Today

Today, I miss Haiti with every fiber of my being. My whole body aches to be back in the country that feels like home. Today, I wish things were different. I wish I could step out onto the dusty roads and walk the 20 minutes that it takes to get to Dora’s orphanage. I wish I could hold David, and Sampson. I wish I could cuddle Jameson and kiss his cute, swollen cheeks. I wish, more than anything, that I could hug Tom. Today, I wish I were in Haiti. I know this post might upset some people. I know that people are going to think that I should stop thinking about Haiti, and be fully present, fully focusing on life here. But the truth is, I miss Haiti. The truth is that I don’t care if I offend people with how much I miss the place that feels more like home than the place that I grew up. I love my family, I love my friends and I love my home, but there is something in Haiti that makes my heart come alive. I fully believe that The Lord made my heart this way. I believe that he created me, knowing that I would fall head over heels for Haiti. He knew that I would ache to go back, and I believe that he delights in my desire to be there. He designed my heart like this and knew how I would fall in love with Haiti before I even knew how to find it on a map. Half of my heart is 3,000 miles away, and today, that half of my heart is beating a little louder than the other. Today, I miss Haiti.

No Playing Games

A simple concept brought to my attention in Haiti. Pastor Brian would say that simple phrase about once a week, “no playing games”. At first my reaction to this was, “seriously, you burn playing cards if people bring them to the ministry center?” I thought he was pretty extreme… Until he explained his reasoning for it; he said that with a ministry like Cross To Light, there tends to be a lot of warfare coming at them all the time. When there is a ministry that is working to turn a people or a country to The Lord, obviously the enemy is going to hate it. Pastor Brian explained that when you work with a ministry like that, you must always be prepared for war; not to say that you should be worried, but always be prepared to stand your ground against the enemy. He explained to me that you cannot be on your guard when you’re messing around with games and entertainment. These are both used as a distraction, and once you are distracted, it is so much easier for the enemy to get in. If you let your guard down, you give the enemy an open door.

"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 

Pastor Brian won’t allow any games at Cross To Light; no cards, no board games. Whenever there is free time at the ministry center, he tells everyone to do a devotional or play some worship. There is no TV, no radio, no computer. You have your Bibles and some instruments. The only music we heard was worship; and oh, how it ministers to a tired soul after a long day.

"For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things." Psalm 107:9

So what does that look like in the states? Why does it seem to make so much sense for a ministry in Haiti, yet it seems so crazy for “everyday life” back home?

This has truly been such a struggle for me since I’ve been back. I’ve been home for 6 months and I still am trying to figure out how to live this out. It can be so hard when friends and family want to watch a movie together. Where do you draw the line? I enjoy watching movies every once in a while, especially if it’s with people I love. I also really enjoy playing board games with my friends and family. So where do I draw the line? I never want to be legalistic, but I never want to waste my time on this earth and brush it off as being covered by grace. So where do I draw the line? Where do you draw the line?

I guess it really boils down to personal conviction. So I’m gonna pray about it. And if you’ve felt any kind of tug on your heart while reading this, I suggest you pray about it as well. See what the Lord tells you.

Vision

For weeks leading up to my trip to Haiti, I had been calling it a “vision trip”. I thought I would come to Haiti and get an idea of where I would like to make a long term commitment. I truly expected to find an organization that I could come alongside and really sow into something that was already established. Well, of course, God exceeded all expectations. I do believe that God had bigger plans for my “vision trip” than I could have ever dreamed.

My trip to Haiti is at an end. I am currently sitting in the Port-au-Prince airport, waiting to board my flight. I do believe that the vision God has placed in my heart for Haiti is something that only he can do. I know that everything will have to be done in his strength and completely in his timing, but I am so excited to see how he pulls this off. My reply to all of this is simply, “do it, Lord!”

I have spent a lot of time recently in 2 Samuel 7:18-22;25-29. It says:
“Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it. Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. (…) And now, O Lord God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. And your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. And now,O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

I honestly cannot think of a better response than this to the vision God has given me. I am blown away by him and his plans, and I am thankful that he would even consider using me in this way. I will post again with more details of what I feel he is calling me into, but for now, please keep me in your prayers as I seek after him and his will.

