My life

My life
I am truly Blessed

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Unexpected Angels

Its funny the people you meet when you step outside your "box", or outside your world of comfort. Its amazing how God has blessed me with great relationships and has introduced me to amazing people on this journey. The other missionaries i work with have been a blessing, and i now have relationships that i know will last my whole life, and into the next.

There is one guy here (in Haiti) that Stacie (fellow missionary and great friend) and I commonly refer to as our "Guardian Angel". We got that because the in Hebrews 13:2 it says "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."

This guy is homeless. Not Haiti homeless, where he has a place to sleep but no real house, he is really homeless. He travels a stretch of road from Jakmel to Cyvadier begging, washing windows, and helping people carry stuff in hopes of money.

To be honest i dont even know his name. I probably run into him atleast a few times a week, and will give him a small monetary amount after i have him do a job of some kind such as carry something or "wash" our windshield with his overly dirty rag. This keeps our relationship mutual rather than him being a beggar.

We call him our Guardian Angel because he is always there. Multiple times he has stopped a car from racing past me that would have hit me, and he has kept people from harassing me at times as well. Not only that but he just has a way about him that is perplexing. Some local Haitian people say he is "Fou" or insane, but i dont think so. I think he has an important job, and he is doing it.

Im not really sure where im going with this, but it just really stood out to me as being important. I am blessed to know this guy, and i am happy to see him. Especially knowing that when God created the world, He knew that this guy was going to be alive at some point. He also knew that He and I would have a special relationship. I have had alot of those in this life. Odd relationships that have blessed me in ways i could not have imagined. Maybe we are all a Guardian Angel for someone and we dont even know it.

The really big thing that has been going on is the new set of twins and mother that have arrived on Campus. The twins both were under 3 lbs each. Thats insane. I was pre-mature when i was born and i was just over 6 lbs. I dont even know how they are alive. Check out my pictures on Facebook to see them.

We are blessed to be able to house and recuperate them while training the mother in breastfeeding (others are doing this) and how to mother the twins. Its things like this that really make me see how awesome it is to be involved in this kind of thing. Its down to the raw things in life. Its down to seeing the point where only God can do the things that happen around here.

The twins are doing well and will be reassessed in another week or so. All of our other kids are back in school. Its been haywire trying to track down all the books, luckily there are other missionaries more proactive in that than I.

I hope you have a blessed day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Life Updated

I have learned that im not a good blogger. Im an irresponsible blogger who thinks that unless im going to write a long awesome (in my mind) blog, then its not even worth doing. That way of thinking has surfaced in many areas of my life unfortunately, the "all or nothing" way of life is not a good one.

What im going to start doing is give shorter, more consistent blogs to keep people more up to date about what is going on in this area of the world (and in my world for who cares).

I went to the states. It was fun. I saw alot of people, not everyone though. I ate alot of food, not healthy. I worked out in a gym, air conditioning. I saw a movie, on a big screen. And I went to the beach, where a thousand other people were and the water was brown.

Its always awesome for about a week or two, and then it sets in. Its that feeling of normalness. It all becomes the same again. Day after day, the same routine, the same places, everything. Everything is so clean, so protected, so new. Things are wasted, i waste stuff. I eat food thats way too expensive, and I spend money on stuff that ill never use. And im left with an empty feeling. A feeling that was supposed to be filled by all the stuff i have or did, but never is.

Then i remember God. I remember His plan, and His commands. I remember He said that I should lean not on my own understanding, or seek after things of this world. I remember that he says to focus on the Kingdom of Heaven.

I start to yearn for something more, opportunities to give more, and i think about Haiti. How much of a blessing it is to be here working with kids who would (most likely) die without us. Thats an awesome feeling. Its cool to know that God took a dead soul like me and somehow changed me into something useful. He can do it for anyone, and He wants to do it for everyone.

We watch alot of video sermons here. We have one TV (and we are very grateful for that), that we use every morning to lead our Bible Study or Worship. We watched an Andy Stanley series, and in it he talked about being responsible and what it means to be responsible. He made the point that when we are irresponsible we are really affecting everyone else around us because they are the ones who have to "pick up" that responsibility. It really made sense to me, and made me think about when i was living life for myself (i often still do) and how i thought that what i do doesnt effect anyone else but me (excuse my misuse of effect or affect). How wrong was I?

I think of the scripture James 4:17 "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins". Its hard to read, and brings about fear to my worldly side. It makes me think about that homeless guy i passed on the way to Outback. Or I think of Church when im hitting snooze for the 5th time. Or I think of the starving family living next door to our compound here when I buy a $90 pair of jeans. All stuff thats alot easier to put in the back of my mind and forget about, which is so easy to do when im surrounded with life in America.

But im back, and it feels good, and im thankful. The welcoming we (Stacie, Cameron P., and Myself) got when our van pulled into the compound was breathtaking. Kids screaming, kids literally jumping for joy, it took our breath away. I dont think i have every felt such pure joy in my life. Any time i start missing those worldly things and comforts, i just remember that feeling and it is all worth it.

I want to personally thank everyone who has continued to support me with prayer, emotional support, funding, and everything. Its not possible without you. I love you!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Too late for a second chance.

Life is Real. Sometimes its hard to see it living in the United States, at least for me. Everything is so protected and careful. We are quite an advanced society, so much to the point that people focus more on the future rather than the present, and survival. Haiti is much different. Here people are concerned about the NOW, and how are we going to eat NOW, and where am i going to sleep right NOW. Very few people here are worried about retirement or about Grad School.

Haiti is also different in the aspect that over 80% of the population lives in abject poverty. This causes alot of begging, begging that can seem bothersome to someone who is not used to it, and even to those who are used to it.

My first trip to Haiti was around a year ago. It was a short term mission trip. When we first landed in Port Au Prince, i saw poverty and chaos like i had never seen before, or even imagined. It was shocking to say the least. People bombarding you, begging for a dollar. Knowing no English but "Give me Dollar". It can take your breath away seeing people giving up all social etiquette, all social respect, and begging literally for survival.

After coming back to Haiti a few months later, to live full time, i have experienced this culture shock many times. Ive been subjected to these individuals many times, multiple times a day. I didnt notice it, but that initial "Wow, i need to give these people everything i have" kind of went away. It was replaced with a feeling of "well there is someone who needs it more than you, and if i give it to you ill have to give it to everyone" kind of feeling. Dont get me wrong, I still give, I still donate, and I still live in Haiti to serve the kids and the people here, but that initial feeling is gone.

Jesus calls us to give when asked. In the book of Luke 6:30 He says the words "Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back". These words are hard to swallow. This means i have to give to whoever asks me, even if i dont "think" they need it. It doesnt say "use your discretion, and give when you really feel like the person needs it". It says "give to whoever asks". I have somehow forgotten this, or never really learned it in the first place.

Its really easy to give when i know i have another at home. Its really easy to give when i know ill get another soon, or i can easily afford another. Its hard to give when i know im going to be empty handed afterwards. I think this is why God/Jesus teaches us to separate ourselves from materialism. "Dont love the world". I have found that i have gotten a bit of self-righteousness from living in a third world country serving. When someone asks me for something i get that feeling of "well dont you see i live here too?", "what makes you think i have money?". This may be the case, but i sure have alot more than them. I could sell my ipod and give it away, i could get rid of all my clothes except for one pair and wash them everyday like i see many Haitians doing. But i dont, because im selfish. Not yet.

The reason i have talked about all of this is because of a recent event, that has turned into a monumental re-learning experience for me.

One of our wash ladies (We will call her Mary) has asked me multiple times in the last week for me to give her money, or fill her prescription. I told her i cant because she has a job, and if i give it to her than i will have to give it to all the workers. I am asked practically every day for such things, and when i feel as though i can afford it i give, but only when i can afford it. I also make it a point to give to people who dont work for us, and who i know doesnt have a job. Ive had this belief that i need to give to those who dont have a job, because i know that the people who work for us are getting a paycheck. A paycheck that wouldnt last a day in the United States.

Today i was approached by a fellow missionary who informed me that Mary went home early today. She heard news that her daughter was sick. The daughter is five years old, and was being watched by the neighbor, there is no father. She actually lives in a Kou*, which is a bunch of huts or tents in a small area. This Kou was comprised of only women and their children and it is located 500 feet from our compound. When Mary reached her small shed like home, she found her daughter dead.

Josue (our Haitian spiritual advisor) and myself went to her Kou to talk with her and figure out the situation. The child was certainly dead, and looked peaceful. When i asked how she died, the mother responded "I didnt have her medicine, i have been trying to get money to get her prescriptions filled." I almost threw up. I realized i had had an indirect reason for this girl dying, all because i didnt follow command in Luke 6:30. Because i felt that she made enough money to buy medication, and because i didnt feel like dealing with the 50 other employees that would ask me for money, i told her no. I let down the "least of these".

