One family's journey to hear God's calling, overcome our fears, and be obedient to Him!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sweet Jesula

I called and talked to Jesula yesterday. She is such a sweet child. It was play time and I could hear all the girls playing and laughing in the back ground. But as always she was so happy to talk to me. "I love you Popi", and "I miss you Popi", and "hurry and come see me Popi". Well, just a few more days and I will be there.


I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for you to prosper, not suffer, plans for hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Haiti Calling

Oh how Haiti is calling me. It never leaves my mind really. Perhaps for a few minutes when I am really busy at work, but quickly it returns. It's such a strange feeling and somewhat hard to process. I can never really explain it to someone who has never been to Haiti. Those of you that have been know what I'm talking about. Haiti, even with it's far-reaching debris, sickness, and poverty, somehow hypnotizes us and calls us back. I think it is the Haitian people that captivate us. They have nothing in our terms, yet they worship and praise God more sincerely than most here ever have. The children celebrate life totally unaware of the circumstances that surround them. The Haitian people make us realize that the material things we are so addicted to are truly insignificant. They teach us such a great lesson about life.

Christ the Redeemer Church Savane Pistache

My experiences in Haiti have definitely changed me and my life. It makes you take another look at your life, how you live, what you expect in life. It affects you in every way. It puts everything in perspective. People don't realize how lucky we are to have what we have. I'm certainly thankful for what I have and more energized than ever to help those less fortunate.

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." Thessalonians 5:18

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dossier Time

And unfortunately, Dossier is not a dance. Dossier in Haitian Creole simply means "file". But, there is nothing simple about it! The Dossier contains everything that has to be presented to the Haitian government for the adoption process. Including: birth certificates, marriage certificate, letters of employment, local criminal record clearance letter, home study and report, pyschological exams and report, medical exams and doctor's recommendation letter, lab results for negative HIV, syphilis, and TB tests, bank letter and 3 month statements, tax returns for three years, letter to the Director of the IBESR, power of attorney, three letters of reference, individual photos, home photos, federal finger printing, copies of photo ID's, and translator statements. Most documents have to be notarized. Then these documents have to be taken to the courthouse and have the notary certified. Then these documents have to be taken to the Secretary of State's office in Nashville and be authenticated. Then they have to be legalized and translated. The whole process is basically a combination of the TV shows the Amazing Race and Survivor. That said, we are really moving quickly through the process. We should be able to submit our Dossier by mid November.

On a happy note, we talked to Jesula on the phone again yesterday. She is always so happy to talk to us. She said church was really good yesterday and that school is going well. She is such a sweet child. God is so Awesome!!!


For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

Friday, October 15, 2010

Home Study Complete

Well after a little more than a month our Home Study is basically complete. We have completed all the requirements of the Home Study: application, multiple in home visits, personal interviews for all four members of our family, combined family interviews, home inspection walk through, autobiographies, parenting questionnaire, general information questionnaire, background checks, criminal background checks, child abuse inquiries, credit checks, medical examinations and physician's statements, immunization records, pet vaccination records, personal reference letters, employment verification letters, proof of medical insurance, proof of life insurance, birth certificates, marriage certificate, tax records, and net worth statement. The Home Study fee was $1,750 which does not include the cost of medical exams, documents, other fees, and personal expenses. Total cost was approximately $2,050. Now we just have to wait for our Home Study coordinator to prepare our finalized Home Study Report. We should have it within a couple of weeks.

In this house we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling. 2 Corinthians 5:2

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Phone Call to Jesula

Agathe, the wonderful lady that oversees the orphanage, has a cell phone that we are able to call. She is Haitian, but speaks pretty good English. We have been calling about twice a week, usually on Wednesday and Saturday. Getting through can be hit or miss and sometimes Jesula is not nearby or available to talk. In those cases Agathe will just tell us about Jesula's week. The conversations with Jesula are wonderful, but short, perhaps 5 minutes. The language barrier really limits the conversations. Fortunately, Agathe will listen in and help interpret if she is not too busy with the other girls.

Last night, as always, Jesula was really excited to talk to us. She says, "I love you Popi", and "I love you mommy". Last night she added, "I miss you", and "when will you be here?". Just typing this makes me cry. Yes, I am a softy. Anyway, we will be there for a few days in a couple of weeks. We can't get there soon enough!!


And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

Monday, October 11, 2010

Meeting Jesula - Jesus Was There!

I traveled to Haiti August 21-28, 2010 with a 16 member team. We stayed in a suburb of Port au Prince and worked all week at the Church of the Redeemer Savane Pistache. It was an amazing week. I primarily helped provide a medical clinic and we treated over 600 people for various medical needs.

On Thursday, August 26th we drove approximately 3 hours into the mountains to visit two very small communities, Beloc and Camatin. I sat in the back of a pickup truck, along with Jon Knowles. Jon and I had a great week serving together, along with Cyndi Dodson, in the medical clinic. The views from the back of the truck were spectacular. Kurt Rudd, who served as our guide, drove and had Jon’s wife Amy, Cyndi and Nancy from our team in the cab of the truck.

In the mountains we passed through a very small community that had a dozen or so small houses, actually shacks, along the road. Right in the middle of this row of small shacks there was one shack that looked very out of place. This particular shack was painted. It was painted perfectly, sky blue. It also had two Disney characters, Mickey and Minnie, painted perfectly on the front. I didn’t have my camera ready and didn’t get a picture. I couldn’t believe that in the mountains of Haiti, in the midst of a row of shacks, there was a perfectly painted Disney shack. And, I didn’t get a picture of it. I made a mental note to get a picture of it on the drive back.

Our first stop was in a tiny little community, well off the beaten path, called Beloc. We delivered food and supplies and spent time with some of the people that live there. It was an emotional time seeing how isolated these people live. After a couple of hours we left to meet the rest of our team, who had driven straight to Camatin.

When we arrived at the orphanage in Camatin the rest of the team had walked from the orphanage up to a hilltop above the orphanage. Camatin sits up very high on the mountain and looks down on the coast and the city of Jacmel. The views were spectacular. The Church of the Redeemer meets under a tarp on this hilltop. The church use to meet in the basement of the orphanage, but since the earthquake they are afraid to go down there. After a short time, we walked down the hill to the orphanage. This orphanage is sponsored by White Stone Church of Knoxville and houses about 15 girls at this time. They are in the process of adding about 15 more girls.

When I arrived at the orphanage I was given a quick tour of the place and then enjoyed a snack on the roof top. Most of the team, which had arrived earlier, had already seen the orphanage and met the girls. When I finally walked back downstairs, many of the team members were playing with the girls on the large front porch. I immediately noticed one girl that was sitting quietly by herself and just watching everyone. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I now know that God was saving her for me. I asked Brian Lloyd, our other guide for the trip, what her name was, and he said Jesula. In the Haitian Creole form ‘Jezi’ means Jesus, and ‘la’ means There. Jesula’s name means Jesus There. Jesula, like the vast majority of girls, does not speak English. I talked with her briefly through Brian. As Brian told me, she was very shy and quiet. I pulled out my camera and asked her if she wanted to make a “photo”. Haitians know what “photo” means. Some Haitians do not like to have their picture taken. Jesula’s face lit up with the most beautiful smile and she jumped right in my lap. We took several pictures and she looked at them on my digital camera and laughed and smiled. I gave her some silly bands to wear on her wrists. Then just like that, Todd said it was time to leave. I had been with Jesula perhaps 15 minutes and I was not ready to go. They had to call me a couple times to get me to leave and I was the last one off the porch. Jesula and I exchanged a hug and smile, and then it was back to the truck.

When I was climbing into the back of the truck to leave, the Disney shack flashed back to my mind. I told Kurt, there is a perfectly painted house with Disney characters on the side of the road on the way down the mountain. I want to stop and take a picture of it please. He looked at me like I was crazy and said sure. We drove through some really hard rain on the way down the mountain and Jon and I got soaked. But honestly, we both enjoyed it for some reason. I looked for that house the whole way down the mountain. But strangely, I never saw it. It was like it disappeared. I was really disappointed I didn’t get a picture of the Disney shack.

Later that night, back at the house in Tabarre, I was thinking about Jesula, as I had all day. I pulled out my camera and started flipping through all the pictures I had taken that day. When I got to the first picture of Jesula and me, I saw something I had not seen before. Right there on the front of Jesula’s shirt, Disney characters. At that moment I felt an overwhelming awareness that God led me to Jesula. I know that JESUS led me THERE, to the mountains of Haiti, to JESULA!


For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Psalm 37:28

Saturday, October 9, 2010

They Grow Up Too Fast

Ashley, who is a sophomore in college, coaches the Powell Middle School soccer team. Soccer has always been her passion. It's great to see her continue to be involved in soccer as a coach. Anyway, her old competitive coach called her yesterday and asked her to coach a competitive team for his club. She is really excited about it and will be coaching during a tournament at Disney in Orlando during January!

Matt, a sophomore at Grace Christian Academy high school, is really busy with off season baseball. They workout and/or practice about every day. Anyway, I am taking him today to apply for his passport. He is going with mom to Haiti in January to spend a week with Jesula at the orphanage. He is really excited about the trip and about his new sister!

We have been calling Jesula about twice a week. The wonderful lady that runs the orphanage has a cell phone we can call but getting through is hit or miss. And the conversations are brief because of the lanquage barrier. But I am working on learning Haitian Creole and Jesula will be working on learning English. We will be calling her later today and I will try to post after that!


Do not withhold your mercy from me Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. Psalm 40:11

Friday, October 8, 2010


Welcome to The Adventures of the Cunningham Family blog. This is my first ever post as a "blogger." I created The Adventures of the Cunningham Family blog as a way to keep our family and friends informed of the wonderful things that God is doing in our busy lives!

First things first: I am amazed at how God has blessed our family. Our God is truly an Awesome God. He is real. He is everywhere. Take a walk along the ocean side or through the mountains and you’ll see His artwork. You can see Him in many of the people around you. That’s where He lives. He serves and ministers to the lost through His followers. He loves you and wants to live in and through you too. He wants to have a personal relationship with you. Strike up a conversation with Him, He's a great listener. Tell Him what’s on your mind and then be still and listen. Ask Him when you need help. One day, perhaps today, perhaps 10 years from today, His answer will amaze you. And then, Praise Him!

God recently blessed our family with a new addition. Jesula, which means Jesus There, is a precious and beautiful 10 year old girl. Jesula currently lives in an orphanage in the mountain community of Camatin, Haiti. We are involved in a long, expensive, and tedious adoption process. We are very hopeful that Jesula will officially be with us here in the states sometime next summer.

Our family is dedicating this blog to Jesula. She is truly a gift from God and we are so very thankful for her. We love her and are very anxious to have her here with us.

Thank you for visiting The Adventures of the Cunningham Family blog today. I will post updates and pictures of Jesula and our family as often as I can. So please check in with us here again soon!

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3