Lord, I place all of me into your hands. Use me as you will.

You know those people that come into your life and completely change your story? That is this sweet boy, his name is Tom. This handsome boy was once living on the streets of Haiti with no family to call his own. He would stand on the curb and run up to cars to try and wash their windows for mere pocket change. He used to get kicked out of all kinds of places because he was begging for food or money for food. This boy was completely alone, according to the world’s standards. But Jesus saw him. Jesus never left him alone. He pursued him even in these devastating circumstances. The Lord broke a man’s heart for Tom and a few other street kids. This man, Pastor Gary, has taken these street kids in as his sons. He has provided them a place to stay, food to eat, an education, and plenty of love. These kids have had their stories changed by Pastor Gary and in exchange, these boys have changed my story. My heart will never be the same. 
Tom holds a very special place in my heart. The first day I met him, he kept running up to me, trying to tickle me (like all the other kids) so the next time I saw him he came up and did the same thing, but this time, I caught him by the hand, wrapped him in my arms and held him so tightly he couldn’t escape… And then I tickled him until he wiggled out of my arms. Throughout the day, as I spent 12 hours in the refugee camp with him, he would come and sit next to me and put my arm around his shoulder. By the end of the day he had fallen asleep leaning his head on my lap. This sweet boy has the biggest heart and I can’t even begin to imagine how he survived on the streets. This kid is such an example of the love of Christ, both in how he loves people so unconditionally and also in the way that Christ’s love for him is displayed in his story. Tom came up to me early on in the day telling me that he was hungry, so I snuck him a cliff bar. I watched as he ate a bite and then handed out pieces to the hungry boys around him. His heart is fully for the broken and needy. I know that the Lord has big plans for this kid and I hope to be able to meet him again someday soon.

You know those people that come into your life and completely change your story? That is this sweet boy, his name is Tom. This handsome boy was once living on the streets of Haiti with no family to call his own. He would stand on the curb and run up to cars to try and wash their windows for mere pocket change. He used to get kicked out of all kinds of places because he was begging for food or money for food. This boy was completely alone, according to the world’s standards. But Jesus saw him. Jesus never left him alone. He pursued him even in these devastating circumstances. The Lord broke a man’s heart for Tom and a few other street kids. This man, Pastor Gary, has taken these street kids in as his sons. He has provided them a place to stay, food to eat, an education, and plenty of love. These kids have had their stories changed by Pastor Gary and in exchange, these boys have changed my story. My heart will never be the same.
Tom holds a very special place in my heart. The first day I met him, he kept running up to me, trying to tickle me (like all the other kids) so the next time I saw him he came up and did the same thing, but this time, I caught him by the hand, wrapped him in my arms and held him so tightly he couldn’t escape… And then I tickled him until he wiggled out of my arms. Throughout the day, as I spent 12 hours in the refugee camp with him, he would come and sit next to me and put my arm around his shoulder. By the end of the day he had fallen asleep leaning his head on my lap. This sweet boy has the biggest heart and I can’t even begin to imagine how he survived on the streets. This kid is such an example of the love of Christ, both in how he loves people so unconditionally and also in the way that Christ’s love for him is displayed in his story. Tom came up to me early on in the day telling me that he was hungry, so I snuck him a cliff bar. I watched as he ate a bite and then handed out pieces to the hungry boys around him. His heart is fully for the broken and needy. I know that the Lord has big plans for this kid and I hope to be able to meet him again someday soon.

Put on Compassion

"Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:12-17

This whole passage seems to be something the Lord is teaching me here in Haiti. It seems that whenever you are doing something that God calls you to, no matter how hard you try to avoid giving the enemy any footholds, there is always something that he is going to try and use to get at you. For some reason this trip is bringing up my weaknesses in my communication. But my favorite part about these moments when the enemy is able to expose and exploit weaknesses, is that God is so much bigger and always uses these times to strengthen you in those areas. We are told to put on compassion, humility, meekness, kindness and patience. If I had possessed these qualities in my moments of hurrying, the miscommunication never would have happened. I feel like I am really being humbled and learning to slow down; to really take the time to communicate the things that need to be said and to speak words of love.

