This morning I read this out of Ann Voskamp’s Advent Book “The Greatest Gift”:
“Linger in the quiet and taste the grace of now, and know that He is good and He is God.”
Know that He is good. He is God. I am reminded of this Truth daily. When my heart begins to feel overwhelmed, I hear Him like a whisper,
“I am good, darling. I am God. Trust. Rest. Breathe.”
These are a few photos from church this past Tuesday night. Can you see it, friends? Can you see the open hearts, open hands, the surrender? The praising God for his goodness and for who He is. Linger in the quiet…taste the grace of now.
My alarm goes off at 6:45 this morning and I hastily get ready for the day, head down to the guesthouse where 150 team members are eating breakfast, grab a cup of coffee and scoop some oatmeal into my bowl, and help among the [organized] chaos of sending teams off into the villages for the day.
Can I be honest? It didn’t “feel” like Thanksgiving this morning.
I head up to my apartment to get some work done, and I try and muster up the nostalgic feeling of Thanksgiving. I even ate a gingersnap cookie…at 9am.
I spent some time reflecting on this season of life: on the journey up to this point, and the excitement of what is to come. I truly am thankful to be here, but it still didn’t “feel” like Thanksgiving.
I send some emails and do a little work, then head down to the guesthouse for lunch. I find out someone has hurt their ankle and is needing to go to Port Au Prince to get an X-ray to make sure nothing is broken. I hop in the vehicle with them and ride to the hospital.
The drive to the hospital, I’m combating bitterness that is trying to fester. Bitterness toward people that are sitting around a dinner table this evening amidst all of their family & friends. Bitterness that I’m not playing football with my brother in the front yard. Bitterness that I’m not going to have my Granny’s mashed potatoes at dinner.
We wait at the hospital for about an hour while the boy gets an X-ray, good news – it’s not broken, just a sprain!
On the way back to the mission, our Haitian driver, Joslyn, tells me “Happy Thanksgiving!” I tell him thank you and then he looks at me and the others riding in the back and says, “I’m sorry I do not have a turkey to share with you all, but I share by heart.”
“I share my heart.”
My eyes brimmed with tears as I thought: yes. this is what it is all about.
What a posture of the heart to have. Share it. Share your time, your words, your joy. Be intentional with the moments that the Lord has laid before you.
I’m embarrassed to admit how ridiculous I was being earlier today. I fell for the trap of bitterness for a few hours, and I’m so grateful that the Lord used a soft spoken Haitian man to show me His heart and to gently correct my thoughts.
I learn more about Joslyn, and that he was one of the drivers here at the mission that drove the ambulance after the earthquake – moving people from Port Au Prince to the mission so they could have surgery, receive proper medical attention, etc. I also learn that he has worked for Mission of Hope for over 15 years. He is a hard worker and a wonderful driver.
“I share my heart.“
Isn’t that what it’s all about?
And when the temptation of bitterness comes (because it will), you have the choice to listen to those thoughts, or to combat those thoughts with thanksgiving.
Share your heart, friends. It’s better that way.
I am thankful that we serve a God who shares with us His heart through His Word, and that He is in fellowship with us through His Holy Spirit. I am thankful, so so thankful to be here in Haiti this very moment, working with these precious people, on this very special day.
Wherever you are – give thanks! Jesus is good & He does good. If you are gathered around a table smelling the sweet aroma of pumpkin and watching football this evening, be thankful for these blessings. If you are struggling with an empty seat at the table and the loss of a loved one(s), I am so very sorry for your pain. If you are away from your family in this season, or holidays seem to offer more reminders of broken hearts or broken families, sweet friend – I hope you deeply know this: the Lord comforts, & He is near to the brokenhearted – that’s a reason to be thankful.
Psalm 100:4 // Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
As we have mobilization team meetings on the ground here in Haiti, I am so very excited! We are well into our planning and scheduling for the 2014 year, and I am eager as I look ahead at the volume of people that will be serving alongside us on short term mission trips.
