February 4, 2010

Home again

We made it home last night. Due to all that was going on, we stayed in Florida longer than originally planned. My grandma has been diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, and is still in the hospital. As unexpectedly sudden, and difficult as this news has been - we still find ourselves praising the Lord for the blessings. Praising Him for the peace, the joy, and the grace He has continued to pour over our lives in this rough time. We have definitely felt the prayers. On top of that - it has been such a tremendous time of family bonding for all of us. The precious time spent with each other has developed into priceless life-time memories. We are overwhelmed how each little detail has fallen into place so perfectly. The timing couldn't have been improved on. The Lord has been taking me through a rigorous process this past year of seeing how what seems like evil is meant for our good, and I've been learning to see that what feels like pain is the loving hands of the Potter on my life.

It was hard to leave grandma and our family in Florida, but we are so happy to be reunited with Dad.

I've been back in the U.S. for over a week now, and I'm still remembering stories I haven't told yet. It was a trip that I'll never forget. I was thrilled with the amount of immersion we had - with the language, and the culture. I would go to sleep every night with a thoroughly confused and exhausted brain... By the third day I was catching myself thinking in Spanish; which was weird. Needless to say - I was only able to think very simple thoughts, which I found to be a little restrictive... Unfortunately, I just wasn't there quite long enough to make it "click" completely - but I'm still pleased with the progress made language-wise, despite the Caribbean dialect problems. (I didn't think it was Spanish at first...) My favorite phrase was definitely: "Más despacio por favor..." (Slower please...) Closely seconded by: "¿Qué?" (What?)

The mission team was made up mainly of retired couples from Grandpa's church, with the exception of myself and another young lady who is 27. She speaks Spanish fluently - and was such a wonderful language tutor for me! It was a privilege to spend time with older Christians that have walked with the Lord for many years.

We had a few scary moments; mostly traffic related. Like seeing the guy pictured above. Probably not the most intelligent means of transporting propane I've ever seen, but you'd be surprised what can be accomplished on a moped...

There were at least two aftershocks in Haiti while we were in Santiago. I didn't think I felt the first one, (at the time, I didn't realize what woke me up) the next morning however - I definitely felt the second one. We were only 100 miles from Port-au-Prince, but it was just a vibration. Kind of like when a cell phone is on vibrate.

Working with the children was such a blessing to me. I had the most difficult time understanding their names. Asking them to repeat it didn't help... It sounds strange; simple as you'd think a name would be, but they were very unique - not ordinary Spanish names. The team's main mission was to take in "JESUS Film" equipment. We were able to show the movie in Spanish at four different locations. Many of the people were hearing/seeing the Gospel for the first time. During the day, we spent time with the children, and the men painted the local church inside and out. The kids loved having their picture taken. Out of the 600 photos taken; here are a few of the highlights.

I was having a very, very difficult time communicating with this last little boy - I was able to understand that he wanted his picture taken - but that was it. After a few minutes I went to get a little girl that was bi-lingual to help me... As it turned out - he is originally from Haiti and doesn't speak Spanish all that well yet. We were pretty funny - trying to communicate in a language that neither of us knew very well. There were several Haitian kids at the school who only spoke Creole. They were our daily reminders of what was going on in Haiti - about 50 miles away.

I definitely felt like a little part of me was left behind when it was time to leave. I had to console myself with the thought that maybe I'll get to go back someday. I really felt such a love for the country from the moment I arrived - everything from the mountains and the ocean to the humidity and the food; but especially the people - and their beautiful language.

Of course, the biggest blessing of the trip - was being able to spend so much quality time with my grandpa. Please continue to keep both of my grandparents in your prayers.


Miss Breezy said...

Sounds like you had a beautiful time of ministry and being used by the Lord. I'm so glad you enjoyed the trip and that you all were safe.

The pictures are great! Thanks for sharing. :)

Blessings and love,

Kelsey said...

Wow, it sounds like you had a wonderful trip. The children are so beautiful--good job on the pictures!
I will pray for your grandma--I know how hard it is to get that diagnosis. (my mom has had cancer)
love in Jesus,
Kelsey :o)

Amanda said...

Awesome Kate...love all the beautiful pictures!!! We loved having you here, and are so grateful for the special time we got to spend together :) We love you!! And Callie "loves Kate SOOO MUCH"!! lol