I prayed for the girl, and the mother. I asked her what i could do at this point. She needed money for the funeral. No problem, i gave her all i had. Trying to make up for the sin that had passed. I think back to James 4:17 and cringe. How many times have i killed people with the word "No", or "i cant". Never again. Im going to give when asked because now i really know its life or death. I also gave her a bible and told her that i would be praying for her, and i also ask that anyone reading this pray for her too.

I know everything happens for a reason. I know God can pull the good out of bad, and i know that this little girls spirit is in Heaven. I pray that i have really learned my lesson this time, and i pray that God does what it takes to allow me to say "Yes" to anyone when they ask, even if that means im going to give the shirt off my back.

Lets all start caring for others more than ourselves, and see what happens.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The least of these

Time really flies here. It feels like just yesterday that i was posting a blog. That's a common discussion around here, how fast time flies, but can seem slow at the same time. Weird how that is. One of those things that are just hard to explain, unless you have experienced it.

We have had alot of interesting things happen lately. Great things in fact. A little background story on one of the events of yesterday is that in Haiti, there are individuals that are called Restaveks. This is a person who is owned by another person to do work. In other words, slave. The ones we are familiar with are our neighbors, owned by other Haitians. They are children. All under the age of 8 right now. Ill keep names out of the hat to preserve confidentiality, but they have nice names, trust me.

So a few of the girls missionaries here at the orphanage have been involved with them for a number of months now. One in particular, we will call her Sally. There are others, but Sally has been the one we have spent the most time with. Stacie, Emi, and Rebekah all had a hand in getting to know her, and eventually let her come into our compound to eat and socialize with the other girls, after getting permission from her "owners" of course. She is an 8 year old girl, and extremely sweet and cute.

We would see her carrying buckets of water to and fro from the public water facet located near our outer gate. An important fact is that she is really small, I would have thought she was around 5 years old due to her size, and she is carrying full buckets of water back and forth, nearly 30 yards, all day. When she is not doing that, she is cleaning. The worst part of it all is that she doesn't go to school. Schools here are all private, usually run by a mission of some sort, and very expensive.

So after a few months of her coming over and Stacie and the others getting involved more and more with her, we were approached. A few days ago, Sally's parents came to where she was currently living (next to us) and wanted to talk to Stacie (who has been the most involved with Sally). They said they wanted Sally to live with us, as well as her little brother. This was a miracle, and an answer to prayers. Truly.

Two days later (yesterday), they were both finished with paperwork, disease testing, and everything else involved with becoming a resident of our Children's Village. Their lives will forever be changed. They now are going to school, they now have three meals a day, and they now have all the love they could want. Living in an orphanage is by far not the most desirable option in life, but it sure beats what they had before. Im grateful to be a part of it, and it makes it ALL WORTH WHILE.

God said that children, and the helpless are the most important, and the ones we should be taking care of, and this is it. Thank you God for this opportunity, thank you God for saving their lives, as well as ours.

We recently watched an amazing YOUTUBE video called "Depraved Indifference", by Eric Ludy. Its truly eye opening and inspiring. I recommend everyone watches it. Its the real deal. But it really made me think about whats going on here. Every second we give to a child, every dollar we give, is a way to change their life. Its crazy to think that all the kids that we have here, are going to have a real life. An entire life is going to be lived because God used people to save them. And an entire World can live because God used His Son to save them too.

I want to be here forever, i want to be a part of this forever.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Set in Stone

I thank God that i have reached a point in life that i feel complete with things. There isnt that wondering if im on the right track or not. It is a far cry from what i imagined i should/would be doing a few years ago but i have that "wandering" feeling.

I went on my trip to the United States in June, which was great. I got to see all my family and visit with alot of friends. I also got to work out in a real gym, and feel AC constantly. I even felt "real" cool air, outside. During my trip i started getting a feeling of how good it would be to have all the luxuries of life back. The opportunities that are offered in the United States. I started coveting it in fact. All the way up until the last week before i returned.

But when i flew back onto Haitian land and felt that humid air, and that smell, that Haitian smell, i knew i was home again. I felt euphoric during the three hour drive through the Haitian cities and mountains on the way back to the orphanage, where we now have 62 kids. During the drive I was remembering all that i loved about Haiti, the beauty, the people, the community. I thought about the US and all its luxuries and how good they were, but in no way compared to what Haiti has, a community of people working together for a common good, however distorted it may seem at times. People will help people here even when they dont get anything in return, which is sometimes foreign to me being an American.

