Monday, December 28, 2009

Go Time

The funny thing?
We're done packing, and there are enough clothes left in the closet to be an entire wardrobe. We are blessed, blessed, blessed.
We fly tomorrow afternoon to Miami. Night in Miami, then on the Port-au-Prince.
Prayers for safe travel, quick (but safe) security screenings, and on-time non-cancelled flights (forecast: wintry mix yuck).


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!
Today, B and I mentally put Christmas back in a box, loaded it into the attic, and moved on.
It's go time.
We started packing.
We registered our trip with the State Department.
We wrote thank you notes.
We read Quisqueya school newsletters- just posted online!
We made many evaluations - how many insect repellants do we need? Will the carbon monoxide/smoke detector make the cut? The Coleman lantern is a lot heavier than we realized....
Our life is a zoo!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Random Thoughts

There are 5 days until we leave. Make sure your strapped in and keep all arms in side the car.

I am roller coaster excited. I know the ride ahead is going to be wild and fun and it will leave me breathless and wanting to do it again. Right now though we are being pulled up to the top of the hill... watch out for that first drop. Like I said, roller coaster excited.

If you have a few moments I would encourage you to pray for healing for two leaders, both have cancer. Matt Chandler ( Michael Spencer (

Goodbye deep V's

The creation is not in any sense independent of the Creator, the result of a primal creative act long over and done with, but is the continuous, constant participation of all creatures in the being of God.
- Wendell Berry

Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.
- Amos 5:23-24

The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.

- Proverbs 5:7

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
- James 1:27

Have you heard of the Sweatshop Hall of Shame? As a person who loves Jesus and also shops, we need to put our money where our heart is. This document helps. For instance, Uzbekistan recently passed a law requiring children as young as 7 to work in cotton harvests in late summer, when they would normally be starting school. Many companies now boycott Uzbek cotton until they change their law, but some - Gymboree, Hanes, and LL Bean - have refused.

Dear Hanes (and other Bad Guys),
I really love your men's V-neck undershirts. They're my go-to shirt. I was planning to buy lots more before I go overseas. Except.... you support child labor - 7 year olds in Uzbek cotton fields. Sorry. No more V-necks for me.

Here's a special reason why I care: a brand new report says 225,000 children in Haiti are slaves. TWO HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND children. Out of a nation of only 10 million. Known as "restaveks", these kids' families poverty is so severe that the families send their kids to other, less-poor families. Did you hear that? Poverty in Haiti is so bad, slavery is a better option that living with their parents. The study found that 30% of Haitian families had restaveks, 66% of whom are female (and all of whom are vulnerable to rape and abuse).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

10 days

To do:
-sign wills and power of attorney
-find new life insurance
-find new health insurance
-give blood to find out blood type (required for residency visa)
-deal with cell phones

-sell Ben's car
-purchase mosquito net
-Christmas shopping
-last day of work
-support dinners

Monday, December 14, 2009

Due to the beauty that is Google Alerts, I learned about a fascinating project included in UTD business professor John Barden's "Financial Information Management" class (frightening title, I know). Dr. Barden's class includes a "Classroom Citizenship and Social Responsibility" component that abides by a set of simple rules:
  • A treasurer will be elected for each class to collect and maintain funds.
  • Each class will elect one charity to receive the donated funds at the semester's end.
  • No baseball caps in class. If you want to wear a baseball cap, the donation is $2 per class.
  • If your cell phone rings, the donation is $10 per class.
  • If you are late for class, the donation is $5 per class.
  • If you want to text in class, the donation is $10 per class.
  • A publisher donates a textbook to each class and the donation is raffled off for $50. Student has 10 days to pay or interest accrues at 1% per week.
Isn't that fascinating? His classes have donated over $9,000 to charity in the past 3 years. This year Buckner received over $700. That's no small thing! Read the story here. Can I do that in Haiti with my classes? Could you do it with high school kids?

Also, my friend Jenny showed me "Haiti: The Cost of Life". A joint venture between Global Kids, Microsoft, and GameLab, this online game was helps you explore what its like to make choices in poverty. You have a family of four, and your goal is to keep them healthy/alive and get an education. It's really cool.


