Thursday, October 29, 2020


 “why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?”

Matthew 6:28-30 


Y’all, I saw this bug on my front porch and was beyond amazed. It’s as if God said “I’m going to take a little extra time on this little Caribbean bug that most people will casually walk by and squash and paint a masterpiece on its back."


It literally looks like someone painted his shell. And someone did. The God of the universe that knows every hair on your head, every cell in your body and every thought in your mind. He made this artwork and called it GOOD. 


And yet Jesus talks about the wildflowers and the birds and how they are provided for with what they need without all the hussle and bussle to stock up, harvest, and have “worries that dominate the thoughts of unbelievers.” So why do we worry about every little thing?  Jesus responds and says look “can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”


Ephesians 2:10 “for we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do good things he planned for us long ago.”


We are a masterpiece. You and I were created so intricately, so beautifully, so miraculously that Paul states we are God’s masterpiece. More so than this random bug. More so than the wildflowers. More so than the birds in the air. He looked at us and called us VERY GOOD. His own masterpiece. Made to look like His image. Beautifully and wonderfully made. Unique in every way. Worthy. Wanted. Breathtaking. 

And you know how masterpieces are taken care of? Very well. If we own a painted masterpiece we’d keep in clean, provide the right atmosphere so it doesn’t rot. Put it on a mantel to let it shine and amaze everyone by its looks. And when they asked what famous artist painted this magnificent piece of artwork we can look them in the eye and say the name JESUS. Because we are that artwork in God’s eyes and he is going to take care of us every minute of every day. His plan is good. We can trust Him because we are what brings Him joy. And he loves to show us off. So do not let your worries add a single moment to your life. He will provide, He cares, He is worthy to be praised.


You have to believe that. 

You are the worth of a masterpiece. You were created to do good things. You are His prized possession. 

He loves you.

Remember it.

Believe it.

Live it out.


“We, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” 

James 1:18

Once you learn the value in being a daughter of the King, those worries will slowly be tossed aside. Once you see how majestic God really is, those fears will be thrown out. Once you know the everlasting strong power of the Lord Almighty, you as a masterpiece will take on this world vibrantly with Christ Jesus by our side knowing that whatever is thrown our way, we are masterpieces and masterpieces were made to shine. 







Monday, October 19, 2020

Rainbows and Razor wire

Branch: “You don’t know anything, Poppy, and I can’t wait to see the look on your face when you realize the world isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows, because it isn’t. Bad things happen, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

 Poppy: “I know it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows, but I’d rather go through life thinking that it mostly is instead of being like you. You don’t sing, you don’t dance, so grey all the time!”
What was the first thing you saw in the picture? The rainbow or the razor wire?

 There’s been times when joy would fill my heart like the excitement everytime I see a rainbow in the sky and then within an instant, I am reminded what still lingers... Death, disease, trauma, shame, hate, sin. It’s like the reminder that the rainbow comes only after the dreary rain. It’s like the devil is constantly trying to throw the sharp, dangerous, fearful razor wire into our vision when all we want to see is God and His majesty in the skies. 
We want to see cupcakes and rainbows but all we see is grey. We get blinded by the storms of life that we loose sight of the rainbow.
 Sometimes we're blinded by the world. Sometimes it’s hard to see the good when there is so much evil in front of us. And sometimes the devil wins. Sometimes I’m just grey, as Poppy told Branch in my girls’ favorite movie “Trolls”. Sometimes living inside a security wall topped with two rows of razor wire is heavy on my heart.

Sometimes negativity comes to mind before positivity. Bitterness comes out of my mouth instead of thankfulness. The devil’s lie’s flood my head instead of God’s promises. And sometimes as hard as I look, all I see is the razor wire without a rainbow in sight. 

But thank goodness for Jesus and his grace.Thank goodness that no amount of grey in my life can keep Jesus from sending the rainbow. Because when I fall into the razor wire entrapment of life and its lies, He is right there to lift me back up and remind me of the beauty found in and through Him. When my heart is ugly and my sin is great and my motives are wrong, I can still look around and see the blessings He has given me and feel His presence waiting patiently for me to get back up again. When I turn on the news  I see so much division. So much hate. So much destruction. 

So, I pray. I pray so hard that we don’t let the grey destroy us. I pray we can look beyond all the blood thirsty razor wires in life and see the rainbow. See the goodness in humanity. See the power of Jesus that is alive and well and active today. Keep your eyes focused on HIM. Don’t dwell on the issues in front of you. Don’t let the grey pull you down. Look beyond them and see Jesus. Look for Jesus in everything. No matter how dark it is, he’s still here.

 By keeping our focus on things from heaven and not the things of this world, that joy comes back. It comes back tenfold and floods your heart and mind and spirit and even though the world is falling apart, you can still see the good. The great. The beauty.

 With Jesus, the rainbow will always come.

Friday, September 11, 2020

For the Newbie

It was the month of June. A Monday afternoon. The girls were playing outside. It was 3 months into our new normal of staying inside our 4 walls while the mysterious virus raged through our world.

There was a “knock” at the gate. From that simple knock, we knew something was wrong. All the girls were rushed into our safe room. I stood on the porch, watching, while texting a friend and calling another. Someone needed to know what was going on in case things escalated. Tensions rose, demands were verbalized, guns were shot. And time stood still, again. It shook me to my core and this instance by far wrecked me more than any other from the past. Or, perhaps, all the rest of the traumatic experiences were finally catching up to me now and my mind was acutually accepting the results of trauma and its triggers. Desperate times call for desperate measures and La Limyè was the chosen target. My name was the target. On that Monday afternoon we received a not so lovely visit from the local gang.

So, for the newbie wanting the "adventure" of being a missionary...
When you ask if its “hard”, here is what I’ll tell you:

