Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sometimes in life, we get stuck.  We get stuck in the same job, same routine, same lack of doing the things we swear we will get to.  Why is that?  Why is it so difficult to move forward sometimes?
For me, a lot of times, its fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of failure.  Fear of judgement and criticism (trust me, I have had my fill of both in the last 8 years).  Fear of not being qualified or capable.  Just fear.  Something I have tried to overcome and maybe at times have conquered but can't completely seem to kick.  I'm sure there are many bible verses and songs that can be thrown at me telling me not to fear and to just trust.  I have seen God do amazing things when I am able to trust Him in my fear.  Yet, it resurfaces.

We challenged our teams that came to Haiti to not only serve while in Haiti but to allow that time to open their eyes, minds, and hearts to the dream God had for their lives.  We believe everyone was created with a gift to share with the world and it is our desire for people to discover that gift and be open to how it can be shared with others.   It really was through encouraging teams to seek this for themselves that I began to discover my gifts more and really be open to allowing God to bring my gifts and the things I am passionate about together.  In 2012, before we even moved back from Haiti, I began to think through; what if horses and at risk kids & teens could do something together.
What if...

My husband being the visionary that he is took these initial ideas and has been awesome in creating buildings and space for this to happen.  I have to admit though, fear has crept in.  It sometimes just paralyzes me to the point of being stuck.  "What if I don't know enough? What if I'm not prepared?  What if I fail?  What if my experience isn't enough?"  These are the thoughts that sometimes make it easy to make excuses to stay where I am, on the safety of the shore.
Pastor, speaker, author, Erwin McManus in his book, The Last Arrow,  challenges people to leave nothing undone in this life, to live without fear and regret.   Erwin has put a challenge out to be battle ready and to never surrender or settle.
So here we are 5 years later on this amazing property we have been so blessed with. We have done a ton of work and we still have a ton to do.   But, had we started with an established property or a blank slate, it wouldn't be representative of the brokenness and rebuilding that we know we will journey through with people of all walks of life if we allow God to use our gifts and offer them to Him, for His glory. Its up to me to not allow fear and doubt to keep me where I am, but to lay it all out there and step off the safety of the shore.  I want to leave this life with no regrets.  I want to leave nothing undone.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Becoming

BECOME...
It has been almost 3 years since I've written here.
We went from sharing so much of our lives pre-Haiti and during our 3 years living in Haiti to keeping things pretty quietly to ourselves.  One would have thought transition to living in a third world country to be very difficult and it was, but nothing in comparison to the transition back to first world living.  We have found that processing this part of our lives better to keep to sharing with very few.  This transition isn't something that is easy to explain, but we have discovered that others who have come back from international work experience the same things, so there is a norm within a world of confusion and question.
At the end of our time living in Haiti, I can remember saying to Max that our years in Haiti were mostly for learning.  We learned so much about ourselves, faith, culture, people, trust, and more.  So much of what we shared here on this blog while we were in Haiti full time was what we were experiencing and learning, but we found it difficult to put into words what we were experiencing and learning on our return.
While in Haiti, we really encouraged those coming to serve with us that they would AWAKEN or BECOME who God desired them to be and to experience the dream God had for each of them.  What we didn't realize at the time was that we were also BECOMING.
In looking back, I discovered that before we left for Haiti, Jeff asked our pastor to pray for us as a family to BECOME...BECOME the people that God created us to be, BECOME the people that fulfill the dream that He has for each of our lives.  Jeff wrote a blog post about it here:  Become
When we moved back from Haiti, we were left with all we had learned, lived, and experienced and translating that into relearning how to live in the U.S. ~ "how do we live differently based on all we brought back with us?"  was a question we continued to ask ourselves over and over.
In some ways, we do live differently now than we did before living in Haiti.  We see things through a new set of lenses.  We live with different priorities.  We make decisions differently.  But we have not arrived.
One thing is certain, we were BECOMING while in Haiti, but we continued to learn and BECOME after our return.  Even now we are still BECOMING.  We are closer, but we are still BECOMING the people that God created us to be. Closer but still BECOMING people that desire to fulfill the dream that he has for each of our lives.
While we are still very involved with Haiti and AWAKENHAITI, God is preparing us to add new adventures to take us one step closer to the dream he has for us.  One step closer to BECOMING.

