The Haitians have a word that we have really come to appreciate. The word is degaje and it is best defined as, figure it out/do whatever it takes to keep going. It is problem solving at its best and we have witnessed some great examples of ingenuity, such as the picture above where one of our staff member’s accelerator cable on his moto broke so…degaje…he rigged a string to make it operational. We’ve also witnessed the use of some stripped speaker wire from a pickup to degaje after a battery terminal “explosion” and allow us to continue on our journey. Haitians are very resourceful people and we are learning to appreciate this aspect of life here. Being relatively new ourselves to living in a 3rd-world country, we are having to mentally and emotionally degaje on occasion in order to figure some things out and to keep going. As you read our individual posts below you’ll get a sense that even though there have been some difficulties, we are adjusting and functioning better every day. Our Creole lessons are going well and slowly but surely we are able to communicate more effectively with our Haitian brothers and sisters, but we sometimes have to degage our limited Creole too.
We had a lot of fun recently with our MH4H Staff Christmas Party. Amazingly, after establishing this campus just a little more than three years ago, we have 42 Haitian employees that were invited to join us six blancs for some singing, games, ice cream, and handing out of gifts. We blanc broke the ice and loosened up the crowd with a animated rendition of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.” It was super fun and our Haitian staff really appreciated the bel fèt (great party).
Thank you so so many of you who are supporting us through your financial gifts, prayers, or both. As of this writing we are fully funded for all of 2019 and well on our way for 2020. Bless God! We are honored and humbled by the great response and the support that we have received so far. Thanks for being an important part of our support team. We would not be able to do what we are doing without your support. If you still are planning to make a financial gift here is the link. We have also appreciated receiving encouraging texts and emails on occasion. We love you all!
We are excited to be heading home this week for a month-long furlough. While back, there will be some ministry work to do, and Creole to keep learning. We are looking forward to spending time with family and friends before heading back to Haiti in mid-January. We want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2019.
. Prayer Request for this month:
- Good adjustment(s) back to U.S. for our month-long furlough
- Sweet time reconnecting with our kids and friends.
- For maintenance and growth in our Creole acquisition (even when home for a month)
- For our co-workers that we will be leaving behind in Haiti
- For protection from spiritual attacks
WHAT THE FOODIE THINKS – Shelly
It is December and we have been here two months now. I can say honestly that I am feeling more at home these last few weeks.
This month I finally had the opportunity to hike Mt. Pignon. Previous opportunities were sabotaged by illness. The hike itself is strenuous enough and we even practiced our bull dodging skills. On narrow paths, big bovines don’t step off the trail as donkeys do! I’m grateful Christi initiated the side step up the mountain, rather than the drop off side!! The views from the top are always beautiful and are vivid reminders of the power of perspective. We can see our campus, the community of Pignon, and the mountain range around our plateau. Seeing these landmarks from a larger/different viewpoint is a fresh reminder to consider alternative and larger perspectives in relationships, conversations, decisions, and more!
This week we have had some great people on campus who have selflessly shared their wisdom, time, and energy making MH4H even better. It is always great to learn from others who see the world from their passions and giftings because I tend to get stuck seeing things from my perspective. (Hmm, maybe that is the theme for this month – perspective ?!)Thank you to Aaron who taught us all things goat related, we are so excited to implement your ideas. Andre, your knowledge, stories, and MacGyver skills inspired all of us. Tom and Denise – you poured into each of us with your quiet but insightful work. And Matt, your assessment of MH4H encouraged us to keep on empowering and sharing life with our entire staff. I am a better person because each of these people shared time with us here.
As for the foodie part of Haitian life, being sick for many days decreased my cooking adventures. But I did get around to making hummus and crackers. I am grateful that our move here prompted me to make my own hummus. Several times over the last 10 years I have bought the ingredients to make hummus, but never got around to the task. I will say that it is definitely worth the extra steps. Homemade crackers on the other hand, may be a necessity here, but may not be something I continue stateside. 🙂
Another thought for this month: a 4-letter word followed me to Haiti and seems to shadow me at times. Fear. I know that there are like 365 verses in the Bible that talk about fear – although that is comforting, it doesn’t extinguish the fears. And I’ve heard the exhortation that courage isn’t defined as not being afraid, but of doing things even though you are afraid. And this too is good, but I guess my intention for sharing this idea is to show that our default thinking patterns are not geographically driven! And to remind you that you are enough just as you are! My fears regardless of where I find myself tend toward the following: am I doing enough? Do I know enough? Am I valuable? And now with the added tweak – am I a good enough missionary, or do I write a blog the right way?
The following are the words that have spoken truth, encouragement, and hope to me and I share them with you, in case fear shows up in your part of the world too!
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 One Body but Many Parts “There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body.”
