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