Friday, December 25, 2015

Jwaye Nwel --- Merry Christmas

CHRIST, the Eternal Word         

4The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. 
5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
14The Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son.   John 1:4,5,14


Imagine the star that shone over Bethlehem many years ago giving the Magi light by which to travel to find where the new king had been born.

"I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, Your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings." 
Psalm 8:3  The Message

Jwaye Nwel --- Merry Christmas!  

It was a starry, moonlit night as we wound our way through the mountains of Haiti du Nord and onto the Central Plateau in the taptap navigated by our favorite driver, Pouchon.  

We were greeted in Cap Haitien by several friends who made the journey with us to our destination of Pignon.  Our friends had waited quite some time to see our 'white' faces.  One of our pieces of luggage did not come off the baggage cart in the small international airport. We successfully made a claim for the missing bag. We were assured by a pleasant young Haitian woman that our bag had stayed behind in Miami and that it would arrive in that very place the next day.  



The next order of business involved stopping for a Koka, Coke, the kind bottled in Port au Prince with real cane sugar.  Because it is just a day or two after the winter solstice, nightfall came quickly. There are times when the night in Haiti can be the darkest dark but this night was illuminated by the brightest moon ever to be remembered. The moon was so brilliant that it cast shadows highlighting the beauty in every direction. It was as though God was saying, "Let me show you, even in the darkness, the beauty of this place you return to tonight.  The place where you are called to serve me and love the people I have created."  It was a perfect setting to reflect and prepare for the work He has in the months to come. Not sure about the others in the taptap but there was one that may have been wishing the ride was even longer, wanting more time to dwell in the Glory of God as He showed Himself in the nighttime.


God was faithful to give us time to be renewed by family and friends while we spent a month in the US.

'Grand Dad' couldn't have been more content!
Ivy, 14 months with brother Oliver, soon to be 7









Part of the time in the states was spent visiting our son Jonathan and wife Anna in Holland, MI.  Oliver and Ivy
enjoyed nearly every mile of this journey!  REALLY!





Just one of the highlights was attending Hope College Advent Vespers service in Holland, MI.
Jonathan was part of the alumni choir. God allowed His presence to be known as scripture was read and music lifted our praise to Him.


Uncle Jonathan and Oliver worked on a Mad Lib while shopping in downtown Holland.
Ivy thought it was fun too!

Oliver's school Christmas program was another highlight after returning to Iowa.


Christmas was celebrated a few days early with some gifts to be shared but mainly sharing time together as family.  Michael and Mom...each with a matching mini tape measure.







Christmas was celebrated with some silly games.
Oliver with mom Jennifer, helped each other with shaving cream...

Only then, to be a target for flying cheese balls!




AND an early birthday celebration for Oliver.



Even while being away, we were encouraged to see that MH4H work was still advancing.  On one of the days at home we received a Facebook Messenger picture of an outhouse that was constructed by the last team to stay with MH before our departure.  The leaders of the congregation where it had been delivered worked to dig a hole and position the outhouse, ready for use.  The crescent moon is definitely an American touch,
not Haitian.  :)

      Pictures also came to show the completed goat house on the land MH is using for a herd of goats
                that are propagating themselves for a program that will benefit the area people.
                  Kalo, on the right, is the MH staff member that has valuable experience in raising goats.  We learned about a problem developing...the goats were jumping the cactus and barbed wire fence.                   The culprits are being tamed with individual yoke collars made of sticks to keep them IN.



Once we arrived in Pignon and entered our home away from home, an amazing sight of two comfortable, solid, 'his and hers' chairs could not have been more appealing.

Creatively 'wrapped'
and addressed to us!



We came with gifts to give only to be blessed with more gifts for us from Haitian friends.  A beautiful tablecloth, a cabbage and militon from a garden, and some deliciously sweet bananas are a show of affection during this holiday time.

It was our privilege to pass out gifts sent here by others.  Jean Rene is overjoyed by this gift of a flashlight with batteries, some tools, and a shirt.

Many visits from friends who say, "Bienvini", Welcome!  This 7 month old is healthy and plump 
in part because of the gift of baby formula that a short term mission team brought.  
His mother, Evelouse, is the gal who developed a heart condition during pregnancy 
and is unable to nurse her baby.  Evelouse is currently being treated in a nearby hospital.  
MH provided the opportunity for Kayman, this caring dad, to visit her today 
and be able to pay for the medication that is helping her condition.  

                     Christmas Eve service was full of music telling the story of a new born KING.












Talk about highlights... a gift of a cement trowel in the hand of a hard working mason...
now that's Christmas!

And Boss Thermeland will get to put the trowel to the test when his crew is hired to pour a concrete floor in this house early January.