Happy Birthday, Armon

Happy Birthday, Armon! Armon - wedding I can’t believe you’re 11 years old today! In this picture, you were all dressed up ready for your big brother’s wedding! It was a big day! Here’s a picture of you and me together, on that day! Grandma & Armon  I’m so glad I got to go to the wedding! I’m, most of all, glad I got to visit your whole family for a whole week!

Now today is your 11th birthday! This is the first year since you’ve been in the US, that I’m not baking and decorating a cake for you! That makes me sad! I loved how you loved my cakes! It’s also the first year I’ve not celebrated with you! But I’m with you in spirit and I know you’re having company for supper. So, with your family and your company, I’m sure you’ll have a good birthday!

Heavenly Father, thank You for Armon! He’s growing up so quickly! Please be with him, reveal Your love for him, help him to give himself to You completely. Please keep him safe and well. Help him to make good friends who’ll influence him in good positive ways. Help him with his school work. I love Armon so much, and You love him even more!

My Wonderful Experience at GC15

Every four years the Free Methodist Church, my denomination since age two, has General Conference, where rules and policies are discussed and sometimes changed, our three bishops are elected and/or reelected. I’ve been privileged to attend only four in my life, but each one was a highlight for me. The first two I attended were in Winona Lake, Indiana in 1960 and 1974. The next one I went to was at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana in about 1996.

I seem to have unique, interesting experiences when I travel to General Conference, so here’s one. Later, I’ll write of another one!

I went with a friend, Wilma Kasten, to Anderson, Indiana. We shared a room in the university girl’s dorm. One morning we couldn’t get our door to open! We were inside our room, trying to get out so we could use the bathroom, down the hall, and then go to breakfast. The door would not open! We were trying, we were yelling for anyone going by to open the door from the other side, nothing worked! It would not open! Someone finally got ahold of maintenance and a man came with tools to open our door. It took a while before we were able to get out!!!  A few years later, someone wrote about this in the Anderson University newspaper. Most of the details were correct, except for one! The article claimed “two elderly ladies were locked inside their dorm room!” Believe me, I was not elderly! Yes, I was at the upper edge of middle age, but I was not elderly!

This year, 2015, General Conference was in Orlando, Florida at Caribe Royale Resort.  Orlando Caribe resort What a great place for General Conference! There were plenty of rooms for everyone to stay, there were plenty of meeting rooms, of several sizes, for large groups and smaller groups. The meals served, were great!IMG_1039 (1)  IMG_1040 (1)                                                   The swimming pool, for relaxation, was fabulous! Swimming pool Orlando  GC15 pool  Haleigh and friends swimming.

I went to Orlando early because I opted to go on a missions trip, General Conference was offering, during the same week but ending the day before General Conference ended! When I arrived on July 8, there were many folks already there. Some were going on mission trips and some were there for special meetings before General Conference began. So I got in on the last day and evening of General Conference, and what a privilege! I saw so many folks, both before and after the trip to Haiti, that I’m privileged to know but seldom get to see.

Okay, I’ll share my second funny story here. I was going on the trip to Haiti with my granddaughter, Haleigh. We had traveled to Florida separately and she arrived first. She had been on a teen missions trip to West Virginia and went directly to Florida from West Virginia. I flew from Michigan and my flight arrived late. When I finally got to Caribe Royale Resort after midnight, Haleigh was waiting for me! We went to the desk to get our key cards for our room. We were so excited! Our room was on the ninth floor! We opened our door and oh my! “Haleigh,” I exclaimed, “It’s a suite, not just a room! Oh, it’s so nice! This is the living room and, just look at the bathroom! So clean and nice!” Then we opened the bedroom door and switched the light on. What?!?? Oh, no! Someone was in bed, asleep!!!

The person in bed woke up and said, “Oh, Haleigh, you’ve arrived! I’ve been expecting you!” What? What about me? She didn’t know about me! Apparently she and Haleigh were assigned this suite. There were two queen size beds in the room. I insisted I sleep in the living room on the sofa. (I wonder who I was assigned to share a suite with?!)

