. In fact the administration would not give the parents a forum in which to ask questions, express concerns, etc. After quite a bit of pressing, they did say that it was nothing immoral or illegal but rather "infraction of their rules & regulations". Their decision was quite a shock to everyone - the parents, the players, others at the school and even the coach himself. He has been an incredibly great coach, serving the school for over 15 years. He took the school's team to the state finals the last 3 years in a row with 2 state titles!
We count the coach as a personal friend and have spent time with him since all this happened. He has done so much for us as a family and for Dawn and we appreciate him so much. Words cannot express our feelings. It has been hard to understand why the administration has taken this action. And at the beginning of the school year and season! It has really been a roller coaster.
The school asked the assistant coach to take over, which she has done. We know her from church and from club volleyball and also count she and her husband as personal friends. As you can imagine she is overwhelmed with being thrust into that position.
Even though our hearts are heavy and sad, we know we have to move on for Dawn's sake. This is her senior year - she wants it to be as good as possible! We are doing our best to be positive for the team and for Dawn. We're happy to back the new coach and encourage her as well.
Last night, Sunday, we had all the parents of the team and the coach over for a cookout. BYOM, bring your own meat to grill. We had a great time together getting to know one another, laughing, sharing and praying for our girls. It was a good bonding time.
We were surprised to read the paper today. Here is the link: http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080901/HSS12/809010362/1010/SPORTS&referrer=NEWSFRONTCAROUSEL.
It is a very nice article about the new coach, the team as well as quoting the team's only senior (DAWN) at length. The newspaper called her on her cell the day after it happened. She was very positive and was a great testimony. We were so proud of her when we saw that she'd been quoted extensively. Think of all of the public that will read it and have that witness of God's sovereignty.
The photos from their pre-season tournament Friday and Saturday can be found at http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Site=A4&Date=20080831&Category=SPORTS01&ArtNo=808310803&Ref=PH&Profile=1010&referrer=NEWSFRONTCAROUSEL. Dawn is number 13.
It will indeed be a tough year for the team. Dawn is the only returning varsity player, all the others are upcoming junior varsity girls. They have to learn to play a higher level game and learn to play together. Like Dawn said in the article, it'll be a hard year, but a good one.
Pray for her as she works to lead the team. Their first game is tomorrow, Tuesday, night.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Yesterday was an interesting day. It was my first day to serve as a poll worker. It was a primary, so the turn out was light - very light, too light! Only 6 or 7% of that particular precinct. Thus it was very boring. The next election, you know, the presidential one, will be a different story.
We were trained to handle difficult people (voters), but they never mentioned difficult co-workers! I enjoyed the job I was given, and the gal that I worked with. The worker that sat next to us was another story. In the 14 hours we were there, she never quit talking. Is there another word for "know it all but was wrong about it all? That's the word I'd also use for a description as well. I was so glad to get home and put my feet up.
I am hoping that more people take their responsibility as an American seriously in November and come out to vote. If you don't vote, you can't complain one voter told me yesterday. It is painless and doesn't take long. Even if you don't like the choices, you still need to vote. Ok, enough of the advertisement! Just wanted to make sure you all get out and do your part for our country's choice in a new leader.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Yeah, you have to stop and think about that one for a moment. "Fay" showed that she has a mind of her own. She turned early, came ashore much sooner and has not decreased in speed. Since she turned inland earlier, that meant that the eye went 8-10 miles east of us rather than several miles off the coast to the west of us. At 10:30 a.m. the eye was directly east of here where we live. The winds have been constant since last night but got much stronger throughout the morning - getting very fierce at times. Our house is holding together fine. The lanai is completely wet, clear up to our sliding doors.
There has been more than 5" of rain. Here is a picture of our right side neighbor's backyard.
This is our left side neighbor's backyard.
We must be at a slightly higher elevation because our yard is a little less flooded.
Considering we're practically in the everglades, that must be a foot or 2 in elevation!
