Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Story of...

Two very rockin'-cool ladies because of Christ's work!
Meet again, "Beth and Wanda!"  Some of Broken Bow's finest!
They have a fun story to tell that is worth your time and a
fun event planned that you're invited to.  Please check it out!



The Story of Why Handmade Haitian Jewelry 

is Coming to Broken Bow 

                                                                                                                        by Beth Cole

Wanda Anderson and I are hosting a handmade Haitian jewelry and purse show at the Tumbleweed in Broken Bow Thursday, December 1st from 4-7.

You might be thinking.... "Handmade haitian jewelry? Purses? At the Tumbleweed? I don't get it."

Here's the scoop.

As you may know, Andrea and Jason Schmick who lived in Broken Bow for just about a year, have recently been sent to Haiti as missionaries. God had prepared their hearts to go to Haiti, and sent them to Broken Bow while they raised support. We came to know Andrea because she was a friend of Wanda’s daughter. When we learned she was moving to Broken Bow we arranged a meetup and soon we met every Monday night through women’s Life Group. Only God could arrange such a turn of events.

Over the past year through Life Group we grew to know God and each other more. We prayed, laughed, cried and trusted God together as we saw him orchestrate the sending of Jason and Andrea to Haiti. God in his kindness used Jason and Andrea to open our eyes and hearts to the work he is doing in Haiti. We began following the blogs of several God-centered ministries who work with women and children to keep families together. The two we are supporting through our jewelry and purse show are Heartline Ministries and the Apparent Project.

Heartline Ministries

The women’s program of Heartline Ministries sponsors sewing and beading programs. The sewing class is six-months long and gives the women of the program the chance to make purses that are sold in the states at purse parties. There is also a two week beading class. After the skills are mastered, the items are sold online and at two merchandise stores in Haiti. The ultimate goal of the program is to help women take control of their lives emotionally, spiritually and financially. In 2010, Heartline began a maternity center with a birthing room and classrooms where pre-natal and post-birth child development classes are taught weekly. There is one midwife on staff and many others with a heart for children and families. Here is a link to follow along and learn more about Heartline ministries.

http://heartlineministries.org/aboutus/followus.php

Here is a link to the purses and jewelry online.

http://www.haitiancreations.com/Default.asp

The Apparent Project

The Apparent Project artisans guild uses discarded materials such as cereal and cracker boxes, oil drums, and trash paper to create beautiful “upcycled” pieces of jewelry, journals, and stylish home decor. While redeeming the Haitian landscape, these artisans are also bringing new hope to their families, employing themselves for a brighter future and earning the means to pay for their children's food, shelter,
and education. That means less orphans, less crime, less garbage, less stress, and a whole lot more beauty.

The Apparent Project artisans' guild addresses Haiti's orphan crisis at the root.

"In Haiti, poverty and the legacy of slavery have caused a staggering culture of child abandonment and male neglect of family commitments. 70% of labor aged Haitians are unemployed, while those who are employed earn an average annual wage of $400. Mothers give up their children, and men leave their wives and lovers because of the stress of trying to provide from within a devastated economy. There is a strong cycle of fatherlessness and neglect that probably stems from the severance of slaves from their African families and from the commodification of children by slave traders. Whatever the forces are that have made fracture and dislocation the norm for Haitian families, it is poverty that maintains this status quo."


Here is a link to the Apparent Project.

http://apparentproject.org

You can see more of the jewelry from the Apparent Project artisans here.

http://markethaiti.com/

Wanda and I invite you to come to the Tumbleweed back room 
on Thursday, December 1 from 4-7
We will have a large display of handmade jewelry and purses 
from these two ministries, 
i.e. bracelets, earrings, keychains, necklaces, 
even Christmas tree garland. 
The jewelry items are inexpensive, handmade, eco-friendly 
(made out of upcycled cardboard), funky and cool.

It will be a refreshing experience.

We look forward to seeing you!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankfulness Spills Into Song

Thanksgiving was a good day.  Our kids were, perhaps, more genuinely engaged and individually expressive in thankfulness to God than any previous holiday.  Praise God.  It was such a simple morning.  Last minute, Makayla cut out perfect little Fall leaves for us to write our notes of gratitude on.   She is such a gift to our family.  This is a little tradition we did in the States but I did not plan ahead for this year at all.  We listened to, "Squanto", by Odyssey (which is also a little tradition) on the ipod while Jason and I cooked in the kitchen.  Jason prepared a little devotion.  We read Scriptures about thankfulness to God while munching pumpkin scones.  Then he shared a cool discovery.  In every passage we read it lead to singing.  Thankfulness thus cannot be contained...it can't help but spill over in worship to God and the declaration of God's goodness to others in song.  Pretty cool, huh?








