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, January 30, 2010

Ernest and Ronel

Years ago John McHoul said to me, "adoptions are like a chain link fence, we must work to connect all the links".
This has proven to be true time and time again, not only in adoptions, but in everything we do.
In all the years I have been working in Haiti, I don't think we have ever been able to do something from start to finish without the help of many people.
It is much more common to be a link in this work than it is to be the whole fence.
I think the Lord does it this way so we check our ego's at the door.
Last week, we we played the role of a link once again in getting Ernest to Haiti to help his son Ronel.
After Dan left Atlanta they stopped in Fort Lauderdale to refuel and pick up passengers.
One of those passengers was Ernest.
Here is his story written by Kristen Howerton, an adoptive parent, who is another link in the bigger picture.

Kristen writes -
My heart is heavy tonight for the adoptive parents who are still waiting to get their children home from Haiti, and for the children who wait in the balance. Since we got Kembert out last week, things have changed dramatically. On January 18th, the US government announced it was granting humanitarian parole for orphans already in the process of adoption. This made perfect sense: these children were shown to be eligible for adoption prior to the earthquake. The Haitian and US government go through extensive searches when a child enters the system to show this to be true, including the procurement of death certificates, DNA testing, and birth parent interviews. I was so proud that our country saw the value of evacuating these children into the care of waiting families in the US, not only to remove them from a precarious situation, but also to free up room in orphanages to take care of children who are orphaned or displaced as a result of the earthquake.

This all seemed to make sense for a couple days. The US agreed, Haiti agreed, and we saw lots of personal interest news stories of happy families united with their children. That is, until UNICEF stepped in. UNICEF, with their seemingly charitable gestures towards children worldwide, happens to be an organization that is staunchly, and often illogically, anti-adoption. It is also an organization that wields a great amount of power (and money), and when they put the pressure on, Haiti complies. There is a lot to be said about UNICEF's views. There is an essay brewing there - but for now, the short version is that UNICEF would prefer children without parents to be raised in an institution within their culture of origin rather than by a loving family of a different culture. In other words, race/culture trumps family/nurture/security. (It doesn't take a psychologist to see the faulty logic there).

Over the last week, the effort to get previously-matched children out of Haiti has slowed considerably. Extra steps have been added, redundant steps, steps that pose no added measure of safety since these children HAVE ALREADY BEEN CLASSIFIED AS ADOPTABLE BY THE HAITIAN GOVERNMENT, and since these parents HAVE ALREADY SUBMITTED AN EXTENSIVE HOMESTUDY/DOSSIER/BACKGROUND CHECK. This is effecting hundreds of waiting children. One such child is Ronel. I want to tell Ronel's story, because I think it is a compelling example of the need for international adoption, and a tragic (hopefully only temporarily tragic) example of how UNICEF's corruption affects orphaned children.

Ronel was abandoned at the Rescue Center of Real Hope for Haiti, which is an amazing medical mission that takes in malnourished children and nurses them back to health. I am constantly amazed by the life-saving work these sisters do. When he was brought in, he weight 28 pounds (less than my daughter India). They were unsure of his age, but guessed him to be about 7 or 8 years old. Over a few months at the Rescue Center, his weight nearly doubled. Because his parents had died and no other family came to claim him, they searched for an adoptive family.

(photo from RHFH blog, before treatment)

Debra answered that call. I've never met Debra in person, but I feel like we're friends through this crazy blogging world. She is friends (the real-life kind) with Jamie, who posted a photo of Ronel on her blog. Debra saw the picture and knew. THIS WAS HER SON. She and her husband Ernest started the process to adopt Ronel. This was well over a year ago. Like many of us, they were in the wait to get him home when the earthquake happened. Like many of us, they moved into action to try to get their son home.

