Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's A Selection, Not An Election

Selection, not election. But in reality, this election is no where near a selection. Accusations of fraud have been barreling through the city, which has caused uprising in this country.

So this is the way the elections work: Every voter has an ID card and a specific booth they are supposed to go to. However, many people lost their cards in the January earthquake. Digicel, one of the top cell phone carriers in Haiti, has stepped in and is allowing people to call a number to be told where to go. Pretty simple process.

So here's a who's who of the people I'll be talking about.

Preval - current president and part of the INITE party

Jude Celestin - Preval's son-in-law and one of the top contenders in this election. Endorsed by Preval and part of the INITE party

Madame Manigat - former first lady, and top contender in this election

Michel "sweet mickey" Martelly - very crude rapper and top contender in this election

So those are the important people. Elections in Haiti are usually not a very safe time. The roads are shut down from 8 pm Saturday night until 8 am Monday morning. No alcohol or gasoline is sold during that time either. In the past, many riots have broken out and many people killed.

This year seems to be no different. Saturday night, gunfire was opened at a rally for Martelly. No one was injured or killed, but it is believed to be an assassination attempt on Martelly. Today, three people have already been killed due to an accusation of fraud by the INITE party.

Celestin has been accused of having tons of ballots already filled out in his favor. Also, Preval is shutting down voting booths without the proper authority of doing so. Five of the candidates are holding a press conference today to talk about the fraud. If I spoke better Creole, then I would know what they are saying, but I'm relying on some friends to let me know what is happening.

Fraud is not the only problem being faced right now. Many voters cannot find their names on the list at the voting centers they are going to. So many people will probably not get to vote. One of the voting bureaus was vandalized this morning, and overtaken by thugs. Many voting centers are shutting down early because of all the violence that is happening. There are anti-Celestin and pro-Martelly riots by the airport. Everywhere you turn in this country, there is some form of violence or demonstration happening.

Now, Madame Manigat is asking that the elections be cancelled because of all the fraud. It would not be good for the country to go through this twice. With every election, there is going to be violence, but going through this twice will not be good.

This country is angry with Preval. After the January 12 earthquake, Preval ran. Nothing has been done to help this country. Many of the voters want a president that will help the people in the tent cities have permanent homes, and that will help rebuild this country. But, like most other leaders, the election is about power and money. The winner of the election gets over one billion dollars to help the country, but most of the candidates would pocket the money, and leave the people as they are.

This country needs a God-fearing leader. It doesn't appear that will happen this year, but I believe God can work through whoever is elected. This country needs prayer as the voters are casting their ballots. This country needs prayer for there to be an absence of violence.

Please pray for Haiti today. Prayer is a powerful, powerful tool, and this country needs it so so so much. I'll be updating twitter as I find out what is going on, so if you are interested, you can follow at

I'll try to update again later.

Until then...

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Since it is Thanksgiving, and I haven't blogged in a while, I want to devote this blog to some of the many things I am thankful for. This will not be a complete list, but just a few things.

1. Jesus - I am so thankful that my Savior came and died for me so that I can share His love with everyone around me. I am thankful that he looked upon me, a nasty sinner, and saw something worth dying for. I will spend the rest of my days on this Earth praising His name and spreading His love.

2. My awesome family - Even though I didn't get to share this Thanksgiving with them, I was there in Spirit and got to see their beautiful faces over Skype. I'm thankful that they support me even when I wanna do something crazy, like live in a 3rd world country.

3. The Tripod - Adam West and Adam Fox are two of my very best friends who support me and love me no matter what. I haven't seen them in over 3 months, yet they still talk to me all the time and take time out of their busy schedules to check on me.

4. My friends - I probably have the absolute best friends in the world. I know everyone says that, but really. Mine are awesome. They pray for me, love me, and post on my facebook wall just to see how I'm doing. It can be quite overwhelming to live in a 3rd world country with no friends or family, but mine make is so easy :)

5. America - I love that place. I love its grass, I love its trees, I love its restaurants.

5. Haiti : The country that has the other half of my heart. Although it can be so hard, it is such a blessing to see God moving in a country that is desperate for His love. I'm so glad that every Sunday morning, I get to sit with Haitians and Americans and sing praises to our God. Sometimes we sing in English, sometimes in Creole, but either way, we are worshipping the same God. I am also thankful that I have met some amazing friends in this country, both Haitian and American. They keep me sane when I feel like breaking down.

