Banana Trees, Cows, and $100 bills

WOW!! That was one fast June!!  As I contemplated writing a blog post, it felt as though I had just updated last week and then I noticed it was about a month ago.  It has been a really crazy month for the Kings.

Tracy, Kyler, and I left out on June 1 and headed to the place that has stolen our hearts……Neply, Haiti.  The trip amazed once again in many ways.  It was Kyler’s first trip to Haiti, and as you can imagine, she quickly captured the attention of the entire village.  It didn’t take her long to teach our beloved Stephen how to say, “I love Kyler.”  He now knows 3 English words!!   While in Haiti, we experienced our first Haitian wedding. Ralph and Katie shocked our hearts with a beautiful wedding on a spectacular beach.  Tracy and I felt honored to be there on such a special day.  Kyler just had fun running and playing in the ocean!  We once again left Haiti and landed in Miami with bigger pieces of our hearts behind.  We love that place and those people.  Read a little bit about why we do what we do here. Be prepared! You will need some tissue!

After a long flight home from Miami via a stop in Houston to wait on weather (thanks Steph for the late night pick up), we ended up at our house long enough to do laundry and repack.  If you know us or have ever talked to us, you know how big Pine Cove is to our family. Every year we go tired and weary from the previous year needing a restart and some freshness.  As we drove the 2 hours through the pine trees of East Texas, mixed in with the 1,000 times somebody asked “How much longer”, were my thoughts of, “I hope we have a good time, it can’t be as good as last year”. In the typical Pine Cove way, they answered the bell!  What a blessing and pleasure it was to spend those 6 days with incredible families, incredible staff, and AMAZING speakers (Ray and Robyn…you ROCK).  We left with a new look at life and an inspiration to FIGHT for our family.  Check it out this post by Tracy on our littlest man fighting. Needless to say, Pine Cove was better than ever!!

On June 24, Tracy and I celebrated 12 years of marital bliss!!  The amazing journey that is marriage continues to bring us closer to each other and our glorious Savior.  As we look back on all that has happened over that past 12 years, we praise God for so many blessings in so many ways.  I personally can’t imagine that I could have survived without Tracy by my side.  She is one amazing woman that loves me unconditionally.  Praise Jesus for that!!!!   To celebrate, we hired out Grammy to watch the kids and headed to Little Rock for a little get-away.  While in Little Rock, we were blessed to see some some wonderful friends and their unbelievable talents on display.  Catching up with them proved to be the highlight of the trip.

Now to the title of the post.  A couple of weeks ago, I left our car unlocked and someone that really, really needed money came and stole a $100 bill out of Tracy’s wallet that she was going to use for our groceries for the week.  Yep, they snatched it right out of our own driveway!!!  Now, I know, I know, I should have locked the car.  I take full responsibility.  But should I have to lock the car?  In our village in Haiti, there are numerous banana trees and one in particular that is across the road from our house.  This caught my attention moments after I arrived in Neply for the first time.  It didn’t really know why, but now I’m beginning to understand. You see, there are many, many very hungry people that walk around the village.  They may or may not get a meal that day or that week.  As I saw these people, some old, some young, and some in between, walk past the banana tree without even a thought of taking a banana to quench their excruciating need for food, I became curious.  So, I went to Peno, one of our workers and now a good friend, who has grown up in the village, and inquired. I asked Peno why the hungry people did not take a banana off the tree.  His answer was very simple, yet very powerful in today’s world,

“If you did not plant the banana tree, it is not yours, ” said Peno with a simple shrug of the shoulders.

At the time I just shrugged my shoulders and nodded and thought simple thoughts to myself.  It seemed innocent and simple at the time.  As we traveled to the wedding I mentioned above, I glanced out the window and saw a cow standing to the side of the road.  It was tied to a random rock without an owner in sight.  It too, could be good nutrition to a starving family. Intrigued again and interestingly enough sitting next to Peno, I asked him again, “How do you know who’s cow that is and will somebody take it?”  I bet you can guess Peno’s response…………

“If you didn’t leave the cow there, it is not yours,” he says with his thick Haitian-Creole accent.

I shrugged my shoulders again and ventured off on some other random thought.  It was not until the $100 bill was stolen from our driveway that God sent me back to those 2 conversations and gave me a greater appreciation of the village of Neply.  The sense of community and togetherness impressed me the first time I went to Haiti.  The respect for each other and each other’s property shines bright as a reminder of how society should be.  It also reminded me of the greedy, self-centered society that we live in.  I’m thankful for a forgiving, loving God that took the wrath for my greed and self-centeredness.

I should be able to leave my car unlocked and money in it all the time……….if you didn’t put it there, it is not yours.

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