Thursday, December 10, 2009


Today I ran across a fascinating blog entry by a 29-year-old Chicagoan named Bethany who traveled to Port-au-Prince last year to spend a week in an orphanage. Her looong and very detailed report paints a much clearer picture of city life for me, and sounds almost exactly like my time in India. One of my greatest fears has been the whole "unknown" element of moving to a place you've never seen, so knowing that the streets of Port are similar to Delhi comforts me.

Further, I found an interesting artcle in the Haitian Times on the renewal of the UN MINUSTAH presence in Haiti for at least one more year, through October 10. This 9,000-member UN peacekeeping force has been in the country since 2004 and has significantly stabilized the capital.

Lastly, Ben found an interesting piece called Our Man in Haiti: Bill Clinton on the great work that Mr. Clinton has done as special UN Ambassador to Haiti. He's gone around the world seeking private investors to pursue business interests in Haiti to stimulate the economy, as well as pressured the government to become more business-friendly through greater transparency, better laws, and less corruption. He's also pressuring those who've made pledges to Haiti to pay up, and he was involved in recent cancellations of Haitian national debt by world banks - a move that will save the government $50 milllion per year that can now, hopefully, go to better serve the people.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

For the slave is our brother

I love the song "O Holy Night". This Christmas, though, a different verse is popping out at me. I've probably heard the song a hundred times, but never this part before.

Third verse:

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and his gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord
Let ever ever praise we
Noel, noel
O night, O night divine


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stuff Ben and Katie Like

Look, I don't know if this applies to us. But, it is always good to be self-aware.

Katie and I love this site, and I want to apologize now if the link describes us while we are gone.

But what do you expect, after all, we are white.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Matt, Missions, and degrees of seperation

Unless you have been living under an evangelical rock, you know that Matt Chandler had brain surgery this week.

Reading about how he and his family are handling this trial is inspiring, but that should come as no surprise to anyone who has heard him speak at The Village Church or listed to a podcast of his sermon. As Katie and I are getting ready to leave a few people have asked if we are nervous or scared. Matt's attitude is one that I want to have.

Before I share let me be upfront in saying that I really try not to get caught up in the personality cult around him. I probably fail at it, but I try.

Matt had a big impact on me at formative time. Right after college I was very de-churched. I was not really interested in the way church was being done around me. I didn't like my options. Go to churches that didn't feel very real to me and just go through the motions... Doesn't that lead to boring religion and eat at your soul? My other option I thought, was to stop going to church. If there wasn't one I liked I should probably not fake it.

Then through word of mouth I heard about The Village and things changed for me. I don't go there now but for a good year I was regularly in a chair drinking up every word.

Here I am 25 days away from moving to Haiti and I know that getting to where I am now was jump started by The Village Church and Matt Chandler. His passion for Christ, authentic living and his understanding that there are a lot of people who were tired of the way things are being done has made him a favorite pastor of mine and of countless other Millennials.

I am praying for his health, for his families peace, for his doctors wisdom, and for The Village's leadership. Matt has a lot of life a head of him and and I hope more ministry in his future.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


"I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops."
-Stephen Jay Gould
American evolutionary biologist (1942-2002)

You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien.
-Leviticus 19:10

What does this look like in 2009? How can I incorporate the spirit of this instruction from God in my life? What are my modern-day "vineyards"? What are my "grapes", and how do I avoid "stripping my vineyards bare"?

Could it mean giving some of my time to mentor a child or teen?
Could it mean blessing a poor family directly by giving them items from my house instead of selling them or donating to an intermediary, like Goodwill?

It seems like a passive kind of charity- not gathering up some grapes and taking them down to the local food pantry. Just leaving them there. Is this kind of like how some of my tax dollars go to welfare, or lots of other social helping programs?

I think sometimes I rob myself of the joy of giving directly to the poor (instead of through intermediaries like churches or charities) because (let's be authentic here) I don't know very many destitute people personally.

Do you have any homeless friends?
Not me.
Well, not yet.
Give me four weeks, then my answer may change:)

I think its particularly interesting that the passage directly mentions giving to "the alien" in addition to the poor. Especially in Texas we often have a very uncompassionate view toward the "aliens" living nearby - the immigrant community, including undocumented immigrants.

People (coughLouDobbscough) get up in arms that "they" are crowding up our ERs and causing strain on our schools. But, as Americans, what are our collective "fallen grapes" that we should leave behind to share with the poor? Maybe its a few seats in the waiting room, or a few books borrowed from the library, or a few extra kids on the school bus?

