It was Merry and Bright!

Well, we had another wonderful Christmas. I told Josh I enjoyed this Christmas season more than most others. I wasn’t stressed….about gifts or food or schedules. Our kids got some things they wanted and so did Josh and me, but it surely wasn’t the focus.
We enjoyed our church’s Christmas Eve service. It was fun!

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We enjoyed having Irvin here at the house with us. He helped the kids make a playhouse with the box our freezer was delivered in…it was Irvin’s gift to us.

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We enjoyed good food all week, too!

Christmas morning we each took turns reading parts of the Christmas story. Josh prayed and reminded us that we don’t give gifts because we’ve each been so good or responded perfectly all year, but we give because we love each other, and we only love each other because God first loved us.

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PawPaw grossed Ruby out with a Ripley’s Believe it or Not book. And he made Molly’s day with a first aid kit.

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Mack is at such a fun age. He wore the Mutant Ninja Turtle costume all day long. All day. And as I type this, he is sitting with Josh wearing the costume. PawPaw scores big time on his gifts.

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Molly loves all things handicapped, so she was super happy with these figurines that each have a special need…the one in the wheelchair is her favorite! I wonder how this passion will play out in her life. I’m interested.

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Lunch was delicious. Jason and Merrilee joined us and exchanged gifts.

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Merrilee learned that she likes putting Legos together. 🙂

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Molly got a sewing machine, and I’m glad Merrilee was here to give some pointers, seeing as I don’t know a thing about a sewing machine!!

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Mack enjoyed the stacking cups from Jason and Merrilee. Ruby spent the rest of the day playing with her American Girl doll from PawPaw.
It was a good day! I always love the morning after Christmas. The kids all wake up and go immediately to their new toys. They’ve been in pajamas all day (or ninja outfits), and I’ve gotten the house back in order!

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A good friend brought by the most amazing box of goodies this afternoon as well. It was so beautiful and filled with delicious treats. What a thoughtful friend!!!! I could stand to learn a thing or two from her!

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I’ll need to now turn my attention to the New Year, a fresh start….I always need those!

Missing Piano?

So today Molly has a piano Christmas concert of sorts at Towne Lake Mall. She plays “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “O Christmas Tree.” Mack used to take piano…if you recall, one day he told his teacher that “today will be my last day,” when in fact, it was not his last day.
Eventually, we let him stop taking piano. He turned his energy to football, which he loved.
Well, today as we were preparing to go to Molly’s piano concert, Ruby asked Mack if he misses piano. He said, “Nope. It might miss me, but I don’t miss it!!”
Oh my goodness. What to do with that boy?

What a Gift! (who knew Legos could help share the gospel?)

Last night as I was tucking Mack into his own bed (as opposed to the floor of his sisters’ room where he prefers), I asked Mack what gift he wanted for Christmas. Josh and I have not bought the kids anything yet…so I thought I’d see if Mack had changed his mind about what he wanted. Earlier in the evening he was drawing pictures and putting them in envelopes and stuffing them into stockings of his sisters. He told me that it helps him to not think about what he wants when he is giving things to them. How true is that?! He did say he wanted Legos and a wrestling mask. I asked him what he thought Jesus wanted since it is His birthday we are celebrating. His eyes looked around thoughtfully, and he said, “Nothing I guess. He doesn’t need anything because everything is already His. ”
Good point, but I asked, “Nothing?”
“Well, maybe He wants everyone to be kind hearted.” Mack said.
“Mack, what Jesus wants is YOU.”
He smiled and said, “He does?” I explained that Jesus doesn’t need anything, but that He came to earth to live a perfect life and die on the cross for our sins. He rose from the grave, conquering death and will come again to get His children. “Mack, what do you think stops you from admitting you are a sinner and need Jesus to rescue you from your sins?”
He immediately got tears in his eyes and said he didn’t want to say. I asked him again and told him that he could tell me anything.
He didn’t want to say it, but he said, “I just don’t think I know enough.”
I gave him a hug, and I asked him some basic questions like “Who is Jesus?” And “What is sin?” And “What did Jesus do for you?” He answered all of the questions.
Then, I saw some Legos he had put together in the shape of a cross. A little Lego man was also laying on the book case. I asked Mack to hold the Lego man at the edge is his bed, facing the bookcase. The gap between the bed and the bookcase represented his sin. The safe landing on the bookcase was Jesus and everlasting life. I reminded him that the Lego man can’t jump or fly or work his own way over to Jesus. So, how in the world could he get to Jesus??? Then, we put the cross in between the bed and he bookcase. Mack walked his Lego man over to Jesus because of the cross, representing Jesus’ sacrificial death in my place. He made a way to rescue me from my sin. Mack and I talked about that for a little while. And I was so thankful for the opportunity to, once again, share Truth with him. I’m praying that this Christmas he might come to Jesus in salvation, realizing it is not about how much he knows, but about what Jesus has done for him. What a gift!

