Archive for November 2013

Oh...just livin' the life!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ok, prepare yourself for this's about to be all over the place and possibily quite long as I try to recap the past week.

Where to begin...

Well I guess the best place would be to start on the 19th.  That was a wonderful yet crazily busy day around here.  Jeremiah came over to install the inverter, I picked up Emily and her dad from the airport, and attempted to make a late night run to the grocery store.  So basically what that means is:

1. We have an inverter now!! Aka power 24/7 (or at least close to that)!!
2. I have an American roommate now, who is fabulous!
3. I learned late night runs make me anxious.

Let me first say how nice it is to have power!  Oh I can't even put it into words.  I didn't know what to do with myself the first night.  I was able to cook, clean, and shower all WITH light!! Amazing I tell ya, A-MA-ZING!  Not only that, but my groceries now stay fresh, we can pump water even if we lose city power, and it's pretty awesome getting to sleep with a fan at night.  Simply wonderful.

Our inverter!! Thank you SOOO much Jeremiah for installing it!!

Second, I love, love, LOVE having Emily here!  Things were definitely getting lonely around the house and I was beginning to feel pretty lost on this journey.  It is so nice having another American my age here to laugh, joke, and talk with each day.  She also has incredible ministry ideas and dreams which gave me a new passion for this ministry.  Plus, we are learning that our strengths and weaknesses really balance each other out, so it's gonna be amazing working and living with her this next year.  Thank you Lord for providing a friend and ministry partner for this journey!

Emily and Me with Frosty at the Christmas Bazaar last week.

Third, I'm learning more and more that some things make me down right anxious here (and in the States as well if I'm being honest).  This seems to develop more as I get older, but I've learned a lot about myself over the past few weeks.  I learned that I don't like crowds, tight spaces, or sitting in a car on a street surrounded by 100s of people and cars waiting in line to go nowhere.  Pretty silly I know, but on more than one occasion I have had to give myself a pep talk to get through an uncomfortable situation.  I'm also learning that I'm not nearly as adventurous as I thought I was.  Trying new things is hard for me and really does take some major pep-talking most days!  I'm working on it though!

A little dose of perspective the other day.  This couple lives and works on the rock pile you see, which is right outside of our gate.  They were washing clothes that day and laid them out to dry on top of the dusty pile.  It reminded me to always be grateful life's blessings!

Other than that, things have just been busy around here.  Emily and I have gotten full force into ministry duties, getting everything typed up for teams, dreaming up ministry ideas, and trying to put things into action.  We've also been working out the kinks in some areas and have gotten this house really looking nice. There are some things we'd like to do to make it even nicer for when teams come, but that will come in time (and when the budget is available!).  Please keep us in your prayers as we work through all the details, try to discern God's will, and depend on Him for our continuing source of peace and joy.

I also wanted to update you all on the lady in the hospital I wrote about last week.  Emily and I went to see her on the 20th, to check in on her progress and provide the hospital with some resources for long-term care.  She said she was feeling pretty good, but from talking with the doctors it is becoming clear that she may have early signs of dementia.   They are still working on determining her true state of mind, but they are pretty sure she's not fully there mentally.  They also told us that she refuses to have her leg amputated.  The wound care doctor at Bernard Mevs (the hospital she's at) is going to try and save the leg, but it will take a long time and a lot of prayer.  The best part of our visit was praying over her and we finally learned her name.  Meet Ifanya (or Efanya - not sure of the proper spelling).  Please keep her in your prayers as she has a long journey of recovery awaiting her.  Please also pray that the hospital will be able to find a long-term care facility for her soon.


So yeah, that's basically the gist of life here right now.  Add in a trip to the local market, Creole lessons, a few 100 ants, lots of laughs, and a little bit of frustration, and that pretty much sums up life right now!

 From our trip to the local market today!  Lots of fruits and veggies to choose from and it's just around the corner!
 I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty excited about our Christmas decorations!  The reindeer will somehow find its way back to the States with me eventually!

