Monday, May 7, 2012

First world problems…Straws, Trees, Cars, and Toilets

I am sure some of you have heard the phrase “First world problems”. Problems that we face here in the United States that appear ridiculous once put into perspective (especially to someone who has been immersed in a third world culture), things that are not important in the bigger picture. Maybe you have even read the popular blog and laughed at the ridiculous posts that are made, things like:

This video I'm trying to watch online will not stop buffering.
The Xtra large pizza box would not fit into the fridge so I had to throw the leftovers away

My most recent, personal first world problem (which inspired this blog) was “My straw for my iced coffee has a hole in it, now I cant drink it because it feels weird on my teeth” Really Rebekah? Anyway…

In the last few weeks my life has been filled with ‘problems’ that have caused me to really sit back and reflect on what is important in life. Let me preface this with saying, I did not react as I should have in quite a few of these circumstances, but I recognized it, so now it's a matter of changing my thought process or not, oh how humbling that is to say, or rather write, out loud. By stating that I am giving you permission to hold me accountable…

Lets begin with the tree…oh the tree. About three weeks ago I was pretty soundly sleeping when my roommate knocked on my door at about midnight saying, “Rebekah, I don't know how to tell you this, but there’s a tree on your car.” Ummmm excuse me? What do you mean there’s a tree on my car? “There is a tree on you car, you should probably come look.” I jump out of bed and walk to the backdoor only to find a 40 FOOT TREE lying on the top of my car, that was now smashed like a pancake… Wow. In that moment all I could do was laugh, and potentially use some colorful language, it was unreal, there was a tree lying on my car, how does that even happen? 4 cars in the backyard and it did not touch anything but mine, once I looked at the base it was evident that the tree should have fell on our house, not my car, the second location should have been the car next to mine, not my car. After laughing quite a bit the reality of having to get a new car settled in, I hate car shopping, I hate feeling like I am being taken advantage of, not to mention the time it takes…I mean, I have work to get done, I am in the final weeks of classes, meaning-final presentations, final exams, and all of the stress that brings. It took everything within me to not scream “why me, why now” wow.. The day before the tree incident was a Sunday, that Sunday Jamie preached on Abraham and Isaac, he talked about the provision that God provided so that Abraham would not have to sacrifice the son that he had waited so long for, moments before he was prepared to take the life of his son God provided a ram in the bushes, something that would be sacrificed in his place… Provision, the Lord provides. I was reminded of this and began to look for the provision in this, what seemed like most inconvenient frustrating thing, that I had experienced in a long time. The tree could have fallen on our house, and if it did I’m not certain my roommates would have lived, the tree could have fallen on my roommates car who did not have the means to replace, it or GAP insurance (insert gap insurance plug here, since this is the 2nd time its saved my butt) Not only that but when I purchased my Fusion I spent more on a car than I should have. I graduate in December and student loans will kick in, maybe this was the Lord giving me an out for making an irrational decision a few months back, just because I needed a car (I seem to find myself needing a car a lot). So much provision, and here I was complaining because my 2010 FULLY LOADED PERSONAL VEHICLE was smashed. Ya it’s frustrating, but in the bigger picture was it really important? Did it really matter as much as I made it feel like it mattered? I have a car….I have a house, GET OVER IT being inconvenient. The days that followed I laughed, I cried, I got really overwhelmed and was quickly put on my face..

“Rebekah, do you believe I am your provider? Haven’t I always taken care of you? Is having a car REALLY that big of a deal? Where do you find your security?”

I finally get passed the car situation, I was able to purchase another newer vehicle and save myself a TON of money..Provision. I thought I had moved on and could continue with everything that needed to get done, work, school, traveling…. Within two days I walked downstairs to get ready for bed and as I got down into the basement I stepped in a good couple of inches of water.. Seriously? Our shower had been acting up, and our toilet was making funny noises, I contacted the landlord over a week ago, they came by and said they could not find anything wrong with the plumbing…Okay, they know what they are talking about right? Apparently not, here I was with wet feet stepping in who knows what (sick). I was exhausted, I had to get up early for exams the next day and this was completely inconvenient.  One of my dear roommates lives in the basement and she wasn't home, I didn't want her stuff to get ruined so I found every towel we had, started soaking up the water and moving her belongings off of the floor…There are three bathrooms in our house, why mine? Not that I wanted it to happen to someone else, but why mine? I mean the tree did single me out, so now the plumbing also? Even writing this I feel ridiculous. Something so minuscule, yes frustrating, but what does it matter?! As I was soaking up the water that had come out of our bathroom to the basement floor I was reminded of a moment last summer…

