Monday, February 28, 2011

The Read-a-Thon Big Reveal!


Oh Snap.  I'm a sucker for a Big Reveal.  I love the end of any real-life, hard work, all for a good cause kind of story. Gets me all flustered and emotional.  Funks up my mascara.

The boys got their totals from their reading logs at school today.  Apparently, getting their reading logs causes my children to run home, throw open the front door and declare with their outside voices (even though they are inside) how many minutes they read last week.  I was happy for them, but not ready for all the excitement over totals and reading and sending Haitian kids to school to wake up the littlest Hendrick from his much needed nap.  I shushed them.  We celebrated with whispery "Woo-whos and quiet high-fives and boody bumps.!"

At the bottom of  this post are things that only matter to people who sponsored the kids, so I'll spare the rest of you and go on ahead and post the total money the boys raised. No matter if you sponsored the boys or not, totals are always fun to hear, and thinking about kids going to school next year who normally wouldn't will get anybody with a pulse clapping.

You sponsored.  They read. Here's the fruit of your gifts and their time spent in front of some of our favorite books:


Anson read 893 minutes (15 hours) and raised $1,444.22. Hayden read 578 minutes (10 hours) and raised $1,520.22.  Ashton read 612 minutes (10 hours) and raised $1,452.80

 photo credit:  Sarah Clarke
TeacHaiti Second Grade Class

Because of the hours the boys read and the money you have promised to give, we will be able to write a check to Teach Haiti for a whopping $4,417.24.  Anyone want to bring that number up to a flat $4,500?  Anyone?

photo credit:  Sarah Clarke
TeacHaiti Fourth Grade Class

With that money 12 kids will go to school next year who could have never done so without a scholarship.  We are extremely thankful for each of you.  We're also very proud of our boys and the hours they spent in front of their books reading so that other kids can read as well.  They took this challenge very seriously, and we saw them feel the weight of this as they asked to write something for the blog and read without our prompting throughout the week.

The boys would like to tell you something...



 (that means a lot)

We ask that you pay up as quickly as possible.  We'd like to present Miquette with the money as soon as we can.  If not, the boys will drive us insane.

For those of you who sponsored a flat rate, thank you!  Below are the details about paying securely through Paypal.

For those of you who sponsored the kids per 15 minutes of reading, here are their totals again:

Anson read 893 minutes.
Hayden read 578 minutes.
Ashton read 612 minutes.


I'm trying to think of a way to make this easier for those of you who sponsored per 15 minutes.  My favorite thing in life is to do math (eye roll) but I'm going to attempt to manipulate numbers (with a calculator) because I love all of you and know your lives are just as busy as mine (although arguably, if you can do fourth grade math, you're more advanced than I am).  Check my math.  You really should, if you know what is best for you.

If you sponsored $1 for every 15 minutes read, your totals comes to $59.53 (Anson), $38.53 (Hayden), $40.80 (Ashton).


If you sponsored 25 cents for every 15 minutes read, your totals come to $14.88 (Anson), $9.63 (Hayden), $10.20 (Ashton)

If you sponsored $1.50 for every 15 minutes read, your totals come to $89.30 (Anson), $57.80 (Hayden), and $61.20 (Ashton).

If you sponsored 50 cents for every 15 minutes read, your totals come to $29.77 (Anson), $19.27 (Hayden), and $20.40 (Ashton).

HOW TO PAY USING PAYPAL

1.  Mosey on over to Aaron's blog.

2.  Look on the right column of the blog.  You'll see a section that says, "Support Us."  Click on the "Donate" button under the title, "One-Time Gift."

3.  Enter the amount you are giving, and hit "update."

4.  If you already use Paypal for other things and have an account, then you can sign in to Paypal where it prompts you.

5.  If you do not use Paypal normally then look over on the left of the screen.  See where it says, "Don't have a paypal account?"  That's you.  (and me, actually..I don't have one either...well...I do actually, but haven't been able to remember my password in about 8 years, so I've sort of grieved it and moved on.)  Fill in the needed information.

6.  For those of you with a Paypal account or without one...look for the blue writing that says, "Add special instructions to the seller."  Click on the blue writing, and then in the box, please add a note that tells us the money goes to Teach Haiti.


************


We can't wait to hand over a check to Miquette Denie.  Very soon we're taking the boys out to the school to meet the kids.  We'll take lots of pictures to show off the beautiful work being done by Teach Haiti.  I already know it will be a sweet day that the boys may never forget as they come face to face with the fact that there is great need in this world, but by God's grace there are also ways to push back some of that darkness, offer hope, and love their neighbors with the same love that they have been graciously shown.


 ----- FUNNY ----


Anson saw the totals for the read-a-thon.  He looked over how many each of his brothers read.  He looked over how much each of them earned.  He stood there silently doing the math.  He put it all together in his head and then said..."So...Hayden read the least and earned the most?  What the heck?  How is his life always like that?"


We had to laugh.  Anson nailed it.  To our utter frustration some times, Hayden's life is exactly like that.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Teachers Needed for Seven Terrific Kids


Next year our kids and the Livesay kids will be educated closer to where the Heartline Programs are located.  We'll be hiring two teachers to educate our adorable, creative, funny (and sometimes rotten) group of children.  For all the details, please head over to Tara's blog.

After we wrap up the school year at QCS, our family will be moving closer to Heartline.  Have I mentioned that the six mile drive to Heartline on Tuesdays and Thursdays takes me over an hour, sometimes up to two?  Traffic is a stressful beast in this country.  Bumper to bumper traffic.  Usually driving a standard. I come home with a numb left leg from workin' that clutch.  I walk in the front door with a limp and a sweaty back.  Aaron is so glad to have his sexy wife back home, let me tell ya.

We've enjoyed our time at QCS, but there's no way we want our kids to be away from us for the many hours attending QCS would require (once the drive time is factored in).  We really like our kids (a lot) and want them to be a part of what we're doing and connected to the things God is busy doing around us in Haiti.  From the very beginning we've been telling our kids that God called our family...as a family...to Haiti.  He has a reason for each of us in our home being here.  These kids did not simply tag along with their parents.  God knew every single one of us would land in this country.  He is just as busy shaping our boys as He is shaping their parents.  He is writing their story as well as ours, and Haiti is a big part of how God will grow them into the people He is knitting.  We encourage them to keep their eyes opened wide...to be looking for how God will use them here in this country to love and serve the Haitian people.  With that said, we are asking for God to grow our faith as we trust in this new plan for educating them so that our kids can be deeply connected to the work God has for each of us to do in Haiti through Heartline.

Please...for the love...will you pass along this information to others who don't read our blogs?  And will you pray with us that God would bring just the right teachers who will work well with the Heartline community and enjoy educating our precious kids?

Trying not to stress or consume a large amount of Mint Casinos (Haitian Thin Mint knock-offs) as we prayerfully beg God to bring just the right people.

Wrapping Up Read-a-Thon


Our boys were busy-bee readers this week.  We're extremely proud of them.

Raising money for Teach Haiti while reading books gave us several opportunities to remind our kids that they can make a difference.  Our kids see poverty every day in Haiti.  They smell it, touch it, walk past it, and yet they often admit to feeling helpless.  In so many ways we each feel what they feel.  But for them, in some ways, because of their age they don't have as much power or as many resources to feel like they can make a difference.

At one point during the read-a-thon Ashton said something like, "When I'm reading, it's like I have a job."  Yes.  That one remark opened up a window of discussion with them.  "Imagine how different a child's life will be next year because of how hard you've worked this week reading and advocating for kids who have no voice and no power.  They will go to school every day.  They will be safe and in the care of adults who love them.  They will eat every day.  A new world will be open to them through reading and education.   God is using you to be a voice for the voiceless.  In that way you are living out the gospel.  You are living out the good news.  You are using the gifts you have been given...your voice...your ability to read...your education to be a blessing to those who do not have a voice or any way  on their own to learn about this world God created."  Lots of talk this week about money, why we have it, why we earn it, and how that applies to loving our neighbor, storing up treasure in heaven, and living for eternity.  Great discussions with our kids (and I had to admit, as a grown up, I need those reminders as often as possible).

We'll get the totals for how much they read next week.  Every day they turned in their reading logs at school.

Once we know the totals, we'll report back with them here and give step-by-step instructions about how to pay up for the pledges so many of you made.

Thank you for giving to Teach Haiti.  And can this mama say thank you for inspiring our kids and giving us so many opportunities to speak truth to our boys because of this read-a-thon?  We can't thank you enough for being a part of the truths God engraved on their souls.  I could never put a price on the lessons learned during this read-a-thon about speaking up for those who can't speak for themselves and seeing our lives as sweet, gracious gifts that in return can be given away over and over to care for people who were created in the image of God. Invaluable.  Too valuable.  The treasure kind of valuable.  Thank you.   

DID YOU PLEDGE $350?

If you sponsored the full price for a child to go to school next year could you do a couple things for us?

1.  Send us your full name and address.

2.  If you have children, include their ages/grades in the email.

Contact us at hendrickcrew@gmail.com.

