Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It's a year and another season!

September 5 meant that we've lived in Haiti a full year! It's hard to believe that much time has passed and yet we've experienced and learned so much.  Joel is now driving in Haiti and sometimes drives teams here and there.  I haven't driven anything except our four-wheeler and the truck on the mission center.  We both can speak SOME Creole and can understand a little, as long as people aren't talking too fast.  Pray for us because the ability to communicate in Creole is key to our ministry here.  We can negotiate the stores and even talk and greet our neighbors some.

Surprising Leah in Aurora, OH

When we signed our contract with RMI, we asked that we could go to the US (the States) about every six months to see my parents, Leland and Lettie Bond. They are now 90 years old and want to see us and know that we aren't on the other side of the world. So, this summer, we took our two weeks vacation to make a whirlwind trip to the States, visiting children and family we missed on our December trip.  It was important to visit Joel's two brothers who are in poor health.  It was important to see Mom and Dad and it was important to visit our children in Ohio and family in Pennsylvania and the DC area.  Along the way, we were blessed with the opportunity to visit friends and family in supporting churches and to be at the worship service in the retirement home where Mom and Dad live.

The happy couple before the wedding vows

As soon as we returned to Haiti, we plunged into team activities and lots of work at RMI.
But, the highlight was attending the wedding of Perguens and Xphania Hyppolite.  What a beautiful wedding at the RMI Retreat Center! And, the different wedding traditions were a blessing to see.

Water filter dedication

So, what has been going on in the ministry.  Where can we start?  Only two sister church teams have been here since we last wrote, but this is the slower time of the year.  We've also had three special project teams during that
period.  Joel and I were actively involved in all but two of these teams.  Joel continues to work hard with maintenance, thankful for the help of Daniel Nunemaker and others. Daniel is the oldest son of our new missionary family.

Home that was replaced

One team built a home while another member of the team worked with our Haitian staff, teaching English grammar.  She teaches English as a second language at a college in the US.  A member of their church in the United States donated a goat to a young Haitian child to provide future income. Another team financed and installed a water filter system at a sister church here. This water system  provides 5000 gallons of fresh, drinkable water daily to the church and to neighbors in the community.

Creekside team ready to fly back to Florid

Practicing chest compressions in CPR
The special projects team from our Florida church flew into our local airport on a private plane. Their purpose was to interview sponsored children, their families, their teachers, the church pastor and deacons and to understand the life of the sponsored children. Two members of the team hiked two hours one-way up a mountain to visit a sponsored child with his family. The highlight for me was to see sponsored children talk with their sponsors back in the United States using an international phone call.  Another purpose of the trip was to discuss the specifics of the new school/church building project at the church and to determine the extent to which they could help.

I had the opportunity to plan and teach a first aid and health information class for our Haiti office. I felt back at home talking about high blood pressure, heart attacks, bandaging, and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).  I was so thankful for a colleague, Janella Zimmerman, from the Bonne Fin hospital community who taught the majority of the course.

Les Cayes Botanical Gardens

We have time to relax at beautiful locations like the Les Cayes Botanical Gardens and the ocean at Port Salut!

The roar of the waves on the tail of Hurricane Joaquin
It has continued to be hot and humid, but we are thankful for rain that is almost falling an hour or two every day.  Of course, rain brings mosquitos and bugs, as well as increased humidity.  But, we need the rain and we are thankful that bites have not been a major problem.  We are also thankful for our missionary community, our wonderful Haitian neighbors, and for good health!  God is great!