Tag Archive: Providing


Scars.

As we all chaotically sat down to eat, we heard the small yet strong voice announce, “Nou poco priye!” (“We haven’t prayed yet!”).  Looking at each other we realized she was right…I then asked Micha to pray for us, since she was the one who voiced her concern.

She lowered her head, covered her eyes and began reciting Psalm 23.

As I sit here tonight looking up this scripture, my heart is once again overwhelmed at this little girls faith, her courage, her strength.

She recited this scripture boldly and confidently…

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake

 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

For you are with me;

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.”


Michaelle will never forget that she was once a slave.  We still struggle with physical, emotional and mental scars daily…But we also know that God is in this.  That her beauty and grace and joy are contagious because she has found freedom.  Freedom in Christ.  She will be a VOICE for this nation.  A VOICE for freedom.  A Voice for the voiceless.  A Voice for Haiti.

Her scars will never be embarrassing memories of the past.  In our house.  Scars are not ugly marks, or fearful memories.  In our house, our past scars are beautiful marks of our journey, it doesn’t mean we like them, but we are not ashamed.  We are not afraid.  We are not afraid of our pasts.  We are not embarrassed of our insecurities.

Scars.  They are Always with us.  They leave a mark that won’t go away.  But we have a choice.  We can hold on to the hurt, pain, fear that caused the scar in the first place.  We can keep that anger built up or growing inside—or we can do the opposite, we can remember and be changed.  We can find strength from our past.  We can find redemption and restoration in our heart and from our pain.

This doesn’t mean to forget.  I would never ask or tell Michaelle to “forget” her past, to forget her pain.  Instead I want to let her remember it- but not to remember it for the hurt it has caused but instead to remember it for compassion.  Remember it for freedom.  Remember it for a passionate and righteous anger.

Instead of letting our scars that remain be reminders of fear, bondage and anger.  We have decided our scars are just our fuel- our fuel for being non-fearful in Christ, our fuel for righteous anger.  Our fuel for passion.  Our fuel to encourage our fight for others who are in the same situation.

Although we have typical 7 year old meltdowns and fits, we also have mature and honest conversations…last week when we had left over food, instead of it going to waste Michaelle expressed that she wanted to bring it to her old neighbors on Bellevue Mountain who are hungry.   To “Ti-Blanc”, Diana, and all her friends that she remembers their pains.  Their hunger cries.

Her “scars” now have turned into beautiful marks that are fueling her to FIGHT for these fatherless herself.  To be a VOICE for the Voiceless, starting with the voiceless children SHE knows.

The scars that Michaelle has will and are CHANGING Gressier, Haiti.

Great Works of God.

“I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.” Hudson Taylor

When I first visited Gressier…I looked around and thought how someone else could do a great job with everything here.  I saw the need, I saw the children and I saw myself and thought, “Too much, Too big, Not me.”  

Then, I moved to Gressier…and still thought…“Too much, Too big…but I’m here.”

And then God gave me 97 precious children to send to school…and 350 children to feed every week and I still thought…”Too much, Too big…I’m here…how do I do this?”

And then God gave me land…lots of land…and then it hit me…”Too much, Too Big…for me…but NOT for God.”

There have been SO many times that I have felt like I would just NOT be able to figure out what to do next.  Or I would hit a wall and not know where to turn…but GOD always comes through.  Like when we began building our fence out of barbed wire and wood (picture above- because we wanted our fence to look like every other persons fence on the mountain)…but then in the midst of the building, two Voodoo Priests who live near started yelling and screaming about how our fence would block “their road” (which ironically enough neither of them had cars nor had I ever seen them use cars) but anyway, they were concerned and by that I mean yelling angrily.

So I sat, and I listened about how they told us they would tear down the fence at night and destroy it.  And I thought, alright God, this is YOUR land, this is YOUR fence, this is YOUR plan.  As I sat under my tree and listened to their yelling, I thought about how ultimately God wins…and then the next thing I knew the two Voodoo Priests picked up shovels, one in his “I Love Calculus” Shirt, and the other in his Laker’s jersey…and they started digging a hole for a wooden pole.   The Voodoo Priests went from wanting to tear down our fence to to fixing it last week when a cow knocked down a pole.  God wins.

But then, I had another “dilemma” when the owner of the land next door found out what Respire Haiti was doing, he wanted to sell his land to us, for a very good price…but it would have nearly zeroed out our account.  But God was saying ‘GO’ and so I went…I said Yes, started the paperwork and in 3 days…2 organizations that were already in Haiti donated the exact amount needed for the land.  God wins.

I think…”Too much, Too big” and God says…”YES for you!  But NOT for me!”

Respire Haiti has a builder coming up next week to start the plans for the school, which God has said will be up by September when my kids start school again.  People have questioned that timing, said it’s too hard, too fast, too much, too expensive…but God.  God is bigger.  God makes all things possible.

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”  Luke 1:37

What God is doing in Gressier is amazing.  He has started a school for 97 children, where 80% of those who attend are Restaveks….He has found BEAUTIFUL land to build a school for over 300 children and land to build our pavilion for the feeding program (and eventually a medical clinic)…

When people come to visit the feeding program or the school…I stand back in amazement with them at what GOD has done in such a short 6 months.  I look at all the children He has put in school and am HUMBLED that I have been able to play a roll in all this.  I often say I am just a bystander watching the whole plan come to fruition and I am SO blessed that I have been given the opportunity to help.

Thank you Jesus for what you have and are doing in Gressier!

If you would like to donate to the building of the school or the pavilion for the feeding program please CLICK HERE.

A Mother’s Heart…

One of the top questions people ask me when they hear I live in Haiti is …and what do your parents think?

I am so incredibly blessed to say, that even though it is difficult for my mom for me to be away…she has trusted God so much with everything.  (My father passed away when I was 7).  My mother has done  and is doing something that most people…most parents…would not be able to or want to do…she is sharing me.

Sharing me with the hundreds of children I work with everyday in Gressier, with the hundreds of people I teach English to in the afternoons, with the mothers and fathers in Gressier.  She is allowing God to work through Respire Haiti and me in Gressier, and she is sharing me with them.  She is loving me so much that she knows my place is in Gressier with my children right now.

I have learned recently just how much of a sacrifice this is.  After being away from Gabriel, Michaelle and all the other children in Gressier…I have to admit, there were nights where I couldn’t sleep wondering if they had eaten, if they were sick, if they felt alone…some nights so many questions ran through my mind that I stayed up trying to figure out the answers.

My heart ached being away from my children knowing that they were probably not being looked after very well.

It was then I realized I have become a mother.  Maybe not in the “official” sense…maybe not on paper…and maybe not even to some people reading this.  But in my heart.  I have become a mother.  I have realized by being away from Haiti, a mother’s heart ACHES when she cannot care for the children she loves.  Granted I know my mother does not need to “take care of me” anymore.  But I can only imagine how my mother feels with knowing I am so far away…in a country that is so unpredictable and broken…

I have recognized even more by this last quick trip back to the states… My mother is courageous.  Yes she worries, and yes sometimes that is frustrating.  But she worries, and then still allows me to go…with her support, her love and her blessing.  She talks about Respire Haiti to everyone, being my number one supporter…she rejoices when I rejoice…she cries when I cry…my mother is inspiring.

THIS is a mother’s heart that is being protected by God…to LOVE your child SO much, to let her go to a foreign country, by herself, to love other children and tell them about Jesus.

Mom, YOU are the reason I am who I am today.  YOUR strength and courage have molded me.  Your LOVE has shaped me and taught me how to love others well.  Your Compassion was Contagious and now the children of Gressier are able to benefit from all of the things you have taught me.

Thank you mom, I love you :)

Happy Mother’s Day!

Beauty from Ashes

1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

4They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

Isaiah 61:1-4

Many times, the most difficult thing for me to do in Haiti is to see the “silver lining”.  To find the good in some situation.  To see the beauty in the chaotic world of Haiti.

Sometimes, the questions of WHY does this happen? and HOW are there so many hurting children? are so gut wrenching I feel like I can’t breathe.

It’s these times that the ONLY thing to do is look to God and KNOW, not understand, not feel, but just KNOW God is God and He is in control.

That’s the only way to SEE the Beauty that comes from the ashes.  The ashes, that in Haiti, are messy, and painful, difficult and confusing.

The ashes of knowing that there are one million…ONE MILLION orphans in Haiti…but the beauty to know that I see God changing that statistic one child at a time in Gressier, Haiti.

The ashes of knowing that 50% of the children are NOT in school in Gressier…but to see the beauty that 97 more children ARE in school because of what God is doing through Respire Haiti.

To know that these 97 kids have never had the chance to wear uniforms before…but to have 6 wonderful ladies and 1 wonderful man working on sewing the uniforms as I type this.

To know that MANY of the children in Gressier who are not in school are Restaveks, domestic servants, who do chores all day long…but to know that at least they get away for a few hours on Saturdays to eat and play and learn about Jesus and how LOVED they are.

To know that SO many people in Gressier are hungry to learn English and have never had the opportunity to before…until now, when more than 300 people show up every week to my English class to learn English.

To look out of my kids school every morning and see this reminder of the devastation…

But then to go behind the church and see the progress of building a Depot and Office for the school….and the beauty of seeing a community coming together and seeing many men and women from Gressier working…

Seeing the Beauty.  From the Ashes.  In the Ashes.

To take the brokenhearted, the defeated, the hurting, the hungry…and remove their ashes and replace it with Beauty.

The ashes here in Haiti are frustrating, complicated and sad.  But God is here….God is in the Ashes and God is definitely in the Beauty.

I am reminded of just how temporary the ashes are, and how temporary (even though very real) the pain is here on earth….the picture below was written on the board at school for the 4th graders…in English it says…“The Eternal is Our Refuge.”

Lord, thank you for Your beauty.  I know I do not understand why things are the way they are…why there are so many hurting and orphaned children here…why there are so many hungry children…I know I will never have the answers to all of my questions.  But the one answer I do have is You.  That You are Faithful.  God I know that You are our refuge, You are our rock.  Please continue to help me see the beauty rising up from these ashes…Help me to continue to love these children and encourage these children and adults.  Help me to show these people, It’s never too late to be loved.  Lord, please show me how to let the beauty rise from these ashes in Haiti.

Written March 23
%d bloggers like this: