Thursday, January 21, 2010

All we ever do is say Good~Bye

All we ever do is say good~bye is our John Mayer theme song tonight. For a week we have been dreading tonights farewell. Paul, Dulcie, Jaycee, Hannah, Alyssa,and Levi are leaving Jamaica tomorrow and we are not happy. When we arrived in Jamaica August 2008, we found ourselves sleeping in the Bushhorn kids beds for a couple weeks until our shipment caught up with us to settle into our own house. The Bushhorn's were having visa troubles so they were off the island. When we arrived at the children's home where they were the directors everybody kept asking, Renee are you and Hannah Bushhorn sisters?! We hadn't met this wonderful family yet so by the time they returned we were more than ready to meet Renee's twin!

We have had more than tons of fun with the Bushhorns. For our first year here almost to the day, we had a prayer meeting at our house every Saturday night. The Yoders and the Bushhorns and the Selers. We prayed through on many occassion our frustrations, our trials, our joys, everybody elses frustrations, trials and joys as well! Then came a very difficult day when the Yoders having fulfilled their MAPS term left to go home, and then the Bushhorns moved to Kingston to direct another children's home. We were the only missionaries in the middle of the island for awhile!

Sleepovers, get togethers, beach time, clown ministry and lots of laughs kept our families together and now they will be in ministry somewhere else.

This week Renee wrote in her journal a moving piece and even tonight as she read it to the Bushhorns to say goodbye, I was moved by her words.

From Renee's journal, January 18, 2010:

"Being an MK, saying good~bye kind of becomes part of you. Some MK's treat good~bye like "FORGET". As soon as you say good~bye to someone, they are forgotten-out of sight, out of mind.
Other MK's treat good~bye as a "see you later" I mean, they invented Face Book for a reason!
I don't know about you, but I want to say "see you later". If you become like the first group of MK's, eventually you are just going to stop making friends in the first place, just so you won't have to say good~bye.
So here's my question, Are you going to say "forgotten" or "see you later"?"

As difficult as tonight was for Renee, Den and me, we realize that God does have a plan, a purpose for all of our steps. We are so grateful for the time we have spent with our wonderful friends, the Bushhorns. We are placing their steps in to the Master Designer's hands. We know that HE does all things well. Although we are still not happy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What a difference a day makes.....

One of the reasons I love being at the Jamaican Bible College is because I have a college student in the states. When I take our students brownies, in the back of my mind, I am praying that someone will show kindness to Ryan. When I teach my students, I see my sons reflection in their beautiful faces. When I have the students at my house here in Jamaica I am praying that someone will invite Ryan to their house.

On Tuesday, January 12, the thought occured to me, if something tragic happened in Jamaica, what would Ryan feel and sense if he were not able to reach us because of the phone and internet service being down? Every emotion that a mom could feel hit me all at once when we heard the tragic news of quite possibly the worst earthquake to hit our planet and it hit only 296 miles from me. They tell us that the tremors were felt in Kingston.

Tragically if an earthquake of such magnitude were to hit Jamaica we would be in the same position as the Haitians because of the lack of building codes and the infrastructure of the island is in many ways like that of Haiti.

When this tragedy was made aware to us we immediately thought of our Haitian students, Patrick Collins and Cherley Fabiola. Our last class at the college was December 4, most of our students went home, but 6 students remained. Patrick and Cherley were 2 of them. They were unable to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with their families. Most of our students are not able to do many things because of financial situations.

Immediately we made contact with Patrick and Cherley and of course went over to the college to be sure that they were okay. They were not. The day we arrived, they were both standing on the veranda gazing into the sky. I immediately asked why, they couldn't answer. My guess is that they were envisioning their homeland and yet hadn't heard anything from their families. I can't imagine the turmoil of just longing to hear dad or mom's voice. They waited a couple days. On Thursday Cherley's father was able to cross the DR border for cell service and made contact. He told Cherley to tell Patrick that his dad was fine. This is all Patrick knew until his aunt called on Friday.

Cherley's family survived, the home did not.

Patrick learned from his aunt that his dad made it out "narrowly" but his mom and 17 year old brother did not. Patrick's dad is a pastor and the Church on the Rock has a Bible college. School would have been over at 5:00. The earthquake hit before 5. All 30 students...dead beneath the rubble.

Collins Patrick Jean Jacques is a beautiful student. Here he is on the veranda at our college. His birthday is June 25 and that is a special date. It is my parent's anniversary so it is easy for me to remember Patrick's special day. Patrick came to Jamaica January 2009 with only French in his mouth! I will never forget his first semester. His eyes were like deer eyes in the headlights! He had to grasp English and Patois all at the same time as well as the disciplines of the college. Oh they were tough days for him, but he survived and today speaks beautifully in 3 languages!

