16 November 2010

Home

The email update is coming soon, but I wanted to say some things to those who are concerned for us.

Anyone who knows me would know that the incessant heat of a country only 18 degrees from the equator would have been enough to send me home.

The perpetual battle with intestinal fortitude isn't a joy ride either.

A cholera outbreak which is very literally at our front door should have sent me packing, right?

A tropical storm named Tomas certainly had me thinking.

Now, they're rioting in the streets.

On top of all of that, a now 17 year old daughter and soon to be 9 year old son who I know all too well are fighting their own issues of missing home.

A wife that stands by me and never waivers certainly helps all of that.

But why am I staying? Why are we still here? Why will we be here for a long time to come?

I have 76 reasons. And every day when I go to 'work', they hug me, they tell me they love me - they smile. And they're worth it all. I never knew I could receive so much love. Now, they call me Papa. Yes, that would be Papa John.

...and I know God sent me.

24 October 2010

From Elijah - Another Must Read

The following entry is from Elijah.  He recently shared some things with me that blessed my father-heart and I asked him to share it on the blog.  I hope you will be as blessed as I was. 
- John 

Before I came to Haiti, my Dad asked me if I believed it was the will of God for us to go. I said, "Yes". After I came to Haiti I wanted to go home. I was homesick. I missed my dog and I still miss my dog.

I cried the first night. 

After a while, I got used to Haiti. I was glad I came to Haiti because I got new friends, I like the food and I learned about complaining.

I learned that what ever you have- be thankful for it. I also learned that some people don't have their own clothes; they share clothes but they are thankful for it. I learned that when you don't have something you really want, but you have something be thankful for it. For example, every other night these kids watch a movie, but for three nights in a row they didn't have sound, just subtitles. They were still thankful for it. They don't have a Nintendo DS; they just have Mancala, which they play with rocks and chalk.  In America we play it with a board and marbles, but they are still thankful for it. 

In conclusion, stop complaining and be thankful. That's what I have learned.

09 October 2010

From Cecilia - A Must Read

A New Perspective

Yesterday was my second Friday here in Mariani, Haiti. As the sun was starting to go down, I sat on the balcony gazing out at the entire orphanage. My legs were crossed as they swung from the balcony seat. Looking far out I could see the dark blue ocean; a little closer I saw a field. Looking right down was the church where people had gathered for prayer. I could hear them singing over my playing ipod. The group stopped singing and someone began to speak. At this point a song called, "We Will Trust You" was beginning to play on the mp3. It starts out:
"How precious is your heart, oh God
Righteous and true
Gaze on me with infinite tenderness
I surrender to you
Master of wind and raging tide..."



I suddenly was taken by the trust that the people of Haiti have for God; their complete surrender to Him. As the song played and the prayers of the people in the church escaped into my ears, I began to pray.

Just two weeks ago I was worried about whether or not I would have enough hair product to last me the trip. The night before I left I was torn by the fact that, due to a lack of room in my luggage, I wouldn't be able to bring a sentimental pair of shoes. Now looking back, the word that comes to mind is, "pointless." It's not so much that I appreciate all the things I've been blessed to have, but rather, "What is the use?"

I urge you to seek a new perspective. Being thankful for what you have is great and good, but how big is your trust in God? 

Can you sing to Him when you have nothing? 

Have you truly surrendered it all to Him? 

Become raw before God and find the priceless value of Him.

07 October 2010

The Girls Prayed the Power Back On

Each night when the city power goes off, the girls instantly start singing.  Their rooms are right under our window, so we get serenaded nightly.  It's much easier to sleep in Haiti if you're a 'blanc' and you have air conditioning or fans.  Tonight when the power went off, they started in right away with "Shout to the Lord" (in Creole), then they paused to pray.  After the prayer, they started "Lord, I Give You My Heart".

The following recording is that song.  And at about :31, you can hear our air conditioner go on as the city power kicked back in.

Thanks girls!





It's Not All About the Sunsets - But WOW, They are Something Else

No, it's actually all about the children.  One week, here and your own life in the States will be nearly meaningless.  Vanity, vanity, everything is vanity - a chasing after the wind.

I am amazed at these children.  Their voices.  Their smiles.  Their beauty.  Their patience.  I will post more pics of them later.  I am also going to get a good recording of their worship.  They pray and worship twice a day and LOVE it.  Oh, please come on a missions trip with OLCC.  We fall asleep at night to the girls on the floor below us singing worship songs.

