March 23, 2011

Lessons From Haiti, Part 2

Have you ever found your self going through an experience and thinking that what you are learning is not spiritual enough? 

Maybe I am missing it, God. 

Maybe I didn't pay enough attention.

Or maybe someimtes it is the simple lessons that we need the most.

Haiti is an extremely poor country.  It is sad to see how people live and the terrible things they have to face on a regular basis.  Despite being beautiful, it is also a very dirty country with garbage everywhere.  There is nothing easy about the lives of the people there.  It is also a dark country spiritually.  People are lost and many are mixed up in evil practices and bound by fear.

However, none of this is what struck me while I was there.  It isn't that i didn't see it, feel sad about it, or care about it...I did.  It is heart wrenching to take it all in.  It is just that I wasn't walking around with this heaviness as a result of it and with a new found desire to help.  The thing is, I think God broke much of that in me long before I got there.  I knew I was visiting a place with many different needs and I had seen some similar needs in other places.  I just thought that was why I was going and something God would have me take away from my time there. 

God impressed something so different on my heart.  He is there.  Big, I know.  You are probably thinking, "Are you kidding me?!"  No, I'm not.  I felt like He kept showing me that He is there...and everywhere.  I mean I knew that.  I have been told that my whole life.  God is everywhere, I get it.  But I didn't, not in the right way.  I went to Haiti focusing on what many told me I would experience and feel.  I focused on the bad, the dark, the sad.  Growing up, this was my default mode.  It was easy for me to focus on the scary, the bad, the sad and I have spent years changing that pattern.  Here I was slipping back into it though.  So, God needed to show me that yes, there is spiritual darkness in Haiti but His light is there as well and even more powerful.  Yes, there is evil there but God is visibly at work as well.  Yes, there are sad things but the joy of the Lord is visibly present in people as well.  He is there, and His presence can be felt not just by me but the people that live there, and His joy is eveident in them.  Though darkness exists there, God's presence does as well and He is much bigger.  So I felt darkness, and saw hurt, and saw terrible living conditions, and heard of living in fear, but I also saw Him.  I saw believers filled with His joy and saw Him working in their lives and doing amazing things!

Some of the ladies arriving at the conference
The ladeis holding up their new Bibles
Our cargo arriving, PTL!

One of the breakout sessions
Playing a game the ladies taught us
 My friend Johanne


Another game the ladies taught us.  The sweet thing about this picture is you can see the joy written on their faces and they never do things like this where they just have fun together as women.

March 21, 2011

Lessons From Haiti, Part 1

God in all His sovereignty has better plans

...and truly aren't we glad He does.  Even when they don't seem as good as ours, even when we have spent much time planning, even when it hurts, His plans are always so much better.  This lesson was one our team was quickly confronted with on our trip.

Early morning wake-up to catch a shuttle to the airport on the 12th and...no shuttle.  What we didn't know at the time was that this was only the beginning of absolutely nothing going as planned for the rest of the trip.  Once we arrived in Haiti every detail of the conference began to unravel until the only thing that seemed for sure was that the people who were going to speak were still going to speak...though when, to who, and where were a little sketchy. :)  Not to mention, our cargo with all the conference supplies including blankets for the women to sleep on, goody bags we were going to hand out at the beginning, conference programs for them and much, much more did not show up until Monday afternoon.  Most of the ladies came in on Sunday and the conference started Monday morning.

When your best laid plans fall apart what do you do?  Pray.  Trust God in His sovereignty.  Wait on Him.  Roll with it!  20 women being flexible and rolling with whatever the day brought?  That's right!  I was blessed to be a part of the most amazing team of women who were so flexible and patient.  We really never knew how each day would look from one day to the next, but God knew and His plans were better right from the start.

Everything worked so much batter than we could have imagined.  We ended up having 167 ladies instead of 150 so we couldn't have handed out bags at the beginning anyway.  We didn't have enough so we needed to make a few and then rearrange what was in them to make sure everyone got some things.  We had breakout sessions and main sessions planned but circumstances forced us to only ever have two different sessions going.   God knew.  We were supposed to have 5 translators and ended up with 2 so we could only do two session at a time anyway.  When the speakers all got rearranged they ended being lumped together perfectly by topic...only God can do such amazing things!  We were humbled and grateful.

Can we trust God with our plans?  I think the better question is, can we let go of our plans and trust God with His?  Can we accept that whateve happens is in the sovereign hands of God and choose to have a good attitude anyway, choose to trust God anyway, choose joy anyway? 

I opened my backpack today looking for my glasses...they weren't there.  I am pretty sure they are somewhere in Haiti.  At the moment I discovered it I could feel the tug on my heart saying how are you going to respond?  How?  It wil cost hundreds of dollars to get a new pair.  It was totally a God thing the way I got the last pair.  There is such a temptation to be negative.  Good attitude anway, trust God anyway, joy anyway...  I am sure someone can use those glasses and I am sure God can provide new ones.  He is sovereign in the big and the little.


Team prayer the night before we left for Haiti


My college friend and me

The old well at the Open Door Church compound
where we stayed

The mission house on the right and church on left




The school within the compound


The clinic in the compound

View from the roof of the mission house


March 14, 2011

What have I experienced in Haiti?

warm sunsine

perfect temps (not the sweltering heat expected)

beautiful brown faces of women

adorable children who love to laugh and giggle at us

dirty streets with much garbage

lush vegitation

very dark nights

spicy, yummy, unique food

a cold, short on sleep night

a comfortable restfull night

 praising God with sisters in Christ from Haiti

much laughter, singing and dancing

times of sharing with tears of brokeness and joy

the need for MUCH flexibility

new Haitian and American friends

prayer and more prayer

poverty and great needs

poorly cared for animals

crisp clean clothes of Haitian people who know how to work hard

the presence of God

March 12, 2011

Haiti

I made it to Haiti and it is beautiful here, life is not easy but beautiful people and countryside!  We are staying in Open Door Church's compound.  It really is very nice and we have been so blessed by the people here.  We landed late morning and spent the day just getting to know the place and the people.  We got to take a walk outside the compound to see the orphanage they are building and along the way got to spend time with the sweetest kids ever!  Tomorrow we will have church and then begin prepping for the conference which starts Monday morning.  Our cargo with many things for the conference did not make it and may not till Monday well after the conference starts.  Please pray for a miracle here as part of that was blankets for the women who be staying here at the compound for the conference.  They will have nothing to sleep on but cement.  It is such an amazing opportunity to be a part of this conference as these women have never experienced anything like this where they are pampered, taught, given gifts and even get to make a trip to the beach which is unheard of.  Please pray that these women will experience the incredible love God has for them personally.