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.


More pics from the week



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



Lunch time!



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.





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.



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.



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






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.



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!


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!

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!


Fun at our Missionary Retreat




Chloe spending time at the orphanage


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



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


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




What is everyone looking at???

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


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



Pizza at the Hot Spot.



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.


Here is a picture of the bride.



The bride and groom with the cake.



Bride and groom with photographer, chauffeur, and Chloe.



Everyday life

Bon jou! It has been awhile since we have posted. Not much is new with us. Our family is doing well, and settling into a normal routine. We are enjoying the “winter” weather in southern Haiti. Scott is in the middle of team season, which keeps him quite busy. The girls continue schoolwork, and I am keeping things going at home. I find it interesting, that the things which were so new and foreign to us 5 short months ago, are becoming “normal”. I guess that is good, and means God is faithfully helping us adapt to this new world in which we live. Here are a few pics of “normal life”.





In the midst of the busyness, we were able to spend some much needed time away at the beach. Just us 5! We had a great day together.



Finally, Scott found some time to make one of his buddies, Mackenson, a little tree house. He just loves his “own house.”



We were blessed to have my parents, Rob & Gina, visit us in Haiti. They were the first family that we have seen since we left Illinois is September. I can’t even describe how awesome it felt to see them in person and hug them. We had a wonderful week together, but it went way too fast! Thank you to ALL of you who sent hugs and love along with them.
Here are a few of the highlights.
A day at Port Salut, including a lobster lunch!




Remember Phaniel??? Dad & mom kept him for several months while he had heart surgery 15 yrs ago. We not only got to see him again, but met his whole family.


A visit to Tet Simone


Chloe & Gram making her famous angel food cake.



Last but not least, meet Jay! He might as well be one of our family!


We are thanking God for the blest week we had together.
Looking ahead, we are excited to have Larry, Edie, Cory, & Kim visit for a week in Feb.


Well, we are 4 months into our journey here in Haiti. Some things are beginning to seem familiar, some are going to take a little longer….
I thought I would share a few milestones with you.
1. We are officially finished with our formal language lessons. We completed 25 lessons from the Lets speak Creole book! We are not by any means fluent, but have made a lot of progress! Now, we need to continue to speak as much creole with Haitians as we possibly can every day.
2. Scott has given me approval to drive on my own! I passed his driving course and have made 2 trips to town on my own! 4 months ago, I truly thought I would NEVER drive in Haiti.
3. We have not found a tarantula in our house!
4. The Walder family has arrived! We are so thankful to have them living in the apartment below us.
5. My parents are visiting Friday!

Thank you for your prayers, we could not do this on our own strength! God has been so faithful.
Here are a few pictures from everyday life here.
This is a picture of the market I frequently shop at.

A visit to the orphanage


A gorgeous sunset at the beach

Exploring caves



Have you heard of the ” shoebox” project? It’s something that we have participated in as a family for several years and also through scripture memory class at Roanoke. Basically, you buy supplies, hygiene items, school supplies, toys, etc, pack them in small boxes, and send them out. The boxes get distributed all over, as Christmas gifts for kids. My girls, especially Chloe, loved doing this project. Every year we would talk about where the gifts could be going, who would get them, and how we thought the children would react to receiving a gift. This year, we were blessed see the response of our 2 house workers and their children receive shoeboxes. We had a special helper do the shopping for us, and ship them to Haiti. It was priceless to be able to see their reactions. For the adults, it was the only gift they have received in years. They were so thankful. It also opened the door to speak about the most important gift ever given, the gift of salvation. Enjoy these pictures.










Big load!

Happy New Year, or (Bon Ane in creole)!
I would like to share a picture with you. I took this pic last week, while I was walking in Simone, a small village close to our house. Initially, it had a big impact on me, due to what this older women and her donkey were physically doing. See what you think……..


Seriously, can you believe the load she is carrying on her head? Not to mention, the poor donkey!

Over the past week, God has used this picture to speak to me on a heart or spiritual level. It is easy for me to become “loaded down” by the many unknowns here. But, as a child of God, I don’t have to carry anything, big or small. He promises to carry it for me, and even carry me. I can leave my worries, loads, and burdens at the foot of the cross! Thank you, Jesus!
Here are just a few of the verses that have spoken to me this week.
“Look to The Lord and His strength; seek his face always.” Psalm 105:4
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:29
Blessings to you and your family, as we serve together.