Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Heard Around the House: July 2013

Presley, recounting a dream she had
 I saw a rat in your toilet and I totally fweaked out.  Then I saw a silly gumball and I was scared so I fighted him with a sword.

Noah, describing sushi to his younger sisters
  It's a big hunk of rice with some crab strapped on with some seaweed

Noah, creating with marshmallows and toothpicks during GNO summer enrichment classes

Noah:  Clint Eastwood is my favorite actor.  I really like Dirty Harry.  It's my favorite movie.....
When can I actually watch Dirty Harry?

I have no idea what this check-list is in reference to, but I'm so glad that all three are fulfilled.  Good to go!

Friday, July 26, 2013

To The Future "Me"

Confession:  Sometimes I lay awake at night, kind of freaking out about what's next.

When we were newlyweds, we didn't have much of anything, except for the slew of gifts from our wedding and a hand me down full size mattress.  Over the next 10 years, we accumulated quite a bit of stuff.  Roomfuls of furniture and appliances, children, and a hefty collection of Pez dispensers.  Then we decided to move to Haiti and sold or gave away nearly everything and moved away.  Then we started over, except we had learned some important life lessons along the way about needs versus wants, and the collection of "stuff" was significantly smaller.  Now, we're just six days away from moving back to the U.S. and I realized, we're right back where we started eleven years ago, only this time we also have three little crazies to start fresh with.

When I think about "having nothing", admittedly I get a little scared.  I mentally begin to add up the cost of a vehicle, washer and dryer, beds, plates and bowls, towels, sheets, pots and pans, someplace to sit... and it is overwhelming.  Oh yes, a source of income and place to live would be super awesome too.  No Big Deal.

Here's the thing.  I know God will provide.  I know it because He has done it before, again and again and again.  But secretly, I'm scared He won't provide in a way that I want Him to.  So... this is me being very honest with the utmost desire to be able to point back to this time from somewhere in the future, and be able to say to myself, my children, and any one else in need of encouragement, and be able to say, "Look, that seemed downright impossible and huge, and look how God sheltered us and provided for us."

Do you have a story about how God provided for you or your family?  Could sharing it be an encouragement to others?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Silver Lining

As our time here in Haiti is quickly winding down, I have felt throughout the last week that I need to make a contribution to the blog. There have been several times I have sat down with ideas and even gotten some things down on paper to post, but they just never came to fruition. One of the biggest reasons is simply Michaela is an amazing writer, so why change up a good thing?

First and foremost I would like to express thankfulness. Thankfulness to those who have supported our family throughout this journey and walked alongside us. The kindness and encouragement through notes, cards, emails, prayer, financial support, and traveling to Haiti to visit have been priceless. We have walked a lonely road at times while living in Haiti and commonly as we would pray for God’s comfort, encouragement would come from those who support us. Again, thank you for taking the time to send the Facebook message that seemed insignificant, or dropping the "Just Thinking of You" card in the mailbox that at the time may have seemed like more bother than what it was worth. 

If there are those out there who continue to feel called to support missionaries, Michaela and I have friends serving in other parts of the world that could use the same Godly support you have given us. Below is their information:

(and their three children) working with Operation Mobilization serving in South Africa

(and their four children), serving in India

(and their three year old son) who will be working with Extreme Nazarene Ministries, leaving next week to serve in Ecuador

It has been especially difficult the last couple of days to feel the heaviness of reality sinking in. We have started strategizing the packing of our belongings that will come back to the states with us. The process of “for the last time” has also begun.

Today was the "last time" a small group of GNO kids came to the house for summer enrichment activities. (Lovensky, Myshana, Schnaider, and Loudrige)

Today was also our "last time" trip to our favorite eating out spot. 

Throughout the last week we made our "last time" trips to the Apparent Project and Heartline's Haitian Creations. We really love the heart of these ministries as they continue to offer solutions to keep families together instead of adding more children to orphanages. Not to mention they have the coolest handmade and artisan merchandise around.

And as you can imagine the “last times” only get more significant and difficult the closer we get to the day we leave. 

Already some of our familiar household items have begun to disappear as their new owners have stopped by the house for pick up. You would think going through this process from the move in Arizona would make things easier, but I was caught off guard at the emotional attachment that I have developed for our things. As I look around the house, nearly every item has a story of how God provided. I reminisce back on the countless time spent in prayer and the thankfulness we had as God always came through for us. It has been amazing to see how God used simple, and for the most part inexpensive, items to transform our house that initially had the feeling of a prison into a home of comfort and rest. 

As difficult as it will be to move from Haiti, we are equally excited about what God has next for our family. We plan to pursue a vision for God in Michigan by establishing an organization that will potentially serve teens and young adults recovering from drug addiction, military veterans, and foster families. Although Michaela and I are disappointed that we were not able to serve out two years in Haiti as anticipated, we see God’s perfect timing unfolding during this transition time. 

Once again, I cannot express our thanks for all the support throughout our time serving God in Haiti. Please continue to support and serve missionaries. 

“But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:21

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Productive Haiti Day

What defines a productive day in Haiti?  

Getting at least one thing successfully checked off your to-do list.

The reasons for difficulty when you're out running errands in Haiti are many.  Super congested, crazy, and mostly unpredictable traffic tops the list.  A close second is the frequent problem of a store not carrying the item you're looking for.  The store might not have ever had it, might be out of stock, or they advertise that they carry it but in reality, don't.  Sometimes there are superfluous check-out procedures, like one line to order, a separate line to pay for your order, and then a third line to wait in to actually pick up your purchase.   

But today?  Today we were pleasantly surprised not once, not twice, but five times.  It was dreamy.

