Second Mile Haiti

Welcome to our blog! This is a place for us to keep friends and supporters up-to-date with the latest 'Second Mile' happenings! Check in often. Things are moving fast!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Then and Now

I may love Haiti more and more everyday. Right around this time every year I can start saying I'm almost a year older than I am. January is almost all used up which means March is just around the corner. Right about now I'm almost 25 and I've almost been living in Haiti for 2 years. It's nice to be able to say 2. It has a little more meat on it than 1. Not a whole lot more, but a little more. 2 years ago Haiti was hit by an earthquake. I'm sure you heard about it. It made National news and drew thousands of people to the country to offer aid. January 12, 2010.

I'll be honest this was the first time Haiti was really on the radar for me. At the time I was a freshly graduated nurse and had just completed a temporary job at a camp for children and adults with special needs. I was unemployed and desperate to be useful. A week after the earthquake I decided look into the need for nurses in Haiti. The hospitals in the US weren't looking, but Haiti...surely after a disaster of this scale must need some RNs. Right? After clicking around on the internet I determined that I would officially not be useful in Haiti. What was needed in the wake of this catastrophe was surgeons and surgical nurses and...water. Haiti needed clean water not me. I didn't want to get in the way. I completely gave up on my idea of being useful in this country. I'd leave a seat open on the plane for someone that could really help.

But, the next day I received an email from Haiti that an infant care center in the North needed a nurse. They admit severely malnourished children into their care for rehabilitation and often, adoption. They'd gone without a nurse for a few months and that wasn't cutting it. The staff was stressed from having to evacuate 70+ children from the country. They needed more help. Huh, maybe God wanted me in Haiti after all. I wrote the organization and said I could commit to 6 months, maybe even a year.

That's how I got to Haiti.

I didn't really know what I was getting myself into but I'd seen the pictures and  the kids at the care center looked really small and really sick. I figured that if I got there and I was in over my head I would just pray a lot, no big deal. I figured that God wasn't just going to open all these doors for me to go to Haiti and then just leave me hanging... I trusted him.

Jenn's story is a little bit different.

In a weird way God put the country of Haiti on her heart a long, long time ago. She had opportunities to go on other trips, to help in other countries. But declined. She didn't know much about the country of Haiti either. But she knew the name and it was a country that was on her mind. A place she just knew she'd wind up someday, someway, somehow.

The someway, somehow came when she and her best friend decided to take a summer trip together. The mission of their trip: to volunteer. The subject: kids. The location: undetermined. They found two orphanages. One in Africa, one in Haiti. As the story goes, Jenn's vote was a heavy Haiti. They ended up coming to Haiti in June of 2010. Jenn hated it, her first day. Let me clarify. She just felt...a little misled. She thought she was coming to hang out with kids, not babies. The oldest child at the care center was two. Not exactly the age for playing soccer and basketball.

But her experience quickly changed. One little boy in particular played a significant role in that. He was really sick when he arrived at the orphanage. We soon determined that he was HIV+. He needed to start treatment but the hospital was dragging their feet to start him on Anti-retroviral drugs. He became dehydrated one day. Jenn was taking care of him. He needed an IV. Ironically, I remember that day vividly but for different reasons. This was the first IV I ever started on a child. I won't go so far as to say that it saved his life, but he did need it very badly. Jenn remembers that day because her main job was just to hold this little guy. Too weak to struggle much, he still needed to be held. Being secure and comfortable in her arms meant that he wouldn't cry or flail.

Jenn worked her magic, the IV worked it's magic, and the little guy worked his. He caused Jenn to fall in love with babies. I'm pretty sure it was around that time that she decided to extend her stay. She changed her plane ticket and stayed in Haiti for the rest of the summer. Soon after that she adjusted her school schedule making it possible to return to Haiti full-time that December.

So that's how we got here.

We don't work at the infant care center anymore, but it was a wonderful experience. Our work there helped us realize how freaking awesome babies are and beyond that how absolutely incredible their parents are. These men and women try their hardest and they are still faced with impossible decisions...Do I feed my family or send my sick mother to the hospital? Send my son to school or my daughter? Do I pay for my father's medication or a repair for our crumbling house? Do I take my child to the orphanage or let him die in my loving arms? Not easy.