Ronel was supposed to come home the night Kembert did. He was one of the kids who did not get approval, and got left behind. My heart was so heavy for Debra that night, as she rejoiced for those of us getting our kids home. But even worse was reading this visiting missionary's account of what that night was like for Ronel:

Tara told me today that the boys were flying to the US. One was going to his adoptive family in Houston Texas, the other to a family in Dallas. When I got back from my days work, the boys were all dressed in their very best to meet their new families. They were so excited. I was so excited for them. It was hard to watch them go. Later in the evening after dinner, the truck returned from the airport where 27 children were flying to meet their new parents. In the front seat of the truck was Ronel, the 6-7 year old that was staying in my room. I asked why he was still here and Tara told me it was because they needed one more paper for him. The other children got to go. She said she hoped they could get the needed paperwork tomorrow. I would never wish for you to see the disappointment on Ronel's face because it would crush your heart... it did mine. It was dark and the power was off. He went into our room, laid down on the bed, pulled the sheets up and sobbed. It was so sad. Tara came in and talked to him in Kreole... I'm not sure what she said but I know she was trying to comfort him. After a time she got up and left as I sat across the room. I could not leave him by himself. I went over and motioned for him to move over and I laid down next to him. The tears were pouring out of him. He was still in his new clothes as he fell asleep.

The embassy wanted one more paper to send Ronel home. He was supposed to go home the next day. That was a week ago.

Three days ago, Debra's husband flew down to try to get him out. From Debra:

I did not know I would literally have to fight for him.

He [Ernest] just got word that the US is deciding to comply with a request from the Haitian government. That request is to approve of all children who leave the country after they have been cleared by the United States. France and Canada have not complied and are getting their waiting children home. Our US Ambassador has not cleared children and will not see the parents waiting/pleading. They were just told that the Ambassador has left for the day.

There are sick children and pregnant women sleeping on the floor in hopes to bring children home all the while nothing is being signed out. All documents are ready to go except for that approval.

E has said that every time they call him to the window Ronel runs up to his side and says a phrase in kreyol with an expectant look on his face CAN WE GO? As in can we go home. As in can we go to THIS home. His home.

I will not lie and say that I am not fighting fear. I am. I am fearful of Ronel being hurt again. Being left again. It would break Ernest. I cannot imagine what it would do to Ronel. Would he understand that we would still fight for him? To think of it makes my stomach sick.

That was written yesterday. They spent all day at the embassy again today. They still don't know if or when the ambassador will sign them out.

Ronel's story is just one story of hundreds. Hundreds of orphaned children with waiting families, and nothing separating them but political manoeuvrings and power plays that put children at risk. I hope that you will read this and consider educating yourself on UNICEF's history in thwarting international adoption, and register your voice of dissent.

Raymond Joseph
Haitian Ambassador to US
p 202-332-4090
f 202-745-7215

Kenneth H Merten
US Ambassador to Haiti
Tabarre 41, Blvd 15 Octobre
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
P 509 22 29 8000
F 509 22 29 8028

Hilary Clinton/Dept of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Main Switchboard:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Emails From The Sewing Ladies

The ladies have just today started to sew again for the first time since the January 12th earthquake.
They refuse to sew inside as they are afraid of aftershocks, so we have set up the sewing machines in the neighbors yard and we have set up a tarp to keep the ladies out of the sun. - John

Hi! Sheila
Thanks for thinking about us.
If you find some donation for the ladies please send it to them by put an initail with their names on as you did for me.
I don't have any information about Marie Charles and Chrismene but their are alive
I will let you know more on Monday.
- Marjorie


The apartment that I had rented is broken. I have lost all that I have home. Now I’m sleeping in the road with my daughter Christy without tent. I have 23 members of my family are dead in the earthquake.


The house has fallen on me with my baby but God has saved me. But we have lost everything in the house even clothe.


The apartment that I had rent is broken I’m sleeping in the yard with my daughter who was lightly injured. 3 members in my family are dead. I don’t get any help; I’m in God’s hands. Thank you because you think about us. God bless you.


Hi, I’ m glad that you think about us. I’m sleeping in the road. I don’t have medicine for my high blood pressure. I don’t earn a lot of money in the bag sales is most of the times just $ 12 or $ 15 each month. So it is not easy for us.


The apartment that I had rent is broken. I’m sleeping in the yard now so we catch cold and we are sick.. Send some tent for us. It will be helpful. We have lost everything. Thank you because you think about us.


