After a wonderful furlough, we are rested and ready to return to Haiti and resume our participation in the great work God is doing through organizations like Many Hands for Haiti. Our blog this month will be shorter and simply highlight some of the things that we were able to do during our four weeks back in the United States. Our rhythm (with some slight adjustments) has us serving in-country for three months followed by a furlough. These breaks are so important for our hearts and minds and we are appreciative that Many Hands provides and encourages these furloughs for their U.S. staff working in Haiti. Our time back in the States will always include some MH4H “work” which will include things like meetings/conference calls, maintaining communications with MH4H staff in Haiti, presentations, team orientations, etc., but will also always include periods of rest and time spent with family and friend. This most recent furlough followed this description exactly. 🙂

We flew from Florida to Iowa on December 21 and celebrated Christmas with our kids and Shelly’s family. We had a wonderful reunion with these great people, and of course our beloved dog, Numa. 🙂 We traveled home to Holland, MI the week of Christmas and had a second Christmas celebration with just our kids and their significants that weekend. This time together included hikes, games, great (and way too much) food, truffle and deep-dish pizza making, sharing, laughing, watching movies, and worshiping together, celebrating God’s greatest gift to all of humanity. As is tradition, Shelly and I had a quiet New Year’s Eve bringing in 2019. 

Family time is great and we did have a wonderful time spending time with them. We have great kids who are doing so well and who are super supportive of what we are doing in Haiti.  It is crazy to think that one year ago we had not yet received the invitation to consider moving to Haiti to serve as missionaries. It is VERY safe to say that this was not part of our plans as we entered 2018. But as God’s word says in a variety of ways; “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21). Now as we enter 2019 we (think) have a clearer picture of what our journey looks like for the coming year(s). Many people asked over break how things were going. I (Darryl) gave this as my consistent answer: “It is going well. We have not been surprised by anything. We hoped and assumed it would be good and it is really good. God is doing amazing things in Haiti through Many Hand and it is an honor to be part of it. We also assumed it would be hard and it is.”  

There were lots of highlights of our time home and one of them was the reuniting with our dog, Numa. She was excited to see us (and we, her) and she was excited to travel with us back to Michigan and go for lots of walks with us (most with Shelly). It will be hard to say goodbye again but we know that she is in good hands with Shelly’s parents in Iowa. It is hard to say goodbye to our kids too but know that they are launching so well and we will see them again if a few months.

We continue to be greatly encouraged by the overwhelming support we are receiving from so many. The prayers and financial support are needed and so appreciated. We cannot say “THANK YOU” enough to you all. We might be the ones going but you are the ones who are sending and supporting and making this opportunity possible. We thank and bless God for each of you. We are excited that some of you already have plans to come to Haiti to visit us and to have a transformational experience and know of others of you who are considering coming. We even led a trip orientation for a group coming from our home church in Holland, MI (Faith CRC) and some students and parents from Holland Christian High School. Obviously we’d love to welcome all of you and show you around!

Shelly and I have had a great break and enjoyed the beauty of the places we were able to go to. The weather was a little colder than what we had gotten used to and getting back to our boring forecasts (sunny and 85)  will be alright too. 🙂 Thanks for reading this month’s blog. We’ll send the next one out mid-February and it will be back to sharing more about what “The Foodie” and “Dawol” are up to in Haiti. 

Here are a few prayer requests as we return:

  1. For a safe and uneventful trip back to Haiti
  2. For sweet reunions with our American and Haitian colleagues/friends
  3. For protection from the evil one – physical and spiritual
  4. That we remember the Creole we learned b/f break 🙂 and continue to learn more
  5. That God’s kingdom would be increased through the work of MH4H

Until next month….