I played a version of monkey in the middle soccer style today.  I was not very good.  I also learned a card game.  I don't know what it's called nor am I sure of the rules, but it was fun!  Leonard always grabs my hand when he sees me going outside.  He just goes and sits with me.  He likes to to sit with us because we just let him be.  He's so cute all the other kids are always grabbing him squeezing him, pulling him,  making him do things - we just let him sit - he sits and watches.  He's 4.  He's a watcher.

Perla played a version of hide and seek today.  They all found her.  And they called her Mama.  That makes her cry.

We Skyped with Fonzie and Laurel.  That made Elijah miss Fonzie even more.  Me too.  He's the best doggie.

I'll post more pics of the kids.  In the meantime, Check out this sunset.

And Ethecie, Judnesse says "Hi!"

06 October 2010

"Getting to Know You..."

I spent a good four or five hours today just sitting under 'the tree', learning and rehearsing the boys names.  I am having difficulty with only a few because they sound so alike;  Gerardson, Jameson, Jamson, Edmondson & Davidson.  The rest I can pretty much remember.  But every time I think I have it, along comes one I've never met - or several; Miloso, Israel, Nerry....and the list goes on.  And there's the twins; Makin and Mackenzie.  Then the girls wanted in on it too.  I told them, "Let me learn the boys first.  Then I'll get to the girls."

OK so back to 'the tree'.  The tree is situated sort of near the entrance and has a wall around it.  It's a large tree.  I always thought people sat there when they were bored, but we found out it's actually the coolest place on the campus.  Not only does the tree provide shade, but the sea breeze shoots right up the 'alley' between the church and the wall.  Very nice spot.

The kids are downstairs watching Wall-E now.  Long hot day.  I'll post some pics on the Facebook Missionary Page tomorrow.  They take too long to upload to blogger.

30 August 2010

You've Heard it Before...

..."Delays are not denials".

In the interest of keeping things flowing in an orderly fashion, we, along with our leaders have agreed to delay our departure.  We will update you with a new date when it's set.  It won't be long.  There are some issues with our business that need to be settled before we leave and Bishop McIver agreed.  We are so grateful to have a man of God with great wisdom.  We are thankful that he causes a relief of stress so easily.

Please pray for a smooth transition in the business arena.

23 August 2010

Two Weeks

The reality has set in.  In 2 weeks, my family and I will be in the air headed for Haiti.  There is still an immense amount of preparation to be done.  Please pray for wisdom and guidance in decisions.

To make a contribution, please visit our webpage at www.johnandperla.com and visit the support page.  We are currently in need of $3500.00 before September 1st.

Blessings!

21 August 2010

The Countdown Begins

At the writing of this, I am in the air returning from Haiti. 

It was such a great trip.  I was able to meet two other board members.  I was sincerely touched by their genuine concern for the vision of Christian Haitian Outreach and its founder Eleanor "Mom" Workman.  We are clearly all of one heart and mind in this work.  It was good also to meet others who desire the best for the Haitian children.

We will be working with CHO at its orphanage in Mariani.  We will be doing our initial training there.

I was able to finalize some preparations for our future residence.  Elijah and Cecilia have some "thank you"s to give to the men who will be working on dividing the one space so that they will not have to share a room.  And the whole Sweeney family will be very grateful for the changes that will be made in anticipation of our arrival.

I was overwhelmed by the reception that I received from the staff once the news was presented that my family and I would be returning.  I was literally gang-rushed with hugs and "God bless you"s.  I look forward to working with them.

I get very emotional when I think of the children with which I have already begun to make a connection.  Dr Franco introduced me at their Wednesday prayer time.  It was mentioned that I would be returning in 3 weeks.  The next day when I was saying good-bye, several of the boys were talking and I heard them mention "trois semans".  I smiled and said, "Oui, trois semans" or "Yes, 3 weeks".  They were happy to see someone go who they knew was coming back soon to live with them. 

I also received our job description for our time at CHO.  Perhaps I'll share that later.  Suffice it to say that it suits us very well.

If you are keeping up with the blog, please comment from time to time.  We would love to hear from you.  Please pray for the transition of our business here in the US when you think of us. 

Next time I will post some photos from this trip.

Au Revoir.