Now notice, the verse does not say "leave every single one of your grapes" or "gather up all your grapes and give them all away to the hungry". But, we can spare a few, I think. We can scoot over and make room for another on the couch. Maybe my view would change if I spent a little time at their dinner table, or watched a Cowboys game together, or babysat their kids.

PS I'm thinking more and more about issues of immigration as I fall more in love with Parkside Place.


Monday, November 30, 2009


Ever heard of MedEx Hot Spots report? It's daily global intelligence about every country in the world. They send you a daily email with all the latest local news you would want- holidays, protests, unrest, etc. For instance, today it told me that on a certain street in Port-au-Prince, somebody has been throwing rocks at cars and to avoid that street. Good to know!

What did missionaries do before the internet?

Friday, November 27, 2009


Happy Late Turkeyday. Kate and I are so thankful for you. Your prayers. Your insight. Your encouragement. And your donations. We are just a few days away from starting our 1 mouth countdown.

Maybe it is the holiday season, the fact that I have sold 2/3rds of my belongings, or that I am leaving soon and can only take 140lbs of stuff to live on, but I have been obsessed lately with the cost of things.

How much does that shirt cost? Could I justify to my donors the dollars spent on it? Is there a cheaper version? Do I really need it? And cost is not only measured in dollars but also in weight.

If I buy something is it useful in Haiti and is it too heavy that it prohibits me from taking something else?

I had lunch with a good friend on Wednesday and shared some of these questions. He is much wiser than I am and I value his advice. He reminded me that deciding how to use our resources is part of God's Grace in our life, that we have is already His. There are few black and white rules about how to use our stuff, and living in His Grace there is a lot of flexibility in how to use our material blessings if we are seeking what is best for His kingdom.

I want to be well prepared, but I can't pack everything. Even in my suit case I am reminded that I have to live by faith and experience Gods grace and blessing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Freedom from Holiday Shopping Madness

So its the week of Thanksgiving, and what's the talk of the town? Black Friday deals and holiday shopping. I woke up to CNBC this morning (not my fault, I live with Banker McCorporate, aka my fantastic dad) and all the talking heads are predicting, analyzing, amending predictions, re-predicting the holiday spending forecasts. Will it be Gray Friday instead of Black? What about Cyber Monday? How will the weather matter ("they" predict warmer-than-average temps are good for jewelry and electronics sales, bad for coats and boots)? CNN announced Walmart's Black Friday specials as "breaking news" as soon as the store's specials has been leaked a few days ahead of their official release.

Whatever. One of the coolest things about leaving for Haiti is that we literally can't buy anything. There's no place for it to go! We're living with my parents in one bedroom, one tiny closet, and we're moving to Haiti on American Airlines with two checked bags each - there's no room for any more stuff. It's fantastic. It's FREEDOM. Freedom from holiday shopping, from buying, from advertisements. I feel a strange power when I window shop, when I see a commercial - I can't buy anything even if I wanted to. It's really cool.

Further, its not just that we don't have the space, its that our budget just got super tight as we have only a few paychecks left before we're on 100% support from friends and family. For instance:

We're discussed the idea of buying a Kindle. It makes sense in a way - like an Ipod for books, a Kindle lets you have dozens or hundreds of books digitally so you don't have to lug all that weight and suitcase-space to Haiti. However, in the end, its $259, and that's not exactly a necessity in our new fundraising-for-income lifestyle. I had qualms about spending somebody's support money on a Kindle, even if I really love reading and reading would encourage us and grow us spiritually. It's just not the higher priority for use of money while we're in Haiti, trying to serve the Lord and the Haitians.

But, isn't it always that way? Isn't it always somebody else's money- God's? If all our money is a gift from God, provision from God, for the sole purpose of honoring God and doing God's work, shouldn't every purchase fall under such scrutiny? I believe it should. But its only now that I see all my finances for what they are - God's provision - that I scrutinize the purpose, the purchases, the maximizing of what I've been given to honor God and God's beloved people. What lessons God is teaching me, even before we leave.


Monday, November 16, 2009



We are moving to Haiti! After today we've shared our news with both employers, so at long last we're  ready to share with everyone.

So here's the story - Ben and I are moving to Port-au-Prince, Haiti on December 29, 2009.

Jesus said, "God's spirit is on me; he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free, To announce, 'This is God's year to act'."
- Luke 4

Jesus said these words in his hometown to announce the beginning of his ministry. It's become our theme verse, too, as we prepare for Haiti. As Jesus-followers, we just want to imitate Him. Love like He loved. We've been sensing a specific call to serve overseas for some months and have been praying about it ever since.

What will you do?
Ben and I will be high school teachers at Quisqueya Christian School in Port-au-Prince. Ben will teach high school social studies and history. I will teach high school English and electives (theater, life skills, geography, etc.). Quisqueya has about 300 students K-12th grade and is part of the Association of Christian International Schools. The school teaches in English, and students are a blend of Haitians as well as children of missionaries, diplomats, and businesspeople. Outside of the school day we'll be serving in the community alongside local missionaries.

How long will you go?
Several years. We'll renew our contract annually. Exciting news: we'll be home in the summers! We'll have around 8 weeks back home in Dallas. We're not sure exactly what we'll do during that time - possibly working, youth camp/children's camp/VBS/Young Life camp, resting, visiting family and friends, or probably a combination of all of the above.

Are you fundraising?
Yes. The school pays us a stipend, and on top of that we're raising $850 per month.The easiest way to give is via the PalPal link to your right. The thing we need most is monthly supporters.

How can we be involved?
1. Pray for us. We desperately need a community praying around us - thanks in advance for your prayers for us, for our ministry, for Haiti.
2. Support. We'll be counting on our community to support us while in Haiti. Since we'll be flying to Port-au-Prince on American Airlines, frequent flyer miles are a blessing, too.
3. Check back on the blog for frequent updates. You can become a Follower (click the "Follow" button to the right) or add us to your feed reader.

Ben and Katie

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pay Pal, Constant Contact, HTML, oh my!

We are getting legitimate around here. I was up late into the night upgrading to a Pay Pal business account (and having a slight run-in with the Compliance Dept over the definition of "non profit"), scouring the internet for edited HTML code to program the new donation buttons (see right), customizing our blog, registering for a domain name, and learning about Constant Contact. The beauty of this day and age is that there are so many tools available for free - we haven't spent more than $20 so far getting set up, and all these tools will really allow us to fundraise and communicate to our Communidad with ease from Hatland.

As we prepare, we're devouring any information about Haitian life and culture.
Let's file this one under Restaurant Fail:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


K has made much about our community lately and I wanted to build upon that thought.

This has been such a time of growth for us and our community at Fellowship because of our vulnerability and their ability and willingness to meet those needs. So often the ideal of community seems so foreign to us because we, as Americans, do not allow ourselves to need anything from any one. This is seen as weakness.

Be honest, when was the last time you had a need and let someone else meet it with out first trying to meet that need yourself? We have been raised to be self reliant, to be independent and to a certain extent these are wonderful traits, but gone unchecked they have brought us to a place where we miss out on so much. We read about the 1st century church in Acts with wrinkled brows because we don't have opportunities to be generous; and people are often not generous to us. (I realize this could be labeled and over simplification, but bear with me I have a word limit.)

Maybe not everyone needs someone to provide a roof over their head for a few months or money to sustain them for a few years, but everyone has a need, emotional or physical, that they cannot meet for themselves. So I challenge you in two ways.

1. Be vulnerable and confess your need to your community.
2. When you hear about a need, act swiftly to meet it with the resources you have.

One will allow you to experience a tangible example of God's Grace, the other will allow you to be a blessing to someone. This is a big part of what community is all about.

Friday, November 6, 2009

If there were a prize for #1 Community...

... my small group would win it. I'm telling you, people.

Last Friday and Saturday small group moved us out of our apartment. Over the week or two before that, they showed up several times with trucks to help move our furniture to its various new homes - some Craigslist buyers, some family, some friends.

Speaking of furniture, my small group members who recently just bought homes and had some extra space had divvied up our "nice" furniture between them to keep for the next 2 - 3 years so we don't have to a) sell it all and re-buy everything in 3 years, or b) pay for a storage unit.

This week, our small group has been bringing all their extra stuff to our leader's house to get ready for a giant garage sale tomorrow morning. Then, tomorrow night, our small group is putting on a support dinner so we can share our needs and ministry plans with our church and young friends (the 'rents are planning to do another similar dinner later for their friends and people from their church).

