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. 

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Traveling from Haiti is always an adventure. This trip was no different. It left Haiti at 9:00am Thursday morning. I took three planes to Kansas City getting to my hotel at 1:00am. I was not happy to learn that I couldn't get a Starbucks in Ft. Lauderdale - what is up with that? But, they did have free wireless Internet. At my stop in Dallas they took a guy off on a stretcher, not sure why? I got a lot of reading done and am loving the new book I am reading about a lady who lived through the genocide in Rwanda - "Left To Tell".

When I finally got to my room I was freezing and am still freezing! Thanks for the sweat shirt Tammy! How quickly I forgot it was really cold here in October. It is not cold in Haiti in October. Living in Haiti and making the transition back to the States is a bit odd at times. It is quite here, you can drive really fast, you can drink the water and take a hot shower.

When I woke up in the middle of the night in the hotel and found the room to be so black my first thought was - great we didn't get power and the freezer isn't working. As I drifted off back to sleep I remembered I wasn't in Haiti but I was in Kansas (City that is). It was still a strange feeling knowing I didn't need to worry about the power and that was the first thing I was thinking about.

So far the trip is going well....we had a purse party! More details on that idea later. I will also be posting Corrigan's great video for God's Plumbline. Thanks for busting Dan - Corrigan!! Woot!

The Rice Family has been great. Joseph loved his Ragaman!

Peace Out Peeps!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I don't even know where to begin. I have written about HIV in the past. I have told you that I have a passion for working with the women and children who have HIV and if I wasn't doing the sewing program I would consider doing it full time.
They need a voice. They need someone to help them fight for their lives. They need someone to push through everything that makes a "free" program too much trouble even knowing they could die if they don't fight for what is free. They need respect and dignity, two things that are pretty hard to get with HIV.

I have been working with Suzie for months. She tested positive when we did her labs. She didn't really agree to go to get meds, but I told her she was going to start dreaming about me bugging her if she didn't go. She needed to go for her unborn baby and her other children. I got all the paperwork done so she could transfer to Doctor's Without Borders and have her baby for free, in a safe place. No such luck, she had her in the back of a tap-tap. No, I am not kidding.
I bugged her and bugged her to bring her family and get tested. It didn't seem important. It was complicated. I was not getting through to her.
So today when the whole family walked through my gate I determined none of them was leaving until I got the lab work done even if I had to sit on them. Trust me I would have! The team was here with a lab in a suit case! It was perfect.
I understood it would also be the painful truth if what I was thinking was true.

My worst fear came true today. I had a house full of people, wonderful people here to help with clinic and about a hundred who needed to be seen. I had to find John and we had to figure this out. What should we do? I was getting pulled in so many directions that I was not finishing my conversation. John was showing people the baby house and would be back in ten minutes. With lab results in hand we finally talked about what to do with a whole family that tested HIV positive.

I wasn't feeling good. My head was spinning. I told Beth, I hate today. The husband wanted to leave, I told him to wait. We came up with a plan. Suzie would get a shot for family planning, Tara would drive the whole family to another lab for confirmation of our tests. They would meet as a family on Friday with John to talk about the results.

I am still numb. I have so many unanswered questions. How can a whole family have HIV - four out of five have HIV. Depending on what happens with the other lab results it could be five out of five. It could be that the three year old has reverted back to negative and the one month old baby could as well. I have to get on a plane in the morning and leave Haiti with so many unanswered questions. How can I leave? The sad truth is, I can leave and they can't. When I come back they will still have HIV.

Friday, October 17, 2008


October 21st will mark the one year anniversary of the death of my grandmother. I still cry at church when we sing songs that she loved. I am not sure I know that she is gone yet. In some respects she will never be gone. I keep her close to my heart always wearing her wedding ring. While she was here on earth she never ever took it off her finger. As a child I did everything I could to get her to take it off but she said my grandpa put it on her finger and it was meant to stay there. I did talk her into moving it up as far as her finger nail once. Now it is mine.
After she died I was talking to my grandfather about her life. They had been married for sixty-eight years. As we sat and ate breakfast together I asked him about drinking his coffee without her in the morning and what he would do without her. As he sat with me, he said he never remembered her ever saying anything that she had to apologize for. Not to him or anyone they knew. He said he had said things he had to apologize for and wished he was more like her. I told him I had the same gift he had, talking first, apologizing later. We laughed.
I find the example of her life a great strength to me. I loved her deeply and miss her very much. She showed me Jesus in a way that shaped my life for eternity.
She was known as the cookie lady of Danbury. With every plate of cookies she and my grandfather delivered she talked about Jesus and how much he loved everyone. She kept the tract people in business always giving out the message of Jesus every where she went. I can still here her say, Jesus Loves you...and so do I!
I pray my life will honor her.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