The fact that impresses me the most, about the Free Methodist Church, is that we’re a global church! Being at General Conference was an exciting time with folks from all over the world! “The worldwide Free Methodist family includes more than 1 million members in 85 world areas. Only 7 percent of Free Methodists are in the United States!” Free-Methodist-Missionary-Summit1-e1438105689666This is a picture of missionaries that were present at General Conference. I see our three bishops in the picture too.

Mission:

To love God, love people and make disciples.

Vision:

To bring wholeness to the world through healthy biblical communities of holy people multiplying disciples, leaders, groups and churches.

This I have copied and pasted from the Free Methodist Church website. I love my church. (I don’t know how to make the print smaller, or I would!)

  • IMG_1039 Myself and Pakep from Myanmar, IMG_1041  The Myanmar representation and myself!
  • My new friend, Jamie Piper from McPherson, Kansas and the new Bishop from Haiti, Bishop Eliodor.IMG_1040
  • My good friend, Becca Doyle, missionary to Asia GC15 Becca & us slipped in beside Haleigh and me during a service!
  • A short but sweet visit with Bishop David and Yvonne Roller meant so much and was such an encouragement to me.
  • Other friends I connected with were former pastors, missionaries, bishops, and friends from all over the USA and even the world! What a great time of fellowship with fellow Christians and fellow Free Methodists!

The music at GC15 was outstanding! The worship team led by David Gaulton was so good! The muscians played guitar, drum, violin, and I forget if there were more! They were excellent! The last evening we were favored with a solo by a black man with a beautiful, beautiful voice! He sang a hymn and I would love to have a CD of it! If any readers can help me out here I would appreciate it!

General Conference 2015 was a huge success! Our three bishops, Matt Thomas, David Kendall, and David Roller were all reelected. It was such a privelege for me to be a part of this very special event.  The Holy Spirit blessed us with His Presence.

Just One Granddaughter and Me

I have 15 grandchildren and I love each one of them! I have no favorites. Let me make that clear. Andrew, Matthew, Kaleb, Tyler, Annie, Max, Megan, Haleigh, Miller, Sydney, Elmise, Isabella, Mason, Armon, and Maddie.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA In this picture, taken two years ago, there are eleven of the fifteen. Top row from left: Matthew, Kaleb, Miller, Megan, and Haleigh. Center row from left: Annie, Me, Grandpa, and Mason. Front row from left: Armon, Bella, Elmise, and Maddie. Missing are: Andrew, Tyler, Max, and Sydney.

Haleigh lived next door to me her entire 18 years! We were at the hospital when she was born. She was a tiny preemie, weighing a little over four pounds. Haleigh Dedication  This was her dedication day. The picture is of Rob and Jessica, Tyler, Haleigh, and Pastor Dave.  I made Haleigh’s dress, as I did for some of the other granddaughters, Sydney, and Isabella. Megan and Maddie wore the dress that I had made for my daughter, Christy, when she was dedicated! So, since Haleigh lived next door, of course, we’ve been close. We have shared so much of life together. She was free to run through the woods to Grandma’s house and has confided in me.

One day Haleigh said, “Grandma, we should go on a trip together! Just you and me! My first thought was, ‘I have fifteen grandchildren, I’d have to take 15 trips! I can’t favor just one of them!’ Every now and then she’d make the same  request! Finally, I answered with, “Well, Haleigh, we can dream!”

In July of 2014, Jerry and I were at our family camp. Haleigh was with her family on a vacation. Every morning at camp we had a missions hour, which I always attended. The first morning Conference Superintendent Paul gave out slips of paper to everyone, instructing us to write our name on the paper and turn it in. Every day we were to do this. A name would be drawn at the end of the week and that person would be given a check to send them to a mission field! However, as I began writing my name on that first day, the thought came to me that I should write Haleigh’s name, not mine! So I did. Every day. Haleigh’s name!

On Friday, guess whose name was picked! Haleigh’s! She chose to go to Haiti!  I chose to go with her! Her way was mostly paid: $1000.00! Mine was not! But I felt and still feel this was of God. Excitement mounted throughout the year as we prepared for this exciting trip.

