www.lalimye.com

Friday, May 13, 2022

Childlike Faith


 I want to be like Ketchina. 


While chaos fills the house and her sisters are pitching fits and annoying each other and crying for no real reason and some are taking a bath and some are brushing teeth and Mommy Ellie is raising her voice for just a little bit of order and peace in the house and the nanny is running around looking for toothbrushes and towels and it’s loud and chaotic and hectic and messy and I’m frustrated and tired and bossy…


And then there’s Ketchina. 

Sitting peacefully on the bench singing her hymnal songs. 

Not paying attention to the wreck around her. 

Not paying attention to the mess around her. 

Not paying attention to the chaos around her. 

Just peacefully singing songs to Jesus while awaiting her turn to take a bath. 


I wanna be like Ketchina. 

Turn off the worldly news and the social media and the bad mom judgments and the security warnings and the chaos and stress in life. I want to block it all out, ignore it all, and just sing. Sing to Jesus. 


Having special needs and disabilities comes with their own set of challenges, but goodness this child is so full of joy and innocence and freedom. 

Freedom to sing when the world is a mess and not even being affected by it. 


Keep singing, sweet girl.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Mental Health


 I googled “what triggers a tension headache” 


The response I read from Medline Plus was: “Tension headaches occur when neck and scalp muscles become tense or retract. The muscle contractions can be a response to stress, depression, head injury, or anxiety.”

3/4 I have. Guess it’s not sinuses. 


I haven’t felt good the last few days. I thought maybe a virus. But then I also thought maybe just stress that indeed does weaken the immune system.


I honestly think I’m out of touch with my emotions in a way. Trauma is one of the blames for that. I hear a gunshot or I read about the war going on in Port Au Prince and I have to quickly just put it to the back of my brain so I can get through the day. Mentally. But physically I think it does more damage than I want to admit. And with feeling like you always have to be strong, be alert, be organized, be ready, be prepared because the kids and the ministry and the emails and everything else is pulling you in every direction- eventually, the pain catches up. Hence why I’m pretty sure I’ve been feeling sick. 


So when my 3 year old niece sends me voice clips saying… “I hope you don’t get hurt, Aunt Ellie. I love you, Aunt Ellie. Come see me soon, Aunt Ellie”

… the flood gates open and that tension headache goes from a 5 to a 10 and the world seems to be falling apart but you feel like you have to keep it all together because my stress is nothing compared to my neighbors stress so I shouldn’t even be stressing… but I am allowed to “feel” right? Or maybe that’s why my brain always pushes my emotions to the back. Because, reality is, it could always be worse. And when you’re surrounded by poverty you want to just remember how good you have it. 


“Don’t let the stress get to you, Ellen… have faith.” But it does get to me. And that’s ok. Because I’m allowed to feel. I’m human. And I’m allowed to still be growing. That’s the beautiful thing about Jesus. All of our emotions matter to Him. He doesn’t compare us to others. We matter individually to Him. It’s ok to not be ok. That’s not a lack of faith if we’re willing to learn to trust Him through it all and take our weariness to Him. 


I texted a friend and said “this place is loosing it” 

Gang on gang war in the city. No one can safely travel which means street vendors selling food can’t sell, hospitals can’t receive patients, doctors can’t travel to hospitals, gas can’t be delivered. When was the last time we even had gas at the pump? Thousands are running from their homes, fleeing for safety with the only belongings they now have being what’s on their back and as they watch humans be murdered and houses be burnt and devastation and tragedy and fear and trauma and poverty surround them so deep I’m not even sure how they are still above water. 


The emotions are extreme here. The stress is high for the missionaries and expats and in different ways for the Haitians who’ve dealt with the insecurity and the instability their whole lives. 


I don’t have a happy ending to this story. It’s just my heart poured out on paper. My diary that maybe I should just keep to myself. Showing my heart and my struggles and my fears so no one dare thinks I always have it all together. 


So how should we fix all this? How can we overcome our emotions so our emotions don’t overcome us? 

Jesus. 

He is our solution. He is our happy ending. He is where our peace comes from. When things start to get sketchy in these brains of ours, put your thoughts on Him. He is sovereign. He is good. And He always has a plan. Rest in that. 


