Sometimes a blog absence makes it difficult to know how to catch everyone up on things and how to do it so it’s not just this big, jumbled mish-mash. There is a lot going on for our family right now so I thought letting you know in a way that you could be praying for us or thanking God with us was a good thing.
- Please pray for Chris’ family. After a several year battle with breast and lung cancer his sister Clare passed away on Saturday morning. Because of logistics I didn’t ever get to meet Clare, but thankfully things worked out for Chris to cross paths with her on his way home from the US at the beginning of the month. They had a good visit and Chris was so impressed with the peace Clare had and her overall attitude. Unfortunately the reason they were able to connect was because Clare was visiting the Vancouver cancer center to get checked out. That check up found a very aggressive tumor wrapped around her windpipe. She had already decided to refuse further treatment if the results did show more cancer, and returned home to be where she was comfortable. When she passed away on Saturday she was surrounded by family. She was a very strong, independent woman. She will be very missed by family, friends and her community.
- All of the issues in Haiti are very much in my mind right now. We have volunteers that are hoping to fly out tomorrow. Many of our missionary friends had already had flights from late last week cancelled and rescheduled. We’re hoping and praying that things stay calm enough for the airport to remain open. Honestly, I’m not at all surprised by the things that have been going on surrounding the elections. Not at all. I wish there was some easy solution for Haiti’s problems, but there is not. When corruption is so deeply intwined in everything it is hard for people to ever get a straight deal, and there is no way a country can effectively operate. Pray for Haiti, for peace, for progress.
- We are so grateful that things are going well with this pregnancy. I’m going into my twelfth week this week and am starting to feel much better. The morning sickness is subsiding a lot and I’m feeling good for the most part. I have to say, I’m loving maternity pants! I wasn’t expecting to have my pants get too tight so early on, but am very glad I decided to take advantage of some Old Navy sales, that’s for sure. It’s fun to see how my body is already shifting and moving around. About a week ago it felt like all the bones and joints in my back and hips decided it was time to relocate. I was very happy to see my chiropractor. One of the amazing things to me is how my stomach has shifted up already, and how that has been affecting what I can eat. I can eat normal things, but the quantity has changed. And it’s good! I physically cannot overeat anymore. I can’t breathe if I do. I can eat one normal serving of food and struggle to get through that. I guess the position of my stomach is just where it’s not able to hold much. Also, the out of breath thing is entertaining to me too. I go up one set of stairs and am huffing and puffing. Yet, the other day we went snowshoeing and Chris was the one that was out of breath. Random and entertaining. All of these things are just showing me that I need to really listen to my body. I think pregnancy is so wonderful and fascinating that way. What a great time for women to really get in touch with themselves in a way that I think many of us don’t allow on a regular basis. Please pray that things continue to go well.
- Our travel plans for returning to Haiti are set for the second week of January. A few weeks ago I wouldn’t have been looking forward to it. I think it was still too soon. I was praying that God would be working in our hearts and preparing us for our return, that he would help us to look forward to the good things about being home and preparing us for the harder things. I feel like that’s happening for both of us and it’s good. We definitely needed the amount of vacation time that we have had. We wouldn’t have been ready to return after a couple of months, or even three. We are feeling rested, we’re in a good frame of mind, we’ve had some wonderful opportunities to connect with people and now there are things we’re looking forward to getting back to. I’m looking forward to seeing our staff, seeing our friends there, our dog, and just getting back into the work and our routine. Our little family does well when we can get into our little groove and do our thing. We like that. We really want to enjoy our last month here in Canada, and we will, but it feels good to be looking forward to getting back to Haiti. Please pray that God continues to prepare our family for returning.
- We have been so encouraged and are very grateful for how well we’ve been received here in Armstrong. Armstrong has been home for several generations of my family so I know it’s a place that will always be close to my heart and a place that will always be “home” for me. This is the longest Chris has spent anywhere outside of Haiti in over 7 years, and I’m delighted that he now sees why I love this place so much. The interest that the community has shown in our family and the mission has been so wonderful. To see people excited about what we’re doing and looking at how they can be actively supporting us and the mission is so encouraging. This one thing has made being home for an extended time so very worth it. We’re so grateful.
- We’re also grateful for all of the speaking engagements that we’ve been able to do. Whether they were in Canada or the US, they were all wonderful opportunities to connect with people directly, something we’ve really missed with being away for several years. Thank you for your interest!
- Please be praying for the growth and development of the mission. We are excited about the things that we see God putting in place and leading us into. Development and growth is something that is always an active conversation in our home and with the board and volunteers. We are always looking for ways to do what we do better and in a way that reaches more people. The thing that is so exciting for us right now is that while we have very much been in the early stages, really just sort of laying plans and talking things through, we are already seeing how God is providing resources that will help the mission move in the direction we’re feeling is right, without us seeking things out or even expressing a possible need. I love when God does that! It’s going to be fun to see how things develop over the coming year. Pray that we have a lot of wisdom and that we are sensitive to God’s leading in everything.
- Please be praying for our Haitian staff, volunteers and board members. It takes an entire team of people to do what the mission does, and to do it so well. We’ve had a record breaking year of production with an average of 220 filters installed each month. Our goal at the beginning of the year was 150. We have wonderful workers that really do see the difference the work they do every day makes in the lives of their own people. I love to see the pride that they have in the work they do. We have been blessed with some wonderful volunteers. The Craigs have done a fabulous job of taking care of things while we’ve been away, and have done a fabulous job of helping our staff educate the community and filter recipients about cholera and how they can protect themselves. The Craigs definitely deserve a good break over Christmas, as do our workers. We’re grateful for our board too and ask that you pray for wisdom for all of them as they help us navigate the decision making process for the mission. It is a huge responsibility and one they don’t take lightly.
- We would love to ask you to be praying for Olivia’s citizenship papers to come. When we submitted everything at the Canadian Embassy post-adoption they told us that they thought we should see them in about a month to six weeks. It’s been almost three months now and we’ve heard nothing. It would be great if we had them in hand before we headed back to Haiti. We would then only need to apply for Olivia’s Canadian passport through the Embassy, a process that only takes a few weeks. I know God has a plan for our family and that he already has all the details worked out, but it is hard to sit in that place of waiting, especially after years of battling paperwork for our daughter. We just want things to be done. Because of the coming baby our summer travel plans are obviously different and it means that Liv and I will need to travel back to Canada probably sometime in May. My big concern is that we still won’t have Canadian travel documents for her when that time comes. We know the Embassy will provide a visa of some sort if we need to travel, but the whole thing makes me feel a bit twitchy. Prayers that there would be some finalization would be so appreciated.
Thank you so much for walking alongside our family through encouragement and prayer. It means so much to us, and we look forward to the times where we can share the wonderful things God is doing in our lives. It just reminds us too that this journey is not something we were ever meant to do alone. Thank you!
~Leslie, Chris and Olivia