I really do love being here and am finding more and more peace each day about this calling.  God is teaching me some pretty big and hard lessons about myself, but I've grown closer in my walk with him than ever before.  Thank you for your continued love, support, and prayers!! We really do appreciate them all!

Ps.  Keep a look out here, on Facebook, and via email for an upcoming Christmas Catalog for HFMS.  This is a great and easy way to help get involved with missions while also supporting our ministry here in Haiti over the Christmas season!

Ok, I think this post is long enough.  Bonnwit (goodnight)!

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If you'd like to donate..

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

UPDATED 11/21/2013

To finish Sunday's post, I'll go ahead and answer the other question.

"What items can we collect to send back with you at Christmas?"

Well, there are some items we could use.  First and foremost, top of my list right now is buying a washing machine and dryer.  If you choose only one thing on this list to help with, this is the one I'd ask for you to choose.  We need to raise around $1500 to cover the cost since both the washer and dryer run about $800 each.  

This may seem like a silly request, but having a washer and dryer here at the house would take a huge weight off of our shoulders.  In the words of Jenn Hambrick, "We would go from surviving to thriving!" Right now, in order to wash clothes I have two options.  One - I can haul my laundry basket over to Jenn and Jeremiah's and use their washer and dryer (which they have so graciously allowed me to do and I cannot thank them enough for that!!), or  Two- I can call Esther.  If I call Esther, then she and her friend come over and spend the whole day washing each item by hand and hanging them to dry.  While I am grateful that these options exist, having our own machines would make it that much easier, and one less thing we would have to schedule into our week.   This is especially true for when we have teams at the house.  Washing 12 sets of sheets, towels, and other items takes a long time to do by hand and would be MUCH easier with a washing machine.  So, if you'd like to help us purchase a washer and dryer, a donation is the way to go!  You can give online at or mail a check to:

Christian Light Ministries
Attn: Allyson Hemric
PO Box 23881
Jacksonville, FL 32241

These donations are tax deductible!  Please include a note that your donation is for me, and if you'd like to designate it to my washer and dryer fund, please also include that on your note.

If you would like to give tangible items, here are a few items we are in need of right now:

  • Twin Sheet Sets - 100% cotton in solid colors or small prints (such as stripes).  Please do not send any sheets that have a silky texture to them.  We need light weight cotton sheets, and could use at least 12 more sets.
  • 14 Twin size cloth mattress pads/covers.  Please no plastic ones as they are very hot!
  • 1 Full size cloth mattress pad/cover.
  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Lighters (the long ones)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Clorox Wipes
  • D, AA, & AAA Batteries
  • Humidifier 
  • Fluorescent light bulbs
  • Small 3oz bathroom size cups
  • Toiletry size items we could give away to the women we work with (shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, feminine products, etc)
  • 15 Seat cushions (solid colors) for folding metal chairs - preferably the kind you can tie on
  • DVD's - we love to watch movies at night and are quickly going through our pile! 
  • Glass containers that seal VERY well for the kitchen - all sizes!
  • Labels for glass containers that can be erased and relabeled
  • Rugs (must fit into standard size luggage and should be in colors that will hide dirt well) 
  • Decor for the house or supplies to make our own (aka canvases, paint, fabric, etc)
  • Standard  Bed Pillows
  • Small portable laminating machine with laminating sheets
  • Small battery powered fans

Monetary donations are always very helpful as well!  Many of the items we need can be purchased here in Haiti if we have the funds available.  The includes items on our need list like: Fans, light fixtures, appliances, furniture, generator, etc.  Monetary donations also go towards paying our monthly ministry costs as well. If you'd like to donate directly to HFMS to help cover these costs, you can send a check payable to Union Baptist Church and mail it to:

Hope for My Sister
Union Baptist Church
PO Box 194
Union, KY 41091

Hope that helps!! I'll be home a few days before Christmas and will be in town until January 7th.  If you'd like to donate any of these items, please leave a comment below or email me at and we can figure out a time to meet up.

