Thursday, January 31, 2008

Please Pray!


I humbly ask each of my blog readers to please pray for Jason Krenzke. He is husband to Joslyn, a new friend whom I spent my first week with in Haiti. Jason underwent surgery today to biopsy a very large tumor in his brain.

Jason is 29, and he and Joslyn have two young children. They live in Midland Michigan. All the prayers and postitive thoughts are needed as they go through Jason's recovery and time of unknown!

Jason and Joslyn have high spirits about this situation which comes from their very strong faith. They know God has a plan and will take care of them! Please lift Jason and his family up to the Lord so that they may feel peace during this time!

Thank you!
Colleen

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words!


Need I say more?

How Colleen feels and looks as she steps up to "The Challenge."
Hopefully in a few months, she will look less...sweaty...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Change Your Life Challenge

Boy! I am so not sure what I got myself into here? I had this great idea from a friend (That would be you, Karen! Thanks!) to start a contest, challenge, game ~ whatever you would like to call it ~ to help motivate me to exercise and live a healthier life. So, with some of the ideas from Karen, I came up with this "biggest-loser-lets-change-our-lives" challenge and invited all my friends to join me. I thought I would get a bunch of people to get some teams together to challenge each other to eat healthier, exercise more and live a more active life. What better way to motivate ourselves than with accountability and peer pressure! Right?

The response turned out way better than I ever expected! We have 6 teams here in town ready to win. My own team is psyched and so ready for the challenge. They have a game plan and each one of them is determined to win ~ even me! Only thing is....

....we start tomorrow!

So, tomorrow I have to start eating better, exercising more (or just begin exercising for that matter) and being more conscience of my well-being. I have three other friends/teammates counting on me to stick with this and keep my promise. I will keep my promise, but...

...boy! What was I thinking...?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

AYE!

This is my first attempt at posting a video. It is also my first attempt at using my digital camera to take a video. I didn't realize I couldn't readjust the frame after downloading. So, you have to tilt your head to watch part of it. Sorry!


video



...Here's my little boy during my January visit. There was nothing I loved more than peeking my head into the nursery door waiting for Jonathan to notice me. The HUGE smile he would get on his face was so, so heart-warming. By the end of the week, not only did I get a big smile, but he was crawling over saying "Aye" and "Mama!"

Such fond memories while we are apart! Mommy misses you and thinks about you all the time! April cannot come soon enough, Ton Ton!!! xoxoxoxo

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

WE MISS SUMMER!

This is what Kate and I decided today! We also decided that our family's annual trip to Grand Cayman cannot come soon enough. 21 days and counting!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Prior to my first trip to Haiti, I was filled with so many emotions. I was anxious to travel to a third-world country for the first time. I was uneasy about meeting 15 people and spending an entire week working with them. I was self-conscious of the fact I knew absolutely nothing about medicine and I was about to participate in a medical mission. I was worried about the communication barrier I’d experience with the people of Haiti, as I did not speak a word of Creole or French. I feared the reaction Jonathan would have as we were going to meet him for the very first time. I was so sad to leave my three children at home for an entire week. I felt guilty asking my father to take care of my kids while I was away. I was so excited to take on this new adventure in my life; and I was hopeful that this was what God wanted me to do!


I was hoping to receive some sort of reassurance that it was all right for us to attend this trip. With all my worries and concerns, I wanted to be sure this trip wasn’t just for self-centeredness. Certainly, I love to travel ~ especially to the Caribbean. I am absolutely intrigued by the complexity and diversity among the islands. The history of each colony settling on a small space of land and developing it into its own country was fascinating to me. I love learning about the similarities and differences of each island in the North Pacific Ocean. In addition, signing up to be a part of the medical team was giving us the opportunity to meet our son. Finally, who wouldn’t enjoy the warm, sunshine throughout the region...? However, this was not at all why I was traveling to Haiti and I wanted God to know this. I was doing this to serve our Lord and was hoping for affirmation from God of my decision.

So many people mention the prevalence of God when in Haiti. I recall being told before leaving for the mission trip, “God is everywhere,” and “it is obvious God exists in Haiti.” Someone even said I would feel God’s presence while I was there. Although I truly did know in my heart the Lord did want me to do mission work; I hadn’t “FELT” it like others said I would. Certainly I had heard about serving God and doing missionary work at church. I knew we were supposed to help others and spread His word ~ this is what we are told to do. So, when Mike and I decided to go on this mission trip, I knew it was what we were supposed to do. However, once I arrived in Haiti; I also wanted to “FEEL” it was what God wanted me to do!

