Monday, June 20, 2011

Busy few days

The past few days have been pretty good…not too eventful as I have really been focusing in on the paperwork aspect & finishing up performing evaluations. It is Sunday night & I did not get quite as much as I was hoping done but still A LOT. I am back on schedule at least.

I have finished performing 11 out of 13 OT evaluations that still needed performed. All 30 have been typed into the computer. 27 have treatment plans written for them and 15 have the picture evaluation sheets completed. God really blessed me with sending a mother who is here on a short-term trip. Her daughter & her came back from a trip early due to her daughter being sick. She typed about 7 hours worth of paperwork including 10 out of 20 PT evaluations that needed typed into the computer. Needless to say I feel like I am in a pretty good place to be starting this coming week.

The plan for this week is for Naham to take the picture evaluation sheets & start doing treatment on the kids. I will watch & teach as he goes. I will also at this time give him more ideas for activities. His homework this weekend was brainstorming 10 activities for hand strengthening, 10 for bilateral hand coordination, 10 fine motor activity ideas, etc. I am excited to see what he comes back with.

Last night I had a movie night with the kids. We watched an Elmo movie which was fun. It was nice since I did not see the kids much at all yesterday since I did 7 hours of paperwork in the office.

Today was a much needed relaxing day to rest & be in the presence of God. I slept in till 9ish…well got up at 6 went down stairs because didn’t think I could go back to sleep & put some music on & laid on Courtney’s bed. Next thing I know I was asleep & woke up at 9. I went to Church across the street at the mission & an American Pastor spoke on God’s will in suffering & talked about job’s life. I came back & ate lunch followed by watching a Louie Giglio video on GRACE. I typed about 4-5 treatment plans before we had staff Bible study. We started a 6 week Bible study series by Andy Stanley on Satan & his workings. It is really good & makes you really think! It is called Twisting the truth. Today was all about how Satan is the Father of Lies & a murder from the beginning & he rules through deception. Really good to remember that Satan is active…He is out to destroy us. Ate dinner then we had evening devotions & worship up in the new chapel on the roof. It was a wonderful time of worship followed by Shawn King sharing a talk on MERCY. It was a wonderful day.

Sorry this is short & a little choppy. I know I left lots out from the last 3 days but I am drawing a blank. Thank you for your prayers. I do ask that you continue to pray for me as I train Naham. That God would give me the words to say & show me what to teach & how to teach. Pray for God to continue to progress each of the Miriam center children in their therapy goals. Pray that I would be completely surrendered to HIS will & allow Him to be my guide everyday. I want to be Christ hands, feet, & face to all I come in contact with here in Haiti. Pray for peace for me as there are a few things weighing heavy on my heart right now that I would be able to surrender them to God & trust fully in His perfect timing & plan!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blown Away AND Full of JOY!

Tried to come up with words to describe the past 2 days…all I could come up that sums my past 2 days up in 1 sentence is “Blown Away AND Full of Joy.” I have had 3 specific moments in the last 2 days I never thought I would see or would be/have been years in coming.

First- Den-Den Kicking a soccer ball
Many of you know the miracle story of Den-Den starting to walk 3 months ago. For those of you who don’t know. Den-Den is one of the older higher functioning boys in the Miriam Center. He is the most determined boy I have ever met. When he sets his mind on doing something…he does it. He has Ataxic quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. Basically He had limited control over any of his limbs. When I first started out working with Den-Den years ago he had very little control of his hands so he used his mouth & toes to color & paint. He soon realized He was different & wanted to use his hands…so we made Den-Den special crayons (really big)…He was so excited…but soon realized others used little crayons & he wanted to do the same…somehow he figured out how to hold his body so that he could color with little crayons. Last summer we got AFO’s (braces to help kids walk). Den-Den did not get any and was upset…he kept trying to stuff his foot into a little baby AFO he found lying around. That afternoon we had a meeting with our workers and one asked if Den-Den would ever walk & we said no…He overheard & was crushed…he began crying. He set out to prove us wrong. Before I left last summer he had figured out how to stand up & prop himself against the wall. Before I left I sat him down & said Den-Den I expect you to be walking when I come back next summer. That little boy set out practicing and about 4 months ago I got a video of Den-Den taking his first steps without any support…no walker…no braces. MIRACLE. He had managed to figure out how to hold his body & muscles to be able to walk. Thinking about it I tear up. Well yesterday Den-Den saw some Deaf kids playing soccer and decided He wanted to play. I was busy in working in the treatment room & he yelled to get my attention & told me he wanted a ball. I went & got him a little textured ball and he said no. He walked right into the room straight to the soccer ball in the corner turned around & started kicking it across the room!!!! WHAT!!! I couldn’t believe my eye. That boy hasn’t stop asking for that ball the past 2 days is kick around that soccer ball. He is getting so good. Wish the internet was fast enough to post video & pics but when I get back to the states I will post 

Second- Gildean sitting Independently for 5 minutes 3x
We have a new girl in the Miriam Home that came a few months ago. She is super low tone has poor trunk control & I thought poor head control till today. She is also fully blind. I had the opportunity to work one on one with her today & evaluate her. I used tons of vibration with her (all stuff I was able to carry in this summer). I started out with the vibrating bolster have her lay over it…having her sit with it on her lap leaning over it…then I started rubbing the vibrating frog down her back…gave her the vibrating Vibe critter for her mouth & hands. After about 20 minutes of vibration. I sat her on the floor & wrapped the vibrating snake around her waste. I slowly backed my hands away and she sat independently. Not only that she was moving her hands around & being very curious. A little bit later I took her out to the platform swing & sat so her feet were hanging over touching the floor. She was able to sit on the edge of the swing independently as well. This was such a priceless moment & I am so excited for the new opportunities this skill of sitting opens up for her!

