How is that even possible?
Where did the time go?
We have been here in Haiti for a little over two months now, and yet it feels like these months have gone faster than any I have ever experienced!
AND YET-- SO much has happened over the last few weeks I don't know how we fit it all in… I can't explain it, and I'm not even going to TRY to understand it!
Today I merely want to catch you up… I'm sorry that my posts have been limited. Thankful that Haylie was able to fill in the gaps in my absence! Our internet has been limited and a bit frustrating over the past month… but we are up and running- and, LORD WILLING, we will continue to have good connection for a while!
I have spent the last week trying to catch up on emails and FB messages and the blog has been CALLING me!
The last few weeks have been adventurous, as everything seems to be here! I'm going to highlight just a few of those adventures…
SO here goes!
Adventure #1- Getting a bank account here in Haiti!
The irony of this whole experience was quite humorous. But let me start from the beginning...
In order to get our Permis de Sejour (visas) we need to open up a bank account here in Haiti. BUT… upon walking in the first bank, we discovered that in order to have an account there, we needed a Permis. Even after explaining that in order for us to get a Permis we NEEDED a bank account, we were still told that they couldn't help us. So we headed to another bank...
The next bank we visited… same thing. And so, feeling once again defeated, we walked to yet another bank!
And the next bank… you guessed it! No luck!
Finally, at our fourth stop, we were told that if we had a letter from our field director, stating that we lived in Haiti, as well as US Passports, we were a-go!
WOOHOO! An hour and a half later we were sitting in the bank filling out the necessary paperwork…
The crazy thing about that whole experience… on the sound system playing throughout the bank was familiar music, in English… it was CHRISTMAS music! I had to laugh! If you know me well, you know that I LOVE Christmas music. After having worked in retail for over 10 years, I grew accustomed to listening to it from November 1st-January 1st- and loved EVERY second of it!
Being away during the holiday season (which is quickly approaching!) is probably the hardest thing for me to think about right now...
How AWESOME was it to be in a bank in Haiti listening to Christmas music- in the middle of October!?!?! God cracks me up sometimes!
Adventure #1 can be summed up in this way- YES we spent 4 hours trying to get a bank account, YES it was a hassle going from bank to bank to bank… to bank, YES it felt a bit frustrating knowing how much time was being spent doing nothing, BUT, with all of that being said- YES we had a wonderful time with Steve and Melissa and Brett as we walked around Cap Haitian, sat down to some cold Cokes and took in the sites, YES God blessed us with a little bit of Holiday cheer- He knows me too well!, and YES we walked out of that 4th bank with account slips in hand, one step closer to getting our Permis! Praise God!!!
Adventure #2- Bible Study in Kompech
Last Friday, Haylie and I went with Cammie and her family and a few friends into the village of Kompech. If you have read Stacey's blog, you may remember hearing stories of Kompech. This little village, off the beaten path, is "hard ground". The village is known to be a dark place where voodoo is prevalent, and after continued attempts, is still a hard place where many are still closed to wanting to accept the Gospel as truth in their lives.
Cammie comes to this village every Friday, and makes her self available for evangelism and discipleship to these people… some weeks, there are people who are ready and willing to listen… and other weeks, no one comes out to hear. But Cammie is faithful. I have been wanting to go and see this village… and Haylie too. We finally had the opportunity to join her...
You can't drive to Kompech, so we go the mile or so on-foot… despite the thorns, mud, and lack of roads, the walk is really beautiful! As we crossed over the little stream and through the mucky water, and as the bugs bit up my legs and thorns ripped my skirt, it reminded me that reaching lost people is NOT easy… but well worth the effort for God's Kingdom!
I LOVE this picture of Haylie with Biga and Azi!
Upon arriving in the village, a man (whom Cammie had never seen before and who must have been visiting people there that day) invited us to come and have a seat. As you can see, we attracted quite an audience! "Blancs" are not seen very often here in Haiti, especially in remote villages… kids always gather around and giggle at the sight… (and for some reason I still always feel the need to check my nose or between my teeth to make sure "I'm good!")
