Since we arrived back in Haiti, it has been a real whirlwind for us down here. We came down on March 25 and had our first team from Christ’s Church in Jacksonville from March 28 to March 31 (a team of 9), our second team from Clearview Chapel in LaGrange from March 31 to April 4 (a team of 12), and our third and final team from FBC LaGrange from April 2 to April 7 (a team of 26). We had a great time ministering together with old and new friends and each of these teams brought something to the table for All Things New. As I mentioned in the Bible study that we send to each of our teams, our prayer is that their focus on this trip was to hear from GOD and have their lives changed so that in the process of that GOD could use them to do incredible things. As much fun as teams are, they also consume most of mine and Jessica’s time when we are here, so I apologize for not blogging as regularly. I will get back to normal starting now.
We had a blast with the Christ’s Church team! It was a mother/daughter trip and our girls got most of their attention for the first time maybe ever. If you have been down, you may recall that our boys are very high maintenance in general and our girls are a lot more laid back. Our boys have big personalities and can sometimes steal the spotlight from our girls, so we were so happy that this team came down specifically for them. They taught our older girls some great lessons from the perspective of 2 counselors, they showed the girls how to use pom poms, gave them facials, and in general just spent time with them. The only downside of this team is that they didn’t stay longer! We truly enjoyed getting to know each of them and spending time with them.
Then the Clearview Team came for the second time, and there were many familiar faces. I am not going to mention names because I don’t want anyone to feel left out, but each of the past 2 years, this team has been one of our most low maintenance teams. This is a big deal for us! They have everything together and planned, and I’m pretty sure they could easily run the whole trip without us. They even had a diesel mechanic on their team on the same day our diesel truck leaked a ridiculous amount of oil (I mean ridiculous). They made an incredible mural for the kids’ house and the cool thing about that is that the kids took part in painting it. On top of that, they rescreened our porch, led a VBS in the community, worshipped with us on Easter, and spent a lot of time with our kids. One of their team members even handmade a bow tie for Elijah and a hair bow for Sophie. You may not understand how important it is to have a screened in porch and working mosquito nets if you live in America, but it is extremely important here with 2 babies who are 1 mosquito bite away from a tropical disease. We love this church and this group of people and we had a lot of fun spending time with them last week.
Finally, the FBC LaGrange team came in on Monday. In fact, one family came down on Saturday just to spend some extra time with us and ATN and to worship here with us on Easter. This team was very special to me because my parents and my sister and brother-in-law were all on the trip together. My parents stayed with us and spent a lot of time with their grandkids and Suzie and Rusty led the trip. This is FBC’s 4th or 5th trip down, I can’t even remember anymore. This church has truly been with us since the beginning! There were many familiar faces with this group as well, including everyone who had to drive me around Haiti last year after I sprained my ankle on the first day, a pediatrician who keeps charts on all of the kids (including Sophie and Elijah), many of the same youth have been down multiple times in the past, and the new(ish) youth pastor of the church. This year, many husbands came down with their wives for the first time after hearing what a great trip it was. This team did a lot while they were down here, but for me the best thing they do every year is bring a sense of fellowship. You guys will never know how much it means to me that my old church comes down every year and brings a huge group of people so we can serve together. I look forward to many more years. On top of that, though, this team went prayer walking in the community, did house mom pampering (more on that in a later blog, but this is a huge deal for some of our most important employees), took care of the kids’ house so that our employees could have some time off, did medical work for our kids, and led us in worship each night they were here. The kids and I also played basketball with a guy who was 6’9 from this team.
We love it when teams come down for many reasons, but these teams were absolutely incredible. We have taken a couple of days to recoup and get ready for the next few months of ministry here, but looking back, we would not change a thing. They brought the right people at the right time, and we had a lot of fun being with each of these teams. Keep looking on Facebook for pictures, and if you have any pictures, tag All Things New!