I have also been able to witness the way love binds everything together in perfect harmony. It seems that with every individual that I have had the pleasure of serving with is here because they love the Lord and he has given them a heart for Haiti. This mutual love has been a huge blessing because we are all here for the same purpose. It seems that our love for the Lord and for Haiti brings a special bond between all of us, a bond of love for each other. God is so good at loving through us, helping us love those that he places in our lives. I am so thankful for the wonderful examples in my life of God’s Agape love. I am so blessed to have so many friends and family members that truly love so unconditionally. God is so sweet to me.

This trip has taught me a lot about thankfulness. I know that seems like the typical thing to say about a missions trip, but it’s true. In me devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, the entry on July 24th talks about thankfulness opening the door to the Lord’s presence. It says that thankfulness is built on a substructure of trust, so as we trust The Lord, that he is good and works all things together for good, it makes it easier to be thankful in all circumstance. If we do not trust that he is good, it is hard to speak words of thanksgiving. As we thank God for the blessings in our lives, our eyes are opened to how numerous his blessings early are.

Today, I am so thankful to be in Haiti. I am thankful that as my body feels exhausted at the end of each day, my heart feels so alive. I am thankful for the wonderful lessons that the Lord is teaching me and I am so so so so thankful that he has allowed me to be used here, in this place that feels like home.

Some of the amazing moments that will forever be burned into my heart. I love this country and these people so much!

Feels Like Home To Me

Feels like home to me

Feels like home to me

Feels like I’m all the way back where I come from

Feels like home to me

Feels like home to me

Feels like I’m all the way back where I belong

I am finally back in Haiti after a year of hoping and praying that I could return! My heart is so full, my emotions are running wild! I feel like I could cry at any moment because of the joy that is inside of me! I have already reconnected with so many people that I met last year, including the sweet boy that completely stole my heart at Dora’s orphanage! I almost cried when he came up to me and I showed him the picture I had on my phone of us last year and he hugged me and would not leave my side the rest of the day! I have seen many of the bible students that were at Cross to Light last year, which has been amazing! I have missed these amazing men so much! And I have met so many new and wonderful friends!!


I still have two more weeks here, but I have already started to feel the ache of having to leave this place. It still confuses me how my whole heart can be in one place and yet my life is in another. I know that God is in both, but it seems so much more complicated than that at times. I look forward to seeing how he works all of this together.

Until next time, Bondyé beni ou!

(God bless you)

Today has been a day of emails, text messages and phone calls. As my trip to Haiti draws closer, my phone dies earlier and earlier every day. It’s such a small thing, but just another reminder that I’m one day closer to Haiti! I cannot wait to be back at this orphanage, playing with my sweet little Haitian friends on the swings!

Today has been a day of emails, text messages and phone calls. As my trip to Haiti draws closer, my phone dies earlier and earlier every day. It’s such a small thing, but just another reminder that I’m one day closer to Haiti! I cannot wait to be back at this orphanage, playing with my sweet little Haitian friends on the swings!

You know those moments when you’re just doing life, enjoying whatever it is that is going on and it hits you… Square in the face… You can’t deny it anymore… “I was born for this!”
That is this tender moment that I’m sharing with you guys. This beautiful Haitian girl stole my heart as we walked the dirt roads in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Her smile, her sweet heart and her contagious joy will stay with me forever. 
I will never be the same. I have never felt more at home than those I did walking those dusty roads in the country that completely stole my heart. Mwen renmen Ayiti.

You know those moments when you’re just doing life, enjoying whatever it is that is going on and it hits you… Square in the face… You can’t deny it anymore… “I was born for this!”
That is this tender moment that I’m sharing with you guys. This beautiful Haitian girl stole my heart as we walked the dirt roads in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Her smile, her sweet heart and her contagious joy will stay with me forever.
I will never be the same. I have never felt more at home than those I did walking those dusty roads in the country that completely stole my heart. Mwen renmen Ayiti.