27 May 2010

Cocks Crowing, Chicken Coops, and Charity Cases

What a full day - it began with roosters crowing at 4am - so I got out of bed about 5.30am and sat on the porch taking in the morning.
At 7.30, the four of us - along with 2 students from Regent and 1 student from Judson - met for a time of sharing and prayer...
Then we drove to a newly opened hardware store - yes, an actual hardware store like Home Depot just a bit smaller - and bought material for various projects Corrigan and Shelley asked us to do. John and Bob are spearheading the Chicken Coop Construction, and Curtis and I built a frame for the Clays' boxsprings so that they don't get damaged when the rain comes across the floor of their bedroom. We also bought supplies to build guards on the railings so that kids don't crawl through the gaps and fall.
(The photos are of trying to put all the building materials on the roof, Corrigan and his four kids, and talking at dinner tonight.)
While we drove around we talked to Shelley, and at dinner tonight we had a good talk with Corrigan about disaster response, relief aid, and charity / donations. We learned that the best hospital on Haiti has closed - yes, CLOSED - because they couldn't pay for their expenses because they were giving away medical care AND none of the Millions of Dollars given have gone to help keep this hospital open.
One of the sayings that is common among some people (non-Haitians) who have lived and worked here for a long time: "any idea you have that you think will help Haiti, don't do it because it will probably end up hurting or having negative implications you couldn't imagine" ... The only exception to this would be education...
I struggle to articulate what is in my head, but I wanted to share the thought process journey.
Again, my eyes are closing as I try to finish writing.

26 May 2010

Days 1 and 2 in Haiti

We arrived on Tuesday, and Shelley met us at the airport. As we drove to their newly acquired guest house she gave the guys a quick introduction to the Apparent Project interspersed with comments about their lives and her impression of Haiti post-earthquake.
She took us on a walking tour of Claireville - the tent city near their guest house/workshop where they have decided to focus their efforts.
Their program has grown to 60 artisans! (They had about 12 before the quake, and 30 when I was here in February.). The sounds of laughter of people working together and children playing together is awesome!
Bob, Curtis, John and I have had some good conversations with each other and with Corrigan, Shelley, and some of the interns they have working with them for the summer. We discussed poverty & Haiti - to name just a few: real faith in these circumstances; worship and liturgy; the commonalities with other places in the world and the uniqueness that is Haiti; what social justice looks like in a place like this; and how food aid and emergency meals are no longer needed (there is plenty of food in Haiti, the people lack the resources to buy them. Free food causes a lot more disruption in the long run as it puts local vendors out of work. if the people could be employed and buy food it would stimulate their economy rather than deconstructing it. Well, it's a lot longer conversation than what can be written.)
We visited the new hardware store today to get an idea of what they carry for the building and maintenance projects on our docket for this next week - a chicken coop; bed frames; fix some doors, hang some clothesline...
Well, my eyes can barely stay open.

19 May 2010

oh, and Haiti

We can't remember if we posted this or not...

Lord willing, Dan will travel to Haiti with 3 other guys 24 May to 2 June.
The plan is to meet up with the Clays (www.apparentproject.org) assisting them as we can, and also to meet other people or small groups working in an attempt to build some relationships and connect some congregations in the US with various work down in Haiti.

Please pray for: Dan and the guys; the Clays; and Courtney and Ceara during this time.

The Birds' Songs

I (Dan) have wanted to write for some time, yet I struggled to find the words. Even now I'm not sure how I will articulate these thoughts, but I will try anyway. It could turn into a stream of consciousness or it could lead to helping me discern direction... I don't know, but here it goes...

Birds have had a significant role in my faith journey over the past 10 years. At different times they bring to mind various scriptures that remind me to trust, hope, and 'be still' in the midst of uncertain events. I think of times when: I sought direction and needed discernment in Kosovo; driving through particularly tense situations in Afghanistan; receiving encouragement while finishing my Master's at Duke... - to name a few. Anyway...

About two weeks ago, Ceara woke up about around 5am - a bit too early for her to start the day. I sat with her and rocked her for over an hour. She slept. The sun had not yet lit the sky, yet the birds' songs came through the window loud and clear. I listened and prayed. I thought about the birds singing... They sing because that is what they were created to do. It is part of their being. They sing because it flows out of them. To ask a bird not to sing is like asking a stream not to flow, or asking the wind not to blow.

I thought about their singing. I thought about my heart and my life. At this point in time, what does it mean for me "to sing"? What do I feel springing up from the core of my being that to restrain would be like holding back a stream or stopping the wind? (And as I write, I think that when we attempt to restrain those things it can cause a mess. However, when we harness those things it can provide energy and propulsion - like a mill or a sail or windmill or...)

Two weeks ago at 5.30am I answered the question with "pastor". I feel called to pastor - to preach, to teach, to lead in worship, to connect the global "Body", to help to engage peoples' lives and peoples' faith, to... well, it could work out in a number of ways.

Since then, Ceara has not had any more 5am wake-up calls, yet I have noticed the birds singing everyday throughout the day. And this stirs within me this call to serve as a pastor.

What does this mean for our future? I do not know. We are exploring some options and potential work opportunities, yet we continue to wait, and wait, and wait...

A friend sent this poem to us the other day and ricochets in my head...

Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting!
Till next steps made plain shall be;
To hear with the inner hearing,
The voice that will call for me.

Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting!
With hope that need not grow dim;
The master is pledged to guide me,
And my eyes are unto Him.

Waiting! Expectantly waiting!
Perhaps it may be today
The master will quickly open
The gate to my future way.

Waiting! Yes, waiting! still waiting!
I know, though I've waited long,
That, while He withholds His purpose,
His waiting cannot be wrong.

Waiting! Yes, waiting! still, waiting!
The master will not be late:
He knoweth that I am waiting
For Him to unlatch the gate. "
- by J. Danson Smith

13 May 2010

Some More Firsts for Ceara

Ceara started crawling a few weeks ago, and she "walks" while holding onto fingers. And last week, her first teeth came through - they are still to small to see in pictures as they look like two small rice grains stuck to the top of her gums.(Sorry, no pictures of these.)

This past weekend Ceara went to her first baseball game with us and her Uncle Todd.
Yesterday she made her first trip to the library.
Today she had her first piece of pizza.
Hope you enjoy the photos.