Friday, February 17, 2012


I just finished my second small group meeting with two young men. We have been working to develop a bi-lingual church service, using the content from CCC (our home church) and modifying it to make it Haitian. The series we are working on is about identifying your personal mission, the thing that God created you to do with this life and then making it real in your life using the B.L.E.S.S. strategy (begin with prayer, listen, eat together, serve, and strory). At the end of the meeting we prayed that God would bless us and give us the chance to bless others. About an hour after the meeting these two young men(Alsa and David) came back to my door and told me about an encouter they just had right after leaving the meeting.

They met a man sitting on the street corner with a guitar. Alsa  asked the man to play something for them so he did. Alsa said "That was beautiful. Have you ever considered playing music for Jesus?" The man said that he had never done that before.Alsa said "I have this guitar at church that is just laying there waiting to be played." Alsa asked the man if he had Jesus in his life. The man said no. Alsa asked the man if he would like to. The man said, "I have been wanting to for a long time, but I don't know if I am ready. I don't have clothes that are appropriate for church." Alsa told him that he didn't need to wait for clothes to know Jesus, and asked him again if he would like to know Jesus. The man said, "Yes, I would." They all got on their knees and prayed together, and the man turned his life over to Jesus. Just like that, on the street corner.

So Alsa and David  came to my room, because they wanted to pray with me for this man and ask that God will lead him to church on Sunday. We prayed, that God would remove all obstacles keeping this man from Him. And while we are praying I am thinking I have a pair of black pants and a white shirt that I wore to church when i first got here but haven't worn since I got some new clothes. I hesitated because I don't want to always have my first reaction to be give him/her something to make it all better. I continued to pray and the weight on my heart to hand over these clothes becomes undeniable. I asked Alsa and David them about the size of this guy and David said that the man was "Kind of fat, just like you."  Haitians are brutal. I went into my suitcase and grabbed a shirt and some pants that should fit a fat guy like me. Alsa took the pants but said, "You know, I want to be blessed too." and handed me back the shirt to me and said, "I want to give him one of my shirts.".....Blown away.
 Man did these guys get that message or what? I am so grateful for this opportunity to be in small group with them.  Alsa told me that this very thing (God blesses us so that we can go and bless others/God has a mission for each of us) has been on his heart. They can't wait to share it, so they aren't waiting. I am blessed.
Dargout, Croix des Boquettes, Haiti

Friday, February 10, 2012

In God's Hands

Last night, Ella came to show me how the center of her upper lip was swollen and hard.  She had had the sniffles all day, and my first assumption was that her lip had been irritated by tissues.  But, within 10 minutes, her entire upper lip was swollen to about 3 times its normal size.  Chris and I asked her if anything else was wrong, and she said her neck hurt.  Pulling aside her t-shirt, we discovered 2 bites or stings, that she couldn't remember getting.  Looking further, we found hives all along the back of her legs and a couple on her hands.  Her left pinky was also swollen.  As we were watching her, the lid of her right eye started to swell.

I have never seen anyone, let alone one of my babies, with such a reaction.  Trying to keep calm for Ella, but TOTALLY freaking out inside, we gave her Benedryl and an instant ice pack.  Holding her favorite doll, she laid in my lap as she drifted off.

In the States, I would have called the doctor and likely driven 5 minutes to my local ER, where I would have been given all sorts of medicine and advise.  I would have felt in control.  But this is Haiti, and care is different.  The nearest clinic, if it was open, is 20 minutes away.  The nearest hospital more than an hour. Would they see a tremendously swollen lip on an otherwise healthy girl as worrisome? Would they have the necessary medicines?

I prayed over my baby girl.  I prayed for God's healing.  I prayed for wisdom.  I prayed for guidance.  I prayed for the other moms out there holding children far more sick than Ella.  In my prayers, I was again reminded that there is one being in all of creation who loves this child more than I do and who claims her for His own.  She is more than her body; her soul was made for Him and His kingdom.  She is only mine for a while. Recognizing my daughter as a child of God brought me immeasurable comfort and joy.

I can't control a bug's bite.  I can't control a body's reaction.  I can't control what this night or tomorrow may bring. Not so many years ago, I would have been paralyzed by fear and my lack of ability to control a situation.  But here, in God's presence and peace, I find tremendous strength, peace and hope.

Within a short while of giving her the Benedryl, we could see Ella's hives fading.  Her lip and eyes were still huge, but they weren't getting worse.  She spent the night snuggled between Chris and I as we took turns looking over her.  By morning, the swelling was greatly reduced and as I write this at 1pm she is almost back to normal.

In many ways, my love for my children is my greatest weakness.  When God called us to Haiti, our first thought was no, we can't take our children there.  Well-meaning friends and family thought the same thing and often shared that thought with us.  Some even went so far as to say that we were endangering the kids and being selfish.

Maybe that is true.  Certainly, there was a time last night when I wished I was in a place where I could be in control, where anything I wanted or needed could be had within a few minutes or a short drive.  But, what I must remember is that my children are also, and more importantly, God's children.  He has a plan for them that exceeds my wildest dreams.  He loves them more than my finite heart can comprehend.  God called us... all 4 of us... to this life.  He didn't promise it would be easy, but he did promise to be with us.  Last night, he was with us.  I could feel Jesus in the room, stroking Ella's hair, stroking my hair.  Telling us that he is in control.