Friday, October 30, 2009
The story has concluded rather anticlimactically. During our stay in the states this summer, Daisha's US birth certificate was the source of all of our trouble. It is actually called a "Consular Report of Birth Abroad," but it is the same as a birth certificate. Anyway, as we have explained previously, we needed that document to get her passport so we could get her back in the country. But, as you may remember, you can only get the birth certificate if she shows up in person at the embassy. So, our catch 22, we need a passport to get back in the country to get a birth certificate, but we need a birth certificate to get a passport. The details worked themselves out and with a minor delay we were able to finally get the passport. In the back of our minds we knew that we should probably still go get her birth certificate. This morning, so that we could make it to Kingston in time for another persons appointment, we left our house a 4:45am. We took Daisha and Truitt and left Drew so that he wouldnt miss school. Erin came over at 4:45 to finish her sleep at our place and to get Drew off to school (Thanks Erin!). It took a little over an hour at the embassy and we got her birth certificate. So, that is the end of that saga and in hindsight it probably wasn't worth all of the worry. But, in His time and His way. To God be the Glory!
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Here are two other pieces of furniture that Kirk has added to our home in the past 2 years.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Greetings in the Name of Jesus. Hello from Jamaica! We have arrived and are presently trying to settle in to our new home. We are thankful that home is where the heart is because it feels like we don’t have much more than heart in our home right now. While our heart is here because we are together as a family, we feel very much out of control. They explained this to us in training, but it is very different to experience it in reality. We feel like we are unable to do anything. We have a language barrier with the majority of the campus and culture differences from everyone. We don’t want this to be all gloom. The people here are very nice and the kids are instantly warm and welcoming.
We left on Saturday and had a smooth trip through Charlotte to Jamaica. When we got to Jamaica, we handed our documents to the customs officer and he said “when are you leaving Jamaica.” We said that we had a one way ticket and that we would be leaving in 5 months or so. He instantly said that we had a problem and we could not be granted entry. He explained that you can not enter the country on a one way ticket and that we would have to buy a return trip ticket before we could enter. So, we proceeded back to a room where, I guess, they hold people like us. Keri stayed there with the kids and I went with the officer to purchase a return trip ticket. After maybe an hour and some trouble with our credit card, we got our tickets. We purchased them for a return trip in three months and thankfully they weren’t ridiculously priced. We then were granted entry and we took the long and curvy trip to Mandeville. On the brightest side, our kids did great and they slept through the worst parts of our trip.
Now that we are here, we are unable to move into the apartment we had planned on living in because some of the staff are still displaced from Hurricane Dean. So, we are living in the apartment that work teams stay in for their trips. The apartment is big, but it is messy and full of bunk beds and old furniture. This has been an adjustment but we are starting to get things cleaned up. Actually, we have come to believe that the ants and bugs own the place and they are just letting us stay here. They even let us eat some of their food. We are hoping to evict them very soon with lots of cleaning and maybe some spray. Our kids are adjusting slowly. Truitt has been very fussy and just off from normal. Drew is doing the best of all of us as he has even withstood some mobs of children touching him all over. Drew even on occasion will see a group of kids and say, “theres the kids, hi kids” while waving at them. I think it will take him awhile to realize that they cant hear him.
On the ministry side, we are as confused as ever, but we do feel excited about the opportunities. I think we will be doing “work team” stuff for a few weeks so that we can get to know people and understand how things work. This will be good as it should not involve in responsibility as we already feel overwhelmed from the transitions.
Thanks for your love and support. Please let me know if you are not interested in receiving these emails and likewise, please let me know if you know of someone who would like to receive them.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I am saddened to inform you that Gabriel Reinhard passed away this morning from injuries suffered from an accident. His Father Tim and Sister Sarah were also injured, but their injuries do not appear to be life threatening. The process has begun to bring Gabriel's body back to the states. Please Pray for Tim, Joan, Sarah, Bethany, Hannah, and Faith
I am saddened to inform you that Gabriel Reinhard passed away this morning from injuries suffered from an accident. Her Father Tim and Sister Sarah were also injured, but their injuries do not appear to be life threatening. The process has begun to bring Gabriel's body back to the states. Please Pray for Tim, Joan, Sarah, Bethany, Hannah, and Faith
Thursday, October 15, 2009
We do not want to be "hovering" parents around the school and so we hire Erin to be our undercover photographer. She has done a great job and these pics are courtesy of her.
Here they are introducing themselves to a team touring the school. Since Drew has learned to sign his name, he is never sure when to just say his name and when to spell it with his signs. So, we have many slightly awkward moments when Drew will sign his name to a hearing Jamaican and they have no idea what he is doing.
This is certainly my favorite picture. Pictures can be deceiving. If Erin had not told me otherwise, I would have been convinced that Drew, Saneka, and Britana were just standing around discussing whether or not the teacher was really going to give them homework. You know, the heavy things that students talk about. In reality, Erin says that Britana is giving Drew a piece of her mind. The kids love to make sure he knows whats going on and they are not always the most tactful in their approaches.
