Tuesday, November 27, 2012


give thanks.

Last year at this same time i was here in Haiti ,with the same group. this year they added some extra folks and 2 of those extras were my parents. 

the whole week was full of love. 
full of joy.
field day at school.
mommas gumbo.
worship every night. 
(one night, we went up to the mountain to worship and Voodoo people were there practicing.... read this blog by my roommate Janice. she nailed it!) 


on thanksgiving day, momma spent all day preparing the gumbo. every once in awhile i would go outside to check on her and she would be laughing her head off with the ladies. they all loved laughing with her. at one point , dad was stirring the gumbo and mom and all the ladies were dancing around singing, 

"[d]jambalaya, a-crawfish pie and-a file [a]gumbo
Cause tonight Im gonna see my machez a[d]mioPick guitar, fill fruit jar and be [a]gay-oh
 Son of a gun, well have big fun on the [d]bayou."

it was so great! i could not help but join them and we danced some more! the picture is one of my favorites from the whole trip! 

while the gumbo was still stirring, the group and i walked to the beach. its about a 20 minute walk out of the neighborhood, around the corner, passing of some bulls, and you're there. the 1st place we went to looked like an old abandon beach "resort" but, apparently its packed on the weekends.  thanks to conrad we had to leave bc he picked a coconut from one of their many trees. so, we kept walking and ended up on the edge of the bulk head. we had to cross a small creek and then ended up at yet another abandon looking beach "resort".  there we took pictures and enjoyed the view. 

we arrived back at the house and the gumbo was ready and the table was set. we invited a bunch of really cool people over, and everyone gathered in a circle, we thanked God and all ate gumbo together outside on the big picnic table under the stars. it was magical. and hot. haha.

 after we ate and visited with one another. we all set under the stars and worshiped together. we worshiped our King. our Savior, the One we put our hope in.

Friday was the last full day for my parents and the team.  i had to go to school early morning and the team finished up on the projects with cafe and the building of the closets. Friday was pretty laid back. that evening, mom, dad, me, tachi and esther went to celebrate mom and dads 40 years of marriage. we went to really cool place a few miles down the highway. we had a great evening together. i was so thankful to spend this time with mom and daddy. 

when we arrived back at the house, the team was already on the front porch for worship so we joined them right away. we sang our hearts out while olivia and wadley led us. after singing, we all said what we were thankful for. tears and laughter were heavy. it was a beautiful time. a time where truth was spoken and the Lord had his hand all over the moments of thanks. i was very thankful to be apart this evening. 
i am thankful that this life is just temporary. im thankful that one glorious day we will be able to feast on a table with all people who have said Yes to Jesus. 

my parents being here was a dream come true. it was a beautiful week.

this was my daddy at field day. he loved on kids like he'd known them for years.

i must say this while i am talking about giving thanks, i am so very thankful for Ben Morris
his paitence. his service. his understanding of family and how they are a gift. his love for his job and his amazing skills. for his wisdom and humility. his understanding of freedom, even in our relationship. his support. his willingness. his growing heart...... and,  he will be here  February 11th-18th and i will return with him. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

ya'll, my parents are coming.

my parents are coming and i could not be more excited!  my mom has only been out of the country once, to visit me when i lived in Mexico, and my dad has never ever stepped foot out of the us of a. i knew this day would happen and finally after 40 years of marriage they are taking a leap of faith to serve together in Haiti.

as i write this, i am sitting in a class of kindergartners. i am supposed to be paying attention but, Madame Evette has the kids 100% attention so i am writing whats on my mind before i loose it.

i'm thinking about when i was 5 years old and in mrs. bankstons class.  i remember alot about that class:  my friends, lunch time, recess and mrs. bankston being really tall and super sweet.  i wonder in 20 years will these darling kids remember me?  will they remember the white lady that came to share a couple of weeks with them, while their teacher was out on maternity leave?  will they remember how Madame Evette and Madame Jessi laughed alot?  will they remember how i loved them?  they have no idea what i have learned from their child-like minds.  they have no idea what their sweet hearts & rowdy personalities have taught me in the past 3 weeks.  they have brought so much joy to my heart.

back to my parents..  my parents cared for me. loved me. tended to me. hugged me. fed me 3 home cooked meals everyday. water & soap to bathe were always available.  i never went to bed hungry and my clothes were always clean.  i had amazing aunt and uncles, the best cousins ever, a hero for a sister and a protector for a brother.
i wonder about my darling students?  i can't help but to look them in the face daily and wonder ....
are they being loved on?  being taken cared of?  fed daily (besides the daily meal at school) ?
taking a bath daily? have parents that love them?  anyone teaching them morals? anyone teaching them about Jesus? anyone showing them compassion?
some students, i know, are receiving this kind of care. some, i know, are not.
this breaks my heart.

