This is our first blog. Our goal is to post one monthly. It’s called Experiencing Kairos with the De Ruiters. Kairos is a Greek word for time that means moments in time. These moments are impactful experiences that transcend defined periods of chronos (also Greek) time such as minutes, hours, days, and years. We are hoping that during our chronos time in Haiti that we have many kairos experiences and we are honored to share them with you. Each blog will include some general update(s) and prayer requests/needs followed by individual blurbs from Shelly and Darryl to share what they have each been up to and what is on their hearts. Future blogs will definitely have more stories. Thanks for reading and sharing these kairos with us.
Wow….we are here! We arrived in Haiti on Tuesday, October 16 after spending the previous 12 days visiting and saying goodbyes to family and friends in Holland (MI), Des Moines, Sioux City, and Pella (IA), Lincoln (NE), Sioux Falls (SD), and Daytona Beach (FL). It is good to finally be here after seven months of pondering, planning, packing, pitching, preparing, and praying for this move.
Our trip to Haiti went fine as we flew into Haiti with MFI (Mission Flights International). MFI uses DC-3s which are WWII-era, twin-propeller aircrafts and we land on a grass airstrip about a mile and a half drive from our campus. It’s pretty neat! This beats the 3.5+ hour bumpy ride one must take if they fly commercial into Port Au Prince or Cap Haitian (Haiti’s two largest cities). Once on campus we spent most of the rest of the day unpacking and settling into our new apartment home and beginning to consider what our new normal will be like. We only had a couple of suitcases to unpack as the vast majority of our stuff is coming (hopefully) on a shipping container that left Pella, Iowa in mid September with16 boxes of our possessions and a whole bunch of other things for the MH4H ministry. We know that the container has reached Haiti and we hope to have our things delivered to our campus sometime in the next week.
Thank you for all of the encouragement that so many of you have offered and provided through your words, prayers, and financial gifts. We truly feel supported and loved. Some specific prayer requests that we have now are:
- Transitions and adjustments to new surroundings and culture
- Acquisition of the Creole language
- Safe and complete delivery of all of the stuff we sent on the container
- Reliable wifi to allow connections with loved ones in the U.S.
- Relationship building with our colleagues and community members
WHAT THE FOODIE IS UP TO…
No more busying my mind with finishing up my Physical Therapy job, final times with friends and family, planning, or gathering books and supplies for Haiti – because we are now HERE! Without those mind occupying tasks, the daunting reality of whatthis really looks like is staring me square in the face. And in many ways I am so excited to learn to do life here – the people are amazing! Those I will contact most daily are kind, funny, and full of grace. The community of Sylvain is beautiful and strong. I have so much to learn from everyone on this island! In other ways I do feel overwhelmed – but not anxious! I decided to tie my part of sharing about our experiences with my love of food. The term “foodie” can mean different things to people, the way that I have claimed the nickname is that I believe food is a gift from God for our nourishment, healing, community building, and enjoyment. But what does a foodie do when living in a country where food is not plentiful? What does she do with all the blogs she follows which talk about organic, GMO’s, eating meat versus vegetarianism, free range chickens, food for healing brains, the emotions of eating etc.,???
So stay tuned to hear how loving people, inviting and bringing healing to the people, community, and land, and my cooking experiences blend to make ideal conditions for God’s love, power, and grace to flavor this part of the world. My first cooking experiment is in the fridge now – chocolate avocado pudding, I’ll let you know how it turns out!
Savoring the Divine,
The letter “r” is very hard for Haitians to pronounce so my new friends call me “Mister Dāwol.” I love it! And I love these beautiful people. I always have. They have a grace about them and a joyous spirit that I love and hope that I can inherit as I live and work in Haiti. I hope each month to briefly share what I have been doing but also what I am learning (or likely more what God is teaching me) as I walk daily in this new place I now call home.
My job description can best be summarized as one of administration. I am working on the development of the current staff we have and I am overseeing three of our in country programs (Education, Agronomy, and Leadership Development). The heart of our mission is transformation so my focus and direction will always be on that trajectory. Transformation can take on many forms and my goals will always seek to have maximum impact in as many forms as possible. My initial work in each of these areas will involve a lot of observing, conversations, and questions. Even though I did this when I was here for most of August, I have so much more to see and learn.
This week I have already been busy doing a variety of things. Wednesday was a national holiday so no on campus programs. So, I put up some shelves in our kitchen. I’ve also been to a planning meeting for our upcoming Leadership Development Conference that we will host on November 1 & 2. Shelly and I attended a community-wide meeting in Maliarette, a nearby community where we will replicate some of the current programs that we do here in Sylvain. I spent most of the day on Thursday talking with Claudin, our Agronomist, and creating a report about our goat program to be used to update the church denomination (RCA) that is currently supporting this program. And on Friday I spent time in our Yellow Iron School of Light preschool observing the teachers and helpers as they worked with the 62 children who attend. Saturday we went to market to purchase some “groceries.” That is a unique experience and one that we will repeat often in the future. What a great week it has been!
Until next month….