Wednesday, 20 June 2018

In just a year...up and downs

This picture came up on my facebook feed from a year ago and it got me thinking about how much has happened in this past year, so much of which we could not have expected.

This time last year we had just arrived back in Northern Ireland for a very full summer of speaking engagements, appointments, more travelling and seeing family, friends and supporters.  We had a great but very busy time both in Northern Ireland and Canada.  We arrived back in Haiti in August ready to get stuck back into working.  Little did we know how much things would change.

This past year has been a year of ups & downs,
 coming & going and hellos & goodbyes. 

I was so excited to have the new therapy building open in January, it was amazing to see how God provided the funds, a team at the exact right time and Altidor, my PT tech.  It was the highlight of my time in Haiti so far, to see how everything came together and being able to work in this new facility.  I was (and still am) so thankful for the people who invested in this project. But now with Bethesda having to move premises (if you don't receive my prayer updates you can read the letter from the board about what has been going on) its been difficult to get my head around why it had to happen at this time.  What was the high point of my time in Haiti is turning into the lowest point.  I know that we have been able to help hundreds of people with this new building but it still feels somewhat like a waste.  Things just don't always work out the way we have them planned do they, but I am praying in time I will understand why things have worked out they way they have.

I have to remember His ways are higher than ours.  I know this is true because I have experienced this before in my life.  In between Sam & Joel I had a miscarriage and lost my baby at 12 weeks.  It was awful.  The reason I got pregnant so quickly after Sam (who was just 11 months when we found out) is because we were anxious to get to Haiti.  We knew this is where God had called us and we were ready to go and be involved in ministry.  The time between knowing we were going and actually going felt like we were just putting in time.  Bill was working in a minimum wage job and ready to use his qualifications to start teaching.  

We were ready to go but it wasn't the right time and its only looking back I can see why.  Maybe we lost our baby because God was asking us to wait, maybe it was so we could share our experience with other people who have been through the same thing or maybe we will never know exactly why it happened.  But it was during that time I learnt a lot about living each day well, where you are rather than being restless and always waiting for the next thing.  There are so many things I could be involved in at home in Northern Ireland which are still serving God  (they are on the list of things to do when we move back!) but I was too busy thinking about leaving.

Then almost exactly one year after we lost the baby I gave birth to Joel.  Wee Joely who has been the easiest little....ok really big baby and is now the happiest, most content and loving little boy we could ask for.   So I know God has this situation with Bethesda under control and that he has a plan and that's what I am trusting in.

Then there is Jacob, definitely a big up from this year.  When we first began discussing adopting Jacob, I just knew it was the right thing to do but we had no idea how we would work it out.  We didn't even know if it was legally possible given that I am not a Canadian citizen. We got a bit of legal advice and it didn't seem to be a problem so we procedeed.  However moving to rural Alberta in the middle of winter was not easy.  As you know the boys are used to shorts, t shirts, bare feet and playing outside for 12 hours a day, they went from that to indoors pretty much 24 hours a day.  Looking back that time of being inside with a 4yr old, 2yr old and this new baby who I was trying to get to know and who was trying to get to know us was hard. The days were long and lonely.

The lane to our house, yes its rural!

 However it didn't take long for Jacob to settle and relax and really become part of our family, it did take a little longer for the snow to melt and the spring to come though...thanks Canada! Now we can't imagine life without Jacob, its funny how he just fits in with the boys even down to the blonde hair and blue eyes! Someone even told me a few weeks ago how he had the round irish face.  Again Gods ways are higher then ours.  Adoption is not something that we had been considering before Jacob and now I am so glad we did.  To have the opportunity to give this little baby a home and a family for the rest of his life and be able to show him the gospel is a gift.

Well I've written and shared more than I planned so I'll leave coming & going and hellos & goodbyes for a different post.

So much can change in a year, maybe your in a place of waiting, maybe in a place of pain or maybe even in a place of despair.  Look to God for the future, know that He is in control and He has a plan for you if you are willing to follow him.

