Tag Archive: Voice


There is no way I can even begin to put into words what God has done in my life in 2011…but I will try with few words, and many pictures 🙂

After starting Respire Haiti in November 2010 and meeting Michaelle in December of 2010, God guided my path to Bellevue Mountain in Gressier.  Moving to Gressier, Haiti on January 9, 2011 I had no idea what I would be doing…

The only tree on Bellevue Mountain

Over the past 8 months, Respire Haiti has purchased over 3 acres of land to build a school, library, pavilion, medical clinic and more…

Our recently acquired land, the top of Bellevue Mountain.

Respire Haiti Christian School started in a one room church in January 2011 with 97 children…with no uniforms, books, school supplies or even desks…

Students in March 2011

Ricardo using a chair as a desk, March 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we have over 350 students…with uniforms, books, school supplies, breakfast every morning and more!  For the first half of the year we continued to meet in the one room church, outside of the church and in another nearby location.  Respire Haiti Christian School will start 1st-6th grade in a new building on Wednesday January 4th, 2012!

Students in October 2011

We have seen children transformed by the opportunity to go to school…

Vanessa when I first met her in March of 2011

Vanessa now enrolled in Kindergarten at our school.

Taken out of situations of Restavek and other working environments…

Florencia during a school day last spring before she was enrolled in Respire Haiti Christian School.

And put into environments of learning…

2nd year Kindergarten painting with Water Color

 

 

 

We have seen how quickly things can happen in Haiti when it is GOD’s Plan…

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

 

Hallway of first finished 6 classroom building, opening on Wednesday January 4, 2012 for 1st-6th grade.

 

Our first Community Activity was in January of 2011 with just over 70 children…

Now we have two community activities (feeding programs) every Saturday which feeds more than 700 children…

La Colline Feeding

 

We’ve also seen God’s hand move in amazing ways, through the closer of Son of God orphanage after 11 months of fighting for the freedom of these trafficked, abused and neglected orphans…

Son of God Orphanage

And though the fight for justice is not yet over for these children from Son of God Orphanage, the majority of them have been taken out of a situation where they were being abused, starved and neglected.  Praying that God continues to do BIG things in 2012 for these children and the justice they deserve.

 

 

 

And lastly, I have gone from not even thinking about being a MOM to being the Mommy to two beautiful girls who have changed my life forever.

Michaelle (8), Megan, and Jessica (4.5)

THANK YOU to everyone who has prayed, donated and believed in the vision that God has given me for Bellevue Mountain and the children of Gressier, Haiti.

A special thank you to our American builder, Kyle Fishburn, without him we might still be meeting outside under a tree 😉 and to Bernard Joseph, our Haitian backbone/superman that helps us get things done fast and right!

Kyle (aka Kyle the Builder, KTB) pointing out his ideas for the ceiling of the school, and probably teaching me some building techniques and construction lingo as well!

Happy New Year to All and please continue to follow our next endeavor of our 4 classroom Kindergarten as well as our two-story Library and Computer Lab!

Walking in his shoes…

The needs of this country are hard to see everyday.  Death is hard to see.  Hunger is hard when it knocks at your gate every day.  Poverty is hard when they are your physical neighbors.

But for me, the hardest part of every day is seeing children at home, washing dishes or clothes, cooking, cleaning or just doing nothing in the middle of the day when they should be in school.

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Walking to the mountain again, mid morning, I met him along the way.  Barefoot, in an oversized t-shirt, smiling big and telling me Good Morning, there was little John.  As he followed behind me keeping his distance, I stopped on the top of Bellevue Mountain and turned around.  I asked how he was and as he looked at the ground and kicked a piece of rebar he said, “Pa pi Mal.”  Meaning, not too bad.

I’d never seen him before so I asked his name and then introduced myself, before I could even finish, “My name…” He looked up at me and said, “I know you, You’re Megan!” and smiled, his deep brown eyes still looking at the ground.

As I saw his bare feet, torn t-shirt and skinny figure, I knew the answer, but I asked him anyway, “Are you in school?”

For the first time in our conversation, he lifted his eyes from the ground and said loudly, “No.”  I went on to ask him some more questions about his schooling and family.

Trying to hide my heartbreak for an 11-year-old boy living with “family” members who can’t afford to put him in school.   I could tell that he didn’t have a voice, that he didn’t have someone telling him to brush his teeth or go to bed or telling him I Love You.

As we talked a bit longer, I began praying vigorously for the next step.  It seems easy right?  But, Respire Haiti Christian School is FILLED to capacity.  We have over 360 children now.  We have already started talking with our builder about adding classrooms, we’ve talked with the teachers about hiring assistants and splitting some classes.  We know that we cannot just keep stuffing children into our school, just as important as them BEING in school is them having the ability to successfully LEARN in our school.

The truth is that it is so extremely difficult to walk to my school being built on Bellevue Mountain, not because it’s strenuous or far away, but because without a doubt, every single time, I meet more children who are not in school.  My heart breaks and feels heavy, my mind starts jumping through hoops counting up the number enrolled in each class in my head and it is so hard.

I could see John’s eyes pleading with me, and I could feel the Lord just saying Yes, so I looked at him and said that I would come to his house and speak with his caregivers so he could come to our school.  He lit up and immediately and I just heard Christ’s words pouring into my heart….

