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:

Ben,

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.
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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

Dinnertime

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

Community

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

Happenings

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.

K

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

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