Wrapping Up our Trip

I’ve read from people much smarter than me that sometimes you don’t need to figure out how to share everything in your heart and mind. Some things are best kept inside between you and God. Some things just can’t be properly communicated with words. That’s a bit how I feel. This I do know–I am so thankful and humbled that God provided a way for my whole family of five to go to Haiti, the poorest country on the globe. Josh prayed numerous times that we would all see what He wanted us to see and hear what He wanted us to hear. I know I will be processing all I saw and heard for a long time. The interesting thing about the trip is that, while these people’s living conditions are awful, God is still completely trustworthy. There was a day when I may have asked God questions like, “What are you going to DO about these people?” Or “Do you see what bad shape they are in?” I may compare their outward, physical conditions up against mine and think it a crying shame. And in some ways it is…don’t get me wrong…I am soberly reminded that I’m spoiled rotten and keep too much of what The Lord has given. BUT, I’m reminded of James’ words, “But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. ”
Later in his letter James says, “Come now you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!”

In Acts 17 Paul says to the people of Athens, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is he served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might find Him, though He is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and exist,”

He sees us all. He is near us all. He is completely trustworthy. I am thankful that I was born in America and have had an abundance of material blessings—homes and cars and beds and food, to mention the “basics”…Pottery Barn bedding, name brand clothing that fills all of our closets, ridiculous amounts of shoes, vacations, computers, iPads, and more, to mention the excessive. None of those items being me any closer to God and could actually come between Him and my dependence and trust in Him. Doesn’t have to, but it’s a dangerous place. A different dangerous than I might feel walking the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, but dangerous nonetheless. Spiritually dangerous, which is far more important than physical danger.

Oh, there is so much. This has been such a different kind of December and one we won’t ever forget!
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(How many can say they’ve had a dance party with their pastor’s wife in Haiti??!!)20131214-094112.jpg20131214-094134.jpg20131214-094226.jpg20131214-094249.jpg20131214-094304.jpg
This was our last morning…had to get up at 3:30am!!20131214-094400.jpg20131214-094419.jpg
These kids were playing soccer on a field just down from a church we went to Wednesday night.

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Thank You, Lord, for the way You work. Thank You, Lord, that the Dorminy Family that got off the plane in Haiti is not the same one that got back on the plane to head home. You are good and faithful and loving and generous and patient and kind and trustworthy and satisfying and merciful and gracious. We are blessed because we know You!

A Day We Will Not Forget!

You see the shoeboxes. You even fill boxes and send them to a kid. You see pictures of smiling kids with their boxes. But I never really thought my kids would have the opportunity to give out the boxes to kids!
We got up Wednesday, had breakfast at New Missions and then got on the bus and traveled down the bumpy roads to the main road and then traveled up a mountain to a special village. This particular school and clinic and church were built in honor of our Pastor and his family as part of a great giveback for his 25th anniversary of pastoring First Baptist Woodstock.

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But first, family devotion!

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And next, a short walk over to a school that is on property! Such cute kids! They sang for us and everything!

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This little cutie was sucking her fingers like Molly does at night, so I thought I’d take a picture of them together.

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When we finally got up the mountain, the truck drove some of our group up and some of us walked up a steep hill. Along the way, we met a little girl who walks an hour to school.
When we got up to the village I saw a sea of yellow because that is their uniform color and the color of the school building. I took pictures of kids and then showed them the picture. They loved that. Mack got a bit overwhelmed at this point because he was being touched. They were rubbing his head also. He is just so white and his hair is blond-ish, so they were intrigued. He, once again, asked me if we could I home right now. BUT, soon enough he was able to hand out three spoons each to the kids, which he liked…though later he told me that it didn’t seem right to just give them three spoons. “I mean, what about the forks and knives. Sometimes you need something other than a spoon!” he said. It didn’t really process with him that when you eat rice and beans for most every meal, a spoon will do.
The ladies were encouraged to wear a skirt or pants to the village. The night before when I picked out the girls’ dresses from the suitcase, Ruby said, “What’s the talk about a dress code? I saw a lady without a shirt on today!” She had seen an older lady sitting on the ground washing something in a bucket, shirtless, earlier in the day so she couldn’t understand why it mattered what we wore. 🙂

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Mrs. Janet has a sponsor girl named Rose. She lavished her with gifts and sponsored her three brothers! They were ALL smiles and wanted to go home with her!

And OFCOURSE, Molly found a baby to hold. It was a top priority for her.