Lord, thank You for these neighbors!  Bless them.  Fill them up with You.  :)


I Love You Lord

-andrea


Sometimes during worship on a Sunday or group prayer or with another believing friend somebody would express these four words, "I love you, Lord."  It always took me into a place of contemplation.  Many times I doubtfully believe they really know the full weight of what they're saying and then there are those friends that I really know.  I've seen them hammer it out, grow in grace and truth, trust God when the odds are against them, intercede with all sincerity...I know them.  I've witnessed the Lord's genuine work in them and they'd say, "I love you, Lord."

I couldn't doubt it as easily and yet it still sounded so blah - so man centered.  Every time I thought through it this one thought remained - I am so human...so easily divided...I am not capable of understanding what that really means let alone meaning it.  John says that if we love You we will obey You and yet Lord, you know, how often I disobey and struggle to really love You.  Will I ever be able to mean it enough to sincerely say it and yet isn't this the Christian life - to love God because He first loved us?

My heart was called into question.  Why Lord, do I get caught up on this?  Help me, Lord, to really love You in return. What is the catch?

The other morning the Spirit was reminding me of His greatness.  He is so complex - so extraordinaire - so exalted.  Holy.  Lifted up.  Above all, Creator, Sustainer and He is Humble, Kind, full of grace, Gentle and makes Himself known to depraved man like me.  Think about it!  The King of kings comes as a baby to a poor family to rescue the children of God through death.  Death on the cross even.  What?  This is astounding and baffling to simple and deceived hearts like mine.  His ways are not ours.  He is incredible.  He uses the simple to make His Name known.  He loves the least.  His greatness is beyond what I can understand.  In Christ I am made right, whole, complete.  I am loved in Christ - through Christ - because of Christ.  WOW.  And then it happened with all truthfulness I wrote,  "I love you!" Because of Christ's finished work - I stand complete in Him.  Boldly, confidently and frankly say, "I love You, LORD."

Don't you just love Him?  Who is like our God who comes and changes the hearts of man?

Maybe you wrestle with this similarly.  If you do...pray about it and then trust that even in this He will bring the completion of Christ in your heart.  We will always be growing in the knowledge of His love and then echoing back, "Wow.  I love You Lord!  You are AMAZING!" and that echo will never sound boring.  Praise God!   Thank You for showing us what love is, Lord.  You are love.  Thank You for loving us.  It is baffling how You, Most Holy God, are glorified by our response of love to You. It looks much like scribbled graffiti but Lord to You it is what Your jealousy is completing in us.  Whole worship that declares Your greatness with sincere love because of Your love!  We so do not deserve You.  You are so good.

Oh heart know the full joy of being restored by Christ and made able to sincerely, because of Christ, express such sincere sentiments as a result of His victory on the cross in your life.





We sang this song in church today (and even though many of you know it and we've shared it here before) it seems to keep coming back around.  Truth filled worship is like that.  Contemplate His love while listening.  He alone is the One Who fully loves us and fully knows us.  He is such a jealous lover that His Name will be known in our hearts and we will worship Him in the fullness of joy as a result!  We will love Him.  Hallelujah!  Amen and Amen!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Car shopping in Haiti on Black Friday!

Forget about shopping for TV's, Kindle Fire's or Angry Birds board games for Black Friday, today I was able to go looking for a vehicle with Sergo (one of CWO's employees here in Haiti). It was an interesting experience, but I think we're moving in the right direction to get wheels here.

Sergo doesn't know much English and I don't know much Creole so after the initial hello's we sat in silence most of the trip. After awhile Sergo turned on the radio to fill the space. I asked him if it was "Kreyol mizik" and he said "Wi, Noel." So I was able to listen to Haitian Christmas music today too. But I noticed the radio stations here like to mix it up a bit. After a few songs that sounded like they were in Creole I think I heard a song in Spanish and then before long we were listening to some of the "great" musicians from the States. You know, like Michael Bolton and Mariah Carey singing Jingle Bells or Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

For some reason it seemed like we should be listening to Kanye or Jay-Z. I guess Michael Bolton's Christmas album is pretty close to the same genre, right?

I found out that the cars are a little cheaper if no one in the place speaks English. The lots that have fluent English speakers seem to charge more. Another interesting tidbit: every time, without fail, that I asked the price they shot out a number and then about a minute later they came down $1,000 exactly. Every single car lot I went to today did that. It must be standard operating procedure to give a price that is $1,000 more than you actually want to get for the car and then come down a $1,000 after about 60 seconds or so.