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3 v 5&6

Monday, 11 June 2018

Its official

We were a little disappointed after not hearing anything regarding Jacobs adoption last month but today we got a phone call from the court clerk saying the adoption order was granted today!  The judge was in court for a trial and got a chance to read over our papers.  We are so thankful Jacob is now legally part of our family.  Its been kind of a strange situation to be in, to be caring for this beautiful little baby but not 100% knowing if he will actually be yours and wondering when that will happen.

I felt more relief than anything which I wasn't expecting actually.  But we are all, the boys included delighted that Jacob has joined our family forever. 

Over the past few months we have got to know Jacob better and better, he is very sociable and loves to be talked to and smiles at everyone.  He loves to eat and sleep and laugh! But his absolute favourite thing in the world is Sam, no one can make him laugh the way Sam does. 

There were so many unknowns coming into this year, would we adopt Jacob, how could we leave Haiti for a few months, how would we afford it, how would we go from summer to Canadian winter...etc

But God knew and he had it under control and here we are just a few months later with the process complete.  We are so thankful to all who have prayed for us and those who have continued to support us.

When it became apparent adoption was Jacobs only option and we were told we had two weeks to get to Canada we started to talk about the practical details and I shared at prayer meeting and said ‘It almost seems impossible.’  To which one of the other missionaries responded ‘Nothing is impossible with God.’ 

How right he was. 

Friday, 1 June 2018


I am little behind but EBS graduation took place on 11th May at our new outdoor space which was finished off last summer.  This year we saw 19 men and women graduate from their 4 years at Emmaus.  Some of them are already pastoring churches they have planted, some are associate pastors, three are worship leaders and a few are teachers and administrators in Haitian schools.  Either way they are all now better equipped to go out into Haiti to preach the gospel and make disciples.

Bill was looking forward to graduation and not only because he is dying to wear his robes! But we were in Canada and not able to be there so I will leave you with some photos which Stacey took. (Thanks Stacey!)

We have had nothing in the post this week regarding Jacobs adoption so we think it is more than likely our papers were not given to the judge and it will be 25th June before a decision is made.  So were out in the country for a couple more months.  We have speaking engagements in August in Northern Ireland so we would really need to be back there by the beginning of August. If you think of it pray for Sam, he asks almost daily when we are going back to Haiti. He struggles the most with all the moving and changing and this is the 3rd county he has lived in in his short 4 years. 

Last week we enjoyed a visit to Bills sister, Melissa, in British Colombia.  It was a 15 hour drive to get there but we stopped of at some cool places along the way to break up the journey and even got to see a real bear by the side of the road! 

We had a great time and the boys really enjoyed playing with their cousins. 

A frozen Lake Louise....yes this is Canada at the end of May!

It proved impossible to get a picture of all 5 kids together, little Ella was the only one who sat still. The difference between girls and boys!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Adoption update

We filed our adoption papers with the court on Monday.  As part of the process we have to serve the minister of children’s services with the adoption application pack.  We were able to do that on Monday but the court clerk has to wait for 20 working days until they can give the papers to a judge to make his decision.

As it is a rural court there is only a judge in court on 25th of each month, so we are looking at 25th June for a decision unless the minister of children’s services sends a letter to the court stating they have no problems for the adoption to proceed before 25th of this month.

So now more waiting but at least now we have a bit of a timeline.  We have been invited to speak at Bangor worldwide at the end of August so will be speaking in various churches in August.  Right now our plans are to travel to Northern Ireland once the adoption is complete and Jacob has his new birth certificate and passport.  Then we will stay until our speaking is finished and head back to Haiti at the end of August for another school year. 

Here is our current summer speaking schedule for August 

Sunday 12th - Glenarm Baptist am and pm
Sunday 19th - Ballychrochan Baptist am 
                        Straid Congregational pm 
Wednesday 22nd - Millisle Baptist 8pm
Sunday 26th - Bangor worldwide at Hamilton road Presbyterian church 
Thursday 30th - Bangor worldwide Satellite meeting at Magherafelt 

If you would like us to share at your church or small group please get in touch! 