Within a few minutes, Cammie had the man talking about what he believed and they began to discuss the Gospel. SO wishing I was able to communicate better (PLEASE continue to lift up our language learning!)… I could understand the majority of what was being said back and forth, but still feel too limited to add to the conversation. But praise God that He never leaves us without a job we can be doing. As they continued to talk, I sat quietly praying in my heart with eyes open, asking for God to speak to this man's heart through Cammie's words and through His Word…
In just those few minutes, the man was confronted with a Gospel, the TRUE Good News, that he had never heard before! He asked for Cammie to return to his home in another town so that she could share this truth with his family, friends and neighbors! They set a time and a place (Sunday at 3pm) and we left there knowing that God had begun a work!!! Praise God for His faithfulness to go before us and use us if we are only willing!
During all of this, Haylie caught the attention of the MANY children and while we sat with the man, she captivated the kids!
And who knew a camera could be so intriguing?!
That following Sunday, Cammie arrived at the man's home and he had done exactly what he promised. He invited his family, friends and neighbors and Cammie shared the Gospel again… and she is returning every other Sunday to continue. Isn't God amazing!?!?! Please continue to pray for the people of Kompech and L'Acul (this man's hometown)!
Adventure #3- Our first water taxi experience and trip to Dahloo Beach!
About once a month we take a much needed trip somewhere to just relax and spend time with our families…
Considering there is VERY limited options of things to do in Haiti- the beach seems to always be a good choice (and really only one of two options)! When you are missing the fall weather that you don't have, you might-as-well take in the beautiful weather that you DO have! :)
This past weekend, we took a first time trip for us and the Ayars to Dahloo Beach… and it was BEAUTIFUL and adventurous!!!
After an hour and 15 minute drive through Cap Haitian and around the mountains, we arrived at the boat taxis.
Off in the distance you can see where Royal Carribbean cruise ships dock in Labadee!
(Doesn't Ethan look SO OLD!?!?!- Ethan prefers that I call him "mature"! He is almost as tall as me now and seems to be growing more each day!)
What a nice looking bunch!
Isn't it GORGEOUS!?!?! And the best part- we had the entire beach- TO OURSELVES!!!
After a super fun day of relaxing, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and cliff jumping, we took our boat taxi once again… we were tired after a long day, but feeling refreshed from a great day!
(Haylie is growing like a weed too… and she looks so much older with Sofie in her lap, doesn't she!)
And finally… one last adventure (not exactly an adventure, but a REALLY fun time!)
Adventure #4- Pumpkin Party at the Heckman House!
Halloween is often times a touchy holiday for Christians- and understandably. There are many dark things that can surround this holiday- like witches and ghosts and zombies and the sort.
But we truly believe that EVERY day belongs to God- and we try to make Halloween a special day for our family to have some fun dressing up, eating candy and spending time together! This year, we (Haylie mainly!) put together a super fun party for the kids here at EBS! And what a blast it was!
Here are just a few of the festivities and decorations:
Ethan and Haylie all dressed up! (Haylie is a puppy dog, and in case you couldn't tell- Ethan is the infamous Tony Stark!… that facial hair really works on him! hehe! Thankful its only face paint right now!)
Once the house was all set and we were all dressed in costume…
The trick-or-treating begins!
We made sure the kids went around...
To EACH door at our house for candy!
Here's all of them together in costume!
The craft table was a huge success!
And Pin-the-Face-on-the Pumpkin was really fun too!
The Pumpkin Hunt went great- ALL 55 hidden pumpkins were found!
After eating LOADS of candy and snacks, playing games, and doing crafts, everyone sat down to a classic...
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
What a FUN evening we had last night together! And what amazing adventures we have had, and NO DOUBT, will continue to have! And I'm SO glad that we can share these special memories with YOU :)
Thanks for your continued prayers and for your love for us!
FYI- This week we begin our first Youth Ministry work here through a symposium for the students… please pray with us about how God wants to use us in this area here in Haiti! Excited to see where He takes us...
Much love to you all!