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. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

11/26 = 1 year in Haiti

Today we have been in Haiti for one year!
I don't think that there is an emotion that we haven't felt this year.
The good, the bad, the ugly... if you really must know.
It has been wonderful and really, really hard all at the same time.
Better than I thought in many ways and harder than I thought in others.
Over this past year I have held on to the words of Emmi.
You will need to know that you know...and you know. It isn't something you choose - it chooses you.
I cried that day. I needed to hear those words. I was feeling numb. It wasn't connecting that I really lived here and I wasn't going home in two weeks. Emmi was here with the Salvation Army. She came from Switzerland of all places. She was in Haiti for thirty-five years and she left this morning. As she sat with me the numb feeling melted away and I could feel myself again as we talked. She told me about reading an article in the "War Cry" Salvation Army newspaper about Haiti. She said it was like she heard a voice say to her, "you will go there once". And she did. For thirty-five years she was a nurse-midwife here in Haiti. When she left that day I told Beth it was like I had spent the day with Corrie ten Boom.
So yesterday when she came back into port on her last day it was bitter sweet to see her. I loved that she came to see what we have done in one year but it was like closing a very important chapter in the history of what is good about Haiti.
Beth sent me an email this morning that said I hope when we are old we are like Emmi. Me too!
Today as we prayed before we did our prenatal class I thanked the Lord for Emmi and the example she is to me.
A strong woman who lived her passion in a place she loved and called home.

Monday, November 24, 2008


A very good friend of mine sent me an email with this quote by Alvin Toffer, "the illiterate of the 21 century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."
We have been talking about this very thing for awhile now. About our ability to be effective in ministry if we are not willing to forget what we think we know in order to learn what God is in fact saying right now. It's hard! We are always so sure we have it right, all of it! When suddenly your not talking the same language so we assume that everyone is wrong, not that we need to change.
I pray I never find myself in the place of being illiterate. Not with God, ministry, friends, my children or myself.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thoughts From South Africa

I have been looking through my pictures trying to help Caleb find a picture of himself for a school project. It isn't that his family doesn't have pictures, I am sure they have hundreds of them. When we moved here we didn't pack much of our personal stuff making it hard to do stuff for our kids at school. We don't have all the "just in case" stuff laying around making it hard to do last minute dress up days, spirit week and some normal school stuff like being student of the week. My computer has saved the day many times since I have so many pictures on it.

As I was looking through my pictures I came across this one from my second trip to South Africa. We had spent the day with our friends Ned and Susan visiting District Six and learning about the history of aphartide. I remember being emotionally overwhelmed at the end of the day.

I am not the kind of person that likes to debate politics and I was happy that we didn't have to listen to all the stuff with the debates for president this year. So, for what it's worth I think this sign makes a very powerful statement in Africa, Haiti or the United States.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fake Birthday

Today is Parker's "fake" birthday (Parker's words). Monday, November 24th is his "real" birthday. Our fake day started with a trip to the vet with Lilly and the puppies. It was time for them to get their six week shots. I am hoping this means they can start going outside to go potty. Everything went fine and they are back just in time for the real boys who are here spending the night to celebrate with Parker. I was told that even on "fake" birthdays you need real cake, food, friends and presents. Parker has been very blessed with some great real buddies to hang out with. They are all outside shooting each other with the Nerf guns.....trying to get the bullets back from Uno is part of the fun for Uno and the boys.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Giving Back

An important part of our program comes into play when the ladies who have graduated give back to the new ladies just starting our program. I loved today. The ladies who have graduated from literacy class came to teach the ladies who are new in our sewing program how to crochet. It has taken some time to get to this place but we finally got here and it feels great to see the ladies working together. This is a core value we are teaching while we build relationships with these ladies. It is about giving back what has been given to you to help build your community.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


When you run into someone who is disagreeable to others, you may be sure he is uncomfortable with himself.