6. My students - I have such an incredible crop of students. I have eleven 11th graders, and 12 tenth graders. I LOVE my students. They can be difficult at times, but they bring me so much joy throughout the day. I have a unique opportunity with them. These kids are the future leaders of Haiti. They have the connections and the wealth to change the country around, and hardly any of them know it. Each day, I am blessed with the opportunity to share Christ with these kids and help them see what they can do for this country. I have already had so many awesome conversations, I look forward to tons more!

Ok.. these are my selfish ones that I shamelessly miss from America, but am ever so thankful for

  • Starbucks - I miss that beautiful coffee. You better believe that when I hit Miami, my lips will be tasting that goodness once again. I didn't realize how thankful I was for this franchise until I couldn't have it for 3 months.
  • Hot water - I am so thankful to get to take hot showers every now and then. Cold ones will do that to ya.
  • Easy access to everyday items - it is a bit of an ordeal to get simple things in this country, and I am so thankful that in America, it is so easy to just run to the store and get things
  • Paved roads - My booty appreciates those
Other miscellaneous things that I am so thankful for
  • An amazing education - both High School and ole faithful : UT (The real one)
  • My health - I have my ups and downs, but I am better off than most
  • Facebook - I can keep in touch with anyone, anywhere
  • Tennessee Basketball

Ok, so that is my short list of things, but I know there are so many more things that I could write. I hope you all had a great thanksgiving!

20 more days :)


Friday, November 19, 2010

Marie's Story

This is a story of a little girl who breaks my heart.

I got a phone call about a week and a half ago from Michelle. She told me that a baby had been dropped off at our clinic. This is baby number 2 that has been dropped off, and I already knew that Michelle had this baby in her possession. We meet up and I see this HUGE baby! She has got to weigh 30 pounds. She is seven months, has two teeth, and is all around pretty adorable.

I hold her for a few minutes, and she pees on me. This is the beginning of our love-hate relationship. I'm still getting used to "babies" so having one pee on me was not a good start. I really wanted to know her story so Michelle filled me in on all of the details.

Marie's dad is a voodoo priest. Every November, there is a ceremony where babies are sacrificed to the voodoo religion. Marie's mom brought Marie and her younger brother to the clinic that day covered in blood. Quickly, the staff at the clinic found out that the children had been abused by the father, and he was planning on killing baby Marie. My heart sunk. How can ANYONE kill an innocent child. My heart started beating fast, and I was so glad that she was in our possession.

We are home with Marie, and she starts SCREAMING. Every time we put this child down, she cries uncontrollably. I automatically get nervous for this child. I know she is out of her comfort zone, even though her comfort zone was being beat. I can't imagine what this baby has seen, but I do know that she hates being put down. If she is held, she is perfectly fine, but the minute she is put on the couch, or on the bed, the tears start flowing.

We are trying to calm her down when Michelle gets a call from the clinic director. The mom has returned to the clinic saying that the dad wants the baby back, and we have to bring Marie back right now. Heart sinking part 2. Michelle says that Marie has to go back to the clinic because the dad is still in charge. The pastor of the community church is going to the dad to try to get him to relinquish Marie, but at this point, anything could happen. He could definitely say I want my baby back, and that baby could be sacrificed tomorrow.

Marie left our house, and I couldn't help but plead with our Father to save this baby's life. I was reminded that whether this baby comes back to our house or not, God is still in control and has this baby surrounded in love. We prayed and weeped, and prayed, and weeped. I was sick to my stomach thinking that this baby could go back to her earthly father just to be harmed and possibly even killed.

