What a whirlwind life has been since we last posted in July! A quick recap:
We applied for Liam's Passport last week, so we expect that to come sometime this month, and we plan to buy tickets home next week! As fun as it has been here in the states, I find myself becoming homesick for Haiti faster and faster each trip we take. We plan on staying in Colorado through thanksgiving, and returning to Haiti the first week of December. December holds a lot of staff training, reacclimating, and preparing for the new year, just in time for our next team to arrive in January
Now for a bit of hard truth....
I have been burnt out. I've known this since early this year after I had an anxiety attack and was called out by a friend (who has actually become one of my closest friends since this incident).
I am one of those people who loves helping others and doing projects for others. But I have a problem saying no, or budgeting my time wisely, or extravagant expectations onto myself. I find myself stressing out if even the tiniest thing in my plans goes sideways. I have anxiety attacks. I get overwhelmed. I get frustrated.
So, I have been trying to take it slow this year. Not be so hard on myself. Say no. And I was doing... alright. Even though I was slowing down, I wasn't taking an actual break from the work. I hadn't actually taken a break since we went on the mission field in December 2013. Every time we had come back to the states, to visit, to have Evie and through her two hospital stays, I would take my Outreach Communications job with me. I didn't want to burden anyone, and I was having a hard time letting go of my "baby". I had taken my position and spent the past three years attempting to streamline all of the communication, to make everyone's jobs as easy as I possibly could. I felt like no one could be as efficient as I could. I was afraid that if I gave someone else my job for a time I would have to fix everything all over again. Aaaannd I now realize all of these worries I had been battling were very very silly.
So, for the first time, I passed my job to someone else while it have been in the states. And it has been liberating. And I am thankful. It was hard at first to not check in and make sure things were going ok at first, but right now, two out of three months into my break, I am feeling more relaxed than I have felt in a long time.
I really feel like God has been teaching me during this whole thing to depend on him more, and trust in the plans he has for mine and my family's lives. I used to think of myself as a flexible and go-with-the-flow kind of person; easy to accept the rapid changes that frequently get thrown our way, especially as missionaries in Haiti. But I have come to realize that, in part, this was untrue. I was good with some things, but a lot of times I thought I was being flexible, I wasn't letting flexibility and trusting in God's plan be the first thing. What ACTUALLY would happen would be a mini freakout, calming down, and THEN I would be flexible.
So, right now, I am practicing letting my first reaction to be going to God, for help, for strength, for calm. Not to let fear and anxiety and uncertainty take control, but to praise God in EVERY situation.
So, in summary; burnout sucks, but God can teach you a lot through the process and through the recovery!
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Per our usual, we have not updated you a for quite a while, but I can assure you that we are alive and kicking! (Quite literally in the case of the little one on the way!) We've been quite busy over the past couple months with a ton of travel and major events. I'll give you a timeline here to get you caught up with the Fishers!
May 1 - The Discipleship Training School that we are staffing started their 2 month long outreach. From May to June they visited and did an array of ministry and practical projects all over Haiti. In 8 weeks they went to Saint Marc, Goniaves, Gran Rac, Port-de-Paix, Cap Haitian, Port Salut, Jeramie, and La Gonave! Whew! They came back exhausted, but full of life!
May 1-5 - We have extremely encouraging week of meetings and conference sessions for YWAM Saint Marc. For the first part of the week, we (The campus leadership team) were able to sit down with our mentor Bruce Lengeman to evaluate where we were since bringing a "Kingdom Culture" standard onto our campus last year. (Kingdom culture- A healthy, life-giving, Christ-centered culture in which an organization operates. Want to learn more? Get Bruce's new book. You wont regret it!) The second half of the week was dedicated to teachings by Bruce, and working through some new structure we are bringing to our campus, EXCITING STUFF!
May 7th - Jay turned 26! Very relaxed day, since we were flying out the next day
May 8th-16th-Took a trip to Florida! We were there for the YWAM Caribbean Leadership Conference in Orlando where we were able to give our input to some big decisions, and got to meet a lot of YWAM directors from around the Caribbean. Jay's mom was able to come down to Florida with his sister to watch the kids for this. SUCH a blessing! After the conference was over we headed up to the YWAM Orlando campus to stay a few days and hang out with some friends who cam down to Haiti earlier this year. While there we were able to find out that Baby Fish #3 is....
