Bon Vwayge!!

As I write this, we are sitting in Port-au-Prince airport, anxiously awaiting our flight to Miami. It’s hard to believe we have lived in Haiti for the past 9 months! As we look back, we can see how God has faithfully provided, every step of the way!
The last few weeks have been packed full of activity! On the fun side, snorkeling, having friends over, game nights, last visits to the orphanage, etc. We have also had some very emotional times. Madame Lorette, our cook, has been sick and her newborn boy was close to death and has been hospitalized for the past week. God has presented us with some very unique experiences as well as exposure to culture through daily visits to the pediatric tent. Thankfully, the baby, though still hospitalized, has gained strength, and it appears he will pull through.
Yesterday, our Haitian bosses and friends blessed us with songs, prayers, benedictions, and even a few heartfelt tears. Thank you to everyone who has supported our family through prayer, mail, care packages, and emails. We are looking forward to sharing our world with you this summer.

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The Haitian Bosses

We are so thankful for the Haitian bosses that work for the MEBSH construction department. There are 4 full time bosses, Mario, Elor, Ezekiel, and Verell. Those who have been to Haiti on work trips, probably know them. In Haitian culture, boss is the name given to any given worker, in charge of an area. It has been a pleasure to get to know and work with this group of Christian men. In the 9 months Scott has worked with them, he has learned to appreciate each of their different talents and abilities. Mario especially likes to give Scott a hard time about his creole, and has forced him to pray in creole at morning devotions. They are much easier on us girls!
Today, Brent & Alisha, along with Scott & I took the opportunity to show our appreciation to the bosses, by taking them and their wives to Port Salut for lunch and beach time. It was neat to be with them on a social level and get to know their wives. We hope they felt appreciated! I think it was a special day for all of us!

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Boss Mario & Boss Elor

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Boss Ez and his wife

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Boss Verell and his wife

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Celebrating Chloe!

Chloe first birthday in Haiti was great! She took Death by Chocolate dessert into school, which the Haitian kids loved! She also got to sit on the throne, (the teachers chair) for the whole day. For supper, she choose Stromboli and cookie skillets for dessert. Her favorite present was a pink Ripstick.

The ‘throne’

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Haitian cake that Mamize made her

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Our ripstick gang

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We also went hiking to Tet Lakil. It was a great day, hiking back to the freezing cold, natural springs.

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After hiking to the spring, we explored the river on our way back. We had several new adventures, including floating down the river with a miniature waterfall, forging our own path through the “jungle-like” forrest, and climbing small rock walls. We don’t have many pics of the river adventure, because we didn’t want our phones and cameras to be wet.

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As usual, we drew lots of attention, and this is a picture of some of our “followers”.

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We are so thankful for our Clover girl, and are blessed to have her in our family. We had fun celebrating her!

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A few of our favorite things…

We would like to share a few of our “favorite” Haitian products with you.

First, is fruit! We LOVE Abricot, Mangoes, and Starfruit. (Yes, we left out Papaya!!)

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Abricot are the brown fruit on the left, mangoes are on the right, and you can probably guess which are the Starfruit.

This is a mango tree.

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Next, is a chocolate sandwich cookie, with a yummy, minty, creamy middle. It is similar to a mint Oreo, and the closest thing to a Thin Mint Girl Scout cookie, we have tasted for a long time!

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The last product is an energy drink, called Toro. This is reserved for Scott only! The girls are no longer allowed to drink it. (you can ask Chloe about that story sometime :)) He prefers the ‘Citron’ (or lime flavor) flavor, but we haven’t been able to find any for 5 or 6 months.

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The truth is, although we are thankful for these products, we are looking forward to being back in the states, where we can get lots of our familiar favorites.

Haitian Schwann’s man

It’s taken awhile, but after 7.5 months, we have figured out how to get an occasional ice cream treat! This man comes around to our house 1-2x’s/week, and we can buy different types of popsicles. They are individually wrapped, and yes, he carries them all around in that cooler on his head! We buy them for 25 gourds, or 47 cents US.

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The second “treat” we have tried is a Sno cone. It does seem a bit sketchier than a pre-wrapped Popsicle.

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This man, actually used a hand shaver and shaved ice off of a large block of ice. Next he put it in a cup, and asked if we wanted “red or pineapple” syrup. Red syrup??? The girls said, “you mean strawberry, raspberry, or cherry?” Nope, it was just “red”. It really wasn’t very good, so we haven’t tried it again.

Needless to say, we are eager to see a
Dairy Queen, Uncle Bobs, Coldstone, or Baskin-Robbins sign!!

Overflowing with thankfulness!

Last week, we were fortunate to host a work team from our hometown of Roanoke! It was an awesome week! The team worked very hard, along side of the Haitians to finish the largest roof this year.
The roof was for the school and church at LSM’s Cancer Redemption Project. Here are a few fun facts for the project….
17,230 linear ft of lumber used
1730 sq ft of plywood for gussets
330 – 12 ft pieces of roof tin (15,840 sq ft)
Approx 600 pounds of nails!!
Bumps, bruises, cuts, and bent nails -we lost count!
Most importantly, we believe God was glorified, and many children were blessed by the efforts made.
Here are before and after pics.

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More pics from the week

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The ladies hard at work on the benches and school desks.

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Lunch time!

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On Sunday, we had the priveledge of worshipping with the parents and children who live at the homes of hope, as well as touring their homes.

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The ladies did a great job on the benches, and finished early! So, we took the opportunity to have a fun day of visiting the local market, touring and shopping at the domestic center, and having lunch at our house.

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The last day was spent touring the hospital at Bonn Finn in the morning, followed by a drive to Port Salut for lunch and beach time.

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There were lots of special times throughout the week. One of the best things, was that Bri’s best friend Elly came with the team. Bri and Elly were able to spend a lot of time together and reconnect. We were so blessed to be able to share our lives with those we love. We appreciate all the effort that was made, and all the gifts, hugs, and love that the Roanoke team brought with them.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Col 2: 6-7

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Birthdays!

It’s hard to believe our “baby” is 14! We celebrated by taking a bunch of Bri’s friends to the beach at Port Salut. It was a great day to swim and play volleyball. We are so thankful for her, and are blessed to be her parents.

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I had a special birthday this year, for many reasons!
1.I had the Roanoke team here!
2.I woke up to my kitchen being fully decorated with balloons, streamers, pompons, table cloth, fun plates, and napkins!
3.I had an inbox FULL of love and birthday wishes!
4.I had a yummy, double chocolate cake!
5.Madame Lorette baked me a Haitian cake and gave me a vase with flowers! (see below- notice the vase/flowers)
6.I had lots of gifts from family and friends, sent down with the team!
Thanks to everyone, who helped make it a wonderful birthday!

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We celebrated Mamize’s birthday 4/1. We made her a chocolate cake, per her request, and sent it home for her to share with her family and friends. We sang to her, and even had her blow out candles! It was fun to celebrate with her!
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Monday, is Madame Lorette’s birthday. She also requested a chocolate cake :) We are looking forward to spoiling her next week! Pics to come!

6 months

It’s hard to believe we have been in Haiti for over 6 months! As a family, we sat down together and took some time to reflect back on how our lives have changed over the last year. Everyone shared the positives and the negatives about living in Haiti. We had some really good dialog together, as well as some laughs, and a few tears. All 5 of us testified how God has helped us through different trials since being here, and all of us came to the same conclusion…. we know that Haiti is where God wants our family to be. We want to give God all the glory and praise for this! He has given us peace and contentment, despite being uprooted from living a comfortable, familiar life, in central IL. It is only through Gods strength and grace, that our family could survive this transition and thrive. The benefits to trusting in God, and His plan for our family, has outweighed the cost! Thank you to our family, friends, and church body who support and pray for us. Please continue to pray for our family, as we serve together. It is by no means an easy road for us, but we go forward knowing God will continue to provide for us.
Special hugs from Elijah & Toby!

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Fun at our Missionary Retreat

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Chloe spending time at the orphanage

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And, I had to add a picture of the addition of a railing and sign (by Chloe), to Mackensons tree house.

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Looking forward…. Roanoke work team!!! Can’t wait to see you all!

Family!!

We were blessed to have Scott’s parents, Larry and Edie, along with his sister and brother in law, Kim and Cory , visit us last week. We had been anxiously awaiting this week for a long time! We had a fun and productive week together! This was their first time visiting Haiti. They were all very brave, and tried many new foods, including lobster. We enjoyed showing them around, and sharing our lives with them.
Here are some pictures from the week.
A visit to Port Salut

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What is everyone looking at???

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Just this…. The girls LOVE taking guests tarantula hunting.

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A visit to the orphanage, one of Chloe’s favorite places.

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Pizza at the Hot Spot.

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Haitian Wedding

About a month ago, we had the honor of being invited to Abdun & Mamize’s wedding.  Mamize is a beautiful woman inside and out, and it has been a privilege to get to know her.      We initially met Mamize as she started working for us 3d/week and teaching Bri creole lessons.  Over the past 4 months, our friendship has developed, and we have gotten to know her on a personal level.

The wedding was on a Saturday afternoon, held in a little, second-story church, in Les Cayes.  For those that have been to Haiti, you can confirm that  afternoon + second story building = sweltering!  For those who have never been to Haiti, there is no air conditioning.  Scott was in charge of transporting the cake, food, and the couples friends and family to and from the wedding.   I was the photographer :)  The wedding started 1 hour late, lasted a little over 2 hours, and was mostly in French, I think.  One of the funniest moments, was listening to the guests hoot, holler, and carry on in the back of the land cruiser, on the way home from the wedding.  (I wish I would have taken a video)!  We had 17 haitians riding in the back at once!  It was an honor for us to be a part of this special day, and to serve Mamize in this way.  We learned a lot about the Haitian culture, too!  I could write a separate post w/ some great stories for each one of these pictures, but sometimes simply stated is better.

This is a picture of the “dancers.”  In the states, we know them as bridesmaids and groomsman.  In Haiti, they don’t just walk down they isle, they have a choreographed dance, for a whole song, as they go down the isle.

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Here is a picture of the bride.

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The bride and groom with the cake.

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Bride and groom with photographer, chauffeur, and Chloe.

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