Third- Walden & kem using switches to play the switch adapted game Lucky Ducks
So yesterday has been a moment that has been years in coming for me. Walden & Kem are 2 of my brightest kids but they are trapped inside their bodies. Both have spastic quadriplegic Cerebral palsy. Walden has no functional use of either his upper or lower extremities due to increased tone. I have been trying for years to figure out how to make it so Walden could interact with toys. This past year I have working really hard & learning about different assistive technology I could get to help him. Last summer I brought 1 switch in & adapted 2 batter operated toys. This worked for Kem but not for Walden. Kem has functional use of 1 of her arms & is able to activate the big switch. This summer I brought in 4 different switches. One I bought specifically for Walden called a grip in puff…it can work by squeezing down on it in palm or blowing in straw placed in mouth…Really thought this would work & was very disappointed when it didn’t work. I had ordered this one switch on accident thought it was a different on…or worked different. Well this is the switch that I was able to adapt to attach to Walden’s head where when he pushes his head against his wheelchair it makes the toys go. It was amazing to see the Joy & excitement. The most precious moment though was when I set up their wheelchairs next to each other at a table. I switch adapted lucky ducks so that they could play together. I would switch the cord so they could take turns making the ducks go around. When they stopped Kem would pick up a duck and when it was her turn look at the color underneath…when it was Walden’s turn it to show him. It was a priceless moment. So excited to see all the potential this door opens up for Walden.

Other Fun the past 2 days
This morning was a super fun morning. It started out at 9:00 with a music party down in the Miriam center with one of the American Groups. We all went out into the bird cage & I pulled out all the instruments & I brought the guitar down & we had so much fun. We sang songs, danced & had a really joyous moment. This was followed directly by train rides. This kids heard the four wheeler coming up & knew what was happening. They got so excited & all started screaming in excitement. For those of you who don’t know we have a train made out of 50 gallon barrels that have been turned into train carts with wheels attached & a steering wheel in each. We hook them all together then to a 4 wheeler where the fun begins. The kids had so much fun & so many smiles were had & joy was just overflowing. I had so much fun as I got to sit on the back of the four-wheeler & switch out holding all the low functioning kids & babies. My favorite moment was probably Isaac was sitting next to me on the back of the 4-wheeler screaming in Joy the for a good 20 minutes & everytime he screamed I screamed with him & then we would laugh & scream…laugh & scream. The other one was Kem…I would tilt her & over exaggerate the bumps & she would laugh & left. I also always love watching the older higher functioning kids sit with the younger ones & make sure they stay in the cart. I have to say train is one my favorite activities with the kids. Once again wish I could post video & pictures.

Exciting God Incidences…
1. As many of you know I like to go for walks in the afternoon as this is usually my only time to get off campus and into the streets of Haiti & it is a great stress reliever…time to refocus/think. Well for the first time yesterday I went on a walk with Heather Owens & her kids. It was so much fun & enjoyable. I just love watching her kids & seeing them interact with each others & the Hatians we passed. When we got back to the compound I was talking about the 2 shaving cream parties we have had at the Miriam center in the last week. She said next time I have one let her know because her daughter Ruby LOVES shaving cream & anything messy. I told her she sounds like a sensory seeking child. This lead to a long conversation that has lead to my being able to meet a need their family has which is to help them with their daughter’s sensory issues. It is amazing how God placed me here to meet that need after I have spent the last year growing my knowledge & understanding of sensory & this is a high interest area for me. I love helping others better understand sensory.

2. So as many of you know it is HOT in Haiti…but you may not know that recently it has been hotter than normal for this time of year…IT IS HOT. Luckily right now Courtney is not here so I have been using her Ryobi fan at night. I was gonna be sad to give it up when she got back (though excited for Courtney to come back & to dance beside her here in Haiti). Well this one family overheard me talking about the fan with a friend & how I was going to email a group coming in to see if they would buy one & bring it in & I could pay them back. Tonight they left me their fan and their last name was Marshall which was written in permanent marker…they said it was just perfect they wouldn’t even have to cross it off and had added my first name on top  It truly was a blessing.

So yes…I am Blown Away AND Full of Joy as I look back over the past few days. I know I am right where God wants me & so thankful He has chosen to use me & allowed me to see all this progress… In 2 days!!!! Excited to see what the rest of the summer has to hold!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Paperwork Frenzy :-)

Sorry I haven’t written in a few days. I have been sick & not feeling much up to writing at the end of the day. I can’t even remember when the last time I wrote was but I will try catch you up.

First off… update on chicken pox: The kids are doing great…they are all feeling better & no new kids have gotten the chicken pox. All the ones who had it have scabbed over.

The past few days have been very busy & focused on training Naham on each part of the evaluation low functioning & school forms. I had originally thought that the OT & PT that came in, in April had completed forms on all the Miriam Home children…but as I have gone back to type them into the computer, I found that they had completed 20 kids but that leaves 13 that still need evaluated. This week I am going to try to complete all 13 evaluations. Yesterday I got 2 done & Naham performed his first half of a school evaluation on his own (with me by his side) and this morning He finished. He did an amazing job. Today I completed 1 evaluation before going to deaf camp. Performing the evaluations have been rather time consuming taking about 2 hours each because as I am performing them I am training Naham & explaining each step. Hopefully the process will speed up as we still have 9 to do this week.

I already feel overwhelmed with all the paperwork. Doesn’t seem to matter if I am in the States or in Haiti the Paperwork follows me…lol. The 20 evaluations completed in April still need to be typed into the computer (actually 40 because there is a PT and OT one for each child) along with the 13 new ones I am doing this week. Each evaluation takes 30-45 minutes to type in. Once the evaluations are done & typed in I need to create a treatment plan & then turn that plan into a picture treatment plan that can be laminated for Naham & the workers to Reference. 3-4 hours of everyday so far have been paperwork on the computer & the rest performing evaluations. A little stressed that this all needs to be done by June 30th as when July rolls around I will be completely focused on For Jonathan’s Sake 4-5 hours a day. Which will involve creating 70 treatment plans, picture treatment plans, & training the parents how to be their child’s therapist.

