I drove a car here recently. It started out exactly as any driving experience I've ever had. I hopped into the front seat, check to make sure Jay, Kedesh and Alexander are wearing seat belts, buckle up myself, release the parking break, endure the vintage "Oh Gawd, you're not driving are you?!", put the key in the ignition, turn clockwise, right foot on brake, right hand pulls downward to R and then place right foot on the gas pedal. Pretty standard stuff.  

Then in an instant, I felt like I was in a video game. I drove down our rocky road on a narrow path with steep eroded edges plummeting down to the riverbank below, dodging goats, donkeys, people, and a horse with zebra stripes that resides on our street. I pull in to the craziness that is the main road. The only Law of the Road: bigger vehicles have the right away. With tap taps everywhere, people walking in and out of traffic, I drove through the Caberat Market, squeezing through with inches to spare, finally arriving to the local Texaco to get gas for the generator.   

All filled up, we drove back and I pass our side road. I need more of this madness. Kadesh and Alexander tell me they want to go see a lady "friend". I obliged- ducking, passing and honking through the insanity. After a mild search we arrive at her house, about 15 minutes away, in what looked to be Haitian government housing. Her parents invite us in, give us Sprite in ice, the dad flaunts his fireman certificate from the U.N. and the boys flirt with the daughter under the watchful eye of the mom. After we finish the drinks, we thank them for their hospitality and head back home through the parade of colors and people on the street. We arrived home with 50 gallons of gas and an unquenchable thirst to drive more…

Also, I am heading to California tomorrow for Kyle Wagner's wedding bonanza and I will be there for a week, so feel free to call a brother...
My mood has been shaky over the past several days due to the understanding that my honeymoon phase with Haiti is O-V-E-R. Real life has begun and I have noticed an odd thing I do. I feel like I spend a lot of time either reminiscing about the past or dreaming about the future. I do NOT think this is a bad thing at all but too much can inhibit present life. It is easy for me when things become "mundane" and "boring" to put more attention and focus on the past but moreso on the future. I'd like to share a written journal entry of mine from a few days back:

"Hunger is a bizarre thing. It leads to delirium, which is a non-stop unfed ticket to loony town with a local loony band playing the local looney tunes... I feel like a pregnant woman yearning for food. A Publix sub with Boarshead meat, grilled lemon zest shrimp, my grandmama's macaroni and cheese, all capped of with a giant glass of ice-cold blue-capped milk! Right now its hard being here. I'm hungry. I'm bored. I feel like a Haitian. Except, Haitians are never bored, they continually move about occupying themselves with mindless work, which I have come to find is better than a workless mind.

Pascal said, "Man's greatest misery is to be alone with his thoughts" yet here I am alone with my thoughts. I am thinking about movies that will be coming out soon that I want to see, when Daft Punk is coming back to tour in America and salivating over would be food... To do was a tough day on the mission field... 

Th-t-t-th-th-That's All Folks..."

I write that to show I am not living in a fantasy utopia world here. Flying high- having every single thing you could ever want to crash landing- having the basic necessities to survive is not easy. It has been a fascinating and revealing time here thus far. I am learning so much about myself out here in the wilderness. I am not as tough as I once thought I was. I have trouble being content. Just when I feel myself begin to drift, feeling like maybe this all might be too much- God sends a fresh restorative breath.

My breath came in the form of a jumbo sized mentos freshness named Charles. He came back from C
anada Saturday. He and his family are moving back into our (his) house. We talked Saturday night and shared ideas and laughter. He prayed for us and I just felt a calming sensation come over me. Like the Spirit reminding me that this journey I have been lead on is bigger than me. When I feel bored or unsatisfied, that is a great indication I am making this, my life, about me.