Yes, at times it is hard. At times it’ll be really, really hard. You’ll cry yourself to sleep and when mama texts you’ll say you’re too tired to talk. When in reality you know it’s better for everyone if you just cry alone. It’s better to save the fear and stress and worry from them and just keep it all to yourself. It seems easier to deal with the trauma alone then try to explain it to friends 1700 miles away surrounded by the comfort of enforced laws and a justice system.
At times, you’ll watch helpless babies suffer day in and day out and then they’ll die. And it might happen more times than the fingers on your hand. If you were responsible for that child, you’ll be left to pick up all the pieces in a culture and language that you never quite feel like you fit into. You’ll never quite be one of them. If it’s the neighbor’s child that dies, you’ll have to listen and watch as everyone cries and screams in disbelief for hours while trying not to let the knowledge of having limited healthcare being the reason children die from preventable causes over here cause you to panic every time your own child has a simple fever or cough.
You might have guns pointed at your head or guns shot at other people 2 feet from your car as you’re pushing the kids heads to the floorboard as quick as possible. You might have gangs surrounding your vehicle pounding on the windows as you pray like never before to escape, having already hid your most precious piece of gold-your ticket out. A United States of America passport.
You’ll no longer have that sub-conscience knowledge of being able to rely on the justice system or the police if a problem arises.
You’ll see injustice and hate and crimes like men being dragged from the backs of motorcycles for torture or set on fire from stealing as you drive by and only see a burnt up body on the side of the road as people casually walk by. You might watch as your neighbor casts voodoo spirits into souls and from your roof you see young women wailing and rolling around on the ground as possessed. You’ll cry out to God in sadness that they went to him for help and healing and not the ministry next door who knows the Ultimate Healer. You’ll see the aftermath of undercover agents that busted a huge sex trafficking sting at the hotel where you have your visiting mission team staying. You’ll crave burgers and sweatshirts and mascara that doesn’t melt.
You’ll go home to the States and try to fit in but realize you’ve changed. Fireworks sound like gunshots and make your heart skip a beat. Going miles and miles with no one jumping on the back of your car for a free ride and driving like robots never getting over the yellow line will feel just… dull. Then there is the fact that you can go all day without seeing a beggar, or poverty, or even a motorcycle with 6 people on it plus a goat. It's calming and boring at the same time.
You hate having to beg for money but that’s the only way to feed the ministry that feeds the community and you’ll be nervous about posting that beach picture like somehow we aren’t allowed to take days off too. You’ll miss birthday parties and weddings, holidays and get togethers. You’ll see pictures of lake days posted by friends or campfire cookouts or Christmas morning jolly. You’ll roll your eyes and lie to yourself that it’s all overrated when in reality you desperately want that fun communion with friends without a care in the world sitting on the front porch drinking sweet tea without misqitoes or voodoo music distracting your peace.


You’ll also watch malnourishment miraculously fade away from being intentional in providing prayer and nutrients to the one year old in newborn diapers who literally feels like a sack of bones. You’ll witness the power of God strengthen up believers from seeing a toddler walk for the first time after being told she couldn’t. You’ll feel on top of the world when the baby finally has the strength to sip milk from a bottle instead of being fed by a syringe.
You’ll see people give their life to Christ wholeheartedly with no turning back. You’ll be surrounded by women who don’t just say they trust God, but actually tangibly trust Him and you’ll yearn for that same confident trust amidst so much challenges. You’ll get to experience a brand new vibrant culture filled with new traditions, new foods, and new adventures. You’ll get the honor of sitting at the house of new friends while speaking a new language as they welcome you into their family as you learn the beauty of different cultures and the reality that sometimes it’s not right vs wrong, but just different. You see differences as a unique gift that makes us all beautifully made in HIS image. A different way to live, different foods to eat, different ways to do life. A way that is so much more down to earth, relaxing, simplified.
You’ll watch God transform ideas and passions to fit His perfect plan to make His name known. You’ll be able to see good from every bad thing and purpose from every disaster because you’ll be so in-tune with the Lord that you hear from Him. Worldy distractions like movies, 24/7 unlimited internet, hangout spots with friends, will be limited so you learn to cling to Jesus and find peace there. You’ll give, and sacrifice, and help, and serve, but you won’t be burnt-out, you’ll be filled up pouring over with peace from God. You’ll get to be right where Jesus would be if he were here. Feeding the hungry, helping the widow, accepting the outcasts, teaching the children. Living and loving the humans on this planet without a worry in the world of what it’ll cost. Because you know Jesus is worth it. You'll witness the most majestic sunsets that America's streetlights always take away. You'll see the smiles and the laughter and the love from your neighbors as they pour blessing after blessing upon you. You'll witness the Holy Spirit working in churches like never before because there is far less distractions stealing the stage. You'll work with some of the most loving, caring, and helpful employees that show you time and time again that they truly care for your wellbeing. Yes, missionary life is hard at times, but it is so worth it if you do it for the sake of Jesus. It is worth every tear, every ounce of pain, every sacrifice that won’t even feel like a sacrifice, it’ll feel like an honor. It is worth loosing relationships over and losing a stable job and income over. It is worth being called crazy or ridiculous or yes, even a Jesus freak. It is worth being an outcast and not fitting in. It is worth every want and desire in your life. Because in Him, in Jesus Christ, living out His will for your life, somehow, miraculously, you find yourself. Your complete self. To die to self is to live. To die is to gain. You find joy. You find strength. You find purpose. You find love. You find Jesus. There’s nothing in this world more precious than being in his will doing what we’ve been called to do. And then somehow, someway, after 7 years of living on this island, you might just call it home. You'll accept the good and the bad that *EVERY* country and culture gives and you'll find yourself uncomfortably comfortable in this beautfiful thing called life. Whether overseas or down the street be in His will. Be a missionary-one who spreads the name of Jesus in the hometown where you grew up, in the next State over, or across the world. We are all called to make His name known.

- I pray for those men every day. A mixture of anger and fear was within me until I looked into the eyes of the gang leader outside my front gate and all I saw was a lost soul. I didn’t see a murderer as some call him. I didn’t see a kidnapper or a robber, all I saw was a young man that was utterly lost. My heart hurts because the devil has a grip on him and all I can picture is his entrapment.

I wish he could feel the peace found in Jesus. I want him to know he won’t be defined by his past if he will just surrender it all to God and ask for forgiveness. I want him to know I truly forgive him for trying to hurt me and this ministry. I so desperately want others to know that peace. To know that love. To know that even if I have a gang wanting to destroy my mental health out of what seemed like just a love for money packed with a lot of confusion, that I still will forever worship my God. Because HE IS GOOD. No matter what, He is good, and He is worthy.

The last few years in Haiti have been tough. And I know I’m not alone. I know of many missionaries right now being attacked by the devil and getting weary of this long season with Haiti’s constant unrest. A friend of mine sent me a message to say he was praying for me. He and his family live here too. He said “it’s a one track mind to make it to Port (the city) to get all you can done and safely make it back home in one piece in the same car.” His words are true and they reminded me that so many missionaries are going through this long season of unknowns too.
But you know what, if my life brings others to Christ, it is worth it. If through writing about my pain and my fears and my struggles and my hurts, and my failures, others see the power of God or the miracles from God or the peace in God, then I’ll keep pressing on. I’ll keep my chin up and dig my heels in and wipe away the tears and find strength from within to battle through.
“Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.”
2 Corinthians 4:10-12
---- "Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder characterized by failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. The condition may last months, or years, with triggers that can bring back memories of the trauma accompanied by intense emotional and physical reactions." -MayoClinic. According to the American Psychiatric Association it is estimated that PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults every year. Let's join together and pray for everyone that has ever experienced PTSD and its symptoms. Everyone is fighting a battle. Everyone could use an extra prayer.

