My dear friends and family,
It’s the time of year when we reflect on our past, look forward to our future, and refocus on that which is most important to us. 2013 tiptoed up in the shadows of a cholera outbreak that affected the majority of our kids at Children of the Promise (COTP). It was one of the most difficult times not only in Haiti but in my life, and God is still chipping the haunting memories from the corners of my mind.
A few months later, the love of my life asked me to be his wife. When I decided to move to Haiti, I had accepted the idea that I may have been giving up on the chance that this moment would happen for me. I never expected that I would meet someone as special as Wilson Chery and we were married August 15th. The small ceremony as Sans Souci Palace in Milot, Haiti (which was reserved for $10 USD!) was attended by our immediate families and the staff of COTP. We were not only committing our lives to one another, but accepting God’s commission on our lives to serve Him in a partnership that is stronger than the sum of its parts.
Surrounding the joy of our wedding was the death of Wilson’s grandma and the unjust imprisonment of his brother, Emilio. So many of you joined us in prayer at that time and we experienced the hand of God in unexpected ways. I was at grandma’s house two days before she passed away and I knew He would take her home soon. We shared prayers and tears as peace transcended our sorrow. Emilio spent a few months in prison, missing our wedding and his grandma’s death, before he could be released for a reasonable price. There was no dramatic, miraculous release, but we still experienced an undeniable miracle. Neither Emilio nor any of us affected by this situation feel any anger or bitterness or judgment toward the man who was arranging everything. Simply compassion. That does not happen without divine intervention.
This past year we also shared in the delight of Forever Families coming to bring their kids home. There is always a part of me that is sad to see them go, especially the ones who are extra special to me, but we were blessed to be a part of their lives during the time we were together. Adoptions like these must put the biggest smile on God’s face!
Children of the Promise and my role there have undergone a lot of changes in the past year. In November, Wilson and I decided that I needed to return to the states until I finished my nurse practitioner program. Because it meant spending extended time apart, this decision was made with heavy hearts and a lot of prayer. In addition to setting up and going through my clinical rotations, I need healing. Healing from the extreme highs and lows of missionary life, healing from the burden of loss, and healing from the emotional toll of painful relationships. We are in the application process for Wilson’s U.S. visa and he will join me as soon as he is able. As of now, it looks like this might be around June 2014. I am so thankful to have such a loving and supportive husband, family and friends that offer prayer and encouragement, and a heavenly father who ordained all of my days before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16).
Wilson and I look toward 2014 with great hope. We still have a heart for the nation of Haiti and continue to pray that God molds us for His work there, however that may look. Wilson is still serving at COTP in facilities and auto maintenance. The funds I had already raised for my contract will allow him to stay in our home there until I can secure a job here and support the rest of his stay. We are so grateful for the many ways you have supported us—continuous prayer, generous donations, cards and packages, words of encouragement—we are truly blessed beyond measure. We await God’s direction with eager anticipation and ask that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
Praying that you and those you love have a most blessed Christmas season,
Wilson & Sheila (DenOuden) Chery
And a note For Sheila from Children of the Promise during this transition written by Carla