Prayers from the Haitians

These prayers come from a book of Haitian prayers called God is No Stranger.

prayer-hands

Although we lack a dress to wear to church, lack food at home, and have only two cents in our pockets, the grace of God is enough. With this grace, we are rich.

Lord,
Once I saw a woman dying. The doctor took the blood from another person’s arm and put it in the lady, and she lived. This morning, we ask you do this for us, but don’t let the leeches of sin suck us dry again.

Oh Lord,
Make You and me like coffee and milk. Mixed together we can never be separated.

Father,
They say that I am poor. Thank you, Father. May I also be poor in spirit, that I may inherit the kingdom of God.

Life without Jesus is a sewing machine come unthreaded. You pass over but you sew nothing.

Lord,
I know my garden doesn’t grow or produce unless I work it and visit it. So, please Lord, work and visit the garden of my heart. I want to produce for you.

Jesus, our brother,
We lie in front of you on our bellies as we wait for You as a big brother to teach us. Your words are to us a mirror, a powdering, and perfuming. Help us rise up with a fresh bath and go out among the world this week.

Fellowship

It will soon be Easter. On that day, we will stand together remembering the One who lived, died, and rose for us. This is the climax of history, the focal point of God’s saving works. He is risen! He is risen indeed!

But then what? What are we to do? Where are we to go? To whom can we turn?…this is where the Church comes in. We are part of something bigger than ourselves. We are the Church. We are the ‘now what’ and the place we go. We look to one another, united in Christ by the Holy Spirit. We fellowship together, live our lives together, share our possessions together. We are the body. We are the Temple. We are family. We show up on Sundays, Wednesdays, whatever days we gather for worship, and shake hands and say hello. Then we go home, we go to work or school or elsewhere, we go about our lives until we come back together again.

But fellowship is not just Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights; fellowship is sharing our whole lives together in living out God’s mission and proclaiming the Gospel. Fellowship is not just when we get together to eat; it is opening our lives to one another. Fellowship is having each others’ backs and supporting one another through the good and the bad. Fellowship asks more of us than coming to worship or going to Bible study. Fellowship is about opening up the entirety of our lives to one another and about walking together in faith and love.

It is now that I need fellowship the most. For the past six years, I have been actively seeking God’s call on my life-to be an orphan care worker in Haiti fulltime. For the past year, I have been looking for enough financial support to finally achieve this. Today, I regret to share that I am no longer being pursued for my dream position and the position God has put on my life. I do not often ask others so blatantly for emotional support, and it is strange for me to do so. But today, I need a fellowship of believers and friends that will have my back and support me in this time.

And know this: I will not give up on achieving God’s will on my life. He has called me to the orphan. He has called me to Haiti. He has called me, and I have said, “Here I am!” One day, I will make it. One day, I will rejoice in what God has done to get myself there. One day, I will understand why He says “No” to getting me there right now. One day, I will share with the Haitian orphan why we celebrate Easter, why we celebrate Christmas, why we celebrate God’s love.

Today, I may not have all the answers. Today, I may be questioning a lot of stuff in my life, especially the past six years. Today, the past six years feel like a failure. Today, I say, “Your will be done!” whether I understand it or not.

Remember what the father does in the parable of the prodigal? The father does not rub his son’s face in his failures. The father does not magnify his mistakes. The father does not say to him, “I told you so.” The father does not tell him how dirty he is, how smelly he is, how bad his life has become; he already knows this. The son does not need reminded; he needs welcomed back in a joyous way. And so his dad pulls out all the stops, and says to the son that, in that town, in that community, “this son of mine is getting a block party-not because he deserves it-because he’s my son.” Today, I come to you as the prodigal son. Today, I need fellowship. I need welcomed home.

I conclude by saying this: in no way do I have bad feelings towards the ministry or towards anybody with whom I met as a potential supporter. The executive leadership has been very supportive in this decision and they are helping me with the logistics of my transition. The funds that I had raised will remain with the organization, as this is their policy and will be used to help support other areas of the ministry. This is an incredible ministry and you can rest assured whatever donations were made will be used in the best possible way to provide orphan care. It is my hope that I can work with the ministry as often as I possibly can-they are by far the BEST mission organization I’ve ever worked with. In fact, with a portion of the donated funds, I will be travelling to Haiti. It is my hope that those who supported me financially this time will consider joining me when the time comes to get myself there according to God’s timing.

Thank you to the ministry for being there in many ways: Beth, Todd, Corrie, John, Jason, Jeff, Janice, Brent, Anna, Dan, Holly, Matt, Julie, David, Jayne to name a few. The staff as a whole has been pouring so much into me in the past year that I felt included, accepted, loved. Thank you to all of my one-time donation givers. Thank you to my annual supporters. Thank you to my monthly supporters. Thank you for all the fellowship I’ve been a part of these past many years.

This is not the end!

More than dreaming

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4

More than dreaming, I want to do, to go, to love, to be. Because love does. Because chasing whimsy is better than dreaming whimsy. Because passion will fill my sails. Because there are so many people to love and places to go and experiences to have. – Lauren Ellis, “more than dreaming.” 23 June 2014

cropped-418765_4416151962808_1192130277_n2

Ever since I was young, I have had the same dream: help those who need it most. Although I have been on mission trips in many of the states and also in Haiti, I know that weeklong trips aren’t enough for me. Love does, not love sometimes does. I need to do more. I need to love more. I need to fulfill the Great Commission in everything that I do.