magical and bizarre

When we have guests coming for the very first time I am never really sure what to say when they ask us what to expect.

It is hard when the media says so many bad things, friends and family say other things and if you read the state departments website you may never come.
John always says you should know what God says.

"That was magical and bizarre all at the same time".....
is what Claudia said to describe our walk on Thursday. I took her down to the ravine. The people are sweet and wonderful, but very poor even by Haiti's standards. It is a really good place to experience what life is really like here for the average family. I explained that so many of our ladies live just like these families.

Tuesday was a hard day. You can't really prepare for a three pound baby to show up at your door with a mom who says she is thirty-nine and looks fifty-nine. The week before the mother had come with complications and we sent her to the hospital. As she was leaving she asked if she could be in our program after she had the baby.
Sure, we said.
Honestly, I was shocked to see her. I didn't think she would have delivered a baby that would live with the kind problems she was having. While doing the well baby check-up we asked the babies name. She said she didn't have one. Well, she did but the dad named her and she forgot.
Yet, another thing that is hard for a visitor to prepare for.
In the States mom's are planning the name of their babies for months in advance, making sure the initials look good and don't spell out bad words. Not here.

We heard the same thing today from another mom who came for a well baby check-up. This time with a six pound baby.
I was glad Claudia was taking a break. The good part in all of this was we really saw what a difference eggs, milk and vitamins make in the life of a woman every week. Healthy babies and mom's are what we are here for.

I guess if Claudia is like most people that visit for the first time, she is still trying to figure out why they don't fix the roads and pick up all the trash. She will need a few weeks to process what she has done, seen and heard this past week. I often say that either you love it or the minute you are up in the air with a diet coke and a glass of ice denial sets in and you want to believe this didn't just happen. There is no middle.

Now that you are wondering if you would love it or hate it. We love having people come and visit. If you would like to come and see what we are doing in Haiti we would encourage you to come.

But, like John says, ask the Lord what He thinks before you say yes or no.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Maddie, Dolly and Uno

When we moved to Haiti we promised the kids they could have a dog.
Truthfully, we had been waiting three years for Marley to hook up with his girl friend and have puppies but it wasn't happening. So our second choice was a chocolate lab. We named him Uno. Why? He was the first born, the only boy and we love Uno's pizza. Not after the card game. We got past the potty training days with out killing him when Lilly came over to stay because we thought she was finally having puppies, but she is good at wanting Beth to give her liver and eggs and tricked us. She did us a big favor and taught Uno that you go outside to go to the bathroom, for this we are greatful. But, back she went to the baby house.
Uno, however, became Trouble, yes, like the game. It was a game. A game that lasted all day everyday. He would get cell phones, shoes, toys, stuffed animals and we would chase him out the gate, down the street, around the yard and upstairs. We ended up being the losers, buying shoes and cell phones for what seemed to be every person that came to the house. I even made a new rule for the sewing ladies...DON'T LEAVE YOUR CELL PHONE OR SHOES ON THE FLOOR UNATTENDED OR THE DOG WILL EAT THEM. I have it on paper and posted it the first day of school.
What to do? Answer: Get another dog!
We had planned on getting another Lab puppy but since Beth and John now had too many dogs we took Dolly to our house.
She did the trick. Uno is now this very laid back, hang loose kind of guy. The kind you love to have around. Problem solved.
Oh, but wait!
Marley and Lilly finally hooked up and we are going to have a Marley puppy the end of October!
We will have three dogs. These dogs are tricky! You get one for the kids to make them happy and then you end up with three before you know what is happening.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Marie Lourde

I was a little freaked to be out smarted on the first day of sewing school.
In Haiti, it is normal for only about half of the people you think are coming to really show up, unless it involves food, than they bring the whole family and more! It is pretty comman that if they do show up, you can bet that eveyone will be very late! The bride is always atleast an hour late to her own wedding. Why wouldn't the same rule apply to sewing school? Just because we agreed that we would have twenty in our sewing class didn't mean they would all come, I figured by rights I could have extra's signed up and still be fine - right!