After praying for a while and talking to some girls that are staying at our house, I walked down to our guesthouse to see what was going on. We got a call and the clinic director said that the dad decided to relinquish his responsibility! He said the baby was his wife's and she could do what she wanted! I immediately started praising the Lord for sparing this baby's life! Once again, the power of prayer showed me how little faith I have. God knew all along what would happen to this baby, and it reminded me once again how sovereign and awesome He is.

So Marie is now living with us. For the first 3 days she did nothing but cry. She would start crying, then Melissa would start crying. We were having a really hard time, but she has finally gotten used to us and has started playing and smiling a lot more. She can even sit on the floor with some toys and not cry! She truly has come a long way, and I'm so blessed to see the transition that is happening in her life.

I don't know where Marie will end up, but I am confident that she will always be protected under God's wing. She has already impacted several people's lives, and I know that her story will impact so many more. I hope her story even moves you as you are reading this. God really is in control, and He knows what is best for us, and baby Marie.

I'll keep you updated as she grows and we find a permanent place for her.

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quickie Update

I am so sorry I haven't been updating much. Life has been so crazy lately, but I did want to send a quick shout-out and let ya'll know that I'm still here! I hope to do an in depth blog later tonight!

I found out yesterday that I am going to teach a creative writing and a speech class next semester! I am so excited about these two courses, and I'm starting to plan out exactly what I want to teach in them.

The Lord has been so good to me lately, and has been reminding me to trust in Him and everything else will fall into place. As always, I am so thankful for your prayers, and I promise to tell you all about recent happenings very very soon!

I love ya'll!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

He never lets go.

This blog was written yesterday during the "hurricane."

“Oh no, you never let go, through the calm, and through the storm.”

These words are resounding in my head today. Not only does is take a literal meaning for me today, but also an emotional one. As many of you know, Tropical Storm Tomas has now turned into a hurricane and is heading our way. The rain started yesterday around 4 pm, and hasn’t really taken a break. I woke up this morning at the sky was covered with clouds, and the rain was still coming down.

I don’t know what is going to happen during this hurricane, but I do know one thing. God is completely in control of this storm. I have already seen his faithfulness because He has already pushed the storm away from us. The eye will no longer cover us, but we will still get the rain. I am so thankful that He knows exactly what He’s doing, and He is protecting us from MAJOR devastation.

That does not mean that we are not in danger, though. Not so much me, but the citizens of this country are in grave danger. A lot of rain causes mudslides and causes disease to spread. A lot of rain also ruins tents, which over one million people are still living in.

But HE never lets go. HE is here through the calm days, and HE is here on these stormy days. I can’t tell you why this hurricane is coming to an already devastated country, but I can tell you that so many people are being brought to Jesus. So many people have been brought to their knees to pray for this country. Jesus is in control, and will bring Himself glory in all of this.

I’m trusting Him completely to do what He wills in this situation, and I will follow Him faithfully.

Several weeks ago, I was teaching English class when a 16-year-old boy named Rodney came in. He some semi-good English and we had several conversations just about him and everything in his life.

I knew of Rodney before I actually met him. Rodney was flown to the states about a year ago to UT Hospital to have some work done on his heart. He had some form of heart murmur, but I’m not totally sure what kind. He had the first surgery successfully, and was scheduled to have at least 3 more.

A couple of weeks ago, we got a call saying that Rodney was having extreme chest pains. We got him into the Dominican Republic so that a doctor could look at him and see if he could have surgery. When he left, he told our pastor, “I don’t think I’ll be coming back home.”

In my heart, I thought that he would for sure be coming back. I thought they would quickly get him a surgery, and he would come back and I would see him again. As the days progressed, the news got worse and worse. The doctors looked at him and basically said he was too far-gone for surgery, and if they cut him open he would die.

So basically, we were now just waiting. Waiting to see if he would pull through, or go home to our Heavenly Father. Chris, a guy that we work with who took care of Rodney while he was in the states, and Pastor Jude, Rodney’s pastor, got to the Dominican as soon as they could. When they got there, Rodney perked up, and he was so happy to see Chris and Pastor Jude. They were laughing and cutting up. Rodney was at a hotel at this point, and he got up to walk out of the door to go for a little walk.