Friday, July 24, 2020

When Everything Broke

I flew back into Haiti last Tuesday after spending one week in America. It was a much-needed week of refreshment after having ten staff members living on site and keeping the girls inside for several months when the virus first started spreading. Tuesday came and went yet my luggage did not. Wednesday, Thursday, and then Friday went by before finding that 46lb suitcase filled with supplies for the ministry. A trip to the airport is an all-day adventure. Roadblocks from gangs robbing vehicles and throwing rocks, insane bumper to bumper (or hood, or passenger side door) traffic from no one obeying 4-way stops, and police with automatic weapons making sure we have a driver’s license every few hundred meters down Route 9 caused for delay after delay after delay. Finally, I got my luggage and after 4 days back in Haiti, I felt like I could finally settle back in and spend time with the girls like I had just arrived. Little did I know what was in store for the next week. It a weird “what in the world is going on?!?!?!” kind of week because EVERYTHING started breaking at the ministry. Literally one random thing would break and within the hour something else would break. Here’s the list. Read and weep…or laugh at the coincidences. Life is all about perception.

1. Lost luggage. Daily trips into the city
2.Broken weed eater. Beyond repair. Only 8 months old.
3.Kitchen sink wouldn’t drain. Had to dig a hole, cut open the pvc pipe and drain the junk inside. The cook forgot only water can go down the drain… not scraps of food and GREASE!
4. Stopped up toilet due to some little, sweet child flushing down a whole bar of soap. The entire toilet had to be taken off the ground to dig it out. Yes, feces flooded the bathroom AND the hallway.
5.Washing machine broke. Won’t wash, wont rinse, wont spin. But it does make all the noise like it’s working!
6.My bedroom ceiling fan broke. Light works, fan doesn’t.
7.The check valve underground broke causing all of our water tanks to empty on their own overnight.
8.The school bus won’t start. Still won’t start. It never starts.
9.The community center toilet broke and overflowed flooding the pavilion. This toilet hasn’t even been touched since MARCH!
10.A standup fan in the girl’s room broke.
11.We smelt something burning and went running. Another stand up fan was smoking and too hot to even touch. Broken.
12.4-Runner won’t start
13.Tv isn’t working. What do we do without Peppa Pig and Minnie Mouse in a house full of toddlers??
14.Freezer stopped working. Right after going to the grocery store and filling it up!
15.Pvc valve broke that turns off the water to the entire compound.
16.Another toilet broke. This time is was the floater.
17.Pvc pipe randomly came unglued underground and water started pouring out of the ground. Again.

And I kid you not from July 18th-23rd all of this happened plus the 4 days before searching for luggage. (No, they won’t find it and deliver it to my house like in America!)

So, I had a choice. Get stressed out, overwhelmed, and frustrated that ALL this broke so randomly and so quickly right when I get back to Haiti… or laugh at the circumstance as I scratch my head in disbelief that this could all actually happen in one weird week.
And to be honest, I’m glad this all happened. I’m glad it happened because I learned how to disconnect the wires to a ceiling fan and install another one. I was able to tell my guards exactly where every pvc pipe runs, and where the electrical conduit is located. We were able to fix every issue and solve every problem quickly and easily (except for the bus...it’s still just sitting there) and it feels so good to see a problem and be able to fix it without needing to rely on a company… or a husband. Neither or which are anywhere to be found!
In a world with SO many unfixable problems constantly flowing through our heads, it feels good to fix one. Even if it’s as simple and small as gluing together pvc pipes in a country as challenging as this one where supplies can’t easily be found or retrieved.

It honestly made the blah days of no outreach classes and no school lively again.
Voodoo runs rampant here and with my next-door neighbor being a witch doctor, I was pleasantly surprised no one even questioned if that was the cause! Perhaps God was just reminding me of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “we are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”

And though these problems are so tiny compared to SO many hardships people face daily, it is still a good reminder that no matter how much piles up, we can still push through, learn through it, and sit back in peace knowing that God’s got this. Because he does. Our attitude can change the circumstance in an instant.

This house is the only one around that has a washing machine. So, it is ok that it broke because it was a blessing to have one in the first place.
This house is the only one around that has 24/7 ceiling fans running. It’s ok that it broke and had to get fixed. I am beyond thankful to have even had that blessing in the first place.
Every single plumbing issue made me that much more thankful for running, pressurized, water which is a gift from the Lord that many, many people do not have. I had an extra freezer waiting at the school (since it’s been closed) ready to be used so the food wouldn’t spoil. So, let’s look at our problems with gratitude. It is tough when our luxuries break but think about how much harder it would be if we didn’t even have them in the first place! Trust me, washing clothes and sheets by hand is more miserable than not having running water. You also might as well go buy a neck brace after trying to carry 5 gallons of water on your head.

At the beginning of all this there was stress. I mean who can look at a problem and not get stressed? It’s the human nature. The thought of “WHAT IF it’s not just junk clogging the pvc pipes. WHAT IF the septic is full and back to the city we go taking 4 hours round trip to try and get a company to come pump it out ASAP” and knowing ASAP is nonexistent in this country and plus there’s been no diesel for a few weeks in the whole country so no truck could probably come anyway. “WHAT IF the well ran dry and there was no more water to even pump up and that is what caused all the plumbing issues.” The “What ifs” in life are one of my biggest setbacks. I apologize to God ALL. THE. TIME. For worrying instead of praying. But we can’t rest in the attitude of stress. We must escape it. I had to take a deep breath, accept the outcome, and use this as a teaching session for myself to be THANKFUL in ALL circumstances. Not easy, but it will please God. And that is our ultimate aim.
After the first few broken things, and realizing that more was to come, it became funny. Hilarious actually as my staff and I kept wide eyes to see what would break, fall apart, or stop working next. They’d come yelling for me trying not to laugh as they explain the next issue that has come to be. And I walked around with my jaw on the ground in utter disbelief at the amount of randomness one week could bring.

To all my brothers and sisters out there living on the streets or living in poverty not knowing what it’s like to have a fan, or a washing machine, or a vehicle, or a toilet. I am sorry. I am sorry if you’ve had to watch us pout and complain about our luxuries breaking. I’m sorry if we’ve acted entitled to get Mr. Fix-it out to the house in record time to help US with OUR problems while completely ignoring the man down the road dressed in rags, eating leftovers out of trash cans and simply just trying to survive. I am sorry if we have been so consumed with ourselves that we’ve lost sight of helping the mechanic who is just simply trying to put food on the table. I am sorry if our attitude and behavior doesn’t always represent the heart of Jesus when stress is within us. We are a work in progress.
We’ve been blessed with more than enough. I am reminded that time and time again..

2 Corinthians 1:4 “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.”

Count your blessings. Then count them again.