As our plane approached the island of Hispaniola, I peered out the window looking at the country of Haiti. I was told and read about the vast difference of this country compared to the Dominican Republic just the other side of the mountains. From the air, I saw an island of green and a sea of blue. It looked similar to so many islands I have seen. I did notice the lines of brown streaming down the mountains and the muddy rivers flowing into the ocean. We were traveling to Haiti within one week after Tropical Storm Noel hit and flooded a majority of the country. Here I was flying over Haiti, seeing the actual evidence of the flooding, destruction and devastation I read about back home. What was minutes ago in my mind a lush-looking tropical island was now the third world country I was going to be visiting. I felt anxious and concerned, and I prayed asking God to tell me He wanted me to be there!


When we stepped off the plane and onto the tarmac, I felt relief and security. Those mixed emotions I had for days and weeks prior had seemed to vanish. God's hands were rested on my shoulders and I could feel Him guiding and protecting me! I felt the sense I belonged getting off that plane and I was in a place I was supposed to be. I immediately began talking to God and thanking Him for this sense of peace He had given me. As we proceeded through customs, baggage claim and out on the street of Port au Prince, I was at ease. I was able to soak in the sites around me, see the people surrounding us and listen to the sounds in the air. Haiti was a beautiful place and I knew I was there for a reason ~ I could “FEEL” it! The Lord was allowing me to “FEEL” this experience and “FEEL” His presence.

In days to follow and during my second trip to Haiti, I felt God’s presence around me! It is so reassuring to feel God’s love and security as you carry out His work. This feeling of connection and peace is a special gift from God. It is because of this gift I have received, I wish to return to Haiti to sever Him and His people!


Friday, January 18, 2008

FINALLY, FINALLY....



...FINALLY!!!

Our homestudy is officially completed and we are now waiting for our I171h. Please pray we receive it in plenty of time so I am able to head down to Haiti with the February Team to hand-deliver our dossier.


It feels so good to know our side of the paperwork is almost completed! This makes us one step closer to bringing our boys home from Haiti! Praise God!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Institution Mixte Chretienne de Petion-Ville ~ Three Angels’ Christian Academy

The need for quality schools in Haiti is endless as over half of the adult population is illiterate. It is an amazing blessing to see Three Angels strive to decrease this statistic in Haiti. Along with the orphanage and medical clinic is the Three Angels’ Christian Academy; a one-room school for over 355 Haitian children grades preschool through 6th grade. The school provides uniforms, textbooks and instruction for all the students. In addition, the children also receive a meal of bread and peanut butter, known as “mamba,” and fresh water each day they attend. For many of these Haitian children it is their only meal of the day.


Watching the school children enter the gates of Three Angels last week was such a delight. The smiles on their faces and laughter in their voices brought such joy to me each day. So many of them came up to many of us to greet us with a sweet smile, loving “Bonjour,” a giant hug and soft kiss on the cheek. They shared their love and they didn’t even know us! However, they knew because of missionary groups like ours they are able to go to school and even see a doctor if need be. They are so thankful for our help and outwardly display their gratitude. These children brought such happiness to me while in Haiti last week. It is because of these children, I long to return to Haiti time and time again. They are big reason why I truly understand the importance of helping Three Angels and supporting the organization any way I can!



Currently, Three Angels is looking for sponsorships for each student attending IMCP/TACA. As of today, there are only 20+ children with tuition covered by scholarships through sponsorship. There is an endless budget for the needs of the children, faculty and school. Without the help of donations, the school could not and would not exist. A monthly support of $27 is all that is needed to directly benefit the life of a student. These continual donations give the children the opportunity for not only a quality education, but also a meal and clean drinking water each day. Most of the children currently attending TACA would not have the opportunity to attend a school without the Academy and sponsorship help. It is quite disheartening, but so very true!


Three Angels’ Christian Academy would not exist without the help of monthly sponsors. The fact that there are 325+ children in need of help to pay their monthly tuition is troubling to me. These children need our help!!! Since returning home, I have decided to make it a personal goal of mine to find families, schools and organizations to sponsor many of the students at Three Angel’s Christian Academy. So, if any of you, my faithful blog readers, have any ideas how to pursue the help needed, please let me know! And, if YOU have found it in your heart to personally sponsor a student at the Academy for less than $1 a day, you can visit www.threeangelshaiti.org/sponsorship.htm to set up an account to begin making your monthly contribution.


This is such a worthy cause and these children need our help! I pray that my work will be successful and Three Angels Christian Academy will continue to be a success for all of the Haitian children and families!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Wow!

This all I can say right now….Wow!


I am back from Haiti trip #2. After another week spent helping over 400 patients at Halos Medical Clinic, loving on 39 orphans at Angel House and making 18 wonderful new friends, I am still in awe over that country. I am in awe just as I was after my first visit last November. Christ’s presence is abounding there and anyone who takes the time to discover it certainly will.