Several young friends and couples, including one that's not even married yet, and including several that are on only one income due to grad school or stay-at-home-parenting, have indicated that they plan to support us financially every month. Often they apologize that they can't do more, while I'm standing there gaping at their generosity. These are people that are in their 20's and 30's... leaders in giving.

Community in action:) It's beautiful, really.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spreading the news

I told my workplace! It went so well. I work with the most lovely Godly people.

I had planned to tell my boss on Friday, then again on Monday morning, then Monday kept getting pushed back. I was such a ball of nerves. We finally got to talk Monday late afternoon. I hated to deliver that kind of news at the end of a stressful day, but could not wait any longer.

Because I didn't get to share the news with my boss until after our staff meeting, I had to tell my friends at work one by one. Emotionally draining, but so encouraging- I had about 20 pastors speaking into my life yesterday. Such encouragement, such love, such life wisdom.

Ben has still not shared the news- a few more weeks to go.

God is so good
God is so good
God is so good
He's so good

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Last Night

Last night was our last night in our first home.

We moved in exactly one year ago to our apartment, and at that time were unwrapping wedding gifts, finishing last minute details, packing for our honeymoon, and dreaming of newlywedded bliss.

I have loved our year in our home so much. I have loved decorating it, and sharing it with Ben, and making it home. It is so strange that just 30 days ago it was perfectly fixed, and were were considering paint colors and re-signing for another year's lease. Then, Quisqueya finally came through with an offer, and within four weeks we've sold all our things and now the only piece of furniture in the entire apartment is our bed. Everything you can see if this picture is gone, except for the Satterlee original art on the wall. There's a lot of grief in in today.

Tonight is our first night in my parents' house. They are being very gracious, and this will allow us a great transition time before moving to Haiti to save buckets of money and wean ourselves off American life. Their house is really well suited for it- we'll have plenty space, and privacy, not to mention getting to live in a big fancy house. But I have love, love, loved our little first apartment.

Panic Room

This week we had a little breakdown related to safety. The US State Department report on Haiti is frightening. So Ben emailed Steve, the Quisqueya Christian School Director, for more insight. Steve responded, and now my nerves are calmed a bit:


Safety is really not an issue. I live here with my wife and two kids, and certainly would not if there was danger. Really, safety concerns here are similar to that of any big city in the States. By many measures, Haiti is much safer than, say, Dallas. A recent report on crime rates that came out puts Haiti as much safer than places like Jamaica, Mexico, and other countries in the region. You should take the normal precautions that you would in any large city in the States.

We walk to school every day and have felt no danger or hostility. We serve 275 students at QCS, and almost all of their families could go to teh States if they considered Haiti to be too dangerous. The reality is that we live quite normal lives, and we don't live in fear. The more you get familiar with the culture and the situation, the more comfortable you will feel.

I am taking the liberty of forwarding this letter on to other staff members in the hopes that they can share their experiences with you.

I will say that the State Department's reports have NOTHING to do with reality but have everything to do with politics. My brother works for the State Department and he can only travel with the permission of the department. They have never questioned his coming to Haiti or put restrictions on his movement here. It is also useful to know that the person who, a couple of years ago put a travel warning on Haiti, had his extended family come visit for two weeks soon after he wrote the report.
I will say that since I have had my fear attacks this week, I've begun absorbing Scripture like crazy and singing praise songs to keep myself sane. All of sudden Scriptures and hymns are coming alive to me like never before- its like I never claimed them because I've never had NEEDS before, never felt real fear before. Now I feel I understand why my faith is exploding in the Third World....people with real NEEDS will clamor for the love, safety, and faith our Lord graciously provides.

The glory of the Lord will be my rear guard.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Evites went out today for our upcoming dinner where we'll share the news about our Haiti ministry, pray, share the needs we'll have, and just be together with some of our nearests and dearests.

I've picked the day I'll share the news with my work: Monday, November 2. Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men....we'll see. I'm afraid.

In the last 48 hours we made two important documents: our Haiti budget and our will.

We have a friend who is a lawyer, and he graciously made the will for us. We used Kim (a former Quisqueya teacher now living in Dallas)'s budget as a sample, and then edited to fit our needs. One of the tough things about fundraising now (in addition to the fact that this move is hush-hush until we tell our workplaces) is that we have really limited knowledge of what anything will cost in Haiti. We know our apartment will probably be "furnished", but what does that mean? We might have the internet at home, or maybe not. We might have a housekeeper, or maybe not.

