There’s something special about photographing high school seniors; they are full of personality, dreams, vision, wit, & fashion. Cayla’s senior session was one of my very favorites because it included sun flare, bluebonnets, & lots of laughter – all of which captured her vibrant personality! Cayla, you’re too fun! Keep shining bright.
For several months, I’ve sat down at my computer to try & write about Hurricane Matthew hitting Haiti this past Fall. Each time I sat down, I was met with a blank computer screen & a flood of images, memories, & emotions. Today, I went back through the photos I posted on Instagram throughout those heavy weeks in October.
I value the space on this blog to share life experiences, update supporters & prayer partners about what God is doing in Haiti, & to have a digital scrapbook. Below is an overview of photos & captions from those weeks because I do not want to forget what those days were like & the weight of those moments.
Dates & captions are below each photo.
October 2, 2016 – “Would y’all be praying as Hurricane Matthew approaches the Caribbean islands? Would you specifically pray for families living in tents/temporary homes & that the Lord would redirect & calm this storm? I am unbelievably proud of & grateful for our @mohhaiti team on the ground – they are well prepared & have already began mobilizing relief efforts to parts of the island expected to get hit the hardest.”October 3, 2016 – “Today was a day of prayer & strategizing relief efforts in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew hitting Haiti today & into tomorrow. Many of you have personally reached out to me asking what you or your church can do. The most efficient & effective way to provide crisis relief in a time like this is to financially partner with organizations on the ground that you trust. Friends, I know Mission of Hope. I trust & SEE that each dollar given is stewarded with excellent integrity. I know the relief plan drafted up is strategic & well thought out. And I’m amazed at the network of partnerships God has graciously provided & believe it is the best way to effectively reach those in immediate need for essential relief. I’m asking that you partner alongside us financially as we have prepared to provide emergency relief with water, food, medical care, clean up & additional needs throughout the country. Today has been a beautiful reminder of how deeply grateful I am for the team here at MOH & amazed to see how God has united His people from all across the world to pray, serve, & sacrifice for others. Please continue to pray for Haiti as the storm continues to hit.”October 8, 2016 – “I landed in Haiti 2 days ago & the only word I can find for this photo is “sobering”. This is a photo I personally took Thursday in the south of Haiti that was recently hit by Hurricane Matthew. The devastation is real & the immediate need for relief & aid is great.
For years, I have personally seen the work that Mission of Hope does to serve our brothers & sisters across Haiti. Through HaitiOne, over 400 organizations across Haiti are working together. This morning, a 55 ton barge was sent out with food & water & is being deployed to the south. Drivers are headed north with loaded down trucks. I watched our warehouse be emptied in full faith of its refill to continue – this is what God means when he commands us to to walk in faith & to consider others as greater than ourselves. I believe God has equipped His church for such a time as this. God has invited us AND equipped us to join Him in the work of redemption.
Today, my heart aches because of the loss of many lives, homes, & communities from this devastating storm.
Today, I am also reminded that darkness will never overcome the light. That’s a promise & God is faithful to fulfill his promises.
Many of you have asked how you can help. The next few weeks are crucial in continuing to get aid out to areas like this. The link to our @mohhaiti relief page is in my profile, I’d be honored if you would come alongside us.”
October 10th – “R E S I L I E N T.
When people ask me about the Haitian people, that’s the first word that comes to my mind. It’s truly beautiful to see their resilience & strength. Would you please continue to pray for these people & support relief going to those who have endured so much suffering? The relief efforts are only just beginning. There is so much devastation to overcome. As we walked through this village at sunrise, these joyful little beauties were yet another reminder that the darkness WILL NOT drive out the light.”October 11th – “Hope is never a situation. Hope is never a location. Hope is never an ideology. Hope is a person, & his name is Jesus Christ.” – Paul Tripp.
I’m convinced that the sky here in Haiti has never looked so beautiful as it has the past several days. The sun gleaming over the mountains in the morning, & the display of brilliant color as it sets in the evening is a reminder that God is good & does good.