The apartment that I had rent is broken; I’m sleeping in the yard with my four children. My baby Florence is sick. Send tents for us. We are getting sick in this situation.


Everybody is fine. But we are hungry and thirsty. I can’t go to Jacmel because it is almost the same than Port-au-Prince. Everybody in my home have diarrhea because of the bad water. My husband is not working now because the school were he was the manager has fallen. We thank you because you think about us.


Thank you because you think about us. The house I was building is broken down. I have lost all of my efforts. My husband and one of my sons were injured. Say hi to Dan and to your children.

God bless you all....
The Sewing Ladies

Hi Sheila -
As you already know about what was happened so i don't need to talk to much so God took us far from death sorry I even forget my words I'm weak I feel disconect.

You said something right we're talking about how to live but not about what we need cause i don't know how am i going to get throught some we took years to build our walls to secure the house agaings rubbers you know it had to be higher than the house cause of that our house has not be done now they're falling down and we can't live in it like this so I think some people not dye from earthquake but some is going to dy from problems and we had that case already a mother of my brother in law and one of our neighbers crazy and others so please keep helping us in prayer so that God will keep taking care us as as he already has done.

Thank you so much for helping us in our problems still.
Say hi to everyone

May God bless you, Suzanne

Note From Marjorie:
""Do what you can for the sewing ladies,send to them some words of encoragement, their are without hope.
Please pray for them because God will give them strendght to keep on

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thoughts and Questions...

Thoughts From A Doc...
"The unsatisfying part of trip is I didn't know a single word of French, which is what creole is based on. Learning to say basic greetings. Just smiling and pointing and motioning a lot. Was pulled out of bed late last night for a pregnant lady bleeding bad vaginally. She was losing her baby. The Ob doc had fortunately done work in Kenya, and he was an army ranger. Not much phases him. No spinal or general anesthesia, just a painkiller called ketamine, and some local anesthesia for the skin. Baby lived and mom lived. Unbelievable. We did all this in basically a garage on a picnic table. IV hanging from a coat hanger attached to ceiling fan above. Miracle baby".

On a much needed lighter side of things here is the funniest (or the sadest) question I have been asked (this week) about Haiti...

As we loaded up supplies someone said to me "Is the dog food for the people or dogs...?"
My mind was racing for a really good come back....
(I am the kind of person that comes up with good answers about a week after I have been asked a question like this.)
I realized that many people don't understand many of us in the missionary community have dogs for security, lots of dogs.
Most of us have Mastiff's.
They are really big and eat a ton.
With the earthquake there have been no shipments coming and going out of Port.
This is not good when you have six or more 150 lb. dogs walking around for security.
Hence, the reason we shipped over a couple of 50 lbs. of dog food.

Picture taken by Jes with one "S" Mayhew.
Harley Boy as a puppy with his dad Marley.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What Exactly Is A Miracle?

Over the past few days I have been thinking about how we (me) define miracles.
"What exactly is a miracle?"
My definition has changed over the past week.

Wickapedia says "A miracle is a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature, such that can be attempted to be explained by divine intervention, and is sometimes associated with a miracle worker. Some suggest that God may work with the laws of nature to perform what we perceive as miracles.
A miracle is often considered a fortuitous event: compare with an Act of God.
In casual usage, "miracle" may also refer to any statistically unlikely but beneficial event, (such as the survival of a natural disaster) or even which regarded as "wonderful" regardless of its likelihood, such as birth.
Other miracles might be: survival of a terminal illness, escaping a life threatening situation or 'beating the odds."

Maybe it depends on how you look at life - is the glass half full or half empty?

I am also wondering was the miracle the "bigness" of the use of the Kids R Kids airplane or the hundreds of things that snowballed because of the use of the airplane for so many hurting people?

All of the above examples seem to apply, interruption of the laws of nature, divine intervention, and statistically unlikely but beneficial events so they both, big and small, seem like miracles to me.

Miracle Number One:
All the sewing ladies are fine!! Woot!!
Marjorie is fine, but living with her family in a friends yard because she can't go back to her house.