So today I pray for strength and peace. For this country and for yours, and for everyone that feels stressed, depressed, anxious, burnt out, chewed up, overwhelmed, mentally tired. You’re allowed to feel. See a therapist. Take a break. Recognize those feelings and then keep your mental health in check so that you can continue on continuing on. 

You’re stronger than you think and in Jesus, with his strength, we can and we will overcome all the fears and anxieties and stress that this world throws at us. 

Your feelings are valid. Now hand them over to Jesus to heal. 

Gods got this which means we’ve got this too.  


Louie Giglio once said: 

 “Worship and worry cannot occupy the same space; they can't both fill our mouths at the same time. One always displaces the other. We can either speak doom and destruction, kicking our worry and stress into high gear. Or we recount the size and character of the Almighty, releasing our outcomes to Him and centering our thinking in His sovereign plans.”


#mentalhealthawarenessmonth

Monday, May 2, 2022

THANK YOU!


 On April 29th 2016 Dachena joined our family. 

She was 13 months old wearing newborn diapers. Purely a sack of bones. She didn’t even have the strength to sit up from the lying down position and didn’t know how to drink from a bottle. 

Starvation almost took her life. 


On May 1st 2016 Ciarha joined our family. She was 5 months old weighing 8lbs. She was so severely malnourished with Kwashiorkor that she had to be hospitalized for several weeks and even got a blood transfusion. 

Malnutrition almost took her life. 


(Unfortunately staying with the biological family isn’t always possible or safe for all children. Although that’s always the aim to support.)


I say all this to say: 

I am beyond grateful for everyone that donated towards our care package project. 

But I can’t go on without recognizing everyone that also keeps La Limyè running year round. I wouldn’t have been able to feed the village if I didn’t have the funds first to feed my own children and keep a roof over their head. So whether you’ve been giving for months and months or years and years, or whether you just gave for the first time last week - 

THANK YOU. 

You are changing lives in Jesus’ name and I am honored to know you and have you by my side. 

You are an answered prayer and I know God will repay you well for your dedication, commitment, and support to La Limyè. 


Also- look at these girls now!!! 6 and 7 years old and as healthy as can be! 


I’m praising God for each of you that supports us now and then and every day in between and didn’t allow starvation and malnutrition to take these girls away. 


They have something great to offer to the world and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for them!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Care Packages


 The mother of one of my students in our Special Education/Handicap learning center asked me for a job the other day. 

I know she desperately needs it.  La Limyè already pays half of her yearly rent for her house because if not she and her daughter would truly be homeless. 

I’m encouraged that she’s asking for work, not just handouts…but I literally have no work to give her. Every position is full and I can’t think of any job to just “make up” for her to do. 


The rise in prices, the fall of the economy, the insecurity…it’s crippling for these people. 


All that to say, my employees need to be paid, the girls have to be fed, school fees need to be met, but right now the most dire need is to help our neighbors. 

It would be a blessing and truly an answer to prayer. 


I have 26 employees 

23 families in our Special Education learning center. 

Around 35 in our local church. 


Any extra we raise can go to the people in our village which would be around 75 people! 


For $15.70 each we can provide rice, beans, oil, seasoning, potatoes, onions, garlic, spaghetti, fish, a bible, a carrying bag and have it delivered to their houses! 

If you feel led, we’d love your support to help feed our friends during these hard times. 


Venmo: @lalimye 

PayPal: lalimye@gmail.com 

Online: www.lalimye.org 


Write “care package” in the memo so I’ll know what it’s for.  


If you can’t afford $15.70 but still want to help that’s completely fine! 

For one person to get a gallon size bag of rice it’s $2.72

For one person to get beans it’s $2.26


Together we can be a blessing! 

Thank you!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Reality in this season.



I can no longer travel freely. 

I no longer feel like I have a choice on what I want to do. 

I can’t be seen on certain roads at certain times. 

No one stateside can come visit me. 


The gangs have spread out and their power seems to have grown too great for anyone to stand up against. 

The people are hungry. 

The hungry are starving. 

