Sunday, 20 August 2017

smack bang in the face

At the end of last year I was so ready to leave Haiti for a bit of a break.  I was so tired of many things, tired of driving on the pot hole covered road everyday, tired of cooking, tired of sweating and feeling dirty, tired of being asked for money, tired of not being able to help everyone, tired of disappointing people who I couldn't help,  tired of speaking Creole and tired of having no one else here from my own country.

We had a great summer and a good break but when you get back to Haiti, there is no settling in period, no smooth adjustment to how life just hits you smack bang in the face.  The minute you get back.

First, the airport is just chaos.  Trying to get our bags took at least 45 minutes.  Then there is the drive home, yet again chaos.  Rubbish piled up at the side of the road, potholes, millions of motorbikes everywhere, people still out at 6.30pm trying to selling some fruit and veg to make a little money for the day and all this before I even speak to anyone.

Everyone I have spoken to since we got back is struggling.  It's almost September and school is about to start so that means school has to be paid for and new school shoes and a schoolbag and a lunch box and a uniform and school books.  For most people the thought of it is overwhelming and they have no idea how they are going to do it.  And its not cheap.  Yverose (who looks after the boys when I'm at the clinic) came to see us the day after we got back to say hi and welcome back.  She is on her own with 4 girls and asked if she could have her August pay now so she can get everything she needs for school but I know the pay she gets will not cover everything she needs to buy, never mind food for the month as well.

Then there is one of the groundsmen at the clinic.  Last April his wife became ill, then in May she fell and broke her arm.  He has been borrowing money to pay for medical care and has already spent his wages for August.  He has two kids to send to school in two weeks and has no idea where the money is coming from.

My wee friend came to visit last week and she was not in a good mood.  We had a good chat and it transpired her and her boyfriend are having problems.  On top of that she is entering her last year of high school and school fees this year are adding up to be about $300. She lives with her aunt along with about 10 other people and has no idea where that money for school will come from.  We kept chatting and she tells me about girls in her community that sleep with men for a meager 100 gourdes. £1.25.  $1.60. That's it.  A few days later another friend tells me the same thing and how it happened more during celebrations, sometimes the price is as low as 25 gourdes.  Unbelievable.

Then there is Michilene.  Michilene is still not feeling well and been in the DR over the summer to try to find out what is wrong with her.  Her husband is still in Brazil and still not working. Her father is extremely ill and nothing can be done for him.  One of her daughters gave birth to a baby boy in July, her other daughter just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on Monday by emergency section.  We went to visit her and the baby on Saturday and after a little conversation I asked what medication they gave her, interested to see how things differ after a section in Haiti.  Michilene handed me the bag of medicine and I saw vitamin C, Iron and amoxicillin.  There were no painkillers!  I couldn't believe it, I can't imagine driving home from the hospital on a pot hole covered road 3 days after having a cesarean with no pain relief.  She must be in agony!  Now Michilene is trying to pay for school for her other kids, helping her daughter after her c-section, a new baby in the house, AND the stress of her father being ill!

Life for people in Haiti is just so hard.  It's overwhelming and stressful just listening to friends never mind living it.  I can't even imagine.  I would have lost all hope and some people are in despair, their kids will just have to miss a year of school.  Yet in others I see hope.  They might not know where the money is right now but they are trusting that God will provide.

So there it was....hitting me right in the face.  The difficulties and suffering that come with poverty: not knowing how your kids will go to school, not knowing where the next meal might come from. Being thankful you and your baby are alive, but in agony and, due to a lack of education, you don't know that you're not taking painkillers after having a c-section.  Feeling that the only way you can earn a very small bit of money is through prostitution.  Its overwhelming and its difficult to not be able to help everyone.  Then this morning we were at a local church here in Sacenvil and Bill was preaching and I was encouraged.  There was a real sense of community and of family.  During the worship time you could feel God's presence and I was so encouraged to see people pouring out their worship before a mighty God despite their daily suffering.

We are here to reach people for the gospel and to be like Christ in a dark place.  Part of that is helping those in need, part of it is loving one another and having grace even if its the 10th time that day you have been asked for money, part of that is sharing what God has done for every person we meet and all of that is being Jesus to the people around us.