18 August 2010

September 7th

That's our date of departure.  Please continue to pray for all to fall into place with our business and transition.  We thank you.  We look forward to updating you from Haiti once we are settled.

06 August 2010

Her Children Arise Up and Call Her Blessed.

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Proverbs 31:28

In the midst of all of the preparations for our departure, we have found an oasis of rest.

Selah.

We are so grateful to my mother for opening her home and heart this week.  It has been such an incredible blessing to be able to come to North Carolina and forget about (almost) everything that is so very pending.  If I were to list all the goals that must be attained between now and September, this would be a boring post for you.  

I know also that partially she wanted us here before we go - for herself.  We are really enjoying the time with her and have had the chance to make some great memories.  We have also been able to share the vision for the work in Haiti.  She is reading "Hope For Haiti" for a little history and we've been able to alleviate (hopefully) some of her concerns.  

It's been such a relaxing day that I almost don't want to go back home.  But in our reality show, vacations don't last forever.

I'm glad Mom was able to experience our family in this stage of life, in this transition to the next level.  On the home front, things are moving so quickly that I think I am going to blink and find myself in Haiti.

Thanks, Mom for such a great time.  I hope you were as blessed by this time together as much as we have been.

I arise up and call you "Blessed"

10 July 2010

Really?

It is pretty overwhelming to pack up your whole life and move.  I know people do it all the time.  Perla and I did it every year for the first 4 years of our marriage and I did it every year for the 8 years prior to that.  But that is not what I am talking about.  This is different.

When you move from one apartment to another, you can shove mostly everything into bags and boxes and know it will be free within the next week or two, back in its, albeit, new place.  When you are preparing to move your family over 1500 miles for an entire year (or more - yeah, I hear that laughter), it's a whole new ballgame.  What do I bring?  What do I leave behind?  What do I need?  What can I do without?  Minimalism is a necessity now, not just a style I thought I had.  If I leave something behind and later discover I need it, I can't have it until someone comes to where I am and brings it with them.  I can't just drive to the Super Walmart and pick up a new one, ya know.

Perla's done this before - not us, so we are discovering ourselves through our possessions.  What is really important?  When you're headed for the ends of the earth, not much.  And if you think I'm exaggerating, you have not been to Haiti.

Then there's the 'left behind' group.  This stuff we have accumulated over the years, we are now packing it all up and putting it in the attic.  It's not ALL coming with us.  And what do I pack up?  Will I really care about that knick knack in a year? that picture? that shirt? will it even fit?  (hope not)  in a year?

Look at every item around you now.  Every littlest item requires a decision.  Every one.

Really?

Yes.

Thanks for reading.  And if you're reading, please comment and let us know.  We'd love to hear from you.

09 July 2010

Passport Fees

I just happened to be reading the news on CNN.com and found out that the passport fees are going up next week.  Very grateful for finding this and being able to save over $100 in renewal fees for the kids.  We got the renewals in today under the lower fees.  Should have them back in 2-3 weeks.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

07 July 2010

What are We Doing?

Since I have been directing people here to follow the latest updates, I wanted to post the links for our own site and the orphanage site, so you can all get background information on what we are doing.  We will be leaving sometime in August to train with Christian Haitian Orphanage before starting up with Love Haiti's Children Orphanage.  As far as what we're doing now; we're packing, picking clothes, preparing travel documents, etc.  Keep praying.  You can support our work through the support page on our website.  Thanks again!

Our site: www.johnandperla.com

Orphanage Site: www.lovehaitischildren.com

Please make comments so we know who's around.  Lots of love to you all!

John and Perla

28 June 2010

August Departure

We are scheduled to leave for Haiti in August.  We will begin our training at an existing orphanage.  Thank you for your prayers and financial support.  More details to follow soon.

26 June 2010

Pure and Faultless

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:7
Anyone want in on this?

24 June 2010

Suddenly

"Nothing is written in stone, but..." the countdown has begun.  We are making a list of things that need to be done before we go.  Prioritizing them.  Pray for the kids.  While they are both excited, I don't think they really could ever be 'ready' for what awaits them.  And he is going to miss his dog.  

Passport renewals, visa applications, immunizations (yuck) - oh yeah and financial support.  Now would be the time for you, dear reader, to step up.  www.johnandperla.com Click on the support page for your options.

It's exciting.

22 June 2010

Countdown?

The way things are moving could be described as "suddenly".