I am seeing God’s purpose already for me since FSJ was cancelled till July due to the chicken pox outbreak. If I were doing FSJ right now I would not have this much time to train Naham or do any of this treatment planning for Miriam Home. I am excited for these treatment plans & evaluations. The past 2 years I have done evaluations & treatment plans but have never been able to finish & though tried from the states it was just to hard to get all the pieces back to Haiti & implementation when I was not there. Some ways it is frustrating to look back & know all that work was kinda in vain but not this year!  Naham will be here to carry it out, he will be trained, and will have individual sheets for each child to reference!

Some highlights from the past few days…
1. Den-Den who heard me say he would never walk last summer set out to prove me wrong & 3 months ago started walking completely on his own. Not only that but today He wanted me to go get him a ball…so I went and picked & got him a little textured sensory ball…He quickly told me no & got up & walked into the room to get what he wanted. He walked straight for the soccer ball. I went to help him pick it up & once again got told NO…which he proceeded to KICK it all the way across the floor & out the door! I am so proud of him
2. T-Willy after working with him for about 20 minutes & making him use his spastic arm (there were lots of crocodile tears) to swing, hold toys, hold vibration, etc. He allowed me to raise both his arms above his head & other people hold his spastic arm. It was awesome
3. Walden saying my name. He has been practicing. He babbles all the time & wants to talk so bad. Even now I can hear him across the way babbling!
4. Watching Owens play with the switch toys. He loved the vibrating pillow & would press the switch to make the pillow vibrate behind his back. I have never seen Owens smile or be interested in a toy for that long.
5. Kenderson my sensory seeking child (I have never seen a child seek so much vestibular & proprioceptive input as he does). As soon as he sees me he runs to me with arms up in the air to go spin him in the deep pressure swing or bounce him on the therapy ball…His favorite is when I hold him by his feet upside down and bounce him off the side of the therapy ball. This would so make me puke  I just love this kid.
6. Watching Kem receive a Barbie from a guy here on a short-term trip. His daughter sent a Barbie with him to give to a little girl in Haiti. He asked if he could give it to one of the Miriam Home children. It was pretty amazing & priceless 
7. Performing evaluations & just seeing how much progress my kidss have made & how much potential they have!

I know I am leaving a lot out…that is what I do when I do not blog in a few days…I forget so many good stories.

Please continue to keep me in your prayers. First that I would start feeling better this is the third day of not feeling well…Me & the bathroom have had too much quality bonding time. Also for my time management & that I would not stress about all the paperwork or feel overwhelmed by it but take 1 day at a time & trust God with the rest.

Satan has really been attacking me & reminding me that I am not worthy of this job & not qualified to be training Naham & so not the most qualified person to do so many of the things I am doing…He has been pointing out all my weaknesses. Pray that I would continue to remind myself…that yes I may not be qualified but God is qualified & He will guide & lead me…He is giver of all wisdom and He desires to be glorified in our weaknesses! He brought me here…He will use me…He will provide…He will make a way when their seems to be no way!

Thank you!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Battle to Trust God…In ALL Things

So the past 2 days have been extremely challenging on so many levels. As many of you know from my previous blogs that a little over a month ago God took away almost everything I had worked 7 months to plan for Haiti & revealed to me a new vision for the summer. It was extremely hard to surrender to His new will & about a week and a half ago I had finally accepted & was excited for what God had in store…He really revealed to me His heart for the For Jonathan’s Sake Parent’s and How it was through His names which reveal His character that I was going to be able to change the way they view their children & eventually change to view of disabled children in Haiti. I had already 3 weeks of Bible Study, had the folders bought & brought into Haiti to do give each parent an individualized treatment plan and had already planned on taking pictures of each child and giving each family a key chain with the picture & the main scripture…I manage to pull everything together in 3 weeks & had a new plan…God’s plan…So I thought.

When I arrived in Haiti a few of my kids were sick with chicken pocs…I felt horrible because they were miserable and there was nothing I could do…I wanted to help…I wanted to make them better…I wanted to make them smile…BUT I couldn’t  They have been spreading and now 10 kids have them. I was not going to let this stop my…I was still full force preparing for For Jonathan’s Sake. Thank goodness God has placed Courtney in Director roll because she quickly reminded me how dangerous chicken pocks can be for children with compromised immune systems and made the executive decision to cancel all programming at the Miriam center till beginning of July to make sure we limit the spread. I totally agree with her decision but my heart doesn’t…WHAT…WHAT about YOUR plans God…What about your vision for FSJ? I know I heard from God but WHY…Why would He give me this vision…provide all the resources to fulfill it & then take it away again!?!

All day yesterday I struggled…I struggled with the fact I didn’t know what God had for me this summer, I struggled with the fact I was helpless to help my kids…I busied myself in the morning cleaning the Luke 2:52 School…organizing it…and deciding we needed a table so pulling out the new power tools and with the help of Naham & Presidue, we created built an awesome table. The afternoon I worked on going through Miriam Center charts, teaching Naham how to do the evaluation form and teaching him vocabulary, etc. I kept busy…that is not a problem…There is always tons to get done…but just had a heavy heart and a pounding headache.

At devotions after dinner I was reminded that God does not expect us to change the world…He does not call us to Heal…He does not expect us to do it all…He only calls us to TRUST HIM…Scripture tells us He holds us in the palm of His hands…He has perfect plans for us…He sees the Big picture…He sees the past, present, & future. He is Jehova-Rapha the Healer, He is the comforter…He is El Roi…The God who sees. I was reminded that I was not going to change the For Jonathan’s Sake parents heart even if I wrote & gave the most wonderful Bible Study…Only GOD CAN CHANGE them. I could not Heal my kids not even if I had the best medicine available…Only The Great Physician can do that….God really broke through to me & told me I needed to LET GO…LET GOD…and TRUST HIM.

“For your thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than yours.” Isaiah 55:8-9

After Bible Study I went to ask Heather Owens a question about if we should inform teams about the chicken Pock’s outbreak incase some of them have never had them before. That conversation turned into an hour long conversation as I broke down & began to cry. Then God gave me the opportunity to share the vision He gave me for FSJ & the Bible study…which lead to going all the way to the beginning & the journey to now. I was reminded of just how GOOD God is & how faithful He is. He has always provided me exactly what I needed to walk in His will, He has always given me encouragement, wisdom, strength, love, etc. to do what I do. He has opened so many doors, given me so many opportunities to share just how amazing He is through what I do in Haiti. He reminded me that everytime He has asked me to surrender my dreams to Him…It is because He has something bigger & better.

So I sit here tonight I am excited to see what God has in store. God has given me back part of my original plan. I am currently typing up Miriam Home evaluations (which another OT performed in April using my new evaluation forms) and developing individualized treatment plans for each child with pictures. I am also training Naham to do the therapy. God has truly blessed me a wonderful therapist to train for these children. Naham has blown me away by the knowledge base he came with & his eagerness to learn. He called me his professor (which I quickly asked him not to call me that…I don’t deserve that title) and has asked for homework multiple times. He is so good with the kids & has a heart that is and will continue to change these children’s lives through his willingness & eagerness to help. I can already see a glimpse of God’s plan. If He did not post-pone FSJ till July I would not have had time to do anything with Miriam Home & not nearly as in depth training & quality time with Naham.

I expect God to do great things this summer. I have Faith that His plans are so much greater than mine. Now I will wait patiently on His timing & do my best to walk each day down the path He has for me this day.

The following song is my prayer…

Where you go I’ll go,
Where you stay I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone
Where you go I’ll go,
Where you stay I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve, I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
Light unto this world
Light unto my life
I will love for you alone
You’re the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone
In you alone
Where you stay I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve, I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
In you, their’s life everlasting
In you, there’s freedom for my soul
In you, their joy, unending joy
And I will follow you

The prayer of my heart is that I would be willing to follow God wherever He takes me…That I would have a servants heart…that I would see & believe in the depth of my heart that true Joy & freedom comes when I surrender my entire life & all my plans & trade them in for His.

Our God is an AWSOME God He Reigns from Heaven above with WISDOM…POWER…and LOVE our God is an AWSOME God!!!!

Highlights from the past 2 days….
1.Building the table for the Luke 2:52 School
2.Finding out that evaluations have been done on all the Miriam home kids so I for once get to focus on treatment planning
3.Walden has learned to say my name…and won’t stop. He says it “AU-TUM” and wait for me to say “WALDEN” and then laugh & laugh…I will walk to another room & hear him yell my name. It melts my heart everytime & I am so proud of him. He wants to talk so bad & babbles constantly. I know some day that boy will talk.
4.Den-Den is healing & definitely feeling better. I walked in today to find him holding a vibe critter with a huge smile…this afternoon he stood listening to the worship service for over an hour smiling and working on strengthening His muscles
5.Owens & I had quality time today going for a walk (well he rode in his wheelchair) then stopping by my room for quality IPAD time…I just love his laugh & how his whole body shakes.
6.My time with Naham & being able to share my knowledge and teach him hands on techniques for T-willy, Job, and Gildene today. T-willy when we were finished working with him for about an hour was willing to let other hold his spastic hand and tried crawling :-) Gildine loved the vibration & couldn’t stop laughing & smiling as we worked on strengthening her core. So many priceless moments happened with these kids
7.Seeing the encouragement God has brought me through His word & placing the right people in the right place at the right time to share encouragement with me.

Please continue to pray that I would daily be able to surrender to God. That I would trust Him wholeheartedly with my life & my time here. That I would grow in my love for Him & my understanding of His love for me. That I would remember that God does not care what I do here in Haiti…all He cares about is if I love Him & accept His love for me. Pray that the kids would continue to heal & that the chicken pock’s would stop spreading. Pray for my training with Naham that God would give me wisdom on what to teach & when to teach it. Pray that I would hear from God daily & make daily time to spend quality time with God.

Thank you for all your prayers & support as I serve God here in Haiti!

Some Scripture God used to speak to me

" When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:1,2

" I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." Psalm 32:8

" I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them, I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16

" God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Fun Filled Busy Day

Had a wonderful but extremely busy day full of fun! I started out my day in the Miriam Center helping Mary Beth give the kids their Christmas Presents &P take their Christmas pictures…Let me tell you I learned how hard it is to get a good picture of some of our kids on demand…50 shots later for some & still not 1 good picture…lol It was so fun to see the kids enjoying their new clothes and toys.

I then had the joy of introducing the Miriam Home children to SLIMY GAK. I started out by putting it on Job’s arm (He is blind) and He got the biggest smile. I then went around and let each kid and worker touch/hold it. The kids & workers were amazed!

I then headed down to the Gran Moun to give them each a mask & have a dance party. It was so great to see them all…their joy for the Lord is so contagious & I love how they are so like kids when given a gift :-) We also taught them how to blow bubbles.

I then came back up to blow bubbles with the Miriam home kids. They were so excited…jumping up and down and squealing for joy.

After lunch I had some 1 on 1 time with Job. I introduced him to the new vibrating bolster & Vibe critter. When I laid him prone over the bolster he was able to lift his head up for over 10 seconds & look around with a smile on his face. We spent a good 45 minutes working together. I then brought Rachel in but she was not a fan of the vibrating bolster but did love the VIBE critter. I really worked on stretching her neck muscles and having her hold objects with both hands. Last but not least I brought Galdine in who absolutely loved the vibrating bolster. During this whole time I had the wonderful opportunity of giving a first year OT student some hands on experience & teaching her how to use vibration to help children.