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

I could see John’s appeal in his eyes.  I could hear his appeal in His voice.

I know God is bigger than squishy classrooms, that He knows how many children He is enrolling in our school.  That HE is and will continue to work out the details and everything else…He reminds me of this constantly…

Yesterday as I was picking up Michaelle and Jessica from school I ran into one of my neighbors who was picking up his children, all three of them.  As we all walked home together he began pouring his heart out saying that he had his children in another school before the earthquake, but as he lost his house, his job and as the prices for the other school rose to an outrageous amount last year he had to take them out.  He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Without you, without this school, my children would be at home not learning, I thank God for you every day.  Please know, that WE are with You.”  He then wiped his eyes and said, “God Bless You.”

I looked at him and all I could murmur back was, “God Bless you too.”

Standing outside of the gate to my house I was in shock.  My mind was racing, not about how nice that was, or how he said some sweet things.  My mind was racing about how BIG our God isHow BIG He is to know that He would get me to Gressier.  How BIG that He set up every step, every skill, every connection…all the way to get me to this point of building a school.

God is moving, and He is moving fast and His vision is BIG.  We have just been offered by the city of Gressier to buy, Yes, BUY, the top of Bellevue Mountain.  If we buy this, that means we will have almost 4 acres total of land on this beautiful mountain, and this will be a wonderful amount of space to expand Respire Haiti Christian School to fulfill the vision God has for it.

What’s amazing, is that the whole top of the mountain is being sold to us for 50% of the price because the city loves what Respire Haiti is doing and wants us to continue to build in this community.  For $45,000 we will buy just over another acre of land.  Other individuals and organizations have inquired about it, but the magistrates and judges have given us the first choice in hopes that we will buy it for these children. Even though this is a scary endeavor, buying more land, God is moving all of our hearts towards, YES and TRUST ME with this!

If you would like to support us in this purchase, please visit, Respire Haiti

Thank you for journeying with us through this as we are constantly reminded, All things are possible for him who believes.

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.

Jesus’ Voice

Every time I try to write a new blog I sit and stare at the computer for a while trying to organize a day or even an hour in my head.  I try to rationalize, or put into words what is happening here in Gressier…and it just doesn’t work.  Then, I settle for merely trying to put into small trivial words what my HUGE all-powerful God is doing here.

Haiti is such a hard, challenging and many times depressing place to live.  When people come to visit they consistently ask questions about ME or what I am doing…I LOVE answering their questions and having the chance to share Jesus’ role in all of this…

I can tell you right now, there is NO way I would be in a place where it’s so hot I even sweat in the shower…where I have seen more tarantula’s, frogs, roaches and disgusting, unknown insects here in Haiti (in my bed, bathroom etc) than in my entire life…where I can’t just hop over to Chick-fil-A or Starbucks or even to a grocery store…

I am not here because it is easy.  I am not here because I want to do something big.

Jesus’ voice is why I am here. 

His whispers and His shouting has led me here…almost everyone that has visited since Respire Haiti began has made comments asking if I’m tired, or encouraging me to slow down because I will tire out or burn out…and to be honest, every night when I lay my head down to go to sleep- I am exhausted and Praise God for a night to recoup- but God’s mercies are new every morning and I am thankful for that…because God has given me the blessing and amazing gift of waking up fresh every morning.

Someone who recently visited asked where I got so much energy.  And before allowing me to answer, he said, It’s God isn’t it?  I LOVED being able to smile and say, “Of course it is.”

Haiti is a place that has just the right amount of heat, frustration, sadness and overwhelming need to drive someone crazy.  People and organizations here always ask me “When does your contract end.”…or “How long do you HAVE to be here?” Haiti has the largest number of non-profit organizations per capita in the world…with over 9,800 nonprofits and 9 million people…the ratio ends up being about 1 non-profit for about every 1,000 Haitians.  It’s incredible and incredibly disappointing that with such a large ratio, there is still more need here than I’ve seen in any other place in the world.

The challenging aspects of Haiti also leave it as one of the places where people try to quickly fly in “fix something” and fly out…(that’s a discussion for another blog)…

But the questions and comments I have received from people (both who live in Haiti and visitors)  I have to take with a large dose of humor, confidence and point them directly to Christ…because OF COURSE, if this was just me…I would be EXHAUSTED.  ANGRY.  DEPRESSED.  I probably would have given up and gone home by now.  But it is not me.

Jesus’ voice is why I am here.  His whisper to return to Gressier.  His SHOUTING about fighting for these Restaveks and vulnerable children here.  His voice guiding me through building this school, and serving this community.  HIS strength, endurance and JOY.

I AM tired.  Every day.  Every night I get into bed and release the biggest sigh ever.  A sigh that releases me of mistakes, failures, things I have forgotten or things I did poorly that day.  I sigh knowing that GOD is leading me and as long as I continue to yield to Him every second of every day…things are happening just the way HE wants them to.  I sigh and ask Jesus why and how He trusts me so much and then I concede to the fact that He probably won’t answer that question.  I sigh and KNOW that I am imperfect, human and  completely dependent on Jesus and I thank Him that He is who He is.

I sigh, Smile and just PRAY for continued Obedience.  Faithfulness and Trust.

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