So as I pack, I keep asking myself what will stay, what will go- but its only my best guess. Take sheets or buy them there? Can you buy a shower curtain in Port-au-Prince? What about silverware? What about pillows? What about trash cans?

We booked our flights this week. We leave December 29. We can take three bags each: two to check at 50 pounds each, and one to carry on at 40 pounds. All those bags are free since it is an international flight, even though we spend the night in Miami. NO extra bags are allowed because of the holiday season.

One tricky thing: we are looking into buying a trunk to use as one of our checked bags. American Airlines says the length, height and width of a bag in inches must equal 62 inches or less all together. Look for trunks at Container Store, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond etc, and every one you find will be larger than that by two or three inches. How strict are they? Is it worth it to risk it? If it's that big, will it be overweight when full already, so don't bother?

We've sold the kitchen table, and have buyers for most other things. The dining chairs go tonight. The couches go on Saturday. The microwave goes on Sunday. The TV goes next Thursday. The house gets emptier and emptier.

But I get fuller and fuller. Excited to go:)

Friday, October 16, 2009


Things are picking up speed. In the last few days:
1. Told our families
2. Scheduled doctor and dental appointments
3. Begun packing
4. Selling things on Craigslist
5. Changed our address with the Post Office and IRS (now we are legit)
6. Cancelled our utilities
7. Making our budget after seeing some samples from another Quisqueya teacher
8. About to make our flights

We are, in a a way we have never been before, so vulnerable to our community right now. We need things. Really, we need things. But our community is being the body of Christ:

- my parents offered to let us live with them for November and December, thus allowing us to save several thousand dollars toward our support in Haiti
- our small group is helping us throw a garage sale
- a couple in our small group is allowing us to loan them some furniture for the few years we're away (the nice furniture)
- a couple in our small group wants to help throw a dinner for us to share our needs with our friends and fam
- my parents offered to let us keep some boxes at their home, and to take care of my car
- my friend in Miami offered to let us stay with her so we don't have to pay for a hotel room (the only flights to Haiti on AA are very early in the morning out of Miami, so you have to fly there the night before)

It's amazing, really, what happens when you really need people, and they are the hands and feet of Christ to you.

Next up:
1. Find a home for the couches, coffee table, dining table
2. Do the garage sale and dinner
3. Buy our plane tickets
4. Move in with my parents

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Hole in Our Gospel

Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ's compassion for the world is to look out;
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.
-Saint Teresa of Avila

Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence, or learning.
-Frederick W. Faber

The spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has annointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.
-Luke 4

Hell will be full of people who thought highly of the Sermon on the Mount.
You must do more than that.
You must obey it and take action.
-John MacArthur

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If you will do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
-Isaiah 58

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Several things have happened:

1. We told my parents.
2. I got my typhoid and yellow fever shots (have to go to county health to get rabies)
3. We listed all our things on Craigslist, and sold several.
4. One of the couples in our small group graciously agreed to borrow some of our furniture until we return (just a few pieces that are very special and/or expensive to replace).
5. My parents offered to let us live with them for November, 3 weeks in December, and next summer. This will allow us to save SO much money- I am incredibly grateful.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

When I was in my early teens, a thought took hold of me: Jesus didn’t die to save us from suffering—he died to teach us how to suffer…. Sometimes I actually mean it. I’d rather die young, having lived a life crammed with meaning, than to die old, even in security, but without meaning.
- Mev Puleo

But now thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
- Isaiah 43:1

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Don't hate, Innoculate.

Dear friends, did you know that you need shots for

Hep A
Hep B
Yellow fever
Tetanus booster

to go to Haiti?

PLUS anti-malarials recommended?

Poor sweet husband got 5 shots yesterday (they were out of rabies), as he was off of work for Yom Kippur (apparently his company is headed by those of Jewish faith?). When I got home he was pitiful and pathetic, and probably also covered in swine flu germs, having spent his afternoon in the local clinic. I'll have to go get my shots soon, too, although I only need yellow fever, rabies, and typhoid.

We're telling my parents tonight about the move. Prayers, please.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Sunday, September 27, 2009

No Creole at Half Price Books

We are still in the highest state of confusion. No offer, no firm plans...but my heart still aches to go.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ugh. Dragging on. No decisions. More complications!



