Living The Life That God Has For Us....

God's Plumbline Ministries is called to repair devastation in the lives of God's people allowing restoration both physically and spiritually. Providing creative solutions for employment, education and life skills allowing God to repair and restore hope.  Empowering each community to establish a secure foundation both inside and out, while keeping in tact God given talents and uniqueness, not focusing on man's ways but God's ways.  Developing working relationships within social and economic circles, working hand in hand with community leaders to bring the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mud Pies

We have all heard the stories about the Haitians who eat mud pies because that is all they can afford. I wanted to buy one, had one in my hand to buy, but had to keep moving. Next time! What could a mud pie really taste like?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Are You The Ones?"

Today, I am still thinking about the charcoal lady at the market and this little boy. I don't even remember his name. There are hundreds of children like him here. He followed us the whole time we shopped and all the way to our truck asking for money, always reminding me he was hungry and asking me to take his picture. As we got in the truck we did give him some money.
What is amazing to me, is that he stayed with us all day and had the courage to ask Lisa, "Are you the going to eat me?" It has been awhile since I have heard that. The last time we experienced it, the kid just dropped the McDonald's happy meal toy we gave him and went screaming in the other direction, scaring Lisa and I more than we scared him.

It is 2008, we are only two hours from the States and kids here still believe that we as white people, eat black children.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Market Day

One of my favorite spots in Port Au Prince used to be a small area on the way to Petionville where all the machants sat on the side of the road selling their fruit and vegetables. No matter how many times I came around that corner it still was beautiful to me. Their big baskets full of assorted fruits and vegetables some how reminded me of my grandmother's fruit cellar growning up in Minnesota. This place is now gone or should I say the machants are now gone. I don't really know why they had to move. The street was always very crowded and it was causing traffic problems, I guess. But there are traffic problems every where you go here and I liked watching the people.
My second favorite group of ladies are the ones that sell charcoal. Maybe it is because I love pen & ink drawings and black & white photographs. Maybe, but there is something beautiful about these ladies. Not beautiful like the fruit or the children, beautiful in a way I can't describe. They always dress in black. What skin is showing, always ends up a deep, pure, black making their skin darker than it already is. But, somehow it is like you don't see them. They don't sit with the other ladies, they have an area of their own off to the side, alone.

Today we went out with Ted and Lisa to see the new market that the machants have been moved to. It is a two story market filled with everything you could ever want. I went looking for fabric for embroidery and Lisa was getting fruit and veggies. As we walked down to the market, two, huge and out of control dump trucks helped clear the way for us to get down the road to the market. When I say out of control, I mean out of control. The back tires just bounced over the rocks sliding closer and closer to the crowds causing every one to drop their things and run. I screamed because I thought for sure it was going to hit them. Maybe it should have been a sign, but it wasn't. We made our way to the second floor of the market and noticed no one was really shopping, every one was hanging over the edge looking down below. On Saturday, I almost always have my camera with me, so I just had to look and make sure I wasn't missing something good. By this time we had all stopped shopping and stood for a long time watching. It seems that today just happened to be moving day! It is necessary that you pay to have a space at the new market. Not everyone agreed with the new rule. Many, even hundreds set up shop any way. We now understood what the dump trucks would be doing, cleaning up what they grader plowed down. It was chaos below as the machants moved out of the way. It was very clear not everyone wanted to move, it was also very clear that the driver of the grader didn't care if they wanted to move or not, he had a job to do and would do it no matter what.
I didn't like what I was seeing, but I was glued to it and I could have stayed for hours. I was warned not to take pictures, some one even thought about throwing a rock at Dan and Maddie.
It was distrubing to me on many levels, some I am not even sure what they are. Haiti is kind of like that, distrubing on many levels and you don't always know why. It takes awhile to sink in. In the end it came down to the charcoal lady looking at the grader face to face and finally moving. Was she strong? Was she crazy?
I feel like her at times. Sometimes the Lord says, stay! Sometimes he says, wait! Sometimes he says, move!
But what ever basket you carry, fruit or charcoal, you better make sure you can use what's in it and it is not things of the past holding you in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Child Birth And The Mumps

Today, as I was talking to the ladies in sewing class letting them know that Rosenie had the mumps and wouldn't be back this week from having her baby. Needing me to understand Erta said to me, in Haiti, if you hold your breath while you are having your baby you can get this. "Get what?" I said, not making the connection between child birth and mumps. She explained to me that if you hold your breath and push too long and too hard the air will get trapped inside causing you to get a swollen throat or mumps.

Looks like we will be having a Power Point on Mumps very soon!

