It’s at this time of year that we look back on the year and remember the Lord’s faithfulness and look forward to new seasons of life. This holds true for the Perissien family as well.
Let’s start with the recap (well, up to last blog, that is):
Mid-June through July –
We made our way back to the states for a summer sabbatical. Our Mission-Haiti Board of Directors is so supportive of us and invested in our well-being all-around that they encourage us to take a month and a half off during the summer (when school is not in session) to rest and enjoy time stateside. When you look at the amount of weeks we spent in the states, it seems like a long time. In reality, when we split it up between our three “stateside homes” in West Palm Beach, FL, Saint Petersburg, FL, and Sioux Falls, SD, our time goes by very fast. But we always enjoy getting time to see our family and friends in all those locations. And of course eating at our favorite places!
We returned to Haiti to start our fourth season there. We were very excited as our missionary family was growing. Returning for the 3rd year was our Canadian sisters, Cassie and Kristin to continue teaching at the JAK Christian Academy. Joining them again was Peyton, coming to teach for her 2nd year. We welcomed two new teachers this year as well: Kenzie and Emily. And with Lexi and Gerald not returning this year, Isaac and Chelsea joined our full-time missionary family to help with team-leading and other ministry help. Our first month was crazy busy as usual. We had our student sponsorship distribution, when over 2,000 students from our sponsorship program come through to collect shoes, backpack, school supplies, sponsor gifts, and re-register with us. It was a crazy time, but our best distribution yet! The rest of the month was spent prepping for the upcoming school year, bonding as a missionary family, and spending time with our Haitian family that we missed over the summer.
We were so grateful to be spared from the parade of hurricanes that made their procession through the Atlantic late this hurricane season. Because of the hurricanes, I actually got an extra week and a half in Haiti before I had to leave for my maternity leave. But then it was the inevitable time to go. After a tearful goodbye, Tiona and I (with the help of Chelsea) made our way back to the states. Paul stayed in Haiti to help get the school year off and running.
After a few days in Canada trying to recruit new teachers, Paul came down to South Dakota to be with me and Tiona. We didn’t spend much time together as a family of 3, when earlier than expected, we welcomed our second daughter, Lieuna Yanique. For those wondering, her name is pronounced like Luna. Think “lieutenant” or “in lieu of flowers…” It’s kind of a nod to my maiden name Lieuwen. Her middle name is named after Paul’s mom, Yanique, who – like a boss – raised four crazy boys in Haiti by herself for 9 years while their dad was stateside working to bring the family over. Even though Tiona was only born 17 months before, it’s amazing how much you forget once your child is out of the newborn stage. Lieuna is precious with her big round eyes and deep dimple.
Paul returned to Haiti at the beginning of November. Every time we have to do the long-distance-marriage thing, it gets harder and harder. With our great missionary staff as well as a rockstar Haitian Assistant Director and Operations Directors, Paul’s job is getting easier and easier. He even gets more time between meetings to play basketball with the youth. Meanwhile, post-partum proved to be hard on me as I had multiple health complications and reactions to the medicines to resolve the complications. As I tried to get back to normal physically, both of our girls were growing. Lieuna ate well and seemed to get longer by the minute. And Tiona seemed to be getting smarter by the minute. When we left Haiti, she said 3 main words. Now, she tries to copy anything you say and understands and responds to many Creole and English phrases. Also, if her eyes are open, she doesn’t stop moving. She’s very busy and doesn’t know any strangers, which is probably a great thing considering our life.
We were all supposed to reunite in Haiti for a few weeks before our Christmas break. However, Lieuna had some health issues for which she was hospitalized to do a couple of procedures. We praise Jesus that all major diseases and anatomical anomalies were ruled out. But we were advised to stay in the states until the new year. As hard as this was for me, we knew it was best for our family. The blow was made a little easier because Paul made a quick trip back to see us. Then it was back to Haiti for 2 weeks. They had exams, a big Christmas party at the JAK Academy, and as a missionary family pulled off the 2nd Annual Carol the Village. And then a reunion in St. Pete for a few days, a couple days in Sioux Falls to have a Christmas with my family, and then a trip on Christmas morning to West Palm for a week and half with Paul’s family. It’s great to have our family back together again.
Now looking forward to 2018
Medical Clinic –
Construction is finished on our new Medical Clinic in our village. It has been many years in the making and we hope to open in within the first half of the calendar year. We are interviewing and looking for good staff members to pioneer this new arm of our ministry. This is a very important step we don’t take lightly, so please be in prayer as we are searching these positions out.
We are anticipating another busy team season again this year with already 11 teams on the schedule before our summer break. This is always a busy time, but it is fun to share our lives with folks for a week and see them fall in love with our Haitian family and want to join our stateside team to tell our story. With Chelsea and Isaac on board, we are pumped for new team leadership. They’ve proved to be a great asset in this avenue already.
Building Projects –
With our missionary family continuing to grow, we need to grow with it. We have new teacher housing and new Haitian staff housing planned for our compound. We have a great construction boss and team that we work with in our village and we are ready to have him and his staff on the yard. Their work ethic and attitude are truly humbling to watch as they construct these buildings with string-lines and mixing concrete by hand.
Obviously, the biggest thing we are looking forward to is going back home to Haiti as a family. It was more apparent than ever this fall that Haiti is home and that is where I wanted to (and felt like I should) be. Of course, it’s going to be busier than ever with two kids now, but we are blessed to call that place home with our hodge-podge of missionaries and Haitian nationals we call family.
If Jesus should tarry, we look forward to an exciting 2018.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. We love you all.