If you missed our last blog post and want to read about some of the crazy things that happened in the first few days we were back in Haiti (including Sophie getting her first stitches) just click here. Today I want to talk a little bit more about what things are like from my perspective. I am sure that if Jess could ever get 2 seconds (from watching Sophie and Elijah to getting everyone else ready for school) and write this same blog it would be much different, but you are stuck with me for now. So today I am just going to write about what it is like being back here as a slightly bigger family.
The first thing is that it is much more difficult to do things that used to be really easy. For instance, we went to Hope Rising with the kids this past Wednesday evening because the younger kids had soccer practice. They left at 5:00 to get to practice which also happens to be dinner time for Sophie (she really likes routines). So we had someone else drive the kids over and we got there late. However, Sophie is in bed by 7:00 each night which means her bed time routine starts at 6:30. Because of that, we arrived at Hope Rising at about 5:45 and then left at 6:15. Service starts a little later because we are putting 2 kids to bed before it even starts (it used to start at 7:30 now it is closer to 8:00). We had the kids over for a movie yesterday, and we were feeding Elijah, giving Sophie a snack, organizing school books, and putting Elijah down for a nap all while 19 other kids were in our living room watching Alvin and the Chipmunks. This is not to complain by any means, it is just the truth and it is something that we will figure out and will become easier as the kids begin to get a little older.
The second thing is that the kids really love Elijah and Sophie and Sophie and Elijah really love them. As of now, Sophie is really loving Samara and Fransline a lot. She calls Samara “girl” and then hugs her on a pretty regular basis. Samara, for her part, loves Sophie and is always quick with a hug right back. Elijah pretty much lets anyone hold him and is happy about it. Richadeley loves to hold him and every time he walks in the house that is the first thing he does. Apolon is really liking Sophie too and every time he holds her she gives him, in her words, “a big hug.” This is probably the best part of being down here right now. Sophie is pretty scared of most of the adults here, but she loves the kids. Lener is trying to get on her good side but he has not yet succeeded. I think he may be the first adult here to get her to like him.
The third thing is that it is really hard to figure out when to get work done. So far, starting at about 8:00 am (if we are lucky) we have people at the door and we are constantly having meetings and talking with the kids. Our days end at around 9:00 when service is over and I have taken the kids back to their house. This schedule is why our team structure will be so important for us moving forward! We need your help back in the states making sure that the things that need to get done in America (fundraising, administrative tasks, etc.) are getting done. If you have not joined a team yet, click here and see what teams are available. In general, I would much prefer a structured job where I could really plan what I was going to do from week-to-week and from day-to-day. This is definitely not the case here. I do plan as much as possible, but those plans do not always (or usually) go as written!
The fourth thing is that it was really nice to have Jessica’s parents down with us for the first week we were here. Getting the house set, having time to see the kids, and just having meals ready would have been much more difficult those first few days without them here. On top of that, it was really good that they were here when Sophie had to be stitched up because we just left Elijah with them when we went to the clinic. I am not sure how things would have gone, but they would definitely been much more difficult. On top of that, we have a small team of sponsors and friends (Karen Whalen, Kari Shimer, and Jenn DeLoach) coming on September 1 to help us get the kids ready for school. Think about first day of school shopping in America. Add to it that we have to buy books, fabric, get the uniforms made, buy socks/barrettes/shoes from an outdoor market, and do all of this for 29 kids…Back to School is a whole different animal down here. It will be really nice to have this team helping us and spending time with the kids while we work. While I am typing, if you are a sponsor, thanks so much for getting the supplies down to us!
The fifth thing is that my perspective is really different when I am here but nowhere near as different as it should be. Just the other day I was complaining about our inverter going out. (We just got news that we are getting it replaced for free! Thanks for the prayers). I almost immediately read a statistic that only about 8% of the population in Haiti has consistent, 24/7 electricity. I was a little irritated about our trucks breaking down, and then I realized that I don’t know very many people down here who have even 1 truck that runs and we have 2. I have a tendency to get mad and complain about things that just are not that important and then justify it by saying something like “Well I live in Haiti so I can complain.” I want my perspective to be that these things are nice to have and I am blessed to have them, but the only thing that truly matters is that I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Some friends of mine down here, after reading my previous blog, wrote Jess and I an email to encourage us. It was a really nice thing to do, and it really put some things into perspective. The main things that I can focus on here at the expense of my relationship with Christ are not spiritual things, they are not things that will last. It is easy for me to focus on little things that go wrong (like the car breaking down), inconveniences (like not having a grocery store nearby or the gas station down the street being out of gas), money (the months from August to October are traditionally financially difficult for All Things New), and a whole host of other things but none of these things last. The truth is, all of these things are amplified with 2 babies. Before I always knew that Jess and I could take care of ourselves, but when you add 2 little ones to the mix something definitely changes. But what I hope that my children, the All Things New children, my wife, my employees, etc. see in me is someone who does not allow temporary small inconveniences distract them. I want them to see a man whose focus is not on this world but on bringing glory to GOD, and I know that I will have to change my life dramatically, everyday for that to always be true.