Here's the top 5 from today:

Mitsubishi Montero, 2002, $14,000 (after discount), 121,000 miles, gasoline.
It's from the US which is a plus. Smooth roads are good for cars.

Something's fishy about this one. I'll have to get Rigaud to look at it.
Nissan engine but I'm unfamiliar with the brand name on the body.
The guy said it was a 2009 with 30,000 miles?
They want 17,000, I mean 16,000 for it.

This may be the one for us. Nissan Pathfinder 1999, from the US.
108,000 miles on it. Seemed like it was in great shape...
$7,500 after standard discount!

Somebody in Miami is sending over boatloads of Mitsubishi Montero's.
They're everywhere. This one's also a 2002 with 131,000 miles...14,000 bucks.

Another one from the US. Toyota 4Runner.
Lots of miles on it though = 159,000. $15,000.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On A Roof In Haiti

On A Roof In Haiti
By Makayla Schmick
Marmalade Sunset,
Black palm tree
Against the setting ball of fire

Noises darken
The world grows coal
Except for a single light on the horizon
This late evening hour

I climb flimsy ladder
To my flat roof among trees
Another day of hard work is done

Up top here
The voices I hear
Of this country of mine and its people

Below, wife fries rice
She cooks a meal for me
My son plays soccer
And the great sun dips below sea

This picturesque evening-
It’s the same every night
But never ceases to amaze me-
The beauty of natural happenings, people,
And life.

(In honor of George Francois our Haitian house help. After a day of work you can see his silhouette sitting atop a primitive cement shed gazing far out in the evening darkness. Makayla tried to capture it.)

Today, Nov. 23

I started this mornings time in the word thinking about me, taking an internal temperature.  My notion crumbled when the Spirit prompted that today, Nov. 23rd I needed to start by thinking about WHO HE IS. Silence replaced the racket of self focus.  Slowly, by His power, my ears were open and my heart made accessible for the Spirit to speak.  I need to see WHO I'm coming to instead of being enthralled with who is coming.

Today, Nov. 23
Whom have I in heaven besides Thee?  You alone are God.
All my worth is in You.  Life doesn't exist outside of You.
You are the Light of all men.
Wisdom is in knowing You.

You are not easy but You are good.
You have to melt me, batter me, and mold me so that I can enjoy the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
You alone can make a man boast in his weakness, happy to find You as Strength.
Only You can make a man beg for brokenness.
What utter joy to possess a contrite heart.  It's from You.

All Your ways are Truth.
Lord, You are a mystery.
You are not dull or boring.
You do not coddle.
You lead and push us beyond our fear induced comforts - short-sighted pleasures.
In perfect jealousy you make us see what is really precious - namely You.
Oh the bliss of seeing Your Glory.  Theres isn't anything else like You!

Today, help me to boast in my weakness because then I can enjoy Your Strength.
Today, make my heart embrace Your shaping hand, knowing that You are creating righteousness.
Today Lord, quiet me to know that wisdom is only found in the fear - the complete regard of You.

You are over all and in all.  Everything is pointing to You.
You are always good.

Today, make my heart really thankful for the preciousness of Your Glory and the creative way You make me able to experience Your preciousness.
Let us praise You today because there is no other God besides You.

You only are God!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sick.

Being sick has a way a taking all the fun out of things. It also takes away motivation and energy, both physically and mentally...and sometimes spiritually.

When I was laying in basically the same spot for about 6 days all I could think about was cold weather, clean hospitals, small-town America, Thanksgiving at Grandma's, and an entire myriad of thoughts about how great the US of A is in general.

All the pent-up "Radical-John Piper-Don't Waste Your Life-David Platte-Send Me, I'll Go! rah rah" thoughts that I was thinking as we moved here just kind of melted into nothingness. I was really sick, I lost about 22 lbs, my stomach was pretty much in knots 24 hours a day and I couldn't stand up for more than about 30 seconds at a shot. I was sweating big drops of clear water and I was chilling, big-time. It's taken almost a full two weeks to feel somewhat normal again.

I, in short, was done. Just like that. After lots of praying and writing letters and asking people to support us I was on the verge of packing it in and heading north, only after 3 weeks on the job.

I'm glad God was gracious and let me start to recover. I'm glad I couldn't make any rash decisions.