Haleigh was in her senior year of high school so it was already a special year in her young life. Haleigh grad 4 Graduation Haleigh (3)   Plans for her future were being formed for her and by her. College and then a career in early child development. She loves children!

Plans for the trip to Haiti were moving along. We chose to go with the Free Methodist General Conference Missions Trip in July. So on July 8 the team met in Orlando, Florida.

Haleigh and I hadn’t traveled together to get to Orlando so we were happy to reunite when I arrived late on July 8. We were so excited to stay in a beautiful resort in Orlando. We met in the lobby and were given the keys to our room. We took the elevator up to the ninth floor, found our room and were so excited when we opened our door! “Oh look,” I exclaimed, “It’s a suite! It’s not just a room! What a lovely living room! Look at the nice bathroom!” Then we opened the door to the bedroom and switched the light on. “Oh…no!” Someone was sleeping in one of the beds!!! We were shocked! The person, a young woman, woke up, sat up, and said, “Oh, Haleigh, you have arrived!” What?! She was expecting Haleigh! What about me? Somehow there was a mix-up in the registration. I decided and insisted that I sleep on the sofa in living room, Haleigh slept in the second bed in the bedroom.

Orientation meetings took place the next day. On July 10, 142 folks  Haleigh & Me Traveling  went by bus to Fort Lauderdale and then flew to Port-au-Prince, Haiti! We’d both been there before so we knew what to expect, however, neither of us had been there since the earthquake. Many folks on this team had never been to Haiti before this trip.

This was Haleigh’s first time to go as part of a work team. It was my third time to go with a work team. We went by bus to Providence University near Balan, Ganthier Province of Haiti .  This is a new university and is still in progress. 100_5793  100_5773  The men’s dorm. 100_5774  The women’s dorm. 100_5766  Meals were cooked and served by the Haitian staff in this pavilion.

There were several projects for us to choose from for our share of work. Eden: reforestation of trees; making desks; pouring cement; VBS; medical team, goat teams.  Haleigh chose to work with children in VBS. She also cared for the children of women who had come to the medical clinic.

I helped paint desk frames and then I joined a goat team. I left to go back to Port-au-Prince. So Haleigh and I had to say good-bye.  We would meet again  on the day we would leave to go back to Orlando, Florida.Haleigh and me parting in Haiti

I knew she would be fine and friends would watch out for her. And they did. Haleigh actually blossomed. I’m so proud of her.

Goat team #2. My new wonderful friends: Bonnie, me Lars, Linda, Ali, Marv, (sorry, I forgot the last one’s name.) Second goat team    IMG_1021  IMG_1020  Goats, belonging to Free Methodist families were treated and hooves trimmed. We traveled into the mountains to remote villages where we had a church. Folks brought their goats to us. It was quite an experience!

Haleigh loves children! Haleigh with sleeping girl  Besides working in VBS she helped care for the children of the many women who came to the health clinic.

Haleigh sponsors a little boy in Haiti Haleigh sponsored boy & family (2)  and was thrilled to get to meet him!

This trip was a trip of a lifetime!  We did it together but yet we were able to do our own thing. Haleigh blossomed as she worked and played with the children. We both made wonderful friends, Haitian and American. It was a trip and an experience for us that was meant to be! We both thank God for this trip of a lifetime!

My Great Haiti Experience Part II

There were 142 people on this trip to Haiti! That’s a lot of folks! My granddaughter, Haleigh, and I were the two in the 142! Haiti team 2015   I entered Haleigh’s name in a drawing at our family camp last summer. Her name was drawn! So her way was mostly paid for! Haleigh is the first one standing on the left! I’m not even in this group picture because it was taken after the goat team #2 left. But that’s okay, we were here in spirit!

I have so much I want to write about that I’m having trouble sorting through my mind to make this meaningful! I think I’ll start with the Haitian people. They are wonderful, by the way! I have so many great Haitian friends! But even the ones I didn’t know always had a smile for me! Way back in 1971, when Jerry and I were there, Jerry named it the Land of Smiles! And it still is that today! Haitian people have the brightest smiles, even though many are hungry, many are sick, many grieve because of losing a loved one or more than one in the earthquake, five years ago.