Hope is here because Jesus is who He says He is. He calls us to join Him in the restoration of this broken world; to proclaim Christ in this brokenness, & to care for the broken & hurting – it’s what Jesus did & it’s what He’s equipped us to do.”October 12th – “R E A L I T Y.
When Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti last week, many villages across southwest & northern Haiti were wiped out. However, the devastation continues to increase after the storm, as cholera & threat of starvation take lives. Mission of Hope is diligently working alongside multiple organizations as we exhaust resources to get to these people in these villages by boat, plane, & truck. Please continue to pray for these people, their health, & for the Lord to continue to work through His church by healing the sick, caring for them, & proclaiming His love for them. He is faithful.”October 12th – “The anthem over the past week: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord” Psalm 27:13.
I am confident that the Lord’s goodness is evident & He is working through His church in ways that can only be described as miraculous. Please continue to pray for these people, as there is still so much to be done.”October 13th – “Please join the Mission of Hope family in praying Psalm 20 this morning. Thousands have been helped, but thousands are still waiting. We need doors opened. We need favor. Let’s pray & trust He will provide.”October 13th – “P S A L M • 2 0.
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion! May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices!
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!
Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
O Lord, save the king! May he answer us when we call.”
October 14th – “There have been multiple moments over the past week that will forever be etched into my heart & mind.
One conversation from this morning was when I walked into Mr. Lookens’ office & stood talking with him & Mr. Wantously, both Haitian leaders here at MOH who I’ve grown to know & love the past 3 years.
Mr. Lookens said, “When I go to sleep at night, I see Jeremie (southern town wiped out by Hurricane Matthew) in my mind. When I think if it was my wife or son that couldn’t find clean water to drink or food to eat, that hurts me. We have to do everything we can to help these people.”
Sometimes I do not know how to explain to my friends or family what Haiti is like, but the conversation this morning paints a beautiful picture of unity & fighting for one another. They hurt when their neighbors hurt. They fight for them, pray alongside them, & labor on behalf of them.
It’s a beautiful thing.”October 19th – “This photo was taken right before the first barge docked for relief delivery in Jeremie — one of the villages significantly affected by Hurricane Matthew here in Haiti.
The sun glaring through the ruins reminded me that true Hope is found in Christ & Christ alone. Anything else can be gone in an instant.
This truth of Jesus being our HOPE has carried our team the past 2 weeks & will continue to carry us as we strive to reach the broken & hurting.”October 20th – “The reality of the Lord’s presence in the midst of destruction & affliction has forever marked me.
Affliction & disasters are not new. The reality of a broken world is heavily felt, but the Truth of a risen, reigning, & reconciling King is felt all the more. He is good & is doing good; He calls His church to act & what a privilege that is.
Last night we gathered together as a MOH family & shared glimpses of what we’ve seen God doing through His church across the globe. Nothing short of amazing.
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 — We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”October 22nd – “This is Marvens, a soft spoken little guy from Anse d’Hainault, standing in the midst of his decimated village.
I’m headed back to Austin after spending a couple weeks helping with relief efforts after Hurricane Matthew swept through Haiti.
The days have gone by in a blur, but when I look back on the past 16 days in Haiti, the words that come to mind are: devastation, unity, desperation, resilience, survival, strength, & HOPE.
As the rebuilding continues, my anthem for the Haitian people is Romans 12:12 – Rejoice in Hope. Be patient in tribulation. Be constant in Prayer.
What the enemy means for evil, God will use for good. I’ve firsthand seen the beginnings of this & know that He is faithful.”November 29th – “For Giving Tuesday, I can’t help but think of these incredible drivers at Mission of Hope who went above & beyond to load & deliver supplies after Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti. All smiles & ready to serve their neighbors.
We would be honored if you’d choose Mission of Hope to invest in. Lives are impacted daily & it’s an honor to serve with these incredible people.”
