TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
May 11, 2006
At last! The van was ready for me to take my debut drive! The agricultural fair, in celebration of the Haitian May 1st agricultural holiday, was a good reason for me to take the van out on the road! Sharing the excursion, with the Ohio mission team that was here, was just frosting on the cake. Since the van is a cargo van and only equipped with two seats, the team would need to pile on the floor in the back of the van for the short ride to the fair. 2”x4” boards had been loaded in the cargo section of the van for transportation to the construction work site for use in the upcoming week. After some debate, it was decided that the boards could remain in place and the team could travel just fine seated on top of the boards. And so, our adventure began. As it was a Sunday, the streets were relatively clear of traffic. We arrived at the entrance to the fair and were told that we were at the one-way exit and would need to turn around to enter at another location. Finding the proper turn off point, we headed through the field and came upon a small, rock bed river that we would need to cross. Ahead of the van was the 4 wheel drive SUV carrying half of the team. Their vehicle moved quickly through the river bed and up onto the bank to the other side. Taking a deep breath, I headed for the water for my first trip through a river as a driver, rather than as a passenger! The river seemed narrow enough, the current not too swift, and the river bank not too steep. Certainly, I could handle this with no problem. The van produced gentle splashes and was met with the sound of crunching rock, as the tires churned over the river bed. But soon, the tires met with some larger rocks and everything came to a stop! Pushing harder on the gas only verified that we were going no where. Putting the van in reverse, in this non-four wheel drive vehicle, was also to no avail. The team members, in the SUV that was safely on the other side, began piling out of the vehicle to get a better view. The Haitian ladies, who were doing their laundry in their wash basins on the riverbank, looked up to see a vanload of Americans surveying their options for getting out of the river. Although they appeared to be concentrating on their work, they must have been having a private chuckle at the sight! After trying to rock the van out, it was decided that, indeed, we were VERY stuck! The men from the team, who were onboard the van, disembarked from the van to determine what our next step would be. As happens each time someone is in distress, Haitians began appearing from everywhere to offer their help, in spite of the UN vehicles that just passed us by. The 2×4 boards, on the bed of the cargo van, would end up being a part of the solution. The boards were wedged under the tires to give the extra boost needed to free us from the river. Within a matter of minutes, we were on our way once again, as the van drip-dried along the way. Another Haitian adventure!!! As challenging as these adventures can sometimes be, I absolutely love them! It reminds me how privileged I am to live where I am living and to be experiencing what some people can only read about in books.
Today, a new joy has come my way – a joy that brought me to tears! Little Sheila is home in New York with her new family. Finally! After many, many delays, Sheila spent her first night in her OWN bed in her OWN bedroom, in the beautiful white, pink and orange décor that had been prepared for her many months ago! When I saw the photos of her arrival, I cried! I wasn’t quite prepared for the mixture of joy and sadness. I was so happy for Sheila and her new family, but I did not realize how much I was already missing her here in Haiti. I will always think of Sheila when we sing her favorite Creole song. It has become known to me and the kids as “Sheila’s song!” Little Sheila has touched so many lives, in so many ways! I thank God for her confidence in life, in spite of the obstacles she has faced in her few short years. She is my inspiration for making lemonade out of lemons! Many of you have prayed for Sheila, faithfully, throughout the years! Please continue to do so. Pray that God will continue to use Sheila in many more wonderful ways! Pray that our “little sunshine” will let the SON SHINE through her! God bless you little Sheila!!!!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time ………….