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Loads of time??

I thought moving out to Youngstown, which is pretty much in the middle of no where and there is not much to do, especially when the ground is covered in snow and its minus 20 celcius outside, that I would have lots of time to catch up on things I never get time to do in Haiti. I had a whole list, sort out my photos from the last year, catch up on blog posts which I never got a chance to, work on the Bethesda FB page and much more.  I got none of it done.  Turns out having three small boys takes all of your time, even if you are at home all day!  Hence the lack of updates.

first baby calf of the year which Sam was very excited about!
Yesterday we received our final document we need to file our adoption application with the court. Today I hope to go to Drumheller and file the application, there are a couple of things I need to do , like serve the minister of child and family services and prepare an affidavit and I am hoping to get them all completed today.  After that we wait until the judge makes a decision.  He may decide to do a home study and / or have a hearing but we are praying its a simple decision and we don't need to do either of those things.

Bill left for Haiti on 25th and will be home this Sunday.  Its no joke single parenting especially with the boys all being so young but Bills family have been helping out and its now warm and sunny so we have been able to go outside which makes things much easier.  Sam may be the most exhausting because he asks a million questions a day, many of which I don't know the answer to.  I honestly don't know where he gets them from.  Here are a few from yesterday...

What happens if your eye pops out?
What happens if your mouth falls off?
What is inside my head?
What does my brian look like?
Who made God?

However, my favourite quote of the day

'Mummy God should have made you like one of those aliens who have three arms.  Then you could feed baby Jacob, get me a drink and help Joel at the same time.'

One of the things I wanted to share with you was about Dr Rodney's trip to Canada in February.  What a month to send a Haitian man to Canada!  It was a lot of work organising and planning the trip but I got a lot of help from a couple of OMS people in Alberta.

We are so thankful Dr Rodney had a great trip, it was very cold but there were no delays or travel disruptions.  The purpose of the trip was to raise more support both financial and prayer and to encourage teams and individuals to come and work alongside our staff.  I couldn't believe it when OMS Canada emailed me with the donors so I could write thank you cards,  Dr Rodney was able to raise over $80,000 (CA).  This is enough money to buy medicine for almost  a year! To God be the glory.

Bethesda has been struggling financially for quite a few years, around 45% of our monthly income comes from patient fees the rest comes from supporters.  Having these funds will really help over the next year.  Its been amazing to look back over the last year and see how God has provided the funds for the PT building, the electrical project and the new X ray machine which is almost fully funded and now this trip to Canada.  It is clear to me God is blessing Bethesda and has bigger plans to come.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Transition and change

They say life changes the most in your 20's, lets just say Bill and I can say yes that is true! The past 8 years have brought many many changes and here are just some of the big ones!  We met  in 2010 and both moved to countries which were not our own, for a year.  We were married in 2011 and finally lived in the same country together. 

Two years later Bill finished studying and started working, we bought our first house, 4 weeks after that we had our first baby.  Two years after that we had our second baby and moved our family to Haiti and all that that entails.

Now almost two years later we are currently adjusting to living in a third different country together (Bill has actually lived in 4 different countries since 2010!) and adopting a baby.

The view from our house

Bill can't wait for the day when we live in one place and don't go anywhere else.  However  I keep reminding him that with us being from two different countries and living in a third that that is very unlikely to happen!

With all that experience I can say we are getting pretty good at coping with big changes.  We know (mostly) what to expect now.

We know to expect to be really tired, even if your resting and not doing much and sleeping well transition takes a lot of out you.  A combination of everything being new and having to adjust to your new normal is exhausting.  And is not only tiring for a few days, but it can take weeks sometimes even months before you adapt to the change and feel like you have more energy.  Anyone who has had a baby can tell you that, maybe they would even say the tiredness lasts for years (around 18 I think!)

