37) Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything!  38) So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love.  39) There is no power above us or beneath us–no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!                         Romans 8:37-39 The Passion Translation

Claim this verse… “Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything!” 

Could you say you have felt the past months the world is ‘upside down’? New troubles, surging unrest, unknown future circumstances. Not to worry! Through his love, God has made us MORE THAN conquerors. For this, God gave his son, the Anointed One! Claim the victory! 

All that we had to haul with us to Florida, to return to Haiti, in a ‘mid-sized sedan’ rental car… Conquered! Victory!

Can you believe….IT FIT!!
We learned some years ago from Swedish relatives who came to visit in the US, when it is time to go, when it is too hard to say “Goodbye”, you just say, “See you soon!” So… for these and other family members and friends, we said, “SEE YOU SOON!”
Next….good friends and gracious hosts, we ‘checked out” of the ‘Peterson Inn’. Thank you for your hospitality! Then we are OFF for the drive, our final journey of this time of Sabbatical, destination Ft. Pierce, Florida. We were grateful for yet more sights to see in this beautiful country. Last time we DROVE to Florida our now thirty six year-old daughter was TWO years old.
As COVID 19 time marches on, we all can begin to see how and where God continues bring victory, to move to affect things for GOOD and for HIS GLORY. During the weeks when Missionary Flights International planes stayed on the ground in Ft PIerce, Florida, there was a ‘seize the moment’ opportunity to commission two artists to create this mural which can now be seen in the MFI Hangar.

The mural commemorates the commitment to disaster relief which MFI made during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and a more recent commitment to disaster relief in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. It is magnificent and even more so after hearing the creative and physical details from Kevin, one of the MFI pilots. The scene depicts the vantage point the pilots have as they look out from the cockpit during flight.

With all the cargo we were bringing with us we checked in at MFI Monday afternoon before our flight on Tuesday. The plane is polished, perched, ready to go.
With an early morning take-off, we catch the sunrise. It seemed to beckon us toward the direction of Haiti… ‘Come, come, the time is now!’ Pilot Ray is ready to roll! Never boarded with a mask before! Always, MFI has been a tremendous blessing to us as missionaries but now more than ever because there are currently no commercial airline flights into Cap Haitien and few into Port au Prince. Today there is no safer way to fly than on this 1940’s DC3 cargo plane.
The terrain of Haiti is an extreme contrast from the plains of NW Iowa, or anywhere in the US for that matter. We went through immigration in Cap Haitien in the north (above), then a twelve minute hop to the Central Plateau (below) where it is easy to spot Mt Pignon, the landmark in this area.
A welcomed sight, the grass airstrip that is less than one mile from our final destination, the Many Hands Campus. If you could zoom in on this picture you can see the campus towards the upper right. And here we are:

“Byen Vini! Mr Craig ~ Se Christi. Nan Non Tout Staff MH4H La! We Love You Guys!”
(Welcome Mr Craig and Sister Christi. In the name of all the Many Hand staff! Nou renmen nou!)

AND MAN! it is hot! Since we left, the apartment where we live has been tiled by some amazing Michiganders! and painted by some equally amazing Iowans! and recently cleaned by the amazingly amazing Haitian ladies, Beatris and Evenie! The task at hand….FIND the fans, pillows, etc and put things back in place.

So we can say the apartment was clean but… our stuff… covered in dust, even INSIDE the boxes. 😲 The momentary SHOCK of this daunting job that needed to be done was calmed as we were privileged to greet those we call family and friends on this side of the ocean. Every person… EACH ONE… said specifically with enthusiasm, “I have been praying for you and your family each day. ‘Bon Retou’ (literally Good Return) Welcome back.” Two friends in particular used the phrase, “Mwen swaf pou ou”, I am thirsty for you.

That made an impression in a land where thirst is SO extreme. We experienced a thirst the first couple of days that we had not felt the whole time of being stateside. Haiti is a land where people are focused on the necessities. The BASIC necessities. Water first, then shelter, then food, then clothing.

What a reassurance and a comfort to be greeted in this way. The welcome also included a bowl of hand-picked mangoes, (I ate three for supper) a couple of sizable spiders, and NO rats! One of the first things to put in place, (below) a brand new DEWALT shop stool with casters we have been coveting ever since our son had purchased one for himself.

(Notice the beautiful tile and paint! We are blessed beyond measure. We are beyond grateful)

While being focused on the necessities, there is an effort to be respectful of others during this virus. While it is not readily ‘admitted’ by local people that there is Corona Virus here in the central plateau, MH is encouraging the use of masks. The term here, we learned, is ‘kachnen’. Which could be translated ‘to hide the nose’. Part of the cargo we brought included some safety shields that were donated to MFI. Nurse Lerosane was thankful to receive one as she is seen below cleaning the entry points of Anaika’s external fixater which needs attention soon in Port au Prince.
Life continues with troubles of economic hardship, sickness and fear. If you ask a Haitian how they are doing, in general Haitians don’t complain. You will hear responses such as, GREAT!, Good, Not too bad, or a shrug of the shoulders along with “Bondye konnen”, which means, GOD KNOWS.

As we talk to friends and MH staff and hear where people are with life’s present and future troubles, we are assisting with the plan for the restart of school which the government says will happen August 17 which will include some ‘compulsory procedures’. Because Haitians live in uncertainty on a daily basis, people are generally ‘cool’ about what is to come. “Bondye konnen”, God knows. MH will emphasize, as people of God, we are more than conquerors, we triumph because of HIS love which he brings through his son, our Lord Jesus.

The day following our arrival, God again gave his sign of reassurance. This time over the entrance to MH Campus. “I will never leave you!” says our Lord who loves us in and through all circumstances. A sign of triumph because of HIS love for us

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life, As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5

“Passing Ordinary Time” by Enuma Okoro, Nigerian-American poet

This ordinary time is gifted in its quiet marked passing.
Christ slips about calling and baptizing, sending and affirming,
pouring his Spirit like water into broken cisterns,
sealing cracks and filtering our senses,
that we may savor the foolish simplicity of his grace.

As we worshiped online this past Sunday with our son Jonathan at Pillar Church in Holland, MI the following song was sung, “In Feast or Fallow” by Sandra McCracken… seems fitting to share here…

When the fields are dry, and the winter is long
Blessed are the meek, the hungry, the poor
When my soul is downcast, and my voice has no song
For mercy, for comfort, I wait on the Lord.

In the harvest feast or the fallow ground
My certain hope is in Jesus found
My lot, my cup, my portion sure
Whatever comes, we shall endure.
Whatever comes, we shall endure.

When the earth beneath me crumbles and quakes
Not a sparrow falls, nor a hair from my head
Without His hand to guide me, my shield and my strength
In joy or in sorrow, in life or in death

….and this prayer was prayed… also seems fitting to share here…

Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image; through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. AMEN

1 Comment

  1. Marilyn Clauss

    So thankful for your safe return to Pignon. You have been a Blessing to us while at home in the U.S. and to your family. Prayers for your ministry and love for the people of Haiti.🙏 Marilyn


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