How To Market A Bag According To Jes

If you have had any kind of conversation with me in the last few weeks, we will have most likely ended up talking about the hand bags the ladies have been making and how to market them. For weeks I have been working on getting a different variety of bags ready to sell and working on how to market them. Today, I was working on inventory when Jes came to me and said, "Hey, this is how we should market the bags" -
Everyone meet Florence. She is two weeks old and her mom, Roseline, comes to sewing class everyday. Anne Geddes has nothing we don't have!! We do have really cute babies in our program, maybe Jes is on to something!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday School

Maddie and I have been filling in for Aghate teaching her Sunday School class. Moving to Haiti has been so good for Maddie and helping her be bold when she is so shy. She loves being with the kids and they love her. We call her the kid magnet.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Our Day At... Clean Water For Haiti

We are planning a one day seminar with our friends Chris, Leslie and Oliva or "Clean Water For Haiti" this coming Saturday. We will have one at the our house for the woman and one at our church. So, we took a road trip out to hang out with them and let Chris give Dan a crash course on installation of the bio sand filters. We think they are doing a great thing here in Haiti. A Haitian family can have clean water for $6.00 American dollars thanks to their mission!

Sheila, Jes and Leslie

Maddie,Parker and Dan on their first Haitian boat ride!

Chris and Dan training for installation of filters

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I have lost track of the number of sermons I have heard about the Lord giving back to us pressed down and shaken together. To be honest, it has turned into one of those scriptures that as I set in church I tend to roll my eyes because I know that we are gonna get another message about giving, that for the most part, turns into begging. You feel beat up at the end of church and don't really feel like giving to the new building fund or Sunday school wing. Some how the goodness of Jesus is taken out of the message and I am left feeling empty instead of full.

So, this Sunday when Pierre got up to preach and read pressed down and shaken together, my heart sank. I love Pierre and his family and didn't want him to go there. As he started down what I thought was going to the road of another message on giving he started to talk about his father growing rice and going to market and how the machants use a mamit (can) to measure out what they sell, like rice, beans and flour. This was good, I could understand how many people in Haiti are struggling with food prices and trying to get all they can for their money. He explained that if you are the one selling at market you will do what you can to keep as much as you can in your supply and that it was common to push up the bottom of the can so it would hold less, or keep your hand inside to take up space. And don't even consider asking them to press down the rice or flour so you get the most for your money because that would get you punched. Now he was talking a language I could understand.

Growing up in American I have had a hard time understanding some different scriptures because I don't always understand the culture or the time in which it was written. But, living in Haiti, or any other third world country, you really have a better understanding of a culture that seemed to be lost. Much of life here for most Haitians functions at very basic levels. You only have enough for one day. You work for what you can buy for only that day. You buy two eggs and bananas, not a dozen. You don't have electricity or money to buy things to store up when the average person lives on two dollars a day.

Now I was thinking what a great scripture! Jesus has so much to give us that he will fill the mamit full, running over, pressed down and shaken together. No arguing for a better price because I was white, I didn't have to push out the bottom of the can, I didn't have to recount my change. Why? Because He loves me and isn't out to take away from me or to hold it back for himself. He doesn't needed it, it is all His and He is giving it to us.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gas Station Visit

Today was our first real day out since all of the different manifestations this past week. We drove to Agape to get our mail, as we drove we could see all the damage done, many will choose not to stay in business. More police had been out now to watch over things. As we rode behind these guys Dan was saying how it wasn't a great feeling knowing if the driver in front of us hit a bump a bullet could go through our engine block, or worse.

Earlier in the morning at 6:00 a.m. Dan had gotten fuel for our truck, but we still need some for our tanks to fill the generator. So well pulled into a station that was oddly empty, but the security guard said they had diesel for sale. We sat and waited and no one came to help us. Soon Jr. drove up looking for gas for his truck. He asked and was told they would open at 2:00. We would wait. With in a few minutes cars started to fill the road. Everyone had known the station would open soon. It was something we happened upon with out knowing what was coming as we just happened to be first in line.
I have mentioned that I think the worst job in Haiti would be the guys who dig out the car catchers. Today, and all of this past week,I am sure the worst job is working at the gas station. Hundreds of people desperate for fuel all in line blowing horns and yelling. Before we had know that our little secret was really a well known fact we had called Ted and told him to come and get in line with us to fill his tanks for his generator. Little did we know this was a big no-no! Horns started blowing and people started yelling. The owner of the station however had grace on us and let us both fill up one storage tank with fuel.We quickly left and met Ted down the street with his fuel. We didn't think the public trade off would be a good thing. We had been down to the last drop of fuel in the geneerator so we are really happy to have power tonight. We plan to watch a movie together with Maddie and Parker. The good life!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Phat Cat's Pants

The first week we go to Haiti Phat Cat (Chad) showed up on the sceen with his pal Soul the Interrogator (STI) (Sean) and their rap music. I can't say I know much about rap music. But Parker thought these two guys hung the moon. I felt sorry for them because he never left them alone. After about the third day of rap music playing 24/7, I felt sorry for myself. It was one thing to go and see the kids and the guys having a great time but we listened to the same song over and over and over. I think I am giving away my age. Chad and Sean did a great thing with the kids here by changing the way they see rap music. When it came time for Phat Cat to go he left all of his clothes. I have had them sitting in the woman's program ever since trying to come up with a good way to use these shorts. I think I have finally come up with an idea that will make Phat Cat proud. The ladies of Haiti are now making a living thanks to Phat Cat' shorts. Check out his pants now. We have taken them apart and added them to a rice sack to make a messanger bag! Thanks Phat Cat!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Dan!

