Well…that changed in a hurry! A month ago Darryl was still in Haiti and we sent out our monthly update via an email. In the email we explained OUR plans where Shelly was going to fly to Florida, Darryl was going to fly out of Haiti, after two weeks together we would return to Haiti in early April, blaa, blaa, blaa. None of that happened. As the Covid-19 pandemic erupted and things began to change on a daily, if not hourly, basis Shelly ended up staying in Michigan and Darryl flew out of Haiti (two days before they shut down the country) and then home to Michigan (empty planes and airports) where we have been sheltering in place and working on our social distancing skills.
We find ourselves in these days doing what we know many/most of you are also doing. Staying home, staying safe, staying healthy, worshipping via technology from your living rooms, limited travel, and a host of other restrictions. We recognize the unprecedented actions we are all taking and the uncertainty of the when and how things will normalize again.
At this time we have no idea when we will be able to return to Haiti. Our hope is that we will be able to go back in mid-June. Our youngest son has a wedding planned for June 6 and we are still holding onto the hope that we can celebrate this special occasion with them on that date. If Haiti opens up again as a country we would return on or around June 11. Until then we will continue to do what we can for the ministry from our home (see below). Darryl has weekly calls with the staff back in Haiti and Shelly is leading a weekly prayer time each Wednesday morning with the stateside MH4H staff via Zoom.
Prayer Requests for this month
- For the safety and well being of all during this time and especially the marginalized both locally and in Haiti.
- That the Haitians would take the Covid19 seriously as they inform us that they won’t believe this is real until they see it having local impact.
- For Haiti to open up as a country and then for wisdom and discernment as to when we can return. The harvest is ripe but the workers are few right now and we want to get back to serve.
- For opportunities to witness for Christ during this Covid19 crisis.
- For all leaders and health care workers who have very difficult jobs right now.
What the Foodie is Up To
I am not sure I have much to share that doesn’t mirror your last few weeks – lessons of voluntary or non voluntary surrender, practice of relationships in limited spaces, loss of structure and false sense of control, and new rhythms and priorities. As I have watched while we collectively and individually navigate these unknowns a few ideas keep popping up. Not necessarily inspirational, but probably more appropriately named “musings”:
I want to hijack the word “unprecedented” from characterizing this entire situation and connect it to something like: 2020 was known for unprecedented acts of kindness, appreciation for beauty, and generosity.
I wish we could be comfortable saying “live well” instead of (or along with) “stay safe”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m with you, I don’t want people to die, and we don’t need to ignore wise counsel, but if courage rather than fear could be our go-to emotion and media driving influence, I think powerful examples of faith and hope would be unleashed. Or is this just too Pollyanna?
Remember even with people we trust, their words are their perceptions – apply GREAT discernment with what you believe and what dose of daily social media, news, and discussion you commit your time to; look at the birds of the air they don’t check Facebook, Twitter, or their favorite newsfeed, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:25-34-paraphrased) Again, I am not trivializing the financial impact and losses that are very real and very huge, but let’s be intentional with what we fill our hearts and minds with!!
The phrase “liminal space” has been an invitation , painful irritation, and a source of continued growth for me since I did a book study in 2015(Life Together in Christ). It means the space between leaving or ending one thing and the beginning of another. Often it is a time of unknowing. Richard Rohr as quoted by Ruth Haley Barton in this book describes it as a spiritual position where human beings hate to be where God is always leading them. Barton goes on to describe, “liminal space usually induces some sort of inner crisis; you have left the tried and true (or it has left you) and you have not yet been able to replace it with anything else”. Back in 2015 my friends who joined in this study agreed, we should get t-shirts that say something like, “Liminal Space is longer than I thought”. I think many people might wear this t-shirt these days! In my experience so far, when I learned about liminal space, I assumed that it meant walking through a threshold and boom, the next thing was there. What I’ve actually learned is sometimes that door closes behind you and you are in a dark hall, looking for the next door. Here is where we get the chance to trust the Holy Spirits guiding, God’s love, and Jesus’ example regardless of the length of that hall.
And finally – breathe, move, and hug the people you live with often, this is my embodiment wisdom!!
This foodie is still in the kitchen and enjoying access to her Vitamix and driving a car rather than a scooter to buy food! I’ve found several large bags of almonds in our totes of stored food. And since I have fresh almonds from my California source (thanks mom and dad DeRuiter), I decided to use the store bought nuts to make almond milk, almond butter, and almond meal/flour. This has been satisfying in a “I’m almost a pioneer woman in my skills” way!! Oh wait, I am not sure Laura Ingalls ever had almond milk?! And as an ongoing ode to my immune system I keep making and eating a variety of things like garlic lemon smoothies, beet kvass, fire cider, kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut!
We have also enjoyed dining together virtually with our kids – a change in our lives due to the virus, but a gift we will continue beyond quarantine!!
This has been a difficult few weeks for me for many reasons. Like many of you I would rather be doing what I have been called and equipped to do. As an Enneagram 8 and an ENTJ (Meyers/Briggs) this whole social distancing thing is driving me nuts. I am also a “fixer” and so I am feeling pretty helpless right now, as I imagine many of you are too. I am enjoying extra time with Shelly and I am so glad that I was able to get back to the U.S. before Haiti closed down all passenger travel in and out of the country. We are enjoying daily walks with our beloved dog (Numa) and I have also been able to knock out a few home and yard projects during this time. One of my highlights (which is scary that it is a highlight) was bagging a 16-pack of TP on one of our limited trips to the grocery store.
As was mentioned above I am in weekly (and often daily) contact with our staff in Haiti and am able to help lead and guide some decisions from here. I also continue to be responsible for the financial accounting of all of our in country expenses. I also will be spending a couple days coming up in Iowa helping to get MH4H’s third thrift store in Clive (IA) ready as we still are planning to open that in June.
I continue with my goal to read through the entire Bible in a year. I started last July and am on track to meet this goal in the next three months. I also have committed to memorizing a lot of scripture. It has been so good to be in God’s word so consistently and one of the major themes that keeps resonating with me as I spend this time is how passionately faithful God is to his people in spite of their (our) unholiness. He relentlessly pursues us even when all we want to do is continue to run from him.
I do still have a plane ticket to return to Haiti on April 30 and if Haiti is allowing people into the country I will most likely be going for 2-3 weeks (returning in mid to late May). You add this as an additional prayer request.
UNTIL NEXT MONTH…