Wasn't I at a loss for words when twenty-three ladies showed up bright and early! What to do now? Twenty-three ladies all packed in the benches! Today one lady did call and say she wouldn't be coming because her baby is very sick and she will miss too many classes. So, for the past three days I have been in and out of class watching the ladies, getting all my paper work done, putting sewing boxes together and training my new assistant.
For three days I have also noticed I have another student. She has been watching every detail of what has been happening around here. No one has said a word to her. She doesn't have a pencil or a notebook and I don't have her name on roll call. Billy did tell her to get lost and get way from the window. She didn't really listen to him, she knows he is just the yard man. Besides, I had already taken her picture.

I finally went to talk to her.
Her name is Maire Lourde.
She is ten.

Most likely you have heard all the bad press coming from Haiti about restavec's. Restavec is a french word that means" to stay with". If your not thinkin' of the French, most people say, slave children or house servants. The press says, Haiti has over 250,000 slave children. I am sure it is more. The wealthy, middle class and poor have these children working in their houses. They cook and clean for a place to live and food.

Before you freak out about the fact that she is a restavec, let me say something. There are atleast a hundred things I don't like or agree with here every single day. Lots of people are up in arms about these children for very good reasons, I agree, I don't like it either.
It isn't OK with me.
Haiti is the kind of place that before you go ahead and think that you are going to "fix" it, you better have a plan worked out from A to Z! FYI - it is never just A,B,C.. it is more like A,a,b,c,d,e,f,g and maybe if your lucky you will start with B, a,b,c,d,e,f,g and so on.
It is layer after layer of complications.
There are reasons why Haiti is the way it is.
Bottom line these children live and work for people with the hope that they will be fed. Most hope to go to school, but that may or may not happen. Most of them come to work in Port so they won't die. Many of these children have families who argree to this as a better life. They believe it brings hope and a chance to have a something more in life.
I can't say - I really don't know if that is true.
What do you do in a place like Haiti? Mothers have child after child with no means to feed them. Tradition and culture says that this is ok. Voodoo is this countries national religion and it says it is ok. The government can't help.
Someone said to me... they have so many children because they don't love themselves. That made me cry.
The problem is so much bigger than taking these kids and putting them back with their family or in a group home.
For now, she can come to shchool here everyday as the window watcher as far as I am concerend. I won't call her name at eight o'clock everyday, she won't have a note book and pencil, but maybe I can talk the people she lives with into letting her come to literacy class for free.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My Cup Is Full

Beth has the best way of explaining what life in Haiti is like to others who don't live here. We are all major coffee drinkers around here so she uses a coffee cup as the example of our lives in Haiti are so full that when we add a few more things our cup over flows, spilling over. My problem is my cup can be right up to the surface for awhile and I know it is getting ready to spill over. I can feel myself needing a break. I tell myself I am good for awhile longer and all of a sudden I am in tears.

Today was one of those days:

