Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the move

In 2008, I spent my summer in California. During this time, the Three Angels board was discussing plans for finding a new House Manager for the orphanage, because the woman currently there was moving back to the states on August 30th, and they didn't yet have a replacement. It was now the beginning of August. The board really wanted a husband and wife couple that would move there to run the orphanage together, but at this point, there wasn't anyone that was interested and ready to move. So the idea came up and I agreed that I would fill in as the temporary House Manager. I drove from California back to my home-base in Indiana on August 20th... and flew out for Haiti on the 27th. It all happened pretty fast!! I was a little nervous about it all, but it was definitely what I wanted to do.

The plan was that I would arrive in Haiti and have a few days with the current House Manager, Sandy,  to learn from her and figure out... well, figure out what I was suppose to do! However, hurricanes got in the way of that plan. I had made it to Miami when I found out my flight to Haiti had been canceled and there wasn't another one for 5 days. I rented a car and drove to Palm Coast to stay with Gretchen, at the time, the President of Three Angels. I rebooked a flight for 6 days later... only for that one to be canceled as well. I finally made it to Haiti on September 5th. But Sandy was long gone at this point.

(just walked in the door of Three Angels)

So here I was. I had been to Haiti on three different week-long trips. But I was just a member of a team on those trips. I didn't really know the staff. I didn't know what things look like from day to day at the orphanage. And I certainly didn't know anything about running it.

The first few days felt extremely long. I had to kinda just play things by ear and figure out a system as I went. All the little things-- like what time the kids get up, how to do breakfast and dinner on the weekends, when to do snack, what to feed them (yes, a lot to do w/ food!), figuring out who the employees were and what they each did, figure out what it was they needed from me when they came up and stared at me, when to turn on the generator...etc.  Oh yes, and do all this without speaking Creole. There were a handful of people in my daily life there that spoke decent English.  The first few days were rough! I often questioned whether or not I really should've come. There had to be other people better qualified for this than I was!! But slowly, the day to day life fell into place. I figured out a system. We had somewhat of a routine.

I would usually wake up in the mornings to a kid walking in my room around 5 or 5:30. Most of the kids knew some English, the older kids spoke it very well. However, some words, they would just always use the Creole word.  So when they would come in at 5 am, they would say what sounded to me like "sleep". They clearly were needing something, I just had no idea what. Then one of the kids would go through my room to the porch, pull underwear off the clothes line, and then leave (of course, usually forgetting close the door on their way out). Come to find out-- the Creole word "slip" (pronounced "sleep") means underwear. I would also get woke up for things like diapers and toothpaste. I didn't take long to figure out how to plan better so that no one would need anything at 5 am!!

processing Haiti....

It's one of those nights. I want to be asleep... I'm trying to sleep.... but I can't seem to turn off my brain. It keeps going back to Haiti.

And as I was laying awake, unable to sleep, I realized how little I've ever shared about my experiences in Haiti. I never really blogged much. I journaled every now and then. I tell people about Haiti. But rarely do I let the conversation get to my feelings, thoughts, or personal experiences. It's not that I've built a wall around myself and just don't want to let anyone get close... it's honestly just that I don't really dwell on things. It's almost like I don't even ever fully process things.  But as I was thinking about things tonight, it was almost as if I was viewing it all from a different angle, I suppose.

So, I want to tell my story. It's just as much for me as it is for anyone else. Maybe it's even more-so for me. It's filled with joys, blessings, struggles, hardships, adventure, stumbling, learning, growing, breaking, more learning, love, anger, frustration, happiness... and, probably much more. I'll start with when I first decided to move to Haiti. But not now. Now, I think I can sleep. I think processing Haiti can wait another day....

Friday, December 10, 2010

i don't like this time of year.

I know, I know... how could I say that??  Yes, it's Christmas. Everybody loves Christmas, right? And isn't it kinda anti-Christian to say you don't like Christmas??

Well, let me clarify.