I had a group ask to do an activity with the kids and they said they did not mind getting messy. So I pulled out the shaving cream & stripped all the kids down & the fun began. This was probably the best shaving cream fiesta yet. We were all covered head to toe. To start it off Ju-Ju grabbed my head and smeared it all over my hear…soon following 4 of my boys tackled me & started smearing it all over my face and arms. This went on for a good hour. I got so much shaving cream stuff into my ears, up my nose and into my mouth & eyes it was ridiculous :-) I then went to shower the kids but realized we had no electricity & it just happened to be raining and so we took the kids out to play in the rain and wash them via the excess rain running our the rain spouts :-) It was so much fun. I was soaked but clean.

I then went inside to check to make sure all the kids were dry & dressed when Jimson came over and lifted his hands for me to stand him up. He quickly began to hop around (He wanted to dance). Jimson & I danced around until the water dripping off of me started to make puddles and we began to slip & slide all over the place. I then started spinning him in circles on the floor which he totally caught on & did it independently…That’s right I taught Jimson to BREAK DANCE!!! YEAH!

I had a meeting with my workers sharing the new schedule and praying with them. It went well and I am so excited to work side by side with them again!

After dinner we had devotions. Their was a time of sharing and 2 people shared about specific special moments they had with children at the Miriam Center. It was very touching!

All day the kids kept asking to watch a movie so I declared a movie night. The movie CARS :-) Well the kids did not really watch the movie because too busy eating popcorn & playing with the Americans. The kids were CRAZY…I have never seen the kids so hyper & excited. My head was spinning in the Chaos. The kids had a blast and the Americans did as well interacting. Issac and me danced together, Walden & I had another giggle fest, many of the kids took turns in the body sock swing…Kenderson thinks it is only his swing and began jumping on top of others & climbing the swing to try to get in. Owens was so excited to show his books off, Isaac busied himself playing catch & bouncing balls, Ju-Ju was pretend cooking with the GAK, Hope searched the room high & low to find anything plastic to chew on…It was a blast.

I am exhausted after today but so thankful for all the wonderful moments I had & the memories I formed. Please continue to pray for me as I prepare to get FSJ fully up & running my goal is by next week :-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another Wonderful Birthday in Haiti

Well today is day 2 of my trip in Haiti and for the 4th year in a row have celebrated my birthday in this amazing place. It has been quite a day filled with so many great times and times I facing my fears and seeing God come threw.

Sot his morning I got up at 6:00AM and got ready for my day followed by devotions & breakfast (sausage gravy & biscuits). After breakfast I started a new Beth Moore Study called Believing God. It was exactly what I needed to start out my day as I was overwhelmed thinking about all I had to do with absolutely no idea where to start…everything was out of my comfort zone & I was feeling very under qualified. I needed to set up Miriam Home schedule, work on For Jonathan’s Sake stuff & talk to Presidue (my Haitian who hands out the food & basically runs the program when I am not here), needed to talk to Naham ( my Haitian hired to train to be an Occupational Therapist) about his schedule, etc.

Day one of my Beth Moore Bible study focused in on what it means to have active faith that is alive & moving. It talked about the great power that comes when we have this kind of faith…We have access to the same power that conquered the grave. Then it asked the question what are you currently having trouble trusting &/or having faith in God with…well lets see…lets start with the list up above  First thing this morning I had to surrender ALL to God & remember God does not call the qualified…He equipts the unqualified in order to show his power & glory.

I went down stairs to get all the kids files (Miriam Center & FSJ)…which surprisingly only took me 15 minutes to get my point across without a translator  Thanks to God! I then went up stairs to start looking through files…made it halfway through one before got side tracked. It was really cool to see the evaluation forms I had spent a month creating from scratch had been used & with success .

Naham & Presidue came up to see me & we ended up meeting & talking for over 2.5 hours. I got filled in on how things have been running in the Miriam Home & FSJ Program. I sat down with Presidue & together went over his new schedule, I got ideas for the new Miriam Home schedule, and am in the process of making Presidue’s new schedule and Presidue is on getting everyone in FSJ back her so we can hopefully get fully up & running next week. I then spent an hour typing up the new schedules and then reviewing it with Naham to make sure he thought it could work. I am really excited for the rotation that we created so that throughout the day the children will be exposed to different environments and activities. They already had a great rotation going and I just tweaked it so a lot will stay the same. I also introduced both of them to all the assistive technology I brought in teaching them how to use the switch toys, how to switch adapt battery operated, how to use the IPAD and other communication devices.

I then started talking to Naham who asked if I was qualified to teach…basically he was asking if I could train him to be an OT…I said yes, that is what I am here to do  He is soooooo eager to learn and that turned into over an hour conversation of me sharing my passion and vision for FSJ and for all disabled children & their families. I then introduced him to the 20+ textbooks I brought in and he already asked to take one home to read it tonight. I am starting with training him in sensory as I believe it is the base to all else . It was so refreshing to see how excited he is to learn & really wants to gain the knowledge base to help these children. We actually started talking and lost track of time & missed lunch…ooops.

The beginning of the afternoon was spent organizing supplies and the Luke 2:52 school…and trying to adapt some battery operated toys (which was unsuccessful). It was so much fun to see some of my workers eyes light up as I unpacked…to see them play with the toys like kids on Christmas morning. I had one worker pick up a phonics game and for about 30 minutes worked on learning the alphabet in English and words on the one communication board.

At about 3 I decided I was going to go play with the kids with the IPAD. I began taking the kids 1 to 2 at a time out to the Bird Cage for some quality time together. It was so much fun to see their eyes light up, to hear their laughs, their smiles, and the eagerness to learn. I saw more then ever the potential the IPAD has…it open a whole new world for these children. We played straight up till dinner 

Dinner was amazing spaghetti with homemade rolls turned into garlic bread, chocolate cake, and SWEET TEA!!! MMMMMMMMMM… Yes I filled my entire water bottle up with sweet tea to last me the rest of the night…probably why I am on a sugar high.