People work sun up to sun down to make things happen for their families. How can you not be inspired by this persistence? These mothers and fathers have dreams for their children, for their communities, for their country. Possibilities have been slim in the past but the opportunities are growing and the country is advancing. There's a wave of hope and triumph that is flowing through Haiti. We're on it...and the surf is right.

We attended a conference today that supports this statement. 300 Haitien business people were signed up for the conference and key players from major and minor NGO's were also in attendance. The theme of the conference was to "Buy Local." A major way to boost the economy and drive Haiti out of it's food deficit is to support projects that's encourage food production within the country of a Haiti. NGO's have two options. They can ship food and building materials into the country or, they can purchase Haitien products from Haitien vendors an action that lifts the economy and creates a demand for jobs. It's an important concept. It's a bit revolutionary. If business persons and non-governmental aid agencies alike can jump on board, this trend will push Haiti in the right direction.

The partnering organizations which sponsored this meeting are lobbying for the creation of 100,000 new jobs in Haiti by 2020. So what's new two years later? Well, some of the tents have been folded up or discarded and some of Haiti's boldest and brightest are making their entrepreneurial debut. After the conference we witnessed these men and women courageously showcasing their services and goods to major international organizations. Exciting stuff.

We're also excited to be hosting visitors. We'll share more about the group soon. But for now keep us all in your prayers as we travel from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitien tomorrow and then proceed to take our visitors on a very real tour of real-life in the North. It should be a fun couple of days!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Donations Matched!

All the glory goes to God.

We have seen amazing things happen in the past four months. People have invested in us, and our vision has become their vision. We have heard from people that our project and ministry will take time.

But, who’s time were they calculating?

We are on God’s time. When God says move, we move. When God gives us the tools and resources, we utilize them.

For those of you that have jumped on this crazy bandwagon, we can't thank you enough.

Thank you for posting and sharing our website, blog posts, and our vision with others.

We are so grateful.

I have always struggled with the burden of fundraising. I've never been excited about asking for donations. Yet over and over I'm told that I better get use to it because that’s a major component of non-profit work. And over and over I'm told that people want to give. They just need to be made aware of the needs.

Last night, on our blog post we posted that we need to raise $10,000 for land. We wrote that we are hoping to raise in two weeks time. While writing this, Amy and I debated whether that was an okay way of "putting out our needs.” We took a chance and just went with it!

An hour later we got a message from a donor saying that they would match all donations up to $5,000. We were ecstatic! For two weeks all of our supporter’s donations will be matched up to $5,000! Which if you do the math that means we could have $10,000 in two weeks!

Your $50 becomes $100. Your $500 becomes $1000. This is a great opportunity for us as an organization to move forward. You can help!

There are two ways you can donate:

You can donate online.

OR you can send a check to Second Mile Ministries:

Second Mile Ministries
5251 W. Desert Falcon Ln.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Sunday, January 22, 2012

All in a day's walk.

I don’t think it’s possible to dream up a day better than yesterday. Saturday. It was nice, normal, and complete with a few welcome surprises.

We’re living in a new place. Yesterday was our third morning here. We started the day with a walk to the middle of town. Now that we’re living on the far-east end of town we’re about 10 blocks away from the first available place to catch a tap-tap. When walking through town you may get asked several times by eager motorcycle drivers whether they can take you somewhere. We usually decline since there are cheaper ways to get around. This very thing happened on this particular walk. After we politely said no thank you, another taxi moto man standing within ear shot said “de moun sa you pa jamn vle paye, memn,” These two never want to spend money, ever. Huh, maybe he’s seen us around…

Although our walk involved only one turn in total we kept bumping into a runner. It’s not entirely uncommon to see people running for exercise but this guy looked like he was well…a runner. Not like someone who run’s races but someone who just runs…everywhere! His calves looked like he’d never taken a car or a bus anywhere in his life!

After we road one tap-tap for the length of it’s route we had the option of walking a short distance and catching another. But, we got into sort of a rhythm while walking and just kept on going. Maybe the morning’s runner was a bit of inspiration. 

Walking lets you experience more of life here. We got to say good-morning to several little grandmas manning their road side shops. We passed a family of five skinning a freshly slaughtered goat. Mom handled the knife while each of her four kids stretched the goat by it’s leg. I mean... not my favorite thing to watch but it’s nice to see kids helping their momma. We saw a very innovative little boy pulling a toy car he’d designed. The body of the car was a motor oil bottle, the wheels made from caps. Anyway…we’re loving the exercise.

We we’re picked up by Johanne and a friend. Her former co-worker. He’s from Ghana and works for the UN. The four of us spent the day together grocery shopping in the Dominican Republic. We got to learn a little about his life and his passion for educating the children of his country. In fact, he’s sacrificing by being away from his family in order to earn the additional money needed to start the school of his dreams back in Ghana.

Here’s a few bits of wisdom I gained from our Ghanaese friend after sharing a bit about our plans.

“Do you have a picture of it, in your head?” he asked.
Yes. I answered.
“Good,” he said. “Keep it in your head. Pray towards it and you will see that it comes to reality.”

Johanne was still checking out in the grocery store and Jenn was helping her bag her things. He and I were guarding a cluster of grocery bags from a group of hungry boys anxious for their chance to help us carry our bags back into Haiti.

He told me about a house he built on the property so that he will be able to live right next to the school when it is finished. I told him about our plans to also live close to our project, above it in fact. “Yes” he said. “Stay close to your vision.”

Pray. Check.
Stay close. Check

Fruit stand - Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is an interesting place. A river separates the two countries. If you have a passport and want to go across just for the day you can do so without stamping in and out of each country. Just walk through the gates like you own the place and trot across the bridge like you do so everyday. You do what you need to do and come back.

Jenn and I have collected a few other border crossing stories that aren’t so docile. Some involving bribing guards, passing a baby through the locked gate, bribing the guards and then shimmying around the gate, skipping the gate altogether and crossing the water on piggy back…but today’s trip over the border was quite uneventful.

A river separates Haiti and the Dominican Republic

This is a common scene in Haiti. Anywhere there’s water your likely to find women washing.

Speaking of washing, the day’s best purchase –by unanimous decision- was a log of bar soap used in Haiti and the Dominican to hand wash clothing. We’d heard a rumor that this is the way to go in terms of laundry and decided to give it a try. The rumors are, in fact, true. We tested the soap on Jenn’s only pair of jeans which, dare I confess, hadn’t been washed in nine days. Apparently she was wearing them that day at the Laundromat. The Dominican bar soap worked like a charm, just slice off a round and scrub away!

Seeing Mark was quite possibly a mutual highlight.

Jenn and Mark

If you haven’t yet met this little boy I invite you to read more about his early struggles. We’ve written about his mom, Monia, on the Second Mile Haiti website. Mark is 13 months old and has had an adventure of a life up until this point. He has a heart condition that makes it difficult for him to grow and develop at a normal rate.  We met Mark when he was 6 months old and very sick. By God’s grace and his mom’s unswerving commitment to his health Mark is alive and doing well.

It’s amazing to see him play with his shoes, and roll around, and babble. Not quite the size and  stature of a one year old but he’s getting there!

Pretty soon Mark is going to be a big brother…

We're so thankful to God for preserving his life.

The day ended with another trip into town for a few more items. A washing basin and a bag of rice. We don’t have a stove but we do have a rice-cooker! Little did we know that in addition to cooking rice it also boils water for coffee, makes oatmeal, and cooks pasta. We’re considering browning meat in it as well….

We’re thankful for our rice-cooker, and this place to stay, and for clean clothes…and our soon-to-be vehicle.

To top off an already great day we got a phone call saying that the offer we placed on a truck was accepted! Jenn and Johanne had gone to great lengths to make this deal. They’ve done the bargaining and the test driving and even had the chief mechanic at the UN take a look under the hood. It checks out well!