Patrick at our house for a cookout. He is a true joy. A special student. A man of God. He and Cherley have become Renee's tutors in French! They have helped her grasp their language and excel in her French studies.

This photo is from Patrick's facebook with this caption. I quote so you can get the full impact of his words, heart and grief. Patrick is on the left with his mom, his cousin and his brother.

"Farewell my mama and my little brother! You play a big role in my life. Alas, an earthquake you leave me, but in my heart you will always be alive...the LORD has given, the Lord has taken. The name of Jehovah be'll always be in my memory. Farewell...."

This caption is under this photo of his dad.

"My daddy and me in 2006 Church on the Rock, Haiti"
"Eben Ezer, the Lord help us. It has helped my father the Tuesday 12 janvier 2010 in this terrible earthquake. My soul bless the Lord that everything that is within me bless His holy name. Thanks for the blood of your son Jesus Christ who has been paying on Wood Calvary."

On another photo of his mom, Patrick writes:

"Mom, you were everything to me your angel face I cannot forget because it is engraved in me, my mom once again I love you, my little brother you cannot know how I'll miss you, When I go to bed watching you're not. God give me strength because I need the divine power that comes from you to get there."

On Friday at 5:28, 3 days after the quake, Patrick wrote on his facebook:

"The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, The Alpha and Omega. I say thanks because if you have saved my father narrowly, in this terrible earthquake Haiti, I wish to say thank you, whatever happens you'll always be my God. My soul bless the Lord that all that is within me bless His holy name."

He writes to us:

"Hi Miss, I thank your family and friends to the United States, praying for my country. Once again, thank you very much specially for your family. May God bless the USA and your family abundantly."

As I type this blog tonight my eyes are full of tears. We are spending our lives investing in Bible college students, not knowing that at any moment, their entire life can be turned upside down and forever impacted by a tragedy. Patrick I love so much, to see His faith in the moment of desperation has proven again that our up and coming pastors/ men of God truly know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is not some game they are playing, they will serve Him no matter what comes.

Patrick, I honor you. You have shown faith in the midst of incredible uncertainty. You are walking a life of faith in our God who holds every tomorrow. Your faith has spurred me on to complete the race because one never knows what a difference a day might make.

Monday, January 11, 2010

10 Ways to Survive 2010!

Okay usually I don't copy another person's writings, but I thought you would appreciate another cultures view on how to survive economically in the new year.
From the Jamaica Gleaner (newspaper) Janaury 11, 2010

1. Remember the days when eating out was a once-a-month (payday) treat? Return to them now. Instead go to the market and buy fresh fruits and vegetables to prepare healthy meals at home.

2. Roast the beef or chicken on Sundays, save the breast to make sandwiches for lunch on Monday. Use the bones and carcass to make stock for gravies.

3. Girls in their pre-teen years have no need to go to the hairdresser weekly. Mothers need to stop being so lazy and bond with their girls through shampooing and combing their hair themselves. Your mothers did it! Count up all that money saved, and use it to buy books or go out to dinner.

4. If you used to go to the movies every week, rent DVD's instead and treat yourselves to the cinema less frequently.

5. Do you really need a full-time helper? Get a day's worker once or twice weekly, and start getting the family to help with the chores at home; children can clean their rooms, wash dishes and care for the pets.

6. Invest in a washing machine, do your own laundry and get someone to do the ironing.

7. Stop buying new outfits for every wedding, ball or banquet; recycle the pieces in the wardrobe sensibly. So, if you wore a dress to a function in the city last year, this year wear it to an event out of town or overseas. Better yet, swap with close friends or siblings you trust.

8. Repair shoes, bags and clothes if they can be repaired rather than throwing them out and buying a new one.

9. Get even with the utility companies by consuming less. Turn off lights; get in touch with your romantic side by having candlelight dinners at home; iron all your work clothes and the children's uniforms once a week, watch only one television and unplug equipment that is not in use. Install motion sensitive lights outdoors, and remove features that are not in use on your land line phones.

10. Finally, start telling people who come and solicit for barbecue and every ticket under the sun, a big NO! Stop giving your hard-earned dough to every Tom, Dick and Harry who begs, save it for the next 350-odd days!

It is unusual for the people in our town to see a lot of white folk. We are easy targets for begging. I wonder if the next time they come to me I could just whip out my handy, dandy Gleaner 2010 ways to survive.............naw I think not. I guess I will just keep giving and giving till I have nothing left to give. Best way to live!