25 February 2017

moments

You know it's a weekend when 6 am doesn't mean everyone rushing into braids and uniforms, everyone hustling to get breakfast on the table and out the door, everyone pushing to be on time for the car pool, everyone attacking the day.
Saturday morning may still begin at 6 (one day, these dear children will enjoy sleep.  We are not there yet.), but there is no attack on the weekends.  As soon as little feet hit the tile, they are heading for the door, and once it's opened for the day, everybody is outside.  We walk the campus, following the girls like cat-herders, drinking coffee and usually bumping into Phil and Emily doing the same thing (though their well-trained teens are still in bed), and enjoy the mist rising and the birds waking and the girls laughing and crazy-haired.

It is Mardi Gras weekend, Carnival weekend, and while for many of our students it means weekends of youth retreats, for all of us it means a few days off school and a long weekend!  More coffee-walk mornings.
I am thankful.  I have been needing coffee walks.  Needing to let the girlies wander without consideration of time, following their happy voices happily--not directing or rushing or instructing, just listening and loving and laughing.

I have been needing a long weekend.  Needing time with the Lord.  Needing time for He restoreth my soul, needing I lift my eyes up to the mountains where my Help comes from.

Nora's got a 101 fever up and down, teeth, teeth, teeth, but she was her happy girl self today, so at peace having her "Da-DA!" home.
When she found scissors on our walk, she quickly grabbed them and dove into a nearby bush for cover of wet-blanket mommy.
The girls have been begging to have their nails done...a big NO-NO when school is in session, but with a long weekend and no place to be, we had SPA day.
They loved it.  And I loved loving on them. 
And when our neighbors asked us to go to town for an early dinner, picking up friends along the way.
Town must be the most exciting place in the world...it is SUCH an organized chaos of colors and activities and business and creativity and games and work and laughter and a million little conversations, at every moment.  


Nora loves it, always yelling "Hi--Hi--Hiya!"s from the window to every single passing person or animal.


Tomorrow Matt is translating a service at Pillatre Church down the road for a group of their board and visitors...and Monday Lily and I have big list of people we have been wanting and needing to visit but have been unable to find the time (visiting friends never happens quick in this culture...because when you go to visit one, you always see 11 more, and are quickly invited to each of their homes).  I will try to get some pictures, not from a car window but from real life.

 Very thankful for this gift of a few moments, for a steady God and for gifts of His presence.



23 February 2017

prayers

Can I just give you a prayer list this morning?  I have been having sweet time with the Mishler's and have gotten away from the blog, but I know I need your prayers, and I know you to be faithful friends...

-pray for Matt : He is still in Waco, TX, still in EBS board meetings today, and has also been leading Bible studies at some church breakfasts, doing conference calls with OMS, and who knows what else...we've barely had a moment to speak.  Pray for his travels as he returns Lord willing on Friday.  Praising the Lord for the encouragement that this busy time has been!

-pray for Nora : Nor is a bit of a hot mess...I'm not sure if it's teeth or daddy being gone or something else, but she is waking multiple times in the night, crying uncontrollably, awake for hours a night...which means so is Lily, so is Sofie, so am I, so have our guests been, and by today, we are all SO tired that we need extra grace and patience and love.  I'm not sure what to do...thank you.

-pray for our students : I can't even begin to detail here all of the many challenges, battles and struggles our students are daily up against.  One student just lost all his books and clothes in a house fire during the soccer match Friday, another lost his mother Wednesday, several are dealing with persecutions of many kinds in their communities and churches.

When four of the students came for dinner last Thursday, they each commented about how young my father looked.  I finally asked, "Well, how old is YOUR father?"  Wilem tells us his father died when he was a teenager, but that his mom is still with he and his SEVEN siblings.  Evens slowly explains in English that his father died when he was 3 months old, so he never met him.  Jopnel smiles, and says that his father died when he was in elementary school.  Death statistics in Haiti come alive again in my living room, fleshed out in Wilem, Jopnel, Evens having no fathers, having moms working like crazy to help and support and raise their children, having the burden of being young men, instantly responsible for their siblings and mothers...young men called into ministry, nonetheless.

It reminded me heavily the great need for our prayers our students have.  Please continue to pray for Emmaus, to pray for the men and women living the Gospel out in Haiti.

-pray for me : Matt is up to preach in chapel tomorrow, and I was on for next week...because he is gone, we've been traded, and you know public speaking is NOT my forte...please be praying for the Lord to solidify a message on reconciliation loud and clear, and for my ability TO share in this time of extra fatigue, running the kids to school without Matt, etc.

-pray for Aunt Sharon, Uncle Martin and Isaac as they travel...as they continue to adjust to life without their precious mom/grandma, as they get ready to meet their first precious grand baby in just a few days, as their father/grandpa goes through major medical treatments...and as they STILL, somehow, manage to give so freely of themselves for Him through our family.  They have homeschooled and read and played and crafted and ridden along and cooked and washed dishes and been beautiful love and peace and laughter in our home the past few days.

thank you, dear friends.

I leave you with Matt's "Saturday Sermon" for this week as we all prepare for Lent...a season of transformation and focus that I am really looking forward to this year...


Indulge Me
Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is a big deal in Haiti. Mardi Gras, in French means "Fat (gras) Tuesday (mardi)". Fat Tuesday is always celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday which is the start of the Lenten season. The Lenten season is the seven-week period leading into Holy Week and Easter which commemorates the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. 
Many Christians abstain from eating certain foods during the Lenten season (also know as "fasting") in order to discipline themselves for the purpose of introspection. This time of introspection prepares the heart to receive the great joy and blessing of Jesus's ultimate victory over death in his resurrection that is celebrated on Easter. This means that for seven-weeks, starting on Ash Wednesday, people cannot eat whatever they want; they cannot indulge. Fat Tuesday, then, is the last chance to indulge, hence the name "Fat Tuesday". Mardi gras is a time to give into unhealthy impulses; it is at time to let it all hang out. It's a time to satisfy your desires.
In a way, Mardi gras attests to the fact that many people do not understand Christianity. Mardi gras grows out of the idea that Christianity is all about denying what we want. This makes us think that God is the one who smacks our hand every time we go to another cookie from the cookie jar; that God is the mean uncle who doesn't let us have any fun. 
Contrary to the message of Mardi gras, Christianity isn't about refusing people their desires, it's about transforming our desires. The Christian life isn't about never getting to do what we want and being miserable until we eventually make it to heaven. Christianity is, however, about making us entirely new people so that our desires change. Outside of Jesus, we want that which is self-destructive. Our impulses, our desires, and our passions are lethal. When we enter into a relationship with Jesus through the forgiveness of sins and deliverance from the power of sin, our very nature becomes regenerated. We experience a rebirth. For Christians, Mardi gras should be a celebration of giving to the poor, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and liberating the captives. These are the sort of things that bring true and lasting joy to the heart that's been transformed.
You see, this is what Holy Week is all about. This is what Jesus's death and resurrection is all about. Jesus put to death the old desires and impulses that are lethal, and through his resurrection, he raises us to new life so that we can share in his passions and desires which lead to eternal life. 

20 February 2017

an appetite for Him



Matt preached a sermon a few weeks ago in Micheline's church I've never heard him preach before.  He talked about the similarities, differences and cultural significance between the feeding of the 5000 and the feeding of the 4000 in the Gospel of Mark.  It was all so interesting, but one of the little things he mentioned that has stuck with me was the idea of hunger.

Our dear guard dog and friend Boone had been terribly sick at the time, and even when we offered him his very favorite foods, he wasn't interested.  At one point, he actually got up (which was so hard for him) to move AWAY from a bowl of chicken because he was so sick that it was bothering him.