Monday, September 7, 2009

Getting Started On This Adventure

If you are going to follow along with us, I think it would help you to be in the same mindset as us. Let me share with you how I got to the place I am now; ready to sell or store all of my things and move to Haiti.

To me it is all about Grip. I have lost mine.

I am not talking about a dead-fish handshake or a grasp of reality, but rather my grip on my life. I never wanted a corporate job. Never planned for it. Never considered it. I hate suits and ties (though I do look great in them) and I find that my focus is often drawn towards people, not profit. I was enticed by what a corporate job offered; money, identity, success. But it was all about me. Like a child trying to clutch sand, the tighter I squeezed the more what I sought seemed to pass though my fingers.

It’s not fair to say that “I lost my grip”, that gives me too much credit. It is more accurate to say that God wrestled my life from my grasp before I made an even bigger mess of it. First there was a lay off. Then there was a business mentor telling me, that there was more to life than what we had been striving for. Followed by a new job which made me question why we get up and worked at all… And after months just emptiness in my hands.

But if I am not holding on to this life with a death grip, then my hands are freed up to receive other blessings. If I am not hammering out the details of my life then I am free to use my hands to address the needs of others. I think the experience of getting ready to leave has taught me that Faith is about not holding on so tight. It is about accepting a certain unknown to what lays ahead. That unknown is counter to our Western notions of security and in insecurity all a faithful person can do is rely on the promises of Christ.

So that is where I am. Blessedly empty handed and ready to go.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Shots, flights, and dates.

Things I Learned this Week:

1. Shots required for Haiti are hep a, hep b, typhoid, rabies. If you plan to travel to Argentina, Brazil, Panama, or Peru, you should also have yellow fever.

2. Haiti is at high risk for malaria. You can buy treated bed nets at or

3. It takes two days to fly to Haiti from Dallas on American. American flies to Port-au-Prince from Miami twice each day, in the 6 and 9 am hours, and they don't offer any flights from Dallas to Miami that get you there early enough to make those two flights. So you have to fly to Miami the night before and then catch the early-am flight out.

4. We received a 2009-2010 school calendar from Quisqueya. The spring semester will start on Tuesday, January 5. If we wanted to move a week early, we would leave on Monday, December 28 (and arrive in Haiti on Tuesday, December 29). Yikes! That makes it all feel very real, and soon.

Other notable calendar info: February 15-19 is "Carnival Break", there are 4 days off for Easter, there is a day off in May for "Flag Day", and Quisqueya graduation is Saturday, May 29. That Monday is Memorial Day, so I imagine we would fly home for the summer on Tuesday, June 1.

Fall 2010 first day of school is August 17, 2010. That means we'd be off from June 1 to early August- 10 weeks! What to do during that time? Work, save, ministry, travel?

Friday, August 21, 2009


Last night we met with Kim, a former Quisqueya teacher for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years. Read Kim's final newsletter, "Three Years in Haiti", as well as Kim's blog here.

Kim was so fantastic. She spent her first year in Haiti working in an orphanage she had previously visited on a mission trip, and then two school years at Quisqueya. She listened patiently as I grilled her with questions:)

Things I learned from Kim:
-I previously thought the only way to travel was Missionary Flights International (out of Ft. Pierce, FL), but Kim says she flew on American most of the time from Dallas through Miami
-She said buy sheets, towels, etc before you come, but many housewares will be included in a "furnished" apartment (such as kitchen items).
-Buy things in Haiti to stimulate their economy. This might include providing a job for a person supporting a family by hiring a housekeeper even when you don't need one.
-Off-campus rent is around $500 or $600. Water is through Culligan. Find an apartment that is furnished, has a generator and inverter, and has internet.
-QCS is located by the best grocery store in the country.
-QCS has cars you can request to borrow for short trips.
-Kim kept her car (including continuing to pay a car payment), her US insurance policy, and her US cell phone. She rolled her cell phone over to her parents' family plan and paid them $10 per month to keep it active.
-Buy a Haitian cell phone for $15, then use pre-paid minute cards.
-Come home in the summers and for Christmas.
-School starts January 4,5,6 ish, new teachers should come a week early.
-There are lots of pharmacies with brand-name US drugs, as well as lots of missionary doctors who will just give you meds. Antibiotics are dirt cheap.
-Classrooms have white boards, and the school is well-stocked. Hardly worth it to bring lots of school supplies.
-Fundraise through PayPal.
-Let the school be your bank. They keep account of you paychecks, unused sick days, etc and let you withdraw cash. In the summer, they pre-pay you for June & July.
-Curriculum is provided, unless its a new class. Outside experiences, college-style courses, and outside learning/articles are strongly encouraged.
-Staff is your community. Missionary churches are best.
-Kids are mostly Haitian in high school, but wealthy and largely not active Christians. Kim made the point that though dozens of missionary activities occur for the poor, no one ministers to the wealthy and therefore they are the least reached people group in Haiti.
-Relatively safe neighborhood. Tap-taps are safe and cheap (less than $1)
-Goude exchange rate is 40 per USD.
-Lunch is provided on-campus every day for teachers
-Tons of extra-curriculars, and you are encouraged to start anything you like
-Wear casual clothes (but not jeans) to teach
-The kids are your primary ministry, and outside of that there are so many ministry opportunities you will have to draw the line to allow yourself "down time". Kim said "the ministry never ends". :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thank you, Half Price Books