Miracle Number Two:
I was given three huge duffel bags full of purses to ship out for the ladies in Haiti to sell via the web-site.
It leaves me speechless to know that out of all that has happened, God still knew that these ladies would need a way to continue to take care of themselves and their families.

I LOVE that miracles come in all shapes and sizes!
I LOVE that they happen suddenly!

Bottom line - I LOVE that they happen to me, to the sewing ladies and to you!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Update on the Team

When things in life happen that we can't grasp, we often say, God's ways are not our ways."
This is said in both "the good and the bad", mostly the bad I would guess.
We tend to need someone to vent on when we feel out of control.
In this case, I want to talk about the timing of God.
Today in the middle of the pain and suffering going on in Haiti, the life of a brand new baby was saved who would have died if all the right people and all the right stuff wouldn't of just happened to have been in the right place at the right time.
An emergency c-section was done last night at Heartline with the help of some of the doctors that went in on our flight!
The team on the ground is doing awesome things!
(John, Beth, Dr. Jen, Tara, Troy, Don, Cliff, Morgan, Elizabeth, Nick, Steve, Ty and the others)

You may not be on the ground in Haiti but everyone has a skill and a gift that is much needed.
Thank you again for helping make this all happen!
Thank you to the families who sent loved ones, to the ones who picked up and dropped off medical supplies, to those who prayed (PLEASE keep praying), to those who make phone calls, to those who go shopping and pack (and re-pack), to those who have given money and food, to those who have given computers.
This list is endless!
My heart is full with the out pouring of support this morning as I sit and have a cup (or three) of coffee getting ready for the next trip this Tuesday morning.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Haiti Relief Effort

Last Sunday as Maddie and I made our way home from Costco my radiator started pouring white smoke.
All I could think was Lord, please don't let me brake down on Barrett Parkway, please!
Next, I prayed, God, please let us make all the lights so we can get home.
I had taken out my phone to call Dan and tell him he may need to come and get us when I noticed I had a missed call.
It was my friend Laura and her husband Burt calling to tell me about someone who wanted to help us with our work in Haiti.
They had been at church, talking to someone who had come to a benefit I spoke at last October at their house.
She had been giving them an update, when another friend said he had been praying during church, asking the Lord what he should do to help the people of Haiti.
After overhearing Laura's conversation, He had his answer, they wanted to donate their plane to us.
These are wonderful words, words you dream of hearing, but not the kind you should hear while driving.
I was stunned, I am still stunned to tell you the truth.
I started to cry, Maddie said, Mom, stop, I need to get home in one piece.

Going to Haiti and back all in one day just doesn't seem possible to me.
Haiti isn't called the land of endless impossibles for nothing.
The goodness and kindness of people has been overwhelming!
We left out of Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia on Friday morning.
Mr. and Mrs. Vinson, the owners of Kids are Kids, so very graciously donated the plane, the pilots (Rash and Don), and the fuel.
It all still blows me away that the plane was filled with medical supplies and doctors in only a few days.
Here is our first team:
Cliff, the Ortho Doc
Ty, the ER Doc
Elizabeth, the ER nurse
Nick, the jack of all trades, pilot and water guy
Steve, the Anaesthesiologist
They all made their way to Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale to go and help the people of Haiti without even really knowing all the details. Most of them didn't sleep for two days to get to us.
I gave them as many details as I could think of after we left Fort Lauderdale.

This whole experience has been surreal.
I kept thinking, I need to be praying more and doing something more to make sure this all works.
I was reminded that this trip is really about years of praying for Haiti coming together suddenly.
It wasn't like I hadn't been bugging the Lord about stuff like this for the past ten years and now here it all was in my lap.
I would like to say I walked it all out in great peace and slept like a baby!
I was sick to my stomach for days, not sleeping at night and sending emails at all hours of the night when my mind would start to race.
But, as is the case in everything that happens with God, when we step out of the way and let the Lord work, it all falls into place.
Many countless people made this happen.
Many that we don't know, many that we are proud to know, all who we are thankful for.
In so many ways it feels like they just happened to pick me to go on the plane with them.
But we know the Lord has plans that we don't know about as of yet. This I love!
There are thousands of people working to make the lives of the Haitian people better all around the world and it is heart warming to see.
I am at a loss for words right now, I am not sure they can be expressed, I don't think there are words for this level of thankfulness.
Yet, it would be wrong not to say, THANK YOU a million times over.
My heart is broken and full all at the same time.
It is with His grace and peace that we can do this work!