Dont get me wrong, i love America, but alot of times it seems to be a very "me" place. Anyways, back to the story. When i was about two miles from the orphanage I witnessed a man get hit on bicycle by a Moto (motorcycle). When we drove past, i saw the man's horrible head wound and realized the other side of Haiti (and life for that matter), the dark side. It isnt all beauty here, there is alot of pain. And then i realized the real reason im here, to help, and to be helped because life isnt perfect, and Haiti is far from it.

Now its been almost a month since my return, and i have full confidence in my being here. Im expecting God to reveal it to me through allowing my fundraising to be successful. Everything works out, it always does, even if its not the way i want it to. God always has a plan, He did create everything, even pain.

So if you read this, say a prayer, even if you dont Believe. You never know, it sure has been the biggest thing in my life. If you need prayer, post it, ill do it immediately.

Be blessed

Thursday, June 23, 2011

You speak when your mind ceases to be at peace- Kahlil Gibran

I have recently finished reading "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran. It was an amazing and insightful book. Thank God for spell check. But anyways, the book references the Bible many times indirectly. It actually inspired me to continue to not only read the Bible and better my relationship with Jesus, but to start an upward trend in our relationship. Actually that kind of "relationship" deserves a capitol R- Relationship.

I notice that my Relationship with Jesus kind of goes up and down. I tried to pinpoint what causes such a thing, and I've found that its usually when things are good that i start breaking away a little. It starts out as me not reading the Bible as often. Not waking up early to read because i "need the sleep". It starts with me saying a curse word, or watching a show that i know isn't going to better my life or others. It starts with me rushing through prayers because I'm tired and worrying a little too much about how i "look". These are all the signs of me heading for a bottom in my Relationship with God. Its not going to be my lowest bottom, but a local bottom. A bottom that will let me see my folly and give me the desire to bounce back. I don't know that Jesus likes this though. What I do know is that He loves me enough to discipline and correct me when I'm wrong, which He has done plenty of in the past.

I should back up for anyone who is in the dark (not the evil kind). I am a Christian Missionary living on an Orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti. I work through the Hands and Feet Project, and I am currently in Washington State visiting family. I don't know what to call it exactly, furlough maybe. Its not vacation, its not leave, its just a visit to the states i suppose. I have to renew my visa every few months anyways, but it is a good time for Missionaries, and myself particularly, to reflect on things without the pressing issues of being on the orphanage. In this "visit" i have traveled to Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, and now Washington State, all in a very short time period of less than two weeks. I will be returning to Haiti again soon, but am enjoying my time seeing family now.

My life hasn't always been in the Mission field though, and in fact at one point it was very far from it. The farthest you can be in fact. I was one of Satan's soldiers. Not in the Satan worshipping kind of way, but i was a non-believer in God. I didn't know what to believe actually, but i knew that God wasn't real. I just knew it, and i lived my life as though there was no one watching, and that i needed to have as much worldly pleasure as possible before i died and drifted off into the black nothingness of death. I have a lot of experience in what not to do. But God saved me. He pulled me from the fiery pit and offered me a deal, one that is still being carried out. He offered me freedom from the addictions that plagued me, and in return I was/am to serve others, and Him. I took the job after a little resistance, but i had no choice.

I am kind of bouncing around here, but I'm trying to get more into the blogging life. I will be back with another blog soon. I have realized that the only people spending time reading my blogs will be people i know, or would want to know anyways, and the people i might fear of judging me would probably not be "wasting" their time on me. Its good to realize that. Its good to be freed of self centered fear, even if it is for the moment.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Life

This is my very first blog post EVER. I feel weird doing it. But i realize that its a great way to share the experience that i am blessed to be a part of. Not everyone gets to do what im doing. I get to live on an orphanage, in a beautiful country, full of interesting things. By interesting things i mean things that i would never see or be a part of in the US. The US is good, but its not as exciting as here. I love the US, but i dont see myself being there again for a long time. Everyday here is like an adventure. Its just different.

I am realizing one thing though as i am here. I used to think that the US was the safe place, the place that made it. I was wrong. The longer im here (going on 4 months) i realize that the US is very lost. That may be insulting to some people, but its true. God is being pushed out, so much in fact that if you talk about God, in most open settings, you will be frowned upon. Thats sad. Thats embarrassing. I used to be a part of it. I didnt know God until i was 20 years old. My life was less than desirable, and i caused it all on myself. God saved me, and He can definetly save you. Ask Him, and your life will be transformed.

I truly live the life of my wildest dreams.