Thanks everyone :)

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In honor of Sunday

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I posted on Facebook last night asking everyone if there were any topics, questions, or things they'd like me to blog about.  I tend to get caught in blogging ruts so I thought it'd be nice to have some topics to fall back on.  The first two questions I was asked were:

1.  What things can we collect to send back with you at Christmas?


2.  Since it's Sunday, where do you go for worship?

Well since it IS Sunday, I'll answer #2 first.  Here in Port, I typically attend Port au Prince Fellowship which is a small little church up near Petionville.  Many of the younger missionaries and families go there, and in my opinion it's the best local "American" church I've found.  Most of my good friends here in Haiti attend PAP Fellowship, so it's been the best place for me to get connected and worship alongside other missionaries.

Disclaimer:  I did not take this picture, I found it through google images.  At least it lets you see a small glimpse of the space though :)  Thanks to whoever did take this picture!
I say I typically go there because honestly I never know what Sunday is going to hold for me.  Without a car, I have to find transportation each week to and from church.  The past few weeks this hasn't been a problem since Jenn and Jeremiah have graciously agreed to let me ride along with them (thank you both!!).  This week however, Jeremiah was leading worship and had to be there super early.  With only one car, Jenn & the kids weren't able to attend, and we weren't able to work out other transportation in time.   It ended up being a blessing in disguise however, because I spent the morning watching the video online from last week's sermon at my home church.  I've really been missing Grey Stone lately, so it was nice to have a small piece of them here with me today. Church here is good, but it's not like home.  I'm definitely looking forward to spending some time at Grey Stone during my trip over Christmas!

Where I worship can also change depending on if we have a team here at the house.  Often times when we have a team, or at least in my experience traveling with teams, we can end up at any number of the Haitian churches around.  I do enjoy getting to worship in a Haitian church occasionally, but there's nothing like worshiping in your own language :)

So for now, PAP Fellowship is where I will attend regularly.  I'm definitely open to trying other places, but it seems to be the best fit so far!

Where is your favorite place to worship on Sunday?

If there are any other questions you all may have for me or topics you'd like to hear about, leave me a comment below or on facebook!  I'll get around to all of them eventually!

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Heartbreak and a Call to Prayer

Friday, November 15, 2013

The hospital where this sweet woman is being treated.
What did you do the last two days?

For me, Wednesday and Thursday were like none other.  I started Wednesday off like any normal day.  I was up around 7am, fixed breakfast, Jeremiah came to look at installing the inverter, Esther came by to clean the house for Emily, and things were just normal; running smoothly and enjoyable.  However, as I was fixing dinner that night, my world was rocked.  I got a call from my good friend Erin Fairbanks, who is now working at Dorothy's.  She had been at the hospital all day with Emmanuella, one of the kids at Dorothy's, who was getting her pre-op done for a feeding tube surgery next week.  While at the hospital, Erin was talking with a friend there who mentioned they had an abused woman in their care and they weren't sure where to send her, or who does that kind of ministry here in Port.  Naturally, Erin thought of us and gave me a call wondering if we could take this lady in.

Here is where it got hard.

Come to find out, an American man who brings teams down regularly always checks on this Haitian lady, takes her food, etc.  While in town this past week, he could not find her.  He began to ask around wondering if she had moved, past away, was sick, etc.  They eventually found her in a cemetery.  Bound with wire, gagged, and with severe injuries.  He immediately took her to the hospital for treatment. When I heard this my heart sank.

Who would do such a thing and why?  Why her?  Who did it?  Was it voodoo, her husband, family? How do we help her?  How do we turn her away?  Can we take her in?  Are we equipped for that yet? What is her state of mind even like?  What type of treatment would she need? How do we help her?!??

I spent all of Wednesday night in tears and on the computer emailing back and forth between Erin, Patricia, Emily, and me.  It broke all of our hearts.  We had to do something but what could we do?  We aren't equipped, trained, or prepared to take women like this in, but how do we turn her away??  There are so few places, if any, here in Haiti to send this woman.  My mind raced all night as I tried to figure out how we could help.

