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Be imitators of God…And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us. -Ephesians 5:1-2

This is David, he is still waiting for a family~he is deaf & is the sweetest little boy! David & Denise David playing with Denise :) Davidson & Chloe playing at the orphanage This large spider was an uninvited guest in our house~amazing guy but ewww....

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On the 4th of July we spent the day with friends and journeyed on a beautiful hike up one of Haitis’ spectacular mountains. Afterward, we had an amazing BBQ & feast with more friends that drove up that didn’t partake in the “treacherous” hike. The Carl family put it all together & held it at their house. Then we did fireworks. None of them are illegal here! It was a wonderful day. We hope that all of you in the states had a fabulous time celebrating the Birthday of a country that we all so love.

Ok, see the arrow Chloe put on this pic?  This pic was taken from our starting point.  The spot where the arrow is pointing is where our destiantion was~about a 3 to 4 hour hike Our Hiking Group~the mountain behind us is the one we hiked all the way up to the top Starting out... Heading down to the riverbed down through the riverbed~local Haitians wash clothes & themsleves plus fetch water hereAfter the riverbed heading up the mountain looking back down...about 3 more hours of hiking to go...
So we didn’t get any pics of the first half of the climb because it was so hot & so steep & so long. What was humbling & really rather embarrassing was the fact that many of the local Haitians travel this steep mountain path by foot everyday…while carrying items to sell on top of their heads…and all this while wearing shoes that are in poor shape, mostly skimpy slip on sandals, flip flops or old dress type shoes with slippery bottoms that don’t even fit right. They travel it with the ease of sure footed mountain goats. Seriously. It is amazing. Even older women and children.

As I hiked and climbed and struggled to catch my breath & balance many times, I thought about all the hiking I have done in the states & all the hiking that people do for pleasure in the states, including us on many occasions. Typically serious US hikers have on really good & specific hiking shoes or at least good tennis shoes. They have gear & special energizing food & water packs to get them through the day…and often any sort of safety equipment or climbing gear if needed. Before hand, during & after, we typically would hydrate ourselves with mineral & electrolyte filled “hydrating” drinks.

It always felt good plus was fun, challenging and exhilarating. Our family has been on some beautiful & awesome hikes in the states, mainly the great Sawtooths’ of Idaho and the wondrous & vast mountains of Colorado and Utah.

As a child my Mom took me & my siblings on many long but beautiful hikes as well. As I hiked this day in Haiti, I enjoyed the memories that filled my mind of the hikes I have done in the past. When the going got tough and the kids looked tired & we stopped for breaks (breaks for all of us that is) I recalled the times hiking on long hikes with my Mom when I was a child the ages that Banning & Chloe are now & remembered thinking & probably complaining to my Mom how tough & ridiculously long it was. I remember her always stopping for a moment & pointing out flowers like Indian Paint Brushes (one of her favorites), Antelope Brush, Mountain Bluebells (another of her favorites), Buttercups, Violets, Suncups, Calypso orchids, Alumroots…pink ones, yellow ones blue ones, white ones…so many different shapes & sizes. I liked them then & obviously it all made an impact on me personally but now a days, as an adult & perhaps even more so as a Christian, flowers growing on any mountainside exposed to all of the elements that the days & nights bring, these flowers, blossoming & thriving all on their own are truly a miraculous & astonishing gift created by God.

So Sean & I pondered & found ourselves as adults once again walking the paths that our parents have taken with us. And as adults realizing the incredible beauty that can’t be described with words alone of this great earth that God has created. I think as adults, if you enjoy hiking more than when you were a child, it is because of the pitiful & obvious fact that as we grow older our imaginations grow smaller… much smaller. We don’t play in the way we did when we were children & create awesomeness around us with our hearts & minds. When you hike as an adult or do outdoor recreation that involves the gorgeous views, thrills and realities of this great world, you don’t have to use your imagination at all. The wondrous & immense beauty of the world is right in front of you and around you…so amazing and breathtaking that mere pictures or movies alone just cannot replicate at all. What an incredible gift this world is that God has given us!

Here are many pics of us once we got to the last part of the hike. It was easier, the ground was rolling, more outstretched & greener and so much cooler, it felt so nice.
IMG_6843 banannas "fig" IMG_6855 Local Haitian women carrying their items to go sell Taken from the top Don't know if you can see or not but we could see all of Port au Prince, the airport, the ocean & beyond Last break we took before we reached the top IMG_1935 This family lives way up I love this picture IMG_2000 Reagan & Denise This boy was so proud of his riding skills & his horse Curious local Haitian kids Jacob, Reagan & Banning

Praise the Lord! We made it to the top! We were pretty proud of ourselves & especially the kids & the safety God provided as we kept a good pace & made it up in 3 hours and 15 minutes! Whew!
We all made it :) Banning & Jacob (MK from Gonaives) Sean & Chloe with our ride back down the mountain~it is an hour long drive just to drive to the top Almost to the top~notice Banning & Jacob running around off the path~they still had energy & strength in them unlike the rest of us :) Amanda (MK from Gonaives) taking a pic near the top Looking down...Incredible! IMG_6903 Chloe took this picture Joey (one of Bannings best friends here) & Banning posing with their favorite flower beautiful

We were so blessed to be able to celebrate the 4th of July here in Haiti with safety, gratefulness and fellowship of friends. Thank you Lord for such a wonderful day & such a beautiful world even if in the midst of much brokenness.

We hope you enjoy this small glimpse of Haiti. Denise & family

Things have not seemed to slow down much here in Haiti. Another consistent thing… the weather sure is HOT!! Our children are doing well. It has been very dry & very humid & very hot but today started out a bit different…a little breezy, then actually windy and then later turned cloudy and now as evening settles in, it has been raining off & on for the past hour….everything has cooled down!
Here are some pics from the end of last week at Bresma orphanage~

Maryann at work; yes a week & a half after her laparoscopy Reagan reading with Peterson Chloe reading with Peter (Petersons twin brother) Reagan helping with handwriting~she LOVES teaching. Stanley & Jimmy reading to Banning Julise (in brown shirt) came with us & helped Pierre Banning helping Frankins with handwriting Denise with Ketia Chloe reading with Whans & Kenkins Dashmie Faber & Peterson relaxing & reading Wadner, Kervens & Kenkins Little Stanley with big Stanley Maryann with AP kids

We took Maryann to the airport today as she is returning to the states. She has spent the last 2 weeks with us recuperating from an emergency appendectomy here in Haiti. It was acute and a little scary but she was in good hands & all went well. Praise God! Sadly for us & the children of Bresma she ended up leaving 6 weeks early as she was originally scheduled to stay the whole summer & work. We will miss her and her wonderful & willing spirit. We promised Maryann we wouldn’t post any pics of her in the hospital after surgery looking her finest… although we do have a great one for future negotiating 🙂
Banning, Reagan & Maryann Our troop today at the airport...bye for now Maryann...we know God has great things in store for you...