Wednesday, December 26, 2012

overload

I stood there, trying to take it all in. Like everything else here, I want to experience it all - I can't though. I can't take it all in and I realize I am in sensory overload. The smells, the sounds, the sights. 
Over. Load. 
As I try to find the English words to the Christmas song I recognize the tune of, I laugh to myself and decide just to be grateful. God doesn't need me to be specific, He's already in these details - gratitude will suffice. 

Gratitude is what He is seeking most from me - I've been lacking true gratitude lately. While beginning to live in this society where joy and pain exist simultaneously and life is a constant juxtaposition, I can't find gratitude as easily. I'm too busy fighting tarantulas and moths, watching the smiles of a people full of hope. I am too busy processing a sick mother moaning on her bed as I hold her hand and pray for something supernatural to happen. I'm too busy trying to simply communicate. The gratitude has been lost in my overload - all I can do is go to God with open hands asking for help. Fright, anger, confusion, sadness, loneliness and a quiet contentment have won out in my heart. God knew this was coming and He's full of grace, which is important since I feel grace-less. So, in the season when He gave the greatest gift I finally realize that just a "thank you" breathed to my Father is enough. He's in this juxtaposition of life and He knows it's hard to be here. So my gratitude - whispered, yelled or cried is enough right now. The life in front of me feels like such a mystery and I don't understand any of this - yet - but I know enough to be thankful and I think that means that for now, I get it. 

Jumbled thoughts, from what is turning out to be a rather jumbled life - all put together by a rock solid God. 

Emmanuel, God is WITH us. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Courage

I wrote this post a couple days ago, but then couldn't get an internet connection for 36 hours. In the time I was longing to connect with family and friends, this quote found it's way to me and God comforted my demanding flesh with HIS love and HIS provisions. 

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow' -Unknown

December 16th, 2012
I've been struggling with what to write about my first few days in Haiti. What do people need to hear? What is most important?

There is already a list of funny stories…and strange stories. There are the things God is doing in my heart. There are amazing, wonderful moments paired with moments of pain and loneliness. I do know I've spent a lot of my Sunday continuously ringing out and old rug that is soaking up water from my leaking cooler. A cooler to heavy to move because yesterday it was filled with ice blocks. Anything I've had in my house having to do with water has leaked, and I've only been here three full days. I also know there's a paint roller sitting in the corner that I use to kill bugs. I just used my hand to kill a moth on my computer screen though. 
I think about these realities of my life, and I decide to thank God for creativity. 

I thank God because it's all I can do. When I step outside, when I walk around this place, which has suffered so much grief, God lights a spark in my heart and reminds me that this is right. God shines His joy in my frightened heart and I feel at peace again. 

I miss my family and my friends so very deeply - I miss my home. I'm making a new one though. I'm hoping for what I do not yet see. Sometimes the Kreyol fills my head so much I can barely speak English anymore…and nighttime still feels eerie…but I thank God that I'm learning more of this beautiful language everyday and He graciously wakes me up each morning with new promises. 

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 
Romans 8:25

The Sovergn Lord has given me and instructed tounge, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
Isaiah 50:4

Update: Yesterday, after a session with my language tutor, Phanette, I was able to pray for her sick mother and for the first time I felt like I was in the ministry God called me to here. His purposes for me are being revealed day by day- but day by day I will take them! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

one week

I leave one week from today...and it still seems like it's months away. Just seven days, but it feels like seven months. The amount of things standing between me and December 13th continue to pile up. All that's left to do is pray, depend on the Lord and by His grace alone board my flight next week.

When I do have moments of clarity though- when I realize that in one week a journey years in the making is coming to fruition, I am overwhelmed with excitement. One of the truest statements about Haiti is "Haiti will break your heart and never give you back all the pieces." I'll always have a fractured heart for Haiti - but when I'm there - surrounded by the dirt, the sounds, the smells, the smiles, my heart mends just a little and my soul lights up. I feel like I get to go home next week and excited does not begin to describe it! 

I am endlessly thankful for all of you, who have supported me in so many ways on this journey! Knowing you are with me in prayer and support as I enter this new season is so comforting. I have an army of people who care about what the Lord is doing in Haiti, people who care about me - and your love is and will continue to be felt in Haiti.

Here are my prayer requests for the next week:

1) Time of sabbath in this last week. Time to feel prepared in my mind and heart - for anxiety to fade. 
2) For my parents to feel comfort in this transition.
3) HAFF has a board meeting this weekend. Please pray for the board and the Wilson's that open minds and hearts will make the best decisions possible for our ministry. 
4) Pray that the last minute work on my house in Haiti will be completed this week. 
5) Safe travel for the Wilson's and I back to Haiti - and drive from PAP to Bohoc. 
6) My Kreyol (Creole) skills. I've had very little time for language prep lately, so hopefully I am able to recall what I know quickly- and pick up new vocabulary!
7) Please pray for what's ahead. Pray that God will go before me and prepare a way for the work He has for me. 

I will do my best to update you once I arrive in Haiti. We have a long day of travel on the 13th and internet can of course, be spotty - but I will do my best to keep you informed!


Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time 
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

saying "yes"

But God- are you sure? Is this your timing? Surely it would be more peaceful, full of warmth and love and sweet time with the ones I love. Surely, it would be different....than this. Different than surgery, hospitals, work, shopping list, packing list, errands, phone calls, more work. I had this romantic notion, as we so often do, that as the time to Haiti approached, after the ticket was purchased and a date was set, life would pause for me. This notion only existed in some far off corner of my mind, but now that I'm here, the expectation is creeping more forward as the days grow shorter and my departure nearer. 