By the way… we’re working towards the next step in this process: buying land. If you’d like to help us get there buy a t-shirt or make a donation! We’re hoping to raise $10,000 in the next two weeks. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Through an unexpected turn of events and an awesome new opportunity we have a place to stay! 
Let's just say we aren't even paying a fraction of what we were asked at the first location. 
This was an answer to prayer in absolutely perfect timing. 

Bags packed. Ready to go!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


For the last week and a half we’ve lived with Hannah and Johanne. It’s been awesome. We wake up and fall asleep talking about all sorts of possibilities. We talk about Haiti and Canada and the United States. We talk about sticky issues and even celebrities. We watch things like Gumby and Fat Albert and Dora the Explorer and drink fresh Citronella tea at night.

Her husband Chris is coming back on Wednesday and since he’s been gone for a few weeks we feel we should give up our spot on the couch. He’s probably missed watching Dora. He’s probably missed his wife and daughter a bit too.

The night before last we were bargaining with a man that owns a share in this apartment business. Although all the apartments here are full and will be for a few months still this man was considering renting us a room just next to his home. The “room” is a little structure with a toilet, a sink, a shower, a bed, and a counter.

We wanted to pay $200/month, a third of the price of an apartment for a third of the space. But for someone who was accustomed to charging $40 a day to short term visitors it wasn’t enough. He wasn’t really going for it…The situation could have gotten pretty discouraging but something clicked and my thought switched to Jesus and how great and big and awesome and all knowing He is. It suddenly didn’t matter what Mr. Expensive Rent was saying. With God all things are possible.

Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

After you’ve surrendered your needs into God’s hands the next step is to enjoy the Peace He promises will guard your hearts and minds. It’s a pretty good verse.

Well… we had to make a higher offer but we’ve now offered our maximum and we’ll see what happens.

Johanne had to pull Mr. Expensive Rent aside to tell him that we really don’t have a lot of money to spare although the fact that we’re foreigners leads people to believe otherwise.

The other day we did encounter one person who held an opposite opinion. Do you think he could tell that we wear some of the same clothes every day? Maybe he was tipped off by the fact that we were covered in dust and looked like we’d just blown in off the street. Something must have given us up because the man showing us trucks quickly passed over the most expensive ones and headed straight for the reasonably priced ones.

M pa kwe ou gen tout kob sa? I don’t think you have that kind of money.

What? We don’t look like we have $40,000 to spend on a truck??

Sunday afternoon we had another opportunity to scope out a piece of land. At first glance it was nothing special. But if you look toward to the edge of the property a crop of mature shade trees becomes visible. They’re quite tempting. The land is situated a ways up from the road which is a good sign when you have to worry about flooding. They’re growing beans now on the front half of the land, which is a very good sign since our project will have an agricultural emphasis. I saw a few farmers walk down the road and got to day-dreaming about what our friendship would be like if we moved to this area. Surely they would want to teach everything they know about corn and beans, we’d farm till sunset and then enjoy a snack of sugarcane… or maybe not… it’s probably too early to say.

The property had an excellent mountain view and was situated close enough to the village without having to worry that our development would mess with the eb and flow of village life.

Jenn and I went our separate ways today. I headed North to Limbe and Pilat where I got to learn a little more about Haiti’s National Program for Early Detection of HIV in children born to HIV + women.  I visited a few hospitals with one of the programs main implementers.

Jenn braved the laundry. Like I said, we gotta stay fair. She chose, or as she likes to say, she got talked into taking the laundry to a Laundromat…just to try it out. I believe she used the word “hate” when describing the experience. At $2.50 a wash she believes they charge way too much...not to mention the wait! I told her that you usually have to wait when asking machines to wash your clothes.

This Laundromat might be a little different from ones you’ve experienced. To begin, it doesn’t even open until 2 pm. To be clear, the doors are open and people have reserved their machines by stuffing their clothes inside. Jenn even saw a women forcing a very large wedding dress into one of the washers. If only I had left the camera with her today!