As Jeff ended his blog post, this prayer remains today:
"My prayer for myself, my family, and you is that we all fulfill the dream God has for our lives, that we play our part in His story and do our best to keep adding people to it."

Monday, May 5, 2014

Stephanie

Just a few months after the sponsorship program with Good Samaritan and AWAKENHAITI began in 2008, Jeff and I had intended on sponsoring a new little girl who had just come to the girls home along with Gamaelle who we were already sponsoring.  This new little girl was 4 (the same age as our Brooke), all kinds of cute and huggie and in need of a lot of love.  After spending the week with the kids though, we felt drawn to the 17 year old with attitude.  Not really knowing why, we decided we would sponsor her so we explained to her before we left for our comfy home that we would be her sponsor.  Little did we know just how uncomfortable, yet rewarding this would become.  She was happy but skeptical.
The first few months of living in Haiti, Stephanie was rarely around, had a ton of attitude, and wasn't very kind.  We opened our home to her for a weekend when there was a team just two months into our 3 years.  While she laughed and had a great time, it was evident there was a facade.  Stephanie came to church with us that Sunday with very limited English, but she asked if she could come back every Sunday with us.
Over the course of the following 5 months, Stephanie came to our home on weekends and came to church with us.  Sometimes, I have to admit, I was impatient, I didn't have another ounce of myself to give, but slowly this broken young lady began to trust.  As she began to unload on me the pain, hurt, brokenness, mistakes, and heartache, God began to strip her raw of all the walls and facades around her.  She laid it all out there beginning with the murder of her mom when she was just 6 years old.  She never was able to grieve.  It took months of crying out to God, me praying with her, Jeff and our kids loving and accepting her, our team members encouraging her and making her laugh, and Max and Margarette giving a second chance, but slowly healing began.
She has loved to sing since she was little and those of you who have heard her sing know she can.  She  asked me if she would be able to sing in the worship team at church about a year and a half ago, but it never happened and the truth is, I don't think she was ready spiritually.
Three years together, there were many lessons learned both for her and us.  Disappointments, frustrations, blessings, celebrations.  Many times, I prayed that God would equip me as I didn't have a clue how to help someone through what this child has been through.  He continued to remind me to just love her.
This girl is one determined young lady.  She has since excelled in school becoming the first in the Good Samaritan Homes to graduate high school.  She is in her second year of nursing school learning a ton and pushing her way past 3rd year students in the clinic work.  She is bossy, moody, fun-loving, competitive, beautiful, and healed by the grace of God!
Leaving her last summer not knowing if she was really ready to not have her blan (white) mom there with her was difficult, but God had her in the palm of his hand.
When I returned to Haiti in October, I was surprised to hear she had continued to attend Port-au-Prince Fellowship by herself every Sunday.  She had no family or friends of her own there.  Her English is excellent now and she loves the teaching!  I noticed so much growth in her.
On my visit in March, there was an announcement for worship team auditions and she was encouraged by several of us who have heard her sing to try out.  Part of the try out was explaining her faith and what she believes about Christianity.
I'm so proud to say that yesterday was Stephanie's first Sunday singing at PAP Fellowship!
Thank you to her other sponsor, Kim and to the transition sponsors who help make it possible for Stephanie to attend university, to the many team members who loved her when she needed it most, to Max and Margarette for not giving up on her.  Her story is not finished yet, God is still writing it, but  Praise God for the healing and redemption in her life!

Stephanie (white shirt)






Monday, March 31, 2014

AWAKENHAITI benefit

The AWAKENHAITI benefit originally scheduled for May 17th has been postponed.  Please stayed tuned for the new date!
thank you!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Summer trips

There are a few spaces still available for our July 9-16 and August 9-16 trips. If you would like more info send a pm or email info@awakenhaiti.org

July 9-16
dental care on kids (1 or 2 dental hygienists needed)
physical screening on Good Sam kids
fun day trip with Good Sam kids
extra willing and loving hands needed

Aug 9-16
laying pavers
light construction/yard work
fun day trip with Good Sam kids
extra willing loving hands needed!

Thursday, November 7, 2013