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A lot of these folks were waiting to be seen in The Hope Clinic. Here is nurse Cecilia:

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This video was from earlier in the day. 🙂

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We walked back down the hill to the bus. And not to over-spiritualize this, but we walked down different. It’s like with every step and every person you looked eye to eye with and every gift that was given and with every hug and every smile and every smell and every sight, God was using them to shape my own heart and also the hearts of my kids.

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Molly rode down with Josh on the truck…and all the way through town and back into New missions.
We had lunch and then went back out to the high school in town and to the Bible Training Center where we were able to pray as the building was dedicated to The Lord.

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This picture above is Mack with Charlie. He was such a great host! He let us play with his dog and eat his popcorn and made special mango juice just for us. And he even let the kids swim in his pool! I forgot to get a picture of that, but I’ll try to get one from my friend, Sheryll. She was kind enough to stay with the kids and let them swim later this day so Josh and I could take a ride out to a church. The kids loved swimming in December!

At the Bible Training Center, we had the wonderful opportunity to meet our sponsor kid, Dewensky. We were so excited!

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We learned (through a translator) where he lived, which isn’t far from where we were staying at New Missions. We smiled at him, gave him gifts, played ball, hugged him and sat with him. He was just precious. He has four older sisters and a younger brother. I know my kids will take writing him more seriously, and I am sure their prayers for him will change as well. Ruby said she wanted to cry when he left us.

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What a day. I’m so humbled that we got to meet Dewensky and his dad. I laid in bed later that night and tried to imagine where Dewensky lived…what his bed (if he has one) felt like, what his baths were like, what kind of food he ate, what kind of thoughts rolled around his sweet little head….and I could hear my own little kiddos breathing right next to me in the cottage. I know their world and where they live and what they wear and what they eat and the toys in their rooms and the resources at their disposal. I’m reminded of how blessed we are…again. And I’m reminded we aren’t blessed to bless ourselves. We weren’t brought here to just meet him and go back to our happy, blessed worlds. It should change us all. It should make a mark on us that changes how we do everything, really. And I believe it did.
There is more….can’t wait to share the last bit.

Where in the World Do I Start?

The truth is, there is no way to know when this whole plan started exactly…off the cuff I might say Josh has wanted to take the kids and me on a mission trip for a couple of years. Each of us parents left the country later in life–Josh in his twenties and me in my early thirties. But when you really think about it, The Lord knew about this trip a long time ago, like before anything. He knows and plans our days and works He has for us.
So where do I now begin to share about our trip? I’ll start the practical way, at the beginning.

Paperwork for passports!

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And that exciting day when they came in the mail!
And then you saw in the previous posts how we got to the airport and then got to Miami and then got in the hotel and then woke up early for another plane trip. Nothing could have totally prepared us for what we saw and heard and smelled when we walked out of the Haiti airport to walk to our bus. Mack’s first comments in a low whisper to me were, “I want to go home now.”

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These were the nicest houses I saw. Poverty beyond my comprehension.

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Two bus loads of us and luggage made its way to New Missions, an amazing and God-honoring mission organization.

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The kids were exhausted. Ruby couldn’t bear to close her eyes, for fear she may miss something. She was taking it all in. The other two just couldn’t bear to hold their eyes open, so they napped. I was so proud of each of them. They were troopers through a lot of traveling and walking and listening and cold shower. Yes, that is singular because that’s all they could take! Ha!

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The property was beautiful! We stayed in this precious “cottage.”

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We took a walk around the whole property that Tuesday evening. We saw where they store rice and beans for the families. We also saw the chairs donated by Olive Garden for the schools. And we saw many pulpits given in honor of Pastor Johnny and Mrs. Janet and their work with Timothy+Barnabas.

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We heard some amazing stories of God’s provision and faithfulness.

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We heard about the earthquake and its aftermath from the ones who were actually there during it all. I’m so thankful my kids where there hearing all of this! May it build their own faith in our huge God.

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My kids got to meet my friend, Sheryll, and there is so much I want to share about her that I’m going to have to save it for a post all its own! She is precious!

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The night ended with a devotion led by Josh. I love that man. He leads us so well. I am so content following him as he follows The Lord. Our kids are blessed. I tell them all the time!
This is only the end of our first day….the second day got even better. I can’t wait to share more (maybe tomorrow…After a hot shower and my special face wash and lotion and a good night’s rest in my comfy bed with my comfy pillow and heat and lights that work so well)! Thankful that this trip has helped me see differently…a reminder of how outrageously blessed and even pampered my life is. Please check back soon for the rest of the pictures and stories!

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Working our Way….

In a car, on a plane, to a hotel, in a taxi….still working our way to Haiti.

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Mack, who was determined to pull the suitcase all the way through the airport all day, is starting to feel it. He said he wanted to stay in the hotel for the night, but we had to eat dinner! So off we go….