To operate, the Laundromat borrows enough power from the local block to power it’s generator which in turn powers the machines for the rest of the afternoon.

As the story continues Jenn was too cheap and too impatient to pay for a second drying cycle. She headed home on a moto with a sack of damp clothes. Her moto was blocked in the road by a fallen tree. Not accidental. The tree had been cut down in the middle of the day on the second-most major road in Cap Haitien. A single man was perched at the tip of the tree hacking away with a machete while traffic bottlenecked. A team of soldiers casually stood around the tree, talking, passing the time. Perhaps the tree belonged to Mr. Machete Man and the army was protecting him from anyone who might one to hack off a piece for themselves… Anything is possible in Ayiti.

We’ve had a series of other adventures including taking Hannah to a ballet class and having tea with the UN. But that's all for now. 

Still bursting at the seems with peace, joy, and gratitude. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Presents and Presidents

You have to talk to everyone. Well…not exactly everyone. There are certain people that we’ve encountered here in Haiti that are quite focused on their own projects to point that they might not the have the most positive things to say about our venture. You learn to identify these types and keep to the small talk… kind of like avoiding politics and religion at someone else’s family reunion.

Then there are certain people that as you are talking to them you get this little nudge to disclose more. You start to think hey maybe they can help somehow... Then their response indicates that that little nudge was from God and that this person is an answer to prayer.

It happens all the time.

Just last night we were sitting out at the “barbeque,” an area that has tables, chairs, and what draws us there…Wi-Fi. A new friend sat down at our table. He and Jenn chatted for awhile.

Later, I brought up the visitors coming at the end of this month to see Haiti and discuess ways their organization can partner with Second Mile Ministries. We will need to secure sleeping arrangements for these guests and I wondered if he knew the prices of different hotels in town. Before we knew it, he’d offered his bed and his apartment to house our visitors. When the date we’d mentioned registered in his head his face lit up again. “The 27th?..Wow!” he said. “I was planning to go to the Dominican Republic that day. They can just use my apartment if that’s okay with you!”

The fact that that was the exact date he’d be gone made it a God-thing for him too. It was a good reminder for us to let others in. To let them be used by God to further this ministry. To let them see and realize how sweetly and perfectly he works out the details.

Once, again it’s a good thing we bought those air mattresses.

Yesterday afternoon we went out on our first land-scouting trip since returning to Haiti. It was a strange phenomenon how the three of us grew progressively more excited as we drove through a prospective area.

“I really like it.” -Jenn
“I really, really like it.” – Johanne
“I love it!” – me

It may just look like a blur of green countryside to you, but to us it’s beautiful and ripe with possibility.

On the way to see the land we saw the President of Haiti. Well not exactly. We saw his secure black suburban and his entourage. He was headed home to Port au Prince after attending the inaguration of a new University that is being built between Cap Haitien and the Dominican Republic. For my sake I hope one day we do see the President. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to listen to Jenn lament about that missed photo-op. She’s convinced the President would love her if he met her.

We took another little bounce into town the other day. For the two of us to ride the “tap-tap” to and from town we pay the equivalent of $1. When we jumped on the tap-tap towards home we were strategic in our seat selection. Well, not exactly. Jenn jumped in an open space next to the driver and I got the last space on the end of a bench in the bed of the truck. At least I thought it was the last space. Four others squeezed in, stabilizing themselves on the legs of the 12 of us. Then three more hung from the back. 4 + 12 + 3 = 19 people sharing air space in the covered bed of a pick up. Our placement let us keep  our eye’s peeled for a truck we’d seen for-sale on the side of the road.

The main mission of the trip was to pay Jenn’s god-daughter Jenn-Love a second visit. This time we came bearing gifts. It’s sort of required.

She’s a little bit tricky to dress. Especially when she prefers to be naked.

But she’s sweet as ever.

She loves Jenn.

She really loves her mom.

