Tag Archive: Beauty


There is no way I can even begin to put into words what God has done in my life in 2011…but I will try with few words, and many pictures 🙂

After starting Respire Haiti in November 2010 and meeting Michaelle in December of 2010, God guided my path to Bellevue Mountain in Gressier.  Moving to Gressier, Haiti on January 9, 2011 I had no idea what I would be doing…

The only tree on Bellevue Mountain

Over the past 8 months, Respire Haiti has purchased over 3 acres of land to build a school, library, pavilion, medical clinic and more…

Our recently acquired land, the top of Bellevue Mountain.

Respire Haiti Christian School started in a one room church in January 2011 with 97 children…with no uniforms, books, school supplies or even desks…

Students in March 2011

Ricardo using a chair as a desk, March 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we have over 350 students…with uniforms, books, school supplies, breakfast every morning and more!  For the first half of the year we continued to meet in the one room church, outside of the church and in another nearby location.  Respire Haiti Christian School will start 1st-6th grade in a new building on Wednesday January 4th, 2012!

Students in October 2011

We have seen children transformed by the opportunity to go to school…

Vanessa when I first met her in March of 2011

Vanessa now enrolled in Kindergarten at our school.

Taken out of situations of Restavek and other working environments…

Florencia during a school day last spring before she was enrolled in Respire Haiti Christian School.

And put into environments of learning…

2nd year Kindergarten painting with Water Color

 

 

 

We have seen how quickly things can happen in Haiti when it is GOD’s Plan…

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

 

Hallway of first finished 6 classroom building, opening on Wednesday January 4, 2012 for 1st-6th grade.

 

Our first Community Activity was in January of 2011 with just over 70 children…

Now we have two community activities (feeding programs) every Saturday which feeds more than 700 children…

La Colline Feeding

 

We’ve also seen God’s hand move in amazing ways, through the closer of Son of God orphanage after 11 months of fighting for the freedom of these trafficked, abused and neglected orphans…

Son of God Orphanage

And though the fight for justice is not yet over for these children from Son of God Orphanage, the majority of them have been taken out of a situation where they were being abused, starved and neglected.  Praying that God continues to do BIG things in 2012 for these children and the justice they deserve.

 

 

 

And lastly, I have gone from not even thinking about being a MOM to being the Mommy to two beautiful girls who have changed my life forever.

Michaelle (8), Megan, and Jessica (4.5)

THANK YOU to everyone who has prayed, donated and believed in the vision that God has given me for Bellevue Mountain and the children of Gressier, Haiti.

A special thank you to our American builder, Kyle Fishburn, without him we might still be meeting outside under a tree 😉 and to Bernard Joseph, our Haitian backbone/superman that helps us get things done fast and right!

Kyle (aka Kyle the Builder, KTB) pointing out his ideas for the ceiling of the school, and probably teaching me some building techniques and construction lingo as well!

Happy New Year to All and please continue to follow our next endeavor of our 4 classroom Kindergarten as well as our two-story Library and Computer Lab!

Surrender.

(written December 25th)

As I laid on my back on the cool tile of my house… Music playing. ..Hands in the air.  Sweating, Angry, Exhausted, Sick, Frustrated.

Face towards Jesus. Hands reaching up towards Him.  Reaching hard.

My mind raced.

I suddenly had this picture of what surrender looks like.

Surrendering to the Lords will.  Surrendering my whole life, my ideas of how things should go, my plans.

It might seem like because I live in Haiti and Respire Haiti is growing like crazy that I “already” have surrendered.

I did, Once.  The day “I” made the decision to quit my job.  Then, again.  The day “I” decided to move to Haiti.  Then again when Respire Haiti Christian School started.

But to be honest my life, as is probably everyones, is a continuous daily, hourly, minute-by-minute CHOICE to surrender.

Surrender.

Sometimes it looks like losing.

Sometimes it looks like giving up.

Today it looked like taking a really deep breath, thanking God my girls weren’t hurt.  Praising HIM for getting us home in one piece.

Today, Jesus’s birthday of all days, was a day where I failed, and I mean FAILED to surrender.

The morning started rough as we drove about 5 miles outside of Gressier and there was a dead body, uncovered for all to see in the middle of the road (from a motorcycle accident).  As I tried to quickly distract the girls in the backseat of our car so they didn’t see- I just got angry.  Angry that this was the 3rd body in one week I’ve seen and had to cover my girl’s eyes.  Angry that once again these motorcyclists don’t wear helmets- angry at how sometimes life is just taken for granted here- angry that everyone was just walking past him like he was a pile of rubble.