You will receive a picture of the child you are sponsoring to go to school next year.  Miquette (founder of Teach Haiti) will connect your family to a child who is around the age of your children (if applicable).

Friday, February 25, 2011

If Your Toes are Touching the Edge of that Cliff....

 photo credit:  Ryan Price

I read something last night that spoke loudly, in megaphone fashion, to the center of my scared, unsure soul.  For all of you waiting on an adoption, for a foster care placement, direction for your future, that house to sell, a new one to buy, a job opportunity, a major life change, a move, a chance, a wife, a husband, or for God to give you the faith to take that next step, maybe these words will bring comfort to you as well.

*****************

There's a place between here and there.  A piece of ground in the middle of take-off and landing.  A section of the unknown within beginning and ending.  You probably find yourself there from time to time.  It's the land known as Inbetween.


Inbetween is one of the most rugged places in life.  You aren't fully here, and you aren't fully there.  Your emotions and hopes are strewn across an endless list of possibilities.  Door knobs of wood, brass, and silver line the path, but which will open?  In the land of Inbetween, the paths are lined with sealed envelopes and foggy dreams.  Excitement runs forward and fears hold back.  And if you stay long enough, you feel the tremors of  your soul.


The land of Inbetween is downright scary.  It's a place of blind trust.  It's where the pedals of faith meet the narrow road of fortitude and where movement is demanded though there's no place to go.  The worst part of this land isn't the uncertainty or frustration that accompany it - it's that God likes it when you're there.


While He's no sadist, God loves the land of Inbetween.  He loves what it does to us.  He loves the humility and dependence it creates in our hearts, so He creates innumerable forks in life's road that swerve us into the land of Inbetween.  The unknowns of job, marriage, children, and home are the signs of this uncertain land.  At times, people are thrust into Inbetween by mishaps, accidents, sudden deaths, and even unexpected fortune.  Some people visit so many times they begin to wonder if it's life.  And they aren't far off.


So what will hold you steady when you walk through the terrain of Inbetween?  A recognition that Inbetween is God's design.  In one miraculous moment, the Creator of the universe placed you in the greatest Inbetween of all time - the place between the earthly creation and eternity.  Life's smaller lunges forward and backward are merely postcard reminders that there's something greater than this place we're visiting.


If you're in your own land of Inbetween, remember that God was the original designer of this journey.  You can get mad, scream, and even pout if you want. But it doesn't change the fact that you're merely passing through.  Everything else is Inbetween.  (from Deeper Walk, a Relevant Devotional Series)


****************

Can I be honest and say, "I'm kind of weary of our life always being so crazy?"  It seems like the last six years or so our lives have been in a constant state of Inbetween.  Foster care training, fostering, adoption, new jobs, a move to a foreign  country, houses selling, buying new homes...I'm weary.  Yet  here we are facing another move, different jobs, finding a place to live, and dealing with a pile of other unknowns.  I'm asking God today to give me a vision of heaven as we sit in this hard place of Inbetween once again.  May this uncertainty, this feeling of "not quite home or settled" turn my heart towards heaven and help me to see that this world is only the connecting flight, never the destination.  In that way the land of Inbetween, those often-times frustrating days of waiting, are an extension of God's kindness and grace towards us.  Small, zoomed-in pictures of our story that remind us of the bigger picture we will see once the camera zooms out and eternity is revealed.  Perhaps each trip to the land of Inbetween is a sweet gift, a heavenly reminder. Without them, maybe my eyes would not remember to look up and my heart would forget to hurt for heaven. May I learn to be more comfortable with the friction of living in one place while my heart longs for another.  Isn't that what faith is all about?  Waiting with anticipation for God to do something marvelous and for His Kingdom to come?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Books that Wrecked Our Life and Job Openings at QCS

Deciding to leave the life we loved in America and move to Haiti was a difficult decision.  I would say the three biggest kicks in the pants that God used to get us here came in the form of books.  Although the Bible, the earthquake, and the possible opportunity to host a Haitian child on a medical visa were big parts of what began to draw our hearts to Haiti, three books in particular helped grow our faith as we made decisions about whether or not we should say good-bye to everything familiar to us and head to a tiny Caribbean island.


Those books were:  Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, and Radical by David Platt.  I have not been a huge fan of Kevin DeYoung's teachings or thoughts on missions, and he openly criticized David Platt's book, Radical.  So, I think it's kind of ironic that it was a combination of both of their books that God ultimately used to get our bags packed and our airline tickets purchased.  God used Radical to wake us up.  That's really the best way I can describe it.  Radical taught us to take Jesus' words literally (what a novel idea) and to see this world through the lens of a war-time mentality.  That was drastic stuff for us.  We immediately had to repent over the condition of our lives and our faith and ask God to change us.  However, without Kevin DeYoung's book (Just Do Something) we would have sat in the States knowing we needed to change, but waiting on a big fat sign in the sky to get us to actually DO something about it.  



And Donald Miller?  Well...his book came at just the right moment. We'd decided to move to Haiti, but I was fearful. Okay I was all sorts of terrified.  Donald Miller's book brought comfort to my soul as I considered the story I was living and what it said about an all-powerful God who gives us the strength to live lives that are anything but ordinary.

I often wonder what it would be like if David Platt, Kevin DeYoung, and Donald Miller all went to lunch together.  Although they were three key elements in our decision to move to Haiti, I kind of laugh thinking of them all three hanging out.  I wonder if it would be awkward.


Following me so far?  No? Okay....


Those three books were important parts of our story. David Platt's teaching on Jesus' words in Radical broke our hearts for the poor and the orphan.  Kevin DeYoung's book, Just Do Something helped us wrestle through whether or not it was God's will to come to this crazy island.  Donald Miller's book was inspiring and forced me to face a lot of fears I had about serving the poor or working in a country whose culture is foreign to me.  Bottom line:  these books shaped our thinking and God used them to open our eyes to the needs of the poor and orphan.  That's why we came to Haiti...to figure out how to care for people no one cares about...people we had never cared about or even thought about much for that matter.


Aaron found out about Quisqueya Christian School in Haiti.  He applied for a job here.  They hired him.  He's been teaching the Bible to high school students this year.

We have loved the people at QCS.  The kids have had a great year.  We have been incredibly blessed by the friendships we have made with the teachers and the administration at this school.  What a sweet group of people.

However, we had to be honest with ourselves.  We came to Haiti to serve the poor.  To advocate for them. To better understand the issues that surround orphan care in this country.  That's why we said good-bye to everything we knew and loved and came here. That's also why the people supporting us financially sent us to Haiti.  We knew coming in that the students at QCS are not typical of most Haitians.  Most of them are from wealthy families who are quite removed from the sort of poverty people typically describe when speaking of Haiti.  However, we also knew that teaching at QCS would be a great way to learn to live in Haiti.  We've been able to learn about the culture, learn some of the language, and adjust (somewhat) to the pace and stresses of life in this country.  We've loved our time at QCS, and sometimes wished the ministry being done here is why God originally brought us to Haiti, but we knew...God brought us here to serve the poor and advocate for them in a hands-on, in the trenches, face-to-face kind of way. Typing that still scares the crap out of me.
 
God has gently reminded us throughout this school year of why He originally brought us to Haiti. Through the opportunity to serve at HL next year, He has also provided a way for us to do the things He laid on our hearts before moving to Haiti.  But that doesn't make transitioning out of this role at QCS easy.  It will still be hard to say good-bye to this campus and to the people we love here.  I guess it's a good thing to be excited about next year, but to also know how much we'll miss the people here too.

With that said, we wanted to let each of you know about the teaching positions that will be available at QCS next year.  You never know.  Maybe God wants to fill one of those positions with one of you!

QCS has offered us such a soft landing into Haiti.  Living on campus is unlike anywhere else I have experienced while living here.  They take such good care of their teachers.  Most have hot water (practically unheard of in Haiti!).  QCS offers washing machines and a dryer (another shocker!) for on-campus teachers to use.  Campus housing has air conditioning (mind boggling!).  The housing on campus is safe.  QCS does a terrific job of caring for their employees.  I know it's Haiti, but some days it does not feel like we're really roughing it at all compared to how other missionaries live in this country.  As a wife...a woman...a mother...QCS has been the biggest blessing to me as I've slowly learned how to live in this country and take care of my family in this new, strange place.  QCS offered us a giant learning curve.  They have taken care of so many of the hard things here for us. This made the transition to Haiti easier in uncountable ways.

They also pay their teachers.  Most missionaries living and serving in Haiti must rely on full support from people and churches in the US.  For a family our size, the money QCS pays was not enough to fully support us, but Aaron's pay check drastically reduced how much outside support our family had to raise to live here.  Most single teachers who work for QCS will say they don't raise any support to live here.  As long as they live on campus, they can support themselves with the pay they receive from the school.

QCS definitely offers a unique ministry opportunity.  Although a lot of the kids who attend here are mind-blowing wealthy, QCS gives teachers the ability to incorporate spiritual truth into the lessons they teach their students.  God's Word is proclaimed on this campus to the children of some of Haiti's most wealthy and powerful families.  These are the kids who may have the ability to bring about change in Haiti one day, and hopefully the truth of scripture they have learned and the Christian worldview that QCS has given them will play a big part in how they grow up and live in this country. There are also quite a few missionary kids at QCS who are able to continue in an American style school system while their families are serving in Haiti.  Regardless of ethnic or financial background, this campus is filled with kids who need to know the love of Christ.  Many are still suffering from the aftermath of the earthquake.  There is a beautiful opportunity for ministry here on this campus and we have seen teachers at QCS serve these children with the love of heaven this year. 

If you teach at QCS and you have school-aged kids, your children attend for free.  

If you are a teacher and want to serve in Haiti, please check out the QCS website and the positions available. I remember when Aaron saw the job openings for the first time.  I remember him saying, "Maybe I'll just apply and see what happens."  Kevin DeYoung would be so proud!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

From Aaron: What I'll REALLY be up to at Heartline


I will not be starting midwifery training.  I'm not even entirely sure how to handle questions about what my own wife does.  "What does your wife do at Heartline?"  Can my response be, "Uh...weird, woman stuff that makes me feel instantly sweaty and makes my face turn read when she tells me about her day."  I will try my best to stay as far away from the maternity center as possible. 

Heather's previous post should be evidence of something that I have to repeatedly tell my high school
students: “You cannot believe everything you read on the internet.”

However, you can believe the following …

In the fall I will be joining Heartline to help create and implement men's training and discipleship
programs.



For years, most of Heartline's efforts have been directed at women. Research and experience have shown that equipping women and ministering to them has much quicker and much more successful results than ministry to men.  Heartline's programs have had years of success in providing women with job skills, nutrition information, and healthy family practices. However, for years, John McHoul has been burdened with the fact that unless men are also being trained, Haiti will not see the sort of healthy families that God desires.

Shortly after I arrived in Haiti, John mentioned in one of his sermons that he really had a heart to
see Haitian men be men in Haiti. After church I casually mentioned that I understood his burden
and would love to help if I could. A couple of months later we started talking about what that could
actually look like and what we could do to help men be who God wanted them to be. We're still not
entirely sure where the Lord will lead in this ministry to men. However, we have an idea where to
start.

We want to start like Jesus started – with a small group of guys working together.

Right now, Heartline uses seven properties and a number of vehicles to do the work that they do. With that
many cars and houses, there is always something that needs to be fixed. Generators quit producing
electricity (wives get mad). Inverters go bad. Pipes leak. Cars break down. Oil needs changing.

Thanks to the grace of the Lord, the patience of my father, and the necessity borne out of always owning things that were broke down, I've become pretty handy at repairing things. And (again thanks
in large part to my father) I've gotten pretty good at fixing things in “unconventional” ways. This is a
skill that comes in very handy in Haiti where the nearest Home Depot is about 700 miles away … and
in another country. If necessity is the mother of invention, she's got lots of kids in Haiti.

I will take on the responsibility of maintaining the cars and properties that Heartline uses for ministry.
However, I won't do this alone. I will have a group of Haitian guys who I can work with - who I will be
teaching mechanic skills, home repair skills, and how to work hard in a way that honors the Lord.
We'll start the day with prayer and reading God's word. We'll be able to talk all day about what God is
doing and how He's revealing himself around us. This “discipleship” program will look much more like
the way Jesus made disciples than a traditional men's Bible study.

Again, much of this is still in the formative stages. I'm sure that much of what I have in my head will
look different once it's actually put in to practice on the ground. Even with a lot of great ingredients in place, that doesn't necessarily mean success.  This is Haiti.  Discipling and training men will be hard.  I'm sure I'll feel inept 99% of the time.  Haiti is truly gifted at keeping us humble.  But I'm looking forward to pouring into some men in the same way that I've been poured into. And I'm blessed to be joining the work that God is already doing through Heartline.

______________________________

From the wife....

Since moving to Haiti I've never been more thankful to be married to a handy man who is the sexy kind of geeky. The kind of geeky that gets me internet when everyone else around us can't seem to get  connected.  Love that about this man I married.  I'm excited to see God use each of the gifts He's given Aaron. This position at Heartline seems like the perfect fit.  I'm sure it will stretch Aaron beyond belief, and give him plenty of reasons to feel like a failure, but as his wife, I have enjoyed seeing God's faithfulness in this area over the past few months.

I love getting a front row seat as I watch Aaron disciple our four boys.  They pile up on the couch with their daddy in the evenings and read the Bible together (sometimes this is a beautiful thing, sometimes Aaron's patience is truly tested as he tries to teach four neurotic squirrels about Jesus).  More importantly, he strives to live those things they learn about in scripture out in every day life...not perfectly...but honestly and intentionally.

He is a wonderful teacher...in our home...in the classroom...and in the church.  I'm already praying for this new group of men who will work together and do life together in the Fall.


One of my favorite things about Aaron is that he loves to keep the women and children in his life happy.  He's just sweet that way.  I feel excited knowing that no matter what he'll find a way to get his wife, kids, other HL women and children, or laboring moms important things like...well...electricity.  He knows 40 ways to fix just about everything, and works best under pressure (and you better believe he'll feel the pressure as his wife stands over him dramatically griping and whining about not having power or internet access).  See?  Perfect job for him.  Just perfect.  I'm excited for myself the group of guys who will be working together in the fall.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Aaron's Work at Heartline

Aaron simply can. not. wait. to begin midwifery training in the fall with Heartline.

It will be a dream come true for him to talk womanly stuff all day long, every day.

He simply lives for things like birth, breastfeeding, and fundal heights.

Okay.  Kidding.

Those of you who know Aaron, can you even imagine?  He's probably blushing reading this post.

If a pregnant lady showed him her belly he'd be the first one backing out of the room.

More to come from Aaron about what he'll be up to in the Fall with Heartline.  It has nothing to do with dopplers and due dates.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Should We Stay or Go? Our Plans for Next Year.

photo credit:  Joanna Howard

Keeping the charts updated.  That was one of my very first jobs Beth gave me at Heartline.  It was the perfect job for me.  I could barely speak Creole.  I was uneasy about grabbing a pregnant lady's belly and trying to figure out if her baby was head down or breech.  I was not quite ready to ask a pregnant woman some extremely personal questions about her body...questions one would never bring up normally in polite conversation.  Questions, I'm not even sure I could ask with a straight face, cause I'm mature that way.  So...thankfully the files and I got to be great friends.

The task of updating the files was given to me early on in our time in Haiti.  I'd come to Heartline, pour over the files, write down due dates, sit with the women during their exams while at the same time...at home..Aaron and I were having hard, oftentimes heated conversations about what our futures would look like.  Will we stay in Haiti after our nine months at this school are over?  Everything in me wanted to go home.

There were days when I hated Haiti, and I hated Aaron for wanting to stay here.  Actually there were a whole lot of those days.  Never once did I think we should leave before the school year was over.  We had given our word.  The boys were happy.  As hard as it was, this would be good for us.  I had peace we should be here.  But after nine months?  After our commitment was over?  I wanted to head home.

In moments when the conversation would get a little loud or ugly, Aaron who is never the loud one or the ugly one would calmly say, "Let's not talk about this for now.  I'm just going to continue praying that if we're supposed to be here that by the time we have to make a decision you will want to stay."

When I am fighting mad and Aaron says crap like that it makes me want to kick him in the teeth.  Sad, but true story.

I'd go back to Heartline, oftentimes sitting alone in an exam room with the charts, updating them before prenatal visits.  Those charts have been splattered with tears more than once.  The tears would fall as I'd replay the conversation I had with Aaron the night before about wanting to leave.  Why am I such a butt? They'd fall as I'd write down a due date...July 2...and realize I won't even be here to see this baby born if we leave.  How can I cry about staying and cry about leaving? 

I know God speaks to people.  I know some people even say they have heard God talk out loud.  I'm not one of those people.  What I do know is that I kept getting this really clear message in my mind as I'd fill in those prenatal charts..."these pregnancies...your life here in Haiti...they are linked."  I felt this tug on my soul...like God was whispering to me to find Him in these charts...in these pregnancies...they were deeply connected.  Every single week.  Me.  The charts.  Trying to find God somewhere in them.

We only made a nine month commitment to be in Haiti.  Aaron was praying my heart would change.  I would smirk off to bed after an argument with Aaron saying things in my mind like, "Pray all you want.  This place sucks.  There's nothing good here.  How could I ever want to stay?"  I'd also say things in my mind like, "Up your nose with a rubber hose" because again...I'm so incredibly mature.

Nine months.  That's all we committed to be here.  After nine months, we could go home...hopefully returning as better people because of our time here.  People who could better understand the needs of the poor and be better informed as we advocate for the orphan.

At the same time God graciously gave me a front row seat to many pregnancies.  Coincidental they are nine months?  Maybe, but maybe not.  I know I've seen our story in these women's growing bellies.  I've seen a visual of the Kingdom of God.  It's hard here.  I've not gotten any better at tolerating the noise, the indescribable heat, the cold water, the lack of hot water, the traffic, the corruption, the trash, and how frustrating it is to get anything...I mean one dang thing...accomplished in this country.  But I've seen babies born.  I've seen new life appear.  Rewards after a long, hard, oftentimes scary pregnancy or labor.  No matter how long or hard a pregnancy and labor has been, there is always a beautiful reward.  I've seen growing something good and strong takes time and hard work.  I've seen how very little any of us humans have to do with new life, growth, the mystery of birth...this is God's territory.  This is miracle making.  This is the stuff of heaven. 

In big picture things and little picture things these growing tummies and births have found the Lord whispering sweet, sweet truths into my ear.  Truths about time...about a Kingdom that is coming...about how a pregnancy is only the beginning of something even more lovely...a relationship between mom and child that is deep and real.

I see our life in Haiti wrapped up in those wombs.  Growth takes time.  Learning takes time.  Serving takes time.  Loving the Haitian people takes time.  There are no quick fixes, and thankfully God is the one doing the knitting.  We've simply sat back and watched Him at work and have been invited to stay and see a little more of what He's up to in Haiti through Heartline.

We are staying in Haiti.  I can hardly believe I just typed that sentence.  God has truly changed my heart, and He's used expanding bellies of all things to do so.  I mean...we don't want to leave right after the "baby" is born.  How could we?  I'm seeing how the nine months we committed to stay has only been the beginning of so much.

We won't be at QCS next year.  Aaron will not be teaching.  Both Aaron and I will be working at Heartline.

Many posts to follow as we fill in a lot of the gaps in this story and share how we feel the Lord is leading us.  Once again, we thank you for being along on this journey with us.  Your prayers and your encouragement continue to bless our family.  So many of you pray for us, and in that you are connected to what God is doing.  Thank you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Afternoons...


 ...are for the real kind of reading...



and the pretend kind of reading.

I have found that a room full of quiet boys reading for a great cause
is the perfect appetizer for a nice little nap.

Sunday afternoons can always be for reading, but they are most definitely for napping.

Can I get an "Amen" and maybe even a "Preach it Sista?"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturdays


Saturday mornings are for messes...


for perfecting a paper airplane.


Before we've had time to drink a cup of coffee they have been back to the drawing board several times, folding, discussing, re-folding.

 


Saturday afternoons are going to be for cleaning.  Shh.  I haven't told them yet.

Why does making magic have to be so messy?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Aliens for Breakfast (and lunch)


On a normal day, this is what our boys look like as they head to school.
Don't they look "private school?"

But this is no ordinary day.
This is an alien kind of day.

The "Book-it-to-Space Read-a-thon begins at their school today.


All money raised goes to Teach Haiti., an organization run by our friend, Miquette Denie.

Yes.  He's weird.
 

"The goal of TeacHaiti is to provide annual education scholarships to some of Haiti's neediest children who would not otherwise be able to attend school."

"TeacHaiti is a non-profit organization supporting education scholarships for children in Haiti. Miquette Denie is the founder of TeacHaiti. She grew up like millions of other children in Haiti, with little access to clothing, food or healthcare. She writes: "because education has given me the audacity to dream dreams I had never thought possible before, I want to do the same for these brilliant children".

And so TeacHaiti was born."

 The kids at QCS are going to read until their eyes fall out in order to raise money for other kids to go to school in Haiti.


To kick off the big day, the kids were allowed to dress up like aliens or astronauts.


I saw very few astronauts and many more aliens.


If you'd like to sponsor one of our boys, check out yesterday's post. 

At lunch today Anson informed me that it wasn't the best idea to wear a long sleeve shirt to school.  He's hot. I wanted to say, "I told you so" but I didn't.

Ashton said, "Mom.  I'm tired of being an alien.  I don't want to have a green face anymore."  We walked home and washed it.

I wanted to say, "Remember how I said you would start to hate your face after a few hours if your face was all painted?"  But I didn't say that.  I just held that cute little face in my hands and wiped away the alien skin.

So...I'll just say it here...."I told you so."

Ah.  Feels so much better to get that out.  Besides...who of us ever listened to our mothers?  There are just some things that have to be learned on our own, unfortunately.  Being sweaty.  Itchy face.  There.  Lesson learned.


 I keep finding myself daydreaming about how quiet it might be around the house this week.  We'll see.

I'm sure my boys will find a way to make reading noisy.  They are gifted that way.

For those of you who have already sponsored these extraterrestrials...thank you!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ah Book It...Book It Good


Every once in awhile my boys ask to take over the blog...


Hay!  We are having a read-athon at school.  It starts Friday, February 18-25.  All the money goes to a organization named Teach Haiti.  Teach Haiti is a organization founded by Miss Miquette Denie.  She helps kids who are poor in Haiti go to school so the kids can learn new stuff.  It costs 350 dollars U.S. for a kid to go to school for a whole year.  We don't know what it would be like if we couldn't go to school.  So even if we read a million minutes it will be worth it for other kids to get to go to school.  The way you can help is by donating money to sponcer us.  The ways you can do it is you can donate a certin amount of money for every 15 min. or just flat out.  We hope this year we will make the most money for the readathon.

Thank you,
The Hendrick Boys

 
Aaron and I met Miquette last May.  Her story is incredible.  She was raised in Haiti.  Her parents worked hard to provide her with an education.  There is no such thing as free education in Haiti.  Forty percent of this country is illiterate.  Parents work hard to send their kids to school, but most children can't go or end up going to school off and on as money is available.  It's very normal to meet kids who are 15 years old and in fourth grade.  Kills me.


Miquette was offered an opportunity to go to the United States on a rotary scholarship when she was in eleventh grade.  She finished school in the States and went on to nursing school.  She came back to Haiti to offer Haitian kids the same opportunities she was graciously given.  An education.

We are incredibly proud of the work she is doing.  $350 pays for a child's tuition to school for the year, plus meals during the day, school supplies, and vaccinations.

One of my favorite moments with Miquette was sitting and listening to her heart.  With tears running down her face (and down ours) she told us about her dream for kids to go to school...to learn to read.  She said something like this..."Maybe they won't all end up going to fancy colleges, or becoming doctors, but if they can simply read well...then they can read the Bible.  My parents can't read.  They don't have the privilege of picking up God's Word and reading it for themselves.  They need me to read it to them.  I want these kids to have an education and be able to read and think for themselves.  I want them to read the Bible on their own." 


The school our kids attend is having a read-a-thon, and like the boys said...all the money goes to Teach Haiti so more kids can go to school next year.  The theme of the read-a-thon is "Book it to Space."


Teach Haiti is a grassroots organization.  No overhead.  Miquette lives on campus with us and works part time for QCS as the school nurse.  She lives in a tiny apartment and drives a beat up little truck.  The kids benefit 100% from Teach Haiti.  No one else gets the money.  Miquette is hands down the hardest working person I've ever met.  We all tease her and tell her that watching her live her life...pour her whole self into educating Haiti's kids makes us tired.  She is relentless!



If you'd like to sponsor our kids during the read-a-thon, it's easy.  After the readathon is over you can pay through our secure pay pal site and we will give the money directly to Teach Haiti.  For now, you can simply leave a comment in the comment section letting us know the following information:

1. What kid(s) you are sponsoring (Anson is in fifth grade, Hayden in third grade, Ashton in first grade)


2.  If you are giving a flat rate (can be as small as $1 or $5, or you could go nuts and sponsor a child to go to school next year for $350) or if you are sponsoring one of the kids a certain amount of money per 15 minutes read.

Example comments:

I want to sponsor all three boys for a flat rate of $5 each.

I want to sponsor Anson $1 for every 15 minutes he reads.

I want to sponsor Hayden $350 flat rate and send a kid to school next year.

Read-a-thon ends February 25.

The boys  are excited.  They have their stacks of books ready to go.  Is there anything cuter than a boy with a book?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Beautiful Partnership

Marla Taviano, author of the book, Expecting:  Praying for Your Child's Development- Body and Soul has a beautiful idea.  She is working to link women in first world countries with our Heartline mothers in this third world country.  She is asking women in the States to pray for pregnant women here in Haiti.  Beautiful, right?  If this interests you, please check out Marla's post where she explains her vision of women praying for women.

Below are pictures of most of our expecting moms in the program.  A few more women were recently added, so as soon as we have those pictures we'll be sure to add them.  Again...thank you for loving and caring for our ladies.  Because this is Haiti we consider each of these pregnancies high risk, which means we are always thankful when people pray.

Photo credit:  Joanna Howard, Heartline midwife

Enisse:  in labor right now
please pray
15 year old girl
lives in Harbor House
As you pray during her labor you can read what Tara wrote yesterday.

 Dalonne:  due now


Michelene: due Feb. 21

MontCarmelle:  due Feb. 24
Venette (on right):  due Feb. 28

Andremene:  due March 12

Lucille Pierre:  due March 24


Djuena:  due March 25

 
Kerline:  due March 31

Franchette:  due April 5


Joanne:  due April 6


Francois:  due April 15



Junie:  due April 25



Joanne:  due April 29

 
Diutha:  due April 30

 Chrismene:  due May 10


Yolette:  due May 16


Leoni:  due June 11
19 years old
Living in Harbor House


Nocelia:  due June 15

Kesline:  due August 25