The reason I am so excited? Sure…this means thousands of people will see Mission of Hope and what is being done in Haiti, but more importantly, this means that thousands of people will be exposed to the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, & invited to step into Christ’s story for the rest of their lives.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:1-10
From death to life. Plot twist.
Each and every person that steps foot on campus will be confronted with the Truth of the Gospel, and will be thinking through and wrestling through the questions of what they will do with that information. Each person either accepts or rejects Jesus here on earth. There is no middle ground and no gray area. As my boy C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
This means that Haiti gets to be a plot twist in their story – where people “fall at His feet & call Him Lord & God.” Where people are changed forever at the overwhelming freedom that Christ offers, and the insurmountable joy that being His disciple brings. See friends, we were created by God, & for God. We were created to bring glory to our Creator. John Piper put it this way, “A life that gives glory to God for his grace & a life of deepest gladness are always the same life.”
Would you be praying for people who do not know Christ to experience plot twists with eternal implications?
From damnation to salvation. From enemy of God to child of God & co-heir with Christ sitting at the right-hand of the Father?
I’m by no means a theologian, but I am learning more and more about who God is. There are times where I feel like my heart could burst at the overwhelming awe I have towards Him and the grace He extends to us. He is good. He does good. He redeems. This offer is extended to all.
Praying for eternal plot twists,
and it’s 90 degrees outside.
I am getting used to this whole “living in the Caribbean” thing.
Also, Haitian coffee. It’s great y’all. Be on the lookout for some Mission of Hope: Coffee. EEEEK. Some us staff were the official taste testers, and dang. let me tell you – it is SMOOTH. Make this in a french press? GOLD.
Loving this life.
Whew. Looking through pictures from those last few weeks in the states before moving to Haiti brings me so much joy. I’m seriously overwhelmed at the sweet, sweet relationships with friends & family that the Lord has placed in my life. My last few weeks were spent having several breakfast/lunch/dinner/coffee dates with people, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Also…packing. Lots of packing. There were several times that I forgot to take a picture, but that’s ok…mental pictures, right? (Office fans, remember Jim & Pam’s wedding episode? *camera click*)
lunch at the school with Audrey
my girls. several nights with these ladies! love them so much!
Yogurt Story with Alanna
Time at the Flynts with these munchkins!
These girls hold a big piece of my heart.
Joe T Garcias with these ladies.
Also, my last time to wear heels for a while. ha!
Games with Granny & Grampy! Looking forward to this again at Christmas time
My last weekend in town, I spent all of Saturday with the Burnett family. We went to my favorite place in Denton for lunch, then to Dallas for the afternoon and they surprised me by taking me to Klyde Warren Park (which is simply perfect…pictured above). After, I thought we were heading home to watch a movie and chill for the rest of the night…WRONG. I walked in the door to a HUGE surprise party. Let’s just let the pictures do the talking…
WHEW. what a night. It legitimately was one of the most encouraging nights of my life. I can’t express how much everyone’s love & support truly means to me. Also, thanks for the awesome pictures Grant! I have beautiful friends, right?!
One last Rangers game with these friends (for this season, at least)!
My incredible mom helped me finish up the last of my packing…thankful for her servant’s heart! And the amount of Starbucks we consumed.
Breakfast dates with my precious dad. We had one every day my last week in the states. Sweet moments!
Photo overload, I know. And I know I’ve been living in Haiti for almost 6 weeks now, so this is a bit delayed. I am absolutely loving things here in Haiti. I am honored that the Lord has chosen for me to be here at this time in my life. I am so thankful. So, so thankful. I just wanted to document these sweet memories of my last few weeks in the states (more so for my sake so that I can look back on these), so thanks for reading along.
Friends & family: You guys are simply the best. I can’t thank you enough. That’s all there is to say.
Sunrises and coffee are two of my favorite things. Put them together? Yep. It’s the best combination.