Today is Dan's "real" birthday! We have been doing birthday type things since Saturday when we went to the beach (again). Sunday we had all our friends over after church to Byron and Shelley's! Everyone went swimming and grilled the burgers Dan brought back from the States. Real hamburgers are a treat here, you know you have a hit when you see three burgers on one bun!

Today we had a lot of unrest (manifestations) in PAP due to the riots in the streets because of the high food prices. Dan said, no, they are celebrating my birthday! He said, it is always good to have a birthday to remember. Maddie and Parker had lots of action across the street from their school and said they could hear it all from the class room. The gas station and Epidor's are trashed she said. (They do attend a gated school with guards.) Ted and Lisa picked them up since we couldn't make it across town. Cheri Kay, the trooper, got them the rest of the way!! Thanks guys!

Dan, John and Junior went to the airport to pick up some UN guys that just came in that didn't have a ride because the airport is a red zone. They will spend the night with John and Beth.

Happy Birthday, Dan - we will have to do the "real" birthday party later in the week since it was not good for everyone to travel. Just another reason to celebrate one more day!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Gong Show

DISCLAIMER: You should know this blog has nothing to do with my cell phone that John lost or the $3800 cell phone bill that went along with John "misplacing" my phone. Nor does it have any thing to do with the fact that I wrongly accused John of eating the apple crisp out of my fridge when, in fact, it was Jess and Brittany. John said, he would have only eaten it if it was on the counter. Who knew that I had other people in my life that are "cake top eaters".

So, now that we have that all cleared up, you may be asking yourself why I am writing a blog about John and The Gong Show. Truthfully, I am beginning to wonder if John is really John. I remember watching The Gong Show over summer vacation while growing up in Minnesota. Even at age eight I remember thinking that Chuck Barris was a bit odd with his strange laughter, goofy hair and black tux. He was always swinging his hands balled up in a fist around in a circle pointing with his index fingers while looking off to the side where is panel of celebrity guests sat.
You see a few weeks ago, John, well I think it was John, started a conversation about The Gong Show. I started to laugh when the picture of Chuck Barris came crashing into my mind. I was now standing in front of this guy with the same curly hair, the same finger pointing thing and the crazy backwards laughter. When all of a sudden he just happens to mention his favorite episode on The Gong show was the one where people spit in the cup and Chuck drinks it. The look on my face must not have been the best because he started doing his backwards laughing thing.

Argument One: As Jess and I stood in John's office a few days later he began to ask questions about his fountain and why the water supply had gone down. Before we could give him an answer he started to spit in his fountain in order to fill it up, asking us if we would spit in it to help the cause. Um, No!! We quickly left, letting him fill his fountain as his backwards laughter filled the room.

Argument Two: Again, in John's office, he was doing some cleaning, which I find funny in itself, because we all know about John's shower and clothing issues. Not to mention, he will randomly comb his hair with his fork. His cleaning style is what we should enter as evidence in this case. It involved, you guessed it, spitting. As he looked around the office he noticed a cup sitting out and said, thinking out loud, is this clean? Not really needing or wanting my answer, he spit in the cup and wiped it out with his shirt. He than added the cup back in the stack mixing the cups up so no one would guess which one it was.
Final Argument: I had just finished my lessons with Baby and John walked in with a cup of homemade ice cream. I casually asked, what are you eating, John? Ah, Ah, Ah... are the words that came out of his mouth as he began to slowly back away. Suddenly he spit in his cup and said, to me, Jess and Baby, "ice cream, do you want some"? Spitting not only once, twice, but three times to make sure none of us said yes. He was soon doing the backwards laughing thing while enjoying his ice cream and going back to his office offering some of his Twizzler stash to make up for it.

I rest my case. They jury is out - is John really John or is he in fact Chuck Barris. Think about it! You can't even find a picture of Chuck Barris in his bio on the internet,just like you can't get John to let you take a picture of him.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Puppy Love

We have wanted a Mastiff for a couple of years, but didn't really live in a place that we could have one. Lilly and Marley spent some time together a few weeks ago and if all goes well...we will have a puppy soon. Lilly is sleeping at our house to get used to us since Beth will be leaving for Boston to run her big marathon on April 21st, also Lilly's due date. It is likely that we will be hand feeding puppies for awhile if she has some. Maddie and Parker are loving having Lilly at the house and I am sure she likes watching movies on a blanket in Maddie's room. We have kicked Uno out of the house at night so that poor Lily will get a break from Uno who is acting like the Energizer Bunny more than a dog.