as i write, the tears are starting to flow.  i am trying to cover my tears bc Evette is starting to notice and starting to wonder. what the heck Jessi?
today, especially, as i write this, i am thankful for my parents. for their love, support, and encouragement.  i am thankful that my dad pursued my momma in high school, got a job at the local paper mill and married my mom. at 20 and 18 years old, im thankful mom said yes, even though it was probably hard at 18 in 1972.
im thankful that daddy worked so hard that mom got to stay home and tend to me, kelli and jo.
im thankful that mom was always the "homeroom" mom and that her and dad never ever miss anything that we were involved in.  I could go on forever with the thankfulness....wow.

i can't help but wonder how life would be if we would have been Haitian? what would have been so different for us?
church family?
teaching of morals?

im thinking about how i have no clue what it feels like to go to bed hungry and how so many people here know the feeling.  people of all ages.
i can't compare. i've never gone to bed hungry. its been the total opposite for me.

i wonder what i/we can do?
this thought never ends.
sometimes even wears my mind out. 

how humbled i am when i think about the reality of this. God could have made me and my family Haitian.  because of who we are and who we know we belong to, i know with all my heart that we as a family would have survived the life here. just like we survive the life in the us of a. i know we really can't compare the 2, but with love, we win. we win the battle. with Jesus and totally dependence on Him this is where the difference is. even for Haitians, to see the dependence on the Lord is a beautiful thing. i struggle with this bc most of the time i want to depend on others and not go directly to the Creator.

as i look up from my notebook for a second.
i see a class room full of happy hearts, full bellies (they get fed everyday at school) all in uniform, friendships forming and a great teacher that loves them and wants the best for them.
they say a prayer of thanksgiving. yes, they are praying to Jesus, the ONE who cares for them. tends to them. loves them. and is molding them into the future of Haiti.
they are praying. something that is not even allowed in schools in my own country. woah.
the Lord hears their prayers.
they are His.
this is where i put my hope. this is where i can go home happy, with a full heart.

mom and dad, thank you for teaching me Jesus. for loving me. it makes a difference. thanks
see you in 2 days.  can't wait to serve with you. yippie!!!!

Jesus, thank You that You nourish hope. that You will satisfy life. that You will bring fulfillment.
i am nothing without YOU.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

sweet baby.

tonight i got to go meet my sweet friend, Juliene's baby. heart was so full and so happy.

last week i gathered some stuff to "shower" Juliene with. at that point i wasn't sure what she was having so i put some boy/girl goodies in the cardboard box that i was collecting it in.

on Thursday evening Juliene had her baby so,when i got to school on Friday, Evette told me with much excitement that Juliene had a baby GIRL. all day friday at school i could not stop thinking about how excited and thankful Juilene must be. this was her 4th pregnancy.  Juliene told me this news a few weeks ago, she said that she has two babies in Heaven.  her 9 year old daughter is just like her, soft spoken and precious. i couldn't help to wonder how nervous Juliene must have been during her last weeks of pregnancy at 38 years old. but, Juliene knows that her baby belongs to the Lord.  last week during school, she had to sit a lot during her teaching. every time she would have a contraction or the baby would move, she would stop and ask the Lord to help her with the pain. she was so humble in her asking. the students were so patient with her. it was pretty awesome.

today before heading to her house, i gathered GIRL stuff and put it in the cardboard box. i filled it to the rim for her. me, megan, micha, jessica, josh, tachi, esther, janice and blondie all went to visit her. we drove up the mountain and parked to walk down a bit to her house. her 9 year old was sitting on the porch and greeted us. it was just beginning to get dark and the area that she lives in has no electricity. we walked into her dark house and opened the curtain to her bedroom. she greeted us with hugs and kisses. as we handed over the cardboard (nothing special. not wrapped and no fancy tissue paper. right now, im thinking about how sometimes we are so stressed out about the wrapping of a gift. when all that matters is whats inside. thats what matters) full of goodies she handed me her bundle of joy!!!

inside the bedroom was an oil lamp burning, a bed and a dresser. it first reminded me of my Grandmothers house. a sweet, simple little house. Juliene seemed so proud to welcome us. she was so happy to show off her little love.  i got to hold her 1st, and i had to hold back the tears. we were in the dark, we were sweating and you could see us gleaming from the reflection of the oil lamp fire. Juliene was still in some pain but, did not complain once. we prayed for her and thanked OUR LORD for the health of her baby girl. we thanked OUR LORD for life and for the miracle before our eyes. so thankful.

