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Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Learning Center for Special Needs

It is with great anticipation and overflowing excitement to finally say that our Learning Center for children and teens with Special Needs will be opening JUNE 18TH!!
Here’s some background info: Back in February riots broke out for 2 whole weeks across this little island causing the construction on the community center (next door to the learning center) to be delayed and postponed and delayed again. The learning center could not open because there were piles of rocks, sand, and nails spread out all across the yard. It also would be hard to open the learning center while construction men are making noise right outside the windows as well as trying to push wheelchairs as we maneuver around piles of rocks and gravel. Good news arrived a few weeks ago and I was told the community center would be complete the last week of May give or take a few days.... But then an accident occured and our head welder sliced his finger and broke it while putting on the door frames. I rushed him to the ER with our painter who accompanied us. The ER didn’t have the medicine that he needed so I stayed with the welder while the painter took a motorcycle to the pharmacy. Before arriving to the pharmacy, that motorcycle got hit by a truck and the painter went flying through the air. He returned in bad shape without the medicine but with a collapsed lung and was transported to a bigger hospital. From all of this, we are here on June 15th with yet another delay in the finishing of construction for the community center....
I talked it over with the nannies/teachers that will be working with the children in the center and they said “let’s open now”. No more wasting time. These children desperatey need this. And so here we are!
The children don’t have a cafeteria yet (the community center will be used for this) or a playground... but they do have beautiful classrooms filled with play dough, flashcards, crayons, balls, and workbooks to help each child learn their colors, numbers, letters, how to zip, button, tie, how to wash clothes and wash hands. How to build blocks and learn manners. How to sing, dance, but most importantly learn about Jesus. This learning center is all for Jesus’ glory. These children will hear bible stories every day. They will learn bible verses and be taught about His love and His mercy. And even more than teaching these sweet kids, we’re praying this ministry reaches even further out to each of their families. For the first time they will see that their child is accepted. Loved. Cherished. Worth more than jewels. They will see that we as Christ followers do not shun them for their disabilities like the culture sometimes says, we won’t cower away from their mental illness that some of them have been told is a result of a voodoo curse. We will speak truth into them and the truth will set them free. They will see the worth in their child and see the worth in themselves and open their eyes wide to see just how much our heavenly Father loves us. That is our prayer with this learning center. Will you pray with us?
For the summer months we will have a condensed schedule. This will give us time to learn about each child, their disabilities, and how to best help them thrive. The center will be open from 7:00am-12:30pm 4 days a week so the children and teens can get adjusted. I am beyond grateful that we are able to show the love of Jesus in this much needed way and I could not have built the center without your help. For that, I say thank you with all my heart!
BUT, after the riots broke out in February, the State Department raised the security level for Haiti to a level 4. Majority of our mission teams have had to cancel due to the unrest and because of these cancelations, we have not received all those lovely suitcases full of diapers, wipes, shampoo, and food. The funds we have is having to go towards purchasing these things (that teams usually provide) for the girl’s home thus we are limited in providing for the learning center’s students. We have 23 sweet souls registered for the learning center. Would you be willing to sponsor one of them? We are desperately needing help to pay the extra staff (teachers, maids, cook, security, bus driver) as well as each student sponsorship fees for supplies, food, activities, physical therapy, and doctor visits. If you feel led in your heart to sponsor one of these students, please go to www.lalimye.org to the donate page, choose your amount, and type in “learning center sponsorship” in the memo. You’ll then receive a picture with your sponsored child and a great big thankyou from them for giving them the opportunity to learn in a school type setting for the first time in their entire life. We are looking for 23 sponsors to give $20.00 a month, but pray about it and give whatever you feel the Holy Spirit leading you to give. Nothing is too small or too big. We are just beyond thankful and are trusting God to provide!
“if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20
To be honest, we don’t have the extra funds lying around to open the learning center, but we do have faith and we will trust in our Provider. We will open the doors, pour out our hearts, and love these sweet souls while trusting that He will provide. He is a good, good Father and He wants what is best for His children. Let Him use you to make a huge difference in the life of these children. Together we can be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Underserved Privlege

How has it already been almost one year? It feels like yesterday in so many ways. Getting that phone call before the sun had time to rise. Trying to control my emotions so as to focus on staying between those blurry lines painted on the highway. Busting through those squeaky double doors as the nurses move aside so I could make my way to Sophia's bed. To be in utter belief and shock that's it's over. The fight is over. Had we lost? Had we won? Depends. Depends on how I wanted to look at it.
