Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Making Adjustments

We've had some changes occur over the last few weeks here on the mission field.  We're adjusting to now being a family of five and having a little girl in the house. Perhaps the more challenging transition came about when Barry was informed that Anouce, our talented translator, had decided to take a different path. His church elected to send him to a six-week seminar in order to train him to be the youth pastor, and provide a paid position when the training is completed.

With a schedule full of Bible studies and preaching engagements, a translator is pretty necessary.  A young man from Port-au-Prince was interviewed and came along with the team a few times to see how he would do.   Between he and Josnel, they were working together to translate while Barry preached. Last Sunday, when there was another opportunity to preach at Lifeline, the young man wanted Josnel to translate on his own. In the end, it was decided that Josnel would be the way to go. Looking back, we can see that it was likely the Lord's plan all along. We had wondered at first why Josnel had "tagged along" with Anouce from the first time they went preaching. It turned out to be a tremendous blessing that another English-speaking Haitian was right there already on the team.  He does a good job now, and with more practice  I believe he will end up being an excellent translator.

A look inside Lifeline Mission church building; Josnel translating 

We also enjoyed a week-long visit from my parents since the last update. The children really enjoyed their time with Grandma and Grandpa, and I was blessed to have the help and time with my mom while I recovered after the baby. It was quite an experience for my dad, as he went near and far with Barry to various Bible studies,preaching and running errands around Haiti.

A new church was on the schedule this past Sunday, ironically in Titanyan, where we would have been going to share at the church Anouce attends. The Lord gave a clear and powerful message to the group, who seemed to receive it well.

This week Barry continues to fulfill the roles of problem-solver, preacher, and daddy. The team has Bible studies scheduled every day this week, and he's working to help people with all their various needs in between, while also doing the running to get Bethany her citizenship paperwork taken care of.  Pray that he can remain strong both spiritually and physically as he takes on so many tasks every day.

Thank you for checking in with us!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Counting our Blessings. Baby is here!

From the time we first began praying about the call to move to Haiti, there has been an ongoing battle with attempts to make us fearful and not put our trust in the Lord. A day or so after we were asked to consider the mission, I found out we were expecting. I was quick to start looking into what it would be like to have a baby in a third world country and what kind of red tape would be required to claim our child as an American citizen. An article at the top of the Google search results was titled "One baby's story shows why Haiti is no place to give birth" while the subheading read "Haiti is the worst place in the Western Hemisphere to give birth." Scroll down the page and you'll see "Giving birth is fraught with danger in Haiti."

While I looked over the Embassy website at the "report birth abroad" requirements, a text came across my phone with the news that Gino had just been hit by a truck and had been killed.  Although I'd never had the pleasure of meeting brother Gino, I instantly broke down in tears. Why so much at once?

I started thinking maybe expecting the baby would keep us home, but when we shared the news of the pregnancy, it wasn't an issue. Plans continued to be made to prepare for us to leave, and while we waited, the temptation to fear the worst continued.  Our van getting smashed by a deer, later the hood flying up and smashing the windshield while I drove down the highway with the boys, and the biggest shot- Zika.

 Thankfully Barry was the one to first tell me about this terrible disease that was spreading through so many countries, including Haiti. The travel warnings were put out for all to see. If you are pregnant, DO NOT go to these countries. Of course, Haiti is one of them. How could we possibly put our unborn child in such danger? Microcephaly is a big deal that would affect him or her for a lifetime. Family members pleaded with us not to go. What was God trying to show us?

Less than a month before we left, I had my midwife check things out to see if she thought everything looked fine and if we would be OK to deliver the baby without (possibly) a whole lot of medical attention. She said things were fine, but a couple of days later called to say she wanted a second opinion on what she had seen with her low-tech ultrasound equipment.  There was potentially a condition that has caused many women to be placed on bed rest for the duration of their pregnancies. Could we move to Haiti like that?

We scheduled the appointment with the clinic she referred us to and waited in anticipation for the results of the ultrasound. They said they would call us back later the same day, but the call never came. It was agonizing not knowing what was going on, but all I could do was to ask God to let us not be afraid. The next morning I spent a great deal of time seeking the Lord, and finally was able to give it all over to Him. I had to truly hand it over and put our unborn baby in his hands.

It wasn't more than an hour later that my midwife called to let me know that it looked like the issue in question was going to be just fine. Wow! God is so faithful!

We still had 20 weeks to live in Haiti before the baby arrived, but here we were, daily doing what we could to keep the mosquito population at bay and off of me and praying for God's protection. Katie ended up getting Zika while she was here after constantly being bothered by the little critters, while i typically hardly even noticed we had mosquitos.

The months went by and soon we were down to a matter of weeks before the due date, and still had been unable to find a doctor or midwife to deliver the baby. After several doors were closed, we ended up going to a Doctor in Petionville that had been recommended by various sources.

He seemed to be what the Lord had for us, the only issue was location. Getting to Petionville on the south side of Port-au-Prince can take several long hours if one gets stuck in traffic. He advised that we get a place to stay in town for at least a week before the baby was due. We managed to stay at home until the 5th, four days before the due date, and also the day that our help from home would be flying in. We had no one here to watch the boys while we went to the hospital, so we were eager for Kate and Angela to arrive.

At a checkup with the Doctor that morning, I hadn't felt like anything was happening, so we were still kind of questioning wether we should check into the hotel or not. We didn't want to end up staying for days just sitting around unnecessarily.

After the appointment we thought we would get something to eat and see how I was feeling when we were done.  By the time we finished eating around 1:00, I knew something was starting to happen and thought it would be best if we did go ahead and check in and stay in town. Getting some rest seemed like a good idea. After the drive back across town, checking in, and getting up to our room, it was after 3:00. By 3:20 I was too uncomfortable to rest, and by 3:30, right after Barry parked the truck, it was time to go to the hospital. Right now.  He called the doctor and we were (quickly) on our way, with the boys and an overnight bag for me in tow.

In a matter of minutes I had gone from wanting to take a nap to desperately needing to get to the hospital. After a rough drive, we made it from the hotel to the hospital parking lot at 3:35, and I hurried inside while leaving Barry to handle the bag, the boys, and parking the truck.  By 3:45, our little girl was crying in my arms, just as healthy as could be. What an awesome God we serve!  (I was told later that people were praying it would go fast.  He heard those prayers!)

We are rejoicing in the arrival of little Bethany Darlene. One week later she is still doing well, and mom is recovering and thankful for all the help from Kate and Angela. They were thrown right into the mix as soon as they got here late last Tuesday evening, watching the boys that night and taking over the cooking as soon as we were all back home. Although it all went nothing like we had tried to plan out in our minds, we can rest in knowing that God's plans are always better than ours. This has all been an excellent reminder that there is never any need to worry, and that it can all be placed in the Master's hands.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28