Saturday, November 26, 2011

Praise the Lord.

The last 3 chapters in the book of Psalms repeat the line 'Praise the Lord' 25 times. I just counted.
From the shining stars, to the mountains, to the lightning and hail, to the armies of heaven.
Praise the Lord.

Today I watched the waves kiss the shoreline and go back and forth over and over again. The soft, warm sand formed foot puddles with each step I took, and the palm leaves whispered and nodded overhead.
This world we're on has a pulse. Look around you and it's pretty obvious that we're surrounded by a land created by Something greater, and for Something greater.

Donald Miller writes 'If I have hope, it's that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me specifically into this story, and put us with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, enjoy your place in My story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.'

This weekend I'm celebrating my second thanksgiving of the season. Another reminder to stop. To count my blessings. And to realize that I have an overflowing cup. Not because of circumstances or 'stuff', but because God's love is wrapping me up and pulling me into His beauty. A beauty that makes me want to stand in awe and praise.

Monday, November 21, 2011


In case you didn't know, Pierre is a living miracle.

When he first came to the mission, all he could do was lay flat. We tried to prop him up with pillows, but if his body was leaning too far forward, his head would drop and his neck muscles didn't have the strength to lift it back up. He barely made a sound besides a weak cry when he awoke and a soft moan when he took his bottle.

Flash forward 14 months.

Pierre loves to show off. He tilts and dips his head in all directions. He waves, he smiles, he cries, he laughs, he baby talks the names of his other brothers and sisters, and makes all kinds of other random sounds just because he can.

But the best thing I've heard come out of his mouth thus far was yesterday in church...
He looked up at me with complete ease and in his most cheerful and clear tone he said,

And then he said it again. And again. And again.

Thank you for praying for 'Ti Pierre' (which translates to 'Little Pierre'), as the kids like to call him. The love and support he has received from near and far has transformed his little life into an incredible testimony of hope.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Liberté - Egalité - Fraternité

Since living in Haiti, I have partaken in things that I never imagined I could ever be a part of.
I often find myself in moments thinking, 'how on earth did I get here?', and it's then that I smile to myself and remember how the Lord is consistently re-creating and refining me.

Over the past few weeks, I have once again found myself in a very peculiar and unexpected situation:
Real estate.
Until this season, I have had zero interest or experience in this particular area, and yet somehow I have found myself diving head first into the world of surveying and notaries and negotiation. All the while with a finish line in sight - Land for homes to be built for the mountain families.

Months ago I was connected with a man who had land to sell, and with the help a very intertwined list of his relatives and the MOH office staff, I have managed to score a sweet plot of land on the side of the mountain overlooking the village of SourceMatelas and beyond to the Caribbean Sea. The location (about a 5 minute-walk from the water source, and a 15-minute walk from the families' current location and gardens), and the sea view were definite perks.

Last week things got serious as I sat down with Jean Jacques, Robenson and the land owner, Jean Claude, in his makeshift office - an empty classroom. We slid the desks together and had what I would call one of the most formal Haitian conversations I have witnessed. Even just reliving it as I type makes me chuckle because any North-American outsider would be mortified at these standards, and yet to these men it was a true Haitian bureaucracy. Jean Jacques very formally wrote out an official witness statement on one of the tear-out pages of my notebook, and even included the traditional Haitian slogan as the page header, Liberté - Egalité -Fraternité (which translates to Freedom - Equality - Brotherhood). Upon completion of the document, Jean Claude and I both signed our names, and I shook everyone's hand. A done deal.

Now with just a few more boxes to check off the 'land list', we are almost ready to begin the building process! When mom was here last week, we got to walk to the newly purchased land which has been graded and flattened in preparation for the new homes that will soon occupy it. What a joy it was to stand with the fathers of the families and take in the anticipation of their new homes. A place they can call their own.

Thank you for your continual support and prayers surrounding the building of these homes in the coming weeks. Please pray that the last pieces of paperwork and ownership will be finalized quickly, that the builders would use their skills effectively, and that the families would be able to dwell in these homes for generations to come. I eagerly await what happens next!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Memories with Mom.

Well, I was doing pretty decent until I walked back into my apartment after dropping mom off at the airport. I saw the breakfast dishes in the sink, among many other small reminders of her presence, and that familiar empty feeling set in.
Our time together was so rich from sun up to sun down. We laughed, we cried, we cleaned, we cooked, we shopped till we dropped, we held a lot of babies, and of course, we kicked it in the classroom. :)

I realize that the sense of loss in my gut causes me to pity myself and to mope around (a-hem... like I've been doing). But instead of dwelling on her departure, I want to be so much more thankful for the chance we had to share the past week in together.
I am blessed beyond measure to have a mom that is so beautiful inside and out, who points me to the Truth, who challenges me to serve with my whole heart, and gives me a taste of the love of our Saviour.
May this week of wonderful memories spur me on to live out that love in the days to come.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday night.

Today was a good day.

Julien and Gilner (21-month old twin boys) were welcomed into the Hope House! When I stopped by the baby house this afternoon, I wasn't surprised to find the room buzzing with action. The boys were being cuddled and prodded and talked to and stared at by their countless new brothers and sisters. I too joined in the action, but I could see by the look on their faces that they weren't too sure what to think of all the attention.

Later this evening, I joined the babies, toddlers and their Mommy on the way back to their room from movie night at Maggie's Kitchen. Jeremiah led me by the hand inside their house and I watched as Mommy prepared their bottles before bedtime. Hannah, Jeremiah, Matthew, Julien and Gulier stood watching her, but it wasn't long before one of the twins (who I can't yet tell apart), began to cry.
For a moment, I just paused and began to think about the events of the day for this tiny little boy. Starting with leaving his father and the rest of his siblings, and being put into the arms of a stranger. Travelling into a foreign place and being shuffled around by children all day, and then to be carried back to a dimly lit room where you feel simply exhausted and confused.
Even just one of these events would be enough for me to lose it, and here the little guy stood, finally not being able to hold it in any longer. So I picked him up, and walked back outside into the cool night air. As we stood in the silence, he stopped crying and I could feel his little hands wrap around my neck tightly. He was no longer timid or afraid, he just wanted to feel love.

It's one of those moments that I will remember for a very long time. A moment where the Lord spoke to me saying, 'this' is exactly where you are supposed to be.

Honestly, I think being in that place was more for me than the boy in my arms. Because I feel like I always have questions and concerns and uncertainties about what's around the corner. I don't know what the next month looks like, or where I'm going to be in a year. People and plans and work here is constantly changing, and sometimes it is a pretty daunting thing. But all of the worrying questions didn't even have a chance to interject tonight, because all that mattered was the little boy in my arms and the blessing to just be. Perfectly ordained by the Lord.
After a while, I brought him back inside and watched as he calmly took his bottle, I smiled to myself thinking how someday this little guy is going to have an incredible testimony. That even though he would have much rather been in the arms of his family tonight, that the Lord was turning the page into an incredible new chapter of his life. Like all of the Hope House kids, he came from tragedy, and yet in the months and years to come, his life is going to be radically transformed by love and the promises of God - promises of Hope.

I don't know what types of things lie ahead in the future for me or for this little buddy, but I thank the Lord for the reminder tonight that He is faithful, and that He is so much bigger than we are, and our questions. May we rest in the truth that His presence alone is more than enough.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Great Teacher.

God puts a bit of Himself into us.
He lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think.
He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another.
When you teach a child writing, you hold it's hand while it forms the letters:
that is, it forms the letters because you are forming them.
We love and reason because God loves and reasons and holds our hands while we do it.

~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity