It’s Christmas Eve. Last year at this time, I was pondering the fact that I enjoyed a very special Thanksgiving with my sister, Susan and her family for the first time in many years and spent my birthday in Indianapolis with my brother, Frank’s family helping with their Nutcracker production. It just felt like maybe I wouldn’t have those opportunities again for a long time and big changes were in the works for us.
As a result of my experience doing costumes in the dancers in Indianapolis, I ended up taking a job with NHAPA altering dance costumes starting the beginning of January, fitting and sewing costumes right through May. In the meantime, Kevin had been “laid off” by his major client and our talk of spending more time in Haiti turned into talk of selling the house and moving there full time.
We both spent time in Haiti in February. I spent a week and Kev spent two. He returned late Sunday night, February 24th. Then next Friday, March 1st we were meeting with Hannah and her boss from the realty company about listing our house. The next four months were a blur during which we sold, donated and packed “stuff”, and showed our house. Kevin got his 2nd degree black belt in Shaolin Kempo, I finished the hundreds of costumes I had been working on and Hannah earned her Master’s Degree. Kevin made a three week trip to Haiti, returning on July 23 to a not-quite-ready-house and wife. We closed on our house July 26th and left for Gunstock to work at Soulfest for the week. We returned to stay at Kev’s sister, Kristin’s, house and my brother and sister and their families came out for a week of camping/visiting with us and my parents. We had a week of last minute barrel packing, office work, farewell parties accompanied by lots of hugs and tears.
August 13th we packed our rented SUV with two suitcases, a dog crate and our dog, Indy, and started driving south to Alabama. We were welcomed at Kev’s brother, Chip’s, house in Athens, AL, our “new” stateside residence, with open arms. Isn’t family awesome? We had a wonderful time getting caught up with Chip and Cindy, though our dogs didn’t really “click”… no surprise there. Indy isn’t known for “playing well with others.” Anyway, we enjoyed meeting new friends at the church there and Kevin was able to get his Alabama license. I didn’t … long story.
A week after leaving MA, we left AL and drove to Fort Pierce, FL. We had made arrangements with MFI (Missionary Flights Intl.) to fly us and our dog to Haiti in their little cargo plane with 8 other missionaries and a big load of supplies. We arrived in Grand Goave, Haiti, our “real” new home, on August 22.
Since then, we have settled in to our new digs. We have hosted missionary groups, plugged into Mission of Hope Intl. church in Thozin and continue to work in various areas of ministry at the mission. We have begun our pilot ISOM (International School of Ministry) program with the pastoral staff at MOHI. Our dog is happy. We’re learning the language. Adjusting to the culture. Seeing where we fit. For having been here for four months now, I’d say we’re doing just fine. We have wonderful Haitian friends as well as our very loving missionary family, the Edmes, Paraysons and Suttons to name a few, and our new long term missionary nurse and friend, Leah, returns after the New Year :O).
It was hard for us to miss out on our annual Chowder Day, our big Groder Family Christmas celebration, although we did Skype with everyone there, including our kids and grandkids. This our first Christmas in a long time without our parents, relatives and special friends but Kev and I are together and surrounded by God’s love and others who share the wonder of Christ’s birth. So, Merry Christmas and God Bless Us Every One!
I can’t even imagine where life’s journey will have taken us by this time next year.