The churches are mourning. 


Willing to risk my life to serve here is now a higher cost if that means it’ll affect my children and their future. 

I hired an armored car service to take me home last time I flew in. 


Life as we knew it seems too distant to remember and the new season seems too much like a taste of hell on earth for the Haitians just trying to live. 


And yet I’m surrounded by the most selfless, God fearing, humble Haitians who even with a paycheck I know it’s still hard to make ends meet. 


The Haitian currency was about 40 gourdes to every American dollar when I moved here and now it’s 120 to every 1. Costs have risen. Help has fled. 

And if it wasn’t for the faith we have in the fact that God still holds all things together, we’d think darkness has overtaken at times. 


There are so many good people on this island. They want to work, feed their families, and worship their God… but so much of the good they do is stripped away by the gangs and their terror. 


Going to the grocery store is now scary because of the roads you must take to get there. 


We need a miracle. Haiti as a whole. The future for the La Limyè girls is scary because I no longer can see how one can live like this and still come out ok on the other side. And yet they are so much more stable than our neighbors. 

It’s dark times. 


We do feel safe inside our 4 walls for the most part. Our town has had its flare ups but it’s calm and functioning compared to other places. But the dangers and the poverty in arms reach keep us all on edge. 


And yet we press on. God is still working, I’m stillsurrounded by beauty, and serving Jesus to make His name known is still worth it. 

These people shouldn’t be forgotten and abandoned just because all we see on the news stations is the bad. There’s still hope. I see it with my own eyes. We all need Jesus. 


Please pray for Haiti. The women and men I’ve known for the past 10 + years don’t deserve to suffer like this. They weren’t born with the freedom and ease that I was raised with. And yet they have faith stronger than steel and they know how to calm my fears from their faith in God whenever I hand the devil the reins to my emotions. 


God be with us.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Held at gunpoint by the gang

7 automatic weapons were pointed at us as the gang surrounded our vehicle. I thought, this is it. It’s over.  I was going to be taken. 


Here’s what happened on the 30th of December: 


For the past several months with all the issues in Haiti, I’ve been sitting in the back seat instead of the front whenever I leave the house to go into the city or come from the airport to leave the city. Less people can see me in the back so it just feels safer. 


After lots of deep breaths I felt confident I could quickly go to the grocery store to get the basic necessities and then make the trip back to La Limyè. 


Before I even got in the truck and after I was in, I prayed for safety, thanked Him in advance for protection and prayed no traumatic issues would happen on the road because one can only handle so much in a lifetime and I thought I should be about done. 


Once we left the grocery store we passed the round about and headed down that road. When we got to the outskirts of Port au Prince there was a ton of traffic and the 2 lane road immediately became 5 lanes with no oncoming traffic able to pass. My driver did what he did best and weaved in and out of traffic because traffic jams in that area of town sometimes result in robberies at one point of the day or another. He paid off a group of guys that were banging on the windows asking for money and then kept trying to maneuver around the traffic. 


There were police completely suited up with masks on and holding automatic weapons. They were helping direct traffic but of course always ready for whatever else this island will throw their way. 





There was a road right by where the police were directing traffic and up until about 3 years ago we use to always take that road. But over the last few years gang activity has worsened in that area. 


Due to the major gridlock of traffic the police forced us to go down that road to get to the next highway instead of trying to let us sit in traffic for the next street up- the street we always take now to get in and out of the city. 


At the end of that paved road was a group

of young men just sitting on the side of the road. My driver said “they’re apart of the gang, police probably know they’re here too but can’t or won’t do anything about it. Some of the police are involved in the gang too.” 


As soon as we turned off that street and onto the next road we drove up to a young man standing in the middle of the road holding an automatic gun pointed straight at our vehicle. Within 5 seconds my driver stopped the car and 6 more men approached the vehicle on either side of the truck all with automatic guns drawn and pointed at us. 


They told my driver to roll down the window and he did. They demanded him to give them his gun which he told over and over again that he didn’t have one. They said they’d kill him if he doesn’t hand it over. He swore he didn’t have one. They told him to get out of the truck. He put two feet on the ground but then they said to get back in the truck. 