The electricity has flickered on and off some but has stayed on, for which we are thankful!!
By tonight the rain should stop and tomorrow we'll see the sun again. Then will come to job of putting the potted plants back outside, cleaning up the lanai, etc. Praise God that it has not been worse for us and the rest of the area.
Monday, August 18, 2008
We are sitting in the projected path of the eye. We are grateful that it is only going to be a category 1. The outer bands are just coming over our home now. It's dreary, heavily overcast, breezy and much cooler than it usually is. We've taken in most of our potted plants and outdoor furniture. We have food and water, the cars are gassed up, and things are fairly ready.
Dawn is at school, but school is canceled tomorrow. We should feel the full effects tomorrow from 4-9 a.m.
So we'll see what she ends up doing. More tomorrow - we'll let you know how things have gone.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
August 7 and 8 I had the opportunity to attend the Willow Creek Association "The Leadership Summit" they produce every year. It is beamed via satellite into more than 100 locations in the US. What a great opportunity to be immersed in awesome teaching. As speaker after speaker shared from their hearts about leaders and spiritual as well as practical principles of leadership, I was challenged and re-vitalized.
It was a great time of input into my life personally and as a leader. I have some good input that will help me as an RMI leader. I was also able to make some good contacts for possible future sister churches.
But mostly I appreciated the emphasis from all the speakers on the need as leaders for spiritual holiness, freshness, and devotion to Christ. No matter the ministry, organization, or company, the first order of business is your own personal pursuit of holiness. Funny how that sounds so biblical! However, in the pursuit of providing good leadership it is so easy to forget the foundation.
I needed to hear those words. I was challenged in my own faith to verify my continual pursuit of Christ. How close am I to my Lord? How sold out am I for Him? Can I say as one speaker said, "Bring it on God! Whatever you want, I am yours".
How about you? Are you pursuing God? What is your first order of business? Can you say to God, "Bring it on God! "?
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Today was the first day of school - for the last time for Dawn! She is a senior!! I'm not too sure about this and I do not know how it happened! Yesterday she was knee high to a grasshopper in braids with a scrapped elbow. Today she is a senior thinking of colleges. Do you know what that means? We will be quasi-empty nesters! That means that we are kind of empty nesters as the quasi-adults try to spread their wings, fly off for a while, come home to roost and have someone do their laundry then fly off again. And for all of you with new hatchlings, don't think you're day isn't coming!!
Back to Dawn....she was immersed in volleyball most of the summer, but especially this week as tryouts and first practices started even before classes started. After last year's powerhouse team, she is now the only returning player from last year's team. That and being the one and only senior, she is really feeling the pressure! Pray for her as she leads her team. The coach has asked her to be the spiritual leader and may possibly name her captain. He took one idea she had for the varsity team and made it mandatory for the whole high school volleyball program. She wanted the girls to write in a journal 3 things every day: a verse or inspirational quote, 1 thing they are going to work on during that practice to better the team and 1 thing they are going to work on to better themselves during that practice. So I got the job of buying the journals, printing and gluing in a note explaining it from the coach. They were handed out at the parents meeting/first practice. It was received very well, especially by the parents and coaches.
Pray for her as she looks at colleges. It's a daunting task with so many things to consider....play volleyball or not, close to home or far away, majors, and the biggest - how on earth will she pay for it????! It's mind boggling.
We have senior pictures to take, a senior trip to find the money for, homecoming, prom, yearbook, graduation and who knows what else to face, too! We'll all give a big sigh of relief when it's over on May 22, 2009.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
It had been a successful day of fishing in the mangroves for Devon, his grandparents, Herb and Shirley Shoemaker, and his cousin, Caleb and his wife, Katarina last Saturday. That is until Devon's grandmother pulled in a catfish. As it came out of the water, it swung wildly. Devon tried to dodge it but it struck his stomach. What most people don't know is that catfish have a stinging barbs on their dorsal and pectoral fins. One of those barbs penetrated his stomach area. It was in him so well that he had to really yank hard on the fish to get it out! The toxin caused immediate, intense pain throughout his whole body. They took him back to the house and looked up the treatment for catfish sting on the internet. Surprisingly, it's to apply heat to draw out the poison. Even with some heavy painkillers and hot compresses, he was in intense pain for hours. He told us the next day that he really thought he was going to die. He showed us the entry site and it looks just like a pinprick. Amazing. I'm just glad that he was with people who could take care of him right away (that he wasn't alone!) and that it didn't hit him in the heart area!
He sure keeps his guardian angels busy!
[As of today, his stomach area is still very sensitive and he is starting to feel much better overall.]
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I saw the advertisement in the newspaper. The county election services was looking for poll workers for the upcoming elections. I was going to be in the area of their office the next morning, so I stopped in. Before I knew it, I'd signed up and passed their simple cognitive test. (That means that in 20 questions they determined that I was smart enough to help out!) I took the required 3 hour class last night. My fellow classmates and I learned how to be pleasant and nice to people (guess that "skill" has died out while I was out of the states) as well as how to do our specific job.
The process and job is very exacting and tightly controlled to preserve the integrity of the election process. Having lived in Haiti for 25 years and seen that "election process", I was struck by the stark day and night contrast between these 2 countries. The difference list could go on for pages and pages, but basically it is the well thought out process, organization of it, and goal of assuring the integrity of the election. Whereas Haiti's election is the exact opposite: lack of ballots, NO organization of how to carry it out, no controls, and most definitely NO integrity. I know my perspective is unique, having lived out of the country for so long, but I couldn't help but think, "Do Americans REALLY know what they have??!!"
I do not think so!
Sorry, just had to wake you all up! No matter how messed up you may think America is, it is still a most special country and it's citizens are indeed very privileged. Anyway, I'm looking forward to helping out in the upcoming elections, although it will be hard to remain nonpartisan for the day. It should be an interesting experience. I'm assigned to work in a precinct near our home, so I'll get to interact with quite a number of people from our small town. My world consists of church and work here at RMI, so expanding my borders will be good and hopefully refreshing/challenging.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
This past Thursday Deb and I went over to Ft. Lauderdale to spend the evening with Billy and Debbie Moses and their family (RMI missionaries in Haiti) and then put them on the plane on Friday A.M. as they headed back to Haiti. What a change for us. For 25 years it was our family that was heading back to Haiti. Now we are the ones waving goodbye as the last one passes through security. It was a strange feeling.
As we drove away from the airport afterwards, Deb and I talked about the mixed emotions this caused within us. On one hand, we remembered all the good times we had in Haiti, all the friends we (still) have there, and the ministry we were always going back to. On the other hand, we certainly did not miss the hectic last days of shopping, packing suitcases down to the last ounce, trying to get all the last minute details done, always wishing you had another day (or 2 or 3) and getting very little sleep if any before heading off to the airport early in the morning knowing you had a looong day ahead. Being able to fly from to Port to Cayes eases some of the burden, but for the most part we would have to get to Port and then drive 6 hours over rough roads to get home. Whew!
However, we agreed that we are glad those days are behind us. We have a new home and know that we are in God's will where we are. But we sure empathize with the Moses' as they headed back and are now getting settled into life in Haiti. (They did have a very good trip back, with everything going as smoothly as it can with American Airlines and in Haiti!)
It was good to see them and send them off with a hug.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
We are home! The 2 weeks we spent traveling seemed like an eternity in some ways. It was good to see Deb's family, though. They spent a lot of time beading, something they've all recently "gotten into". Her mom's dining room table was turned into a necklace and earring design factory. It was a fun way to spend time together. Dawn turned out to be quite creative and proficient in it.
Dan used some of the time to meet with his advisor at CIU in regards to his starting in the fall to work towards his Masters. Dawn spent a day at CIU too getting a tour and learning about the school. She is starting to consider what college she is going to be attending in a year!
While the ladies were beading, he spent time with Billy Moses doing more extensive planning and training for the Haiti field. Billy has finished his studies at CIU and he and his family are heading back to Haiti July 18.
We had an interesting 4th of July. Billy Moses & family and the 3 of us went to the Peach Festival in Gilbert, SC (one stop light), only to find that there were no peaches. Can't imagine what the organizers were thinking when they planned a peach festival without peaches everywhere! As Dawn and Deb were getting their caricature pictures drawn it started to rain bushels and buckets (but not peaches). It was a sight with all of us huddled under the tent, the artist trying to stay dry and finish her drawing, Dawn and Debbie trying to stay dry, look at the artist and smile and the rest of us picking things up off the ground to keep dry, keep ourselves dry and shield the artist from the blowing rain. We were all relieved when it was finished, especially the artist. We decided supper at Carrabba's was better than waiting there for the canceled fireworks. We got home just in time to watch the neighborhood fireworks. Oh, we did find one vendor along the road back home selling peaches, so we bought a basket to bring home. NOW we finally have peaches.
~~Dawn's teeth are healing well! She was miserable for a day or 2, but she bounced back, never "chipmunked" and has done remarkably well in her recovery.
~~Dan's shoulder recovery has gone remarkably well, too. He has had no pain! Well, that is until his physical therapist gets a hold of him.
~~Debbie's legs and feet (neuropathy) continue to be an issue that affects her every day. She's on a myriad of medications, but some symptoms remain. We now have a handicapped placard for the car so she doesn't have to walk far in parking lots.
~~The trip to Wilmington went well. It is a small church and they are very excited about their first trip to meet their Sister Church at the end of September.
Friday, June 27, 2008
From the Hawthorne Summit, Dan, Dawn and I drove to South Carolina where we are staying with my mom and sister for a short visit. Thursday we drove to Gastonia, NC for our annual dental visit. A dentist there has helped us out each summer with needed dental work. This year Dan and I had our teeth cleaned. Dawn spent 4 hours in the chair having 8 cavities filled (remember, she grew up in Haiti where the water is NOT treated with fluoride!) AND had all 4 of her wisdom teeth taken out. Yes, we said all 4 of her wisdom teeth taken out!!!! Wow. What a trooper she was to have all this work done at once. And what a fantastic gift this special dentist has given us in doing the work!
She had a really rough evening with pain, etc. But had a good night's sleep and was doing better today. She has been able to eat soft food and the swelling hasn't been bad at all. We have wondered how on earth she can go through her senior year with all her wisdom gone! She didn't find that little joke very funny....but then again, she was in awful pain at the moment.
She's going to stay here in Columbia over the weekend with her grandma (not a bad deal - she is going to learn to do beading and make her own necklaces. She's already picked out some amazing beads and such to put together! She's very creative and artsy.). Dan and I will be going to speak at Church on the Cape in Wilmington, NC. They are a new sister church and are heading to Haiti this fall.
By the way, Dan is NOT experiencing much pain so far in his shoulder! His recovery seems to be going well.
RMI missionaries Billy & Debbie Moses, Gary & Marilyn McLaughlin and Jenn Rogan met RMI staff Herb & Shirley Shoemaker, Dan, Dawn and I and Rob Thompson in Hawthorne, Florida Saturday, June 21 to Tuesday, June 24. One of RMI's Board members, Billy Byrd, owns a small camp that he has renovated in this small central Florida town. Dawn and I cooked for the crowd for 3 days as they met together. It was a great time of catching up with one another and then doing extensive, strategic planning for the future for the Haiti field.
It was a great place to relax, fellowship, get away from the every day routine and spend time together. God did bless our time and we are excited about what He has for us all in the future.
