Tuesday, July 15, 2014

14 July 2014 {Z'oranges}

Today is our last full day in Z'oranges and it was spent well.  This morning we went to the market to show the team typical Haitian life.  Bailey and I had been praying so hard that we would find a friend from last year named Liji*.  We even had a letter from Justin (a friend from Cinco) to deliver, and we had fully faith we would see him on this trip.  Liji attends Jerusalem 4, so when we did not see him at worship last night, we assumed he was gone.  However, while at the market, Bailey and I asked Waleed* if he knew Liji and where he lived.  Just imagine the joy Bailey and I expressed as Waleed told us he lived right in the center of the market place!  The reunion was precious and I know my words cannot express the fullness of God's perfect timing and grace as we embraced Liji and gave him Justin's letter and pictures of the two together.  Liji's arm is completely healed (my God heals); whereas a year ago he had many deep cuts and an arm that Bailey had to pop back into place.  We figured he would never be able to use it properly again.  Yet, God has healed Liji and he is well.  After giving Liji the letter and many hugs, we returned to the mission house.  And right before lunch, low and behold, Liji surprised us with another visit.  He had walked all the way to the mission house just for a couple more house of fellowship.  The rest of the day was spent playing with the village children and avoiding saying our goodbyes.  We packed and packed some more until we had a box completely full of donations for the mission house.  Then, Anne Marie, Ashley, Bailey, Vicki, Amanda and myself gathered for a Bible study to discuss all God has taught us in the past week.  It is a beautiful thing to get together and pour out our hearts to one another as Jesus pours out His grace on us.  I am so excited to meet the Trueloves tomorrow for the first time and I am beyond excited to see all that God has in store for the next month or so.  He is so worth my everything!

*This name has been changed for security and privacy purposes.
Fun on Gabriel!

The sweet reunion.

My little sweet and sassy friend.

Praying with Liji!

Eating lunch.

Nina took care of a little sweetie who enjoys the same hobbies.

She is improving so much!

13 July 2014 {Z'oranges}

Today we attended church at Jerusalem 1 and then went to Daniel's voodoo village for the afternoon.  We were happy to visit and even got to clean and bandage some infected wounds, but without gloves and proper medication, our help was limited.  Yet I know God can use our visit as growth for the seed that TEM has been planting in the voodoo village- oh that Daniel may one day come to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  After dinner our team headed to Jerusalem 4 for a night worship service.  This was such an amazing time of worship.  With no air conditioning, walls, flashy lights, or amplified instruments, our worship was ridden of distractions.  At one point the church actually burst into praising the Lord with dancing- I quite literally felt like David, full of joy and unashamed in praising my God.  Looking around and seeing how pure this is makes me think that this has got to be a taste of Heaven.  Friends, He is so worth it.

Our eno attempt!

Because this is what friends are for.

Ready for worship!

12 July 2014 {Z'oranges}

Today was definitely one of my fondest birthdays.  I woke up and went into the multi-purpose room where I found Bailey and Ashley decorating- what a gift.  Janet also spent all day making a wonderful birthday cake for me.  But what really made this so special was being here and spreading the gospel and the love of Jesus Christ.  I spent most of the morning with the local children- playing guitar, singing, and playing together.  We played 10,000 Reasons over and over and over, so now at any time of the day, you can hear my three year old buddies belting out "Oh my soul!" as if their little lives depended on it.  What a joy!  We finished the Teachers' Conference today after lunch and it was such an incredible experience to see all God has done in these past two years with the school- all the teachers were so thankful and we are thanking Jesus.  We ended the night with Bible study for the women in the village- Vicki talked about Mary (Mother of Jesus) and it was clear the women were understanding that they too have important, God-filled purposes in their lives- Jesus is so good- it is hard here and everything proves to be a "need" but the gospel of Christ is spreading and growing in these people, and in us.  He is so worth my everything.

11 July 2014 {Z'oranges}

If I'm honest, today is not actually the eleventh anymore.  I wrote the date with every intention to write last night, but I became ill last night as soon as I went to lay down.  Praise Jesus, I am feeling much better now!  It is 4:11 am and I have built a tent around my bunk with a sheet so I can put a flash light on to write and not wake anyone else.  Yesterday was an amazing, exhausting day.  We started breakout sessions for the teachers' conference around 8:00 am and so our little medical team- Bailey, Amanda, Nina, and I went hut to hut with our translator, Paritone to see if we could pray with people, bandage wounds, and give out needed medicine.  We got to visit many families who have fallen sick with chickungunya, a virus spread by mosquitoes that results in high fevers, headaches, and extreme joint pain.  A lot of the people affected in Z'oranges are recovering now and just need Aspirin to help with the lasting symptoms, but people all over Haiti (especially in Port) are getting the virus.  It was also clear that a lot of people were quite healthy until the news spread about our team having medicine.  We also saw a lot of people with Shingles and one girl with Scabies.  Jesus, please meet them in their need.  A treat was getting to visit TonTon, a blind man who is good friends with Tim Wright (a friend from Cinco).  TonTon was extremely excited, screaming and gripping our hands with the thought that Tim's friends came to see him- what a blessing.  After lunch, Bailey, Ashley and I led a CPR clinic for the teachers and then got to spend lots of time with the local children.  I got to hear more of Nati's* story- she is six years old with a sweet smile and a heavy heart.  Her Mama "te mouri" (died) and her Papa lives in Port-Au-Prince, so she and her brother live with their aunt.  I pray that I never lose compassion for these little ones.