Then Thursday came around.  Erin texted and asked if I'd like to go with them to the hospital and meet this lady.  I said yes, and off we went.  I thought from the conversation we had the night before that I was prepared to see this woman, but boy was I wrong.  We sat and talked with the nurse first to get a better understanding of what happened and the severity of her injuries.

We were informed that they believe she was used in some sort of Voodoo ceremony.  They are unclear of how long she had been there, but from her injuries they concluded it had to have been for some time.  The nurse said her whole body was bound with wire.  Her fingers bound so tight that at the base they were cut to the bone, barely hanging on.  She had a huge open wound on her knee where you could see all the tendons and ligaments.  She said this wound was badly infected with screw worms, like nothing they'd seen before.  To the point that they had to call a vet to figure out how to get rid of them. She also has a hole in her ankle where they believe she has some other type of worm living because you can watch its air bubbles come to the surface (she will need surgery for this soon).  She was infested with maggots, everywhere.  In places you would never want maggots.  She was missing a few fingers, which could have been a previous injury or caused from the wire.  They believe she will lose her leg and need a prosthetic in the near future.  Her injuries are so severe that she will be spending a while in the hospital. The nurse also told us that when she was brought to the hospital and finally cleaned up, they took her to her room.  They said she bent down, smelled the sheets (noticing they were clean), smiled the biggest smile they've ever seen, and then laid down and fell right asleep.  The nurse said you could tell it was the first time she had felt safe in a long time.

I was not prepared. Not even close.

It took all I had to not burst into tears when I met this woman face to face.  I couldn't think of anything to say.  I asked how she was doing and told the nurse that we would figure out some way to help.  I wasn't sure what that would look like, but we WOULD help!

As we left, my heart broke in two. Who could do such a thing to this woman?  Why is this world so cruel? How on Earth are we going to help?

Needless to say, she needs your prayers and we need your prayers!!  This is not the first time we've been asked to take someone in.  There simply aren't enough ministries here serving these types of cases.  While our original plan was to not house women, as this question keeps arising we are becoming increasingly aware that this may just be the path God wants our ministry to go. Unfortunately, we are not equipped to take this sweet woman in, but we are beginning the process of looking into this as an option in the future.

Unfortunately, saying yes is not as easy as it sounds.  While our hearts scream ABSOLUTELY we'll take her, our minds are reminded of how big of a committment that is.  As soon as we take the first woman in, we will open our gates to a revolving door of these cases.  We will get knocks and calls all the time.  That then forces us to face and prepare for these questions:

-Who do we take in?
-Who do we turn away?
-How many women can we house?
-What services can we provide?
-What if they need medical care?  We don't have a nurse here, transportation to take them to the hospital, or the supplies to even do basic medical care here.
-How long do they stay?
-How do we keep track of their progress when they decide to leave?
-How will we afford to feed and provide medical care to these women?
-What training does our staff need to provide proper counseling and care?
-How do we turn someone away?
-What are the guidelines for the women we'll accept?
-How do we even decide what cases are "acceptable" here?
-How do we protect them in the long run?
-How do we keep ourselves and this ministry safe once we start this program?
-How do we say no?

And the list can go on, and on, and on!

These questions have been racing through our minds the last two days as we explore this new path for the ministry.

Please keep us in your prayers.  Pray that God would provide the wisdom, knowledge, resources, and provision if this is His will.  If it's not His will, please pray that he would close the door.  Pray that we would have the courage to take this step and explore this area of ministry.  Pray for our hearts and our minds, as nothing can put into words the things we've seen the last two days.  Please pray for us as we try to discern God's will.  If this is the path we are to take, please pray that we will figure out how to put it into action.

I was not prepared.  I'm not prepared.  But God doesn't call the equipped.  