The best thing about those new clothes is that they were given to us as a donation. The person who gave us that miscellaneous bag of children’s clothes couldn’t have know that those were the perfect sizes for our specialest little friends here in Haiti. They fit not only JennLove and her sister but two other little boys whom I would have loved to bring a gift for.

This too, happens a lot.

While in Texas I was able to visit a friend and former co-worker. After a lovely-lunch date she handed me a gift bag full of the most random things. I wasn’t expecting a gift! And I wasn’t sure I could fit everything into my backpack! Towels, shirts, Advil, hair-ties, hand-sanitizer, and so much more.  I did my best to pack the stuff and sure enough I’ve used all of it. Even the one thing I decided to leave behind, a pack of Kleenex, would have come in handy the day we ran out of toilet paper…

Sorry God, next time I’ll trust your provisions, even when they seem random.

The last thing we received before heading to the airport was a box of Starbucks
instant coffee. Boy has that been a blessing. Even though we don’t have a coffee pot or a coffee press the ability to boil water is something we’ve mastered.

The coffee sure helps us adjust to our new sleeping schedule, down at just after 9 up just before 7. It should get earlier still but we’re giving ourselves a grace week in the sleeping department.

First thing this morning, while Jenn was busy with a business related to-do-list Hannah and I did laundry. I told Jenn that she could only choose 5 dirty items. I know...I drive a hard bargain but she chose wisely. I did ease up a little when I realized I had about 7 things I wanted to wash. Gotta stay fair. 

We can stop thanking God for the little things. Right now as Jenn says, we have a pretty cool life and it seems like it's just getting started...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Arriving in Haiti

I’ve never been big on daily devotional books maybe it’s because I prefer the consistency of a longer book or maybe I’ve just never found a daily book that I really enjoyed. But, this little jewel of a book called “Jesus Calling” was given to Jenn and I just a week or so before heading to Haiti. This devotional book was different from any other I’d ever come across. The words weren’t written as feel good stories or giving small doses of how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-life advice. Instead, the words are based on truths and promises that come directly from the Bible and are written as though they come straight from the mouth of Christ.

Jenn and I both pray daily and are super focused on what our Father and Friend says to us in reply. We want to hear his perspective on every little step in this process. We’re ready for every bit of wisdom we can glean from His word and from talks with Him. After reading the first entry on January 1, I could see that through this little book we’d get still another dose of the truths and promises that God wants all of his people to hear and hold close.

Jenn and I arrived in Haiti on Monday morning. We flew to the Port au Prince airport and made a pretty seamless transition from Port to Cap. We had to do a few things to make sure we’d be able to connect with our friend when we got to Cap Haitien, like borrow a phone charger, change money, buy minutes for our cellphone, and make a few calls.

We had planned to return to Haiti with just our backpacks. But at the last minute we thought better of it and decided to buy two air mattresses for our sleeping comfort. At $9 a piece it was too good of a deal to pass up. Because of the mattresses and a few other purchases we needed to check one big duffle bag between the two of us. Any passenger baggage that doesn’t fit on the tiny island hopper gets sent on the next flight…or the one after that…

So while waiting 5 hours for the big red bag to arrive we vowed never to travel with anything other than “carry-on” luggage ever again. The wait is expected but most people have the luxury of leaving and coming back for their bags. Not us, but to tell you the truth we enjoyed the wait. We made a few new friends and ran into a few old ones. I even got a new facebook friend out of the deal. The boy that shines shoes at the airport was happy to see us, as was the woman who sells spaghetti at the airport. Jenn was always a pretty loyal customer. The weather is perfect in Haiti right now. There’s a hint of wetness in the air from recent rains. The sun is warm but not too hot. And the breeze is delightful.

We took a taxi. The driver’s gas gauge was well below empty yet by some miracle we made it the gas station where the driver paid a total of $6.25 and proceeded to receive 1 and a ¼ gallons of gas in return. This brought his gas gauge from well below empty to just below empty. We were happy to give him our business. We just barely made it up the hill where we live, a good reminder that we have to have faith for the little things.