I had a fabulous time with both of the boys this week. God certainly blessed me with lots of free time so I could have quality time with each of them. This past week, I was able to play with both Daniel and Jonathan. I enjoyed every laugh, each cry and all the hugs and kisses we shared. I am so very grateful for all the time I was given enabling me to love on them.

Although we are waiting to tell Daniel we are adopting him until his 6-month wait has past, we had so much fun together. I told him over and over again I loved him. This made him smile so big, and I could tell it made him so happy knowing someone loved him. It tickled me to death when he would tell me he loved me, too. What a blessing it was to be able to add some sunshine to his life and happiness to his heart! Tim, Megan and Kate had me bring down a school backpack for him so he would have one like the other children. He was just so proud of his new possession; he wore it the entire time he was at school on Monday. I know how special it made him feel that he now had something of his own; and I am so glad we were able to be a part of that. God willing, I will be able to tell him we are adopting him in April when I am in Haiti again. What a joy it will be to be able to give him a family ~ a possession only he will be able to have!



Watching Jonathan grow and change as the week progressed was such a joy. At the beginning of the trip, he would get a huge smile on his face and crawl over to me as I entered the nursery. By the week’s end, not only did he do that, but also he was calling me “Mama” all the time. He also understood when I would enter the nursery; he was going to get to leave with me. He would begin telling all the children and nannies “bye-bye” as he would make his way to the entrance of the nursery. He also figured out he was going to leave Angel House and go with me to the guesthouse each evening. Knowing where the street gate was, he would make his way there telling everyone “bye-bye.”. These were such strides of growth for our little guy! In November, he was terrified to leave the orphanage and clung to Mike and me when we were at the guesthouse. This week, not only did he want to go there, but he wanted to be there to play, eat and crawl all over discovering his new surroundings. What a joy it was to see him change and begin to trust me!

There is just so much to share and so many stories to tell about my week in Haiti. As so many people who have visited there, it takes a few days to unwind, recharge and reflect. Stay tuned for many more blog postings about my adventures…

Friday, January 4, 2008

12 Hour Countdown

I leave for the airport in less than twelve hours. By this time tomorrow, I will have boarded the plane headed to Haiti. Although the anxieties of the unknown are not with me as I prepare for my second trip, I still get the butterflies thinking about traveling to a third-world country by myself while leaving my entire family behind.

I do look forward to seeing Jonathan and Daniel, playing with the children at the O, visiting the boys at St. Joe's again, interacting with the people of Haiti and spending time with the students at the school. Most of all; however, I look forward to the inner peace I will feel as I make an indescribable connection with God while I am there. Nothing can truly explain the relationship one develops with the Lord while in Haiti. It is quite an amazing experience knowing God is right there with you, guiding you, speaking to you and leading you through the magnificent journey. It is a blessing one can only know first hand!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Megan performed in the Holiday Just For Kix Show recently. She danced four routines this event ~ that's a lot of steps for an eight year old to learn. We were very proud of her hard work with dance this fall.



Mike danced with Megan in the show this year, too. All the dads all wore Santa Hats and did a routine to the "Mr. Grinch" song. It was so cute to see them up there together! And, it was such a fitting song! Ha!
Sadly, Kate couldn't make the recital as she was down with the stomach flu that week. She was so disappointed as were we. Not only was Kate excited about dance class this year, but she was ready and willing to perform. That in itself was a HUGE step for her! Fortunately, she has another show coming up at the half-time a high school basketball game.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Holy Smokes!!!


Four days to go...!

I cannot believe I am leaving for Haiti in four days! Four more sleeps and I will be on my way to Miami to meet up with the team at the airport. (Well, actually three sleeps seeing as I have to leave for the airport at 3:00am Saturday morning.) Soon after, I will be in Port au Prince holding my boys! I am so, so excited to see them again and spend an entire week with them. My hope is Jonathan will stay with me at St. Joesph's this week, but we will have to see how it goes... In November, he wasn't too sure about the unfamiliar surroundings and preferred to be in his own crib at Angel House. I will have to wait until my April trip to enjoy a sleepover with Daniel, but that is a-okay! We will have lots of fun playing all week at the orphanage!!!

I am also so grateful to be traveling with a medical team once again. Halos Clinic will be up and running while we are there. We will again see many, many patients and all the children and employees of Three Angels. I cannot begin to explain what a blessed experience it is to be a part of a medical mission serving God and the people of Haiti. It is humbling, joyous, enlightening, exciting, saddening, tiring, motivating, thrilling and so much more!!!

....When I return, I will be sure to post all the exciting events from the trip.