Drew has finished his first 4 weeks at school. He continues to leave for school excited every morning. He loves his teacher, he likes learning new things, and he is growing into the social side of things. Drew is a smart boy, but he is not the quickest horse in the race. But, this little experiment will be interesting because he is getting his first exposure to formal education in a different language. It is best practice for bilingual students to do their primary learning in their primary language, which makes sense. We are kind of trying the opposite. Because we remain the providers of his primary learning at home, he is receiving secondary learning in his second language. Those are not technical terms and I am not sure if it makes sense, but we hope it will be a blessing for him.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
It is coffee season. CCCD has 4 acres of coffee trees and every fall comes coffee harvest. Several days a week, coffee is harvested and carried to the processor. On Saturdays, I have been taking students down to the coffee farm to pick coffee. Knowing Drew's passion for caring for plants, I offered to let him help. Lets just say that he loves it. He knows to only pick the red ones and he is very conscious to pick only the best ones. The last couple of Saturdays has found Drew and I picking coffee and contemplating the deepest questions about trees and plants. We dont know what it is, but he has a strong passion for plants. At some point in his endless questioning, he gathered that plants were created by God and that by caring for them we are doing God's work. So, now it is not uncommon for him to say, "you ready to go do God's work," which really means, "lets go pull some weeds." It is hilarious. More recently, plants have found their way into his prayers. Last night it was that God would not let the plants die overnight. Tonight, he prayed that God would keep the weeds away. He is aware of the fact that we think his passion for plants is adorable and after his prayer he acknowledges the fact that he prayed for the plants. But tonight's reference to keeping the weeds away did carry with it a deeper spiritual analogy. Not only because weeds were a result of sin, but also because we all know our tendency to let the tares choke out our life. We love to see his passion in caring for God's creation and we hope that he can some day apply the deeper messages in His heart.
Also, speaking of his sweet heart. While we were picking last Saturday, he broke in to song as he was working. I tried to sneak up on him to catch him in the act. I did catch him, but he then stopped working when he realized I had the camera on him. Also, the second picture included Drew and Truitt. Dont be fooled, Truitt is not such the horticulturalist. After a successful trip to pick coffee with Drew, I thought maybe I would try Truitt the next week. Truitt always love to do everything Drew does and it always breaks my heart to leave him behind. Well, I wish I would have left him behind. He lasted about long enough to get the picture and then it was too hot and hard for him. He promptly found himself back at home.
P.S. - Fancying myself a sort of mad scientist, I tried my hand at coffee processing. It was an educational experience and I documented the process. Just so that plattnerfamily.com is never accused of not being educational, I hope to soon post my experience.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Happy Birthday Keri!!!!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Maybe you can relate? As you well know, I prefer to start off our updates with a piece on what we sense the Lord is doing or teaching us through the month. A sort of theme of the month, the ideas we have been crunching, you know the routine. The summary this month, actually two months as we did not write in August, has been particularly difficult. It is not necessarily due to a period of “silence” from the Lord. No, more because there has been so many things, but again, not one of those spiritually high times when there are so many things. During those times, I think there is generally a theme or common thread that leads to growth. We have had many things, but we are yet unsure how they all come together. Granted we know that they are for His glory. We know that they are a drawing of us more into His likeness. We know that they are for our good. And we know that we are to live in gratitude and contentment in our circumstances. Lets just say that there has been a lot of circumstances. Our first-born is off to school and that has brought with it an interesting set of issues. I started in a new role at CCCD that is exciting, but remains fraught with questions. We are transitioning into life in Jamaica with three kids. I met a lady who calls herself “Grace Sufficient.” In multiple ways, the Lord has brought the “rich young ruler” into our past month in powerful ways. I heard a sermon on patience that left me sort of impatient. Keri is battling our two year old in potty training. You get the idea. Circumstances. Circumstances and issues that could each turn into an introductory paragraph and lesson for an update. Not necessarily a dry time, but a time in which we find ourselves asking a lot of “whys?” And, they are not bad “whys” as we remain grateful for His ongoing provision, blessing, and patience with us as we try to learn how to live in such a way that gives Him glory.
If you have read any number of our previous updates, you know that moving and transitions have characterized the past 2 years of our lives. Well, not that the transitions have stopped, but we arrived back in Jamaica on September 7th, and Lord Willing we will be staying at the Knockpatrick campus until our next visit to the states. This is a very different life for us as we are able to think beyond the next month and have some idea of the nature of our life. As mentioned previously, we are learning the realities of life with three young children while simultaneously experiencing the blessings. These new realities involve Drew going to school from 8-12 every day and he has loved every bit of this new affirmation that he is now a “big boy.” Truitt has continued to struggle in his understanding that sitting on the toilet is not just rest time, but there is business that must be done at that time. Last but not least, Daisha continues to grow and mature as she is sleeping through the night and entertaining herself better during the days. In all of the “whys” mentioned above, the blessing on our family has been profound and has only caused us to ask “why” are we so blessed.
I have started a new job within CCCD. Who would have known after I graduated with a degree in Agriculture Education, that the Lord would have put those plans on a 7-year hiatus? After my first job took me far from agriculture education and placed a new calling on our lives for troubled teens, we would not have thought that all of it would come back together. Now, I am functioning as an agriculture teacher, with some troubled teens, at CCCD. This is a startup program with aspirations of becoming a regular part of the school activities at CCCD. Due to the nature of agriculture and subsistence farming in Jamaica, CCCD has an interest in ensuring that the school’s graduates leave with at least a practical understanding of how to grow some of their own food. So, similar to other teachers, I have a class schedule in which different classes go down to the farm to work, learn, and practice different aspects of agriculture. While it is unsure exactly what the program will look like in six months, we pray that it will be a foundation to a productive and beneficial program for the benefit of the students at CCCD.
His ways are so far above ours. We are trying to get an understanding of how little we know of His ways and what that means in regards to our daily faith in our Lord. We appreciate your love and support so much. Please share with us your wisdom and counsel and let us know if you would like to hear more about any of the circumstances listed above. It is our prayer that the joy in the journey will remain as we learn patience and wait on the Lord to tie up the loose ends.
By His Grace! For His Glory!
Kirk, Keri, Drew, Truitt, and Daisha