Friday, August 30, 2013

Running…

I’ve started running.  Or maybe I should say schlepping.  Dragging my unwilling body up and down very loose stone, rocky and hilly roads in 157% humidity probably shouldn’t be called “running”.  August in Haiti is no time to start running.  And yet, here I am.  When I run, my lungs burn.  My heart pounds.  My back aches.  My will shrinks.  My legs become jelly. I. AM. OUT. OF. SHAPE.  I couldn’t put it off any longer.  I must do something.  In time, I am told it can only get better.  I promise you, it couldn’t be worser (yes, I know worser isn’t a word).

It’s not easy.  I am weak.  But in my weakness, He is made strong.

It’s reminded me. No matter what “hill” I am facing…  God is present.  He is aware.  He is speaking.  He is moving.  He is conducting.  He is working.  He is strengthening.  He is empowering.  He is mediating.  He is transforming…

Change me Lord.  I want to be who you want me to be.  I want to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (and body).

schlep

Rob

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Visit to the Citadelle

One of the highlights of our recent vacation was our stop to visit the Citadelle located near Cap-Haitien in the north of Haiti.  On our way home from the DR, we spent two nights in Cap-Haitien, before driving the rest of the way home to Cayes.  It’s a long drive to get that far north in Haiti and we didn’t know when or if we’d ever get that way again, so we decided to take a day to visit this magnificent fortress. For some history and background on the Citadelle, click on the hyperlink above to see what Wikipedia has to say about it.  It’s a fascinating and rich history and is worth the quick read. 

We arrived at Sans-Souci Palace where King Henry Christophe lived.  Here is where we hired a Haitian guide to take us on a guided tour of both the Citadelle and the Palace.  From here it was 7 miles uphill to reach the fortress.  We were able to drive 2/3 of the way, park and then we “rented” horses and rode the rest of the way.    It well worth it to take the horses.  It’s a very steep hike and while the path is concrete and stone, it would have been very difficult for the kids. The kids loved riding the horses up!  It was so much fun!

Vacation Citadel August 2013

The cool thing about visiting the Citadelle, is you can pretty much walk around everywhere, even some dangerous places!  Our guide took us through it all and explained what each room was and what it was used for.  There are hundreds of cannons still there and thousands of cannonballs still stacked high.  There are not many railings and you can walk all the way to the roof.  It was breathtaking.  I don’t even know how to describe it.  Pictures in this case are better than a thousand words, yet the pictures we took can’t begin to describe the magnificence that is the Citadelle.  Click here to see all the photos.  This is one time I’d tell you it is worth your time to view them all!  Here is our family on one part of  the roof of the Citadelle:

IMG_5142 

And a few more favorite photos:

Vacation Citadel August 20131

After that we rode the horses back down the mountain and toured Sans-Souci Palace.  A large earthquake on 1842 destroyed much of the grounds, so it is more  in ruins, but was fascinating history nonetheless.  Here are a few highlight photos of the palace:

Vacation Citadel August 20132

What a fantastic ending to our vacation.  We enjoyed a great time of rest in the DR and a fantastic tour of what many Haitians call “the 8th wonder of the world.”  If you ever happen to be up in the Northern part of Haiti, this is a must see!

~Becky

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again…

back in the saddleAs you read Becky’s vacation updates, you will read how amazing it was for us to get away and rest.  Truly, rest is a discipline that God set forth at the beginning of time, but yet it is one of the most overlooked disciplines of the modern era.  It was truly awesome.  For a long time to come I will look back and nostalgically remember those sweet days with my family.

But now, we are back.  “Back in the Saddle” as we say.  The saddle rubs.  The saddle stretches us.  But, the saddle fits.  It is truly good to be back in the thick of things.

By the way, I am the Pirate Cowboy…  You should see my chaps and cutlass!

Rob

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Much Needed Vacation

We all need a break.  We all need time to settle down, disconnect from the busyness of life and reconnect with our family.  For us, living in Haiti accentuates that need for a break to an even greater degree.  Here we live in a proverbial fishbowl.  Everyday tasks seem harder, work can feel like it’s 24-7, and even in our own home we are rarely alone.  Driving is more stressful, errands take more effort and there is always someone at our door asking for help. 
Last summer, we spent 3 months in the States on home assignment.  We had some vacation time built in and it was a break from the busyness of Haiti.  But our schedule was packed full and we were still working!  This year, because of a busy team schedule over the summer, we had a limited amount of time time for a break.  The expense of going to the States for a vacation didn’t make sense. 
This summer we decided to go to the Dominican Republic.  Since Haiti and the DR share the same island (Hispaniola), this adventure made sense for the time we had. We have German missionary friends who have driven there before and were able to secure us a very good rate at a Dominican all-inclusive resort.  We made plans and off we went! 
The plan was to drive north to Cape Haitian and then cross the DR border and arrive in Puerto Plata on the north coast of the DR.  We left at 3 am and arrived at the resort at 6 pm the same day.  For those of you who know driving in Haiti, this is not relaxing highway driving!  Hats off to Rob for getting us there in minimum time.  3 hours of the road was just dirt.  At one point we were stopped for 45 minutes because a huge bus was stuck in the muddy portion of the road and was totally blocking the road.  The driver managed to get the bus stuck even worse, but he had turned the bus to make a way for other vehicles to pass.  I really don’t know how Rob got thru without getting stuck ourselves.  He put it in low 4-wheel drive and didn’t stop!  We were praying the whole time and I just couldn’t look!  I was also anxious about crossing the border.  We paid a Haitian guy to help us with every step and he took care of everything for us.  After 1 hour 15 minutes at the border we were on our way.
My favorite 2 pics:
Vacation DR August 2013
We stayed at the RIU Bachata in Puerto Plata for 10 nights.  It was a beautiful and restful location!  The resort had a huge, gorgeous pool and beautiful beaches.  We spent most of the vacation sitting at the pool or on the beach, swimming to our hearts content.  We ate too much, laughed a lot and lived in our bathing suits most of the time.  We snorkeled right on the beach, kayaked and rented the jet-ski for an hour one day.  We did a snorkeling excursion on a glass-bottom boat which was all of our favorite part of the week.  Even Braden got in the water, and although he did not snorkel, he could still see all the fish and his squeals of delight were priceless.  Each child had a time with a one-on-one date with either Mommy or Daddy.  Drew and Rob went on a dune-buggy excursion, Tessa and I went to the spa for a manicure for her and a pedicure for me, and Braden and Daddy played on all three playgrounds, did  a little shopping and ate ice cream together.  Rob, Drew and I spent a lot of time reading, which we enjoyed immensely!
Here are a few favorite pics:
Collages
It was such a relaxing and renewing time for our family.  A time of just being together with no outside pressures.  I am so thankful for my family and the time we had this summer to truly get away together.  We really needed it!  I’ve posted a few pictures, but if you want to check out all 260+ pics, you can find them here.
We extended our vacation by a few days to stop to visit the Citadelle in Hati, but that is a whole other blog post (and 175 more pics!) and was an amazing experience.
So many of you prayed for us as we drove there and back and prayed that we would have a restful family time.  Thank you!  It was a wonderful blessing for our family.
~Becky 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A collision of ETERNAL proportions…

We are privileged to have “box seats” to an amazing race (rat race?).  One moment the race is happening, life is moving on at a crazy unbelievable pace, the noise/roar of the racing engines is beyond bearable (yet sometimes not even noticed). Then IT happens.  Sometimes it happens as if in slow motion, and at other times, it happens at break neck speed.  A collision of 2 entities that were powered by different fuels, who may be heading in opposing directions, who may have had very different destinations.  It happens, and it is a ugly beautiful event.  In fact, we facilitate these collisions, and I like to watch.

It’s a collision that happens between…

  • The “wealth” of Americans crashing into the “wealth” of Haitians. 
  • The “poverty” of Americans crashing into the “poverty” of Haitians. 
  • The “poverty” of Haitians crashing into the “wealth” of Americans. 
  • The “wealth” of Haitians crashing into the “poverty” of Americans. 

How do we define wealth and poverty?  Who is more wealthy?  Who is more impoverished?  We have found this very difficult to answer.

A question…. It is the PRESENCE/WEALTH of what that produces JOY/SATISFACTION?

The presence (wealth) of something brings joy and satisfaction.  The only presence that will bring true wealth and satisfaction, is Jesus.  It is not all the other things that we could create and/or potentially find on this earth.  This earth is dry and void of any soul satisfying “thing/person/presence”.

Psalm 63:1 – O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Rob