First stop was to get gas for our car.  This is usually not a problem stop... unless there is a country-wide gas shortage that happens a couple times a year, but today, pa pwoblem.

Next, a stop to change some U.S. bills to gourdes, a stop that can sometimes take a good 15-20 minutes and can often raise a little anxiety.  But today, Gary was in and out in two minutes.  When he came back to the car, I actually thought, "oh, they must be out of money and turned him away."  But no.

Third stop, a place we had never been before to buy a fuel filter for the generator.  Did you know you have to change the oil and filters on a generator just like a car?  I didn't, but now I do.  This place utilizes the three check out lines rule.  However, it seriously only took five minutes, $6.00, and then we were out the door with the part we needed.  At this point, we thought our luck had run out.  We returned to the car and said to each other, "Well, if we accomplish nothing else today, we'll consider this a success."

Onward to our fourth stop... to find an expandable funnel to change the oil on the generator.  We stopped at Eko Depot, which is a pretty fine knock-off of Home Depot, right down to the orange sign.  They were out of expandable funnels, but strangely enough had three of the expandable attachments laying hidden on a shelf.  The cashier wouldn't sell us the attachment because it wasn't meant to be sold alone and it didn't have a price tag.  Gary went to a different cashier and begged a little, and they sold it to him.  A little hiccup, but success yet again!

Our fifth and final errand was to Access Haiti to pay our internet bill.  There is no such thing to pay online for Access Haiti, so we get to go in person every month.  Sometimes available parking can be non-existent, but not today!  Again, this is usually about a 15 minute process once upstairs to the office, but today it was over in less than five minutes.  

At this point, all three Crazies began to simultaneously melt down due to "starvation".  We made it home just in time to avoid any casualties.  

This afternoon, we had some GNO kids over to play and watch Tangled.  Did you know many Pixar movies have a French language option?  But strangely enough, Ratatouille isn't one of them.  Weird.

Add in picking up five jugs of drinking water, a bit of cleaning, and homemade tortillas, and we've got one productive day indeed.

**Just as I finished typing that last sentence, Gary came back in from attempting to give the generator an oil change and turns out, they gave us the wrong part. **

Four out of five ain't too shabby.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Oh What Fun.

 This is a short documentary of my favorite things from the past few weeks...  

 This is me, trying to explain the game Pin the Tail on the Donkey to the GNO kids.  They all stood in stone cold silence, and as far as I could tell, they thought I was a total whackadoo.  It was if I could actually read their minds, "you want me to pin a what on a what?"  My enthusiasm could not be extinguished.  We pressed on.  It only took one person to stray so far from that bourik's heiny, that the whole bunch began to cheer wildly, and we all began laughing so hard.   Not long after that, the adults even began taking turns.  So much fun.

We celebrated the 4th in style with a whole gaggle of Americans, Haitians, and Aussies.  We had burgers.  Real burgers, made from real beef (I think?).  My big girl made her Mama proud, and came up with this patriotic ensemble by herself.

This girl was just there for the unattended dessert table.

The evening concluded with real fireworks set off from the roof.  It was a little sketchy but no one lost a hand.  Before we went home, April forced us into a rousing rendition of the national anthem.  Thank you Salvants for throwing an amazing party!

I'm telling you, there are legitimate reasons why I always wanted a sister.  This kind of shenanigan is one of them. Stuck in traffic, these two are giggling like crazy ladies over their diaper hats.  It was so funny.

 We have been having GNO kids over to our house on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays for summer enrichment activities.  Something that is seriously lacking in Haitian school curriculum is hands on problem solving activities.  Because of that, we have been doing a lot of activities that require using problem solving skills.  We have been having a great time with the kids and hope that they love it too.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Dear Friends

In May when we were visiting Arizona, we had several difficult meetings with our church leadership.  After the two weeks in which the meetings took place, after much prayer, we made the tough decision to no longer partner with our church in ministry in Haiti.  We believe it was what needed to happen for the health of our family. 

This left us in the place of uncertainty.  At the point of returning to Haiti after our trip, we didn't feel like God was telling us that we were done in Haiti, and yet, we didn't know what to do.  We took the next month to pray, talk, seek counsel, and wait.  The options that we considered were to stay in Haiti only until October until our lease was up on our house or to seek additional financial support and commit to another year in Haiti beyond October.  During this month of waiting, we had an unexpected opportunity in ministry become an option for our family in the states.

After praying and assessing the feedback we received from our supporters, among several other factors, we have decided to return to the U.S.  To make the transition as smooth as possible, we would like Noah and Mylie to be able to start the school year at the beginning with their classmates, pushing our move date up to August.

It grieves us to leave thirty amazing children whom we love, truly love.  This is the absolute most difficult part of this decision.  The "orphan crisis" in Haiti is personal to us.  It goes beyond knowing the name of an orphan.  At GNO, we know when they are happy, or when they feel sad.  We know what they want to be when they grow up, and who is most likely to be ornery.  We don't want any of them to be orphans, we want them each to know the love of a family, biological or adoptive.  More importantly, we want nothing else more for them, than for each one to know their value and preciousness to our Lord and Savior.

Frankly, we don't fully understand God's timing, and we battle moments of feelings of defeat and failure.  Yet, we feel optimistic for where God is leading us to serve Him next.  When we originally made the decision to move to Haiti, we surrendered our own plan.  We always said we were willing to stay in Haiti for as long as God wanted us here, granted we thought that would be longer, but we are still trying to be obedient to God's plan.

Thank you, truly, for praying for our family and encouraging us along the way.  We know that we did not do this alone, and that many people are part of this story.  As a family, we are seeking opportunities for future ministry, and are actively seeking God's will.

Sincerest thanks,
Gary, Michaela, Noah, Mylie, and Presley Krull