Friday, July 30, 2010

Outside looking in.

I just stumbled upon this documentary.
It is an accurate account of some of the current struggles that the Haitian people are facing.
Be warned, the tone of this report is very somber. If the earthquake wasn't enough, people are still living in the same (if not worse) despair, fear and oppression as the days following January 12th.

This video prompts me to ask the same questions I asked after the earthquake.
Where is the hope for this country?
When will these people ever see healing?
Will the pain ever relent?
Where are you God?

The book of Joel has laid open on the table in my kitchen for a while now. A few days ago I read chapter 2 during my breakfast and those words hang deep in my heart with precious lives from a country that has become home. It's very hard for me being on the 'outside looking in'. Knowing the desperate state of so many, and now understanding further the conditions of so many others while currently being in a place of so much peace and abundance. It's like standing in the sunshine while looking through the glass into the heart of a terrible storm on the other side. My heart is so restless.

'Even now' declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.' - Joel 2:12-13

Hearts are breaking.
Rending to the despair that grips such a helpless nation.
The confusion, the abuse, the terror, the insecurity... It's so easy to drown in doubt.
And yet the Lord promises in His word to return. He promises to respond in love, mercy and compassion. To bring healing and new life and rejoicing.

In the world's eyes, it's a hopeless situation. A lost battle.
The fight for rights. The lack of accountability over the UN. The political struggle. The imbalance of wealth. The rubble that still exists on every street corner.
But we have hope to believe in the Lord's promises. In the lyrics written by Claudel Senat (the worship pastor at the Church of Hope) following the earthquake:
God has the solution for us, with two hands open He waits to restore us.

This is certainly not a 'band-aid' remedy. How I wish I could snap my finger and give parents to the orphans or give a home to the family living under a bed sheet. But sometimes there is more to be learned by walking by faith and trusting in the Lord's provision one life at a time.
I must not be downcast or be quick to anger. I must choose to believe in the Lord's faithfulness. There is no other hope.
I need to remember the beautiful women raising their voices in praise after receiving new prosthetic legs. I need to remember how the Lord spared the lives of my friends who were amongst the crashing buildings. I need to remember the overflow of people in church on Sunday mornings, and the hundreds who have surrendered their lives to the truth of Jesus.
I won't deny the battle, but I must keep my eyes fixed on the character of God and the love He has for His children, the way He gently weaves beautiful stories of hope.
Just as the shadow proves the sunshine, so these days of darkness reveal stories of hope and restoration. May it be real to those who need it most today.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada, my home and native land! What a wonderful July it has been.
Here's a taste from my summer recipe:

1) Blend road trip to Ottawa, outdoor concerts, patio pizza and red tag sales until smooth.
2) Stir in green backyards, curvy roads in a 6 speed, and decadent cookies with real milk to the sound of an ace of base cassette.
3) Add a wedding, and an extra helping of tight hugs and reunions.
4) Finish by mixing in some intense ping pong rallies, a swimming pool and extended suppertimes with a high pressure shower.
5) Garnish with fresh-picked raspberries and a jet-stream sunset.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Q: How do you condense 6 months of life in Haiti - struggles, adventures, tragedies, celebrations, and over 1000 pictures and movies into a 25 minute presentation?

A: Unfortunately I don't yet have an answer to this question, but ready or not, you'll find out at Wainfleet BIC Church on Sunday morning (July 25).
All are welcome!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hurry up and wait.

This phrase is a common one around the Mission of Hope. When the high adrenaline teams come flooding out of the busses ready for action we clarify from the get go that Haitian time will be a big factor during their stay. It's important to be flexible and ready to jump, but patience is next in line. I feel that this phrase can also be echoed as a summary to my life over the past couple of weeks.
First off, I feel like I have been pretty negligent to my blog as a result of my life being pulled in a variety of different directions. My anticipation of school ending and life slowing down was a bad judgement on my part... Life accelerated faster than it had all year as I neared my departure back to Canada. Each day was jam packed with new experiences and friendships and moments that were difficult to let go of. Every morning I would wake up with a flurry of activities waiting at my doorstep. I can kind of illustrate it with the scene from Finding Nemo... You know when Marlin and Dory take the East Australian Current? The sea from the outside was calm and collected but as soon as they synced into the streamline they were moving at a expeditious pace. It was all I could do to process everything happening around me and in me as I stepped off my balcony every morning and into the current of MOH life, but I wouldn't have traded it for the world.
One of the favourite things I got to be a part of was travelling with Diana Cherry, who is working full time in our new prosthetics lab at the Mission. Each week she travels to tent cities surrounding Port-au-Prince and picks up amputees who are then brought to the mission to receive prosthetic limbs and undergo rehabilitation from the volunteer professionals that come to the prosthetics lab each week. It was an incredible day and I am looking forward to plugging in more with her and building stronger relationships with the patients when I return in the fall. How I miss them already!

I also got to visit my mountain families with a few different guests along including a dear sister - Hillary McBride who lives in Nashville.

I blogged about her friend Chris earlier in the year after I first met the family and it has been a privilege for me to get to know them and work alongside them across the distance as we bring hope to these beautiful people. From a thrilling drive to their dwelling place, distributing clothes, painting fingernails and trucking home an abundance of melon, the memories will never escape my heart.
I caught some world cup action on TV with friends from Source Matelas, the Hope House boys and my next door neighbours... Haitian sunshine compounds body heat like you wouldn't believe but even the hottest temperatures don't stand a chance against people piling on my couch and celebrating goal victory's with some fresh guacamole and dip.
Long talks into the evening with the storm clouds rolling in and spotting vibrant rainbows arching the sky were bonus.

Coming home has been everything I knew it would be. Familiar faces lighting up across a crowd, long suppertimes, tight hugs with close friends, and recounting stories about where life has journeyed since my last visit. I feel so blessed to be in a place where my roots grow deep and with the people who have shaped who I am today. Thank you all for your prayers in this time of 'laying low' and being refueled in a time of waiting. A time of anticipation for all that is ahead and yet somehow balancing my time to be fully alive in the present.
Sometimes I catch myself looking at the clock and thinking about where I would be and what I would be doing if I was still in Haiti. The country that I once countdowned to get out of has seized a piece of me that I can't deny. It's the mentality that I've lived for weeks - not wanting to miss a moment. And yet in these days of a quiet bedroom and tall evergreens outstretched into flat farmlands, I can hear the Lord whispering words of rest and renewal into my heart. As I live in the present and soak in all of the goodness of home, the giggles of barefoot children ring in my ears, the memories of tap tap rides and sun setting on a mountain walk, and pure preciousness like this reminds me of all that is to come.