 

As we tried to calm down and lighten up the mood we drove about another 30 minutes and all of a sudden there was a huge BOOM!  As I looked up a truck had veered quickly into us, smashed into our back passengers side and sent our car skidding.

As we assessed if Jess and Micha were okay (thankfully they were fine) we then got out of the car.  I grabbed my camera to take a picture of the car that tried to drive away but then it hit another car behind us.  I took a few pictures then walked over to see what the heck happened.  Just as I walked up a drunk group of men got out of the car- they immediately came over and started yelling.

As I could both smell the alcohol and see them stumbling about- I knew they had been partying all night long.  Here, Haitians party all night long on Christmas Eve to “celebrate” Christmas.

As I turned around, the drunk driver pushed me and yelled obscenities.  I couldn’t believe it and I just kept walking to the car.

We were near a police station so we headed there… as I saw two police officers, I then tried to explain what had happened.  As the police looked utterly confused as to why I was even asking them to come, they finally came to the wreck site.

They looked at the truck, which was slammed into another car and a lady was crying because her car was totaled.

Unbelievably, the drunk driver returns and starts yelling at me AGAIN.  He gets closer and closer and the PNH (Haitian Police Force) officer has to push him away from me.  As I look at the PNH dude and asked what’s going to happen- he looks at me pretty apathetic and says,“What do you want me to do?”  As if I was supposed to tell him how to do his own job.

As I go on to question- “Can you tell he’s drunk?  He hit my car and another car?”  The  PNH officer then looks up and says, “I can’t arrest him, you’re not bleeding.”

Somehow, some divine way- I turned around and just got back in the car.

I can’t even describe my anger with this situation.   Consequences for driving drunk in Haiti?  None.  Consequences for wrecking TWO cars in Haiti? None.  Consequences for harassment and assault?  None.

Frustration.  Disappointment.  And ultimately surrender.

By the grace of God- we made it to church (on time too!) and after church we went to bring toys to the orphanage where the Son of God girls were placed.  While we were at the girls home we happened to see someone who was working on their car and asked if they could check ours, they then saw a pretty important piece of our car was broken.  The guy immediately called his friend and said they could fix it before the day was over.

As I lay here tonight on the cold tile floor in the dark because our generator is broken and we have no electricity, I’m sweating (it’s the Caribbean)- my heart is still beating crazily, tears are flowing as the anger still bubbles up and the complete frustration surfaces again.

Graffitti in Carrefour, Haiti (The outline of the country of Haiti with a face inside the country and tears streaming)

 

Apathy. Corruption.  Unfairness.

I’m reminded of how I felt with SOG orphanage– a feeling of complete and utter exhaustion.  Hands in the air, BEGGING Him to do something.   Shouting from the rooftops…screaming, crying and yelling about this injustice.  TO ANYONE that would listen.

And then God meets me there.

Injustice.  Corruption.  Indifference. Greed.

It’s all here- It’s everywhere in the world but here in Haiti it is SO evident.  It’s out of hand.

But God.  God is bigger than corruption.  God is BIGGER than injustice.

With OUR surrender- He does HUGE things.  SOG orphanage closing is a beautiful example.   People said it was impossible. But God said ENOUGH!  And he did it.

Surrender  looks like not trying to FIX every problem or CHANGE every person’s mentality here.  It looks like doing what God has put directly in front of me.  Teaching, Loving, Helping that ONE child.

Sometimes it’s like treading water in the ocean but the undercurrent is SO strong you don’t go anywhere, you stay in the same place.  I feel that way sometimes but carrying hundreds of children with me.  And occasionally getting stung by jellyfish (haha).

Injustice.  Corruption.  Unfairness.  Greed.  Apathy.

Surrendering to HIS will, HIS timing, HIS plan is the HARDEST thing ever!

So as I calm down from the day by writing this- I choose to surrender everything.  Again.

And thank HIM for safety.  For the Beauty of HIS children.  For His sons birth.  And For my Girls Beautiful Christmas- even if we did eat Peanut Butter and Jelly for Christmas dinner because of our crazy day  🙂

Sunset in Haiti

The Beauty of Opportunity.

A few days ago a young girl about my age knocked on my gate and began to explain to me how she couldn’t take care of her child anymore…she’s tried, she has two other children and this child is a year old and she said she just can’t do it anymore.

