Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Man, what a trip! I thank you for patience in waiting for the stories. I wish I could have written while in Haiti, but honestly, it might have been a distraction. Being there was the most at peace I've been for awhile. We had a really busy week, but there were so few distractions. I had no cell phone. No internet. No movies. No bills to pay or errands to run. No emails to return. It was truly living in the moment. Being fully present with the tasks before us and trying to take it all in. And boy was there a lot to take in. Crowded chaotic streets, women carrying baskets and bags of goods on their heads, bleating goats, honking horns, children laughing, burning piles of trash, malnourished people and animals, the list goes on and on.

My amazing team in the 12Stone parking lot at 3:30 AM - ready for departure!
All 21 of our suitcases! THANK YOU for all your donations!!!!

trash on the side of the road
crowded streets
beautiful children
stunning mountains
me (on the roof of our hotel) with a tent village in the background

I can tell you it is a truly beautiful country. Beautiful people. Beautiful landscape. Every time I see mountains I fall deeper in love with our Creator. These mountains proved no different. We drove through breathtaking scenery on our way from the capital city of Port au Prince to where we would spend the week in Jacmel. All ten of us and all 21 of our suitcases made it safely to Jacmel. It all went so smoothly we could hardly believe it! We concluded God's favor was on us and tucked that encouragement away as we started the week.

There are stories upon stories to tell, but for now I'll share with you three of my most heart-capturing moments. The first one was on Monday during the clinic we held in the mountain village of Terra Rouge. A shy young woman carrying a tiny bundle slipped onto the rickety wooden chair in front of me and one of the Haitian doctors. She moved the blanket in her arms to reveal a four-day-old sleeping little girl, her daughter who couldn't have been more than 5 and a half pounds. She was a precious baby, but she had an eye infection. Through the help of interpreters we discovered that some unclean water had accidentally splashed into the baby's eye at birth. The eye was swollen and matted shut. We gave the baby what meds we could. I had the privilege of holding her while the mother learned how to open the medicine bottle. Can you imagine? She was a young new mom. Her baby was sick. She had no other alternatives, so she swaddled up her newborn and made the long trek to the clinic. She was determined to give her baby a fighting chance. She had the sweetest smile. And she was so grateful. It broke my heart to see her walk away. How far did she have to walk to get back to her hut? Would her baby's infection cause blindness? Would she even live? What pain was the mother feeling after delivering a baby a mere four days earlier? Her determination and strength was beyond inspiring. I will never forget the look on her face as she thanked us before walking away. 

The second moment involves a patient on the opposite end of the age spectrum. A few days later we were doing another clinic in a different area. Several elderly women came through - some for glasses, others for stomach issues, others for rashes or wounds that aren't healing properly. But one woman stuck out to me. Like most of the people coming through the clinic, they willingly wait hours to get to the doctors. While they waited in line, our team got to love on them - blowing bubbles, playing games, massaging lotion into overworked hands. This particular woman had her nails painted in the most lively bright shade of red you can imagine. She carefully eased herself down on the bench as I prepared to take her blood pressure. I noticed her red nails right away. I knelt down to hold her palms in my hand, showing her I was admiring her beautiful hands. I "ooohed" and smiled over them and when I looked up into her face, the look of kindness in her eyes was paralyzing. It was like this 70 or 80 something-year-old woman had stepped back to her childhood, like a child showing off her new dress. Her clear eyes shone with gratitude and the multitude of wrinkles on her face deepened as her mouth curved into a big grin. I thought to myself, I'm looking into the face of Jesus. And it had never looked more lovely.

The last story involves several children at a school we visited to do VBS. We spent the morning in a classroom of 5- and 6-year-olds. Precious little children in their pale blue uniforms. They were more attentive than I've ever seen kids that age, hanging on every word as we shared with them the story of David and Goliath. We laughed as the story was acted out, giving several kids the opportunity to fall to the ground as Goliath did. We colored pictures with them, swapping crayons and oohing and aahing over their colorful creations. We shared with them the gospel and prayed over them, each one bowing his or her head as the words were spoken. After the class was dismissed and we'd visited with other children, I saw these kids out in the quad area outside. I went over and started interacting with them, attempting to play games through our lack of verbal communication. They smiled and giggled and fought over who would get to hold my hand next. We started twirling each other and dancing even though there was no music. I asked them to sing for me and the next thing I knew I was part of a circle of 8 or so children who are all singing in French. We're holding hands and walking/running in the circle, like we would if we were playing Ring Around the Rosie. I didn't know what the words meant, but it melted my heart to hear their voices singing in unison and see their eyes looking to me for affirmation. It has never been more fun to share laughter than with those eager little ones.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Oh the Roller Coaster

Man alive, these last two weeks have been busy! Work, small group, youth group, out of town, a musical, a million little errands to run, bills to pay, prayer night, baking...whew. I'm tired all over again just from typing it all. I'll be honest, I'd hoped to be more well-rested for the trip to Haiti, but there just hasn't been enough time. In fact, I'll make this short so I can get a few more zzz's before departure.

As April 2nd creeps closer and closer, I've felt the ups and downs of the roller coaster all the more. Thinking about the people we'll meet, the work we'll get to do, the medical care we'll provide, the games we'll play - takes me pretty high up! But then there's the errands, the daily life that still needs to be lived, the thoughts of inadequacy or that feeling of having forgotten something - it can bring me down. The frequency in which I vacillate between the two has taken me by surprise. Literally one minute I can be up, the next minute down. It's amazing, however, how those little moments of solitude and prayer can change the mood. Just opening up the communication with God brings such peace. I have to challenge myself to counter every negative thought. Thoughts that not much can be accomplished in only 9 days...or without a building and medical supplies who can we really help?...or I''m just not equipped enough for a trip like this. They're lies. And I'm grateful for our great and mighty King who will accomplish His will for me (Psalm 138:8)! People often ask me if I'm nervous for the trip. To be honest, not a bit. I'm so excited to travel again (after a over a year since my last trip, it's about time!)...and this time I get to go with people! It's a testament to God's faithfulness that I have no fear. I've struggled with fear a bit in my life, and still do in several areas, but He's helped me conquer this trip. I only have excitement and anticipation, not a hint of fear on the horizon. I believe God has significant things in store for our team!

Speaking of our team - they're pretty incredible. They're hearts are crying out to serve. We've prepared and prayed and opened ourselves up. We've packed up 20 suitcases with crafts, clothes, medical supplies, and games. The time is here to allow the Spirit move in, around, and through us.

We'll be landing in Haiti in about 34 hours...!