It’s almost February of 2017. Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti on October 4, 2016. So now what? We’ve seen a network of organizations & people unite & work together to serve the communities we work in through HaitiOne. We’ve seen unity like never before. We’ve seen resilience, growth, & restoration. The amount of work to be done is great and God is using His church from all corners of the world to participate.
I now live full time in Austin, Texas and I continue to work at Mission of Hope: Haiti. I am working at the stateside MOH office & I travel to Haiti regularly. I have the privilege of working with our partner organizations in the rebuilding & restoration of homes throughout the Southern region of Haiti.
In December, I had the opportunity to travel back to the South & serve alongside one of our construction teams roofing homes in the village of BonBon. We partner with Haiti Bible Mission, a wonderful organization in Jeremie who is living the difference in their community. We were able to see the rebuilding in the community of BonBon first hand. I’ll post a separate entry with more photos from that trip, but below is a glimpse at the restoration that God graciously allowed us to witness. The below three photos are of Madame Odette’s home during the re-roofing process. Photo two, where she stands beaming in front of her home as her roof was being constructed, is a photo that summarizes the community of BonBon as the rebuilding takes place. Strong. Beautiful. Joyful. Unshakeable. Radiant.
Friends, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for creating space, praying, processing, & listening through this season. Fall of 2016 brought things none of us expected & that none of us would have asked for, but I choose to remain confident that God is good & doing good.
Summer 2016 was my 4th summer in Haiti & it was filled with moments I’ll cherish forever.
Captions & dates are above the photos.
Gig ’em, Ags. 👍🏽 Great day at the Olympic Training Center with the Texas A&M Aggies! 5.14.16
well okay, that view will do. 5.16.16
Sometimes, the best thing is a sunset & a sugary soda. 5.20.16
Orientation with new friendly faces! 5.22.16
Onward, friends. 5.29.16
breathtakingly beautiful: both the sky & the promise. 6.2.16
AYITI 🇭🇹 adventuring through the streets of Port Au Prince. 6.3.16
my Friday night:
– 🎨 watercolors
– 🎧 Bethel Music
– 🙌🏽 truth the Lord has been teaching me ever so slowly but surely. 6.4.16
I personally think every country should have pretty plants for sale on the side of the road – it certainly makes traffic more beautiful. 6.5.16
Sidewalk games on the walk up from the office. 6.6.16
The best airport crew around. 6.8.16
A+, Lord. 6.10.16
Patio lights reflecting in rain puddles on the front porch. Oftentimes, the simplest things are the prettiest. 6.10.16
S U N D A Y || C E L E B R A T I O N. 6.12.16
My home church – @gfcfamily– in Haiti & I’m clearly ecstatic!! 6.16.16
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman! 6.17.16
Rachel Durban: baby whisperer. 6.17.16
I loved spending time with the GFC team that served in Haiti for a week. Home churches are the best. Beach days are nice too. 6.21.16
Praise the Lord for sweet roommates who bring home pineapples! Caribbean living at its finest. 6.22.16
From Haiti 2012 to Haiti 2016! Goodness I love these friends! 6.23.16
The cutest dinner date. 6.25.16
4 years of friendship with Tiff consisting of floor-length skirts & covered shoulders. Haiti friendships are gold (& you always share bad tan lines!). 6.26.16
h a n g i n. 7.1.16
Tap-tap that. Love these friends, a weekend off, & their willingness to indulge in the silliest of photos. 7.2.16
Watching a breathtaking sunset while my toes are in the ocean is like medicine to my soul. 7.2.16
Love these friends. 7.2.16
Salt in my hair & sand between my toes make for a great weekend. 7.3.16
The 4th of July was full of fireworks, the most hilarious lip sync battle, a freaking hilarious dance party, fresh cut French fries & grilled burgers, & so much laughter with my Haiti family. The 4th of July party in Haiti has easily become one of my favorite traditions. So very thankful for freedom! 7.4.16
Going to sleep tonight really grateful for the thoughtful, kind, intentional, selfless, & FUN group of family & friends the Lord has graciously given me from all over the world. I’m excited & expectant for year 25 & have loved celebrating today with my Haiti family! Thank you all for the birthday wishes & kind words! 7.6.16
Love this little guy & some snuggles. 7.7.16
Just some mid-twenties friends twinning from head to toe. 👯 love this friend dearly! 7.7.16
Jesus – be near. 7.8.16
I sure love these people. Our Haiti family celebrating Katie & the gift she’s been to this place & this family. Katie, you will be deeply missed here! Friendship is a sweet, sweet gift. 7.15.16
7.16.16 While there are many photos I could post with Katie, I choose this one because it makes me laugh through the tearful “bye for now” that happened at 5am. Katie, you’re a joy & I am forever grateful for your friendship & living this Haiti life together for many years. Keep shining bright, beautiful friend! Can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for you next.
