I'm not sure what it is exactly that makes Jean-Sius' family so special and different, aside from Jesus, of course, but I do know that whatever it is, they all have it. His wife Florina and his daughters, Shayla and Naomi, since the day we moved to Saccanville, have always just been the "here we are" type. They are not interested in staring or in being polite, not interested in different cultures or social norms. They're just them, doing whatever they were doing, saying what they think, wanting you to, allowing you to, too. Expecting nothing but friendship, and giving it freely.
That makes spending time at their house something all of us just love, because it really is just like being at home. When they're cooking, we cook, when they're shelling beans, when they're tying out the goats, when they're working in the garden, or like Tuesday, when they're doing laundry, we do laundry.
More than that, though, all four of them are thoughtful people, full of the Holy Spirit. They ask about my family, want to see the most recent pictures of my nieces. They remember what we talked about last time and want to know how it resolved, they tell me all about church and the family business (selling little things out front), share their frustrations and thoughts and perspectives and expect me to, too.
Sweet Christie, our goddaughter, Maxi's daughter, and their niece, is always there, too, because both her parents work, which is always an added blessing. She and the girls love to be together.
They ask the girls about school, and Lily and Sofie, and even Nora this time, chatter nonstop. Lily wants to know when the pumpkins will be ready, and Naomi walks her around to see all the pumpkins, vines and gourds all growing in the trees to keep them from rotting on the ground, and promises when the first one is ready, she'll bring it and teach her to make soup.
In between, the girls comfortably run next door to play with Asheline, through the house to beg another lollipop from their roadside stand, back to the garden to check on their goats, which means for a rare time, mama actually gets to sit and chat about life with some strong, beautiful, Jesus-loving women, and nobody needs ANYTHING.
Emily has some friends here this week, and one of them wanted to go with us, so when it was time to go I asked her to take a picture, because we never do, and I'm so grateful to have a photo of these easy friends, who always encourage me with wanting nothing more than to be my sister, than to spoil and teach my girls.
This being the perfect example of "spoil and teach." Nora was quite happy helping with laundry, as long as she had a lollipop. She was utterly drenched by the time we left.
It's not easy to get over there with three kiddos and an ever expanding belly, or with a slew of visitors and dinner at 5:30, or to find 2-3 hours that have NOTHING scheduled. But every time I get overwhelmed with life and ministry, every time I get discouraged about the future or work or struggles or setbacks, simply getting outside the gate and spending good quality time with people in Haiti--not accomplishing anything other than relationship and encouragement--it renews me.
Meanwhile, after a very long day yesterday, our friends made it through Tristan's surgery WELL, he's healing up for a few days in the hospital. They had to do more work than they thought they would, but he's not in pain and chatting up a storm and working on eating, all good things. Thank you for your prayers and please continue as he heals and hopefully, thrives!