Wednesday, October 19, 2011

5 Years…

It’s hard for me to believe it’s been 5 years since I lost my Dad.  I’m really missing him today.

becky and dad phillies IMG_2380

I’m so thankful he got to know Drew a little.  He even got to spend time with Tessa right after she was born, about 6 weeks before he died.  I am forever grateful to the Lord for giving us that extra time with him.







I miss you so much, Dad!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why am I so impatient?

fetching2Today, I was “liberating” someone’s iPhone so they could use it here in Haiti.  The process stalled on a screen that said, “please be patient”. 

So, what do you think I did? 

I googled the “problem” because it was taking too long.  Guess what answer I found?  “There is no fix for this. All you have to do is just wait…”

Seriously?  Sometimes, I just frustrate myself.

I think God must feel this way with me sometimes.

“Patience is the companion to wisdom.”
---St. Augustine

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No, No, The Road is Not Easy…

IMG_1200The other day, we sang a song in our daily staff devotions.  It seems to me to be a perfect expression of the Haitian Christian mindset/culture.  The song was “Chemen an pa Fasil” – “The Road is not Easy”.  In fact, there is a distinct acceptance and resignation to this reality. Haitians even have a saying for operating in this context, “degaje” (make due with what you have). It’s a necessary reality.

In a much different way, this song is also a great explanation of my maturing mindset (I have a LONG way to go).  We are living in a context where everything is constantly in a state of disrepair, with not much expertise to fix it.  Every day our internet comes and goes, and no one can explain why, and no one can fix it.  Our plumbing leaks, electrical systems seam possessed, appliances are always acting up, people are constantly in need, vehicles are always broken down, equipment is constantly spent, etc etc etc.  I feel like a say every day, there is just no way I can write “home” and explain this context to you.  You have to live in our shoes to believe it.

So here is the song…

Chemen an pa fasil – The road is not easy
Jouk nou rive Genyen nan siel la – Until we arrive in Heaven
Li genyen pikan e piej anpil, – It has prickly problems and many obstacles
Chemin an pa fasil – The road is not easy
Men Jezi mache ak nou – But Jesus walks with us
Li rann ke nou tout a fe trankil – He makes our hearts full of peace

Ke: – Chorus
Non, non, chemen an pa fasil (bis) – No, No, the road is not easy (2x)
Men Jezi mache ak nou – But Jesus walks with us
Li pote fado nou – He carries our burdens
Gras Li fe ke nou rejuoi anpil – His Grace makes our hearts rejoice

IMG_1202Right after we sang this song, we reflected upon Isaiah 41:10. 
I translated this from the Creole Bible because I think it captures the Haitian spirit…

“You all don’t need to fear.  I am there with you!
You don’t need to let anything give you a jumping heart.
It’s me myself who is your God.
I am holding you with the strength of my wrists that will never lose a battle.”


Monday, October 10, 2011

Tessa Started Kindergarten!

Tessa started her second (and final) year at Kindergarten Lumiere last week.  Last year when she started, she knew very little Creole and everything was new.  There were lots and lots and lots and lots of tears that first week.  This year was quite the opposite!  She was very excited to go and see her friends again!  When she got home that first day , she told me all the girls are her friends. :)

Here are a few pics of her first day:







They usually start each day with an assembly outside in the school’s courtyard by singing the Haitian National Anthem and some other songs.  For some reason they did not do this the first day, so I stuck around again the second day to get some pics.  As soon as we arrived, two girls took Tessa by the hand and led her right to her class to put her bag away then they walked hand in hand all over the playground before assembly started.  It was so sweet to watch!








Tessa calls Medline her best school friend.  It took no time for them to find something to climb together!



Here are some pics from the assembly and marching up to her classroom.





She knows so much Creole this year, knows what to expect at her school and was thrilled to see her friends again.  She is loving school!  What a difference a year makes!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cultural Acquisition and Emancipation…

underconstructionRecently, I have found myself fascinated by my own cultural acquisition and emancipation.  Whether I realize it or not, I am becoming a different person.  I am under construction.

Culture.  I have been watching it.  Loving it. Confused by it.  Angered by it. Influenced by it.  Walking it.  Rejecting it.  Embracing it.  I want to understand. There are parts of the Haitian culture, that differ from American culture, that I love, love, love.  Other parts? Not so much!  There are parts of the American culture that are different from the Haitian culture that I love, love, love.  Other parts?  Not so much!

The other day someone said, in jest of course, that I am a Haitian.  Do I dream of the day that I will fully “be a Haitian”?  No.  It will never happen. It just isn’t who I am.  Do I long for and plan to return to my insulated American mindset?  No.  Well ok, some days, but I’m not interested.  The reality is that I am developing my own third culture.  I am developing my own culture, an amalgamation of both Haitian and American culture.  I would like to think it is more complete world view.

I am afraid. What will I leave behind? What will I embrace? What will I reject? What will rub off on me? Who am I becoming?

Right now, I feel the urge to list the things I love about Haitians and the things I love about American’s.  Right now, I was to scream from the mountain tops the list of things I will never embrace in Haitian culture, and all the things that completely annoy me about my own American culture.  Yet, I am still too new, too fresh, too idealistic, too myopic to confidently know all the answers.

Many have walked this road before me and I hope and pray that as I watch and learn from them, as I ask questions, as I seek the counsel of God, that I will continue to become who God’s wants me to be.  “It” really isn’t about being Haitian, or walking their walk .  “It” isn’t about being American, or the American dream.  It is about becoming who God wants me to be, with His values, His standards, His dreams, His sufferings.

God himself has given us a great example in Christ.  He came down, from His culture of Heaven, to a foreign earthly culture.  He remained God, and became fully human.  He contextualized, yet remained who he was in essence.  I like that. 

Lord, help me.  I am scared, but I boldly move forward to the adventure that awaits.  This transformation isn’t easy.  It hurts.  God make me who you want me to be.  Give me your mind and your heart. Give me wisdom to rightly divide influence (internal and external), confidence to embrace, humility to give up, strength to embrace.