We’re staying with Johanne, a Haitian woman we know well, and her four year old daughter Hannah. Johanne is the same age as Jenn and I. She also has a pretty awesome Canadian husband who happens to be in Canada right now. It was a pretty awesome feeling to lug our bags up to her place and be welcomed inside. I think the four of us make pretty good roommates. Last night I stayed back with Hannah while Jenn and Johanne walked about 1 ½ miles to get water. I think I got the better end of the deal, but it’s teamwork none-the-less.

Jenn and Hannah

They had a pretty crazy story to share with me when they got back. In that short walk their hearts were broken at the sight of a mentally unstable young woman that was throwing herself in front of passing vehicles in an effort to end her life. It was a sad reminder that psychiatric care in Haiti is hard to come by and ridiculously expensive.

On the upside, we’ve realized that are legs are in good form and we’re ready to travel as cheaply as possible (aka by foot as often as possible).

Word travels quickly in this town. Tuesday morning we got a phone call from a friend who’d heard we were in town and was ready for a visit! We planned to get into town via “tap-tap,” which is public transportation for just a few cents a head. But the three of us were unable to flag down a “tap-tap” with space. Instead we hitched a ride on a water truck and walked the rest of the way. It looks like we’ll no longer leave the Caribbean pale and pasty. I think all this walking may just result in a tan. 

Since we went by foot, it was easy for us to stop in on Jenn Love, Jenn’s god-daughter. Her mom tried to tell us that the 9-month old baby babbles “jennnnjennnjennnjennn” but she didn’t talk for us this time.

One half our mission into town involved getting a cell phone for Jenn. Someone tried to sell us a decent phone for a pretty high price. But we knew better. In an effort to work our way out of the deal Jenn created an elaborate tale in which her mom would be sending her a very nice phone for her birthday in four months, thus we’d be able to manage with cheapest phone seeing how it only needed to last for a few months. I liked my story better. In my story Jenn is not allowed to have an expensive phone since she loses them so easily. In the end we bought the cheapest model for a 1/3 the price and felt pretty good about it.  We ran into a few more friends in town and managed to squeeze into a Tap-Tap for the drive home.

When we arrived at Johanne’s she was back from work and ready to introduce us to the apartment manager. Here begins the tale of our first real obstacle. In this meeting we learned that the total number of vacant apartments in this compound is Zero. None. Nada. Initially it had appeared that one would be available in a few short weeks. But now that’s not the case.

Sa vle di, yo dwe schache yon lot kote?
So you’re saying they should look for someplace else?
Wi. Yes.

In our mind the Breda apartments are the perfect place to live while we search for land, buy a truck, and connect with additional Haitian contacts. But then again, it’s possible that God has somewhere else in mind. Or, it’s perhaps he’s asking us to pray, and to trust Him, and to wait patiently.

some views of the apartments

Later that night I read these words in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.

I AM WITH YOU AND FOR YOU. When you decide on a course of action that is in line with my will, nothing in heaven or on earth can stop you.

(After the first line I looked up at Jenn with my most excited face and said “oh this is going to be sooo good! It wasn’t the most creative of descriptions but I wanted to keep reading and needed to get the words out of my mouth as fast as possible).

You may encounter many obstacles as you move toward your goal, but don’t be discouraged.-never give up! With my help, you can overcome any obstacle. Do not expect an easy path as you journey hand in hand with Me, but do remember that I, your very-present Helper, am omnipotent.

Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come. One of the main ways I assert My sovereignty is in the timing of events. If you want to stay close to Me and do things My way, ask Me to show you the path forward moment by moment. Instead of dashing head-long toward your goal, le Me set the pace. Slow down, and enjoy the journey in My Presence.

(Romans 8:31, Psalm 46:1-3, and Luke 1:37)

Although it was January 10th and I was reading the entry for January 9th I knew that if I had read those words any earlier they wouldn’t have had such an impact. This was a perfect reminder to breath easy, to pray often, and to enjoy God’s presence as He walks us through this process according to His timing.

Thanks for keeping us in your prayers and for all the well wishes as we headed back to Haiti. We'll have more to share in the coming days.