When I was laying there I was reminded by the Holy Spirit about two things. The first was in Job when he said "Though He slay me, yet will I hope in God." That takes a lot to say. Even though you may let me die, or more specifically, though you may choose to kill me God, I will still hope in You. That is a deep-seeded hope in God that I have not attained.

The second was similar. It was Lecrae's "Battle Song". I loved that song. I still do. But it takes on a different meaning when you're getting to the place of hopelessness. It just feels different to sing that song while driving in your Toyota Yaris down a perfectly kept Interstate 80, sipping on a Starbucks along with your family, who are also sipping on their Starbucks and enjoying good conversation about how much God is going to use us in Haiti.

Somehow sweating it out in bed for a week without food and having a rough go of it brings out a different dimension to all of that "Make War" type of thinking.

Anyways, I attached a video of that song with lyrics so you could also enjoy it.

Thanks for praying for us. We appreciate your support in that way.



By the way, I am feeling pretty good now.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Zanmi (friend in Haitian Creole)

A few pictures from yesterday:

Hans, Zack, Kyle and Mr. E.  Our new friends across the street graciously bought a set of air-soft guns for the boys.  Ethan was all smiles.  They are planning a big war this weekend.
Sadrackson and Dominique walked and rode the tap-tap about 60 to 70 city
blocks (in Haiti no less) to drop in on us yesterday.
We were happy to spend a little time with them.
Not sure what Ethan is showing the guys here.
He always has something to say and show.
Amos also came to see us. He plays basketball well.
It wasn't his first time to the rodeo.
I'm the fat (big boned) and slow one with the ball.
Andrea baked a bunch of chocolate chip cookies and a big pot of
chicken noodle soup. It was gone after the guys left.
She was happy to cook for them.   I think they were happy she did.
For Will: Shirt-less Ethan again almost always!
He was keeping me company while I fixed breakfast.
No caption needed.
Perfect spot - we fight for this!  THE MONSTER FAN! :-O

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ethan's Shenanigans & Chili Success

Abby White's Fort has temporarily been captured, occupied,
and renamed - we promise it will be peacefully entreated to
you when you return.  :)
Outside E is working on his Spelling with Quaker.
Way more fun than sitting at a desk!
Check this out!
 A Boy and the Lizard's Tail:  Okay!  This lizard appears over my shoulder (by my son).  I squeal.

Lizards are not easy to catch or at least E has had to practice; he was so pleased and happy to tout his success.  Really, this is congratulatory even if it took me by surprise.  {Disclaimer: I am okay with these little lizards but on certain conditions.  You have to admit that reptiles inside and over the shoulder at random kinda seem eerie.}

While we talked lizard I cautiously celebrated and quick grabbed the camera.  This is a new memory!
Faking dead, we unknowingly presume.
Then he said, "I hope it drops it's tail!"
"Really?!," I question stupidly (of course this boy hopes to see such a cool trick.  It'd be fascinating).

I quietly turn back to the task-at-hand and instruct him to go outside with it when all of a sudden... shriek, bang, clatter - Makayla hops 10' onto the bed, Ethan gasps (signal for super serious) and I turn rapidly in the office chair to see the lizard scamper behind the dresser.

Without delay I execute the Recapture Lizard Mission with much passion and angst.  "Oh Son?!"  (If I had $.05 for every time I said that we'd be rich!)  "Get that lizard out of here!!!," as I pull the dresser away from the wall.  The poor thing is clinging to the wall with a visible, pulsating, serious-lizard-fear.

He dropped to the floor and I slammed the plastic container over it.  Whew.  {sigh} The vision of it crawling around on us in our sleep vanishes.

Ethan scooted it to the edge of the stairs to slide the lid under the opening without losing it.
Order restored or...  So.  I.  Think.

E was able to see what he really wanted to in the beginning as he scoots the container and the lizard scrambles to keep up with his moving cage.

Minutes later a reptile tail comes flying over my shoulder; landing right beside my elbow on the desk.  My heart is already pulsing at the anaerobic stage because it had not recovered from his first fiasco.  I screamed with absolute disgust!

Finally, I calmed down enough to congratulate his discovery.  "Yes, God made lizards to drop their tails when in danger.  Now get it out of here and NEVER-EVER bring another one inside!  Got it?  Got it."  :)

I still like this kid even though he likes to freak me out more and more!


On that note, let us talk food!
I'm figuring out how to cook in Haiti.  Even though this is old-hat, right?  ...doing it here takes on a new twist.
This is a big pot-o-chili with all Haitian ingredients (most of them local)!!  WHOOT-WHOOT!
I just feel so much more woman if I possess kitchen skills for the family! :)