I spent most of this last weekend at the hospital with my dad who is recovering from back surgery. We are so grateful to God for a successful surgery. Now we enter the recovery phase, a slow and steady climb away from pain. I'm spending time in the paradox of being with my family, who needs me, and investing in my friends, who's lives I'm slipping out of. You see, I have a plane ticket now, and that changes everything. My anticipated goodbyes, they have a date, a time. December 13th. That's all we have until I slip out of this world I've been in for twenty-five years and into something completely new. When I feel like I am still needed here, God is telling me to go because He needs me there. One might think that with all the transitions I've experienced lately, all the goodbyes, I would be ready for this. I don't think anyone is ever ready though. 

I'm looking at my calendar, at three and half weeks. Looking at the hours I'm working with my mom in my dad's absence, looking at the lunches planned, the ones that need to be planned, looking at the errands to run. There's not enough time. This is the season of life I am supposed to leave during? It's taken me two years to get here and now I don't have enough time? Clearly, I have something wrong. Because this lack of time is breeding an ungrateful spirit, irritation and definitely not love. This is all wrong.  I should be completely ecstatic that my funding is coming in and my life in Haiti is coming together - but I still find myself questioning it. 

But God whispers and He says this; Oh, but it's not wrong my child, it is not yours, it is mine, and it is perfect. I planned it just like this, I have made every bit of this happen and you have to trust- you have to lean on me.

So I find myself in one of those places where it's only God. The timing feels all wrong. Flying away from Christmas lights to tropical temperatures feels all wrong. It's right though. It's SO right and in that part of my heart belonging to Haiti, nothing feels better. The part of me not ready for Haiti, the part tethered to home, thankfully it's more tethered in Jesus. Two years ago standing at a soccer field in Bohoc, Haiti God spoke to me. God spoke a a truth that is coming to fruition on December 13th. So on my bad days, on the days when my attitude rivals one of a toddler tamper tantrum, I am reminded by Jesus that this is His plan. The beauty is that I only had to say "yes" and I have to keep saying "yes", even when my teeth are gritted and tears stream  down my face, He honors our "yes" and He turns it into something beautiful. Here's to saying "yes" and going wherever, whenever God leads. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Muffin Mix

Muffin Mix. 
This morning I woke up thinking, I need to buy that "just add water" muffin mix to take to Haiti. And probably some pasta...I need to make (another) list. 

I started thinking these things, because two days ago,  I got a phone call. A phone call I have waited on for two years. The voice on the other end said, you can go to Haiti. Long-term. You CAN GO. Buy a ticket, pack your bags, this is it. 

I didn't run to the airport right at that moment...though I thought about it (and have every moment since). I will be leaving within the month though! My dad's surgery is scheduled for November 16th, just a week before Thanksgiving. I'll stay home and spend the holiday with my family and head to Haiti sometime between November 23rd-December 13th. I haven't booked a flight yet because I need to decide if I am flying commercial or with a missionary flight organization. 

I would love your prayers during this crazy time! 

  • Pray that I would decide on the right travel plans to get me (& my stuff) to Haiti. 
  • Pray that I would decide on the right health insurance. 
  • Pray that the rest of my funding would come in, I'm very close but not 100% just yet. 
  • Pray that my family would adjust to this change.
  • Pray that God would prepare my heart for what He has for me in this season. 
Thank you all for your support, I will continue to keep you updated!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

My heart is breaking for all of those who were hit by hurricane sandy. From the Caribbean, all the way up the U.S. coast there is unbelievable devastation.
Many of you have been asking me about Haiti in the wake of this weather. Central Haiti and Bohoc rarely receive any direct effect of hurricanes, we're just not geographically in the path. Haiti has been hit hard though, and for so many in Port-au-Prince and along the coast these storms just add insult to injury.

Some of my MTI friends, also serving in Haiti posted great blogs about the effects of sandy. 

Austin and Martha Snowbarger are working with World Concern. Hopefully they will be in PAP soon and we can reunite for a visit! Austin posted this blog entry about sandy. 

Larry and Tracy Luth are already in PAP with their son Samuel, I'm looking forward to seeing them again soon. Larry wrote this post about his first hand experience of sandy. 

As you reflect on all the damage done, I hope you lift prayers up to our heavenly Father, who is in control no matter what we see around us. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 
Romans 8:28

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revolved in our body. 
2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Friday, October 26, 2012

Latest News

I've been home from MTI for two weeks now and I am slowly but surely adjusting to my new normal. In all my prep time for Haiti I had not thought much beyond MTI, so this is completely uncharted territory. I am most thankful for a grace filled God as I navigate this very unique season. He has blessed my time at home, despite some kicking and screaming on my part.

I am still working with HAFF to determine a departure date, but everything is moving in a positive direction. My funding is very close and I am confident God will provide the rest. Please pray for clear eyes and heads as we do the math and make the wisest choices.

I have exciting news about my family. Many of you know my dad has had back problems for a few months now. It's been a difficult season for my family with my dad in so much pain and my mom working hard to get everything done. As of yesterday, we finally have a surgery date. Praise the Lord!! Once my dad has surgery, his back will feel so much better. His surgery is scheduled for November 16th. The hospital has a history of changing dates, so please pray the only way this date changes is if it is sooner! I am thrilled for my dad. After a few weeks of recovery he can begin to get back to his normal self and my family can settle back into former routines.

God has given me a chance to be there for my family and I see His timing so clearly. With this surgery date, some of my plans could shift. These shifts are slight in the grand scheme of my time in Haiti, likely just a week or two difference, but in my heart it feels like an eternity. Making the wisest choice for myself, my family, my HAFF family and God's glory is my priority. Pray for clear vision and an open heart as God moves me in His direction.

As always, thank you for continued support and love.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

April is Coming!

A little something the Wilson's put in their most recent newsletter about my arrival!

April Is Coming!
Not the month, but April Lambiotte, HAFF’s intern who is exploring whether God desires her to serve full time at HAFF in the years to come. It’s good she is vivacious and open to challenge because the rest of the ET and we have probably already dreamed up enough tasks for her to fill 3 full time positions. At age 25, April already has experience working with preschoolers and the staff of a learning institution. She also enjoys teens and is looking forward to engaging our middle and high schoolers in meaningful Christian relationships while helping to improve their English skills in school.
April has taken French in high school and college, which should help greatly in her learning the French-based Haitian KreyĆ²l language. Her five weeks in missionary training school will also help her greatly in adapting to the culture. Her experience with photography, blogging and Facebook means we can do a better job of “throughout the year” sharing. Please pray that the other half of her monthly pledges or one time support can come in so she may join us soon in November!


I'm looking forward to building our HAFF team and joining this sweet family soon!
Keep an on your (snail mail) mailbox in October for my next newsletter! 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

tearful goodbyes

Seventeen prayer cards laid on my bed, accompanied by a box of tissues, mostly used. 

Through the window, in front of the view of the Rockies the MTI vans pulled back in, empty. The parking lot and rooms were empty too. 

I wept and wept and wept. For two hours I said hard, healthy goodbyes as new friends trickled out. I sent pieces of my heart to the Middle East, Africa, South America, Eastern Europe and beyond. A small group of us are still at MTI, staying two more weeks for language acquisition. We waved and waved until a skeleton of us remained. 

My heart felt ripped in two, my chest ached. People I have known for three weeks and I hurt so deeply. How did this happen? How did these strangers become best friends? I suppose it happened somewhere between a hostage simulation and late night card games. Or while we grieved the things God called us to leave, and we laid down the dreams we thought we had, to go out to the Nations. It happened in honesty and venerability. Maybe the moment it happened is when I realized that for the first time in my life, I was completely understood. Everything about my heart started to make sense here. Loneliness I felt for months faded and walls I built crashed down. God broke me down and is putting me back together with His love, with their love. 

I have learned so many practical lessons. How to exit my home culture and enter my new culture. How my lifestyle choices effect people on both sides of the bridge. We addressed conflict styles and how we deal with stress. We had lesson after lesson on how to handle the chaos that accompanies the missionary life, because the average person living cross-culturally experiences 2-5 times the amount of stress of an inner city police officer - and we must navigate in our new homes with Christ-like grace. God prepared all of these important lessons and more - but they are not the lessons that had the deepest impact. 

It's the people that had the deepest impact. There are not accurate words to describe my three weeks of SPLICE, I wish there were. I know there is something to feeling understood that changes a person. I know I feel Gods faithfulness in a new way. I feel like I have more love to give. I do not know how this all happened, it does not make sense to me. I am so thankful though. My heart continues to ache, it's all over the country, soon to be all over the World. 

So now, my goodbyes take on a new face. My family and my friends at home, my sweet support system is not all I leave. I leave everyone at home, and now I leave a new kind of family too. My grieving grows but oh my love grows so much more. This is a new love that my heart will take to Haiti. I will take this indescribable thing that God has done in my life and I will share it, because this kind of love must be shared. 


 


Monday, September 24, 2012

wow

We navigated switchback after switchback, void of guardrails, ascending above the timberline of green and yellow aspens. I tried to pray. I tried to thank God for such a glory filled sabbath. I tried to bask in each moment, breathing in the blessings. I actually thought we might drive up into heaven.

14,110 feet up, we did not drive into heaven. Instead we drove up into joy, snow, hot chocolate and adventure.  At the top of Pikes Peak, I thought I would find an otherwise unreachable intimacy with God. I could not find the words though, I had no epic prayer. I couldn't focus as I looked down on other mountain tops, on roads barely visible. All I could muster was "wow." 

All I felt was my smallness. 

What a gift. The simple, but overwhelming joy of feeling small and saying "wow." God requires nothing else from us in these moments, just to see how big He is and what He can do.

In the midst of a season of learning, preparing and becoming tethered to God, He simply taught me to say "wow." My joy in Him is not complicated, it is simple and still overwhelming - leaving me more satisfied than I thought possible. 

Simple. Overwhelming. Joy. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September Update


Friends and family,

I am so grateful that as I write to you, I am one step closer to being in Haiti! I can hardly believe it is already mid September and I am at training in Colorado. My time at Mission Training International (MTI) has begun and I am so incredibly thankful to be here. So much of my heart is tied to Haiti but I know at this moment that I am exactly where God wants me. 

Here at MTI we spend our days mostly in community developing our hearts and minds for the mission field. We have spent time on some tangible skills, like handling conflict and learning how to avoid potential burnout. We have also spent time in prayer, asking the Lord to continue to grow us, stretch us and make us more like Him. 

Thank you so much for covering my journey in prayer. I can feel the hand of the Lord on each day. I ask for your continued prayer as I seek God's guidance both now and post-MTI. I am still hoping to leave for Haiti in early November. I am praising the Lord that my one time needs are covered! My monthly needs of $1,800 are about half way covered with $780 committed per month. Each commitment makes a huge difference. I am so encouraged by my brothers and sisters here at MTI who have seen the body of Christ rise up in amazing ways to meet the needs of the Kingdom. I would love for you to continue to meet me in prayer as I support raise. Currently the need for monthly supporters is greatest and I am so grateful to have all of you joining me in prayer as God fulfills His plan for my life. 

The desperate need for Christ will, of course, continue when I am on the field. I ask that before I arrive you pray for the relationships on our team. It is vital that the Wilson's, Connie, and I grow strong and loving relationships, as well as strong relationships with the Haitian staff. John 13:35 states, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." I pray that we love one another above else. In addition, the school year has started in Haiti, which will inevitably present a challenge in teaching. The school at HAFF and all the other tasks to complete might feel overwhelming when I arrive, but I pray my foundation in Christ will allow to work through Him and lean on Him in each and every task. 

I also ask for prayer during my time at MTI, prayers that my heart would remain open as I allow God to prepare me for the mission field in Haiti. Being venerable and allowing God to prune you can feel painful, but it is so worth it. 

If you would like to become part of my support team, one time donations can be made here, where you will see my name listed. A monthly commitment can also be made online at the above website. In addition, donations by check can be made to HAFF and marked “April Lambiotte Support”
HAFF
P.O. Box 3421
North Ft. Myers, FL 33918
HAFF is 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization and gifts of support are tax deductible.
I will continue to update my blog here and you can also check the HAFF blog at: haffdetails.blogspot.com.

I am consistently amazed at the grace God has shown in my life, and I hope that you see it in your life too. We are all part of a body with a unique role for the Kingdom. I pray that in whatever He has called you to, you have confidence in Christ, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. 

God Bless,
April

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ants in the Sugar Bowl

ANTS IN THE SUGAR BOWL
By Elizabeth Givens
So send I you
To ants in the sugar bowl,
To things that fly, creep and crawl into the house,
To uncertain water, sporadic electricity.
To long hours, sweltering heat, exhausting days,
To uncomfortable vehicles, crowded jeeps, smelly buses. To noisy early, early mornings,

To rice, rice and more rice.
To poverty you didn’t believe existed,
To masses of people like you have never seen,
To know and work with people who have never known comfort,

So send I you, and I expect you to adjust.

So send I you
To people who will give to you from their poverty,
To friends who will embarrass you with their generosity,
To pastors who will entertain you from their lack, with beauty.
To hungry, receptive, questioning people who want to know God, To study, to teach, to learn from your study and teaching,
To prove your own motives, values and beliefs,
To learn about yourself and the culture that has reared you,
To know God and to understand more deeply dependence on Him,

So send I you.
Are you going? I’ll go with you all the way. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

assimilation

I am so grateful that prior to my arrival, I was able to see training at MTI as something valuable from the Lord. I stopped viewing the experience as a means to an end. God has a purpose in me being here, before I am in Haiti. Already, I am learning to the very depths of my soul. My heart is being simultaneously stirred and calmed as I soak in each lesson. Today, a valuable truth set in as I struggled with the paradox of respecting Haitian culture and remaining true to myself. 

In Haiti, I must both honor the context I am living in while still protecting my ability to minister. My choices should honor the Haitian culture, even when as an American, those choices seem unnecessary. My ability to create loving relationships hinges on accepting and, in part, embracing the Haitian lifestyle. Likewise, I must make choices that protect who I am, choices that protect my energy level, my heart and my ability to be a Kingdom worker. There is a balance in assimilating into a new culture that requires more than we imagine. My lifestyle choices are going to look odd to most in this paradox of living as a missionary, but hopefully, I will look more like Jesus - and transforming my soul into what God intendeds is when He can complete the good work that He began. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

community

After hours of travel, three time zones and six thousand feet of elevation, I am in Colorado. 

I said a hard goodbye to Atlanta and flew to Dallas. Thankfully, in Dallas the Lord graciously put a Starbucks right at my gate, it was a necessity. I arrived in Colorado Springs around 1pm (MST) and was shuttled off to Mission Trainting International (MTI) with a group of fellow wide-eyed almost-missionaries. 

It didn't take long for me to realize that I was among friends. 
These are my people. We've all spent months support raising, quit our jobs, left friends & family, our lives in boxes. The MTI staff referred to us as "homeless"....an accurate description. 

Different countries, different languages, vastly different stories. 
One goal, to serve Jesus where He has put our heart. 

Here, the amounts don't matter and the time frame isn't questioned. Of course we're going to Haiti or Kenya or Japan, why wouldn't we? 
We are holding onto everything we have in order to follow Jesus, and for a few weeks, we get to do it together. This is Christ centered community at its finest and I feel intensely blessed to be here. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

l’Institut Pratique de Bohoc

When my feet again land on Haitian soil I know God will show me within seconds all the work He has done. All the stories He is telling. I cannot wait for the chance to share with you what God is doing in Haiti. I can tell you now what God has already done in Haiti and through HAFF. 

One of HAFF's largest programs is The Bohoc Training Institute (BTI) or l’Institut Pratique de Bohoc. 

The school hosts grades 7-13 and has over 280 students. For almost 30 years BTI has served Bohoc and the surrounding communities. The campus consists of seven school buildings, a school kitchen providing a meal for each student four days per week, a library/resource room and a gazebo which is often used as an outdoor classroom. 

Part of the school yard. 

At HAFF, I will get the incredible opportunity to partner with Haitian teachers and teach English at BTI. Haitians take such pride in their work and want to speak English to the very best of their ability. As an American I will try to give them every advantage in English speaking  I can. The affordable education BTI provides is a huge advantage to Haitian students. Generations of students have gone through BTI and are giving back in Haiti and I'm going to introduce two to you!

This is Ronald. 

I met Ronald on my second trip to Haiti in December of 2010 and had a sweet reunion in June of 2011. Ronald went to school at HAFF (but graduated from a different HS in nearby Hinche). The missionaries at HAFF remember him being a joy to have in class. Now, Ronald works for The 410 Bridge and is working to give Haiti a brighter future! I am lucky to call him a friend. 

This is Pastor George.

George also went to school at BTI. After attending university, George returned to the Central Plateau and has planted a church. George is now married and his wife is expecting a baby very soon! I love seeing George pour back into the community that raised him. 

This is Keith and Heidi with George. 

Last July, during my visionary trip to HAFF, Keith and Heidi were also visiting from Florida. After spending time with and attending George's church, they wanted to stay connected. Now, they are staying connected with George and helping him as he continues to build his church. 

These men are just two examples of Haitians taking the gift of education and giving back to Haiti. Like so many Haitians, Ronald and George want to see their country prosper - and I am so grateful that organizations like HAFF contribute to this - and that now, God has called me to be a part of that work!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

eucharisteo

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:12

On this journey, holding tight to the Lord's joy is as important as it is difficult. My deepest hope is to be completely filled with joy over the gift of life God has given. I want living for Him to be enough- but in reality it is not, not for our weak human hearts. In frustration and in pain the one size fits all thankfulness doesn't light up and revive our souls the way we want. But in God's divine timing he lead me to read One Thousand Gifts. Just a quarter of a way in, the Lord is reshaping the way I find joy and "eucharisteo". 

"Slapping a sloppy brush over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life." 

So just like the journey Ann Voskamp took, I'm going to practice finding joy in each moment of life. Fully embracing eucharisteo. Today as the enemy struck and I felt as lost as ever, I looked for joy and I found it. I found it in my mom waking me up instead of an alarm, I found it in a hazy, calm morning. I found it in time to read. I find it now, with my house full of people, quiet and tired, but together. 

Joy in the little things, joy in this everyday life leads us to fully embrace the joy of our salvation- this joy sustains and propels us forward. We begin to see all these gifts and we are filled with a spirit of gratefulness and we live to share it with others, we are living for Christ. Our joy leads to joy, leads to joy, leads to joy, leads to GLORY. The glory of Christ is revealed in our lives when we live fully for Him. God has created for us a beautiful cycle of joy to live in, a cycle I want to stay in. My confusions, my frustration, my hopes and needs should be cemented in this cycle until the joy seeps into every pore of my being and it is all I know. This, is living fully for Christ. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

let go.

I grip tightly, not willing to let go. Eventually, I release it all to Him, knowing He holds it all. I feel the ease of giving my cares to Him. The God who loves me, who has a plan, the God who carries each one of my loved ones in His hands. 
Then, as slowly as I released it to Him, I quickly  grab it all back. My heart screams, don't take this from me God. If I hold them, I can control it. But that is not the truth. My being here, or going there, God will take care of them. He already is. I see the reaping of seeds planted long ago. Then the gentle father whispers "let them go darling daughter, let them go."

So, I let go again. I let go of the illness, I let go of their pain. I let go of worrying. They are not mine, they are His. 

Psalm 121:7-8 has carried me in this season and the Lord gave it to me, to hold onto. His word is all I can hold onto, but it is enough. The promises of Revelation, of a new heaven and a new earth, are enough. For them and for me.  

Thank you Jesus, for being more than enough. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Praises!

Yesterday I received a couple pieces of encouraging news!

I now have $625 committed per month! This is such a blessing and I am so excited to see how God is fulfilling this plan for my life. Keep the prayers coming! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Official

In less than 3 weeks I take another leap in this journey as I leave for training in Colorado. These next few weeks will be a whirlwind of packing, seeing friends, paperwork and lots of emails. God allows me to keep the true goal in mind in so many ways though. Here is one way , I've officially made it to the HAFF Staff Page. Another surreal moment in this journey God is sending me on! 

Thanks again for your continued support, prayers and love! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

trust and obey

Your job is to trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. His job is to set your path straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). You don’t have to know the reason for everything, and there’s no requirement that you figure it all out before you complete your mission. You just need to trust and obey.
- Jon Walker via Daily Hope devotional

Thankful for this reminder to take things day by day. The Lord will show us which steps to take. 

Happy weekend!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why I need a cook in Haiti....


"You are faithful God." As I sit down to work on budgeting, I am overjoyed to hear these lyrics in the background. He is faithful!

I want to take a chance to explain a few things about my budget. There are a couple of needs that seem odd until you truly think about them. For example, I'll have a cook in Haiti. Moving to a third world country and having a cook might seem extravagant, but I'll get to that. I will also have someone to do my laundry and individuals helping me with language development. 

In terms of cooking, I have to to have help, seeing as...I have no idea what I am doing. I won't have a regular stove, and cooking beans and rice is much harder than boiling a pot of water and opening a can. Cooking in Haiti is so different than what we do here and meals are never prepared quickly. So if I were to cook most meals myself, I would have no time to teach or complete other tasks. The same goes for laundry, few of us in America have the faintest idea how to truly hand wash clothes. I will also have someone who goes to the market for me, or with me for a while. The market will be an overwhelming place when I barely know the language and have no idea what to buy. More importantly, Haitians can barter with Haitians far better than I can! 

Another initial monthly cost is a translator and language helper/tutor. Over time of course, these needs will decrease as I lean Creole. At first though, having a translator and tutor are necessary.

The most important things about these needs, regardless of monetary value is relationship. When a woman is in my home cooking and often sharing meals with me, we become friends. She invites me in and Jesus works in beautiful ways to break down walls. When I spend time with a translator day after day, he becomes my friend and the Lord gives me the opportunity to share with him. Over time, I become reputable in the community because of the relationships I have built. This is an incredible ministry outside of teaching and all the other work at HAFF. Building these relationships is actually necessary to make changes in the long term, it allows us to understand one another. This is the ministry of living and surviving in an unfamiliar place, with the people who know it best. The definition of ministry stretches much wider than we often allow it to. 

So, your $10 a month does not just pay the woman who does my laundry, it creates an income and it creates a relationship. The $75 a month that you commit, means that there will be a Haitian woman walking with me in the market and maybe together we can show a country seeped in voodoo that an American and a Haitian can become friends because Jesus is bigger than culture

I might work with people who are Christians, but often in a place like Haiti misconceptions run wild. Every chance I have to express the truth about Jesus and what He did for us, I will take. You are a part of that. As my support team, you are helping to build upon HAFF's foundation in the community of Bohoc. I believe a movement can begin in Bohoc that will spread across Central Haiti. For this to happen we must continue to work with, pray for and strengthen the Haitians. 

Thank you for partnering with me as I not only teach, but cook, wash clothes and learn a new language!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Haiti for $25 a month!

I wanted to take a moment and pass along some Haiti updates. I have wrapped up my teaching job and in the next month I'll continue to prepare, support raise and spend time with you! My flight for training at Mission Training international is booked and I'll be in Palmer Lake, Colorado September 10th-October 12th. I know God has a lot in store for this time and I hope to learn as much as I can!

My departure date for Haiti is still not finalized. Currently I have raised enough funds for training, but not much beyond that. After some work with the HAFF staff and board of directors my monthly budget is now roughly $1,800. There are moments when the task before me seems monumental but God leaves me with nothing but confidence in His plan and His power. 

I want to cast my support net as wide as possible. The more people on my team and the more people invested in Haiti, the better. Haiti and the town of Bohoc can grow to do amazing things. The Haitian American Friendship Foundation is going though many staff changes at the moment and an immense amount of  responsibility has fallen on a few people. God knew these changes were coming and He has a plan to rejuvenate the ministry. For reasons that are still beyond me, the Lord has chosen me to be a tool for Him in Bohoc, I consider this call a blessing. This amazing place has fought voodoo and is spiritually healthier than it was before HAFF arrived, but there is still much work to be done. Already HAFF and other ministries in Bohoc are reaching beyond their gates to improve the region, but I desire to see it go further. From schools, to medical clinics, to orphanage revivals, change can happen in Haiti. When the body of Christ joins together in community with one purpose, nothing is impossible. 

There are plenty of ways to get involved. Your prayers are powerful and I feel them. Thank you. There is nothing more important to me on this journey than your committed prayer. After some wise counsel and prayer, I have found a way to cast the support net the way I dreamed of. At a monthly budget of approximately $1,800 and already $350 a month committed, my support needs are $1,450 a month. If just 58 more people commit to $25 a month, then my goals are met. I love the idea of involving and connecting people in a doable way. Some of you might want to commit to less and some of you to more. I trust that the Holy Spirit will lead you in the way God wants you to give, if at all. Regardless, I want you to know these updates and feel informed about this journey. If you are receiving this email then in my 'first batch' of recipients, you are committed to Haiti and invested in my journey and you are the people I want behind me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have no idea how much your prayers have been felt. If you do feel led to give, here is the link to donate and set-up reoccurring monthly donations (or one time donations): Donate to HAFF (Missionary Support: Lambiotte). To set-up a reoccurring donation you will need to set up a profile. HAFF is a 502(c)(3) organization and all gifts are tax deductible 

Thank you so much for being a part of my team. The life God has called me to would not be possible without the body of Christ partnering with me. I consider myself so lucky to be on this journey and to have each of you with me. You can check my blog for updates and you can also check the HAFF blog at: www.haffdetails.blogspot.
com (the HAFF website, www.haff.orgis going through some changes at the moment, so please me patient with us).

Love,
April

Monday, August 6, 2012

infectious joy


"Do you know how infectious fear can be…"

It was the middle of the week when I read this sentence in a book about entering the mission field. I stopped in my tracks, I knew that kind of infectious fear, I was enveloped in it. Every kind of fear. Fear of leaving. Fear of fundraising. Fear of what comes next. The tears began to flow, but I turned to my Father and I felt His comfort.

Then, later, that fear crept back up. My breath shortened and my heartbeat sped up. I tried stopping it, I tried to calm myself down. Months of preparation for a move to Haiti, I felt it all falling apart. I was failing. "What happens if you don't raise the money?" I've heard that question multiple times and in that moment, "failure" was the answer the enemy gave me. I wept, I begged God to change the circumstances. I was convinced that I had been making the wrong decisions for months. I had lost my mind. I would like to say that divine intervention calmed my nerves as I remembered my Father's promises. I didn't. I woke up with a headache and swollen eyes, but feeling less crazy.

It took a few days to realize the root of my fear. Obviously, it was an attack of the enemy, but there was a slow onset too. It came from this seemingly harmless statement, "This is April, she's moving to Haiti!" For over a year, this is how I am introduced 95% of the time. I am the girl moving to Haiti. Without this intention, I began to feel like a trophy. 

I had lost my identity. I was a walking expectation, who knew that on her own, she could not deliver. God would deliver, but His plan could be different. What if I let everyone down? I fear failure most of all. This fear was stopping me from fully trusting God, from letting Him do His work. 

I have had to take a step back. My identity is in Christ. 

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
I am a girl moving to Haiti. I haven't gotten there yet and only God know when I will. In the meantime, I am thankful for encouragement and the faith others have in me and in Christ. 
The Lord knit me together in my mother's womb and He has not led my life into failure. There is nothing to fear. He has surrounded me by the right people and His timing is going to be more amazing than we can imagine. I am not filled with infectious fear but infectious JOY. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August Newsletter

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I want to take some time to share with you where God is leading myself and the Haitian American Friendship Foundation in Haiti. I am so excited to share the news that I have raised the support needed to attend Mission Training International in Colorado. I will spend September 10th-October 12th in valuable cross-cultural studies and learning language acquisition techniques. I know that God has a plan for this time and I ask for your prayers as He prepares my mind and heart to serve Him in Haiti.

After my return from MTI, I hope to leave for Haiti as soon as possible. Currently, I do not have a departure date set. As it stands I have not raised the financial support to enter the mission field with the Haitian American Friendship Foundation (HAFF). Along with the HAFF staff and board of directors, I have been able to revise my budget. After re-working some numbers, my monthly budget is approximately $1,800. I hope to raise support for at least nine months, in order to be in Haiti through the school year.

I come to you asking for your deepest prayers as the Father fulfills His plans for my life. In surrendering to His call to be a missionary I am learning so much about trust and hope. The process of giving up control to Him is stretching but oh so rewarding.

Haiti and the town of Bohoc have the potential to be and amazing tool for Christ. Currently, HAFF is going though many staff changes and an immense amount of responsibility has fallen on a few people. God knew these changes were coming and He has a plan to rejuvenate the ministry. For reasons that are still beyond me, the Lord has chosen me to be a tool for Him in Bohoc, this call a blessing. This amazing place has fought voodoo and is spiritually healthier than it was before HAFF arrived, but there is still much work to be done. Already HAFF and other ministries in Bohoc are reaching beyond their gates to improve the region, but I desire to see it go further. From schools, to medical clinics, to orphanage revivals, change can happen in Central Haiti. When the body of Christ joins together in community with one purpose, nothing is impossible.

I ask you to meet me in prayer. Prayer support is what makes this journey and life possible. Scripture tells us in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.“ Please pray that God would provide and the flood gates of provision would open. I ask that you pray over the plans God has for me in Haiti. I also ask that you pray for HAFF and all God has planned for it. Haiti is a country filled with hope, please pray that her hope and determination would carry Haiti into a bright future. If you would like to contribute, one time donations can be made online at www.haff.org. Follow the prompts “Donate” and “Donate Now“, where you will see my name listed. A monthly commitment can also be made online at the above website. In addition, donations by check can be made to HAFF and marked “April Lambiotte Support”
HAFF
P.O. Box 3421
North Ft. Myers, FL 33918
HAFF is 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization and gifts of support are tax deductible.

Thank you so much for being a part of my team. The life God has called me too would not be possible without the body of Christ partnering with me. I consider myself so lucky to be on this journey and to have such wonderful people walking with me. I will keep you updated here on my blog and you can also check the HAFF blog at: haffdetails.blogspot.com. Please be patient with the HAFF website, it is undergoing a bit of 'construction'. 

Please do not hesitate to email me (a.m.lambiotte@gmail.com) if you have any questions.

Love,
April

Thursday, July 26, 2012

the beauty of flexibility

This is not the first time I've posted something from my dear friend Emily and it certainly won't be the last. Emily is a dear friend who is living at an orphanage in Port au Prince. Emily's most recent blog post speaks to one of things I love most about Haiti, being in the now. In Haiti, it is impossible to live life any other way, and I love it. Being in Haiti is an opportunity to serve with abandon. Emily wrote this in her inspired post today

"I can be all available because there isn't anything more pressing than right now. Here is here, and if I'm not all here, the unexpected twists that are integral to Haiti would be insufferable."

Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us Em. We love and miss you!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant —not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthisn 3: 4-6

I am so thankful to serve a confident God who calms my heart, helps me to trust and who paved the way! Thank you Lord for the life giving Spirit. I am humbled and joyful while resting in the confidence of Christ. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Trial by Fire

Tonight I am exhausted and feel pushed to my limit. I trust that support raising is a beautiful part of entering the mission field, I see Christ in it already. God is truly blessing me. There is so much work to be done though. There is so little time and it feels like I'm not going to be within my timeline or reach my financial goals. It is now, when I have heavy eyelids and feel emotionally spent, that I reminded of the beautiful lesson God taught me this weekend. 

I found myself in the book of Daniel this weekend. It was not Daniel's story that God spoke to me through this time, it was the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abendnego. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that they be thrown in a fiery furnace for not worshipping false gods. The fire was so hot that the flames killed the soldiers who were to throw the three in. In Daniel 3, verses 26 (B) & 27 state this "So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them."

"Came out of the fire.." This portion struck me to the depths of my heart. I thought of a dear friend in a trial and I thought of the trial I find myself in. In reading this passage, I saw nothing but victory. These three men were in the fire and we don't know what happened in there. I have a feeling God was fighting a battle. The men came out unscathed but that doesn't mean the fire did not hurt. I think it was tough and scary, however brief, and in the end they walked out victorious and healed. I believe that the fire will be calmed soon and I will have a miraculous story to tell about how God showed up.

This season is one of trial by fire for my life, and I am grateful for it. God is requiring all of my strength and He is giving me an incredible story to tell. That is all I want, to use every ounce of energy for His kingdom and to tell His story. Tonight, tired eyes and all I fall to my knees praying for the strength and assurance that only our God can provide. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Lamentations 3: 22-27
Thankful for and resting in these promises found is Scripture. Great is thy faithfulness.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yes Lord, You know that I love You

I have been reflecting on the life of Peter lately. The journey that Peter took from fisherman, to believer, to betrayer, to witness, then to rock of the early church is beautiful. At the last supper Jesus says, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat (Luke 22:31)." Even when Jesus says it, Peter does not believe. There are so many lessons to glean from Peter's story, I keep coming back to one passage though. After the resurrection, when Jesus has already appeared to the disciples, He reinstates Peter in the book of John, "The third time He said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Feed my sheep...John 21:17."

I cannot decide which portion is more poignant, Jesus asking three times or His famous command to Peter. Both portions work in perfect harmony to teach my heart a lesson. Jesus clearly asks Peter if he loves Him three times because of Peter's own denial. I often deny Jesus, usually by way of defiance. Then, after I come crawling or running back, Jesus asks for my patience, love or obedience, and I am hurt. Haven't I told you Lord? I got out of the boat, I followed You. 

This passage of scripture says so much about a renewing of our faith. Peter never stopped loving Jesus, he never stopped believing, he just made poor choices. The beauty of grace is that Jesus still lovingly welcomes Peter home. His questioning of Peter is not skeptical, but loving. Jesus knows the answer, even Peter states that the Lord knows all things. I think sometimes we need to speak the truth that we love Jesus and say once again that we will get out of the boat. When Jesus performs the miraculous catch of fish for a second time that is exactly what Peter does, he jumps out of the boat and runs to Jesus. Peter shows Jesus and speaks to Jesus his commitment again. When I deny Jesus, it is absolutely fair and loving of Him to ask me, "April, do you love me?" and instead of feeling hurt, I should jump out of the boat again and say, "Yes Lord, you know that I love you."

Then, grace will enter and Jesus will give me the command to "Feed my sheep." And feed His sheep I will. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

These days, it is hard to look past the very present moment. I cannot fathom, nor do I care to, saying goodbye my preschoolers in a week. Matthew 6:34 says that each day has enough trouble of it's own, and I am resting in just handling each day at a time. 
Tonight though, I find myself one step closer to my future. My ticket is booked. 
On September 10th, I head out to Colorado for 5 weeks of missionary training here
The Lord is faithful in His promises. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Official Haiti Update


Dear friends,
I hope everyone is having a great summer! I wanted to take a few moments and send a Haiti update to my wonderful supporters. In the next couple of weeks I am wrapping up my teaching job, which is a bittersweet step in this journey. I will spend August fundraising, planning for the mission field and spending time with loved ones. Then, in September I plan on attending the Mission Training Institute in Colorado. My training will provide preparation for entering a new culture and language acquisition techniques. After my time in Colorado, I will head to Haiti in early October, Lord willing. 

I am excited to join the Haitian American Friendship Foundation in Bohoc, Haiti. I have been in communication with the  staff over the last few months to work out my roles while at HAFF. Primarily, I will assist teaching English at the secondary school as well as working with the various non-formal programs. 

My specific departure date for Haiti will depend upon my fundraising goals. Currently, I have a long way to go but I serve an equally large God. I am confident in the promises God has spoken to me. I am holding onto the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians
"For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." - 2 Corinthians 1:20-22
All funds raised up to this point are a blessing from the Lord, He has done so much. I am grateful for the love shown by the body of Christ, so many of you are making this journey possible. In my worry and stress, I am able to cling not only to God but also to yourbelief, hope and love. I receive encouraging texts, emails, facebook posts and calls almost daily, each one puts a smile on my face!

I would ask that you continue to join me in prayer over God's plan. Please pray for the country of Haiti and the work of HAFF in the Central Plateau. Please be in prayer that I would use this season of preparation wisely. In addition I ask that you pray for my fundraising efforts; specifically, that God would move hearts and break down barriers. Prayers that opportunities to share my story and my mission field would open up.  If you would like to donate, you can do so directly at this link "Donate". A monthly commitment can also be made here. If you wish to send a check, they can be written to HAFF and marked "April Lambiotte Support". 
HAFF
P.O. Box 3421
North Ft. Myers FL 33918

Thank you so much for being a part of my journey! Please know that I consider it a privilege to have each of you in my life. I am strengthened by all of your stories. Feel free to email me anytime a.m.lambiotte@gmail.com. I would love to meet with you, or your small group anytime and share my heart for Haiti. In the meantime, I will continue to update my blog right here!

God Bless,
April Lambiotte

Thursday, July 12, 2012

guaranteed

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." 2 Corinthians 1:20-22

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

trust

Quit your job. Stretch every penny. Run out. Trust. Believe. 
God has asked me to do these things. He commanded it.
Today, reality is in front of me and these things are hard.
I am asking for prayer that I trust Him. Prayer that I work 
like it depends on me but still pray like it depends on Him.
In His timing.

His timing is sweeter.
His plan is better. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012



This will be framed and become my first piece of wall decor for my house in Haiti.
Feels like home

Thanks for stopping by friends. :)



Monday, June 25, 2012

the trouble with love

"I think it's about starting conversations about our differences in thinking."

I jotted this sentence down, while on a Haiti related phone call recently. The problem that missionaries and aid organizations run into so often is a difference in thinking. This complication stretches far and wide, there have been many books written about this issue. We want to love, we want to hep, this is simple, yes? No. The way other cultures view love and acts of kindness is different.  I am worried about running into this problem. I will run into this problem. To help prepare I will read the books, I will continue to familiarize myself with Haitian culture, but I must pray. I must not forget about Jesus. He can prepare my heart to make the right moves and have the right reactions. He will prepare the Haitians. I believe that when I am in Haiti (that part itself is still hard to believe most days) the Lord will open up opportunities for a young American girl and a community of Haitians to have conversations that are open, loving and understanding. Our ways of thinking are so different, but with our eyes set on Jesus, we are bound to end up in the right place, together.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

promised

The promises of God will always be fulfilled. When I taught in the children's ministry at Brook Hills, we taught the children to stand on and believe the promises of God like our lives depended on it, but somehow I still take that for granted.

My friend Emily, is heading to Haiti too and I know her heart and my own run many parallels. She wrote me about missing Haiti, how it can feel like your heart is missing. Emily is so wise and I am so lucky to have her in my life. When Emily struggled with missing Haiti, the Lord showed her an incredible parallel in scripture. God himself was separated from his son for 33 years. Thirty-three years. God yearned and ached for Jesus to be with Him, but God knew the promise He had made to send a redeemer. God endured heartbreak, for us. The hurt I feel does not even compare.

God endured pain because He made a promise. Scripture is filled with promises and each one, is fulfilled. People are fed, babies are born, a Savior comes and is crucified, we are redeemed. God's promises stand forever, they are guaranteed. I must believe Him, I have all the evidence. God has never let me down before, not on a true promise, from Him.

God promised me Haiti, the desire in my heart is from Him, for Him. He promised me that He would provide. God promised these things and they will be fulfilled. I can endure the heartbreak, He knows one far greater. Not only that, but my heartbreak, the time I have to wait, is a mere blink in His plan.

So today, I relish in the chance to grow closer to God, to understand His heart, because now I can better share His heart.

Monday, June 18, 2012

wallowing

I write about missing Haiti a lot, but it is because most days I cannot escape the heartbreak. I only want my feet on Haitian soil. Some days are harder than others, and some days, like Haiti, are a beautiful juxtapositions of joy and heartbreak. I am joyful because I have precious servant friends serving God in my home. I am heartbroken because they are there and I simply am not. This feeling is different from envy, it is much deeper, but it is impatience. My impatience is unfair to God, who has a perfect plan. He is gracious though, and He will let me rest in it anyway. Sometimes, God just allows us to wallow in a pint of ice cream while He holds our hand. I believe, He lets me thirst to be in Haiti so deeply because this keeps the fire lit, this keeps me going when the stress of picking up and moving to a third world country feels unbearable. The to-do list is growing but my desire grows faster. I pray for my friends, I shed a few tears and I work on my to-do list because His ways are perfect and there is a race to run.