“Mom, cancel my 3 o’clock appointment & pencil in a nap.” – 👶🏼💭 7.21.16
Port Au Prince grocery errands are way more fun with these friends & the new Need to Breathe album. #belekippart2 7.22.16
1. I’m labeling myself an honorary Donnelly sister, so there’s that.
2. I love that these 2 are in Haiti & that we got stuck in Leveque in the middle of a pouring rainstorm & that we laughed our way through it all. 7.24.16
🐐👶🏼🐐. When there are 1-day-old baby goats on campus, you catch them & go take a picture with baby J. 7.26.16
💪🏼 thankful for early morning workouts & the people who join them each week. Sometimes it’s a small group, other times it’s a large group – every time it’s worth it. 8.3.16
👶🏾👶🏼 What a fun afternoon seeing these ti-best zanmis meet! And also, Amanda – you’re the most beautiful & radiant mama! 8.7.16
#notallbabiesarescary – I mean, lots still are but J isn’t. 😉 8.9.16
I’m continually reminded that God is in the business of redemption. And what a gift that he calls us into that work with him! This was is a day in Minoterie I’ll never forget. 8.10.16
bffs in Leveque (the next 3 photos). 8.12.16
🍌 plantain lessons. after 3 years of #lifeinhaiti, I have finally learned the art of plantain making. 🙌🏽 8.14.16
some of the coolest people. loved 3 months with this intern class & all the memories. 8.18.16
checkers & coffee: my kind of Thursday morning. ☕️ 8.19.16
Friday afternoon bath time. 8.19.16
Matthew is onto something genius: one shoe to match the shirt, one shoe to match the shorts. 👌🏽 8.21.16
What a summer!
Below are some highlights & favorite moments from this Spring. I’m deeply grateful for this life, this country, these people, & these memories.
Captions are above the photos.
What better way to celebrate the MOH 2016 spring intern class than hiking through the mountains & soaking in this beautiful place? When you’re hiking up the mountains & they say it’s time for a mango pit-stop, YOU SAY YES.
A favorite little coffee spot in my home that is filled with gifts from thoughtful friends who know my love for coffee & tea.
April 21, 2016. 6 years, 3 months & 9 days after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti & created massive devastation for many all across the country, 615 houses are now complete to help alleviate one of the many problems caused by that earthquake. That’s 615 families whose lives have been transformed by having a place to live, a place to send their kids to school, & most importantly, a church on top of the hill for people to praise God for what he is doing in Haiti.
A (very real) day in my life. I can not be trusted to hold anything in the mornings.
Bird’s nest outside my door.
Flying back to my Haiti home.
Truth, shadows, & light.
Wisdom & jokes from Mr. Marc with the Austin MOH office.
“Can you turn up the volume? I love this song!”
Taking Texas by storm with some of my favorite Haitian friends.
Girl’s weekend 2016. “Do you guys have any training? Like are y’all professional paddle-boarders?” – random guy in Austin. We totally looked like pros y’all.
Friday morning strolling downtown ATX with Jess & Stanley.
Meeting Josiah (Matt & Amanda’s little one) for the first time! Days of snuggles in Florida were so so sweet.
The snuggle is real.
He has risen, as He said. || Matthew 28. Oh, the promises fulfilled in those words & the implications of that empty tomb! Rejoice, friends!