You know these beautiful words, the hand, ear, eye, and foot all play important roles. I encourage you to read the entire passage. These words are perhaps the most encouraging to me, because Paul uses my kind of words – anatomy! With my background in Physical Therapy I enjoy coming up with body parts that play important roles but don’t get the press that others do:
Flexor digiti minimi brevis: a muscle needed for balance and ability to stay upright on uneven ground
Semicircular canals: ask anyone who has had vertigo how important these are!
Diaphragm: when operating well, it brings life and decompression through breath, when operating out of position it negatively impacts posture, organ function ,pelvic floor health. Consider that it is connected to lungs, heart, esophagus, ascending colon, small intestines, kidneys, liver, various vascular neural, and lymphatic pathways, and is functionally linked to the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spinal position and movement (Bodoni, B and Zanier, E Anatomic connections of the diaphragm). Sorry, my PT geek just showed itself!! But do you see how impactful for good or for dysfunction the diaphragm could be?
Anyway, these anatomical reminders demonstrate that when functioning as we are EACH created to function, life, healing, growth, and meaningful movement occur. When we function outside God’s design for EACH of us, death, dysfunction, pain, and unproductive movement occur. Own who God made you to be, and “bring it.” The world is in great need of YOU and what He created you to be! When fear rears it’s head, I remind myself that God has a plan tailored for how He wired me. If I don’t show up, who will do the Shelly parts. So wherever you are, name the part of God’s story He has for you, pursue it, and trust the unknowns to his love.
That you may have the wisdom to know the story to which God calls you, the power to pursue it, the courage to abide its mysteries, and love in every step. – Jan L. Richardson
DAWOL’S DOINGS – Darryl
What a busy but fun last few weeks! After recovering from a nasty bug that hit most of the American staff, I’ve really been enjoying my work here in Haiti. But before I share what I’ve been up to, let me tell you the quick story of my recent moto vs. donkey incident.
While driving my moto (150CC dirt bike) back from town I was approaching the bridge that goes over the river on the north end of Pignon. I moved over to the far right as I saw this “bourik” (Creole for donkey), loaded with two large baskets on each of its sides, coming from the other direction…but on my side of the road. Well, the donkey just kept moving to its left decreasing the amount of space between itself and the bridge sidewalk. I slowed down and moved as far right as possible and then just hoped that I wouldn’t have a collision with this beast of burden. No such luck! As we met, my left mirror and handle bar made contact with the donkey’s basket with what I now could see contained large containers most likely full of water. After this contact my moto was redirected to the right and I drove up onto the sidewalk and was able to stop just short of going over the guardrail. I looked back to see how the donkey was and let’s just say I’m not sure it even knew that it hit me. I straightened out my mirror, exhaled, and was on my way again, grateful that there were no injuries to the animal or to me. 🙂
Continuing from last month’s blog topic of Education, I’d like to share a little about four adult educational opportunities that we have for the parents in our Love in Action program. Parents who have children in our PMJ (Pryme Mil Jou / First Thousand Days) are required to attend one class each week where they learn about spiritual development, personal hygiene, health and nutrition (for themselves and their babies), basic home safety and first aid, and a variety of other relevant topics. We also offer an adult literacy class for our parents using a curriculum produced by Bible League. Once parents have children enrolled in our preschool (see last month’s blog) they have opportunities to participate in two ag-related programs. These parents (and it all moms) can take agronomy class where they learn how to grow food. This class meets twice a week for several months. We call this our Community Garden program and these moms are given space on our campus to grow food that they can use in their homes as well as sell in the local market. We provide all of the inputs (seed, water, fertilizer, pesticides, etc.) and tools needed. We just had a “graduation” ceremony for these 29 moms.
Pre-school parents can also take an animal husbandry class where they learn how to raise and care for goats. At the end of this class each family receives a pregnant goat so that they can start their own “herd.” We also offer to purchase back from them up the three goats per year so that they have some guaranteed income. Part of this purchase program includes a matching opportunity that will provide tuition funding for their children as they move from the preschool to our elementary school. We also provide monthly health checks for their goats if they want, but they have to bring their goat to us on the last Friday of each month. We don’t make house calls. 🙂 All of these education opportunities are laced with faith-filled teaching and strong biblical influence.
We have also been busy evaluating how we are currently operating our goat farm and proposing some changes that will better help us manage our goat herd. We had some guests stay with us recently who are experts in working with goats so we learned a ton and plan to begin implementing several new practices and methods that should really benefit our goats. Thank you Tom, Aaron, and Andre for sharing your time and knowledge with us. I’ll talk more about our Agronomy department in the February blog.
I am learning so much and love my interactions with the Haitian people that we live among and work/partner with. Transformation is happening, for Haitians AND for me. Bondye bon!!!! God is good!!!
UNTIL NEXT MONTH…