He collapsed in the doorway and died on the way to the hospital. When Michelle told me this, I had this overwhelming sense of sadness. But then a light bulb went off in my head. Rodney isn’t hurting anymore. He is in heaven, and that is SO much better than being on this Earth.

You see, Rodney was just a street kid, taken in by a loving woman who shared the gospel with him. Rodney was a believer, and because one woman decided she would be responsible for him, He got to know our heavenly Father, and he is now in heaven praising His name forever.

As much as we will all miss Rodney, I know he is so thankful to be praising our God.

“Oh no, you NEVER let go, through the calm, and through the storm.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hydration and Hurricanes

I have had two days off work. At least what I thought was off work. I ended up having to do a lot of catching up on work and preparing for my next two weeks of classes. We were out for All Saints and All Souls Day.

All Saints is the same thing as All Hallows, and is a Roman Catholic holiday. It is a day to remember all of the saints, known and unknown. All Souls Day is a mostly Catholic holiday and is used to remember the "faithful departed."

I don't celebrate either of these holiday's, but it was nice to have a couple of days off of school.

Dr. Jenny flew in because she wanted to spend some time with Melissa, so I not only had days off of school, but I had a babysitter for 5 days! It was really nice just to have some time to relax and chill out before school geared back up. We also had two new girls come and they are staying here until about December. They are both 18, and it is so nice to have someone closer to my age around.

Everyone in this house has been sick, and I have been avoiding it like the plague. I have been extremely successful in my efforts until a "slip" I had, which I'll tell you about later. Because everyone has been sick, we really haven't done anything this weekend. I have been so lazy, but in a good way.

Sunday, we went to church and it was an incredible service. It was so full, and I didn't get to hear much of the sermon, but just being back at Port-au-Prince fellowship was awesome, and really revived me. Sunday night, I was invited to a teacher's party that was on campus. I was really debating on what to wear because I didn't want to look silly, but this is what I decided on.

Ok, so you can't see my outfit real well, but I was gangster barbie :)

Well, it started pouring down rain, so my costume got a little soaked. But there was awesome food! There were salty snacks, sweet snacks, and freshly popped caramel corn. It was DELICIOUS! I had one of the best brownies I've ever had in my life. Or maybe I say that because it was the first brownie I've had since moving here. Either way, it was the bomb.

So for those of you that don't know.. there is a hurricane coming for us. The weather channel has changed it's predictions daily, so no one really knows what is going on. At first it was going to be really really bad, but now it's not going to be as bad. Any strong winds or heavy rain will devastate this already devastated country. Please pray with me that it will either break up, or go a different direction.

There are so many people living in tents in this country, that any type of strong wind will take away their homes and all their belongings, leaving them homeless once again. Also, as many of you know, Cholera has broken out in this country. The heavy rain will make the Cholera spread more rapidly, and this country does not need that!

Cholera is easily treated, but many people to not have access to the treatment. Cholera is spread though dirty water. We are having to brush our teeth with bottled water, and make sure we have purified drinking water. Also, anything that is bought on the street now has to be washed in purified water before we can eat it. These things are extremely easy for us, but for people living in tents and on the streets, these tasks are impossible. Cholera dehydrates you, and causes fever and diarrhea.

To help these people, we spent a few hours yesterday making rehydration packs for people so if they get Cholera, they can put this mixture into a bottle of water and take a medicine and be fine. We are really hoping this disease doesn't spread, but if it does, we want to be able to help as many people as possible. We made close to 200 hydration packs, so if the hurricane hits and the cholera spreads, we can be active in helping this community.

So please join me in prayer for this country so that it does not have to go through more devastation.

On a different note.. I'm coming home in 6 weeks for a little bit. Words can't express how excited I am. I got to talk to several of my friends that were at a Bible Study on Sunday night and it was so good to hear their voices. I also got to talk to my mom, dad, and sister, which was such a blessing.

God is truly doing huge things in this country, and in my life. I love this country, I love my job, and I love the people that I'm surrounded by here in Haiti.

Until next time...