I spent last week out in Bercy with a team this past week and it was breathtaking. I had a day off while out there too, so I spent basically an entire day reading in my hammock by the beach. It was so refreshing! The rest of the week out there was pretty busy consisting of: waking up super early to start the coffee, going to village time with the team, and even helping with a mobile clinic one day.
I spent just a little bit of time out in Leveque with my sweet friend/Haitian mom Ozanna. The kids that I have grown to love so so much are her little ones, and they weren’t home this time (thankfully, I have been able to see them a couple times since being down here though). It was really nice just to sit and give Ozanna my full attention, and not be pulled in different directions by the kiddos. We talked about my family coming to Haiti in March of 2014, and went through pictures on my phone of friends and family. We talked about her and her family getting to meet my family soon and how excited I am for that!
I asked how her older kids were doing (ones I hadn’t seen since last year), and she stood up and told me to follow her. We walked a couple hundred yards to a different house and I got to see Gildah, her daughter! I hadn’t seen ! I hadn’t seen her since last August. AND, Gildah had just had a sweet baby girl, Cendie, 12 days ago! So, of course I was smitten and just sat there and was in awe of the fact that I have had the privilege to know 3 generations from this family. What a gift. What a precious, precious gift.
I went running out at Bercy one evening and thought this was an uncanny resemblance to running back home in Texas.
The moon was SO bright last week…I just kept thinking of Phil Wickham’s song “Sun & Moon”…lovely reminder that the light that we shine is not ours, but Christ’s.
Have a great week!
Google defines a comma as: “a punctuation mark (,) indicating a pause between parts of a sentence or separating items in a list.”
This has been a week of comma moments for me. Let me try to explain…
Sometimes, being in the whirlwind of day-to-day life here, it is easy to gloss over the incredible God moments that happen every.single.day. This was a week that I felt that the Lord has intentionally placed “comma moments” in my life that made me pause. This was a week of doing things outside of my normal routine here in Haiti.
I stayed at the Bercy campus with a team, and woke up early to make coffee…waking up early meant that I got to watch the sunrise over the mountains. I had no internet, so I didn’t wake up and immediately check email, instagram, facebook, etc.
That sunrise? Let me tell you…It reminded me that I serve THE God who goes before me, who is good, who does good, who is sovereign, faithful, beautiful, just, generous, loving, & creative. Comma moment.
I got to see people meet the kids that they sponsor. I got to watch as these young Haitian students made the connection that these North Americans believe in them, their Christ-centered education, and their ability to fulfill their dreams. Comma moment.
I spent Saturday in Bercy with the team for Village Time: evangelism, prayer, and inviting people and their kids to a Kid’s Club taking place that afternoon. After lunch we went to the Kid’s Club. The beautiful thing about this Kid’s Club? It was 100% planned by the Village Champions – who are young men (& women in other villages) in Bercy who are passionate about seeing their village hear and see the Gospel, and personally know Jesus. These men planned this club, found the location & set up the event, practiced the songs, budgeted for food/snacks, and led the entire thing. I sat in the back with my camera in my hand and tears in my eyes at seeing these men so passionate about the Gospel and taking the call of being a disciple of Jesus seriously. They invited Matt & Amanda to see what they had put together. Matt works with each of the Village Champions in the surrounding villages for Church Advancement and Amanda is their English teacher. They were like proud parents, watching the men they work so closely with really take ownership of this afternoon club. This is what is is all about. Making disciples who make disciples. This is what Jesus calls us to, and it is happening right before my very eyes. Comma moment.
The Bercy Village Champions with Matt & Amanda:
Atthis, so happy it was a success!
Matensly & I This is Atthis’ son! He’s such a little stud, and he knows it.
Don’t skip the comma moments.
They are important, they teach us to recognize the writer of this beautiful story of redemption, Jesus.
They lead us to the Father’s heart.
Oh, how grateful I am for these commas.