It seems like time eludes me in the summer, and I'm not sure why because we mostly just relax. Yet somehow , the hot days seem to melt away faster without more than a second thought of doing dishes (my kitchen is a disaster) or of blogging.
Normally I wouldn't feel so apologetic, but this time I have some very wonderful people who deserve thanks and pictures of Allan's trip to Haiti. People who donated money or, even more importantly, prayed for him. I have been looking forward to posting a follow-up for how it went since March, when he decided to go and we started fundraising, but here we are, 1 week out and I haven't managed to sit down and put the pictures together.
So yesterday I was determined to get it done and I even pulled up blogger and started to type. But when I looked around for Allan's camera I remembered I haven't seen it since we went to Dallas for the 4th. And neither has he.
What's kind of funny (in a sick-to-my-stomach way) is that Allan gave the chip to our pastor before church to show pictures during the service. After church Jeff said, "I promise I won't lose it." Then he got a real strange look on his face and said, "that was a stupid thing to say. In fact, I'm going to give it back to you, because if I lost your pictures, I would feel terrible." AAAAAAAND, then we went and lost it the following day. It probably would have been safer with him!!
Hopefully we'll find it, I'm going to call the fairgrounds tomorrow to see if anyone turned it in. Since I have no pictures, you'll just have to do with a quick worded summary.
Allan and Jeff (our pastor, if you didn't catch that earlier) left 2 Fridays ago at 4am. The flight was VERY early. They were in Haiti that evening and everything was going well. Jeff has had a nasty cough for about a month now and it was slightly better, so that was definitely an answered prayer. Unfortunately the cough got worse after a couple of days and Jeff came home a little early so that he could go to the Dr. We are happy to report he is still coughing slightly, but doing MUCH better.
They worked in 3 orphanages, but their hearts were all captivated by one in particular. The woman who runs that orphanage is named Cloonie. She takes care of about 35 children and is up at 4:30 every morning singing praises to Christ while making breakfast for the kids. She goes to bed very late and ends the day with more praises. During the day she never sits down and always has a smile on her lips and song on her voice. The children are all very happy and well behaved. The guys interviewed her and we got to see part of that interview last Sunday. Three things she said cut me to the bone.
When asked how she began the orphanage and how she manages, she gave the history and then said, "If God tells me to GO, He will not let me go." I realize that could read 2 ways, but she meant that He will never leave her without since He told her to do this.
When asked what stresses her out she said, "that the children don't get proper nutrition."
When asked the difference between an American Christian and a Haitian Christian she said, "American Christians chase after too much stuff. In Haiti, we have nothing, so we only chase God for our every need."
Wow. I truly wish I could show you the pictures of the wide smiles on these children's faces. Jeff said that for dinner, they would place a large mixing bowl in the center of the table with beans and rice and there would be one spoon. The chlidren would all line up and as their turn came, eat one spoonful and then move to the back of the line. Each child was lucky to get a few spoonsful. A different child each night would get a whole bowl full. My guess would be that she wanted to be sure they had a full meal at some point in time.
The guys all agreed the heat was unlike anything they'd experienced before. That's saying a lot when it's been near 100 for the last several weeks here. But in Haiti it is around 85 and very, very humid. Allan said you would finish with your sponge bath and in the time it took you to get your clothes, you were drenched with sweat again.
Haiti is a country in desperate need of Christ's love, but with a lot to offer. There are currently over 700,000 documented orphans in Haiti. The ones in the orphanages are lucky...many are sold into slavery. It used to be called the "Pearl of the Carribean" because of their lush rice, sugar and coffee fields, but is now very desolate thanks to 30 years of horribly corrupt government. Allan was struck by how amazing the government buildings must have been at one time, but now they are abandoned and falling apart, (due to the earthquake). I shudder to think of how easily that could be us.
Jeff and Allan were both quite struck with how busy everyone in Haiti is. They said that no one could be considered lazy, each person has their own "business" even if that means breaking a container of Oreos down into smaller packages and selling them to earn an extra few cents off the package. Despite the thousands of tents an astronomical number of Haitians call home, there seems to be much hope and joy.
Both guys hope to go back within the next year to help Cloonie establish a garden inside of the orphanage compound and to help establish a waste management prototype that will help raise money for the orphanage. We thank each of you so very much for your support and prayers. We ask that you will continue to be in prayer for this ministry and for Haiti and for Cloonie. (and maybe even that we'll find the camera...)
Love to you all!