When Melody died one year before Sophia, she was in my arms half a mile from the hospital. I didn't know, or maybe refused to believe that she died before running through the front doors of that hospital, so they generously said they would take care of the burial since she was pronounced dead in their ER. I remember the intense feelings all too well of her being carried in a box on the shoulder of a stranger as he tapped her box to make music while he hummed through the cemetery looking for a spot he thought was vacant. I walked close behind as my eyes wandered over to the other graves. So much voodoo paraphernalia on them. "what is this place?" I thought to myself. My next door neighbor is a witch doctor, so I've seen a lot, yet this place had things I've never even seen before even living next door to the priest himself. It was trashy. It was dark. This was where they were going to bury my daughter? The gasp for air and the rush of blood all to my toes when another human skull was dug out while digging Melody's grave. The agony and the reality and the shock from it all came rushing back into my head as I waited for the papers declaring Sophia's passing. I couldn't go through that again. "Please not again, Lord." I stood outside Sophia's room where there were still 3 other kids fighting for their life, (luckily too young to realize her lifeless body in a bed a few feet away) as I called my parents to tell them the news. "She's gone" is all that I could mutter out.
After what seemed like forever waiting to get the death certificate, I got the news. This hospital was different than Melody's. There wasn't an option for them to bury her. Nor was there an option for a morgue from what I was told. So, I picked up my baby girl wrapped in a taped-up towel and laid her on the back seat of my car and refrained as best as my will power would let me to not use my rearview mirror for that 1.5 hour drive home. Her grave was being dug in my backyard as I caught myself swaying my sweet 6-month-old in my arms as I always did to put her to sleep. It was a natural reaction. My arms wouldn't stop. Disbelief and shock come first. Emotions and grief come after.
Sophia's surgery was only days away from getting a shunt put in for her Hydrocephalus before she got an infection from her Spina Bifida, got meningitis, and ended up septic. We were so close it seems. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel. The light, I thought, was best for her. The light I wanted. The light we prayed for. Earnestly. Everyday. Instead, she laid in a hospital bed hooked up to machines and had seizure after seizure as he body started to get tired day after day for 36 days. I realized that I needed to let go. It was time. I told her to go see Jesus and that it was time to go home. "Go see The Light that is best for you, sweet one. The true light. Go see the Light that was laid out for you before you were even born." And she did. She breathed her last breath in the wee hours of February 15th 2018. She won. She got the prize. She got it all. And through the tears and the heartbreak and the heaviness of it all, I smiled. I had peace. She won. My baby girl won. It's all how you look at it. Winning or losing that is. She got heaven. She got the crown. She got the golden roads and majestic mansions. She won the fight. Through human eyes it doesn't seem like that. But through the eyes of Jesus, I knew. And my mama heart could not be more content to know where she is now. To know she's happy and healthy. She walks, she talks, she sings, she dances. Life on earth would have forbid her of those things. Through Sophia and Melody, I'm reminded of the true Light. The one that really matters. The one worthy of everything. The one my heart desires to serve no matter what it costs. The light I want to seek day after day knowing it'll never burn out. It'll never lose its flame. The only light worth following. How dare me to think the light at the end of MY tunnel is better.
---------"therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have PEACE with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of UNDESERVED PRIVLEGE where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory." Romans 5:1-2-------- Through losing a child, I've dealt numerous times with the trauma it brings. The anxiety every time one of my other girls gets a stuffy nose or has a fever. The "what-ifs" roll in and flood my mind. Trauma tries to steal my ability to let go and let God. It makes me want to grip the reins even tighter. It has made it hard to surrender the lives of my children to God. I want control…. because when the worst of the worst has already happened, how do I know it isn't just right around the corner again? Waiting to devour me. Waiting to rip me apart all over again. If I hold the reins, I'd be ready… So I thought.
Anxiety. One of the devil's tactics to keep hold of us. One of the ways he watches and grins as I struggle to give the reins to the Lord in that area of life. You see, God has given me the responsibility to take care of His girls. HIS GIRLS. They are his. And I have been given the privilege and responsibility to raise them up until HE calls them home. When He is ready. Even if I grasp those reins with every ounce of strength I've got, He still is in control. "Letting go" is something He's been walking me through for quite a while now. Learning to trust. It's an embarrassment that I don't trust him like I should with my girls. I know my anxiety is an insult to him and it stabs me deep. Lacking trust means lacking faith. That's hard to admit. But I know He is a God of grace and mercy and will continue to walk through life holding my hand, teaching me, and most importantly, loving me no matter what. I know He gave us mothers that profound instinct of protecting our flock and maybe deep down as he watches us jump up to check the heartbeat of our newborns all hours of the night he sees it as love not distrust. Unconditional love for His children, for our children. Maybe just maybe He gives a little grace during those moments. He knows he's the one truly holding the reins. He's just waiting for his daughter to accept that. Not in some parts of life, but every part. They're his kids. Not mine. He just decided to lavish me until my cup ran over with blessings of being their mama on this earth.
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" - Matthew(6:26-27) It truly is a joy to serve God. Even through the hard times. It is an honor that we must never take for granted. My prayer is that you and I follow Him wholeheartedly through whatever life brings. Whatever season you're in, seek the light and follow it with your whole heart. It's always worth it. Even in the storms. And for that, we can rejoice. "If we could only look upon a difficult crisis as an occasion of bringing out, on our behalf, the sufficiency of divine grace, it would enable us to preserve the balance of our souls and to glorify God, even in the deepest waters." - C.H. Machintosh-------------------------------------- Romans 8:6 "So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to LIFE and PEACE." "and since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. BUT if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later."Romans 8:17-18
Peace comes from faith in Him. Peace comes from handing over the reins. Follow that light. Follow The Light.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A Community Center

It is with so much joy and built up anticipation that I get to announce La Limyè is building a community center for outreach projects!! --------------------------------------------- This has been my dream and vision for so many years. To have a place for the local Haitians to come and get blessed. To have opportunities. To learn and grow in their understanding of Jesus and to have endless ways to learn in skills and knowledge. A HUGE thanks to all of our generous donors! We truly could not have done this without each and every one of you. Whether by English classes, church services, bible studies, teaching trades and skills such as woodworking or literacy, we now will have the opportunity to pour into the lives of the Haitian people under the shade of a roof and away from the beautiful, though noisy 11 little girls in the front yard!------------------------------- The pavilion type community center will be directly next to the school for children with disabilities and will also be used as a cafeteria for the school children. It will seat approximately 132 people with a stage, two bathrooms, and a kitchen. It'll take four months to build and will serve as our multipurpose building for all ministry outreach programs. I am most excited, not only for what we as a team at La Limye here on the ground in Haiti can do, but even more what our mission teams can do as they come in to train or teach for a week at a time. Education classes on health, hygiene, welding, plumbing, biblical studies, reading, writing, wellness, cooking... the list is endless of ways we can help love on and teach the locals in our area.
Thank you in just an understatement of the gratitude we have to those who have made this possible. You're changing lives. You're being Jesus. You're being a light. A bright, bright, light. Our goal, our main mission as La Limyè ministries, it to bring others to Jesus Christ. It is to plant the seeds and water the garden and watch God work in the lives of his people. So, whatever we do, however we do it, we do it for Jesus. To bring honor to his name and to bring people to a closer relationship with Him. It's the only reason la Limyè exists. For Him. By Him. To Him.----------------------------- Also, be on the lookout for new updates on the school as it's getting ready to open in the near future. We are in the middle of setting up classrooms this week. 24 anxious kids are ready to start learning and we can't wait to see how this school not only affects the children, but even more the guardians of the children whom never thought their child would get a chance at school. For some who thought their child was cursed for having special needs. We're going to show them the children of God they are and just how much jewels really are worth in God's sight. Through every child that walks up our handicap ramp. That is our mission. To show them their worth in Jesus Christ and to shine shine shine all for God's glory.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Pity problems

I've been complaining a lot this season. Over little stresses and mess ups and problems that in the light of things, aren't really a big deal. But in my conceited head, the world falls apart when all these little stresses come, and the pity party starts when I have to deal with them alone in a 3rd world with no one to vent to. Then God puts it all into prospective for me. He sends me little reminders to find joy in the mist of pain. To find happiness in the mist of gloom. To find the light when all around me is darkness. I'm trying to learn to "suck it up,buttercup" and continue serving my neighbors. Because you see, where I live, my little stresses are nothing compared to theirs.------------------------------------------------------------------ My security guard yelled through my bedroom window that he needs to leave. Someone was driving his motorcycle as a taxi service and accidently hit a 4 year old girl in the road. She suffered a broken leg but will be ok. The law of the land over here is whoever owns the vehicle, or a motorcycle in this case, is responsible. Not the driver. Responsibility over here means paying for everything. The repairs if you hit another car, the hospital fees, the medicine. Everything. And there is no such thing as insurance for these people in my village so they are completely on their own to find a way to pay when its already hard to make ends meet. Ends that are completely different than ours. On top of that, it's September. Several employees have asked for their paychecks early so they have the money to send their children to school. So last week my almost finished being built house flooded. A pvc broke and the house flooded. All over my huge (2 bedroom) house with ceramic floor tiles. All around the fridge where I open it and am reminded that I get 24/7 electricity most days. All around the actual toilets, not just a hole in the ground and a sink where when you turn the faucet, water comes out so I don't have to walk a mile to pump water manually then carry the 40lb bucket on my head to return to my house. A pvc broke that I could easily buy a new one without double checking the wallet but I didn't have to because I even had some stored in my storage room. Stuff. I have lots of it. And instead of being thankful that I at least have stuff, I complain when my stuff breaks or falls apart. And then my security guard tells me he hasn't been sleeping. He's stressed. The hospital bill is already at $130 and that is a lot of money over here. He has a beautiful wife and two boys and works 48 hours a week to feed them and clothe them and he's still considered very poor. No electricity. No indoor plumbing. No juice boxes and ice cream for after school snacks. He's struggling. And it puts into perspective my problems. I can't tell him God is with him and it'll all be ok as I walk back into my fancy house where my kids are fed 3 times a day and I can sleep with fans all night because I have solar panels that give me electricity and I have a fridge where I can keep clean cold drinking water and then I get to lie on my mattress at night alone. Not with the entire family like some people do because one mattress is all they could scrounge up for the whole family. Sometimes this country messes me up. If I lived in the states, I could be completely blinded to the poor and their problems. I could go on venting about my own "problems" and people would run to help and assist me because God forbid we live a hard life. That wouldn't be fair if our middle class selves had to battle.(rolling my eyes) I could throw a pity party and not feel guilty. I could ignore the cries of the poor and go on with my happy go lucky self. because sadly thats the norm sometimes to some people. But I'm here. In Haiti. With reality. Smart enough to know the American dream isn't really a dream and to be blinded by the world's hurt is worse than being surrounded with their problems. I'm here so God can continue to teach me. And I wouldn't want it any other way. I'm still blinded at times. I'm human. I'll still complain and stress. That's ok. But you see, living amongst these people teaches me a lot about what's really important in life. Struggles. We all have them. Stress. Itl'l always be lurking around the corner. But if we have our hearts open to God and what he's wanting to teach us, all those stresses will start to become pity. And we can go on loving our neighbors and that self-focus will soon fade away. And in that, God will get all the glory. That's the ultimate aim of life anyway. That God gets all the glory. No matter what is thrown our way.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Releasing the reins

School. This is how it is suppose to be, right? More lonely than ever before? Separation anxiety? Having to let go of the reins? I sent 5 of my girls to school last week. 3 went for the very first time. 3 that I've raised since they were little babies. 3 that only I know how to tend to when one refuses to eat and the other throws a tantrum. Yet I'm suppose to hand them off to a stranger. A teacher. For 6 hours a day while I stay home and twiddle my thumbs. It has been a few months since I really felt the Lord trying to teach me "let go and let God". Trying to remind me these are His children and I am just to borrow them on earth while planting seeds in their hearts yet still allow Him to do as He pleases. Yet I have this motherly bond. Like I can't let them go because I know the world they go into. I can't let that happen. Yet I have too. I have no choice and so the pain hits my heart like never before as I release my reins into His hands and try to wake up each morning letting Him be in control of these children. Elizabeth Elliot writes "through the transforming power of the cross, even loneliness is a gift." He comes to meet us, He gives us himself. He will never let us go." "The Love that calls us into being, woos us to Himself, makes us His bride, lays down His life for us, and daily crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercy, will not, no matter how it may appear in our loneliness, abandon us" Elizabeth writes. So this life, gives us new marching orders through each season. Sending your baby to school and learning to accept that change. Sending your child to college, it comes again. Giving your daughter away to marriage, there it pops up again. Loosing a loved one, going to the mission field. New marching orders. On and on we all experience that tug at the heartstrings yet it's just a new marching order. And we ought to do it gladly and happily because we know who goes before us and after us and right next to us through it all.