Please continue to pray for us.  Pray that God would use us for his glory, that we would see the Lord working in people's lives to see Haiti changed for Him.  Pray for Bill as he starts teaching tomorrow and teaches everyday for the next two weeks.  Pray that we would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in who to help and how best to do that.

We're thankful that God is in control and all these problems don't depend on us for  a solution and are humbled that sometimes he chooses to use us.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Want to know whats going on?

As we were travelling and speaking we were able to share about the work of EBS through a great video. However many of you didn't get to see it because it wasn't ready until we were almost leaving Northern Ireland.   So if you missed it, or didn't hear us speak anywhere, or want to watch it again,  here it shows exactly what God is doing in and through EBS.

When we were speaking this summer, I forgot to leave out a form where you can sign up for our prayer updates.  I send out a prayer update by email once a month and our official prayer letter gets sent out by OMS once a quarter.  EBS also sends out email updates as does BMC, if you would like to sign up for any of these updates please send me an email to and I will make sure you get what.  

EBS and BMC each have a facebook page which you can follow....

Now you will be well connected with all that's going on in Haiti!!

We have been back for a week now and the boys have settled well back into life in Haiti and have been enjoying playing with Lily, Sofie and Nora next door.  It's pretty hot and poor Joel has is just sweating all the time but it doesn't seem to bother him!

 I started back at the clinic last Friday and have had a few patients.  This year I will be working Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.  The new physio building is well under way and Dr Rodney it should be done by September.  I can't wait to get into it!! My current room is small and with the electricity not working it is incredibly hot, not just for me but for my patients too.   With more space I am also looking forward to starting group classes and education sessions. 

Bill had staff meeting yesterday and is getting ready to start class on Monday.  He will teach systematic theology as an intensive for the first two weeks.  So its been all go since we got here!!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Do we really know better?

I was hoping to write a quick post as soon as were arrived back saying....were back! However things were a little more complicated so I'll share the story because there is a good point to the whole story.

We left Karl and Beckie's house at 10 pm on Monday night, my plan was to keep the boys awake until we got to the airport so they could go straight to sleep on the plane.  Sam couldn't handle it and fell asleep on the sofa at 9pm and stayed asleep as he got lifted into the car, our of the car then into the buggy.  We checked in and by the time we got to security Joel was out of it!!  Sam was then lifted out of the buggy, carried through security, back to the buggy, carried onto the plane into his seat and didn't open his eyes once, it was perfect.  Both the boys slept the whole fight to Toronto.  We were about 45 minutes late leaving Calgary which didn't give us much time to make our connection in Toronto.  So we walked fast and had to go through American immigration in Toronto and because of the kids (travelling with children does have its benefits sometimes!!) we were let into a line where we didn't have to queue up (it was a very long queue and there would have been no way we would have made our flight).

We sat down on the plane with 10 minutes to spare and we kept sitting.  First we were waiting for other passengers who were stuck in immigration because of the long queue.  Then there was debris on the wing, then the thing (I don't remember the technical name for it) which catches the debris was actually broken so maintenance had to come and fix it.  So instead of leaving Toronto at 8.15am we left at 10.30am.  The boys went back to sleep after some breakfast of fruit snacks, goldfish crackers and m&m's!!

We were pretty sure we would miss the Haiti flight, so we looked at our options to make a plan.  Our flight to Haiti was a separate booking so this meant buying new tickets.  We got online,  $2000 US for us all to fly in on Wednesday.  If the boys and I made it with no bags, it would cost Bill $615 plus about $400 for his extra 3 bags and 2 car seats.  What about Port au Prince, what about MFI, what about the 7lbs of cheese and 2 lbs of butter in our cool bag?? (this is important when flying to Haiti!!).  We decided Bill would get straight off, run to get our bags and I would take the boys to the check in desk, check in and meet Bill with the bags and hopefully we would get on the flight.

We landed in the opposite end of the airport, I got to the check in desk 10 minutes before it closed and was not allowed to check in without bags, I was told 'come back when you have your bags, you have 5 minutes'.  Ten minutes later Bill arrived with our 4 suitcases, 2 carseats and 2 hand luggage bags.....poor guy!!  Needless to say we didn't get the flight.  It was now 3pm Tuesday, we had been awake since 7am on Monday and had all had fruit snacks, cereal bars and M&M's for breakfast and lunch!