Had he opened the truck door fully, they would have seen me. 

Had the gang member walked about 4 feet closer to the truck he would have seen me through the door. 


Meanwhile, I was in the back seat directly behind the driver seat. 

Had I been in the front seat they would have seen me. 

Had I been in the back seat but on the right hand side instead of the left they would have seen me when the front windows were rolled down. 

Had we gone to the mail room to pick up packages and then piled them high in the truck bed, the chances of them robbing us would of been higher probably. 

Had we not have tinted our windows as dark as they can go last month and got our authorization 2 days prior to this, they would have seen me. 


I put my phone in my pants, hid my passport and my visa, and crunched as low as I could go on the left side of the backseat. The right side of the backseat had all three of my Suitcases stacked up on the seat. 


The men wore normal clothes but had masks covering their faces. Once they were convinced my driver didn’t have a gun they let him get back in the car and let us leave. 


God shut their eyes and forced them to let us go. Gangs usually always ask for guns when they stop people. And if that isn’t an option robbing of money and phones or kidnapping is always next. Only GOD was the reason why they let us go without touching us. I fully believe this. 

Truly a miracle and an answered prayer as I was crunched down shaking and praying and wondering if my worst nightmare was about to come true. 


I don’t know why Gods will is for some to be kidnapped or robbed and others to be invisible and not be taken or touched. I don’t believe it’s a “He saved me and didn’t save the other victims that have had worse outcomes this year” type of answer. I believe His will will be done whether it makes sense in our eyes or not. 

Because we live in a broken world, bad things happen. But God is God and He will work it all out for good. For reasons we’ll never know this side of heaven. There’s a reason for everything and we must just trust that He knows what he’s doing and His plan is greater than ours because He sees the whole picture. Bad things happen, but God is still good. He is still with us and He’ll be glorified by His people no matter the outcome. 

His will be done. 


I was and still am shook up as well as my driver who wondered if his life was about to end but I am so thankful that that really close call was only just a really close call. 

So many other stories I hear involves kidnapping and robbing these days but God for some reason had a different plan for us. 


I don’t know if they had seen an American in the backseat if the story would have changed any. Sometimes being a foreigner changes perspectives for some people. Sometimes it doesn’t. 


3 minutes before this gang encounter was police presence. 3 minutes after was another police presence.  When the checkpoint approached and the officer asked if all was well my driver just said “yes” because what’s the point in telling the police what had just happened. No one trusts anyone. 


I had been texting my sister constantly from the time I left, at the grocery store, and through the trip home because we were already on heightened nerves being in Port Au Prince while things are so sporadic these days. 

I had sent her a picture of a police officer saying “stuck in traffic in the worst part of the journey home, thankfully there’s “police” (may or may not can trust them) but the chance of getting robbed is a lot slimmer with them around. I even said “hope they’re up ahead too”

But they weren’t. Not for that mile stretch. 


I’ve had many nightmares about things like this. I’ve thought a lot about the stories I hear of others going through it and the thoughts of past incidents happening in similar ways to me over the years here are always vivid. 


All that to say, I hate that because I needed a ride I put my drivers life in danger like that. But I’m thankful for the angels that protected us. I am so thankful for God blinding the gangs’ eyes so they couldn’t see me. I’m so thankful they didn’t hurt my driver or rob him or take a shot with 1 of the 7 automatic guns staring down at us. 


We aren’t safe from the world just because we trust in Him. But we can know we are eternally safe. And we can know that He will work everything out according to His will, which is good. Whether we always see it as that or not. 


“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up.” 

Isaiah 43:2





My prayer is for every other victim who’s outcome wasn’t as positive as mine. May we continue to seek the Lord and trust Him. He is always with us, even through the deep waters. 

Monday, November 8, 2021

My bleeding heart


I don’t even know what to say.

I write when my heart is heavy. Yet it’s like I’m so numb by what’s going on I can’t even explain it. It’s like living a dream… but not those sweet fairy tale dreams that I wish for. It’s the nightmares. The ones that never stop. It’s reality. It’s life. 