When Dawn wasn't in the cookhouse, she was on the dock. Herb and Shirley pitched in, with Shirley catching the most! The last evening we had enough catfish for everyone to have a bite! She was a real trooper and fed us well.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, yesterday, Dan had his rotator cuff surgery. He was glad to get it over with to be able to get on with the recovery.
Here he is at the day surgery center before. The surgery took longer than they thought because when the doctor got in there, he found that Dan's biceps muscles were attached to the wrong part of his body. Sounds weird doesn't it?! So he reattached them to where they were supposed to be as well as doing the rotator cuff repair as planned. It won't result in any longer or different recovery for him. He explained that it was a genetic anomaly. And there's no way of knowing if his other arm is the same way.
It's really odd that after more than 25 years of lifting 70 lbs.+ luggage and all the hard Haiti driving and all the hard physical work he's been doing that this injury happens now. All we can figure is that God held him together! He has had a strong physical makeup, but over the years it's worn down to the level that lifting a 17 lbs. cat was the proverbial straw that tore the rotator cuff muscle.
As I write this, he's already had one physical therapy and the drain taken out. Sunday he'll have the local anesthesia pump taken out and the bandages taken off. Then he'll be down to that massive sling for a month. Ice will have to be applied often and therapy several times a day.
Here's the part you may not believe...tomorrow, Saturday, we (Dan, Dawn and I) are leaving for 3 weeks! RMI is having a RMI missionary/staff retreat in Central Florida for 3 days, then we will head to North and South Carolina where we will have dental work done, see family, and have meetings with several individuals and churches. It's a combined business/vacation trip.
I'm just glad that Dawn has her driving permit and wants to do a lot of the driving!! It'll be an interesting trip under the circumstances. Pray for us!! We'll give you updates as we can along the road.
For a year Dawn has had an unusual, special gift in mind for her dad, but it wasn't until this year that we were able to find a way to pull it off.
Last Saturday night, Devon came over and we were all together when we answered a knock on the door. In walked a professional chef. Grant isn't just any chef. He is a sushi chef. He came to the house with all the food and tools to give Dan and Dawn private lessons in how to make sushi!! Quite a bit of sushi is made as one learns to make several kinds with many different ingredients.
We invited another couple, James and Debbie Propp, from church (who live 3 streets away) to help us eat it...but there was so much we could have had others over too!
P.S. Dawn has made sushi for us twice since then - by herself!!
I know it is hard to believe, but yes, our firstborn is now 21. He wasn't working on his birthday, so he came over to Ft. Myers Beach where we were on a week of vacation. We all spent the day together. It was a treat to have bison meatloaf for lunch and sushi for supper. 2 friends from Haiti, Kyle and Andrew Vrooman, came over from Titusville, FL for the weekend and when we came home, they were already there at the house. Mom and Dad and one cousin, Caleb, came for the evening and we had a great cookout and party (despite the air conditioning being broken when we got home). Growing up in Haiti he was our tarantula guys. He used to capture and sell them to the visiting teams. In honor of that, I baked a plastic spider in each cupcake that I made him! :) Once he bit into one and found it, the others had to have their spidercakes.
He had told me he wanted me to make him a quilt in January (totally clueless as to what he was asking!!) I found the quilt I'd made in Haiti for my kids and showed it to him at the party, just to prove that I had made him a quilt once. But it was 20 years old and about 36 inches square. After several other presents, we gave him ours. It was so big that we had to put it in a plastic bin.
He was shocked to find a queen sized, handmade, down filled John Deere quilt that I'd made! (It was so big that I had to work on it spread all over the house and had to have help to move it around. It was a tie quilt, not a patchwork quilt, so it was "easier" to make.)
It was a great celebration and he was one happy 21 year old. God has given a good job with a specialty cement company. He lives most of the with his grandparents in Naples, staying occasionally here with us.
Happy Birthday Devon!! We love you!