It sounds like a disaster and felt like one too but you know, God is in control of everything.  All I could think was this is going to cost us so much money to try and get back to Haiti, literally $2000, plus a hotel, plus dinner, plus breakfast, plus lunch!!

We went to American Airlines, the lady was helpful and even though we did not book on the same ticket and it was not American Airlines fault we missed our flight the lady put us on Stand by for Wednesday's flight for FREE.  Now I didn't feel so bad.

Next task, find somewhere to stay.  That was pretty easy so we booked a holiday inn, had dinner in Denny's where kids ate free on Tuesdays, saving a bit more money!  Me and Joel had to fish our PJ's out of the dirty washing bag and we all went to bed at 8pm.  I went online for a few minutes before going to sleep and ready Stacey's fb status ' We have been on the plane for Cap and unable to land, so landed in the DR and are now flying back to Miami.'  That was the flight we were supposed to be on, I think by that stage we would have lost it.

I said to Bill earlier in the day ' God must have a reason for us not getting that flight today.'  and here it was.  Not only did they land back in Miami at 8pm, they then had to go through customs, immigration, baggage reclaim and queue up to get hotel vouchers leaving them arriving at their hotel at midnight. You can read Stacey's story here,  Stacey's story also gives another reason why it would have been awful for us to be on the plane to Haiti and to arrive at the right time,  it's an amazing end and lesson of God's grace and providence in our lives.

We always think we know better, but we don't.  Getting on that flight would have been awful, it was awful for everyone on board, but I especially wouldn't have fancied it after leaving Calgary at midnight the night before.  Anyway, we re packed, back to the airport to check in.  The flight for Cap Leaves at 2.45pm and we were told if there is a seat you will be called.  At 2.25pm  Bill was called over, there are two seats on the plane.  So we asked a few questions, our bags would all go to Cap today, tomorrow's flight was already overbooked. We decided the best thing to do would be for me and the boys to get on the flight and somehow  get our stuff at the other end and leave Bill for tomorrow's flight.  Getting on a flight with the boys, 3 bags and a buggy is not easy!!

This is what I would have been picking up in Cap Haitian, minus Bill, plus Joel!!

I was sitting wondering how I would ever get our stuff at the other end as no one is allowed in the airport to help you.  I looked up and Bill had got on the plane, he got the very last seat!  The guy next to me was moved to first class and Bill got a seat with 5 minutes to go until take off.

We arrived back at the EBS compound around 7, minus two of our bags which means another trip to the airport today but its much better than none or some of us being here.

We know God is always in control, sometimes things happen which annoy us or make us angry, this was one of those times, but this time we got to see why.  And were so thankful that we didn't make that flight, or that the flight didn't land in Haiti because if everything had gone the way we had planned it, things would be very very different right now.

Thank you for your prayers as we travelled, God certainly kept us safe and took us on the right flight at just the right time.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Catch up

Where did I leave off?  We spent our first weekend in Canada in Montana where we were speaking at Glasgow Evangelical Church.  This is the church Bill’s mum grew up in and we had the chance to go and share before we went to Haiti in 2015.  It was nice to be back in the church and see a few familiar faces from last time and also to see Bill’s aunts and uncles again.  The big upside of going to Montana is the generosity of Uncle Richard letting us stay in his beautiful cabin by Fort Peck lake AND letting us use his boat and jet skis which the boys really enjoyed. 

The next Saturday was a big Edler / Lynn (Bill’s grandmother’s family) reunion.  We had around 80 people there with lots of family even Bill had never met.  We got to read lots of history about how the family first came to Canada and settled in Youngstown.  A few people shared family history, we got an opportunity to share about our work in Haiti and then we had a panel of experts who told us lots of stories from life on the farm before machinery!

All the Edler grandkids

The oldest Uncle Doug at 92 with the youngest Caleb at 6 months.

Bill then flew to Winnipeg to visit Tim (who was best man at our wedding) and the boys and I stayed back on the farm to have some good cousin time.  The day after Bill got home we drove about 5 hours to Saskatoon to visit with some supporters and friends on Friday night.  The boys loved playing with the kids and we were able to thank our supporters in person and give them a bit more of an idea what life is like in Haiti.  Saturday we met up with Bills friend, Brian, who has recently moved from Youngstown to Saskatchewan. Then drove back to Youngstown.