After our Orlando adventure, we headed down to Fort Lauderdale to see some family, stay in the CUTEST Airbnb (Way cheaper than a hotel, I highly recommend you try it), and check out a really awesome children's museum. Our time in FL was a much needed break that our whole family was in desperate need of!
May 20th- 28th After just a few days back home, we went right back on the road and lead our DTS up to Port-de-Paix (Our someday, future home!) It was a rough week due to sicknesses and fatigue, but it was AWESOME. We mapped out part of the city, finding out what businesses, churches and point of interest were there, Our family and our fellow staff member Wadner were able to meet the mayor (its respectful to ask permission from the mayor before going out and doing ministry within a city) and found out that he is also a pastor at a local church, and he was excited to see our team out on a prayer walk earlier in the day. We asked if there was anything we could do to help him and the city, so he gave us the task of cleaning up a section of road that was full of trash and mud from rainstorms earlier in the month. God's hand was in this job because we were able to purchase all the shovels we needed and local people DONATED their wheelbarrows for the day (This was HUGE as this would mean those locals would lose some income that day) We gained a lot of influence in the city that day, and many people are excited for there to be a YWAM base in Port-De-Paix one day!
May 28th-31st The 28th was the craziest traveling day ever. 10 hours of bumpy roads as we made our way south to Goniaves and back up north to Cap Haitian. I Love Cap Haitian. It is such a beautiful port city with crazy amounts of history. During our short time there we did some prayer at monuments within the city and went to visit one of the most beautiful places ever... Citadelle Laferrière (Get your historical fortress education here) It was a crazy flashback visiting the fortress and the palace down below because I had been there before during my DTS in 2011, but this time I was able to introduce my family to its beauty and the gorgeous surrounding scenery. While in Cap, we discovered that one of our favorite ice cream shops from the Dominican Republic had established a location just down the street from our hotel, so the DTS unapologetically feasted on ice cream two nights in a row (Haitian ice cream is very sad compared to this stuff... soooo goood)
June 3rd- With our family getting bigger and our apartment not able to handle our growing family, we moved..... literally downstairs. It has been interesting getting used to a new space since we lived upstairs for almost 3 years, but its nice to know this apartment will fit our clan. There are a few things we need to fix it up a bit more (the house has been hosting families for DTS, but hasn't had anyone live and invest in it for 7 years) but its home!
June (In General) The rest of our June was uneventful compared to May! Most of our time was spent hosting a team (they built a Home of Hope just down the street and did a VBS here on campus) and getting our house put together.
June 28th Our DTS graduated!! They did a wonderful job presenting all of the things they had learned over the past 5 months and were given their certificates. There was so much life transformation in the group and we are so proud of how far they have come!
June 28- July 9th I was unfortunately unable to attend the graduation because I had to fly to CO unexpectedly. I greatly enjoyed my time with family and did a lot of things. but one of the biggest highlights of the trip was getting my first actual diagnostic ultrasound for this little one (All of the other ultrasounds were either done by myself or at a "gender reveal" business) and meeting my new midwife in person for the first time. I am very pleased to report that at this time that I love my midwife (she's awesome) and that we do not see any abnormalities in his heart! This is huge because it means that he probably doesn't have the same heart issues that Evie did!
July 9th-now Right now we are halfway through a two week Justice seminar taught by Kimberly and Oli Brune and Juliette Hawkins. I'm very excited to see what the second week holds, because the first week was eye opening! Its crazy how each person has their own view of what justice is most time not taking into account so many things! I won't spoil it, because, after all we are only halfway through the seminar, and because you should read the lovely Kimberly Brune's fresh off the press book: A World Restored
The Future: So what does our immediate future hold?
So, as you can tell, its been a crazy few months, and we still have a few more crazy months ahead!
I will be posting prayer requests on our Prayer Requests Page soon, so keep an eye out!
(We do not receive any proceeds for the books linked in this post. These books are written by amazing people with amazing ideas)