Happy New Year!
We hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's day! Fun fact: Independence day in Haiti is actually on January 1st as well so we celebrate a double holiday that day! If you didn't know Haiti gained its independence from France in 1804, making it the second nation in the new world to gain its independence from European powers.
Things are typically and intentionally slower here on the mission during the month of December, as many missionaries return to visit their families wherever they may be. But since we had returned on December 8, the entire leadership team of our campus was complete and whole again. Our Director took that opportunity to have us all go off-site for a series of meetings in order for us to nail down some core values that we wanted the organization to operate in as we move forward. It was a great but also challenging time going back and forth about different ideas for the core values. In the end, we settled in on 6 different values based in two categories. The categories are based on the two sides of the YWAM's mission: To Know God and Make Him Known.
Even though we spent 3 days working on them, we actually didn't finalize the wording on them just yet. As anyone who has gone through this process before will tell you, it takes a long time. Not necessarily to think of the values themselves, but to word them in such a way as to be clearly communicated, easily remembered, and sufficiently inspiring. We'll let you guys know as we continue to work on them throughout the course of the next few months how the process is going and perhaps we will let you know what the values are themselves when we are further along.
The other big thing that had to be done during December was an absolute ton of cleaning to do when we got back! And by absolute ton, I mean an abnormally and grotesquely large amount of cleaning to do. I use those adjectives intentionally (not to impress my english-major mother-in-law or anything) but because those words bring about images of something that is gross. And things were gross at the Fisher house while we were gone visiting the States for those few months.
You see, while we were gone, a mischief of mice (yes apparently that is what you call a grouping of mice) decided to take advantage of our absence and attempt to house sit for us. I probably shouldn't go on, but let me just say: Mice make horrible house sitters and squatters is a better term for the role they played in our house. But that being said, we did take that as all the incentive we needed for a thorough spring cleaning. And so we started in the kid's rooms and the kitchen and worked our way around the house.
And washed again
And in the end, we washed every plate, spoon, bowl, shirt, towel, sheet, stuffed teddy bear and everything in between in this house.
That kind of deep cleaning stresses me out. (It's the clothes, I'm sure of it. I do not like going through clothes and finding out what fits, is stained, is torn, and what's good. Which is also probably why I had a stack of clothes in my drawer that I never wore and that were hand-me-downs from the Israelites time in the wilderness.) But we persisted and in true Fisher fashion we even organized and sorted everything too. Ok its actually more accurate to say that in true Kate fashion, but I've been known to have an organizational bone or two in my body too.
So now, as I write this in a fabulously clean living room, I can rest easy knowing that my kids are napping on fresh sheets, in immaculate rooms, with clean stuffed animals. See what I did there? Now you are thinking of Febreze or something nice like that.
By the way, you never know how much stuff you have until you are forced to take it all out, clean it, and put it all back. We actually have a rather large box of things we are going to pass on.
In completely unrelated news, I got to drive one of our campus buses on (to my knowledge) the only race track in the entire country in Port-au-Prince yesterday. It was a bizarre turn of events as I was looking for a storage building to pick up some tile for a campus project we are doing this month. Things work a little differently in Haiti and since the store I bought the tile from didn't have the tile on site they sent me to their storage facility on the other side of town. The only direction they gave me was that it was next door to a small power plant. When I went next door to the power plant, the security guards told me that there was not a facility there from that company, and so I did what you normally do in Haiti, I started asking around.
It just so happened that the before mentioned race track is also next door to the power plant on the other side and the groundskeeper was standing outside the front gate. So I asked him if he knew where the depot was. He didn't know for sure, but said to try on the far side of the race track property and then offered to let me drive through the race track as a shortcut. I got to the other side and found out the depot wasn't on that street either and so he offered to let me drive back through the race track to get back on the main road. I was super tired from driving all day in a crowded city in a big old bus, but I have to say that put a smile on my face.
It's not every day you get to drive a bus on a race track.
(By the way, we have already caught 5 of those mice. 2 with shoes, 2 with a mousetrap, and the last by setting the neighbor's cat loose on it. I'm pretty sure we got them all, but the next couple weeks will tell us for sure.)
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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