We're trying to prepare as best we can. Of course, we have really no idea how to adequately prepare for something this big, this life-changing. This weekend I read two books:Wess Stafford is the president of Compassion International. He was also a victim of physical and sexual abuse as a child at the hands of his teachers and staff at an international Christian school for missionary kids- exactly the type of children (for the most part) we'll be teaching in Haiti. This book made me weep. In addition to his personal story, it made an incredible case for the Bible demonstrating how God values children, and might even prefer them for his biggest, most important assignments.Francis Chan's Crazy Love rocked my entire world. As soon as my husband finishes it, I've got about 2349875 pages bookmarked to share with you. Stay tuned.
Kendall, a friend I met in Colorado Springs last weekend, is a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua and highly recommended this book to help us prepare for teaching.
Dr. Tran, my Bioethics professor in college, let me know about this book. I've been meaning to read it for years, but finally bought it today. It's the story of Paul Farmer, a rich and successful American doctor who went to Haiti to serve the poor. Everyone I mention it to is raving about it.
I don't think they have Creole for Dummies.... Today at Half Price Books they didn't even have a single Creole book in the Foreign Language section. In the "obscure languages" shelf the books went straight from Arabic to Dutch with no Creole in between.

This weekend I was out of town in Colorado at an old dear friend's wedding, and her father works for an organization that has many staff members in Haiti. He reassured me that the school we plan to teach at is in a good neighborhood, next door to the Canadian embassy in fact. He says we are on Delmas, one of the biggest streets in Port-au-Prince, and that we are "uphill", which is nicer than "downhill". I saw on the news today that Hurricane Bill is up to a Category 3 with 125 mph winds. It may curve north, but for now it is aimed straight for the Dominican Republic and Haiti (same island).

We're still waiting for the formal written offer....... prayers, prayers, prayers....

Friday, August 7, 2009

I'll fly away.

Right now, this blog is quiet. Our friends and family don't know yet that we're seriously considering a move to Haiti to serve. Until we have made our final decision and announced the good news to everyone, here is my place to spill.
What I Learned Today:

There are ministry airlines that make it their business to transport missionaries, missionary mail, and supplies.
-flies to Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Thursdays from Fort Pierce, Florida
-will carry your items for $1.50 per pound
-fly to W Palm Beach or Orlando, then Hertz one-way rental car
-$430 round trip, $215 one way
-flies to Port-au-Prince, Haiti at dawn on Wednesdays
-out of Venice, Florida

It is only 156 miles from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (to the other side of the same island) to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. That is the same distance between Dallas and Abilene.

It is only 710 miles from Miami, Florida to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. That is the same distance between Dallas and Atlanta.

It is only 1806 miles from Dallas, Texas to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. That is nearly the same distance between Dallas and either Seattle or Vancouver.

Haiti is at the same time at Dallas.

The airport in Port-au-Prince is called Mais Gate and goes by the code PAP.


Metaphors for what we're doing.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Haiti: A Google-image-search-assisted Photo Essay

A child at Carnival
The Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince
After Hurricane Ike
Desperate for clothes after Hurricane Ike
Lucky ones in school
Gathering water
Quisqueya Christian School, late '90s
Ahh Haiti.


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