Friday, July 10, 2020

The First Few Seasons

Once upon a time I moved to Haiti. It was August 2013 and I remember that first day like it was yesterday. I had just turned 22. I moved in with a Haitian family whom I didn’t even know their names. They had a two-story cinderblock cemented house. It was beautiful on the outside; a sidewalk lined with seashells to the backdoor with the scent of flowers that overtook the path along the way. The husband, wife, and their two young kids lived downstairs and my quarters were upstairs. That first night was like no other. I had two rooms, a bathroom, and a front and back porch. The back porch overlooked a giant mango tree, the front porch overlooked highway 1, a busy highway that goes North and South along the island of Haiti. Across the street was a junkyard/repair shop and a tire store where you could get air put in your tire for 5 cents.

Before moving to Haiti, I grew up sheltered and shy. Danger or risks weren’t in my vocabulary. Third worlds didn’t even exist in the map in my brain. But when I met Jesus just two years prior in 2011, everything changed. He flipped my world upside down and burst me out of that bubble I lived in. To follow Him, a crucified Savior, sounded like the most beautiful, selfless, daring, honoring, terrifying thing I could do. Little did I know the cost. Little did I care. I was head over heels and on fire for serving the Lord, though I knew very little about what that meant. I didn’t know how to make disciples, I didn’t know how many books were in the bible, or even how to pray without ceasing. I spent two years learning what I could before moving overseas but before that, church wasn’t really a big deal to me. I was a believer, but I knew nothing about Jesus and his ways.

So back to that first night in Haiti. I obliviously had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea what life in Haiti would entail but I was eager to follow Jesus and I figured He would lead me the rest of the way. I jumped in, leaning on God to teach me how to swim in the deep end.

Summer nights in Haiti are gruesome. We had no electricity and at times, no running water. Cement soaks up heat and holds it in…plus being upstairs as heat rises caused even more sweat to drip down my head in my unfurnished concrete house that I was supposed to call home.
I spread out a bath towel on the back porch and laid down. Every few minutes there was a small breeze that through the tears I would thank God for. I did have a mattress but the concrete floor was much cooler than the mattress.

I learned very quickly that I was highly allergic to mango trees thus I moved my bath towel to the front porch and began sleeping out there with the semi-trucks blaring their horns at 3am and the dogs barking every other hour of the night. Pitch black darkness surrounded me as there were no street lights and no neighbors with electricity either.

I remember my shower curtain being clear. Living in a foreign country without knowing the language and with strangers got the best of me and I wasn’t about to take a shower in the dark without being able to see what’s coming!
I would walk in the bathroom and a roach or a lizard would fall onto my head. I learned to laugh at the situation, because without laughter, there would just be tears during those first few months or learning a different way to live. I’d hold a flashlight in my mouth in the early morning hours before the sun heated up the room so that I could get a somewhat decent ponytail into my stringy hair. I lived like my neighbors so life like this became the norm. Water that flowed along the streets and used by the whole community was carried to my back porch, so I could wash my clothes by hand… or at least let them soak in soapy water… (it was better than nothing)
I had little access to anywhere outside of the village where I was building La Limyè Ministries. I was sheltered in a sense and had no idea what all Haiti had... like actual grocery stores in the city! I had taken 7 or 8 trips to Haiti before moving there but with short term mission trips, we stay secured, and in a way don’t even see the real Haiti as we are following our detailed itinerary.

Most of my food was brought in my suitcase. I had to be creative when hunger set in. I’d bring condiments from restaurants since I didn’t have a fridge to keep things fresh. After a few months, mustard on a plain flour tortilla was much better than just a plain flour tortilla. Luke warm water in my cereal switched things up from just eating dry cereal. Spaghettio’s from a can made me think I was supposed to still be in college, and as my body lacked adequate vitamins and my allergies were thrown overboard with that darn mango tree in the backyard, I stayed feeling ill for quite some time as my body was trying to adjust to a new life in what seemed like a new world 90 minutes from Miami. Looking back, I don’t remember hating the circumstances. It became normal and that helped me press on. Deep down I was blinded by the whole scenario, but God was molding me and I’m beyond thankful He did.

I got use to the roaches and those lizards that were longer than my feet pretty quickly. They had already made residence in the house and there was no kicking them out. The rats on the other hand just about did me in. Giant rats with incredibly long tails that would jump across my legs at night or sniff my feet as I slept with one eye open and my finger never leaving the flashlight button. That led to me sleeping in an old green velvet chair that the family downstairs gave me. I put that velvet chair up against the dining room table straight back chair and slept like that for a few months. There was no rolling over because the chair was only about 18 inches wide but somehow in my mind I was able to fall asleep persuading myself that rats can’t climb. Sometimes denial is essential.
Those two years shaped me. They were the hardest two years of my life, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I’m not sure if I could ever repeat them, but I am truly thankful for them.

I had someone pick me up and take me to the village where I was building a home every day. I’d be dropped off in the village, and then forced to learn the ropes without knowing the culture or the language. No itinerary, no schedule, just the village and I learning all about each other. It was in those days I watched a lady pluck toenails off of a chicken before cooking it. I excused myself from that meal.

Thankfully after a long season in that hot house, La Limyè in the village was near completion which was a big blessing because when a Boa Constrictor snake was found in that cursed mango tree, I was done.

I honestly can’t even remember if I had electricity and running water already when I moved into my new home. I guess in a way it didn’t really matter because I had a home. I had my own clean space. I had a big yard with no mango trees. I was excited for the next season to begin.
My nights in that rented house on Route 1 were in the past, but the memories were still vivid. I remember guns being shot down on the street as I didn’t move a muscle on that front porch hoping no-one saw me. I remember seeing bodies in the road from being hit by a car and people just walking past like no big deal, I remember tear gas dispersed as I tried to escape one of the many riots that I would see over the years on this island.
I remember lots of tears and lots of adventures. I wasn’t ready for Haiti in my opinion. I wasn’t mature enough or strong enough for Haiti. Those first few years feel like a blur now as I remember testing the waters and going through a lot of trials and errors. I learned a lot about myself during those first few years. Perhaps I never would have been ready without God putting me through those two years of transformation, growth, and maturity. I continued to make mistakes and fail at serving God as I learned the ropes of the Haitian culture and at the same time learned how to be a follower of Jesus as a 2 year old believer. I was a weak missionary but I am thankful for that because “we can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3 & 4

So back then and still now I lean on 1 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weaknesses.”