God is calling me to live in Haiti fulltime as a missionary. God is calling me to the orphan. I know this as fact. Friends see me as crazy, extended family disapproves, lack of financial resource limits how long I can be there and governs when I can move; it seems as if everyone around me is getting where they are called to be, but I have to wait. How do I go about following through with God’s calling when nearly everywhere I turn, the world is discouraging me from doing so?

I guess time will tell. I will trust in Him. I will delight myself in everything He does. He has put into my life a purpose, and He will get me there.

Eating Mud Pies

haiti-woman-plates-615

Did you ever play in the mud as a kid? Did you ever imagine and create all sorts of things with the clay-like mud? In Haiti, some people ‘play in the mud’ for real. They make mud pies, combining dirt with salt and butter. They cook and sell these bon bon terre-not to be fed to animals, but to people. Some Haitians buy and eat them because they are too poor for other food. Others, particularly pregnant women and nursing mothers, eat them because they are thought to be high in nutrients, especially calcium. They think these mud pies will give them the nutrition they need.

You’ve probably eaten a mud pie recently, too. Not likely a physical one, but certainly a spiritual one. Have you consumed television for relaxation? friends’ advice for wisdom? applause for approval?

These are like the pregnant women looking to the mud pies for their calcium. You may get some calcium from them, but they are a poor source of that nutrient. There are many nutrient-dense foods which provide a healthy source of calcium.

When we look to have our needs met outside of Christ, we too are seeking a poor source. Only Jesus is rich in the spiritual nutrients we need.

What ‘mud pie’ have you been eating? Is there anything in your life that you’ve been looking to for spiritual or emotional nutrition or nourishment that isn’t nutritious at all? Choose a better source of nutrition, the best source-the pure milk of the Word and the bread and wine of Jesus’ body and blood.

Haiti 2016: 1 and 2 February

This year, Church of the Savior and Valley Forge UMC are working in Village de la Grâce, one of the many tent cities in the Port-au-Prince area. Through the building of 12’x12’ tin and lumber homes, it is our hope that the people are shown God’s love in ways they could not have imagined.

When it is time for a new home to be built, the morning of the people tear down the previous tent and relocate the stuff within. Imagine having your home torn down and all of your stuff being moved out in less than 15 minutes. It certainly puts things in perspective for those of us who live in such a privileged society.

On Monday, we were able to complete nearly three homes. Greg ended up feeling under the weather and had Fanfan take him home as we did more work through the day.

In order to build the homes, we had three people on cutting wood, many on building frames and putting the tin on, as well as took turns loving on the kids and playing with them—sometimes to get them away from the work site, as it can be dangerous for little ones, sometimes because we were taking a water break. The ground is leveled, the blocks and floor are set, and work on the walls follows. Four walls, a roof, a window, a door, and two shelves replace the tent that the family previously lived in. At some point after finishing the homes, we pray a blessing for the house and family, as well as present the family with a Bib La (Haitian Bible). We did this for one of the houses.

I was able to make it 10 days in Haiti without getting a sun burn or minor injury. That’s a new record. The area in which we are working has no shade for the majority of the day, so after spending so long in the sun, you start to feel it. At one point, I was playing futbol with some of the kids and all of a sudden one of their heads met my lip, which then met with a tooth. Fat-lipped and red-armed, I was ready for the next day.

Today, we built two-and-some houses again. We were able to bless two more homes.

God moment for the past two days: After blessing the first home on the second day, we learned that it was for one of the worship leaders in the tent city’s church. In thanks, she began to sing in Kreyol ‘How Great Thou Art’. The other Haitians around us joined in as well as those of us on the work team. That moment of experiencing so many of us worshiping the same God in differnet tongues was awe-inspiring. It is a moment many of us will never forget.

Last night’s devotion involved me telling my testimony (read the following post Prodigal in order to read it if you don’t already know it). Tonight’s is coming soon, and I will post the devotion that is in the book later on.

One Trip Ends, Another Begins

My final day with B2B was spent relaxing at Kaliko Beach on Côte des Arcadins. The missionaries and their kids spent a good amount of time poolside or collecting sea shells and dried-up starfish and sea urchins. Most of that time, I spent with them at poolside, while also taking some one-on-one time with God.

Beaches are one of my favorite places to go. When I look out into the ocean, I am reminded of all there is in the world. I look out to the horizon and see opportunity. I see where I stand in the world. I take the time to just sit, pray, contemplate, and enjoy the moment.

In 2010, when I went to South Carolina with my high school mission team, we had devotion on Edisto Beach. We waited until twilight to place a cross in the sand, sing a few songs, and pray and listen to God. We learned of His redeeming grace that is often seen in the sacrament of baptism. The water washes away in a moment all that was in your past and brings you into the world in a fresh way.

Yesterday, I took the time to walk out into the ocean – about knee-high – and read some passages to remind me of the rite of baptism, the living water, and the love of God. I returned to sit by the poolside for a while before lunch.

Today, I have already met up with the Philadelphia portion of my group for the Servants In Fellowship half of my trip. The Cincinnati group is expected to arrive at the airport around 730, and get to the guest house around 800-830.

It is my hope that in the past week, and in the one forthcoming, we were/are able to share a sliver of that love and living water with those in Haiti.

I asked if I could write the devotions for the Servants in Fellowship trip this year. As the week progresses, check back in for what we have been doing, as well as to follow along with the devotions as we get to them.