.....and people like you!

Thank you!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


It is has been said that "religion" is a crutch.
If we are purely talking religion and not relationship, I wouldn't disagree.
Yet, many things in our lives serve in this function and capacity.
Some we are aware of and some we are not, some we choose and some we don't.
Limps are good.
They remind us we can't do things in our own strength.
I think this may have been why Jacob walked with a limp after he wrestled with God.
He would always be reminded of his need for God.
It had nothing to do with Gods ability to heal.

In the past week, I have not seen anyone with a crutch.
Many have limps, yet operate out of love and compassion.
They know what it is to be in need of love and kindness in the unmerited form that Christ gives to us.
Call it what you will, a limp, a crutch or a weakness, maybe you could consider calling it a relationship.
I am calling it the hands and feet of Jesus in action in one of the biggest ways I have ever seen it in action.
I will take this kind of crutch any day!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Through It All

"Through It All"
By: Kenneth Gatewood

"Through it All" was originally a photograph taken by Lisa Hojara.
We had been on a medical trip up in the mountains of Haiti near Pestel.
It was May of 2000, our team ended up being divided up into to clinics because of the number of people needing care in different places. During all of the commotion of clinic this curious little boy couldn't stand it anymore and peaked his head in through the walls made of palm fronds to see just what was going on.

This signed and numbered limited edition piece comes with a beautiful custom frame.

Image Size: 29" x 22" LE/AP, 27" x 31" RM
Edition Size: 500 LE, 50 AP, 20 RM

We are thrilled that John and Candy at The King's Gallery will be holding a silent auction to benefit Haiti.
Bids will be accepted until January 23rd.

It you are interested in this piece please contact The King's Gallery.

The King's Gallery
1110 Main Street
The Villages, Florida 32159

Phone: (352) 259-6998 Fax Number: (352) 259-6948


About The Artist Kenneth Gatewood:

Positive images, a return to the past, and the spirit of innocence are the trademarks of watercolor artist Kenneth Gatewood. Gatewood's delicate focus on the innocence and spontaneity of children provides him with his greatest satisfaction and acclaim. "I want to capture the special moments, the innocent expressions, and the impulsiveness of children", said Gatewood. His art reflects a continuous evolution of personal growth.

Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles Gatewood graduated from Dorsey High School. Upon graduation, Gatewood received a summer school scholarship to the Otis Parson Art Institute at Los Angeles Trade Tech College where he studied life drawing, oil painting and still life painting. He later studied watercolor painting under a private tutor.

Gatewood's artwork has been commissioned by major motion picture studios, television and music production companies, and various corporations, as well as by individual collectors.

As the original creator of "baby sports" artwork, Gatewood took the sports licensing world by storm. At one point, Gatewood became the only artist in the world to be officially licensed with the National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball. The world embraced images of such greats as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Shaquille O'Neal, Joe Montana, Wayne Gretsky, Larry Bird, John Elway, Jack Nicholas, Cal Ripken and others. Classic originals like "Baby Dream Team" and "Let's Play commanded sales prices of $50,000 and $25,000 respectively.

Gatewood boasts an incredible collection of autographed fine art sports paintings including Jordan, Ali, Stockton, Malone and many others. In addition, Gatewood's artwork has been featured in SPORT Magazine, Sports Collectors Digest, Trading Cards Magazine, the Encyclopedia of Sports Memorabilia, KABC Channel 7 News and on the hit show "My Wife and Kids", "Boomtown" and the nationally syndicated television show, "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". Commissions include Naismith Foundation, Black Enterprise Magazine, Keyshawn Johnson Foundation, UCLA, University of Michigan, and others.

