I Want To Go To There!

Stories from abroad

Month: January, 2011


Haitians love chu’ch.  Not church, I’m talking about chu’ch.  In the last seven days, I’ve gone six times, including twice yesterday.  I’m talking about 2.5 hour marathons, with an hour and a half of singing and an hour-long sermon.

Singing isn’t like the open the hymnal, follow the powerpoint type church singing that I’ve done in most chapels.  There’s bouncing and dancing and walking around and yelling and praying.  It’s also almost unbearably loud, with drums, a keyboard, a bass, and an electric guitar.  There’s 90 minutes of singing about 25 words, 5 words for each of the 5 songs that we sing.  It just repeats over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.  And one more time after that.  I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s completely possible to sing one verse for 20 minutes.  Thats what happened yesterday morning.

I don’t know exactly how long we sang “mwen adore” (I adore) yesterday, but it was enough time for me to daydream about eating a salad, imagine taking a hot shower, replay the State of the Union in my mind, wonder about where my friends were going to eat lunch after church in LA, and try to count the mosquito bites on my arms.  After all that, there was still time to start thinking about why He is worthy of adoration.  As more and more things came to mind, I started singing, then swaying, then clapping.

Maybe that’s how the Haitians can sing the same words over and over.  Or why the creatures around God’s throne can sing the same verse day and night without growing weary.  There are no words that can fully capture who God is.  There isn’t a word that sums Him up, that we can hear and say, “Oh I get it.  So that’s who God is.”  He isn’t just holy.  Or holy, holy.   Or even holy, holy, holy.    He’s holy an infinite times over.  And one more time after that.

Then there’s the preaching, which is another spectacle with bouncing and dancing and walking around and yelling and praying.  Unless I’m preaching, which is what happened last night.  Then there’s a lot of crickets chirping after failed jokes.  And quiet.  Lots and lots of quiet.



Medical Advice

Dear Doctor and Pharmacist Friends,

I am taking Doxycycline in the morning to prevent malaria (and acne as a free bonus) and Difenhidramina HCL before bed to prevent me from scratching myself awake at night from all my bug bites.

Question . . . will I die from some sort of weird drug reaction?  Your reply is much appreciated.  I will also post this question on Facebook if you prefer to answer there.



PS – My lips are kind of tingly now.  That’s new.

MEE-stir jo-NAH-tahn

Liz had to go to the Dominican Republic, so I subbed for her three English classes today – two beginners, and one intermediate.  I had a lot of fun.  Teaching grammar isn’t my favorite, but it did give me a chance to take photos of some of the students.  Why is that a big deal?  Because so many of them remind me of basketball players.

I feel like my Scottie Pippenness allows me to say this without being a jerk.  Just a fact of life.  Sometimes we look like other people.  Sadly you don’t really get a good view in these group photos, but take a shot anyway.  Can you find Tony Allen, Ron Artest, and Barron Davis?  There’s a great Emeka Okafor too, but he wasn’t in my classes.  Next time.


Breakfast -$1.25

There is no stopping the deliciousness in this box.  Spaghetti + ketchup + hot sauce + mayonnaise + sausage + hot dog = blown mind.  Seriously, this thing weighed like 2 lbs.  I couldn’t finish it.

Now let’s not get carried away.  If McDonald’s sold their Sausage Egg McMuffins for $1.25 instead of $2.50, I’d choose them 9/10 times, and of course Jack in the Box tacos remain the untouchable king of cheap eats.  But you have to give extra credit for being made by a random lady on the side of a dusty Haitian road.  I mean, it’s only fair.

Kudos to you, greasy-tangy-spicy-mystery-meated-carb-loaded box of goodness!


Read Acts 8 today about how Saul’s persecution pushed believers out of Jerusalem.  As they were going, they preached to spread the truth of Christ and His work to Judea, Samaria, and beyond.  Most Christians would agree that Paul is a hero of their faiths.  Generations of believers have verses from the epistles or Romans committed to memory.  I do too.  But I don’t give Saul enough credit.  That guy started the first mass missions movement.

So thank you, Saul, for being a zealous persecutor of the church.  Because of you, I am a believer today.  And thank you God, that you’ve had a plan for me since the beginning, even before I called you my Father .

Dr. Herriot DuPlan

Meet Dr. Herriot DuPlan.  He’s Stellecy’s pediatrician and an amazing artist.  That’s him on the bottom left.  I think he was writing a prescription for her when I took this photo.  Henri (local staff) is holding Stellecy in his lap, while she does one of her favorite things – staring down whoever’s around (here it’s my roommate, Luke) into submission to her cute/bratty will .  I told you.  Fire.

There was such a gentle ease about the doctor, but it still took me a while to muster up the courage to ask permission to take pictures in his office.  I wanted to ask him to stand on that staircase and pose next to some of his paintings, but I thought that might be asking too much.  I literally debated in my mind for almost the duration of the office visit.  Man, I really wish I would have asked him to stand on that staircase.   Gah.

What’s Creole for “Fire Hazard”?

Sharing Fail

Here’s a new idol for you – lingual clarity.  I don’t even know if that’s a thing, but I just spent 3 minutes searching for the right words for it.  The irony.  I hate not being able to communicate clearly.  Shared in our group prayer time tonight.  I’m pretty sure they didn’t hear what I wanted to say.  I have mixed feelings about that.  Which isn’t a terribly bad place to be.  I guess?

Do you have to make a pee?

I asked a student where the toilet was and instead of using the one at the church we were meeting in, he took me to his home down the street.  Then he dropped the bomb.  “Do you want to make a pee or . . . ?”

OK, that’s all I have to say about that.

Asian Haitian

Say hello to my new home.  I’ll have more pictures later, but this is a quick glimpse into my place for the next 6 months.

We’ve only got the first floor.  The second floor is unfinished.  4br, 2ba.  I share a room with a dude from Washington.  Our room is the one who’s windows jut out next to the landing.

This is the inside of my room.  My bed’s on the far side.  Please note the cubes on the left and the blue hamper/rubbermaid box on the left.

10 lbs of metal organizing goodness.  These cubes made me have to take another piece of luggage because I was over the weight limit.  Worth it though.

Special thanks to Liz Nam for telling me to bring an over the door shoe organizer.  It is perhaps the most useful storage device ever in the history of Haitian missions.  I’m dead serious.

Here is my MacGyver dresser/closet.  Polos, button downs, boxers, socks on the left.  Shorts and pants in the center.  Tshirts to the right.  I’m particularly proud of the tshirt organization.

There it is folks.  I’ll post more pictures of the rest of the house later.  Special thanks to Willy Oei for giving me the title of this post.  Couldn’t have done it without you, buddy.