I arrive to school early every afternoon to pick up the girls. I sit in my car twiddling my thumbs waiting for that door to open so I can scoop up my girls. I eye that door like a kid in a candy shop eager to see them again. And then I smile as I know I'm about to get brownie points because I could afford juice boxes this week for an afternoon snack! So then we take the ride back down that gravel dirt road. Reunited. Together. At home at last. Motherhood. It's a beautiful thing. It's a gift. An offering I may make to God.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Molding clay

Let us rationalize. The hardships of missionary life: Heat. Hurricanes. Leadership problems. Change in structure. Government corruption. Hassled at road check points. Workload. No a/c. no hot water. Isolation. Loneliness. Communication challenges. Language learning. Overcrowded rooms. Long lines with no ending. Constant interruptions. Thieves. Not being one of them. Beggars. Single parent problems. Changing plans. Everything takes longer. Shopping an hour away for milk. Car and house repairs with no maintained man. Male dominated culture. Perfectionism. Living up to expectations. Questions about singleness. Working alone. Control freak. Near fatal accidents. Seeing fatal accidents. Poverty everywhere. Feeling non-supported. Not good enough. Death of babies. Coping alone. Protecting children from riots. All expectations on my shoulders. No help in decisions. Guilt from saying no. can't afford a special treat. Orphans needing homes. Neighbor passing away. Girl down the street beat up by her boyfriend. Friend dying of disease. Illnesses. Changing friendships. Poor medical care. Misunderstandings. Dealing with the village peoples problems. Running a nonprofit. No time for dating. Foreigner taxes. Missing births of siblings kids. Missing weddings. Missing funerals. Friends moving on. Adjusting to a new culture. Dodging bullets. Being cheated, lied to, threatened, abandoned, used. Overwhelmed. Tiredness. Burnout. Anxiety from being stared at. Worry from the darkness at night. Frustration from fumbling through the 2nd language. Panic from something breaking and no one to help fix it. Sorrow from missing out on family get-togethers. Disappointment from trying to voice the realities to the comfortable and being tossed aside. --------------------------------------------------------------- "missionary lives are lived in a state of urgency, importance, precedence. You do not retreat, pause to cry, you do not stop. Yet it is a must. We indeed go, abandoning everything to be sent and I would never trade this life. But when the water rises, and we feel like we are sinking, we have to let the anchor descent and lodge. We must draw back. De-stress. Grieve." -Girlrelentlessblogspot. ----------------------------------------------------- So here I am. Trying to articulate my feelings. Trying to overcome the guilt and shame and heartache of not doing enough, helping enough, working enough. Yet I've never had a week completely off from work in 5 years. Why the people pleasing? Why the stress of trying and trying? I'm learning that Jesus wants me. Just me. Not my actions, not my duties, not my achievements, just me. Devotion with me. Time with me. Stillness with me. To come to His feet and cling. To leave all the worries and anxieties in His hands and accept the grace that He freely gives. --------------------------------------------------- "The only way to enter into joy is surrender. Letting go of my need to control it all. Save everyone. Have all the answers. Understand the suffering. Just curl into Jesus's arms and let the rest slip away." -Sarita Hertz ---------------------------------------------------- "So, in the days and months and years to come, when you feel misunderstood, remember that no one understands your foreignness like Jesus, the One who came to the most foreign land to show his beloved creatures Truth and Light. He will understand your sorrow like no other. You have seen so much change in your years here. Change in the people around you, change in yourself. And you are tired. So tired. Remember Christ is your rest. Circumstances change, and communities change and, in the end, He is all we have to hold onto. So, don't lose hope. He is our hope. His love never fails. It will never fail you. Though organizations may fail you, though supporters may fail you, though cultural acquisition may fail you, though people you love and invested in may fail you, though you may even feel like you've failed yourself, still one thing will not fail you: the love of the Great Three in One will never fail. And one day, this squeezing in your heart and this aching in your bones from all these years and all these travels and all the years and travels to come, it will all be undone. Everything will be made new."-a life overseas ------------------------------------------------- "God did not create the world and then abandon it to run itself. He is not sitting in a heavenly throne room passively overseeing the activity on earth. God is orchestrating history. He is present and in the middle of human activity. God is actively at work redeeming a lost world, and He chooses to involve His servants in carrying out His redemptive plans." - Henry Blackaby ------------------------------------------------- And oh, I am grateful. So grateful to be a part of it. To be the daughter he wants to use. No not because I am good enough. Not because I'm strong enough. Only because I'm willing. Because I love Him more than anything this world has to offer. Because he chooses the weak, the outcasts, the lonely, the humble. He has been my stable rock through this eventful year. I've put up many walls after giving my heart away and that road leading me to carrying my lifeless child in my arms. He is starting to break those walls down. I'm trying to allow him at least. To making friends on misson teams to having to say goodbye and never hearing from them after day 7. He's trying to tell me community is good and healthy and I won't be alone forever. He's helping me destroy the walls of fear and selfishness and blocking out the world to not get hurt anymore. He has shown me strength and grace and mercy and has grown me and shown me and taught me. Though the water rises and though the future is unclear, to Him I will cling. --------------------------------------------- "yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with him depends on faith. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead." - Philippians 3:8-11