I love the birth of Christ. I am thankful He came as a baby, lived a sinless life and died on a cross. A death I should have died. I am humbled by it. I am in awe of it. The story of Mary, a young virgin, and her to-be husband Joseph, their journey to Bethlehem, the stable, the wise men... it's a beautiful story. One that I think we often become too familiar with and let it lose it's beauty.

But, what I don't like about this time of year... everything else. The cold, dry weather. The snow. The traffic. The frustrated shoppers. Shopping. I really dislike shopping.

I went to Target today with 4 or 5 things on my list. I parked in the back of the parking lot. Some people park in the back because they don't mind walking and it's too hard to find a close spot. That's part of it. But more than that, it's because it's crazy up close. Cars backing up and pulling in and driving in circles and pedestrians walking all over the place. I just don't like it. There's too much going on. And then, I go inside. So many people. Crowds. I don't like crowds. I mean, where do all these people come from?? Are they holed up in their houses for the rest of the year and just come out at Christmas?

And then back to the story of Christ. Shouldn't we be thankful for His birth & death all year long? There is nothing wrong with setting aside a day as a "memorial" to a certain event. We do that for a lot of things. So I'm not hatin' on it. I'm not saying we shouldn't have a special day or season set aside to reflect on the birth of Christ. But, we shouldn't limit it to that day. And.... is that even what Christmas is really about? I don't mean what it should be about... I mean, for the general, vast majority of people... is Christmas even about Christ?  Should I feel bad about not particularly liking this time of year when overall, it's not even about what it should be about?  We have these cutesy little sayings... people use them as yard signs and bumper stickers. "Jesus is the reason for the season" and "Keep Christ in Christmas" and such.  Isn't Jesus the reason for.... EVERYTHING?? Shouldn't we keep Christ in .... EVERYTHING??

No matter how many signs or bumper stickers we put up, do you think Americans will, as a whole, just drop their shopping list and say "Ohhhh!!! Now I get it!". (also, as a side note, I'm NOT saying don't fight what you believe in simply because things seem impossible to change. fight for justice and truth regardless if you ever see a change from it).  I'm simply making the point that even those of us who do celebrate the birth of Christ this time of year, we're still out shopping too, aren't we??? We're still baking and cooking and figuring out who's house Christmas will be at this year and worrying about if there will be enough table space and calculating how much money we have left over to spend on the crazy relative and getting the kids cute outfits to wear for the Christmas play they're doing at church...etc.

Like me, for example. I posted a video for the Advent Conspiracy on my facebook wall. Right along with buying Christmas presents for my family and giving them a wish list for myself.

I'm not trying to convince you to not like this time of year. I simply, overall, don't. And I think, when I first realized that I just don't like it, I felt bad. But I don't now. I love that Christ came to earth. He is THE reason. He is everything. But I dislike shopping and crowds of people.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Change for a change!!

Here is a simple way to collect and give money to those in need-- set up a change jar in your house. Instead of throwing all your change in your purse, just drop it in the jar and watch how quickly it adds up! Your pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters will make a huge difference in someone's life. You can collect the change just through the Christmas season, or keep it up for months and see how much you get!

Simply print off this image ( larger image available by clicking here: http://bit.ly/iiaVio )

and tape it on any type of jar or container. I started w/ a peanut butter jar, but it would take some mad skills to cut a slit in the lid... I later found a coffee can and that works great!

Collect and donate your change to make a difference in someone's life. I'm not asking you to plan a massive fundraising event (but go for it, if you want to!), sell your kidney, or go door to door soliciting. Simply drop change in a jar. And, then yes, you will have to go to the bank, write a check, and then drop it in the mail. But is that too much in exchange for giving families like his a chance at a better life?? 

Leve Project is a 501(c)3 (meaning your gift can be tax exempt) non-profit ministry. We are committed to walking along side Haitian families on their journey out of poverty. I'm asking for your support of Leve Project. However, if you don't want to give and support Leve Project... please, collect your change and give to whatever ministry you are involved in. 

Checks can be mailed to: 

Leve Project
2956 N. 425 E.
Danville, IN   46122