The truth is, the amount of pain we inflict upon others is directly propotional to the amount we feel within us.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Caged Bird Sings

I am the kind of person that gets things stuck in my head and they stay there until I resolve the issue in my heart. I have to be at peace with it. I think that is why the double ferris wheel is my favorite ride. One wheel goes about life and the everyday stuff, while I am sorting and processing all of the things going around and around in my head with the other wheel. Once I have an answer, it is like getting a "get out of jail free" card and it can finally leave me alone. It's not like bumper cars, always banging into stuff and never seeing above what is coming at you. It is finding the place where you can see things from a new place, seeing the whole picture clearly.

As I go about my everyday stuff I have been thinking about Maire Loude next door. She hangs out everyday in between her household chores and watches everything we do. Says nothing, she just watches.
No harm in that, right!
However, it is a different matter that has me stuck.
Not the fact that she can't come to literacy class, not the fact that she is so young and works so hard.
At first, I didn't notice because I am so busy in the morning and Haiti is a very loud place. We have people coming and going all day, classes going, dogs barking, machines going in the back ground all the time.

It is always early morning before I make my way down stairs when I hear her singing. Everyone from the house next door has gone and she is finally alone.
The sound of her voice haunts me when I sit and think about it.
Sometimes she sounds like a little girl singing loudly off key and silly.
However,it is the other times that haunt me.
She isn't singing a sad song. She has found a place within herself that seems happy and peaceful just like the ferris wheel. When I think about it I am reminded of two very different things.
One - Mia Angelo's book, "I know why the caged bird sings" and something I heard Elie Wiesel say on Oprah, "free men never have to run". She isn't free or is she?

Why? Why Maire Loude, Mia Angelo and Elie Wiesel. I am on top of the ferris wheel looking for the big picture on this one. In my American mind I had it all worked out. She couldn't be happy and I didn't like her life. In my book, it was an injustice and I was going to fix it. But why is she singing every morning?

I have come to understand that peoples lives are not what we think. People are complicated. Life is complicated.

In Blue Like Jazz Donald Miller asks, what song will you sing when your soul gets set free?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quick Updates

Here are a few quick updates...

1. Uno is going to have to go to the vet in the morning. His right leg and shoulder are very swollen today.

2. I think we will name the puppy, Harley Culpepper Lynch.

3. We finally have city power and the generator is fixed - woot!

4. Granny Smith apples are the best.

5. Aaron, thanks for the new ipod - hands off peeps!

6. We will have lived in Haiti for one year on November 26 (also Annie's birthday).

7. Thanks Surfaid International for the "malaria sucks" t-shirts, they are a big hit!

8. I love a nap on Sunday afternoon!

9. Suzie and family are now getting HIV meds.

10. Maire Loude was not able to come to literacy class.

11. Still need an answer for Jean Kelley......

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Name?

I guess it was about a month ago we talked about dogs and how it was that we will have three very soon. Well, today we did the official switch! Lilly is now here with her two puppies. The boy puppy that Maddie is holding will be our new puppy. Dolly had to move back to the baby house until the puppies can be without Lilly since they don't get along. We will have Uno, Dolly and the new puppy with out a name. The name is Maddie's choice and she hasn't picked one. John and Beth have a theme...Marley, McGuire, Larry, Annie - all singers.
We don't seem to have a theme.
Maybe you guys can help.
Here are the choices..
1. Carter (Minnesota Viking's football)
2. Culpepper (Again, Minnesota Viking's football)
3. Gandalf (Lord of the Rings)
4. Harley (motorcycle)
5. UGA (Georgia football mascot)
6. Randy Moss (Hmmm, maybe we do have a theme - Minnesota football)
Maddie says, once you vote you can't change your mind so I am not picking a name as of yet.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

First Day Back

It has been a very eventful first day back....can I just say life is full of strange things here!

Today started off pretty normal. I was happy to see everyone and was sorting all the stuff I brought back. A team had just dropped in to learn about our program, so I explained what we are doing and answered questions. They wanted to go see the boys and girls homes so they all piled in their tap-tap and John took them over to see the kids. I went back to sorting medical stuff. When all of a sudden I could hear Dan screaming! I didn't know what he was saying so I went to see what was going on. It seems Uno had run out of the gate, again, but this time Dan was watching him get run over by the tap-tap. As he watched the front wheel go over him he started yelling more so the driver stopped. Only to stop with the back wheel partly on top of Uno. Dan pulled him out and got him back to the house. He was in bad shape for a few hours but seems OK now. We didn't know what to do so we gave him Advil and put antibiotic cream on his wounds. It seems chocolate labs have more than one life.

The power went off today at 9:30 about 4:30 Dan went out to run the generator so we would have power for the night by charging the inverters. The generator was only on for a second when we heard a loud bang. It seems the whole cranck shaft broke off, leaving the fan hanging off to the side and spraying anti-freeze everywhere. It is 6:30 now and the inverter reads 24.2. It crashes at 22.0 - so unless the power comes on early tonight we are not going to have power, which means sleeping without fans and listening to the mosquitoes buzz until midnight when we may or may not get power. Tomorrow will be a whole new adventure in seeing if we can get a repair guy to come to the house and fix the generator. We have not even had the generator for a whole year, so we are praying that the company we got it from honor this by coming and fixing it for free.

Yep, I am back in Haiti!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Let's Make A Deal

Here are a few thoughts on being a "missions type traveler"....

1. You can easily be the woman people hate at the airport with the number and size bags you travel to and from Haiti with at any given time.

2. It is good to travel on election day - no one else does. With the exception of today, I have never made it to my gate with a Starbucks in hand under thirty minutes. That includes check-in, moving around the weight in all four of my bags and security.

3. If your bags are over weight, oh wait, they are always over weight - one package of chocolate brownie mix for your children weighs 1.5 lbs so putting two of them in your personal carry-on will be a quick three pounds off the scale.

4. Four double Whoppers with chesse for those who didn't travel with you will be just fine in your personal carry-on with the brownie mix that you had to take out so you didn't have to pay another $50 to American Airlines.

5. They never weigh your personal carry-on bags so mine always weigh close to fifty pounds. It is a trick getting it into the overhead compartment without drawing attention to yourself. This time, thanks to my mom, I had a dozen Granny Smith apples from Costco and two frozen blocks of pepper jack and swiss cheese. Let's not forget the chocolate....

Remember the show "Let's Make A Deal"? I am sure I could win all the money in Monty Hall's suit pocket if I was on the show. I think the person who thought of that game had missions type people for parents.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wonderful and Strange

By the time I get home to Haiti on Tuesday I will have been on seven planes in ten days and had nine speaking appointments. It has been wonderful and strange all at the same time. Being in the States can be overwhelming. When you live in a third world you don't always have the ability to make so many choices. Going someplace may involve waiting until everyone who needs a ride is ready and dropping off several others along the way. You are almost never alone. It is almost never quite. When you go to the store you are very limited in the things available to buy. Many times you never come home with what you had planned to get simply because it wasn't available or the quality was very poor. So, going to Costco almost took my breath away. I wanted to cry when I saw the huge pile of beautiful Granny Smith apples. My mom said, why didn't you buy some? I don't really know? I had it in my mind to get some, but at that point I just wanted to get my things and leave. It was very strange....

I still can't get over going to a restaurant for dinner the other night that had a wheelbarrow just inside the front door. I didn't get it at first, but I finally made the connection when I began to look at the all the photographs on the wall. Each photo was of a person who had eaten too much. The deal was, if you ate too much you would sit in the wheelbarrow, they took your picture, posted it on the wall of fame and escorted you to the front door via the wheelbarrow since you would be too full to walk by yourself. I don't want to be critical of the blessings this country has but it just seemed so wrong to be able to have so much food you could really do something like that and find it funny.
It too was very strange....

On the wonderful grandfather, who is 90 years old took his very first air plane ride from Minnesota to Georgia while I was here. He said, it was fantastic and he loved every minute of it. I thought he might be scared. Nope! He is still talking about it. He has come to stay for the winter since he can't afford his heating bill any longer and the winter is too cold and long now that my grandmother is gone.

My dad's operation was on Friday - he is doing well! Thank you to all of you who have been praying for him. It has been so good to be here with my family and to see so many of my friends. Yes, I am homesick for Haiti, but I am so grateful for the people that God has placed in my life to make what we are doing in Haiti easier.

Thanks Robert, Tammy, Meri, Pam, Laura, Claudia, Lynda, Mom and Dad!!