Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 3 in Haiti - I have NEVER ...

...been so sweaty in my entire life!
...been kissed on the cheek by each & every one of a crowd of curious children.
...had a little girl climb boldly onto my lap during church in order to scrutinized my white skin right down to the freckles!
...met a little boy before that didn't know how old he was.
...seen the face of a 10 yr old Haitian girl light up with sheer delight at the opportunity to brush my hair into a ponytail.
...witnessed a cloud of balloons filled with paper notes being released on the wind over Port au Prince by local pastors & church leaders signifying the start of their own healing process in preparing to help the orphans deal with theirs.
...dreamed of praying with a vivacious young Haitian-American woman while she fully accepted Christ as Lord of her life, in the midst of a mighty work that He has begun in bringing her back to her homeland.
...shared ministry with such a humble, but tour-de-force woman, as Phyllis Killborn who has done mission work with children in over 50 countries in her lifetime.
...ever calculated the long-term affect of a widespread lack of childhood trauma counseling on a country devastated by natural disaster & severe poverty.
...seen such servanthood and gratitude in "brothers & sisters" for receiving the tools they need to deal with psychological trauma.
...felt so at a loss as to the magnitude of healing needed in a country, or as sure that God alone could provide it...

until I came to Haiti.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Adventures in Haiti - day 1

at the close of our first full day here in Haiti...

Initial impressions:
-It's HOT...no surprise there
-New best friend - the fan in our room!
-Our neighbors sleep in a tent on the second story of the remains of their home. My window looks out on their bedroom & theirs on mine
-Woke to the smell of charcoal smoke & roosters crowing @ dawn (4am).
-Went to church @ 6 am (to beat the heat). Amazing service & a glimpse of the multicutural heaven we will live in one day.
-Intrigued with the fact that Haiti is east of the US, but still in central time zone.
-Grocery prices are higher than @ home, yet most people live on $2/day
-The Haitian's are beautiful and so joyful despite the circumstances.
-The "tent cities" are heart wrenching, collapsed homes at every turn...no words to describe.
-Spoken Kreyol, it's musical, we're both enjoying it. The Haitians however, are greatly entertained by OUR attempts!

We didn't get a chance to respond to all of the notes of encouragement & support many of you sent us off with last week. What a blessing we have in the love & prayers of family & friends...

off to bed - long day tomorrow - children's trauma counseling training with the OVC church leaders. Outdoor church. Forcast 101.

Unable to post photos yet...more to come.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Yikes - We're going to Haiti!?

Hospitality happens to be one of our spiritual gifts. Yep, each & every one of our Barlow crew has it running deep in their souls. It is one of our favorite "common bonds", bridging age, gender & bloodline in our woven family tree, and providing some of our most cherished memories.

While hospitality is one of my personal gifts, prophecy is not. So it surprised me when the two came hand in hand in writing this post. I was updating my blogsite earlier today which required editing a couple of old posts to adjust the text for a new format. One of them happened to be from May 21st. As I read through the first paragraph of the old one and considered the fresh topic at hand, a chuckle rose...in sharing that day, the news of my pending surgery and the risk of finding cancer, this is what I wrote:

"I wish I could announce that we're beginning a new adoption journey, or heading off to do orphan work in Haiti, but that's not what God has in mind this week."

...this week?? This WEEK? LOL God's timing and sense of humor just cracks me up!

THIS week, T & I are trembling as we announce that not only are we in the process of renewing our homestudy for the possibility of adoption, we are indeed leaving for Haiti in less than two weeks!!!

If you are new to this blog site, then it may be that particular announcement that has led you here. As some of you may know already, this trip to Haiti is actually part of discerning a larger call that God has on our family. It began as early as the process for our first adoptions over 12 years ago, was refined through years of "bonding & attachment", renewed each time we encountered children without forever homes, and made clear this past year as we took on an orphan care leadership role.

Bill Hybels came and ministered to us this weekend at church, and I'm pretty sure that it was meant just for us! He spoke of the "Power of a Whisper", the whisper of God, of course. Well, in our case God is pretty "with the times", because His whisper actually came to us in the form of a Facebook post! On June 3rd, World Orphans posted a postion seeking managers for their new "guest house" in Haiti. It is part of the OVC (Orphaned & Vulnerable Children) initiative developed by HORT (Haiti Orphan Relief Team). It is a program to address the substantial increase of orphans and children at risk since the earthquake in January.

Though God had been directing us to open ourselves to more full time ministry lately, we were blown away as the five of us here at home responded in unison, to the post - "wow, that's totally for us!" A whisper? More like a "shout"!! So, while the kids are away on their summer mission trips T & I have been pouring ourselves out before God and seeking more deeply whether that is where He leads us.

Until we have a more "official" family website, I will continue to post the latest on our "Journey to Haiti" here.

Knowing it is nothing we could ever do on our own, we cherish your prayers and support. If this is one step toward a longer term ministry there, we will need our family, our friends & others with a heart for God's children, to partner with us in seeing it through.

May you be deeply blessed-
Rebecca, for us all