i learned alot from this tonight. alot. think about it. no lights. oil lamp. new born baby. house the size of your kitchen. yet, Juliene was so proud. she was so thankful.  i will do my best not to complain about anything and if i do, you can punch me. i will give thanks in all things.

please continue to pray for Juliene and her new baby girl.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


i've been here for over a month (besides the 4 days i was home for my grandmothers bday) and adjusting has been good:  getting used to the bucket baths, no ac, no electricity for most of the day, hand washing clothes----i like the life of simplicity. i feel like living in Mexico has prepared me for life in Haiti. 

its not easy living in the poorest country in the world. Haitians live day by day bc its hard to know what tomorrow will bring. this has been the hardest part. the reality of their lively hood has no comparison to our life in the states. so, sometimes it can be very sad and frustrating at the same time. ive learned from this bc life is not promised for tomorrow. We have not had water all weekend but the electricity has been great. Kyle (the builder) reminded me tonight that we can only pump water with the generator and that water gets pumped from the under ground tank to the small tanks on the roof then it flows out of the pipes inside the house. i was sadden to think about our neighbors and friends who don't have a generator. some don't even have a underground tank or a tank on their house. they have to walk, some walk miles, to the "community" well for water. this is life here. Haitians are good at living this way. today, as we passed the community well, i saw them filling up their buckets. they were smiling. smiling.
Saturday, after the feeding we saw Sir Rose from the other side of the hill. we started to wave at her and she invited us over. she met us at her self-made gate and opened it for us. she was so proud to have us over. she was showing us her -samaritans purse tarp- wrapped, one room (about the size of your bathroom) house. she opened the "barely there" door and wanted to show it off. it had a queen size bed for her, her daughter and her grand-son and a twin size for her son. her clothes were outside laying on rocks to dry out and we sat on a piece of plywood to visit. sir rose was so happy. she is happy. i loved visiting with her. im so glad she invited us over. i learn a lot that from that visit. You can only imagine.

meg and josh are in the states fundraising so, my role for the past week and this week is to take care of Jessica & Micha (megans haitian daughters)..this has been such a blessing to able to care for them and serve megan in this way. its been an honor. my heart has been so full bc of this. im thankful that megan allowed me to be apart of tending to them.   

the kinder-3 teacher will have her baby soon and while she is out, the "helper" teacher will step up and take her place and i will take the "helper" teachers place. OH MY WORD, even i can be a teacher!?!? my creole should increase during the next couple weeks!  its so funny to think about me being in the classroom. last week for 3 days, i went just to sit in and observe.. and goodness, if i am going to do this for the next couple weeks, i need to be in bed by 5pm. woah. i was so tired. teachers, HOW DO YOU DO IT? Madame Juliene will have her baby any day now! please be praying for a safe and healthy delivery. i had plans to come and do some prenatal classes and attend births.. i guess that will come. as for now, you can call me Madame Jessi. 

on fridays, the ladies, jacky and i have had a time of worship and prayer. woah, how they praise... tears! its such a beautiful thing to be apart of. when they pray, they pray with confidence. they pray loud. they pray for each other. they pray with joy. they pray with tears. its not like we are in church and it feels "right" to pray. we are in the kitchen or on the front porch. just simple. 

every week in november we have large groups coming! one of those groups include my mom and dad and other people that i love. i can't hardly believe my parents are coming. my heart is so overwhelmed. yesterday, they made 40 years of marriage and this is how they will celebrate---serving others. makes my heart so proud to be their daughter. daddy has never been out of the usa, but i can't wait to see how the Lord will use him here.  pray that the Lord prepares the way for each person coming and for their servant hearts. im sooo excited! 

as much as i miss my family and friends, there is so much joy in my heart as i serve here in Gressier. i love this community and the people that i live with in the Respire House. we have so much fun. the Haitians that serve alongside RH are amazing. i learn something from them daily. 

please keep RH in your daily prayers. 
satan is more real here than anywhere ive ever been. mainly bc some people welcome him here. 
pray for the safety of the RH house and us that live here and for each student at the school. 

i am so very thankful for this time. 
thank you for praying and supporting me. 
you guys are the iron that sharpens me. 
you are so loved.

                                                            my sweet friend, Sir ROSE.


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just jessi

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so. im simple. its not about me, all the time i find that when i get in the way of what the Lord is trying to do...things get messed up. i try to love on others. i have great friends that i am very proud of and my family is the iron that sharpens me.