Gatewood possesses an unyielding commitment to the inner city and frequently reaches out to the community to nurture the talents and aspirations of others. His volunteer work with schools across the country offers guidance and hope to children. "I want children to know the importance of education, respect and self-expression." Gatewood works with battered women and children and is currently a volunteer with the Naismith Foundation helping disadvantaged children in the Caribbean. He has also garnered recognition for his volunteer work with a large AIDS organization (NAESM) in Atlanta, Georgia.

With each delicate stroke, Gatewood empowers the viewer with a visual slice of the human spirit.
In doing so, Gatewood captures the spirit within all of us.

Friday, January 15, 2010

No One Sleeps In Peace

Madisen Lynch
January 13, 2010

No One Sleeps In Peace

No one sleeps in peace tonight in Haiti.


Because of the screaming cries of death in the air.

Dead bodies lay under debris of buildings that have
fallen down on top of them.

No one sleeps in peace tonight because of the darkness
and death that has fallen on top of this land.

Some prayers have been answered but some have not.

No one sleeps in peace tonight.

Hospital beds are full, and some the bodies lay dead,
or half alive or crying for their loved ones to come and join
them back in this hard and cruel life.

No one will sleep in peace tonight in Port Au Prince, Haiti.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Let's Get Personal

The days and hours of watching CNN have taken a toll on me emotionally and I can't watch anymore.
Seeing Haiti on it's best day can be hard enough, now it seems like my mind just can't wrap itself around all that has happened.
So many questions for God.
I am not understanding, but I am praying for something good to come from this.
It will be the kind of good that only God could find.
Nevertheless, this is personal and painful!
People I consider family, who I love deeply are there and still have not heard from.
Haiti is home for us in many ways.
In order to stay connected and make this real, I wanted to share with you the faces of the sewing ladies in our program, that as of yet, we have not heard from and are praying that each of them and their families are OK.



Mary Charles






Note: 1/14/10 - Marjorie has been located!!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Forget Sleeping

Wednesday, January 13, 2010, it is 3:22 AM
Who knew that Harley Boy snores just as much as Dan.
I am on the couch trying to escape the thunder coming from the left side of my bed by sleeping on the couch and it seems that Harley Boy snores just as much as Dan.
Oh well, I guess it really doesn't matter, I can't sleep anyway.
An earthquake registering 7.0 hit Haiti on Tuesday.
Even on Haiti's best day things didn't look good for the people.
I can't imagine what things must be like there.
I have been running every scenario known to man in my mind of what must be going on right now.
Wondering what will be happening when it is day light, how long it will take to get Aid in and how long it will take to get this mess cleaned up.
All of this has been replaying in my mind blocking the process of sleep.
It is much like a yo-yo.
So many things seem like they should be private and yet this is Haiti's chance for the world to step up and help.
As Maddie said, "why did this have to happen so the news would ask the world for help"?
Good question, Sweetheart.
I feel guilty that I am even thinking I should be sleeping.
Earlier in the day I had posted a link from PBS about all the new possibilities coming to Haiti with the hope that the garment industry will start to bring in businesses and jobs for the people of Haiti.
I have been glued to the television, on the telephone and checking Facebook for updates every few minutes.
When the news of the earthquake finally made it's way to our house around 5:30 p.m. my kids grabbed Sharpies and paper to make signs to hang from our mailbox asking people to be praying for the children of Haiti.
This still makes me cry!

I can't help but think of all the people that I know wondering if they are all OK.
I am thinking about all the kids from the creches sleeping in the Buxman's driveway because it isn't safe to go back inside.
What about all my sewing ladies?
Dear God in Heaven, please take care of them.
I was just talking with Marjorie today about coming to visit.
They need fabric and thread.
Dear God, please let her be safe.
Surreal is the word I would use.
Yet I am lost for words.
Lord, please let the world get it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


(One of my most favorite pictures of Maddie)

God is like the best thing that ever happened to me.
It was like sparkles fly every time I say His name;

God....see the sparkles fly!

He is the one who I go to when I'm alone and when my family is gone.

Madisen Lynch