I’ve come such a long way since those treacherous days in the beginning. I owe every bit of perseverance to God. Every single trial I went through made me 100 times more thankful for the luxuries I would be given later. I know what it’s like to not have running water and expected to sleep in 100 degree weather. So now as I step foot in that pressurized shower of mine with any color shower curtain I want, I have such a stronger sense of thankfulness. When I open my fridge 100 times a day, I can truly praise God for electricity after having known what it’s like to go without. I can laugh instead of cry at the craziness of life knowing God’s got this and He is all we need. I can now drive wherever I want and see all of Haiti and speak their language in the grocery stores I didn't know they had!
We all go through trials. We all will go through tough seasons. Seasons that we don’t feel equipped to handle. Seasons or maybe even years when the days never end, and the vision seems clouded, and the emotions are way too overbearing and we just don't feel ready. But endurance develops strength of character and that’s good for the soul. Jesus said it himself that he has given us authority over all the power of the enemy. We could walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. So whatever season you’re in, own it. It will shape you and mold you and mature you into the beautiful soul our God created you to be. It will make you more thankful than you ever were before, and it will make you more aware of all the little blessings God bestows upon us, blessings that use to go unnoticed. God causes everything to work together. It may not be the path you envisioned, but don’t lose hope. Arm in arm with our King, you’ll make it out of that difficult season with new eyes, new hope, and an even-stronger love for our Maker- and maybe looking back you'll be able to laugh at the craziness as you see God's hand in it. Don't give up. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

My advice to you, my little ones

I’ll pour into you the little bit of wisdom I have every second I get, but eventually, you’ll be on your own. All grown up taking on the world. So here is my advice for you:

Love entirely. Be so full of love that people yearn to know where it comes from, then show them Jesus. Love like He did. To the beggar, to the prostitute, to the outcast, to the poor.
"love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude." 1Peter 3:8

Give until it hurts. We aren’t taking anything with us my love so give it all away. Find that joy in watching others receive. Give when no one is watching. Give over and abundantly to the Lord and His people.
"it is more blessed to give than to receive." -Jesus

Be Bold against the world. Fight against the injustice. Fight for the poor to have a voice, speak up for the rejected, the unwanted, the oppressed, the orphan, the homeless, the addict. Be bold enough to want to change the ugly in our world and refuse to listen to the crowd who says it’s not possible.
"learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows." Isaiah 1:17

Be a Women. Dress modestly. Your worth will never be found in your looks. Your value will never be based on your body. Be a woman who stands tall and confident knowing all your beauty is found in your heart; a heart set on Jesus. Be a women that knows your standards and won’t ever settle for less than what is lovely in the eyes of our Lord.
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a women who fears the Lord will be greatly praised." Proverbs 31:30

Stand firm in your faith. Don’t let the world shake you. Don’t let the haters discourage you. Stand firm in the promises of God knowing they are true. Stand firm knowing you’re a daughter of the King. Stand firm in your beliefs and never stop praying. Never ever stop praying.
"Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil." Ephesians 6:11

and above all else, remember this: Jesus loves you, forever and always.

Friday, May 15, 2020


You've probably heard the story from Luke chapter 16. The one we might just skip because we don’t really want to hear it.

The rich man who lived in luxury each day and Lazarus, the poor beggar that lay at his gate.
Lazarus longed for scraps from the rich man’s table. He was hungry. He had nothing.

Perhaps Lazarus yearned for what the rich man had. It looked appetizing in the “now”. Perhaps the future destiny of this rich man with indifference to the poor wasn’t being taken into consideration by the poor beggar, but for now, the luxury set upon the rich man’s table looked good. To have a rich lifestyle looked exciting, having the fame and the fortune looked appealing. So many of us in the world our aiming for fame or fortune, right? We want the ease, the comfort, the luxury; its attractive. We yearn for more followers on social media. We buy the fancy clothes to make us appear prettier. We try and say all the right words to get the best job climbing the tallest ladder to success, fame, ease, and comfort.

Or maybe Lazarus saw straight through the rich man and detested what he had. Fine linen, food galore, rich enough to have a gate to guard off outsiders... but a cold heart and an indifference to some of God's image bearers. Maybe Lazarus saw how terrible the rich man’s life would become once death arrived because he kept all his treasures to himself and so maybe Lazarus didn’t want any more than just some scraps from the table to keep his belly fed.

I don’t know what Lazarus thought. But what I do know according to Luke is that the rich man went to hell and Lazarus went to heaven. Abraham said “during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted and you are in anguish.”

That stings just a bit. It's not the most attractive story in the Bible. It brings on a lot of questions as to what exactly did the rich man do, or didn't do.

Yes, God gives good gifts and this isn’t to condem anyone with nice things. I have a room full of treasures too. So don't take the story out of the context.

When the rich man realized his fate, it was too late. There was no chance of going back to warn his brothers. There was no chance for revival. He was stuck in torment wishing Lazarus would dip the tip of his finger in water to cool his tongue. Because he CHOSE to ignore the beggar and live in luxury for this very short time on earth, he now is tormented day and night.

I admit I am at fault. Although I don't have much attached to my name, I am still “rich” compared to my neighbors in Haiti. I hold a passport in my hands, I can spend $7.00 for breakfast at Chick-fil-A every now and then, I can go to the doctor when I’m sick. I can even buy the brand of peanut butter I prefer. And that is all a blessing from God and is meant to be accepted and appreciated as the good gifts He gives... but then sometimes I still ignore and pass by the beggar.

Sometimes I forget that it is eternity at stake here. Not a few seasons on earth where the comfort and ease and fancy lifestyle might look appealing. It’s about all the millions of years after this life that matters. And what we do on this short life, determines the life we live after death. Life is like a vapor. It ends quickly, but eternity is forever. Are we living for Christ? More than just church on Sunday mornings, are we truly giving Him our first fruits, our time, our hearts? It’s a question I have to ask myself after getting into the mundane of life. It's easy to want what the world has. It's easy to not want to help the beggar because of all the extra strain that comes with pouring into that relationship and being intentional in it. I'll admit, sometimes I cringe when I hear a knock on my door because I just don't want to put forth the energy to grow the relationship. Sometimes, selfishly I just want to turn a blind eye.

How often do we see what someone else has and want it? Or how often do we focus on heaven’s riches and not earth’s desires? How often do we pass by rather than taking the time to love our neighbor? How often do we harm our neighbor not my mistreating him but by ignoring him?

“the rich man did not abuse Lazarus, didn’t beat him or mistreat him; he simply ignored him, passing by him, day after day, with indifference. His sin was not one of commission but of omission.”
-Richard Stearns

We have many beggars outside our doors, across town, down the street, in other countries. They are our neighbors. Right next to our churches and houses are beggars on the streets, in shacks, in subways. People starving maybe for food, or maybe just for a friend. They just want a few scraps from our tables. Maybe scraps in the form of food or maybe they just want to feel accepted, loved, acknowledged. This is a season in our society where so many people are coming together. We actually have time on our hands and we are realizing that we can use that time to bless others. We can deliver food to hospitals, we can donate handmade face masks. We are realizing how this virus can affect everyone and we are seeing what it means to lack, to go without, to have to count the pennies and stretch them out. We now can walk a step or two in the shoes of the beggar.

You never know when tragedy might arrive and we’ll be the one begging, wishing we weren’t invisible to the big world out there. Wishing for the good-hearted people to share some scraps.