Matt talked about how hunger--a need and desire to eat--shows us that we are healthy and alive.  He reminded us with tears of Micheline's little girl who died our first Christmas in Haiti, dying slowly and painfully of untreated stomach cancer.  He talked about how tiny her little arms were, how shrunken her little legs, and about how he was urgent and anxious to feed her, and how she wouldn't eat...didn't want to eat...

We are hungry because we are alive and well.

Are we spiritually hungry?

Jesus came for the hungry, came for the sick, and all throughout Scriptures He was offering Himself, the daily bread, the living water.  But there were so many people who were SO spiritual and SO righteous, that they didn't feel any need for Jesus.  They didn't feel any hunger pains, so spiritually sick and dead they were, and while he offered and showed and gave himself, there were many who simply didn't have any desire for him.  They were not hungry.

I get like that.  

Get all busy and passionate and fulfilled and ministry-focused, or get all family-happy or visitor-busy or super-teacher and before you know it I kind of forget how hungry I am and cruise along on fumes.

After such a busy visitor season, and honestly just such a busy LIFE season...I'm spiritually hungry, and wanting MORE.

Not more ministry or more fulfillment or anything like that.  Just more Jesus, thank you.

Just more more more of Him and way less of what all the world is thinking and definitely way less of what I think and feel and determine.

Check yourself with me today...are we spiritually content?  Spiritually satisfied?  Don't push back from the table, wandering off to find something to entertain us.

If you're not hungry for more of Him right now in your life, I have asked Him many times before to make me hungry for more of Him, and even helping us want more of Him, He is ready to do.

Meanwhile, these last few days have been whirlwind good.  My dad and his wife, Cindy, were here for a few days...joining us for mission prayer meeting, student dinner night, the big soccer game, and even a beautiful overnight at the beach.  The added beach bonus was that Uncle Martin, Aunt Sharon and Isaac are here for some meetings and we met up with them there!  So fun to have everyone together and the girls LOVED all the love.  And sand.  LOTS of sand.

Dad and Cindy left for Ohio today, and Matt left for Texas today, spending the week in Waco for EBS board meetings with our fantastic board, and the Mishlers drug themselves away from the shore and are staying with us for a few days!

We did lose our dear Boone--don't want to talk about it--and found this little Rotweiller to train up...meet Sadie girl.

17 February 2017

fun fifty

I'm so tired I could fall over, so this is going to be short...but after a really crazy week, today was the biggest event of this year of celebrating 50 years of empowering Christ-like leaders for His change in Haiti through Emmaus Biblical Seminary...

EBS staff, students and recent alumni playing La Presse, Cap-Haitian's soccer league.  

You'd be hard pressed to find a little boy in Northern Haiti who has NOT dreamed about one day playing soccer professionally for a team like La Presse...and that little kid came out in ALL our staff and students getting ready for today's big game.  
Everyone's been practicing hard, hundreds of people came out for the game (not only staff, students, and tons of alumni and family and friends, but also many members of all the other OMS ministries in Haiti...Bethesda Clinic, Starfish Kids, ECC, Radio 4VEH, Cowman School).
It was an AWESOME fun time of community for everyone, everyone had a great time, and we played SO WELL!

La Presse quickly learned that the match wasn't going to be a joke, and while they ALMOST scored several times, so did we...and in the end we all headed home zero-zero.  While it would have been amazing to have a goal, it was pretty amazing that La Presse DIDN'T have one either!
Personally, tonight was more fun than Matt or I had had in a really long time.  Seeing so many of the men and women we love and have invested much of our lives and hearts in all together, and enjoying the afternoon together, was priceless.  

For a few hours, everyone was young again, dreaming great soccer dreams, not worrying about the many difficulties of life in Haiti...the many difficulties of life in general...not worrying about how to make all the ends meet, but just enjoying the friendships the last 50 years God through Emmaus has brought, the glorious beauty of His day, and the great love of the game.

thankful.

and going to bed.