After about 3 days in Haiti Sam slept for literally 20 hours!

We know we are going to feel frustrated.  I always tell the story of Bill moving to Northern Ireland and being extremely annoyed at the brush / broom.  They just don't make brooms the same in N.Ireland as they do in Canada and every time Bill swept the floor he ended up feeling annoyed and frustrated. It just wasn't the same as home. Something I didn't expect to be frustrated at in Canada was going grocery shopping.  In fact with such limited choice in Haiti I was looking forward to cooking being easy and eating lots of food we can't find in Haiti.  But, let me tell you it is not enjoyable.  Trying to figure out what some things are, which brands are good and which are not and what is a good price for something is very frustrating.

We know, with change its often the little things that are most difficult.  When we moved to Haiti we were expecting it to be hot, we were expecting the culture to be different,  we were expecting to feel homesick but what we were not expecting was that cooking and eating would be so different.  Even things which were made of the same ingredients still tasted different.  We were not expecting Sam, who was 2 1/2 at the time and not a fussy eater at all to have such a big problem with this change and therefore were not prepared.  We brought absolutely no foodstuffs from home with us.  As a result we struggled with Sam for probably over a year to eat his dinner.  Almost every night was a battle. It was exhausting and sometimes still is.

We know we need be prepared and organised.   The more prepared you are, the easier it is to cope with change.  Before coming to Canada we talked and talked about what we needed and what it was going to be like. I wrote lists of things Bill needed to buy before the boys and I got here.  We talked to Sam and Joel about coming to Canada and the snow and Grandpa & Grandma and baby Jacob. And it helped... a lot.

The boys have gone from sun to snow, from bare feet to snow boots, from outside all day to inside all day and from two boys  to three boys and they have done extremely well with these huge changes happening in their wee lives. 

When we moved to Haiti, Sam pretty much stopped eating, he also stopped being potty trained and we also went through many many hours of screaming and tantrums.  It really took him a full year to settle in Haiti.  So bringing him to Canada I expected things to be hard for Sam. He doesn't cope well with change and likes routine.  However he has been great, we give him lots and lots of rest and I make sure I talk to him about everything that is going to happen and where we are going to go and who we are going to meet.

It has been lovely to watch him with Jacob, right from day one he was calling Jacob his little brother, he said to me ' I love Jacob, his skin is so soft.  I really wanted a little brother who has really soft skin.'  If Jacob is crying Sam brings his dummy or tells me he needs to sleep or needs his bottle.
Ok, so Joel doesn't quite have the snow boots idea he still
loves bare feet!


Joel, on the other hand is very easy going and just takes everything in his stride.  I thought he would be jealous of Jacob because he is a real mummy's boy and loves to be held.  Yet again, Joel has had no issues he has just taken everything in his stride.

So this big big change has not really felt so big, and maybe its because we have become good at dealing with change but I'm pretty sure its mostly because of your prayers for us. Throughout all the changes of the last 8 years but more so the last two months we are so thankful that God never changes.  And no matter where we go or who we are with or what the weather is like that God is still faithful.  God is still leading and guiding us and God is giving us that peace that passes all understanding.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Daddy's home

The boys and I drove to Calgary on Sunday and stayed at Bill's brothers house for the night.  Sam and Joel got some good cousin time with Kaylie and Kian and on Monday we went to pick Bill up from the airport.

Its been a month since we have all been together (apart from a few hours before this last trip to Haiti) and the boys are very excited to have their daddy back.  Sam, especially has been hyper since Monday and just wants all of Bill's attention.

We moved over to the other house on Bill's parents land and are now all getting to know Jacob a bit better and bring him into our family.

Bill had a good trip in Haiti, the course was helpful and interesting and he enjoyed getting some face time with his class. 

We are working on the paperwork for the adoption and hope to have most of it done by the end of this month.

Thank you for your continued prayers, Jacob is a very blessed baby having people from all over the world praying for him.