After dinner I had the wonderful opportunity of sharing the story of the Miriam Center with a family that arrive today and jumped right in helping feed the Miriam home children before dinner. I learned it is their 19th time in Haiti but first time at the mission. They have a daughter who has an orphanage on the other end of Haiti and they have some disabled children and a deaf school. It was so wonderful to share where we have come from and what a reminder of just how BIG GOD is.

We then had devotions and since we had a new group of over 70 arrive today had introductions and rules time. I then ran to get a quick army shower and then went to give out goodnight kisses. I would have to say this may have been the highlight of my day. I go in and start giving kisses…I get to Walden who starts giggling uncontrollably and turns it into a game…Markinely runs up and jumps into my arms and lays his head down on my shoulder to go to sleep. I started playing games with Walden who was laughing so hard he could hardly breath and when I would stop he was say start rambling on and say HEY…HEY.. and try to say my name…Moise was getting so excited he was jumping up and down with a big smile…this went on for a good 10 minutes before Joshua and Joseph came in for the tackle. It was a joyous moment. Job began crying and would not stop so for the past hour as I have been writing you he has been on my lap & we have been having some great bonding time. He fell asleep about 10 minutes ago and is snoring 

Please Pray for Den-Den who has chicken pocks…many of our children had it but are better…Den-Den is miserable and just does not feel well…I finally got him to smile today while playing on the IPAD but tonight he was crying. So please pray that he would be free of itches and pain & that he would heal quickly.

Funny side note…or not so funny…I thought I got the chicken pocks from them today as when I woke up I had no bug bites and now have red dots all over my back and arms…progressively getting more all day. I have been told it takes a week after exposure to get them and mine are too big and swollen like to be chicken pocks…so I guess I am too sweet and got eaten ;-)

Thank you for all your prayers!

Monday, June 6, 2011

My adventures into Haiti

I had quite the adventure into Haiti. It all started Sunday morning at 8:00AM when the internet both at my house and at the church was down and I had no way of getting my ticket information…thank goodness for Starbucks internet. Then while backing the car up so we could completely open the doors to fit suitcases in…I forgot to move my backpack (which had all the electronics in it) and backed over the front edge.

Prayed the whole way through security and getting on the plane that my carry-on’s would fit in & they would not say anything…And we were good

My first flight from Reno to Texas was very enjoyable. I sat next a women who’s husband was a Rescue worker from Texas in Reno for a training. Her husband helped me lift my 40lb & was making fun of it…lol I said well it won’t be heavy on the way back from Haiti. So halfway through our trip she said…”did I hear your going to Haiti?” Which launched a 30-40 minute conversation about Haiti  She asked…. On the way off the plane she handed me a snickers bar & a donation for Haiti which was really sweet.

On both my flights I began reading the book the DREAM GIVER again. Yes, this is like my fourth time in 2 years but this book so reminds me of why I do what I do and puts my struggles back into perspective. (I will share more details in another blog post about what God has been speaking to me the past 2 days)

When I arrived in Texas I had about an hour to make my flight but the airport is so big I barely made it which means I got no food…was a little bummed since all I had was cheerios and carrots since 8:00AM. Then they ran out of room for overhead carry-on’s and made me check mine. Then said I would have to retrieve it at baggage claim (which I thought I was going to be able to avoid since my bags were checked straight to Haiti) . Well once again God sat me next to a lady that we were both able to bless each other. For the entire 3 hours flight we talked and shared about the work God called us to. She insisted on buying me a snack pack on the plane…which in the end was a really big blessing since when I landed in Miami no restaurants were open. My carry-on came rather quickly and then came the obstacle of getting a shuttle to my hotel.

I thought I would be able to pull up the internet in Miami and look up the number for my hotel but the internet costs money and would not let me. I ended up texting my friend in Oklahoma to look up the number for me and called. Once again God blessed me…just as I got a hold of the hotel and asked how to request the shuttle it pulled up in front of me 

I got to the hotel and said they did not have a reservation for me. I called and texted Jody in Haiti. Her husband Jose called 3x before we finally got it worked out. But God is faithful and I made it up to my room by 11:30PM and got 3.5 wonderful hours of sleep.

In the morning the earliest shuttle to the airport was 5AM and my boarding started at 6AM. I got down to where the shuttle leaves from 15 minutes early and at 5:15 I was still sitting there. When I asked at the desk the guy said your driver is right over there (watching tv). I finally convinced him to take me to the airport and luckily a short line for security and was at my gate by 5:45. I was super excited to find a coffee shop open to get a smoothie and bagel as I was pretty hungry since I did not get lunch or dinner the day before.

My flight into Haiti was smooth and arrived in Haiti by 8:30 and was through customs by 9:00 and all my bags were waiting for me  A Hatian I did not know came up and asked to help me….I told him I was waiting for someone and he said “Jacque?” And I said “yes” He proceeded to take me outside and down a nice new long PAVED walkway where I met up with someone who showed me ID from the mission who proceeded to take me farther to a group of 3 guys with mission staff shirts on. From there we proceeded to catch a Tap-Tap to the little airport where I then had a 3 hour wait for my short flight on the prop plane to Port-A-Pey. I met some nice Hatians in the airport but I quickly got frustrated with my limited Creole and the staff from the mission who were helping me get on my plane gave me a hard time that this is my 5th trip to Haiti and I still can’t speak Creole…lol. One Haitian said he knew Spanish so I tried to communicate via espanol but I have forgotten so much in the past 6 years. I decided as I sat in the airport I need to learn more creole! It’s a new goal.

