On 153 Fish, Charcoal fire, and love

I’m not much of a breakfast eater. I’ve never liked eggs, so perhaps that’s caused a hang-up. I do love coffee, though. And bacon. I believe both of those things make the world be…

Source: On 153 Fish, Charcoal fire, and love

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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

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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.

Racism is Nothing New: A Poem

You see, I don’t care what color your skin is but if you start thinking that your color is better than the rest I will give you a coloring book and send you to the kid’s table.
Let’s see how well you color your earth with only one tone.
Let’s see how gorgeous your future is when it is only in black and white.
Let’s see how long it takes before all your pictures look the same, how long it takes before you stop coloring out of boredom.
Because if the world was only made of black or white, what color would our sunsets be?
What color would a moonlit path through an autumn forest be?
What color would we bleed?
Because on the inside, we all look exactly the same.
What color would we be when our skin has long since dried up?
What color would our tears be as we wept, not only for the people we traded in for crayons  but for the beauty we never saw.
If we are so obsessed with our skin colors, how are the white and black crayons the least used in the box?
Why weren’t humans colored anything from purple pizzazz to firetruck red with marigold shading?
You see, we are not the color of our skin; we are instead the color of our imagination, painted as vividly as a hopeful sunrise, as wondrously as the eye of a storm, as stunningly as we pretend to be.
You can paint yourself however your imagination desires and perhaps some of us are so obsessed with black and white because those are the only colors we could ever imagine, the only colors you spend your entire life trying to cover up your marigold shading.
Our hearts should not have lines to be colored inside of.
Our souls should not be surrounded by whitewashed walls.
Our minds should not constantly calculate “controversial” colors.
Our eyes should not see anything other than a kaleidoscope of color.
You see, racism is nothing new.
But now racism is treated like a metaphorical boogeyman; that if you’re “bad” he will come for you and build a wall to keep you out.
Except I shouldn’t call it a metaphor because that would be His eyes were rubies in the morning light.
But today his eyes are ruby red, not because of the light that shines upon them but because they are filled with blood and unseen sunsets, unseen birthdays, unseen children who wonder where their father has gone.
The only thing he can see is his family wearing all black as they lower him six feet into the ground.
No, racism is nothing new.
But it is nothing old, either.

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.

Haiti 2016: 28-29 Jan

 

For the most part, the past two days were pretty low key.

Yesterday I accompanied Brent on a trip to Valerio Cazan, where a good amount of furniture and appliances can be purchased-kind of like an Haitian Sears. While he went to purchase a new oven and check to see if an item that was requested was in stock, I went ahead and looked at about how much certain items would cost for when I finally come down to live in Haiti more permanently. I took the low- and mid-range prices and for furniture and appliances alone (not including security money, rent, vehicle, general support, etc.) came up with anywhere between 8810 and 22460 (recommended to go closer to the higher end of these figures).

Work on getting the paperwork done continued, and I helped with translating English to French for a few documents. Some of the staff had a Skype meeting that I was able to listen in on while doing said translating, so I was able to see how some of the inner workings of international non-profits work.

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Today, I went out to Titanyen with the Hickman family to visit a home of seventeen children. On the way, we stopped at Yulti’s, a nearby Haitian restaurant, where I had griot (triple fried pork). I always look forward to eating Haitian food. I also saw the water up close for the first time.

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When we arrived at the home, I was able to see more of what a captain does. We played games with the kids like “volleyball” and a game that involved putting a spoon in your mouth and balancing a bouncy ball on it while walking-kind of like those ‘don’t drop the egg’ type games. We didn’t stay too long because the kids hadn’t eaten yet-we didn’t want to postpone their meal.

A stop to City Market to pick up a few things (including Casino cookies for me!) happened on the way back to the guesthouse.

Dinner was with the Ravenhorsts and Holly’s sister, Bri, at their place.

I got back to the guesthouse in time to join the Fudges during their family movie night-High School Musical 2.