Ok, I know I’m suppose to be getting into the Christmas spirit but I kind of missed the Thanksgiving holiday this year so bear with me ☺

Some friends, Albert & Scott, came to Haiti on December 1st and left a few days ago. Before moving here I had been on several mission trips to Haiti with Scott & Albert so it was great having them here again! Because of our previous experiences together, they were able to relate to some of my struggles & give me encouragement & counsel like few could do. THANK YOU Albert & Scott for a great visit! As I said in my last blog, they brought some amazing care-packages from family & friends! I’ve had a few sleepless nights reading through letters & unpacking the 3 bins from my mom. THANK YOU everyone for the thought that went into what you said & what you gave – I really appreciate it all.

Scott & Albert spent most of their time in Grande Goave (where I’m staying @ the H2H Children’s Home). They spent lots of time with the kids, did some maintenance around the compound & started laying the foundation for more new classrooms in the new school. We also took some road trip – we went to Kenscoff to visit Joyce & Molly @ GLA (where I spent 3 months last year) & to Basin Blue in Jacmel. I had never been to Basin Blue – it’s a series of 3 waterfalls / basin that you hike up to. It was amazing! Unfortunately the batteries in my camera died so I don’t have any pictures but I’ll post some when Scott & Albert send them to me.

Because I’m coming home in December I wanted to go to Grande Savande & take some recent photos of the new church there. Scott has a real passion for Grande Savande so when he heard I was going he changed his flights & came with me. We had a great time! They’ve laid the floor & started building the crossbeams for the ceiling. Again I’ll have to post pictures later… I just don’t think like a tourist anymore so my camera was tucked away safely in my bedroom at Grande Goave. Seeing the excitement of the people in Grande Savande & Boava (a small mountain community close to Grande Savande where we always stay when visiting Grande Savande) was inspiring for Scott & I. The church will become a community center & a ‘strong-house’ during the hurricane season & people have already started building new houses around it! We had a great talk with Pastor Luc & Jean Francios (the local Pastor) about their vision for Grande Savande & it includes finishing the church & quickly moving on to a medical clinic. Grande Savande is an area filled with Voodoo & currently when people are sick they feel their only option is to go to the Voodoo Priest. Having a medical clinic associated with the new church will allow us to meet their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs. Every trip to Boava / Grande Savande has been special for me (sharing testimonies with teams, meeting families of kids that now live in the Grande Goave Children’s Home, almost falling in the outhouse…) & this one kept with tradition. I saw the biggest tarantula so far & I translated the entire church service for Scott! This might not seem substantial to you but this is the first time I’ve understood all of what was said. I’m still shocked when I think about it!

I returned to Grande Goave yesterday and as we drove through Leogane (a neighbouring town) we were stopped by a demonstration to raise awareness of the damage done by the recent hurricanes. These types of demonstrations can quickly become dangerous & while I had known that before, yesterday made it reality for me. As soon as our car had stopped people saw me & the car was swarmed by demonstrators… it was more then a little unnerving… the windows were quickly rolled up & the doors looked. The demonstrators weren’t swarming us to harm us… they saw an opportunity… get the white girl through the demonstration safely & earn some money. Because there were so many people they started to argue before even talking to us! THANKFULLY, we spotted someone we knew (he pumps gas at the local gas station) & he quickly jumped in the back of our truck & started yelling directions. I felt as naïve as it did on my first trip but things went smoothly… thanks to the gas man ☺

Thanks to my Auntie Mary, our family has a tradition of writing something you’re thankful for when we all get together for Thanksgiving Dinner. After we’ve all written we swap paper & read them out loud. If I had been there this year this is what I would have written…

I’m thankful for all of the life experiences I’ve had that have prepared me for how God is using me in Haiti. The tough times have shaped my character & integrity; the easy times have shown me how I can make life easier for others; the busy times have taught me to work hard, be efficient & use my resources well; the slow times have allowed me to build relationships with family & friends that encourage me & sustain me in the low times.

Love you all & I’m looking forward to seeing many of you soon. I’m especially looking forward to a mandarin chicken salad (courtesy of Wendy’s) & a slurpee… maybe my “taxi” will be fully stocked when it picks me up at the airport ☺

Albert, Woody, Rebecca & Wood with the hats Grandma Rose made – big hit Grandma!!! (for the rest of you… I know what you must be thinking… touques in Haiti??? But they love them! They keep the sun off their head when it’s hot & believe it or not, it’s actually chilly here some evenings… I guess you can get use to any weather!)