On the small plane ride I met a group of about 8 from a church in Florida headed to do mission work in Port-A-Pey. They were asking me all kinds of questions about the plane…tried not to scare them but reassure that the planes were safe and warned them about landing on dirt runway, that it would be loud, and sometimes the fly with the window open. It was probably one of the best Tortuga flights I have ever been on. When we landed I quickly learned none of my luggage made the flight…not even my carry on. So all I had was my book bag that had my electronics and Bible.

I got into a Tap-Tap to make my way up to NWHCM…once again my limited Creole frustrated me. So instead of riding in the back of the tap-tap since it was just me I got to ride in the cab…some of you may be thinking this is better…NO…For over an hour I got to watch my driver play chicken with all the other vehicles on the dirt narrow roads….I prayed A LOT and wished I was in the back where I could be oblivious 

I really did enjoy the ride though…it is so good to be reminded of the culture…so many emotions ran through me during that drive. It began raining shortly into our trip and I was reminded how blessed we are to have houses with roofs, that we have cars to drive in…most everyone was walking, tap-tapping, or on mopeds. We work in buildings and are protected…most sell things on the streets in Haiti. Halfway into our trip we picked up about 10 teenagers who had just got out of school and would have had to walk miles in the rain home. I never realized how far many of these children had to walk for school…and these children are lucky. The majority of the children in Haiti do not go to school because they cannot afford it…not only do you have to pay to go to school in Haiti you have to buy uniforms and supplies. I just really got thinking about how blessed we are in America to have access to a free education.

As we were driving along I was watching the people and how they reacted to the rain…children playing in the rain and laughing, others trying to cover with anything they could find or find shelter under a tree, but MANY running to grab buckets to collect the rain water so they could have clean drinking water.

I could go on and on telling about all that went through my head in that short hour ride to the mission. When I arrived at the mission I met the interns and said hi to many from my mission family before quickly heading down to see the kids. It was about 1:30ish and so the kids were getting ready to nap.

When I walked in it was so good to see the workers faces light up and get hugs and kisses from them all. I then headed into the boys room. Steven was on the potty and when he saw me was so excited he almost fell off  Joseph ran up and gave me a hug and quickly told me to sit next to him…Den-Den was half asleep, Moise got really excited and started rocking, Isaac quickly called me over, John waited to make sure I caught sight of him and said hi…Walden quickly tried to roll over to see me and gave me the cutest smile, Owens gave me a high five. I then proceeded to the smaller kids and got to see my boy Job who I gave tickles and snuggled with for a while, we have a new little boy who is adorable and I played with him for a while… over He has the cutest laugh. Kenderson has gotten so tall and is walking all I then went over to the girls room where Natalie proceeded to run and jump into my arms and refuse to get down for about 10 minutes, Mary-Julie and Kem gave me the biggest smiles, Tamara was laughing and was wearing an awesome shirt that totally described her personality…It was along the lines of I didn’t do it! Lol…Hope had managed to rip plastic off her diaper cover and trying to devour it (she likes anything plastic and I swear can sniff it out.) I could go and describe each of the kids but overall they are all doing well and I am so excited to be back and to start loving on them and working with them.

I managed to lay down and take a nap and then My bags arrived shortly before dinner soak and wet but luckily all my electronics were dry  We had dinner, devotions, and now I am chilling in the staff lounge with the interns who are watching a movie.

There is so much to do tomorrow but I am excited to get started. Please pray for wisdom and strength at I work on schedules, talking to staff, and get things organized.

ps. sorry if this does not all make since I am really tired but did want to write :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On my way to Haiti

I am currently sitting in the Reno then I will fly to Miami..spending the night tonight in Miami fly out 7:00AM to PAP Haiti and then make my way to the mission :-)

I played the packing game yesterday after unpacking and packing my suitcase 3x...I won the packing game and got both of my suitcases to weigh 70lbs my bookbag at 30lbs and my rolling carry on at 40lbs. Got almost everything to fit that I bought and just had to do a victory dance because it was only by God's power!!!

I realized halfway to the airport that I forgot the book I was writing my Bible study off I am going to try to download it onto the IPAD. Please pray God would give me wisdom as I continue to write this 9 week Bible study for For Jonathan's Sake

Please keep me in your prayers for safe travels and that God would just prepare my heart and give me peace about everything I did not get accomplished before I left.

"Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid for the LORD they God is with you WHEREVER you go!" Joshua 1:9

Here I am LORD...SEND ME!

6 days till Haiti!!!!

I can’t believe how fast time has been flying. It is exactly 5 days till I will be on my way to my favorite place in the entire world…HAITI! I have a lot to share with you all as God has really been working the past few weeks.

As many of you know from my support letter I had my trip all planned out…I even had a detailed color coded schedule of every fifteen minutes of my day. I was ready….I had spent months preparing supplies so I could complete what I wanted to…THE PROBLEM…MY plans were not GODS plan. God has really been sifting me & taking away MY plans and revealing to me HIS BIG PLANS. It has been a hard few weeks as I try to surrender, switch gears, & prepare for HIS Plans.

So what does my summer look like now?

I will no longer complete evaluations on Miriam Home children or be able to do tons of the activities and training I had planned INSTEAD God has called me again this year to focus on For Jonathan’s Sake (my outreach program). This was the hardest area of surrender for me. I wanted to really focus on Miriam Home because last summer my focus was on For Jonathan’s Sake.

What are HIS plans for For Jonathan’s Sake which has grown from 38 to 100 families since last summer!!!
1. First that I develop a 9 week Bible Study based on the names of Christ to do with the For Jonathan’s Sake Parents. He has revealed to me that it is through the names of Christ the parents will learn to first love God and through their love for God learn to love their children and therefore have the motivation to learn how to care for their children. I have seen these families come a long way last summer as I worked with 38 families BUT we are not quite there yet and I am so excited to see How God uses this Bible Study he is writing with me. I have already complete the first 3 weeks. Elohim- the creator and El Roi- the God who sees. The first week is going to be about the importance of names in scripture.
2. My second goal with For Jonathan’s Sake is to develop home program folders with treatment plans that the parents can do daily at home and a different one they can do on their day in the clinic when they have access to supplies. Each will have a folder to take home that is in a BIG ziplock bag to protect it. This folder is how they will receive their food for the week by bringing it every week showing they still have it 1 and demonstrating they have been working with their children.

