Miss Beth turned 50 years old on November 17th. So on November 15th we threw a surprise birthday party for her in my front yard. (Just one day before the major flooding).
Of course it took two days to decorate so we had to come up with a good cover story. So we started planting seeds a few weeks earlier about throwing a party for our Youth Group! Susan was AMAZING in coming up with so many great details to throw Miss Beth off course.
Malaya and I went shopping while we were in the states back in July and decided to throw her a Luau party…. complete with a bubble machine, juice fountain, chocolate fountain, party lights, and plenty of decorations!
I tried to think of a way that I could honor this beautiful woman who has made such a significant impact on just about every person she’s ever come in contact with. Miss Beth has never been about “things”. No – her heart – her joy – her passion – it all stems from relationships.
So I went around the campus and simply asked the question: Why do you love Miss Beth? I asked the orphans, my children, missionaries, ladies from our women’s group, students from her English Class, my mom, my sister, and many of our Haitian staff. And then I recorded all their responses and spliced it together to make a video tribute we could show at her party.
After I began putting the video together I realized that I should open this opportunity up to some of her stateside friends as well. I’m SO thankful for Morgan (who has lived/interned in Haiti with us off and on for several years). She contacted several of Beth’s family members to be apart of the video. 🙂
I’m SO thankful for ALL the sweet stateside friends and family that participated in the video as well – especially since I thought about it so last minute. Before I knew it – I had almost 50 minutes worth of birthday greetings! I wish I would have thought about incorporating stateside friends much earlier….although that video would have been hours long! 🙂
So the day of the party while Miss Beth was teaching English School – we snuck 100 people through the clinic gate. She knew we were throwing a party but we didn’t want her to see that they really weren’t the youth.
As people were coming through the gates Susan had the great idea to have them sign a white bandana as a keepsake for Beth. Since a lot of them can’t read or write – she also had them put their thumbprint.
We had a Chinese lantern we wanted to light at the end of the party…. our prayers for Miss Beth for 2017! We wanted to send them to Heaven for God to see! 🙂 So Kenson went around the tables and asked everyone what their hopes and prayers were and wrote them on the lantern.
When Miss Beth came back from school we all shouted SURPRISE!! She was immediately greeted with hugs and love!
While everyone was eating we started our program. It began with Mikela’s singing group – Shining Stars. Then the orphans shared several songs, Mr. Nene sang, & Momma Gigi sang. Then I stood up and explained that the reason why all of us were there that night was because Beth chose to be an obedient servant of the Lord. She was and is the hands, feet, and face of Christ.
I asked Kenson to read John 13 – where Jesus washes the feet of His disciples. As he was reading my children lined up in pairs. Mikela/Malaya had soap on a rag, Rosie/Gabe had water on a rag, and Asher/Levi had a dry rag. Two by two they came forward to wash Miss Beth’s feet as an act of love to their incredibly humble and patient teacher.
After they were done – 6 more lives that are better because of Miss Beth came in pairs to do the same thing. Momma Gigi/Tizzie, Mme Nene/Elirose, and Pastor Agenor/Hans came forward to wash her feet too.
We then moved her up by the screen where we shared the special video we made! The Haitians loved seeing and hearing from each other – and they also loved seeing and hearing from the friendly faces of the Americans that they knew too! It was just a small glimpse of the number of lives impacted because Beth chooses to walk humbly with her Lord every single day.
After the video we sang Happy Birthday & we sent off the Chinese lantern! I did not take a single picture at the party because we were blessed to have Taylor come from St. Louis. He made this video tribute and took these amazing pictures!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MISS BETH! WE LOVE YOU SO SO MUCH!