Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Jennifer Flavor Burst - Better Than Ice Cream

As I turned the corner from our street, onto a more main road, I thought about how it had been 8 weeks of living here without a car.  Finally, we had wheels under us.  It felt good.  The freedom to just go and not have to wonder if we were asking one favor too many from a new friend.  Then I heard her say, "Oh, look at all of the 'tout mouns' (creole for everybody)."  I could feel her joy.  I smiled and shifted into 2nd gear.  God you created each person.

Don't you love it when God goes before you and prepares the way?!  He provides things you didn't even know to ask for and He provides it in such a way, no strings attached, that He gets all of the glory!  It's astounding to think about His perfect Fatherly wisdom at work in our lives.  Sometimes it's a hard lesson learned.  Other times it just seems to be a surprise gift.

I was driving for the first time in Haiti and dodging the 'tout mouns' with skill.   With a deep breath I remembered watching her inch her way onto this busy street so many times.   I can do it I thought.  I sat a little higher - put my chin up and thought to myself how she did this with such simple confidence.  What a great example!  Come to think of it, I don't think she ever complained about the nonsensical traffic.  Instead she'd note how nice they were to let you make a U-turn on a through street or let others merge into a packed lane.

Sure enough, I was really making my way up the mountain to the grocery store.  With the diesel rumblings my stomach kind of sunk...geesh, I really miss my shopping partner.  I'd grown to enjoy her company so much.  Her outings were always so positive and a welcomed break from the mundane role of life inside of our gate.  All of a sudden I felt a little empty without my newly found friend.

While swerving around a few tap-taps and merchants with heavy loads on their heads I heard her happily say, "Don't you just love how they always want to dress so nice."  I noticed a busy woman weaving her way around trash and crowds of people wearing a fun skirt.  She had her hair up.  Her style was good.  Her beauty stood out.  Haitians always try to look their best.  It is motivating how they take each day on looking nice.

The blocks successfully passed by. There sat the familiar set of ladies selling their day's worth of fruit and veggies by the Grocery.  "Ah, look at all those friends working together.  I like how they stick together and watch out for each other."

When I pulled into the parking lot I saw a young man carrying cold Cokes for sale on his head.  Instead of being narrowly focused I paused and appreciated his job because Jennifer would have noticed and said, "Oh, I always think those cold Cokes look so good."

On and on I hear her consideration.   Haiti, for me, will always have this Jennifer-burst twisted around it.  You know the Flavor Burst ice cream?  God has used her just like this kind of ice cream.  She is a delicious burst of flavor that is shaping my Haiti palette.  She made, what could have been a very stressful transition, a fun task.  Where I could have had a more subjective/negative/overwhelmed perspective she showed me how to embrace it with enjoyment.  A largely foreign world became a bit more familiar.

We've had a car for 3 weeks now and I still hear her sweet voice enjoying the beauties of Haiti.  The fact is that if I wouldn't have been without a car I wouldn't of had the gift of Jennifer, our super generous neighbor.   God knew exactly where we needed to live this first 8 months and He knew exactly the reasons why we didn't need a car right away.  He has been faithful to provide even in the ways we didn't know to ask.

Not a day goes by where I don't thank Him for His work in her.  She has many qualities that are worth imitating.  Christ is at work in her heart and it's been a delight for our family to see.  She loves all people.  ALL.  She loves without preference.  Her house is always open.  In her world there is always room for one more!  She embraces different cultures.  She is set on finding beauty regardless of where she finds herself.  She makes her home a lively place.  We love to pop in on her because almost always something fun is in the works.  She finds something encouraging to say.  Always.  She is spontaneous.  She loves her husband and very humbly notes his excellencies.  She is not afraid.  She makes good food with great hospitality.  She shares generously. And those are just a few to mention.

Don't you love how God is at work in His people?!  He is so good and brings beauty into the hearts of His children!  His Kingdom is coming on earth as it is in Heaven and this is one of the many ways!  Praise the Lord for His kindness to mankind!

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