2:00 - no power and I am not sleep thinking I will need to start the generator soon
4:00 - power, thank God
5:30 - wake up to let the guard out
6:00 - coffee made, laundry sorted and started, snacks and water bottles ready for kids
6:15 - kids up, start computer to check email, few more gulps of coffee
6:30 - still in p.j.'s while John is introducing me to the young woman he thinks would be a good assistant for me
7:00 - tara is here to do the car pool run, maddie is yelling that Uno got out of the gate
7:01 - walk down to the end of the road in my p.j.'s to get Uno back from parker boy while tara and gang wait for me
7:30 - students are beginning to arrive for the first day of sewing school
7:34 - power is finished for the day - so much for a second load of laundry
7:35 - john is back with my new assistant and we sit down and talk for a few minutes
8:00 - john takes her to the office to talk to carine
8:01 - school starts - all 23 ladies show up for school - plus a few extra that should be in literacy
9:00 - send billy to get all of the scissors sharpened for school
10:00 - finish getting supplies and get Suzanne started
11:00 - school is finished and everyone has questions
11:05 - can I please do a pregnancy test for a student that has not been well
11:07 - test is positive
11:08 - sign her up for the prenatal class as well
11:10 - talk to dan who is in the states selling and packing stuff in our house to bring in extra cash
11:30 - have another meeting with john
11:45 - take billy with me to get rid of the trash that is now attracting rats and snakes
12:00 - sewing ladies come to start sewing for the day
12:10 - stop at the doctors office to get the lab work back for the prenatal class on thursday
12:15 - get money from carine to pay for the lab work, john will have to get cash
12:20 - get the ladies thread and fabric to start sewing
12:40 - call beth to come and help me deciede if vanette's son needs stiches in his finger
12:50 - help get stuff for beth to clean the wound so she can take pictures and send them to dr. jen
1:00 - literacy class ladies are here but the teacher isn't here, she is running late
1:05- carine and my assistant teach class
1:15 - more fabric and thread needed
1:20 - maybe I need to eat since I am not feeling the best
1:21 - beth leaves to go make cake for nadia's birthday
1:59 - start the generator so the inverters don't fall
2:00 - generator dies for no reason
2:01 - call john to ask about the generator
2:02 - call tara and ask her about doing car pool since it is my turn this afternoon
2:05 - my phone is ringing but I can't find it because I forgot it in the cabinet with the bandages
2:06 - sewing ladies call me so I can find my phone
2:15 - beth is back with jenny, kesline and ali with cakes for nadia's birthday
2:20 - sing happy birthday to nadia and pass out cake to the ladies in literacy
3:00 - literacy class is over
3:02 - restart the generator
3:15 - generator dies again - wait for john
3:01 - talk to beth about tuesday's class on std's
3:05 - work on the tuesday and thursday files for class tomorrow
3:30 - say good bye to beth
3:35 - talk about what we will do with lilly when she has puppies since beth and I will be gone
3:36 - take apart zippers for sewing school project
3:40 - billy tells me some one with a baby is waiting outside to see me
3:41 - maire pierre is here with her HIV meds for me to record
3:42 - I ask her if they have checked the baby for HIV
3:42 - yes, he is positive
3:42 - cup is now spilling over!
3:43 - I am crying and recording her meds while getting money for tap tap
3:45 - I sit, I finally enjoy my day with a HIV mama and baby, I think about her face, she smiles at me
3:55 - I say good bye after talking to her about the baby
4:00 - thank you tara - my kids are home

Home work, dinner and generator all done and fixed!

Maddie's Question: Mom, you know God said, thou shall not kill - right? Yes. Well, do you think war counts?
Oh, Dear!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Car Pool Tap-Tap

Again, funny peculiar or funny Ha-Ha!

Yesterday as I drove to QCS to do the afternoon car pool run I sat in traffic trying to figure out what on earth was in the tap-tap in front of me. I looked and looked and still had no idea. I inched my way closer and closer still not able to make out the picture. I finally had to take off my sunglasses, pull myself forward while grabbing the steering wheel sitting very still to figure it out. I could make out the horns with no problem. Next I noticed a giant behind and a tail... it was a bull. Yes, a several hundred pound bull smashed into a tap-tap. Better yet, he wasn't in there all by himself. On the bench seats next to him sat several goats. I don't have any idea how they got him and his pals in the tap-tap or how it was that there wasn't mass confusion going on inside. They all seemed just fine. I am still wondering how they got him out.

I think we can all agree that this is not something you will see in the car pool line on your local school run. But it is a Haiti thing.

Last, but not least....Happy Birthday Jes with one s - we love you and miss you! See you soon!
BTW - you now have a cake and a purse named after you since we can't say the name of the cake with out laughing everytime. It is now the Jess cake! That would be Jess with two "s" in this case!

