Good morning friends and family! Hope everyone is doing well, healthy, and enjoying the start of summer! This is going to be short and sweet because electricity has been in and out, but I just wanted to give you all an update on the recent happenings here and our plan for the summer.
Things have been great this last month, and for those that follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram, you've seen all that we've been up to lately. This month, in the midst of many visitors coming to see Mission of Grace for the first time, we've been able to do a lot of house visits-which Tass and I love. We walk around the village, check on people, see who is sick, how we can help, who needs to be sent to the hospital, see how we can improve their living conditions, etc. After the mudslide in 2015 that wiped out many homes, we have families parceled out all over the village waiting for new homes to be built. Some are living in tents, no beds, 4-5 children in a tiny little tent, often very hungry and dirty. We do what we can, give what we can, and trust God for more. Tass and I absolutely love walking around the village and connecting with the people in that way.
I am still amazed at the human brain and its capacity to learn new things. I'd say we've got 60/70% of the language down. Not fluent yet, but certainly on our way. This has helped tremendously in forming deep relationships.
In the last month, we did have one of our grandpas from our elderly home die. I went up there one morning and Villius did not look well. The grandmas and grandpas often complain of pain and aches (naturally), but I think now we've been here long enough to sort of gage when they're close to actually dying. When I saw him, I knew he didn't have much time left. He said he was having a hard time breathing. His feet had been swollen for a couple weeks (despite meds) he was in pain, and our doctor said he was in heart failure. I sat with him for awhile, put my arms around him, and told him that I love him and wanted him to know that wasn't alone. Hugged him tight before I left, and he died the next morning. Can't wait to see him again one day :)
A few days later, I got to deliver a baby :)
...which was of course a wonderful, hot, sweaty, exhausting mess. And I'll tell ya...one really can't quite comprehend just how much a person sweats down here until they make the journey themselves. All you need to do is stand completely still, and the sweat begins to roll down your entire body within seconds. And my heart aches almost every night when I lay my head on my cold pillow and know that thousands of people just a couple hundred feet away from me, will never experience that. When our electricity and AC kicks on every night around 8:30PM, we are always very grateful. Summer is coming up, and there are certainly days where not even the AC cools the body down. We try to keep an eye on this, not just for us and our kids, but for visitors too who often get overheated.
Speaking of visitors, my parents are actually on their way here as I type this. So our plan for the summer is that I will be going home this coming weekend, and taking Ellie (our oldest) with me. Tass will stay in Haiti until mid July with Lilah, our youngest. We thought a lot about this, but realized it was a necessary sacrifice. I will be going home to work more on our business and get our family fully sustained on the mission field.
While we are grateful for our supporters and donors, we have decided that going forward, we really do not want to itinerate and ask for support for ourselves personally anymore. We would rather our supporters give to the actual orphanage, the new school building, our grandma's home, etc and not our family's personal expenses to keep us here in Haiti. I have worked a little bit on our business while we have been here, and am happy to say that our family is about half funded for our monthly personal expenses solely through a steady stream of residual income. I will be going home to utilize the summer months to get our family fully self sustained. I will be teaching classes, working at farmers markets, and helping educate people on the medicinal uses of essential oils-which as many of you know is all our family uses while here in Haiti. Our clinic has started to use them more, and we've recently even connected with another medical clinic here in Haiti that exclusively uses essential oils to treat patients. Just last week, news came out that Mayo Clinic, Vanderbilt, Duke, University of Utah, and John Hopkins are all starting to use essential oils medicinially. It is very exciting and fun, and we are very grateful that this avenue also provides a way for our family to be fully sustained, and hopefully very soon.
So that is our plan, and I cannot WAIT for the day when I can email all of our current supporters and release them :) Release them to either move on and support other volunteers around the world (because let's face it, there are MANY doing great things all over the globe), or ideally, have our supporters throw their funds towards Mission of Grace and the work that is being done here. So that is where we are headed, and I just wanted to candidly share all of that with you. We thank you for your love and support and INTEREST still in what we do here, and know there are many of you wanting to come check it out in person in the next year or so. That thrills us more than anything.
Ok I've gotta run because my computer is being a bit funky and I want to get this out before it crashes. (Sad side note: last week, before we left for church, we were getting ready and the water was out. Of course we make do and skip our showers, but when one of the girls turned on the sink faucet and realized the water was out, they forgot to put the handle back down. We went to church, and while we were at church, I guess the water came back on. We came home to a completely flooded house. Our laptops, batteries, fans, cords, chargers, all floating in inches of water. It was a very stressful moment that definitely called for some Barbancourt. Needless to say, I think our daughter's will never remember to turn the faucet sink off).
Hope you all have a wonderful week this week and I will see some of you this coming weekend!
Our sweet sweet girl up in Plaisance who was burned very badly last year when a kerosene lamp fell on her. Doctors from Virginia have been coming throughout the year to help treat her and today she is so much better!
As always, you can click on one of the above links to either our website, facebook, email address, or instagram account for more updates.