Mina, the Missionary Dog

Mina, our German Shepherd puppy, has adapted to life in Haiti wonderfully! She wasn’t allowed on the airplane with us, but another missionary airline, called Agape, agreed to fly her. After being away from her family for a week, she was so glad to see us again!

Right off the airplane! I missed you, Dad!

We brought Mina with us to be our guard dog- and she knows it! Here she is, making sure no one gets by our door without her permission.

Don’t worry, I’ll keep my family safe.

After a long hot day and lots of work and play, there’s nothing like lying in the shower.

Ohhh, yeah! Turn the water on a trickle, please.

There’s a big pile of white rocks in our backyard for making cement. Luke has been forbidden to climb on it, but there’s no keeping Mina away! She loves digging, even if it turns her into a Great Pyrenees.

I know I can get through this white mountain. I just need a little more time.

Mina found the perfect place to sleep- right under my bed! Unfortunately, she also found the perfect thing to chew- Ellie’s birthday present!

Delicious!

Although grooming isn’t Mina’s favorite time of the day, and she detests the flea spray (because it makes her smell nice), any time spent with the family is great with her!

Oh, yes! A little to the right, no not that far! Yes, that’s perfect. Thanks!

When you’re a dog, the world is your bed, and there are certainly a lot of choices for Mina. Today, she chose her red suitcase.

Shh, I’m trying to sleep.
 

March Updates

Eliana celebrated her 11th birthday! We were able to make some special treats – spaghetti and chocolate cake. Thanks to Agape Flights, she also opened presents from us and her grandparents!
We discovered a whole family of tarantulas living under our porch – eek! (I’m sure they are at least good at eating other bugs.)
The boys of the orphanage came over to our house again to build with Legos. This kid can build anything! He says that he wants to be an engineer when he grows up.
There is a new little baby in the community, and I have been able to spend some time helping the mommy and baby with breastfeeding. She is the calmest, sweetest baby!
Our kids are doing great – we keep busy homeschooling, playing at home, and visiting the orphanage.
 

Transition

In a couple of weeks, we are going to take a trip home. It was very difficult to adjust to life here in Haiti, but somehow, it seems like it will be even more difficult to transition back to the life that used to be so familiar and comfortable in the States. It has been an intense time of learning how to live in a different way – with far less than we thought we needed, but with much deeper friendships and closer community than we expected.

We had hoped to stay here for a longer time, but we’ve made the important decision to take this trip to take care of our health and wellness, and to make decisions about what to do next. Thank you to every single one of you who reads this blog and supports and prays for us! If you are in Texas, we hope to see you sometime over the next few weeks!

 

LETS Public Health Class

Last week, I was invited to the St. Mother Theresa Clinic to teach a public health class focused on women’s health and natural family planning. Doctor Dubréus, the clinic’s medical director, was very supportive and translated for me during the entire class.

Ryan, Bethany, and Dr. Dubréus leading the first LETS Public Health class

The class was taught to the clinic staff as part of their regularly scheduled clinic education. The clinic nurses, doctors, and auxiliary staff were present. Everyone was so excited to learn this material that is so important for both men and women to understand.

Dr. Dubréus translating

LETS is an organization that was founded in Haiti to teach fertility awareness in order to reduce abandoned children and the issues of child abuse and trafficking. The LETS training program teaches and empowers both men and women to understand their responsibility for family planning and fertility knowledge.

LETS bracelet

Everyone in the class was excited to receive their LETS bracelet. Women can use the bracelet to track their cycles, and men can even wear a bracelet in support of their partner. This method of natural family planning relies on the couple committing to communication and respect for choices.

Learning how to track cycles with the bracelet

This initial class was a great beginning – I hope that the clinic staff will now be interested in helping me teach this class to families in the community. It could have such positive far-reaching effects. I’m especially excited about teaching women and young people how to understand their fertility in a way that supports the beliefs of the Church. I pray that we can have more opportunities to teach this valuable information!

Nurse Cindia with her sweet baby

 

2 Months in Haiti

Two months in Haiti… it actually feels like we have been here much longer! We can hardly remember what it’s like to walk into a grocery store, or a restaurant, or what it’s like to take a hot shower or bath. Ryan has ventured out on some trips to the nearby cities to do errands or to pick up our mail and packages. But, our children have not left this isolated little village in the middle of the mountains. The younger children don’t believe us when we tell them that Haiti has some large cities, too!

Children from our mission’s school

Even though we feel like we have settled in here somewhat, we also are longing to get even more settled. We regularly walk down to the future boys home to see the process on the building – it is looking so beautiful! The masons are building an amazing stone wall all around the property, and the house is painted in vibrant colors! When the house is finished, we plan to move down there and work on making it into a welcoming home – ready for the grown boys to use sometime in the future. For now, we are living (and homeschooling) out of suitcases in this rental house. It is a challenge, but we are so blessed to have many people helping and caring for us!

Last week, we met our closest missionary neighbors. Our children were thrilled to meet their children, and to play with all of their toys and bikes! These new friends have blessed us so much with their company, and by giving us many tips and suggestions on how to shop for food and cook in Haiti – especially when we crave certain foods from America!

A Haitian meal of boiled plantain, yam, and sauce
We came up with a yummy lunch meal: fried Spam fritters with dipping sauce (a combination of mayo and ranchero sauce).

Preparing food in Haiti is a time-consuming process. We are so thankful to have a sweet woman who comes to our home many days to help us with cooking and laundry. When she is not here, it takes a long time to plan and make the food for our family! We don’t always have fresh meat to cook, but we have plenty of canned meats and refrigerated sausages. With some planning and creativity, we can make great pretty great meals with those ingredients.

Emma is practicing her Creole while watching a pot of spaghetti boiling on the outdoor charcoal kitchen

Each weekday, Ryan leaves right after breakfast to spend his day at the St. Mother Theresa Medical Clinic. He is serving as the administrator there, and his goal is to help the clinic to run more smoothly, and to grow in its ability to serve the medical needs of this remote area. The kids and I stay home and work on homeschooling and cooking during the days. In the afternoon, we often walk down to the orphanage to play with the children there. We usually have to take our little children home to get ready for bed, and then a few of us can go back for nightly chapel at the orphanage.

Selah and I like to crochet at the orphanage, and we will be giving some crochet lessons to the older children and ladies soon!
Selah made this sweet outfit for a baby girl that was born near the orphanage this week!
At the orphanage, Emma loves to run around and play chase and games with the kids. Here she is being silly with Sarah!