I am learning to let go of my expectations and hold tight to the promises of the Lord.  We do things a little different here, but our Jesus remains the same.  So we wash our clothes in the sink or in the well, and we end up dirty 30 minutes into the day, and we paint fingernails constantly- boys' fingernails- because nail polish is just that cool, and we wash each others' feet because that's what Jesus did, and we end up with bites from various mosquitoes and spiders because, well this is Haiti, and we spend our days holding children with rags for clothes who have the same majestic Creator who loves us all the same.  And in the differences of my new lifestyle, I am finding that He satisfies and He is worth my every moment.
Meeting TonTon

Preparing medicine in hut-to-hut visits.

Organizing medicine.

Loving on a baby :)

10 July 2014 {Z'oranges}

Update: I am currently in Port and using a friend's computer to do updates.  I will most likely not have anymore access to the internet until I return to the States in mid-August.  The following posts are entries from my journal.  God is so good!

We arrived in Z'oranges via Gabriel (army truck) and were soon welcomed to this humble, beautiful village by the shouts of joy, hugs and kisses, and opened arms of our local friends- especially the little ones.  Perhaps they are happy because they know Jesus, or maybe because they know we always come bearing small gifts, or maybe they just can't wait to be shown affection- but either way, I choose to open my arms back.  I hold my little friend, Fatzi*, and she showers me with kisses and sweet whispers of "mwen renmen ou", and I say it back.  Because I do, I truly do love this child- not because she shows me affection, and not because I am forced to, but because I am compelled by the Holy Spirit to love this child.  And at the same time, my Jesus picks me up and enjoys when I show Him I am in love with Him as well.  He ignores my fleshly smell and all of my filth and chooses to love me.  So as my Jesus has always chosen to love me where I am, I have decided to follow suit and truly love this child.  And the next one, and the next one.  My heart overflows with joy because I have the power of the Holy Spirit in me to look past the discomfort and filth of this country and see these people the way my Father does.  Oh that they would come to know Him.  Thanking my Jesus for my first day in Haiti.  Teachers' Conference tomorrow!  Wooh!

***The name of this child has been changed for security purposes.

Preparing the night before!

View from the plane!

We have arrived in Port!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

preparing for the {journey}

Last Monday, my best friend Elise came and surprised me with a week-long visit.  By far the best surprise I could have ever had!  Elise and I were able to explore the city and spend lots of time in prayer over Ethiopia and our dreams to build a medical clinic and school near the capital.  The trip was refreshing, fun, and such a blessing to me.  Elise left on Monday and since then I have been preparing for my mission trip to Haiti.

My to-do list had escalated to an all-time high last night, but since then, I have been able to (through God's power alone) get most of it done.  I still have to finish packing for this trip, get packed for college, finish paperwork for Moody, and finish preparing for a Bible study.  Perhaps I shouldn't be blogging with so much left to do; however, I am also in the middle of an online driving course that forces you to spend 12 minutes on each page... So I've found myself on here.  

I remember just about a year ago, sitting in the TEM mission house, talking to Brother Chuck about coming back to Haiti.  A couple of us felt like God was calling us back, telling us to trust Him even when it seemed like a distant, scary thought to return to a country so vastly different and dangerous compared to our "home" in the United States.  Brother Chuck had warned us- he told us about how hard it can get there- how people can be threatening and deceitful, and it can feel lonely and desperate at times.  Yet sometimes that is exactly where God sends you- to the places that seem too hazardous and uncomfortable that it would be quite literally impossible to go without Him.  That's where I am; I am absolutely nothing without Him and I cannot do this without His help, but He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.  [2 Timothy 2:13]

I wanted to take a minute to thank all the people who have supported me through prayer, finances, and words of encouragement leading up to this trip.  Friends and strangers alike from Cinco Baptist, my school, and community have poured into me specifically with prayer and advice and I know that God has used not only myself to bring the gospel to Haiti, but also my prayer partners and fellow missionaries.  God is so good, and He is the One who has provided for this trip- He is the One that will sustain me, lead me, and show me His vast love throughout this trip (and thereafter).  To Him be the glory!

Just thinking back on how amazing God is has renewed my excitement for life and for this trip.  I am so excited!  Please continue to pray for our team of teachers this week as we pour into our Haitian teacher friends and try to share His Word with them.  Please also continue to pray for the following:

-safe travels 
-that we praise Him even if safety isn't secured
-our bags make it to Haiti
-teachers' conference in Z'oranges (those in charge and those poured into)
-medical clinic in Z'oranges (those of us leading it and those being treated)
-protection from sickness 
-attitudes that reflect Christ more than ourselves
-medical clinic in the NW
-premature babies in the NW 
-the Trueloves (medical clinic missionaries in the NW)
-that we praise Jesus even if none of our prayers are answered the way we expect and that we praise Him in the storms

Thank you so much for partnering with me in prayer!  

I will earnestly try to keep up with the blog if I have internet; however, the chances of having internet are slim, so I will probably have to end up updating about the trip in about six weeks, when I return to the US and get settled into Moody life.  

Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore.  Psalm 113:2

Countdown to Haiti:  14 hours!

A look into what will be packed away in my suitcase: