I am so grateful that my kids know their Great grandfather. I wish they could have know Grandmother, but they do talk about her. Sara was only 9 months old when she passed away. But even Hope talks about Gigi. She loved her grand kids so much.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
And tonight, Luke started the New Believers class at church. There is a separate class for parents. We are given tips on how to encourage our children in their faith. Two things really stood out tonight. Luke was given a box. It's just a plain cardboard box with a lid. His "homework" is to decorate the box. It's his spiritual keepsake box. We are to put different mementos in it throughout his life to mark his spiritual journey. I LOVE that! One of the reasons is to give him markers to look back on as he grows. I was saved when I was 7, just like Luke, and I had a period of doubt when I was 15. I couldn't remember much about my salvation experience because I was so young. The idea of the box is to give him things to remember this time by. Some ideas of things are his written testimony (which he is working on this week), the cup from his 1st Lord's Supper, etc.
The second thing that got my attention was the conviction of the Holy Spirit on how I am modeling Christ in my life to my children. They are learning from me what it means to have Jesus in their lives. What am I showing them? Am I modeling Christ when I yell at them? when I get aggravated at drivers on the road? when I lose my temper? when I don't pray as much as I should? when I neglect my Bible? when I'm easily frustrated? Lord God, restore unto me the joy of thy salvation!
And tonight, my sweet, sweet Sara prayed for some friends of ours who are leaving this week. They are moving to Indiana to become Home Missionaries. The kids and I got home from church after a reception sending the Hansens off. We sat down at the table to eat a quick bite and Sara prayed for us. "Dear God, thank you for the food, thank you for our family. Please help Chandler to be safe in Indiana. And please help them to tell everybody about Jesus. Amen." :)
Saturday, February 20, 2010
We've been watching the Olympics quite a bit. Luke is really getting into it. Who knew?! Tonight, he made 3 signs for each of the big kids. They had a great time watching speed skating and bobsled tonight. It was hysterical. They were screaming, "USA, USA!!" Then, "AMERICA!" I took some pics. They are with my phone, so they're not great, but you get the idea. :)
Cheering the bobsled team!
Even Emma got in on the cheering!
Friday, February 19, 2010
After dinner tonight we got the kids bathed, put Emma to bed and then the rest of us piled on the couch to read a book. We've done a few times the past week and we are all loving it. We're reading some of The Magic Treehouse books. I have been the one reading, but tonight we let Luke read. I smiled the entire time! He is amazing! He is 7 1/2 years old; in the 2nd grade and is reading on a 5th grade reading level! He is such a good reader. He reads with inflection and really tells the story.
He's having some problems concentrating on getting his work done at school so his teacher, principle and I came up with the idea of letting him read to some of the younger grades. He is going to his 1st grade teacher's class and reading to her class as a reward for getting his work done. He's doing a great job at it. I'm so proud!!!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
My parents are the best! They wanted all of us to have a nice dinner at no expense and to be able to visit. I am blessed with the birth family that I have. My parents are Godly people and just love people. They are an example of service and getting to know the world around you. They are constantly meeting their neighbors and taking them food and just ministering to those they come in contact with.
I love my Momma and Daddy!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
So now is the adjustment back into everyday life, with Haiti being a part of that life. The girls had their Valentine's Parties today at MDO. All three big kids sat at the kitchen table 2 days ago and addressed all their Valentine cards. So cute. Hope wrote her name on all 14 cards by herself! She just sat there and did all of them one at a time. She did better than Luke! Ha! He's a little ADD at times and I kept having to redirect him. Sara, forever the perfectionist, wrote all of her friends names and her name and folded every single one. Good memories.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I would like to tell you of the glamour of this trip. I would like to tell you stories of us sweeping into remote villages or destroyed urban areas and saving hundreds of lives, or that each day we arose as the sun greeted us with renewed strength. That all went as planned and nothing was wasted.
The truth is that the area was filled with the smell of burning plastic water bottles, diesel fuel, dust, and the occasional smell of rotting flesh. The nights were filed with the sounds of C-130's and malaria carrying mosquitoes. We were able to help many wounds that left untreated would pose serious threats and will likely now heal. Many who would have lost the use of limbs all together will likely regain some use. This week, orphans will be clothed and fed. They will receive medicine for malnutrition and parasites because of a providential meeting with a UNICEF official, but most of the people we touched left our tent with persistent ailments for which there is little chance of getting medicine for cure or relief.
My prayer is that our presence gives a sense of legitimacy to the local church. That these people would wonder why a group of Americans would come to this place at this time to help them, and that this curiosity would lead them to the body of Christ. For it is the realization that the God of heaven loved me enough to come here to this broken world that once lead me to the body of Christ. It is only in Christ that they will find healing and ultimate relief from this life's sufferings.
Should we go?
Without question the answer is yes for many reasons. First, we are commanded by Christ to care for the poor and orphaned. Second, without the preaching and testimony of the local church, these people will be lost. A thought that is more unimaginable for me than a life in tin houses, is a life without hope and truly without Christ, whether we are American or Haitian, we are without hope without Him. Third, my life is changed forever. I will never again eat a meal without thinking of these people. When I lay my head on my pillow, my mind will travel to the children with smiling faces who tonight sleep on dirt. I will be more thankful and mindful of the hurting than ever before.
This place is a disaster in every sense of the word. Transport is unreliable, logistics is complicated, and plans change sometimes by the minute. Be prepared for this.
I do not know what plans God has for Haiti. Over and over the Scripture is filled with stories of change. In Ninevah, the king said, "Who can tell what God might do with a repentant, changed people." I will want and hope to be a part of His plan. I pray that the Glory of The Most High be seen in this place.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Long ride back to the Dominican Republic today, but tonight I had dinner with good friends. We laughed and enjoyed the meal. We spoke of home and our lives there. We remembered our wives and kids and were thankful for those. Tonight in Port Au Prince, sweet little boys and girls will go to bed hungry in a tent if they are lucky, or the ground under the stars if they are not. Today they have hauled water, washed their clothes and bathed in the ditch. They have had little to eat, while some have had nothing at all.
While I am happy to be here, a part of me now will always be there. I wish there were a way to protect them, feed them, clothe them, comfort them. Tonight I feel guilty and I suspect that every meal for some time I will feel guilty. I will feel for these when I lie down in my warm bed at night, when I take my warm shower in the morning.
Lord help me not to forget. Teach me to find ways to help. Keep me mindful of these and make me a better father and husband. Keep me mindful of my blessings for who am I and what is my house that You have been so good to me.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Lance thought this little boy was cute. Most of the boys had a rim of some sort and a wire or stick with a hook at the end. He had stroller wheels and a long stick! No chance of his wheel falling over! :)
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
It's hard to believe we are here. What a wild January this has been. But knowing that God has called us here, makes it even wilder. I found an old mission statement I wrote for my life when I was in Graduate School, it was comforting to read this, because it feels like I'm doing what it says. I am so grateful for your prayers, as I sat down in the plane today at XNA, my anxiety left me, and I was calm in a way I rarely experience. I knew at that very moment you were praying for me. It seems odd tonight that I am in a Best Western. This room could be in Rogers, AR, to look at it. But tomorrow, the world will be upside down as we move into Port Au Prince. I have a feeling that I may never be the same again, and I am ok with that. To know Him and make Him known, to have the opportunity to be His hands and feet. I am unworthy for sure. I pray for His anointing, not just to heal wounds, but to heal hearts in Him name. I miss the kids already, but I see their faces on every child that I see in the news. I go here because I would want someone to come to them. I go here because Christ came from heaven to a broken world for me.
In His Love,
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The smile on his face was joy to my soul!My sweet, sweet, friend Ruth came to the airport with her 3 boys so she could watch my 4 kids at the baggage claim and allow me a brief moment with Lance when he got off the plane. That was the best hug I've ever gotten in my life!
The kids were waiting at the bottom of the escalator with signs for their Daddy! (Ruth brought her camera and took pictures. They were far better than my phone camera pics!) Thank you Ruth! I love you!
Monday, February 1, 2010
And each of the kids got a balloon bouquet tied to a bag of Hershey's Kisses. Thank you Lord for the man you blessed me with!
The funny thing is that they were all supposed to be delivered Friday after he left on Thursday. The cards all said. See you soon. Love, Daddy (or Lance for me!) But because of the weather, today is the first day they could get them to me. It was good though. It amped up the excitement about Lance coming home tomorrow! Woo Hoo!!
Lance called me this morning at 7:40 to tell me they were heading back to Dominican Republic. He forgot about the time change. It was 9:40 DR time and he said it felt like noon because he'd been up so long.
He hasn't said much about his feelings or emotions this past week. I'm sure that will come when he gets home. As a doctor, he has learned to disassociate from the sadness that comes with the job. It is a defense mechanism that he has to have or he couldn't do his job. But he comes home and then he allows himself to feel the emotion. He is such a tenderhearted and caring doctor. He's going to be processing the past few days for weeks to come.
They made it safely through all the checkpoints along the road. The government was much more strict as of yesterday because there were several church members arrested yesterday at the border trying to take dozens of children out of the country. I can't even get started on that. I'm so angry. I totally understand their intentions. Anyone with a heart would want to take as many children as they can to a better life, but some of the children still had parents. And they didn't have any paperwork for the children. They were basically trafficking children. Albeit with noble intentions. All it did was make adopting Haitian children that much harder.
All that to say, Lance and the team made it to Santo Domingo in about 7-8 hours. Not bad.
Tonight my friend Leslie called and asked me if the kids and I wanted to go to dinner. Her husband is our friend John who is with Lance. We took all of our kids to IHOP. The kids loved pancakes for dinner! And then some sweet, sweet friends of our treated us to some really good ice cream!! Jimmy and Dawn own several Cold Stone Creamery's. They live in Branson, but own the one in Rogers. Dawn had offered us some ice cream this week to give us a distraction, but with the weather the way it has been, tonight was the first time we could take her up on it. Dawn, I know you're reading this. I love you!!
So this is my last night alone without my best friend. I cannot wait to feel his arms again!