Many of you know that I had been planning to train NAHAM to be an Occupational Therapist (OT) all summer…Well…God has changed those plans as well. We are really focusing on getting our Luke 2:52 special education school up and running this summer and this coming year. God has blessed us with a special education teacher Stephanie who is taking a year to serve in Haiti with the school. We have also hired a Haitian who is going to be the teacher and learn all year alongside Stephanie. God is leading us to have Naham be the Aid/therapist inside the Luke 2:52 school. My focus has switched from training him everything I can about OT to how I can train him to use specific OT skills within the special education environment to help increase these children’s education. I do not think it is a coincidence that God has had me working in the school system as an OT this whole year.

When I am not training Naham and not doing Luke 2:52 school, I will be training on all the assistive technology I have been able to get for Haiti. Some of the pieces I am most excited about include:
1. IPAD- I am so excited for the many possibilities for the kids for education and communication through this piece of equipment. I have bought the proloquo to go application which turns the IPAD into a communication device which will open a whole new world to many of these children who have never been able to communicate. I have also got many educational applications that will help with teaching basic math, increase fine motor/visual motor skills, and help with teaching writing skills.
2. I am bringing in 3 other types of communication devices CheapTalk4, Sydspeak100, and 3 button communicator. These are all going to allow the children to demonstrate their knowledge of what they are learning by verbally showing it and allow them to communicate their basic needs and desires…like I have to go to the bathroom or I want more please….
3. I have 2 programs I got that will help with communication and develop reading skills called boardmaker and writing with symbols. These programs are going to be able to be utilized in so many ways for all of our programs and I am excited to see how God uses them
4. Final one I will share with you is I purchased tons of adapter and different switches to turn any batter operated toy or electrical plug appliance into a switch operated one. This is the coolest thing since many of my low functioning children cannot play with any of the toys we have in their. This will teach cause and effect and allow them to interact with their world. I plan on hooking the blender up and allowing these children to help make a meal or make a smoothie. I am so excited for the possibilities.

God has truly blessed me with the ability to purchase so many exciting supplies to take in this summer and I am so thankful! Thank you to each and everyone of you that made that possible and to all you who gave me advice on what to get.

On Saturdays I will be working with the Miriam Home children on learning to do chores, being able to do more activities of daily living like dressing and bathing. I also want to do a cooking project 1x per week. I actually sent money to a church group who is going to pick up supplies to make 8-9 different cooking projects over the summer. I have even adapted the recipe’s to be in picture form with the pecs from the board maker program. I am really excited for this.

So as you can see…although God has changed all my plans at the last minute and gave me His…He is helping me get everything ready & organized. He is also giving me peace about the direction He has taken me. He has provided 2 interns who will be working with the Miriam Home children…they have not been forgotten but if I were not to work with For Jonathan’s Sake they would have been. He is BIG and I am so excited to dance with HIM!

Please pray for me as I have so much to finish before I leave at work, at home, and then for Haiti. This may just be the hardest transition yet into Haiti because I am leaving with so many unknowns and changes for when I get back. Pray for packing…I have so many supplies to take in and there is a summer embargo in place right now which says I can only have 2 bags at 50lbs…well American Airlines yesterday told me well maybe they can be up to 70lbs. I freaked at first but God has been faithful & I have 3-4 church groups helping me out by buying supplies to carry in for me or letting me ship boxes of stuff for them to carry in. God will make a way when their seems to be no way!

Promises from scripture I am leaning on:
1. God will never give me more than I can handle
2. God will never bring me to something He will not bring me through
3. When I come near to God… He will come near to me
4. His divine power has given me EVERYTHING I need
5. When I trust in God with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding…I will have a peace that transcends all understanding.
7. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me
8. God has a call on my life and a perfect plan

Song lyrics that are just my hearts cry….

Today is the day by Lincoln Brewster
I'm casting my cares aside
I'm leaving my past behind
I'm setting my heart and mind on You

I'm reaching my hand to Yours
Believing there's so much more
Knowing that all You have in store for me is good
Is good

Today is the day You have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
Today is the day You have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
And I won't worry about tomorrow
I'm trusting in what You say
Today is the day
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Today is the day

I putting my fears aside
I'm leaving my doubts behind
I'm giving my hopes and dreams to You
Jesus. We are sisters and brothers in Christ.

I'm reaching my hand to Yours
Believing there's so much more
Knowing that all You have in store for me is good
Is good

I will stand upon Your truth.
(I will stand upon Your truth)
And all my days I'll live for You
(And all my days I'll live for You)

Thank you again for all your prayers and support as I prepare to Dance Hard in Haiti.

I also wanted to share a picture of the painting my friend Ben Hubbard did at the Haiti night I did at my church here in Nevada. I spent an hour talking about the view of disabilities in Haiti, How God sees these children, and then went on to show videos and share stories of what God is doing in Haiti through the Miriam Center. Ben started out throwing black paint onto the campus and smearing it around with his hands…He wanted to make it look like a mistake since this is how all these children are seen as. the end it was really powerful as people saw that He had a plan…He took great time, thought and detail to complete this painting and as psalms says “God knit us together in our mothers womb and we are fearfully and wonderfully made” My ending point was that God spent just as much time creating you and me as He did these children and he took much thought in each detail of their life and appearance and they are not mistakes but they have been made with a plan and purpose. God is GOOD! The painting is a painting of one of my children T-Willy 