Monday, October 25, 2010

Finding a new routine…

Life has changed for me in the past few weeks since the kids started school.  Rob moved his office out of our house into a central location with all RMI staff.  Both these changes have made my day a lot more routine and we are benefiting from it as a family.  After six months of no routine at all, I was ready for one, even if that means I am now back to waking up around 6:15 am to the alarm clock (as opposed to whenever the kids woke up.) 

I’ve realized how I really am a person of routine.  I do so much better with one.  I’m more disciplined during my day.  It’s also been good for Drew and Tessa, especially Drew who is very much a child of routine.  I think he was getting bored hanging around here day after day.

I am still working on finding my place here.  In some ways I am very much like a stay-at-home Mom in my day-to-day.  I treat the mornings as my “work” time since we have someone to help with the kids (now mostly Braden.)  I still have Creole lessons every day from 9 am to 10 am when Rob is not out with a team and try to spend at least an hour of my morning studying.  I have more routine than before, but remember, this is Haiti, and days and weeks vary tremendously!  Once language lessons are officially finished (they won’t be for a while yet) I hope to find my niche in ministry with RMI here.

That being said, I wanted to give you a little idea of one of my days.  In some ways it’s typical to Mom’s everywhere, but done in a way that’s not typical to the US!

Drew and Tessa have school every day from 8 am to noon.  So the mornings are spent getting the kids fed and ready to go.  When Rob is here, he tries to be out of the house and to the office by 7 am, so he helps me before 7.  He had to carve out time for language study, and it worked well for him to do that from 7-8 am every day.  He has staff devotions at 8 am and then is often back here by 9 am for our language session with the tutor.

The nice part is school is pretty close, so we can leave 5 to 10 minutes before 8 and get there on time.  Getting the kids all dressed and ready in their uniforms on time can be a struggle, but we manage!  Merihta comes around 7:30 am and my goal is to be off by 7:45.  Our mode of transportation to school is my four-wheeler!

I’m usually back by 8:15 and take some time to hang with Braden or check email or get in a little Creole studying.  From 9-10 am Rob and I have our language session.  Most days I try to study for another hour at least, afterwards.

Last week I had some errands to run.  We were out of flour, sugar and rice so I went to Madame Utiel’s, one of the local “shops” as opposed to going into town since I didn’t have a truck.  I say “shop” because it’s pretty much the “garage” of her home converted into a shop that sells many basic necessities. That day, I stopped on my way home from dropping the kids off at school, but they didn’t have any sacks of flour or sugar, so I was told to come back in an hour and they’d have some for me.  So after my Creole lesson back I went.  I determined I couldn’t carry all 3 sacks on my 4 –wheeler at once, so I first drove home the sugar and flour.  Here’s Braden posing on my moto for a pic with these items once I got home.  The rice is in my front basket and sugar on the back.


Then I went back again for the flour


I leave about 10 minutes to noon to pick up Drew and Tessa.  Often I take Braden with me.  He’s always super-excited when I do!  I think he misses the older two—he always gives them a hug and kiss on his own when he sees them.

My afternoons are spent with the kids.  We play and do preschool and Kindergarten workbooks.

Later that week, we ran out of laundry detergent and I was back at Madame Utiel’s for a 5-gallon bucket of detergent.

Each day here is constantly different, but I am enjoying the routine that having the kids in school brings.  I’m also encouraged as I venture out on my own more and can run “basic” errands without help!  It’s exciting to realize I know a decent amount of Creole and can communicate on basic level.  It’s also a reminder of how much I have yet to learn and gives me a chance to really practice what I am learning in the real world.

Later this week, I’ll paint a picture of what my shopping days (Friday usually) look like.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Even the bugs are singing praises…

Our house, while very secure, is wide open.  There are no glass windows as you in the states would know them.  There are a type of louvered glass slats that can be closed, but it’s crazy to close them… it’s just too hot.  There are screens on the windows to keep the bugs, tree frogs and lizards out, and they do a decent job keeping out the huge amount that would flock to the lights at night.  There are decorative bars on the windows for security and the front “porch” is also enclosed with these bars.  To lock up the house at night, I put a padlock on the gate of our porch.  We hear everything loud and clear—storms, rain, tree frogs, animals, bugs… the list goes on and on.

There is such joy and wonder when your child discovers something that we hear all the time and are so used to we almost don’t even notice.  Tonight was one of those nights.


Braden came up to me right before book time (right before bed.)  He had an inquisitive, perplexed, and excited look on his face.  “Mommy, outside!  hmmm-hmmmmmm…  hmmm-hmmmmmm.  Noise! Mommy, outside!”  All the beetles and crickets were singing like they do on a dark summer night.  “Braden!  The bugs are singing!” I told him.  “They are praising Jesus!  Do you hear them?”  A big nod and smile, and he ran back over to our front, screen door.  Such joy and wonder in the eyes of my baby boy tonight.  Such joy and wonder in my heart.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I Miss You Dad

My Dad, Robert Montgomery Brower, Feb 20, 1947 to Oct 19, 2006

Here we are at a Phillies/Cubs game.  We shared a passion for baseball.  He would’ve loved the dynasty the Phillies are becoming.

becky and dad phillies

It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since my Dad lost his 5-year battle with pancreatic cancer.  Four years later, the emotions are not as raw, but I still feel the loss of him in so many ways.  I work so hard to talk about him with the kids whenever the opportunity arises.  I want them to know him as much as possible even though he is not here with us. During the 5 years he was sick, I tried to make a point to visit NJ much more often.  We would spend the weekend flounder fishing out on his boat.IMG_2380







   Once Drew came along, I was even more determined to visit.  I love that he got to see me as a mom and spend some time with Drew as a baby.


