Friday, June 21, 2013

the God of angel armies

This morning, I was able to worship among friends from my Atlanta church family. This past week, a team of single leaders from Buckhead Church made their way to Bohoc - and opened their hearts and arms to me. They spent the week pouring into our community - - emptying themselves. It was evident that they spent the week loving well. I went to say goodbye and stayed for worship and devotions - I listened to a friend, a leader and a man of God remind them that they are all part of one body, each one important. Before they left I told them that they were important to me - their light, their freshness, their desire to be givers of the Gospel. I said it with much less grace, and many more tears - but I think they understood. 
I've said it many times before…"Being light is darkness is hard." Their light, your light - renews me on this journey. We sang a new song [for me at least - not a lot of "new releases" here in central haiti] and I was so grateful for the reminder that not only do I have pray warriors at home but God and His angel armies always by my side.
The battle cannot be lost. 
Thank you Jesus for so many reminders of your love this week. 

I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

And nothing formed against me shall stand

You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding onto Your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful
You are faithful 

Monday, June 10, 2013

when it rains, it my bedroom

To be perfectly honest, most of the time my life in Haiti just seems ordinary. It's nothing special or unique, it's just my life. However, an event this weekend caused me to reflect on a few of the…stranger things that have happened in the past six months. 

On Christmas day, a chicken was slaughtered just outside my house and then de-feathered in my kitchen (it wasn't even for me).

One day, I was in my outhouse when part of the "box" that makes the seat, just caved in. 

This morning, a moth fell in my coffee and I just spooned it out and took a sip (this is certainly not the first time something like this has happened).  

I spent this past Saturday morning on fairly ordinary tasks, hand-washing some clothes, cleaning my water filter, grading papers - then around 3:30pm we had our second pretty bad storm in a week (it's rainy season, so it rains nearly every day - but bad storm = excess rain, downed trees and holes in my roof). Last week, I had a fairly small but menacing hole in my roof, in my dining area. I squeegeed out my house, Colin fixed the hole and we all moved on with life. Until this Saturday's storm, when it started raining IN MY BEDROOM.

I know, it doesn't necessarily look that bad, but the initial crash christened everything in my bedroom and the ensuing downpour sufficiently flooded it. Thankfully, the rain stopped soon after the branch became a new chandelier and the clean-up process began.

So, next time you buy chicken from the grocery store, sit in a bathroom, drink non-mothed coffee and endure a rain storm…think of me and the time I needed to wear a raincoat in my bedroom. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

body of Christ

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:31-32

This morning my devotion gave me this verse - and after my weekend away, it said everything I felt. 

Graciously gives us all things. 

My tired, frustrated, confused self was fed beyond what I could have imagined. Graciously given so much. Fed literally, figuratively, spiritually. I flew into Port-au-Prince Friday afternoon with MAF, and as we entered the city and flew just over the coast to the runway I felt my spirit inexplicably open-up. It was just the beginning. I would like to say none of the physical things gave me rest or sabbath, but the truth is they did. An air conditioned vehicle, gathering at a table to eat among friends, grocery stores & restaurants, oscillating fans, warm showers - - God used these gifts to refresh my weary bones. My greatest refreshment was in my company of course. Friends who have walked through this season of life with me, who are walking through the same kind of season - we shared joys and sorrows, disappointments and hopes. We talked and talked and talked. In English. About Haiti, about God, about heart matters. 

The fuzzy picture in my brain began to sharpen. The image in the mirror cleared, I stood in the bathroom Monday morning looking at my reflection thinking "Oh, there she is, there's the girl I lost."

This might surprise you, because as a missionary I should share the joys, the success the big beautiful God moments- and I assure you there are so many. So, so many. But they come at a price. God is here, God is big but He never promised it would be easy, and my friends, it is not. It is hard.  I have poured and poured and poured, not for my own benefit but for others, for God - and I do not regret one moment. I have not let God pour back into me though. Maybe I have thought others need Him more - but He has no limits. Maybe I have just been to tired to do anything but empty out my brain of all of it. I have lacked to ask Him for refreshment because I am spending all my energy asking for relief - for myself and for my neighbors. For my brothers and sisters. This weekend though, refreshment arrived, is still arriving. And as I reflected on God giving me grace for sometimes doing this thing wrong, I began to think about the refreshment I felt. It was not just a weekend away that did the trick. Not the environment or company alone - but it has been slowly revealing itself for a while now. In fact, refreshment has never left me. God was pouring into my very closed up vessel all long, you know why?

Becasue of YOU - -

 and Him, of course. The Holy Spirit prays for us when we cannot.  But, YOU, your prayers carried me through when I felt lost. Certain of where I was and what I was doing - because I know I am in God's will - but still feeling lost (it's a strange place to be). In that lostness, in that desert, your prayers carried me. They carried me each step my tired aching feet took. They are carrying me now. Your prayers have been the life running though my veins when I didn't know how to face the next plight of third-world life. Those prayers allowed me to do the work God called me too. Pray warriors, you are more a part of my journey than you know. You give hugs, prayers, comfort, money, time, energy each and every day. We are the body of Christ, and while I am his hands and feet in rural Haiti, you are the body willing the rest of me to move forward. 

Thank you for carrying me. Thank you for healing me. 

God has done so much in my little life in these almost 6 months. He us changing my heart in ways I didn't know possible. He is teaching me why he created me. He had to empty me to get me there - but His ways are perfect - and He has never left me - you have never left me. I am surrounded by love even when I am alone. 

Now, as I figure out what's next, as I decipher this plan He is setting in motion I ask that you continue to pray. Pray that I give, give and give more. I can, if you pray. Together, we can serve the people of Haiti - with Christ, the sick can be healed, souls can be won and hearts mended. I see it everyday, thank you for being a part of it. 

A mountain top view of Port-auPrince

Saturday, April 27, 2013

April Newsletter

April happens to be one of my favorite months of the year - and this one was not a disappointment! School is back in full swing and my 11th grade class is keeping me on my toes. At the end of March we hosted medical clinics with a doctor who visits regularly. It was a blessing to assist at these clinics and to pray with many of patients. In addition, we hosted a team this month, which kept us very busy. The team arrived on my birthday, and I was grateful to have new friends around. 
With the team visit we were able to work in a morning at a primary school. This was kind of a trial to see how we could work young children's ministry into team visits. Often, visiting teams want to interact with children, and in doing so through schools in the community we are able to enhance what is already there (and VBS isn't an option during the school year). First we shared a preschool version of the Gospel, then the children colored in Christian coloring books. Later we played in the school yard with bubbles, mini frisbees and airplanes! It was a great opportunity to show God's love. I'm excited to see where this will lead us with preschool teacher training . We also hosted two amazing conferences with the team. One conference was for youth and the other for adults, each was divided by gender. God broke down some big barriers and we saw some amazing things happen in our women's conferences. There was a particularly touching moment with my language tutor and God has opened up some doors for our conversations. Please be in prayer about our relationship and how we can grow closer to God together. 
I've also spent a lot of time at the hospital over the past month - not for me! Through a series of events HAFF became involved in the life of a family new to the area. A mother and her four children moved to Bohoc in December. One child has a medical condition that requires much attention. In order to pinpoint the right treatment we spent a lot of time at the hospital for testing. The hospital in Pignon (which is pretty close to what you might imagine a third world hospital to be) started to become a second home for us all. We were grateful to meet some really wonderful doctors and nurses and currently have a course a treatment - the next few months will determine if it is working. I've grown very close to this family and love them dearly. I see God working in their lives and I am so grateful to be a part of their story. Please be in prayer for this family of five. Pray for healing and the finances needed to care for them. If you would like more information, please send me a email. 
I also have some other BIG NEWS! Due to a variety of factors we've made some adjustments to my time here in Haiti. As of now, I will be coming back to the States on July 25th for about eight weeks. Then I will return to Haiti for the Fall semester (which begins in October) and stay through early December, heading home in time for the holidays. This way I will have spent a full Spring and Fall semester teaching. With school out and the Wilson's in the States on furlough during those same eight weeks, I wouldn't have much work to do here - so we decided it would be best for me to visit home too. My budget is able to cover most of those extra months, but am accruing some additional travel costs - if you feel led to help please send me a personal email. I am so excited to be home during some of the Summer and reunite with so many of you! By that point I hope to know a little bit more about my future plans. I would love your prayers that God continues to guide me in the path He has for me.

As always, thank you for your continued prayers and support. I hope each of you has a blessed Spring and I'll see you in July!

God Bless,

Prayer Requests For Me
-The Wilson family will be in the States for the month of May, please pray for their travel and also for my time being the only American at HAFF
- In May I'll travel to Port-au-Prince for a weekend to stay with some friends. Please pray for safe travel and a relaxing/renewing time
- Continued guidance in how I should be used in the primary school program
- Strong relationships with the high schoolers I teach
- Finances to cover new travel expenses

Prayer Requests for HAFF
- The HAFF stateside board meeting on May 4th
- Financial support to pour in so that we can give much deserved raises to our staff
- Each member of our Executive Committee as they balance a commitment to HAFF and personal responsibilities
- The spiritual lives of our teachers and students at IPB

Working with my 11th graders

Derold playing with frisbees at the primary school.

With our visitors from Iowa after a hike!

Two girls from the family I refer to above. During one of
of our many sessions of "hurry up and wait".