This is convicting for me. It’s not easy to swallow. When I was a child I read this story and just thought "the rich go to hell and the poor go to heaven" but that's not it at all. The sin here is not one of commission but of omission. It's not about who has money and who doesn't. It's about seeing and acknowledging and helping others. It's about not passing by and ignoring the pain of others while we continue to live our lives in luxury without a care in the world for anyone else.

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and deny them by their lifestyle.” – Brennan Manning

What do you have to offer? See the good gifts that God has given you then go find the one whom God says to share it with. Maybe your gift to share is words of encouragement with someone in agony, maybe it's a listening ear to someone who needs to vent, maybe it's money, maybe it's food.
We are the church. We are HIS hands and feet. And right now our church buildings might be closed but that doesn’t mean we stop being the church. It is the perfect time to get up and help. Be Jesus to a stranger, be Jesus to the poor. Notice the sick, the outcast, the lonely, the hungry and show them JESUS. We may still be rich compared to the poor, but we can still change the trajectory of the story in one simple and profound way: don't pass by with indifference. Stop and love, stop and pray, stop and give. "His sin was not one of commission but of omission." Remember them. See them, love them, serve them, accept them.

Love and be loved


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

An excerpt from our Spring Newsletter

Emmanuel - God With Us!

Do you ever wonder, “Where is God?” We are living in difficult times right now wondering what will be made of all this. How long will it last? Illness seems to be overtaking the world, the loss of jobs, the lack of medical equipment, our anxiety for the future, our hungry stomachs and hungry souls…all have us wondering, “Where is God?”

During the Easter Season, It Feels Like We Are on Day Two.

On day one, Jesus is crucified. He was to rise from the grave, but with such agony, it was hard for the people to remember and believe. On day three He is risen from the dead…but what about day two? Don’t you think the world wondered what would become of all this? Is it really over? So much pain and confusion, heartache and grief.

But Then Day Three Came!
It came then, and it will always come because God is still on the throne. He is still in charge and will always be with us. We are His body on earth and it is our job to tell the world that yes, day two is frightening, but day three is coming! Jehovah Jirah will provide because He is the Beginning and the Last and all things are held together by Him.
In this season of heaviness, we must remember day three, when Jesus rose from the dead because His Word said He would. Every verse in our Bible is true and holy and we must cling to that in trying times. We must cling to His promises knowing that HE IS STILL ON THE THRONE.
Death will not overtake us.
Grief will not overtake us.
Fear will not overtake us.
God will overtake us!
He will hold us, nurture us and love us on day one, day two, day three… and for the rest of eternity. Keep the faith. Believe in His miracles. Be thankful for day two. It is there where the great anticipation has led up to the beautiful reminder:
Our King has risen and is alive and well! We can rest in that.

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold- though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
“The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:6-7, 9

**This is a small excerpt from our latest newsletter!
If you would like to be added to receive the La Limyè Newsletter, email me at lalimye@gmail.com. We can email you or mail out to your home updates on ministry in Haiti, prayer requests, stories, and more!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Life in Haiti during a Pandemic

I feel guilty for writing a blog about my life when it seems the world is falling apart all around us. This is just for my supporters and prayer partners through the ministry who have asked for an update.

So here is where I've been the last few weeks:

"Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm." 

Isaiah 7:9

From the time of hearing the first case of Coronavirus had arrived in Haiti until 10 days later when the last flight would leave Haiti with no others authorized to come or go until the unknown future, I cried out to God for an answer. 
Literal tears in almost frustration towards God that I didn’t feel like I had a clear answer as to if I was to stay in Haiti, or go to America. Deep down I knew the answer. I knew what I had to do, but fear shook me to my core.

 Every few hours the embassy would send out an email: 

American citizens who wish to return to the United States should plan to do so immediately.  The U.S. Embassy is not aware of any flights from Haiti to the United States after March 30, or if any flights will be authorized in the future. U.S. citizens who do not return to the United States while commercial or commercially available charter flights are available may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite period.”

Many expats have left, many have stayed, all with legit and understandable reasonings... but I had such trouble deciding. I was contradicting everything- every pro and every con. They all weighed so heavily. And as human as I am, I was wanting the answer that led to safety and ease yet neither answer had that as an option because both countries were in trouble and my heart knew as a disciple of Christ I can't chase safety and ease. Haiti has been on lockdown so many times in the past 2 years and I never once struggled with wondering if I should leave. But this time, I have. 

Is it wise in the eyes of the Lord to leave for a season while so much is at stake for the ministries sake and the health of the world? To take a break, save myself so that I can continue on fighting for this ministry from the sidelines?
Or is it faith in the eyes of the Lord to stay with the knowledge that there is not much healthcare to lean on in times like these? Deep down knowing that America had adequate healthcare was my biggest comfort in all of this. 
I knew it was faith to rely on God and continue on with the ministry trusting in Him NOT healthcare, but sometimes He gives us wisdom to take a different route in different seasons and that is what I wanted to be made clear.

What is wise and what is faith and which decision is both...or neither? 

I opened my bible and read Isaiah. 

“Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.”

Well there you have it, El. You can’t stand firm with your decision if your faith is constantly shaky, worrying, wondering, blurred. 
The devils fiery darts were the “what if’s” and it took many days of freaking out and letting my dark thoughts overtake my peace to realize yet again, I had let the devil in. 
I knew the Bible said "do not fear” over and over again and I know Gods promises ring true that He is our protector and provider and He hides us under the shadow of His wings...Yet I realized how shaky my faith really was when it came to actually having to count the cost. To actually accepting that I might be stuck in Haiti for some time with limited...everything...and not knowing when I’ll get to see my family again. 

I knew what verses spoke loudest to me and the convictions I personally had about only half way serving Him in the shallow end, or the risks of letting fear over faith rule my mind, and yet I was trying to navigate all the “what if’s” and if I was truly hearing the Lord correctly and not just hearing what I wanted to hear. 

If I leave I’d forever feel guilty for leaving the girls and the employees in such a potential mess. 
If I leave there’s no telling when I’d be allowed to come back. 
If I leave it would probably be out of fear not faith. And that’s where I landed. 
I was told there is around 130 ICU beds but maybe only 30 in good condition with the ability to ventilate 64. Sixty four! That’s it for the whole country. And I turn on the news and see warehouses and boats being turned into hospital rooms because America’s state of the art hospitals can’t accompany all that is pouring in day after day. I see the turmoil that this is causing America and felt so guilty that I was even stressing over what I should do when so many are already on the frontlines fighting for the sick while potentially getting themself sick as well. So many don't have a choice to run to safety or stay at home and quarantine.  I hear how more and more people are loosing their jobs and can't pay rent and struggling to eat. I hear how New York is like a war zone and how businesses have had to shut down and my heart is heavy for the country I was blessed to be born in.