Life, in the grandest sense, is a paradox. To live an extraordinary life of tall tales, profound adventures and tested friendships- I have to give it away. My life cannot be my own. When I make it about me, I'm bored and waiting for the next vacation that will again ultimately never satisfy. But when I let go, live and love in the grace and freedom of Christ, life becomes far less complicated and far more fulfilling. Like a big ol'
joy filled donut. Now that's something I can eat here everyday. 
The Entrance
Orphan Gangstas/Green Shirt day
The boys bringing us their laundry
Our Ophanage

A classroom in the School next to the Orphanage
Bug Bites
It continues to be frustrating sitting in a room full of Haitians and not being able to communicate. I realize it hasn't even been two weeks living here but still everyone in the room is laughing and I WANNA LAUGH TOO... Don't get me wrong, seeing Haitians laugh makes me laugh but I feel like a poser- I want more substance to it... I guess I just wanna know what is so funny. Haitians are always laughing, I'm not sure if it's at us or with us but there is an epidemic of the giggles in Haiti. At least in the Haitians I know.

The orphans are way more comfortable now. They all smile and are stoked to see us everyday. I strongly believe more and more that love really is a universal language. These kids here just want attention and to be loved. Their needs are sooo basic and clear. Yet at the same time, it's very revealing to me as well cause I think at the core of my soul I want the same thing. If I am honest, it is blatantly apparent that everything I do stems from my desire to be known and loved. It is still hard for me to believe that God really knows me from the inside out, from my pathetic attempts to impress Him to the deplorable acts of my flesh, YET still loves me as much as He loves Jesus. Ummm I'm sorry but my mind was just blown and if you know me well enough it'll blow your mind too.  

So I play with orphans, doing nonsense really, making up games, astonishing them with my superior strength abilities and the such, hoping they can catch even a tiny glimpse that they are important, that they are known, that they are loved. Honestly, my hope is that everyone I know and will know in the future might be able to realize that. With the risk of sounding noble, I desire to provide a small window, even if for an instant, for people to know God's love of His Creation. Why? To me it is almost a selfish desire because I know it to be the best way to experience God's love here on planet Earth. Witnessing the transformational love of God taking root and completely, from top to bottom, revolutionize someone's life to me is like witnessing God Himself. Love begets love, which strengthens my faith, allowing more Gospel power to spring forth from me.




My stomach has communicated with me rather clearly in the past couple of days that it is officially begun its transition/adjustment to food here in Haiti. We buy and make our own food, and by we I mean Diana and Zack. But you know Jay and I are good for getting our scrub on after meals. In recent days, a meal for me consists of something like rice, beans, bread, peanut butter, honey, jelly and stew. Throw in a mystery fruit and/or veggie and you got yourself a feast. All this seems pretty standard except I continue to go back to my favorite desert- a scoop of Tums. Hopefully it's just a phase, like getting peed on by the orphans...

We turn on our generator usually from 6pm to midnight, which provides our house with electricity for powering the refrigerator and every fan I can find. We have a gas-powered oven, which is used to make mostly bread. Let's talk about bread: Zack makes some delicious bread. I have spent some time crunching a few numbers and calculated it is at least 17 times better tasting than the Haitian bread found in the grocery stores here. It's healthy too! I think when Charles returns from Canada we are going to ask him about setting up a bread "factory" in our compound to give cheap healthy delicious bread and jobs to the village. I will update you more on that later... 

Here is how you can be interactive on the cyberweb and help me out:

1. Tell me what else you want to know more about. More posts? More Pics? More cyber Jams? (feel free to offer songs you think I might like...)
2. Speaking of which, send me things you think I might enjoy reading, looking at, being cyber encouraged by...
3. Lastly, please let me know what is going on in your life...

As for me, a new week lies ahead full of challanges and opportunies. Even so, as I take steps out of my familiar boat of safety and into the seas of a troubled and needy world, I can hear the words of our Master beckoning me, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid' (matt 14:27) - thanks Gary Haugen...
Things are getting little topsy tourvy around here. Earlier in the day I felt overwhelmed, worthless and extremely unmotivated. Not to mention depressed too. So I went outside and sat on top of the look out tower and sat very still. Stillness is hard for me but tremendously rewarding. The joy of stillness is remarkable. You get to continuously partake in the natural world surrounding you. Whether it be noticing the vivid contrast between the warm green mountain and the eternal blue sky filled with artistic clouds, hearing the orchestra of wind blown branches and trees or just breathing aware that a trillion thing are going on in my body that I have no control of.