He was strong enough to visit FL a few weeks after Tessa was born, just weeks before he passed away.  He was very weak and didn’t do much more than lay on the couch or on the recliner, but he got to meet and hold his first (an only, to this point) granddaughter.  I thank the Lord all the time for that week and make sure Tessa knows her Pop-Pop in heaven got to meet her and hold her when she was a tiny baby.


This picture is hard to include here because he looks so sick, but he was smiling and holding an awake Tessa, and I don’t want to forget the joy of that week with him.




I almost forgot, he spent a lot of time in the hot tub at our house.  It was the time of day he looked forward to the most that week, as he commented how good he felt physically after being in the warm water.  It was a good physical therapy for his failing body.  Plus, Drew got to play with him there a little each day.




Braden was born a little less than 2 years after he died, but he shares his middle name (Montgomery) with my Dad and my grandfather (my Dad’s dad, who passed away a few months before Braden was born.)  I wish my Dad could see how my family is growing.

I think he’d be proud of this family I’ve been blessed  with.  I know he’d be so supportive of us serving in Haiti.  The Lord has been so faithful to our family (the whole Brower side) these last nine years.  I can smile easily because I know Dad is spending his eternity in heaven with his Savior.  What comfort and peace that brings.

I love you and miss you Daddy.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

First Week of Haitian School Down…

Drew and Tessa are into their second week now of school in Haiti.  I’ve been referring to it as “phase 2” in our adjustment period.  I anticipated a difficult time, especially for Tessa.  And she did cry the first few days, but I am amazed how good they are doing already! I know that doesn’t mean we won’t have ups and downs, but I feel like the hardest part is over.

Here are pics from the first day


Tessa wanted to strike a pose and Drew wanted to be all formal with his hand on Tessa’s shoulder.  It was pretty sweet.  He was taking his big brother role seriously that day.






They were both pretty excited to wear their uniforms.  I have to admit, I think they are pretty cute.  Especially Tessa’s with all those pleats and the cute little apron.  Someone commented that they look like little Disney World employees in training.  I would have to agree!



The kids’ “Haitian School Bus”.  The school is a few miles away.  We both took them the first day.  Most days I take them both on the 4-wheeler.  We were late the second day because I couldn’t get it to start and couldn’t get a hold of Rob who was already at the office.  We started walking and ran into another missionary who offered us a ride. 

School Bus

School Bus

The kids with their friend, Ellie, outside of their school, Kindergarten Lumiere.  The school is the Haitian equivalent of K-3, K-4 and Kindergarten.  Drew and Ellie are in Kindergarten, although in different classes and Tessa is in K-4.  Remember, there is no English spoken here!  What the kids are taught is mostly in French, but the teacher and their classmates speak Creole.

Drew, Tessa and Friend Ellie

The kids start out the morning assembled in the courtyard.  They sing the Haitian national anthem and some other songs or recitations, then march up to class.  Drew had the wrong hand on his heart for the anthem, and the little girl in front of him gently guided his hand down and put the other one up.  It was a sweet gesture. I told Drew he could smile, that he didn’t have to look so serious and he told me, “But Mommy, I have to be serious, I have a lot to learn!”

I told Drew tonight he didn't need to look so serious at school, he can smile some.  He said, "But Mommy, I have to be serious, I have a lot to learn."

Tessa in her assembly line right before she started sobbing.  Rob went and stood over by her and walked her to her class.  She pretty much sobbed for 45 minutes.  I was wondering when he was going to inch his way out of her class, so when I went up, he hadn’t even started trying.  Poor Rob was so heartbroken, he didn’t know how to even try to leave his little girl.  We switched places and I moved to the door and then out the door in 15 minutes.  She was sobbing, “Mommy come back!” It was so sad.  BUT, I waited outside her door and within 2 or 3 minutes she stopped crying. 


When we picked her up she was smiling and said, “Mommy, I didn’t cry at all after you left!”  By Friday there were no tears.  I was concerned that after the weekend off she would have a hard time returning Monday, but that was not the case.  She seems to be liking it and points out all her “friends” to me as we arrive and leave school each day.

Both kids are doing really well!  We appreciate your continued prayers for them.  Pray that they make friends and learn the language well.  Pray that it is a positive experience for them overall.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Prayer Request

Please pray for Katelyn Pfister. She is a 10-year-old MK here and was flown to the children's hospital in St. Pete on Sunday with her mom, Amber. She's in the ICU now. Not exactly sure the diagnosis yet, but she was very sick for a week and in the clinic here and not getting better. Her Dad, Rich, flew out today.

Rich and Amber work here with Loving Shepherd Ministries overseeing children’s homes for orphans.  Katelyn is the oldest of 5 kids.  Rich’s Mom flew in Friday to help them before they decided to fly Katelyn to the States.

Agape Flights came in Friday to throw a picnic for all the missionaries on Saturday.  I don’t know the whole story, but at the last minute 2 people with Agape weren’t able to come.  Because there were 2 spare seats on the plane, Katelyn and Amber were able to fly to the States on Sunday with Agape when they returned.  I love seeing God’s hand at work so clearly.

Pray for clear diagnosis, treatment and recovery for Katelyn.  She is a very sweet girl who has babysat Braden a few times so I could play basketball with other ladies.  She has a huge servant’s heart!