Figuring it all out

Let’s start out this evening’s writing with some happy news. Jacmel has a pizza place. And it’s really good. Maybe it’s because it’s pizza in Jacmel, but I was so happy I nearly cried. On a whim, I rode with the team (there’s a small team in from South Carolina) when they went back to the hotel for the night, as I knew Ensalmo, the tap-tap driver, would be coming back to Marne Oje to park for the night. He had to run into Jacmel to make a delivery so I hangout with the team for the 10 minutes or so until he came back through. Bernard, the hotel owner had ordered pizza and ordered a second one to share with the team. He gave me a slice and it made me so happy. It really is the little things. I talked to Jean-Marie and he knows where it is, so I’ll be ale to partake in this again.

Ok, personally, I’ve been having a difficult time on the trip so far. Not 100% sure why. Just an uneasy feeling. Tonight I think I started figuring it out. Anyone that knows me knows I’m a private person. I like my quiet. I don’t typically like idle chit-chat. I don’t usually speak unless I feel it adds to things. Even at parties there will be some point of the night where I just need to find a corner where no one is and just be quiet. That is impossible with this many people in the house at all times. Especially when the kids always want to see what I am doing. It’s been hard for me to just get some quiet time. I think, whenever weather cooperates, I will spend some time on the roof just looking at stars. I am hoping that will help. Lord knows I need it.

Work-wise, nothing terribly exciting. It appears a lot of my time will be spent reprinting what I did a couple years ago. The water-based paint that was used didn’t hold up. That was evident then, and I said something but that was what they had. They are ale to get a latex-based paint so I will be scraping off the loose paint and repainting. So far I have done 2 closets. Those had to be done first as the closets were getting doors. The closets had been simply concrete frame-outs of closets. Now, they got wood faces and doors. They look good. The kids will be able to use them. Also, I got a night stand that I can place my glasses on which makes me happy. I was so scared placing them on my duffel bag on the floor. The last thing I needed was to break another pair here. Those of you who have been following for a while will know that was an adventure in 2010. I also brought a chair in the room for me to use. It’s starting to feel a little more like home now. I am heading to bed in considerably higher spirits than I was in earlier. I guess that’s why it’s called comfort food. I’d like to give a quick shout-out before I sign off. Sue Mohr has been texting me encouragement every day, without fail. She’s an awesome prayer warrior to have on your side. Blessed by your support, Sue.

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Updating from 1week down

I am 8 days into the trip so far. Everything here is the same as always and yet different somehow. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I have a feeling it’s God trying to tell me something, but I don’t know what. I’m restless and missing normal. Which is weird because I typically abhor normal. I’ve been living in the restoration house. A few if you may know it as Pastor Rodrigue’s house, but since he doesn’t live here you can’t really call it that any more. This is a house I know well. I spent a lot of time working on it two years ago. I’ll be working on it again while I’m here, too. I’ll be repainting it, it appears. They said they are able to get better paint this time, which will be nice as the water-based stuff I used last time wasn’t very good. There is also some work being done to reinforce the rebar on the house, as they have a goal to add a second story for mission teams while they are here. That will be interesting. There are already 17 people living in the house, not including me. Add up to 24 more they will eventually have room for and this could be a little crazy. It already is. Aside from me and my 3 roommates, Vio (age 11ish), Jackson (7ish) and Stanley (4ish) there are 2 house parents, and some women from the community that live here. They are what Pastor LaFleur refers to as battered women. Not necessarily battered, but neglected. Also there is nearly always someone cooking or cleaning. Like I said, it gets crazy. But progress is being made. The actually installed a little air conditioner in the dining area. I almost didn’t tell you all that. Makes it harder to feel like I am sacrificing, doesn’t it?

The first team has come and gone. It was weird because I did and didn’t feel a part of it. I didn’t do much, as far as work is concerned, with them, nor did I stay with them. But we ate together and I got to know a couple of them pretty well, and a couple of the. That I already knew, I got to know even better. Sarah, I’ve known for a long time, but it was the first time we’d been on a mission trip together. I got to see a different side of her. To really see her heart for others. Those of you who know her already know what an awesome girl she is. Blessed to know her, for sure.

Before I left, I got a hard drive from a company called HyperDrive. The hard drive is supposed to work with my iPad. Got it, tested it, everything went fine. Got to Haiti and it tells me it needs a firmware update. Well, frick. So much for having a bunch of movies to watch on my iPad. I have been reading books in here, as well as my Bible. So far, I have 4 books down already. And 5 books of the Bible. Will be interesting to see how that all plays out.

Well. I suppose that is all for now. I’ve been shoveling debris from the work they’ve been doing on the house but they are adding in the new rebar and any shoveling will just be in the way. So I took a break to write this so I can post it later. I’m going to go into town and see if I can get a sim card for the iPad and stay connected a little better. And a mirror. The bathroom doesn’t have a mirror. I need one to shave. A 3 month beard in this heat isn’t going to work. I was able to shave once at the hotel when the team was there. It was the first time I looked in a mirror in 6 days at that point. Sadly, I hadn’t gotten better looking in those 6 days… Ok. Will update again later!