When there is the constant renewable batch of obstacles here in Haiti, it is easy to see how little I am in control. ("We have no car at our disposal thus are down to our last gallon of clean water and have no gas to fill the generator because we cannot get more. The rain is making the mud around the septic tank some how collapse downward. I really don't know how to communicate this in Creole to anyone besides pointing," - A journal entry). This aint no pity party though, cause secretly I love it! I love being taken on a good whirlwind adventure. I also get the opportunity to trust and depend on a Savior other than myself. I can try my best to save myself here but Haiti will swallow me whole every time. It is sooo refreshing to know and believe that God is my actual provider. I trust in that, in Him. It is a trust that grows stronger by the day as my body grows weaker (no one needs to panic either, we got more water and gas and everything is fine now)


Quick Note: There are now 10 boys and 1 girl in the orphanage, the kids are real good, except one- he bites...

Ben, our Canadian missionary friend, picked us up and took us to church in Port-au-Prince with his wife and 3 kids. It twas nice to talk to people who actually spoke a language I could comprend and who knew practical things about living in Haiti.

After church they drove us back to their house and we ate lunch and carrot cake and COLD TANG, mmmph that was delish. They showed us some interesting contraptions like a solar oven and natural water filter. Then the family took us to the beach resort which was about a quarter mile away. I was stoked to jump in the ocean but the joy was short lived when within a minute I was getting stung by jellyfish. Sooo we played in the pool. The sensation of cool water colliding against my dewy skin was a bit too much to describe in this writing.

The orphanage opened Sunday night with a nice ceremony and took in its first 4 boys and suprisingly 1 girl. There were cheese puffs and popcorn and crackers for everyone. I will post some pictures of tucking in the first orphan and pictures of other orphans including a surprising shirt choice by one young boy....

Great night, lovely reminder of why I am here...
It started off with a 6 am soccer game into learning Creole before the big adventure of the day- getting groceries. 

So we take off to Port-au-Prince to get our first groceries. This included the 4 of us, 4 Haitian high schoolers and 1 driver in a pickup truck. The one hour ride in the bed of the pick up on rocky terrain gave me a semi raw butt. First we stop to exchange our American money into Haitian Goods which ended up being a fat stack of 73,000 Goods then head to a premier Haitian grocery store guarded by security strapped with shotguns. 

We grab and pay for our groceries to return outside to basically a monsoon. Lightening cracks seemingly 10 feet from my ear jolting me to the truck then realizing that the groceries take up almost the entire back seat so almost all the boys have to hop in the bed of the truck (5 of us). Stuck with an ocean falling from the sky on top of me, we take off and I never thought I'd say this in Haiti but IT WAS FREEZING. Drenched and shivering, all of us had our knees pulled to our chest in tight little human balls clumped together in a back of a pick up truck to try and find warmth. I think I saw about half of Port-au-Prince start instantly laughing and pointing at the site of 3 white dudes and 2 Haitians clumped together in the back of the truck. 

As we headed back and stars filled the sky, we pick up another 5 Haitians workers so now 10 people stuffed in the truck bed freezing and someone pulls out a clear tarp. We all get under it and instantly start laughing, I don't know why- maybe delusional from hypothermia shock or something. We are finally almost home then BOOM goes the dynamite? nope, the back right tire... 14 people, one truck, stranded on the side of the road- cold and tired. 

After about 20 minutes the tire is fixed, we squeeze back into the truck bed and make our way back home dropping our Haitian worker friends along the way. This simple trip that turned into an extraordinary event is a fresh reminder that we have to constantly observe and adapt to the ever changing obstacles that permeate in Haiti.

The team and I are trying to get acclimated to the climate and culture here. 
  • I took a nap today and arose multiple times to a pool of water resting on my eyelids.
  • I have accumulated almost 20 visibal bug bites.  
  • Our house constantly has random people coming in and out at all times of the day.
  • I worked out today running back and forth in the compound and using a jump rope all the while 7 year Peleg mimicked my every move.
  • I sat outside (in the shade) studying creole learning gangster phrases like “pouze boss” from the local Haitian teenagers to the background music of a local choir practicing songs for church sunday.
  • I stood on our roof looking out over the mountains set against the pink sky and golden horizon.
Life is simple here. My skin glistens. I feel at peace. God is good.