Easter Sunday: A mighty fine afternoon in leveque sitting on my fav porch with my fav peeps. See what I did there? #easter 🐥
J O Y. What a gift to show these little athletes at the olympic training center how strong & beautiful they are.
I didn’t get their memo.
Dinner with a view.
goats all over the place AKA my front yard.
When our boss comes to the morning workout!
I’m not normally down by the school in the mornings, but one morning I was & I loved watching all these littles in their red uniforms file into school.
Day off Port Au Prince adventures with our new friend & driver Junior. He liked listening to Ben Rector & when a song came on talking about a beautiful girl, he turned to me & said, “you?” 😂👏🏻 Good day with good (charming) friends.
And you think your carpool is rough.
Fresh Florida strawberries hand delivered by the lovely Sarah Hall! What a gift!
Beach photoshoot for Three Cords 2016 Spring line
Beautiful friends, boat rides to the island, snorkeling, & lots of laughter!
That time we took a boat to La Gonave & snorkeled.
Front porch sittin’ is a favorite of mine in any country.
Camp Gladiator: Haiti style! It’s grown a little over the past few months. I sure do love these people, these early morning workouts, & watching the sunrise over the mountains each day. What a life!
Soudline just had to get a shot of Matthew & I planking.
Sunday strollin’ in Leveque.
Love these friends! Jean Marc learned how to play Adele’s “Hello”, so naturally we sang along & were entertained for a while. It’s a joy to work with this team!
While I was in the States over Christmas break, I’m so thankful I got to go visit friends in Colorado for a few days! Thankful for good friends, a few days of mountain exploring, & R E S T.
Haiti friends are forever friends!
There’s something about the mountains…
I sure do love the people God has placed all around me. From family to friends, to all the in-between…you guys add so much laughter to life & I’m thankful for each & every one of you.
These women in the below few photos? They’re my homegroup girls: my best friends from college & our fearless leader, Kim. As soon as I landed in the states, we all went to dinner at Kim’s. We love this woman & the wisdom she’s shared with us over the past 5 years. Also, Caroline is clutch for bringing her selfie stick.
Friends that wear plaid together stick together.My beautiful mom treated me to a spa day on Christmas Eve – so relaxing!Torchy’s Tacos. Need I say more?
I spent Christmas Eve with this fun Burnett crew, my mom, & Wes. Lisa made Javanese dinner (one of my favorites) & we prayed, sang, & laughed quite a bit.
I’ve loved these girls for over a decade. Time is flying!Javanese dinner. ❤
Christmas morning outside at my mom’s house (basically in the middle of the woods)! It’s quite beautiful out there. We went & watched Star Wars on Christmas Day (Happy Birthday Jesus!) with all of the family & facetimed Ryan & Jessie in Greece while we were waiting to go into the theater. It was great getting to see their faces for a second & share with all of the family. Also, isn’t my Grampy adorable in his Texas A&M hat?
I know I mentioned it in my last post, but Christmas lights are simply lovely. This house had tons of hanging snowflakes!On Christmas night, Alanna & I lost 3 games of marbles in a row…but hey, in Steve Harvey’s book – we’re Champions. 😉 Too soon?
Life may be crazy sometimes & it might not always look like I would have planned, but I’m unbelievably grateful for the journey & the Lord’s faithfulness in every step.
Merry Christmas friends. May your hearts & minds be focused on Christ & the joy of His coming!
My new Christmas tradition that I decided to start this year? Christmas pizzas.
After Christmas pizza, the best thing to do is drive around town with some of your favorite people & find Christmas lights. Today was a day filled with reminders that relationships are to be cherished, no matter the distance. I’ve known these 2 girls for over a decade, & I’ve had the privilege to walk through many stages of life with them. The past few years have looked different since I’m not in the States, but the times we do get to spend together are cherished. Today was a sweet day to add to those cherished memories! We can also add some pretty great dance moves to those memories. When the 3 of us get together, it gets hilarious.
Cheers to making memories, friends. Merry Christmas!