Friday, October 3, 2008


Rain, rain on my face
It hasn't stopped raining for days
My world is a flood
Slowly I become one with the mud

But if I can't swim after forty days
and my mind is crushed by the thrashing waves
Lift me up so high that I cannot fall, Lift me up

Lift me up
when I'm falling
Lift me up
I'm weak and I'm dying
Lift me up
I need you to hold me
Lift me up
Keep me from drowning again

Downpour on my soul
Splashing in the ocean, I'm losing control
Dark sky all around
I can't feel my feet touching the ground

But if I can't swim after forty days
and my mind is crushed by the thrashing waves
Lift me up so high that I cannot fall, Lift me up

Lift me up
When I'm falling
Lift me up
I'm weak and I'm dying
Lift me up
I need you to hold me
Lift me up
Keep me from drowning again

Calm the storms that drench my eyes
Dry the streams still flowing
Cast down all the waves of sin
And guilt that overthrow me

But if I can't swim after forty days
And my mind is crushed by the thrashing waves
Lift me up so high that I cannot fall, Lift me up

Lift me up
When I'm falling
Lift me up
I'm weak and I'm dying
Lift me up
I need you to hold me
Lift me up
Keep me from drowning again

This is how I have felt the last couple of weeks. I am sure many of you have heard this song and said "oh yeah its great" but have you really felt what it is like to feel like you are drowning and you are calling out to God and it seems like he doesn't hear a word you say. I really have lately.

As you may know I am planning a trip to Haiti or should I say that God is planning a trip to Haiti this summer and I am just the person he chose to use to get it done. I am not sure why he has chosen me to do this but there must be a reason because I am not this crazy on my own...ahem...not to say that God is crazy but this is not something that I would do on my own. And I am not I have my friend Calah who has been there helping me plan and get all the things done that need to be done. We have made a lot of progress. It is just that there is a daunting task ahead of us and we feel as though we are "splashing in the ocean, losing control". We are having a hard time seeing the finished product which is sixty smiling faces at English Camp. We need a lot of supplies like back packs and regular school supplies and also camp supplies like dry erase markers and t-shirts and prizes that we can hand out for camper of the week. We are believing that Go will provide all of this for us and we know He will but we can't do all of this without asking like it says in Luke 11:10 "For everyone who asks recieves, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened".

So if you wish to send donations or money please send it to the following address:

Alyssa Hallaway
2317 Westland Mill
Acworth, GA 30102

If you can not help in giving, please give in your prayers, support and blessing.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008


For the most part, I think things in Haiti are funny peculiar vs funny Ha-Ha! But, every once and awhile, they are funny Ha- Ha! Maybe they wouldn't be funny if I didn't live here. Many days I feel like crying so maybe I laugh instead of crying.
I will give you a few examples and you can deciede what you think, funny peculiar or funny Ha-Ha!

1. I ordered eggs on Monday. No, we don't buy them at the store we order them, the "sista's" lay them and Big Eyes brings them to us. We have had an egg war going on for months and Big Eyes is always in the middle since he takes care of the chickens. You have to get in line for eggs and you may not get them for a week. We need eggs for all of our programs, if you live here you come last. Our workers buy them and sell them, our sewing ladies buy them and sell them, we need them for the kids, Tuesday Early Childhood Development and Thursday Prenatal classes. At times John has even had to buy them back from the workers for more than he sold them for because the kids needed them.
On Tuesday, Big Eyes come to my house with my egg order. I only waited one day, I was so shocked. I said to him, Wow, you are really good at getting the "sista's" to lay eggs! He said, yeah, I had to slap them for your eggs! We will skip the picture that went through my mind. It hit me funny. Why, I don't know. I started lauhging and couldn't stop.

2. We had pancakes for dinner with our eggs. But, the syrup had mold on it. Since when? Since when do you get mold on syrup? I have had syrup for months in the States and never had mold in it.

3. Today as I was returning from the morning car pool run when I came to the intersection just in front of the police station. Every thing was at a stand still. No one was moving, the police stood in the middle of the intersection with everyone looking at them, and people stood on the street next to their cars. I was thinking oh, great! Some one got shot! No, they all stopped because the national anthem was being played at the police station. Are you kidding me? Never have I seen that before.

4. Beth was telling me the story about Jeffy playing with the kitchen toys on Monday at the boys house. When he came to the strainer and said, this is for bugs! Well, yes, it is, sorta! But, only a kid in Haiti (or another third world country) would say that.

5. Every day for the last two weeks Dan has caught a rat in the depot. He is in the States doing house stuff and if you think for one minute I am going to open the door to the depot and check to see what is there you are so wrong.

There you have it......