Our dining table is filled with supplies such as bug spray, batteries, sunscreen and protein bars. This time the preparation is for my amazing and steadfast husband. In just one week he will be headed to Haiti for a completely new mission experience. He will join his Father and several others as they team up to provide dental relief to those in need. The needs are great and the hours of safety and light will be few so we are praying fervently that God gives them the strength, wisdom and courage to do any and all they can to help as many as they can with pain relief.
Just imagine a toothache that will not relent. Imagine a rotten area of your mouth that feels so foul and gives you shooting pain when you try to chew whatever food you have. Imagine a broken smile or an infection that continues to persist. Some of the infections might even go systemic and cause further health problems. The needs in Haiti are many and last year Bob’s Father and step mother embarked on a journey to Haiti to partner with the wonderful Mallery and Frentz Neptune who founded Haiti Foundation Against Poverty. Find out more about what Mallery has been called to in Haiti and learn about how she and her Haitian husband work to provide love and protection for the Haitian people, especially children. Mallery and our family started to cris cross paths a couple of years ago as the Mallery’s have a close friend who is of course from Ethiopia and the Neptunes have several supporters right here in Grand Rapids as she graduated Cornerstone University. We have felt a pull toward Haiti for sometime and especially as we have become aware of how long children are waiting to be adopted and how much despair and hardship the Haitian people continue to endure.
Bob is a third generation dentist who will be teaming up with his second generation dentist and Father to meet whatever dental needs they can with the time they are granted. They will focus specifically on the orphanage and school run by the Neptune’s and also conduct community outreach. It is an opportunity of a lifetime for them to work together, giving of themselves and the skills they have honed throughout their careers.
I can tell you that all of this, the connections, our extended family being lead and the timing are certainly not our own. In fact for many months we have been struggling with a very anxious child who for most of his life has been more than average in the challenging department at home. He is oppositional, needs constant attention and often argumentative as a result of his own lack of developed coping skills. Over the past few months these daily battles have brought us to our knees. We are breaking with this child some days and fearful of what is to come if we cannot find the proper help he needs. It’s often gut wrenching and not what you planned as the relationship and closeness you hope for with your child. Again God’s timing is never our own. but we are trusting the calling. We know that Haiti is where Bob needs to be for one weeks time and frankly we all hope that we are clearly reminded that even the harshest family challenges do not involve life or death. We are not faced with the need to sell our daughter to feed our other remaining children and we do not face the threat of disease and the horrors of abduction, rape, starvation and loss that many in Haiti are facing every moment of every day. In fact we have specialists to call, therapists who guide us, a church family to confide in, cell phones that allow us to stay connected to loved ones and the web to help us search for the latest and greatest methods of parenting and supporting our son. So you see God’s timing is one of perfection and mercy and He will allow Bob to be changed and rearranged in exactly the way He sees fit so as to place him back in our home to deal with the hardships we face right here each and every day.
One could argue I have said too much and if that is the case then so be it but I am striving ( and believe me sometimes even struggling) to accept the timing of all of this in our lives. My trips to Ethiopia to lead others to Chapa and various ministry partners doing great works always happens in mid February. Months ago we thought the trip to Haiti meant I should not bring a team to Chapa and Ethiopia this year but again the super miracle happened and God showed us a way. My husband so deserves this journey to Haiti to learn what it is he is supposed to learn and to give of himself like he does each and every day right here in his dental office and also at home with five kiddos. He needs to work hard, to worship with the Haitian people, to be challenged both mentally and physically in different ways. He needs to give back and to change a life, maybe removing pain or fear even if the outcome is not perfect and the fix is fleeting. He needs to minister to others with his quiet example of strength, humility and wisdom. Please join usin prayer asking for Bob and his entire team to be the hands and the feet while on the ground in Haiti. Stay tuned as I share more of their journey right here….