Flexibility -- that's our character quality to work on these days. I think we are doing pretty good so far; at least we have managed to keep from going absolutely crazy in spite of the seemingly constant changes in our plans! Our plans for Christmas vacation have changed so many times already we've just scrapped the whole idea of planning, and we are having a totally unscripted 2 weeks. We've already had the chance to have a last minute Christmas party, we are preparing a last minute Christmas dinner for tomorrow, and we are just waiting to see when the presents will arrive (they are stuck on the boat in Port-de-Paix; we've had so much rain lately they can't unload the boat!).
So you can probably figure out that one of our plans that got canceled was our trip out to the new property. December was a tough month for us financially. Part of that was due to some lean support coming in the months previous to that, but another big part was due to some administrative/financial problems and the way we receive our finances. So, needless to say, we've had a few stressful days this past month; and as a result, we are staying put for the holidays (and changing plans again and again!)
It actually has been good for all of us to have to put our heads together to figure out what we can/can't do, and how to sacrifice one thing in order to have another. Sometimes it's easy for us all to forget where we came from. Most of the kids here came from situations where they lived and survived one day at a time, never knowing where their next meal would come from. But after a couple of years of never thinking twice about whether they'd eat their 3 meals a day; or whether or not they could do/have what they need/want; well, that has a way of dulling the senses a bit, and can make you forget how blessed we all have been. So, while it's been a bit stressful, it's been good.
Don't get me wrong, we've not gone hungry at all -- we got through the end of the school semester, with the school bills all paid, and some of the kids even got to participate in their school's Christmas program (this picture is of Lala, Nani & Ivinsky at their school party, with Joseph, the one who takes them to and from school every day).
But, through it all we've been blessed to see God provide for us in different ways than we normally do. One example of that was when Linda's family in the town of Bayeux heard that we weren't able to come for Christmas; they pulled their resources from their gardens and livestock and sent them to us so we'd "at least have food for all the kids". One day last week Daniel, their delegate, showed up here loaded down with all kinds of goodies: home grown rice, vegetables, fruit, spices, chickens, goats, cassava, sugar cane. They told us whatever they had planned on giving us while we were there with the kids, they decided to send so we could eat it here! We were extremely surprised and humbled by this kind gesture from our future neighbors.
And we are very thankful! Thankful for the many people who help support this ministry in so many ways, whether it's by giving financially, praying, encouraging, helping us work through the sometimes very complicated administrative/financial issues that pop up from time to time or simply offering a chicken or a goat for our kids' Christmas meal. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful group of people standing behind us, and working together with us as we bring the hope of Jesus to those in need here in Haiti.
And what better time of the year for us to have had these problems, and be blessed as God takes care of them through the different gifts of those who support us. At a time when we pause to specifically remember God's gift of his Son who brought us the Good News of His Kingdom; we have been blessed with tangible reminders of His love for each one of us and have had a bit of a taste of His Kingdom right here and now. Maybe having an unscripted Christmas isn't such a bad thing after all!
So, breathing a sigh of relief, this week we were finally able to get cash from the bank. And, even though we thought it wasn't going to be possible, our youth pulled off a Christmas party complete with Wise Men (and women),
some really good food
and just a really nice time being together.
We don't know where you'll be, or how your Christmas plans will turn out, but we want we want you to know that we appreciate you all very much, and wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.