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


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”
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:

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,

Saturday, September 15, 2012

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


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


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" 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


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.