Please pray for this sweet woman.  We don't even know her name because she speaks so softly that no one can understand.  She goes by about four different names at the hospital, but we hope as she continues to gain her voice and confidence that we will come to know her name soon.  In the mean time,  please pray for her.  Pray for her health, quick and complete healing, for her emotional state, that this would not crush her spirit, and that some how some good will come from this. She needs our prayers.

Please pray. For her. For us.  For the women we will soon be serving.

Ps.  Sorry there is no picture of this sweet lady.  I couldn't bring myself to ask for a picture when I saw her yesterday.

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Not always picture worthy

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Excuse my appearance in this one, it was a little bit hot :)
I've learned over the last few weeks that one of the biggest things I struggle with is not doing "picture worthy" ministry.  I've always loved seeing pictures of what missionaries are doing; seeing the heart wrenching pictures of kids, or the joyous baptisms.  In my mind I guess I thought that's what I'd be sharing with everyone regularly.  What you don't see in those pictures however is all of the behind the scenes not so "picture worthy" things that take place.  That is where I'm at in ministry right now.  I have not had the chance to feed a starving baby, help an elderly man or woman to the hospital, give out life saving care, or anything else so dramatic.  My ministry right now is developing budgets, typing up procedure manuals, making signs for the house, cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, providing water to the KOFAEL women, etc.  Some days I struggle with not being able to share incredible pictures and stories with you all, but for now this is where God has me. 

You see, all of these things are critical to the success of this ministry.  Without a budget, procedure manual, or plans on how to do ministry, HFMS would never actually get off the ground.  I've had to remind myself many times over the last couple of weeks, that while I may not be saving lives right now, the work I'm doing will eventually lead to making a big impact on lives one day.  So for now, I'll pour another glass of ice water, serve another pack of crackers, clean the bathroom, type up documents, and keep the house running smoothly until God places bigger ministry opportunities in my path. 

"His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord."  Matthew 25:21

"If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.  But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities."  Luke 16:10

Here's to being faithful in the little things!

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Hello, My Name Is:

Monday, November 11, 2013

I realized that I've thrown a lot of new names out recently and that most of you have no clue who I'm talking about. So, to help you put a face with the name in my posts, here is a little break down of who's who in my life right now :)

Founder and Director of Hope for My Sister. 

My soon to be American roommate, and the Assistant Center Coordinator here at HFMS.

Julienne Pierre:
Our Haitian roommate, leader of KOFAEL, and ministry partner of HFMS. She is engaged to Frantz.

Frantz Osier:  
Julienne's fiance, leader of KOFAEL, and soon to be third housemate in December.  He will be moving in once they get married to help with things here at HFMS.

Esther Soloman:  
The Haitian woman who helps when we have teams, and a dear friend of mine.

The Hambrick's (Jeremiah, Jennifer, Ella, Ezra, Eli, and Zoe):
My dear friends from the States who are also serving here in Port au Prince.  

Jim & Debbie Hambrick:
Jeremiah's Parents and fellow missionaries here in Haiti.  I've worked with them many times over the last few years.  They are great friends and have been mentors for me through this journey.  They also live two doors down, so we're neighbors! :)

Hope that helps!! You can read more about KOFAEL and their ministry here. You can also read more about HFMS by clicking the link on the navigation bar above!

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Almost three weeks in..

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

 The view from our balcony last night.

I've been asked a lot recently how I'm really doing.  Since I'm about to hit the three week mark, I thought I'd try to answer that question for you.

How am I really doing..? 

Well, I'd say that varies on a day to day basis.  Some days I really enjoy living here.  Some days every thing goes right, ministry is good, and I feel like I'm getting things accomplished.  There are also days where I'm ready to pack up and leave.  Days where anything that can go wrong seems to go wrong, and I just can't find my way out from under the pile.  Those days are hard and filled with emotions.   And then there are days in between, where I don't necessarily love it here, but I'm not eager to go home either.   I'd say most of my days are spent somewhere in the middle.  It's been a balancing act of emotions. 