But it’s not a true nightmare for me. I’m just watching it mainly. I’m comfortable. Sure, not near as comfy as if I were stateside, but I’m well. I have what I need. But not my neighbors. They’re suffering. Their nightmare continues on even after they wake up. They’re not watching it, they’re living it. 

The motorcycle taxi driver quoted one of my employees how much it would cost for her to get a ride to and from La Limyè. It was half of her daily wage. Which is a fair wage. But with gas off the street being $20 a gallon, what do you expect… instead she walked the several miles home in the pitch black because there are no streetlights. It’s not fair. 

They tell me of a lady who was pregnant but because of no diesel at the hospital that runs off of generators she died. Her husband watched his daughter or son kick in their mamas stomach for a little bit longer until he or she died too. It’s not fair. 

I told them we were almost out of cooking oil- something that is used everyday here since there is no McDonald’s to run by. I usually buy in the 5 gallon jugs which they said will now cost us about $50USD. It’s not fair. 

I get on FB and I see everyone so happy going to football games or family get togethers or shopping with friends and a part of me wants that. Part of me doesn’t want to watch the hungry get hungrier because of injustice. I don’t want to feel guilty that I have 4 boxes of cereal in my pantry or even a pantry at all. Sometimes I want to dream that I’m blinded by it so I can use a hairdryer in my perfectly pre set temperature house, put on mascara that won’t melt away, head to Chick-fil-A la where they cook the food for me and then go over to Target to buy worthless things without feeling like I’m abandoning my friends. That’s what I kind of want at times. And I’ll be so thankful when that blessing comes. And one day soon that’s what I’ll do I’m sure… but what kind of dream is that? Even when I get to return to the States for a visit I’ll never be able to forget what I’ve watched unfold. I’ll never be able to accept how easy life can be for some and how utterly dark and hopeless it is for others. I’ll probably never stop feeling guilty for having a passport. Because I get to run away if I want to. I get food stamps if I want them. I get Medical care if I need it. And yet without that passport La Limyè wouldn’t be in existence- so yes I’m still so thankful.  

But my heart hurts for these people. For innocent lives that continue and continue to one, be forgotten by the outside world and two, be pushed to near breaking point over and over again. 

We do what we can here at La Limyè to lessen the load off  our neighbors shoulders but it never seems like much. 

I use to want my girls to grow up here and then go out into their own country and make a difference, love others, be a light. And I still do in a way, but also I just want to shove them in my suitcase and get them as far away from the ongoing nightmare as possible. I want them to learn gymnastics or piano or softball. I want them to know what it’s like to play on a jungle gym or giggle through a car wash or get a free toy every time you buy a Happy Meal. I want them to be safe and secure and I can’t offer them that here. Nobody can. And yet they’re still so much more secure than our neighbors. 

 But here we are in a country that I’ve called home with people I call family and though I do life with them and sit with them and hear about their struggles and taste and see a small fraction of what real life for some of them really is like, I’ll still never truly know what it’s like to choose the next meal or choose to buy Tylenol for a sick child. 

And so my heart hurts for the hurting. They deserve better. Oh I wish you could meet them. Their strength is beyond comprehension. Their faith is literally to die for. Their determination and their courage and their love is what keeps them beautiful. Amidst so much poverty and destruction and unfairness, I look up to these people. Life is unfair and yet they keep on living. 

And so there you have it… my bleeding heart all poured out, trying to explain my feelings. Counting my blessings and wishing I could give it all away. 

Pray for my neighbors today. I wish you all could meet them.  

You’d meet strength in a whole new way. 

You’d feel love in a whole new way. 

You’d fight for justice in a whole new way. 


—— 

The recent turmoil on this island is mainly due to not having any diesel or gas delivered. We have fuel on the island, plenty of it. But one of the gangs has blocked the roads where the fuel ports are located and any truck that tries to leave to deliver gets kidnapped and robbed. The gang announced that if the prime minister steps down, they will allow fuel to be delivered. If he doesn’t step down, this will continue on.  

For now hospitals, banks, factories, taxi services (which is the main transportation for Haiti), cell phone towers, and schools are either shut down completely or working at minimum capacity.