As she continued to tell me all the difficulties in her life and all of the problems that she has…my heart was beating so loud and fast I felt like I could almost hear it beating out of my chest…

I knew what was coming, it has happened before (and has happened here to other people I know) and has crushed me…she took a breath, looked up into my eyes and said, “I thought you could take him because you can do a better job.”

As I took a second to gather my words and thoughts, I looked at her and began to encourage…All while she had been talking I was pleading with God to give me the words to speak TRUTH into her life.  To speak CONFIDENCE into her parenting ability.  And most certainly, to speak OPPORTUNITY as we work together for the next step.

Marissia’s face lit up as I offered her a job carrying sand on the mountain to help build our school…as she went on to say she didn’t have anyone to take care of her baby…we decided she could take her baby with her to the mountain and we would work on a solution…

The next day as I was standing on the scaffolding painting the school (Yes, sometimes I work too!)…I heard beautiful singing from behind the building…as I peaked through the bars, tears filled my eyes as I told my friend Kat to look out of the window and see that one of the ladies was singing while carrying a 5 gallon bucket of dirt on her head…it was the young girl who was just hired, as she walked and worked, she sang, “Hallelujah, Hallelujah to the King of Kings.”

Women working on Bellevue Mountain to build Respire Haiti Christian School

 

To say that having someone GIVE you their child here in Haiti is unusual is not at all accurate…it has happened to me SO many times I could have a FULL house by now…it is the most heart-wrenching experience I’ve ever had and EVERY TIME brings me to my KNEES at the end of the day.  EVERY TIME I BEG God to keep these families together. Protected. Provided for.  And then, I am reminded WHY I am here in Gressier doing what I am doing.

Through Respire Haiti we are able to provide education for children at an extremely low cost (or free if needed)…we are able to ENCOURAGE these parents that they CAN keep their children AND put them in school.  We feed our children at school and feed hundreds of children every weekend.  And now, we are beginning to explore even more opportunities for jobs beyond our current group of nearly 200 people employed through our Feeding Programs, our School, our construction work amongst other things.

Women like Marissia make me FIGHT HARDER.  They make me WORK LONGER.  They bring me to my KNEES begging God to show me the steps to take to help these women provide for their families.

SO SO SO many women here in Haiti DO NOT want to give up their children.  They DESIRE to be parents, mothers to their children.  But they do not have the opportunity.  God has inundated my heart with the desire to not only fight for vulnerable children.  To fight for the Restaveks who have been sold or given away.  To fight for the “orphans” here who actually DO have parents.  But God also has my heart bleeding for their families too.  Their mothers, their fathers, their sisters and brothers.

As I BEG God again tonight to open more opportunities for myself and Respire Haiti to SERVE these women, to encourage them, to give them opportunity…He gently reminds me that not only does He have these women and their children in the palm of his hand…but He has my girls, myself, Respire Haiti in his hand.  We are merely tools for Him to use.  Blessed, Chosen Tools.  God does not NEED us (Acts 17:24) but we are BLESSED to be a part of His beauty.  The beauty I’ve seen when a mother realizes that she CAN keep her child with her.

The BEAUTY of HIS PLAN.

The BEAUTY of OPPORTUNITY.

 

Please pray for Marissia and her children as she has worked with us for this whole week and will hopefully continue to be a part of Respire Haiti’s School Building and provide for her family…

Beautiful Birthday Girl

Michaelle, today you turn 8 years old on December 8th, what a Beautiful Golden Birthday!!

When I met you nearly one year ago on Bellevue Mountain…I had no idea what God had in store for you, me or us…

First day I met Michaelle

In the last year…we’ve been through A LOT of trials, pain and sickness…but we have had a lot of friends to help us through 🙂

A LOT of friends 🙂

We’ve lost some family…

Micha and Gabriel

And found some family 🙂

The day Michaelle reunited with her little sister Jessica

First day of school

We’ve learned to give…

Micha holding little Lovemandy at an orphanage in Gressier

And we’ve learned the joy of receiving…

Micha opening a present from friends

Micha, your  sweet spirit, joy and compassion are such a gift.  I am so blessed and grateful for you my precious girl 🙂 …You have changed my life and the lives of so many others!

Michaelle on Bellevue Mountain Last Week

Happy 8th Birthday Beautiful Michaelle!

%d bloggers like this: