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". 

Monday, April 15, 2013

a wall

To know me well, is to know my love for rich tradition. 

I am forever wanting to participate in traditions -to be bonded with people through these ancient rituals. If there isn't a tradition, I will work to create one. I do embrace change, but I yearn for traditions that will live through change after change - after change. 

So, it is no surprise that my absolute favorite author is a former Jew, who fell in love with Jesus after years of being deeply devoted to Judaism. To me, her Jewish past permeates most of what she writes - I love learning about these traditions, I am hungry for her words - but more than the beauty of ancient traditions she knows there is freedom in Jesus. Her words help me find balance in yearning for the steadiness of tradition - but knowing Jesus is steady enough on His own.

I just began reading her most recent book, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis

She finds herself in the "middle" of her faith - past her conversion - past the place of being ravenous for Jesus - she talks of a place many of us know. Maybe you call it a "rut". It's hard to believe I could be in a "rut" living in Haiti - but I think, here I a wall. 

Lauren Winner writes this about the glory road that led her to Jesus

"... I thought that road would carry me forever. I didn't anticipate that, some years in, it would carry me to a blank wall, and at that wall a a series of questions: do I just stand here staring at this wall? Do I go over? Under? Do I turn around and retrace my steps?"

I hoped, that in the days after reading these words I would find answers about the wall - find something meaningful to say about Jesus carrying me over the wall - which I know, He inevitably will. But, just knowing I am at a wall doesn't mean I know anything about the wall. 

Later, Winner writes about advice given from one of her friends, who said this:
"one of God's gift to some of us is just not to be immediate, so that we have to undergo the kind of discipline necessary to have what others seem to have effortlessly." Winner follows this advice by writing "This is something of a comfort."

A comfort it is. Staring up at this wall, wondering what to do about it. Do I even go over it at all? Do I possibly stop at this wall...? Asking these questions, I know God is there. He is working. I am waiting - trying to listening - but sometimes plugging my ears with useless nonsense. I am looking, but often blinding myself with "I wants". 

No divine answers have reigned from heaven - but this I know - He is working on my stubborn, selfish heart and He loves me still.

I don't know what to do about this wall - but He does. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

turn your eyes

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace

I must have sang it hundreds of times yesterday, over and over again. Holding the hand of a brave 11 year old, soothing a crying baby boy, cradling a sleeping 5 year old, cuddling a sick 8 year old. Singing and praying over their little lives was all I could do while we spent 8 hours in the hospital. Hours of waiting, crying, sweating, hunger, shots, shots and more shots. This day could seal their fate. These test results potentially mean life or death. Not value though. Those little eyes, so full of potential, if they turn to Jesus - - look full into His wonderful face - the challenges of this life will grow dim and they'll light up with His glory and grace.

It was a long day of waiting [but, oh what a chance to give Christ's love]. Now, we wait more. Wait for results, wait for God to work. Wait for His answers. Doing for one what we wish could be done for everyone - doing for one, what I wish didn't have to be done at all. 

Saying "yes" to Jesus in this season of life has turned out to be more painful than I had imagined. It's taken me to some dark places, the only light seems to be a pin hole at the end of of a long tunnel - and I find myself running in the wrong direction. But - - when I stop, slow down, reflect, spend time pouring my love out, looking to Him each moment, the light grows and grows and grows.

Even in hours that could have been full of darkness, His light found us. His light filled us up and knitted our hearts together for the duration of whatever is ahead.