Speaking of the earthquake, two friends from Michigan, had gone to Haiti to work on some projects. Two hours after they arrived at the guest house the earthquake happened. They were both killed along with a missionary and a Haitian watchman. They are all buried at the mission compound. I was honored to visit their burial site and take a few pictures. 100_5798  Jeanne Munroe, Merle West, Eugene Dufour, Sr., (I have forgotten the watchman’s name, sorry.)

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100_5796

We visited two orphanages. The first one is in Port-au-Prince. It’s a fine orphanage, doing good work with lots of support. 100_5815  Girls were given sewing lessons. Their first lesson was to make the cushions you can see on the chairs! They did a good job! 100_5816  This was a class outside for the older kids. When they turn 18, by law they must leave the orphanage. These kids are being well-trained! I don’t know the name of this orphanage.

The second orphanage was in the mountains. Heart of God – Haiti Orphanage. 100_5818   100_5820  They weren’t expecting us and weren’t quite sure what to think of us! But these kids are fortunate to have a place to live. They used to have to walk down the mountain on a trail and then carry pails of water up the mountain to the orphanage! How clean was the water??? Now, thanks to some generous folks, they have a water system with a faucet! Running water…clean water! 100_5822  These children lined up to sing for us! “Jesus Loves The Little Children, All The Children of The World. Red and Yellow, Black and White…” “Our God is so Great, Our God is so Good, There is Nothing Our God Cannot Do…”

We were taken into their bedrooms. 100_5825  They do have bunk beds, but little more.

I, personally, know of eight different orphanages in Haiti. There are many more, thank God. There is still so much need. As we were riding, a pastor was riding with us. His English was very good, thank goodness. We had a good visit. I told him I hadn’t seen evidence of Voodoo this trip like I had on my two previous visits. He, sadly, assured me Voodoo is still there. He pointed to a man leaning against a building and said he was a Voodoo priest. Then he smiled and said the priest’s young son is being sponsored by a family in the Free Methodist International Child Care program! That means, besides receiving financial aid, his son and probably the whole family, including the priest, is being prayed for regularly! God answers prayer! I’m now adding my prayers for this man and his family!

We drove into the mountains to treat goats owned by Free Methodist families. This was our goat team, plus our good Haitian friend, Julo, who was taking this picture! Bonnie, Anita, Lars, Linda, Ali, Marv, I can’t remember the last man’s name! I’m so ashamed! Second goat team  IMG_1021  IMG_1017  IMG_1023  This goat didn’t like his hooves being trimmed!  IMG_1028  We gave each of these girls a cloth doll!  IMG_1027  IMG_1009  The goats were brought to an area behind this Free Methodist Church. 100_5838  Inside the Free Methodist Church.100_5839  This smiling man is the pastor of this church.

There is so much more I could write about, but this is getting long so I’m going to just stop! This ends my second installment of my unforgettable trip to Haiti.

My Great Experience in Haiti Part I

I have returned from the little island of Haiti in the Caribbean Sea. haiti 100_5752                               Haiti shares the island with the Dominican Republic.

This was my third trip to Haiti, but whose counting? I went in 1971 with my husband. For three weeks, Jerry helped a group from Dearborn Heights, Michigan construct the Rensberry Free Methodist Church near downtown Port-au-Prince. I was hoping to drive by on this trip but didn’t get to. In 1991, I went, with a group of folks from my church, up to Dessalines to Ebenezer Glenn Orphanage. A very fine, self-sustaining orphanage.

When we landed in Port-au-Prince I was surprised at the new modern airport! 100_5757

I’ve never been to the Dominican Republic and would like to, but on this trip I could look over across the border and see the country! One hundred forty-two people from all over the US went on this trip and it was great! We went to the Providence University, an affiliate  of the Free Methodist Church, near Balan, Ganthier Province of Haiti. 100_5793 It’s a new university, still being built, and classes are already being taught. There was a fine, bright, young class of graduates this year.  The men’s dorm. 100_5773  This is kind of a greeting place and will have a small store for buying refreshments. 100_5775  The girl’s dorm and, I think, some classrooms in the first floor. 100_5774Haleigh and I had a room on the second floor, which we shared with two other women.                                                  We ate our meals,  cooked and served by very efficient Haitian men and women, inside this pavilion. It was good Haitian food!100_5766 100_5787 The kitchen was in the room on the end.

We also worshipped in here on Sunday. They took all the tables out and put in chairs. 100_5788 They played drums, guitars, and a keyboard. One of our US friends had her flute with her and was invited to play with them.100_5782

The work projects at the University were planting trees with the reforestation project, building desks, a medical clinic, VBS, and pouring cement sidewalks.  There were probably even more, but my mind can’t pull them up! I helped at the desk building project. First I was an errand runner, then I was a painter. We only painted the steel frames. There were 120 desks built! Haiti desks Two or three students at each desk. They will be distributed to Free Methodist schools all over the country!

This university is new and has a lot of promise! I’m so glad I got to go to see it and meet some of the people connected with the university and some who were in my group of workers!

One special group was from McPherson, Kansas. I’m in the middle of this group in a blue dress. Jamie Piper, Sarah Johnson, me, Chuck Singleton, Ali and Kyle Singleton, Joel Piper.100_5791

On Sunday afternoon, I joined the goat team! I had to say good-bye to Haleigh. Haleigh and me parting in Haiti          I knew she would be fine with so many folks watching over her!  We left and drove back, in the pickup truck. to Port-au-Prince. We were team #2. Donna Maxedon, myself, Lars Adams, Linda Roberts,  Ali Singleton, Marv,  and (I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten his name.) Second goat team  There is so much more to tell you. I’ve only just begun! Check back in a few days and I’ll have another chapter done with more pictures!

New Bucket List

This was a short bucket list I wrote in 2012. I accomplished eight of them!

1. Go to Colorado to visit my, 98-year-old, mother. 

2. Write more chapters of my parents and family story.

3. Lose 15 pounds and keep it off.
4. Ride an elephant.
5. Help Armon with learning.
6. Create Christmas card.
7. Have a get-together with my friend, Dean, and his wife.
8. Accomplish fall cleaning.
9. Create newsletter bi-weekly.
10 Enter photography contest.
11. Communicate with Andrew and wife.

Now, we’re in 2015, I need to make a bucket list for this year! So here goes…

 

17. Travel to Ireland.

1.  Go to South Carolina to Miller’s graduation. Done June.

2.  Go to Haleigh’s graduation. Done June.

3.  Go to Haiti. Done July.

4.  Finish my writing on My Big Brother and send it to him!

5.  Continue writing my parents story.

6.  Lose weight.

7.  Attend Conference in May. Done May.

8.   Have family ‘get-together’ here in July or August. Done.

9.  Continue writing Prime Time News newsletter bi-weekly. Done.

10. Create Christmas card.

11. Communicate with Andrew and Katie.

12. Sort books and give appropriate books to book receivers.

13. Clean and arrange reading room.

14. Clean wood floors and wax.

15. Ride an elephant.

16. Go dog-sledding.  Feb. 26, 2015

Well, that’s it for now. I may add to it later…

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Elmise

Happy Birthday, Elmise! Oh no…you’re a teenager now! Already??? It can’t be…but it is! P1020415 Elmise  You are so pretty! You’re intelligent! You love school and do well. You’re a daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin, niece, friend, and neighbor! You’re also a music lover, student, game player, cook’s helper, Club 56er, and so much more! I wish for you a super fun, fabulously great day!

Heavenly Father, thank You for Elmise! She’s a delightful young teenager! Thank You for giving her to our family! Please guide her as she goes through life. Watch over her, keep her safe and well. Guide her in her daily life. Help her to want to live for You. Help her ambitions to be God-centered. I love Elmise so much and You love her even more!