I'm also finding that I can't trust my emotions as easily as I do while at home.  There are times where even the silliest of things can bring me to tears; like rain.  I've never been much of a crier but I'm pretty sure I've cried more here over the last three weeks than I have in years.  They haven't all been sad tears; some are from overwhelming joy, like getting a call from a friend or an encouraging email. Nonetheless, I have cried more than I expected, and usually about things I never expected to cry over :).

I'm coming to accept that some things are just part of life here in Haiti, and there is very little you can do about it.  Some of these things include:  mosquitoes, itchy legs/feet/arms because of mosquito bites, limited power, water issues, and more.  I am learning to live with these new realities.  I have found myself much more aware and grateful for life's blessings here.  We take so much for granted at home.  I don't want to ever lose this mindset of gratitude.

There are a couple of things that would make life a little easier, such as a car, inverter, and a washing machine. Top of my list right now is getting an inverter.  We haven't had city power for two days and without a backup power source, it is very hard to keep groceries fresh.  Warm refrigerators just don't quite do the job effectively :).  No power also equals no water.  We have to pump our water from the cistern to a tank on the roof, but unfortunately the pump requires power.  Thus no power = no water.  I don't say this to complain, just to explain how important power is here.  Please join me in praying for the funding of an inverter, and that we could get one installed soon.

Some other specific ways you can pray for me:

Pray for good health.  I have been fighting a cold the last couple of days, and while I think it's finally turning a corner, prayers are much appreciated!  My energy has been very low the last couple of days so I really appreciate your prayers!

Pray for my emotional well-being.  As I mentioned, my emotions can be so hard to trust here.  A couple of things have made that even harder.  Please pray for my strength, patience, and ability to love as Christ loves.  Please also pray for my ability to work with those God has placed in my life.  One of the hardest parts of being on the mission field is learning to work with those you wouldn't normally choose to work with.  I'm learning continually that patience with others and their work methods is a must for a successful ministry.  This can be easier said than done sometimes.

Pray for God's financial provision. God has truly blessed my ministry financially over the last few months.  Right now I've got enough funding to cover the next 6 months.  That said, there are some unforeseen expenses that have arisen, like the inverter.   Please pray that God would continue to provide the finances needed to cover my time here in Haiti.  If you would like to donate to my ministry, simply click the "how to give" button above.  Thank you so much to everyone who has already donated to support my time here.  Your generosity has been such a blessing and encouragement to me!

Pray for wisdom and discernment. My days and weeks have been filled with searching for wisdom and the discernment needed to help this ministry.  Please pray that God would continue to show me what it is he'd have me do here and how to carry out that calling.

Pray for my new relationships here. Over the last three weeks, I have met a lot of people and made some good friends.  As I mentioned though, it can be hard at times working with so many new people.  Please pray for my patience in those instances.  Please also pray for Emily, Julienne, and me as we will all be living under the same roof in a few days.  Pray that we would get along, that we would be gracious to forgive each others faults, and that we would find a balance of life and friendship in the house.

Thank you again for all of your prayers.  I really do feel the power of them every single day. Also, thank you to everyone who has sent encouraging notes, emails, and calls.  Those connections with home bring such joy to me!

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Not Me Monday

Monday, November 4, 2013

I did not fall down the steps outside of our house the other day.  There's no way I'd be that clumsy.  And there's absolutely no way that I fell in front of the four Haitians working at the house that day.  I always make silly mistakes like that in private, never in front of an audience! And there's no way I fell on my butt so hard that Esther had to call at 9pm to make sure I was ok.  I always fall gracefully and end up on my feet. Ahem.

I also did not do my laundry at the Hambrick's the other day only to get home and realize I never put laundry detergent in with the wash. I definitely decided to wash the load again. I would never smell it and decide they were clean enough to hang my clothes back up.  That's just gross. Only teenage boys do that.

I also did not shed a few tears when it rained the other night.  I would never get so excited over a little thing called rain.

Ahem.  Nope not me.  Never!

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