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On love

I think the first question I’ve been asking wrong is this: Am I going to get married again?/Who am I going to marry? I think the better question is am I doing everything I need to do to be the best husband possible if that does happen? If I’m being honest with myself, that answer is probably no. And not for anything normal. While I don’t have a job right now (and most girls tell me that’s pretty important) I have a wide variety of skills and finding work is rarely an issue for me. I think the biggest issue is I have a hard time loving myself. I don’t have much in the way of self confidence and it doesn’t allow me to love myself. If I can’t love myself, I can’t accept love from other people. It’s funny, because the bible verse where it says we should love our neighbor as ourself, I’ve always considered that meaning that we treat our neighbors as well as we do our self. But in m case I think it’s the opposite. I have no problem loving my neighbor. I have a hard time loving myself. I get embarrassed when people point me out in a group. I do not like being any one’s center of attention. And if I can’t handle that, I’ll never be able to be someone’s husband. To be a husband means I must accept her love. I’m going to work on that.

While we’re at it (just in case anyone that bothers reading this knows of any girls) if I had to make a list of what I’m looking for in a girl, it would be this: Christian. But genuine. I’ve known far too many girls who, when they speak of God, it seems….forced. Like its what they’re supposed to say. Rare is the girl who speaks of her relationship with Jesus like she knows Him personally. Where it just comes out naturally. Hard to explain. But I know it when I hear it. I have a couple of friends like that and it’s refreshing. Second, I have a soft spot for artistic girls. Can you write a song or paint? So very hot. Photographers too. But some of them. Too many think because they have a camera and take pictures of butterflies and flowers, they think they are a photographer. The ones that have interesting composition are the true artists. Alternately, nurses. I have a thing for a girl in scrubs. Plus she has to have a heart for others. I don’t need self-centered people in my life. Must love kids. From there, some of the things that would be nice are brunette, shorter than me (I’m 6’2″), a deep appreciation for all sorts of music, loves the outdoors and is someone content with what she has. If you know any girl like that she’s probably married because she is awesome. But in the rare event she’s single, I’d love to meet her.

Ok, so I’m 5 days into the trip. Have been getting a lot done. Mainly painting. I’ve been painting a gate here. Today I moved rock with a wheelbarrow. I’m a bit more out of shape than I thought. I’m working on that. And my friend, Sarah, who’s studying to be a personal trainer, has offered to finish whipping me into shape when I return. Tomorrow the team is visiting Hands and Feet, an orphanage in Jacmel started by Mark and Will from Audio Adrenaline. I’m hoping to visit with them. Haven’t been there since Hurricane Gustav in 2008. Ok, time to sign off. Talk to you all soon!

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The Questions for the Answers

One of my favorite books growing up was The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. In it, we discover that mice (earth’s most intelligent creatures) created a computer called Deep Thought in which it set out to discover the answer to the question of the life, the universe and everything. After many, many years, Deep Thought finally had an answer. 42. This confused the mice and Deep Thought responded that perhaps they were asking the wrong question. I think we’re like that. We ask the wrong questions. I know I do. I wonder if, when Jesus says we need faith like children, he is referring to their innate ability to ask the questions no one else even thinks about. There’s something refreshing and frustrating about their continual asking questions. And they usually center around one question: Why? We as adults abhor that question. In fact, growing up, my parents often responded to my query of why, “because I said so”. Talk about frustrating! But we hate getting questions there aren’t really an answer to. So we tend to ask loaded questions. Things like “How are you?” to which the only acceptable responses are “good,” “okay,” and “fine”. Or his about your favorite sideline sportscasters? “Coach, it’s halftime and your down 38-10. What do you have to do different in the second half?” That question is inane as the answer, “we have to not give up so many points and score more ourself”. Brilliant, eh? What if we asked the tough questions as adults? Starting with why. Why did God out me here? What does he want me to accomplish? One of those Bible verses that gets way over used is I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). Have we ever really given thought to what that might mean? We use it for the mundane. I will get through my test at school. My job interview will go well. Yada, Yada Yada. BORING!! My friends, there is power in that verse! He’s calling us to do things we never thought possible. That verse coincides well with another misused one. God will give you the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). Does that mean he’ll give us all what we want? Of course not. How presumptuous of us to treat God like an ATM machine! What he will do, however, is instill in us his desires, if we’ll only let him. And he’ll give us the strength to do it I had never had the desire growing up to do mission work. I wanted to be a rock star. Yet he had different plans for me. And I’m happier doing this than I’ve ever been. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. Heck, I’m still trying to figure out the questions. I’m just thankful he encourages them. Step out in faith. As Mark Twain once said, “…throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”. See where God will lead you if you ask the right questions. I have a feeling that’s what I’m supposed to learn this time while I’m here. I will never get the answers to his plan for me if I’m not asking the right questions.

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More ways you can help

Hey everybody!  It’s starting to come together.  Some more funds are coming in.  Still a ways to go, but God is good!  It was pointed out by my dear friend, Sue, that there are other ways to help.  I have to get to Haiti, right?  Well, I can use airline miles to get there.  You can donate American Airlines miles at https://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/purchasingMiles/main.jsp?from=Nav.  My advantage number is 155XLN2.  I am, as of right now, just over half way to a ticket.This is a very easy way for people to give.  Thanks for all of your support!

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