Thursday, November 29, 2012


Sometimes I complain when I have to walk down the hill on a hot afternoon. Or when my ankles are swarmed with mosquitos under my school desk. Or when the internet cuts out during an evening skype.

Last night Stacy and I sat in the warm glow of Christmas mini lights, and talked about some of our Haitian friends who work on staff here at the Mission of Hope. One by one we recounted their devotion and passionate work ethic for their jobs here.

Take Mary Maude for example.
She is the supervisor at 3cords and shines as an incredible leader by gracefully balancing a strong commitment to quality products with an incredible rapport and motherly love for the 19 other employees at 3cords. A few weeks ago, Stacy dropped her off at her house in Croix-de-Bouquets (about a 2-hour drive from MOH) which was a very eye-opening experience. Several miles from her home, Mary Maude began pointing out landmarks where she waited for transportation. This included the staff bus pickup, tap-tap rides and even motorcycle taxis. In total, we calculated that she travels to MOH everyday via 5-6 different motorized vehicles. This means her workday begins far earlier than her arrival at 3cords at 7:45am every morning, and ends far later than when she closes her office door at 3:30pm. During the work week, she is never home during daylight hours. For a woman with only 1 leg, this is an incredible example of dedication.

Rawol is another exceptional employee in his work as a groundskeeper at MOH. I like to think of him as an outdoor janitor as he assists with the garden work around the staff housing, and collects trash from all of the different garbage sites around campus in a beaten-down tractor. From my observations over the years, I have noticed how he circulates between 2 shirts throughout the work week. This wouldn't be so much of a big deal if he worked in an office, but given the smells of the garbage and compost in the sweltering sun, these clothes would not be easy to get into day after day. Nevertheless, when I pass by him on the road, or see him in the distance as I beat my chalk brush outside the classroom door, he gives me his widest grin, and is always the first to shout enthusiastic greetings to those around him.

Last but not least we have Frankline, who is our head cook in the kitchen. She arrives with the earliest staffers to start breakfast for our North American groups, and often doesn't leave until sundown, after the last of the dinner dishes have been washed. Fortunately, she lives in a village next to the mission which makes for a quick commute, however being the only employed member in her family, she returns to a full household of children, and her work continues. The idea of putting her feet up or relaxing by a fan with a good book like I usually do after a day of teaching would not even be an option for her. Instead she cares for her children, feeding them and settling them down for bed, only to awaken early and send them off to school before she begins another day in the kitchen. Like Mary Maude and Rawol, Frankline maintains one of the sweetest and welcoming personalities I know whenever I cross paths with her in the guesthouse.

Needless to say, the complaints I listed earlier pale in comparison to these friends, not to mention the 300 other dedicated Haitian staff we employ at MOH. I am certain that any one of them could trump me when it comes to struggles surrounding their job, their commute, or daily discouragements, but rather than complain, they choose to be thankful. They accept each day as a gift, and each work hour as a privilege. They are simply grateful for the opportunity to support their family.
It is truly inspiring to see the passions and commitments of those around me...The hope they exhibit as living testimonies of God's life transformation. And because of this hope, they hold such a conviction to  use their gifts towards God's kingdom, and seeing their country changed. What a blessing and an honour it is to do life with these incredible friends. Friends who inspire me everyday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Double harvest.

One of the things that I love about living in Haiti is that I get to partake in a lot of different celebrations and traditions than I would typically not be exposed to back in Canada. Haitian weddings, creole cuisine, and learning how to play 'Texas hold'em poker' are just a few of the ways that I have expanded my horizons on this island.... Some more cultivating than others. ;)
This coming weekend is no different. On Saturday evening with my American neighbours, I am excited to join in on another thanksgiving feast with real turkey and "all the fixins" (as they like to say in the south).
In keeping with the theme of the season and my students' family traditions, our devotions have also revolved around thanksgiving for an extended time this fall, and our class tree is now bursting with fall leaves inscribed with gratitudes. With this in mind, I can't help but center back around the blessings that I've been so lavishly given by my Father in heaven. Indeed, He is the giver of good gifts!
So along with giving thanks for things like the Butterball turkeys (generously donated by a manager at Publix) and evening rainfall and laughter in the back of a pickup truck, I am thankful for the double harvest reminder of what it means to live a life of thankfulness. It's my prayer that as the season changes and new themes emerge, that I could claim this lifestyle the whole year through. May I be aware of the joys that are so creatively sprinkled through my days from a God of love.
... As a clever quote on Pinterest likes to say ~ Thanksgiving is great; Thanksliving is better.

Happy 2nd thanksgiving from Haiti!

Friday, November 9, 2012


Last January I wrote this blog inspired by Ann Voskamp. She called it 'eucharisteo' - an outlook that probed me to turn gratitude into a moment-by-moment practice. Chapter by chapter, everyday things like soap suds and footprints and sun rays became glorious pictures of our Creator's artistry. Heartbreaking tragedies were woven and spun into newfound hope and promise.

And again today I read her God-inspired words, except this time they are about something surprisingly familiar. The story of 3cords. A God-ordained vision that was sparked in the heart of my dear friend, Diana Cherry. A beautiful, growing journey bringing hope to disabled and marginalized women that I've been so blessed to witness since the earthquake. It's the story that began with utter brokenness and now by the grace of God has become a reason to rejoice. These are the faces of my beloved friends - some of the most tangible testimonies of hope I've ever known. Who, in a purple building down the mission hill, gather everyday and sew beautiful things.

I marvel today about the theme of Ann's post. A story of strings and connectedness in the body of Christ. And from my velvet couch on a small island, reading her words, I feel ever more attached to a greater body. From farmer's wives, to Haitian seamstresses, to one-room schoolhouse teachers, we are supernaturally intertwined.

To read Ann's post click here:

To learn more about 3cords or order products, go to

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Stop and Stare.

Do you ever have those moments where you just wish time could stand still? Over the past few weeks, I've searched for a way to freeze frame moments of joy that have shown up in the most marvellously simple of ways. I am so thankful to the Lord for placing me in moments where I am continually captivated and filled with an awareness of His presence. Even though I can't remain in these sweet spots, I've begun to compile a list of 'stop and stare' moments. Come what may in the months and years ahead, I will always keep these memories in the back pocket of mind... Reminders of the Lord's goodness and guiding Hand. Indeed, He is here.

Cascading shadows on my kitchen tile in the last hours of the day.
Pierre making friends with the girls from the mountain family during worship at church.
Joseph's grin when I draw a picture of an elephant on the chalkboard.
The hope house kids morning chorus drifting up from the kitchen on my way to school.
The irresistible smell of fresh grenadia juice being shared amongst friends next door.
The boys laughter on the trampoline at recess.
Long Saturday drives to the grocery store to the sound of Chelsea's phone playlist.
A sea of green, white, beige and red uniforms at the School of Hope.
The hum of sewing machines harmonizing with Creole chatter at 3cords.
The purple flowers blooming vivaciously at the foot of the balcony steps.

This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118:23-24

May we have eyes to see and the time to stop and stare at Your abundant beauty that surrounds us day after day after day.