Joel just having a small snack!!

On Sunday morning we were sharing in Youngstown Gospel Chapel, which is the church Bill grew up in.   It was lovely be able to see some of our supporters and show them a bit more about how God is working in Haiti.  Bill has enjoyed being back in his home town and especially spending time with his family.

We have had 5 cousins here at the farm, all aged 5 and under so its been a bit chaotic at times but the kids have really had a great time playing together. Tomorrow we drive to Calgary to stay with Bill's brother and sister in law (Karl & Beckie) and their two kids.  We're going to have a few days holiday and use the rest of the boys Christmas money to go to Calgary Zoo, Heritage park and a day in the mountains! As well as share in Karl & Beckie's church, finish off Haiti shopping and get packed and ready to leave Calgary at midnight on Monday night!!

Nothing like falling asleep on the floor of the tractor!!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

O Canada

Our 6 weeks in Northern Ireland are over and last Tuesday (11th) we travelled from Dublin to Canada.  We had a brilliant trip to NI.  We had great family times, great friend time, great church times and great times at prayer groups.

Sam apparently wants to be a vet!

The purpose of this trip was mainly to raise awareness and support for EBS and BMC and we got lots of opportunities to share how God is working in both ministries. Over the 6 weeks we were able to raise just over £7000.  We also received a gift from an OMS charity shop in Portglenone of £5000 which is going towards the new physio project at BMC, which really brings the total to over £12000 for which we give God all the glory.

Construction has started on our new physio building

One thing which stood out to me over our time at home was that people are really the same all over the world….no matter what their background, their skin colour, whether they are rich or poor…etc.  When you live in somewhere like Haiti it’s easy to think that life in Haiti is so much harder than anywhere in the western world, that people at home have no problems and that living in poverty is so awful (which it is) that people in the western world don’t even have the right to complain about anything.  However no matter what country we are in, we will find pain, sickness, death, sadness, grief, hunger, lying, fighting, jealousy, hatred and all of these are a result of sin.  And this sin not only separates us from God but it destroys.  It destroys relationships and it destroys lives.   And we know the only way for us to be forgiven from our sin is to put our trust and our faith in Jesus.

Over the past 6 weeks many people asked me how do you think Haiti is ever going to change? How long will the people of Haiti have to keep suffering?  I believe the only way and the only answer is as people turn to God and start living for him rather than Satan or themselves only then will Haiti change.  And I believe the same thing for Northern Ireland.  Our wee country has many problems too, different to Haiti but still problems and still people are suffering.  But at the end of the day it really all boils down to sin. Look at these cute little faces, yet anyone with kids (especially toddlers) know that sin controls their lives, they argue, they scream, they fight and they generally only think about themselves.  We have to teach them to share, to be nice to each other, to be kind, to say please, to say thank you etc etc!!! It's just another way of us seeing that we all born with that sin nature. But how great it is to know we can be forgiven and we can have victory over this sin nature through Jesus death on the cross taking our punishment for sin. 

Throughout our time in NI many people said to us what your doing is unbelievable, I could never do that, it’s amazing how God is working in Haiti…and it is. But I want to encourage you too, we are serving the same God as you, God can do unbelievable things through you and do amazing things in Northern Ireland.  We just have to be willing to let God use us where he has placed us for such a time as this. For us right now that is Haiti and for you…well that’s wherever your reading from.  Let God use you, let God speak through you and let God do unbelievable things with your life.

Now were in Youngstown, Alberta Canada.  We have just spent the weekend in Glagow Montana sharing at the Evangelical church there where Bill’s mum grew up.  This Saturday is a big Edler family reunion with about 80 people coming and a chance for us to share about Haiti with family as well as meet lots of aunts, uncles, cousins etc who I have never met before. 

Please continue to pray for us, we are tired, (mostly our fault as we didn’t want to waste a second in NI not spending time with people) although we are getting a chance to relax with the slower pace of life out on the farm.  Pray for the boys, they have been great travelling and meeting new people but Sam especially is exhausted and he doesn’t know how to stop and rest so exhaustion turns into bad temper which well if you have had a toddler you will understand!!Pray too that our time in Canada would be fruitful not only financially but that we would find people who will commit to praying and giving to EBS and BMC long term.