There have been some very interesting developments from a legal standpoint regarding the property in Haiti.  We are preparing for departure within a few months with the reality that another 'suddenly' could very well be around the corner and move us there, well, suddenly.

We appreciate your prayers and financial support.

27 May 2010

The Next Five Minutes


Next Five Minutes from David Platt on Vimeo.

Please take the next five minutes to give to support our work in Haiti. Click here and visit our "support" page. And thank you for changing the next five minutes.

18 April 2010

The Intro

We got to take part in an awesome presentation of the Haiti project at OLCC today. God was in the house and worked miracles in the sight of His people. Their hearts have been touched by the needs of the Haitian people. We are confident that God continues to open the doors for this work. His yoke truly has been easy in all of this and His burden light. We are so happy to see the family at OLCC come on board with the vision for the work in Haiti. We continue to pray for the needs of the people. We continue to pray for the property in Jérémie. God is on the move. We are that move of God!

10 April 2010

In Love

Having just returned from Haiti, I can say I am in love.

I am loving the people of Haiti. While most are just surviving and not truly living, they have an incredible spirit of resilience.

I sat on the plane next to a man who had lost his 24 year old daughter in the quake. This trip was the first time he had been able to return to his country since then.

You could not go far without seeing the destruction. While one building was standing, the one next to it had collapsed on itself. The 8x8 corner store stood firm; the presidential palace, in ruins. But the survivors keep going.

The yellow-shirted men removing rubble. Wheelbarrows, buckets, on their heads, in their hands - any way possible. Where are they putting it all? As the truck goes by so quickly, it seems that they move it from one place to another. The absent storekeeper clearly has no say in the amount of concrete laid at the door of his now shattered building. And the survivors keep going.

Now in tents instead of homes - some out of necessity; some out of fear. The portajohns placed by varied relief organizations. What happens when the rains come? The survivors keep going.

10:30 Thursday night - deluge. Tropical winds and sideways rain results in several yelling of commands, all in creole, all in the darkness of a capital city. "Tie that down." "Put that here." "Grab the chicken." "Come inside." "Help me hold my tent down." - I imagine. As suddenly as it started, it stops. Yup. The Haitians keep going.

Whatever they can do - they do. I don't see many Americans being able to survive in the same position as this island nation. That's not a cut to Americans, but a truth. We would never make it. We are too comfortable in our 'lexus cages' and our climate controlled homes. If you've never been there, it would be impossible for it even to enter your imagination. There is no comparable place or situation in American life - anywhere. But the Haitians keep moving forward.

Ayisyen yo te kenbe deplase devan.

Chè Ayiti, mwen vle ou konnen ki jan mwen fyè nan ou. Ou se yon enspirasyon vre nan konfyans pasyans ak andirans. Mwen priye ke tou sa vini fason mwen an, mwen kapab kenbe li kòm ou genyen. Kenbe deplase devan. Jezi pa te bliye ou.

05 April 2010

Faith Manifests

Leaving for Haiti today. It finally sunk in last night. There is a well of emotions.

For years we have known what our eventual goals were. We knew, they knew, you knew. Everybody knew. We had faith for it. We did it all. We "sowed where we wanted to go." We "prayed out" the words of knowledge and prophecy. We kept our focus. We believed. We got training. We educated ourselves.

And suddenly, (one of God's favorite words), here it is - TODAY. I am stepping into our destiny.

On the other side, there will be an anointing I've never encountered. There will be a faith that is stronger. There will be a hunger that is bigger. There will be a love that is greater.

It's here.

It's now.

My faith is manifesting - NOW.

Be encouraged - it does manifest.

John

30 March 2010

7 Days

That's how many days are left before my first return trip to Haiti. I'll be going next week, along with the leadership of the church, to look at a property in Jeremie. The reality of entering this country at this time in its history is not lost. I understand the seriousness of the matter, but I am so excited. I am excited to see the property. I am excited to see the children in Mariani.

I am excited to be stepping into our destiny.

13 March 2010

In Haiti

Well, we're not actually IN Haiti yet.

We just received the news this week (officially) that we will be in Haiti, probably starting this summer, to help establish an orphanage, along with a school and church.

The property has nearly been obtained and we will be making some preliminary trips within the next month or so. We will be working under OLCC and its leadership in this area of ministry.

We covet your prayers and appreciate your support as we enter into this next phase of our lives, fulfilling our call.

We will post here as things progress.