Then I switch countries  like a tv station where both of your favorite shows are on at the same time and you can't decide which to pick..
Haiti. Where I've lived for the past almost 7 years. Where my house is and my job and my calling.
I hear on the radio 800,000 Haitian deaths wouldn’t be an exaggeration. 
I hear of an orphanage getting attacked because someone inside tested positive and some people react with harm towards fear. Foreigners had been yelled at saying it was our fault the virus landed in Haiti and all of this causes thoughts of how this virus could cause hate and anger to spread faster than the virus itself. We've already been on lockdown so much in the past 18 months. Now in BOTH countries? Both countries are having their own struggles and it hurts to watch.

6 million out of Haiti’s 11 million live on $2.41 a day according to the World Bank. So no, stocking up and staying in doesn’t work here just like it can't work for everyone in the States either. Social distancing doesn’t work because so many in my area make their money by selling at the market. An outdoor market with thousands of people buying and selling. They sell, then they eat. And as you can imagine $2.41 a day doesn’t exactly buy Tylenol to stock up, toilet paper, bags of rice, or even drinking water which rarely flows in houses where I am located. Many have to fetch the water at crowded wells. Most houses in my village are made up of only 1 or 2 rooms and that's it. Housing 4-6 people inside with a community toilet outside and an outdoor makeshift kitchen as well. There isn't space for spreading out. 
So yes my nerves were heightened as was my anxiety as I cried out to God to remind me of His peace, and His plan, and His voice. At this point neither country was attractive. Both would suffer deeply. So for me, it all was in Gods hands. "God, remind me the reason I came here in the first place. Remind me who’s in charge here and who is just the servant." 

It’s April 2nd 2020, I am in Haiti and God has given me an abundance of peace in this decision. There are no more flights out for the time being and so far there are only 16 (confirmed) cases in Haiti. 
Through the past week I’ve regained my peace, I’ve actually practiced trusting God and not just saying it, and I’ve been more aware of when the enemy is trying to attack. Because he will continue to try especially in times like these where the future is so unknown to us.

So I say all this to say, this is just my journey. This is not to downplay the intensity of the virus in advanced countries, or just to display the reality in developing countries. This is not to say all missionaries should stay in Haiti, this is just what the Lord had for me. This by NO MEANS makes me a saint or a warrior so please don't even say it. I'm just doing what the Lord has planned for me, reluctantly at times too. I am quarantined at my house like you are at yours. And whether someone is staying or going from life overseas, that is between God and that person. Neither is right or wrong as long as the Lord is the leading factor to the decision. 
This is just my story. Leading up to the decision my faith was tested, my commitment was tested but I’ve learned so much more on a deeper level on how God works, and for that it was worth it. So if you struggle in actually believing, if you struggle in hearing the Lord's voice, if you struggle with worry or fear, I'm right there with you. It's ok, we've all been there. I hope this blog shows you my struggles and that it's ok to not have it all together. It's ok to not be as strong as people think you are. We will get through this and we will come out stronger on the other side. Just keep the faith. Keep God at the front of your mind. Know when to turn off the news and open the Bible. 
Cry out to Jesus.
He hasn't left the throne.

But those who obey Gods word truly show how completely they love Him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. 
1John 2:5

To all those who have lost loved ones from this virus, to all the healthcare workers, factory workers, grocery store workers and everyone else who's job we are all dependent on to keep living, you are in my prayers. You are our hero's. We all have stories. Everyone is going through something and everyone is going through it differently. Your story is no less or more important. God sees you. He knows you. He is listening. Nothing is too petty for Him. He cares.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Haiti - Level 4: Do Not Travel

 I read it, but couldn’t believe it.  Sadness and frustration flooded me. Again?  I mean seriously, again? This time around there aren’t any roadblocks, or looting businesses. This time around there aren’t any burning tires or falling asleep to the sound of gunshots. Gas stations are still well stocked with fuel, kids are still in school, normal life seemed to be coming back in after so many weeks of lockdown last fall. But this time around it’s on a whole different level. As we are all shocked that Haiti is now a level 4 again…right up there with Afghanistan and Iran, we know that the issues going on are so heavy and so traumatizing that even though there are no burning tires like we are used to, level 4 is where we are and I have to accept that. 

Day after day there are reports of kidnappings. There has been a huge rise of kidnappings in the last few months where ransom amounts are sky high.  Some days up to 15 victims. A few days ago it was stated 6 in one hour. Young and old, locals and foreigners, kidnapped and held for ransom. 

That is what is believed to be the main reason for the travel advisory. Though we can still go on with our day to day activities, the knowledge of this actively going on still lurks around us. We’ve heard of so many instances over the past two months it has become all too normal to read about yet still nerve racking and devastating to hear. 

This is a blog I wrote some time ago during another period of unrest, but it still rings true today. 

“This is not the time to throw hands up in disgust and find a more “attractive” country to support. This is not the time to forget about our neighbors whom so many deserve the world yet only get the leftovers. 
This is the time to continue serving because food prices have risen so much when the market already sells cups of cornflakes because a whole box of cereal is too expensive. This is the time to still give because ministries are fighting right in the middle of this mess to keep feeding, loving, encouraging, and serving these people while being wide eyed and cautious every time we leave the house. This is the time to pray like crazy because some of us are scared of what is to come. Will we lose support due to all of the corruption that seems to flare up every other season? Will teams stop coming in? Will donors give up on this island that seems to feel like it's always drowning? Will restaurants and hotels and stores collapse over time from all the turmoil and injustice and crime that never seems to take a break? What will be made of all this? Will it get worse? 

Or will the donors and prayer partners remember the little girl in the picture who has a heart of gold and a dream of becoming a teacher one day and help her to make that dream come true. Will they remember the majestic mountains and the turquoise ocean as a reminder not to give up on the pearl of the Antilles. Will they remember to love thy neighbor and love like Jesus even if it’s messy, or dangerous, or not attractive?

Somedays counting the cost becomes a lot harder. Worry pounds its way in and tries to overtake one’s mind. “Worry is meditating the thoughts of Satan” is how it was once explained to me. The devil wants us to be scared when we leave the house, the "what ifs" that are around every corner, but we must keep our minds focused on Jesus. Because Jesus would be here loving, supporting, caring for the burdened. The outcast. The hard pressed. He’d have dinner with the sinners and wash the feet of his enemies. 
He has big fans over here. He’s all so many of them have to cling to in a broken world and yet they prove to me day after day that HE IS ENOUGH.
Remember, He’s a king born in a stable, not a palace. May we never put ourselves in a higher position that He himself. 
So, let us not shame the shoes we’ve yet to walk in. 
 There are so many souls over here that give me beautiful reminders that we can’t group the whole of a country into one stereotype. We can’t judge the country based off of the actions of a few people that we see on the news or read about online.

So, let’s join together in prayer for this country. 

There IS love here. 
There IS hope here. 
 And please, Jesus let change come here too.” 

Churches were just starting to email me asking about bringing teams down. I was so encouraged to get these emails as 2019 was a tough year as so many teams weren’t able to come due to the unrest. I was and still am so hopeful for our teams to come see all that La Limyè has done and to be apart of it, but in the mean time we will accept the season we are in. So, join me in prayer. For all of the victims of crime, kidnappings, and unrest. Pray for all the families who are affected by these tragedies. Pray for all of the businesses that will have a loss in profit from teams and tourist money coming to a halt as many can't or won’t travel during a level 4.  Pray for change to come. Pray that people won’t give up on this nation. You can talk to any one of my employees and instantly you will see the love and compassion and joy this country possesses.
This is only a season. It won’t define us. It doesn’t shape this place. It’s only a season. 
God be with us.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

When loving feels like failing

Sometimes, I feel like a failure. Like I’ve failed God. Failed humankind. Failed my job. I’ve been a people pleaser my whole life and it has caused me much harm. But what I’ve learned is that you can’t focus on pleasing people. You can’t help everyone. You can’t hold that weight. You were never intended to. You must only focus on pleasing and serving God. 

Some days I want to throw in the towel…but don’t get me wrong, I love my job here. I love this ministry, and I love living in Haiti. I am nowhere near the “burnt out” stage, but some days I feel beaten, hard pressed, overwhelmed, mentally exhausted, and ready for a day off...or two. That is normal. No one said following a crucified Savior would be rainbows and flowers. 

When these days come I catch myself feeling like I should have just stuck with being a waitress. I was good at that. I could handle that. I could see the issue like an empty glass and go fill it with tea. No confusion, no contemplating whether I’m helping while hurting, no strain on the amount of empty glasses I’m trying to fill. It was like riding a bike. Easy. No curveballs. No cultural difference, no voodoo, no malnourishment, no injustice. (Until you get the crazy customer that you can’t seem to please…but that’s another story.)

If I stuck with my past life, I wouldn’t be on the front lines of poverty and depression. I wouldn’t have to see mamas walk away after me saying I don’t have any job openings and then feeling like all the pressure is on my shoulders of what will happen next. Give away her kids or her body to earn a little money? Sleep on the streets? I wouldn’t have to feel the “what ifs” in helping - is this hand out helping or hurting? Is it helping the right now but hurting the future? Is the way I’m going about this causing dependency or lifting others up to become leaders? Is it taking the time to ask what would Jesus do, or just going with the flow, with what everyone else is doing to keep the ease?

If I went back to my life before Haiti I wouldn’t see hungry or sick kids around every corner and I wouldn’t be overwhelmed and worried that if I do one little thing wrong, it might be considered rude in a culture not my own. Having lost a child before, the trauma comes back every time someone comes to me and asks for help. “I don’t know how to help” I want to say. I haven’t figured life out. I don't know the best way to help. I don’t know how to make my toddlers stop throwing temper tantrums. I don’t know how to trust a hospital to save a life and then carry that dead body home in my arms, feeling like it must have been my fault somehow even though the child was born with the disease. I must of failed this child somehow right? I tried and failed. I don’t know how to beat poverty at its core so that it can’t keep drowning my neighbors and I.

Sometimes, I am just tired of trying. Sometimes, I’m too scared to keep trying in fear that I’ll hurt, not help  in the process. Being tired of seeing death and pain and heartache and poverty every single day can really take a toll on one’s body.
 So, I took my thoughts to the Lord. I wanted to dig deep into why I feel like all the world’s pain and injustice weighs heavily on my shoulders and how to find peace in being enough, doing enough, trying enough. I wanted to get to the bottom of why I worry about how to help more than just getting out there and helping the best way I know how.

The word that came to my mind was *tactics*
 The devil has tactics that he uses to sneak up on his prey. He knows my weaknesses and he knows how to use them. He knows my fears and knows how to scare them. 
So on days that I feel overwhelmed, unqualified, or like a failure…I know its him. Trying to get in my head. Trying to make me feel like I’m not good enough to accomplish the job the Lord has given to me. Trying to make me feel like I fail at helping people and forget my mission is only to serve God. He wants me to question my calling and my strengths. He wants me to question my faith and he loves when I grow weary in serving God. He loves when I cringe at the knocks on the gate knowing I cringe at the thought of trying to help one more person when some days I can't even figure out how to help myself. He loves when I grow weary in helping the sick, the lonely, the hungry, the poor. He loves when I see others doing it differently and question if my ways are wrong. He loves when I want to run away over the rainbow to a land with no poverty...at least not in my path.

But when I look at the child attached to my hip and wonder why she loves me so much, why she puts so much confidence in me, why she runs to me when she’s scared, sick, or happy, I am reminded. I see her smile, I hear her laugh and I have to remind myself that it’ll all be okWhen I see 31 employees come to work and encourage me on how to help and how to serve in this developing country and how to love no matter the cost, I am reminded.  The world is grey. Nothing is black or white. There are so many different ways to see the pain in front of us. There are so many different ways to handle the problem in front of us. There are so many different ways to help the poor help themselves. There are so many different ways to do ministry. Missionaries are the first to tell each other how to do it or how not to do it. And though it seems like there is always tension between ministries on who is doing it the right way for the best longterm outcome, and who is not, I’m reminded that we can not let the devil and his tactics distract us from helping. Sometimes we might hurt in the process. Something we might help. We are all learning. We are doing the best we can with the mental capacity we have and the resources we’ve been given. We are not failures. We may not see everything through the same lens but we over here are doing the best we can with hearts open to be educated and learn more. We’re doing the best we can given the circumstances of life on this island.  Sometimes we give the hand out, sometimes we give the job before the handout, sometimes we have to just say no and walk away. Every circumstance is different. 
Life in a developing country is hard. It is tiring. But, if we let the devil in, we will forget while we are here. We will forget whom we are serving over here. We will let his tactics overcome our minds and hearts and cause us to want to throw in the towel. But we can’t because God has given us a mission to do and that’s to serve Him wherever He places us. 
I must remember that I am where He wants me and He will never leave my side. I must find joy in the trial and errors and be encouraged by the mountains this life makes me climb. That is all God wants- to know that we will serve Him no matter the cost. He wants to know we are willing to help and love His children even if it hurts, even if we don’t know the best way how.  He wants to know that we still trust Him to show us the way, the path to understanding Him more and more. He wants to know we are willing. So today, you and I, let’s serve our King to the best of our ability and not let the devil in. Let’s love how we know how. Let’s live how we know how. Let’s focus on Jesus and not the world. Let’s do the best we can in loving His people whether as a cashier, or a bank teller, a farmer or a manager a missionary or a teacher.  We can love God’s people. We can teach and be taught every day through each other. 
Let’s love. Even if it hurts.

“the longer she follows Jesus, the more her trembling steps have turned into a walk of confidence. She has no reason to fear, because she knows the One who goes before her.” – her true worth