Saintana, many of you may remember her as the Restavek (child slave) who lived next door to us in Jacmel. Stacie and I and the girls we lived with built a relationship with this precious girl, and toward the end of the summer she began to come over and play, the first day she came over she told us that she needed to go to the bathroom, the girls were cleaning theirs so Stacie told her that she could use ours, she walked into the bathroom and Stacie went to leave but Saintana had this look of confusion on her face, “what is that” was her expression. Stacie said, go ahead its okay Saintana, and she says “la” meaning “there” as she points at the toilet, and Stacie said yes, Saintana that's where you go to the bathroom… This was the first time Saintana had ever seen a functioning toilet in her eight years of life. As I am soaking up the water on the floor and remembering Saintana I was once again put FLAT on my face…

Rebekah, you have a toilet, you have clean water that runs through your toilet, what in the world are you complaining about? Saintana used to have to carry water back and forth to put in their hole in the ground to use the restroom!! Can you trust me in the little things? Have you forgotten what I have taught you over the last four years? What is important ,you being comfortable, or you appreciating what I have blessed you with?

Our plumbing was fixed within twenty-four hours..Oh how I wish I could see the bigger picture in the times that I am frustrated to the point of screaming over, literally, stupid things.

I don't write this to make any of you feel bad if you have ever gotten frustrated over events that are rightfully frustrating and inconvenient. I write this to just ask that we all take a second to put things into perspective. I believe it is absolutely necessary for us to be flat on our face and ask ourselves, “what is really important” when we find ourselves bogged down with first world problems. I could not ask for a better life at this moment. I have a family that I love as my best friends, parents who are supportive, and encouraging, brothers who would do anything to protect me, sister in laws who are always making sure I am living out my God given potential, and nieces and nephews whom I love more than words. I have a pretty amazing boyfriend, definitely a God ordained meeting, someone who has allowed me to be vulnerable again, and appreciates me for who the Lord has created me to be. I have some of the best girlfriends a girl could ever want, girls who are encouraging and hold me to a higher standard. I work with some of the most humble, God-fearing, Spirit led people that I have ever met, a group of people who have taken Christ’s call to care for the orphan seriously, people who have stepped out in faith and used their resources, whether it is time, money or talents, they have given up their own agendas to love on these kids that mean the world to me. I have 100 kids in Haiti that I know personally, kids that know me by name and that the Lord has allowed me to love with a love that is unexplainable. Not to mention, I have a house, a car, a toilet, clean water, an education, I am attending school, I have more clothes than I could wear in a month, a place where I can meet for church and not be persecuted. I could go on forever with what I am blessed with… sometimes it just takes a tree falling on your car or a bathroom flooding to learn to appreciate the little things. This may sound absurd to many of you, and I am okay with that. I was convicted and humbled numerous times in the last few weeks and could not help but share…

My challenge to you is to count your blessings, analyze what is really important, and I suggest you do it before a tree falls on your car…

Continuing the journey,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


In 2011 the AMAZING organization that I am blessed to work for the HANDS AND FEET PROJECT was a grateful recipient of a grant from GIVING OF LIFE, we have the opportunity to win another grant from them! In order for us to qualify we need YOUR votes. As most of you know I never have enough good things to say about what is going on in Haiti and how the lives of the ninety-seven children we currently care for are being impacted, however, as with most things it requires funding to provide continually, excellent care and Giving of Life is willing to help share that journey with us as well as with many other life giving organizations. Will you take literally two minutes to vote, register for more votes and then share? It would mean the world to me! Below is a little more info about Giving of Life, and their passion to help expand the kingdom! 
Click HERE to help share our story! 
Giving of Life offers more than $150,000 in ministry grants by June
Giving of Life, the Web-based grant initiative, is giving away more than $150,000 between now and June to fund ministries that breathe new life into people and communities around the world.
Founded by Dan Maclellan and Russell Courtney of The SoulCare Project, and Kerry Bural, principal and founder of The Resonate Group, Giving of Life is a grant initiative with a twist. Any 501c3 ministry with an annual budget of $4 million or less may apply through a simple online process at
In 2011, its inaugural year, Giving of Life channeled $114,000 to 20 life-giving ministries. More than 450 ministries applied for grants, and 180,000 votes were cast.
In 2012, Giving of Life debuts several new features including:
- A brand new website.
- Three separate seasons for ministries to apply and voters to help choose the recipients.
- In the first season, more than $150,000 will be given away between now and June 4.
- Applicants will be divided into categories (i.e. Adoption, Food and Water, Human Trafficking, etc.), and a recipient from each category will be awarded a minimum grant of $10,000.
To learn more about Giving of Life, apply for a grant, or vote for your favorite ministry, visit Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
To become a Giving of Life partner by making a donation to sponsor a ministry category, and click the donate button on the bottom right or e-mail You can change someone’s story. You can give life.
Continuing the Jounrey,

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Things I will never understand...

In this life there are MANY things that I will NEVER understand, and I am okay not understanding, but I am not okay with the circumstances they create...I know I have not sat down to write in a long time, and I apologize, I just honestly have not had the time, and realistically I should be doing homework right now, but I saw these posts and I just had to share, for those of you who read my blog and really care about the injustice that is going on in Haiti, please re-post. I have to believe in the power of prayer, and the power of corporate prayer: 

“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”- Matthew 18:20

Pray for Baby Samuel. He was rescued from an out house 3 days ago. Child Protective services brought him to me today. I took him to the Doctor and he was immediately hospitalized. He weights 4 lbs 1 oz. His mother did not want him and threw him in the outhouse. Some children were playing and heard him crying. They told some adults and they rescued him. Please pray he will make it. (Posted by a fellow missionary in Haiti)

Please consider helping this sweet boy...
URGENT! Lee Pardee came to Mercy & Sharing in 1998 when he was about two or three years old (we don’t know his age for certain because there was no birth certificate for Lee). He has always been a precious and sweet boy and we are honored to care for him.

BUT Lee needs your help today!

Lee is deaf and mute and now has a tumor in the lymph nodes in his neck. He has been placed on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs but, in spite of all that, the neck mass has not regressed. Fluid is now building on Lee’s spinal cord as a result of the tumor.

Mercy & Sharing’s medical staff has determined that Lee needs URGENT surgical attention if he is going to survive.

This is why Lee needs YOUR help. The surgery will cost an estimated $7000.

Mercy & Sharing needs to raise this money ASAP to pay for Lee’s surgery in the Dominican Republic.

Please give generously TODAY to help save Lee’s life. 100% of your gift will go directly to helping Lee.
Thanks for your compassion and generosity.

Today, will you cling with me to Nahum 1:7

 "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble; He cares for those who take refuge in Him."

Please be in prayer for these children...

Continuing the journey,

Friday, December 30, 2011

Remembering my first Love and His story...

Lately everyone has been talking a lot about stories and the roles they play in our life. This shouldn't surprise me since my church is focused on stories. All of that to say, I have been reflecting a lot on my story, why I am who I am, why I do what I do, and how I got to where I am today. As days go by I learn more and more about myself, the things I want, the things I need, the things I THINK I want, the things I THINK I need, what I value as important or unimportant, who I value as important or unimportant and how each of these thoughts or ideas, whether conscious or subconscious, affect the decisions I make each and every day, they affect the conversations I have and how I have them. I want to give you a little history, but nothing too crazy since I know you have better things to do then sit at your computer and read about my story and why I feel like getting in my head space is important, maybe it’s not, maybe this is just a good outlet for me, but regardless.

Why I am who I am: I have the MOST amazing family a girl could ask for. Brothers who love well, sister-in-laws who are much more than “in-laws”, nieces and nephews that are amazing, and parents who brought us all, and keep us all together. My parents raised us to understand His story, and displayed true love with every interaction. Yes, I know nobody is perfect, no family is perfect, but our imperfections are beautiful to me. I credit a lot of who I am to my family and their portrayal of what True Love is.

Why I do what I do: If you know me, you know I am a passionate person; I have no shame in telling you what I care about. In 2007 I had an experience that would forever change my life, and ignite a passion in me that I could not even begin to comprehend, a passion that would take me outside of my comfort zone and into five different countries, one of which I knew I had to return to (if you can’t guess that country just check my blog address J ). That year I had a conversation with a twelve year old girl in Jamaica who told me she was afraid of ‘gunshot’ but because we came that day and told her about Jesus she was no longer going to be afraid and the devil was not going to win (obviously I am summarizing tremendously, but if you want to know more I will elaborate later). In that moment I knew without a doubt in my mind that I was to use my passion to speak up for those who didn’t have a voice, the orphan, the poor, the powerless. The Lord was empowering me to use my passionate personality to glorify Him; instead of myself and what I THOUGHT was important. Why me? I’m not worthy; my story is too full of baggage. How could He POSSIBLY use me?

How I got where I am today: After this passion to speak for the orphan, the poor, the powerless was ignited in me the Lord began opening door after door after door. He started opening doors to this country I knew little to nothing about, He spoke to me in clear ways, that I was to go to Haiti, and I was supposed to take people with me. With a lot of doubt, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and a bazillion other emotions, I slowly, by no strength of my own, began walking through these doors that were opened, one by one next thing I knew I was leading a group of individuals to the Hands and Feet Project in Haiti. I asked myself again, why me? How could He POSSIBLY use me? It was then that I was reminded of His story… This God that I served, the One who ignited this passion in me, came to this earth, took on human flesh so that He could feel temptation, feel anxiety, feel doubt, and fear but NOT give in to it all. He did all of that, and was then crucified because He KNEW that I would give in, that I couldn’t resist the temptations of this world. His story told me that I was worth it…His story told me that He could use me because He created me, His story told me to go, and so I did. Did it get rid of the fear, anxiety, doubts, etc...? No, but it didn’t matter, because I had Him to lean on. After our first trip I knew that Hands and Feet was an organization I wanted to be a part of, I wanted to share in their story of sharing His story. We committed to returning once a year as long as we could, but after year two I wanted more. I wanted to know the “ins and outs” how you go about caring for orphans, what sort of work happens on ‘this side’ of things. That’s when the doors began opening for me to be a part of this story here (again, obviously summarizing, but if you want to hear more, I’d be happy to share). In 2010 I left home in Cali and made the treck across the United States to move to Nashville, to finish school and be a part of the Hands and Feet story here. I feel like this is important to share because even though days may be hard being away from my family, and beating myself up for not being finished with school already, the Lord brought me here and has BLESSED me in tremendous ways. I am honestly living a little bit of a dream, and if I am honest that ugly thing called fear creeps back in and I am afraid I am going to wake up from this dream.

Needs and Wants: As thankful as I am for everything that has happened in my life over the last few years, there is still a ‘void’ that has yet to be filled. Since I was a little girl I had planned on being married when I was twenty-two, my mom married at twenty-two, my two older brothers married at twenty-two, it just made sense…Twenty-two is when you were supposed to get married.. Well apparently not for me. Twenty-Two has come and gone, and twenty-three, and twenty-four, working on twenty-five; and that ‘want’ has not yet been given to me. As I sit here and reflect on what I want I am convicted more so about what the Lord wants for me. I am brought back to a place in 2006 when I hit my ‘rock-bottom’ and I heard an audible voice tell me “Rebekah, until you can depend on Me, and Me alone, I am not giving you anybody”; I was broken and seeking fulfillment in earthly relationships, seeking fulfillment based on my timeline and He told me He had something more for me. I did great for a long period of time, seeking Him first, asking Him to continue to reveal Himself to me, and then it became routine…I slowly found myself no longer seeking Him with all of my heart and soul, but just living day to day, and that void returned. I desire a beautiful Christ-centered relationship, but today I am reminded that He desires that of me. Is it wrong to desire to be married? No, but when that desire is stronger than your desire for the Lord it, like anything else becomes an idol. These ‘things’ may not even be ‘bad things’ that you long for, or give all of your attention to, but when it exceeds your desire to love Him, serve Him, and be intentional in your relationship with Him it becomes unhealthy.. As I began writing this blog post yesterday a friend of mine (who I haven’t talked to in almost a year mind you) called me and shared a scripture that he had been convicted of and I feel like it is so fitting:

I see what you have done, your hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you cannot stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause, that you never wear out. BUT you walked away from your first love-why? What’s going on with you anyway?” – Revelation 2:2-4 (The Message)

I have desires, I have wants, I have passions, but I don’t EVER want to forget my first love, the One who made ALL stories possible.

I definitely did not write/process everything I wanted to, soooo “to be continued

Continuing the journey,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shock, Guilt, Anger, Sadness, Adjustment, Reconstruction, Acceptance

As many of you have heard our Children s Village in Jacmel, Haiti was robbed nearly two weeks ago. It happened early morning of November 19th. The following entry is how I processed the event...Forgive me if it gets jumbled, I am still processing, but felt like it was fair for all of you to know how you can be praying for our team.

SHOCK- On November 19th my brother who was home from Haiti with me for Thanksgiving came in my room and woke me up in a panic, I was not completely coherent yet since we had just gotten back to my house from Haiti late the night before, I was exhausted and in a pretty deep sleep. Anyway, he woke me up extremely panicked saying "Jacmel, got robbed! I knew it would happen right when we left, I cant believe it!" I jumped out of bed and immediately started making a couple of phone calls. Got on facebook and I already had numerous messages from people asking me what had happened. I was still in shock, this couldn't happen to us, nothing like this has ever happened before. I knew it was a possibility because of the recent stent of robberies in the area made against other missionaries, but it still remained unreal. The only way I can think to describe it was SHOCK. We finally got word that everyone was okay and that the men had taken a large amount of money and electronics, but they did not physically harm anyone. Praise the Lord. The rest of the day my brother and I walked around in disbelief. This place that we had been visiting for years, where 67 of some of the most amazing children I know call home, this place I had called home for the last three months, and my brother calls home currently, this place where people who I consider my family call home now, had been violated, and there was not a thing I could do about it. All I could think of was I needed to get down there. I needed to hug the kids and grasp my family and let them know I loved them, I hadn't said it enough.

GUILT- After being on the phone all day with staff and family I think the shock of the event had began to wear off, I continued processing and found myself feeling guilty. The reality had set in that myself, my brother, Dana, Tamara, and a group had left the day before. We hadn't been staying in Jacmel just as a precaution but we had visited Jacmel that Wednesday so we could see the kids and staff. However, my brother, Tamara, and Dana had been staying in Jacmel. This was really hitting home. Cameron and I started talking and I was feeling bad that I wasn't there, and so was he. I mean, why not us? We were JUST there, one of the rooms they broke into was my room this summer, it was the room where Dana and Tamara had slept, one of the other rooms was my brothers room, currently, and the other was home to our newest staff members, people who had sacrificed a lot to move to Haiti to serve and this is how they were welcomed? Why them? Why not us? Why Stacie, why Cam, why Carrie, why Stephen, why Matt, why Kyle, why Josue, why?

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways,declares the LORD." Isaiah 55:8

Not to say that God 'made' this happen to these loved ones, but He was telling me, "Rebekah I know what I am doing, I am in control." I wanted to be in control, I didn't want them to hurt, I wanted to take whatever emotions they were going through from them. I did not understand why it wasn't us. Well, in retrospect I am certain there were a ton of reasons. When I was talking to Stacie, and she was talking through the grieving process with me that she is dealing with (obviously much different than my process since she walked through it) she was asking the same "why" questions, but asking why her, etc. I told her that I have to believe that the Lord knew what He was doing. If anybody could handle a violation of that sort it would be them. For me, my struggle with anxiety, I literally would have probably died of a heart attack from fear. Cameron, is a reactor, he would have tried to defend himself, and in turn could have put more people in harm. Although it does not take the GUILT away, I am thankful that His ways are not mine.

ANGER- After getting over the shock of the event, and the guilt that I carried I began to get angry. Who does that? Who steals from those who are trying to help them? Who takes from children? Who thinks it is okay to make their own way into a home that is not theirs? Did they think of the repercussions of their actions, who it would affect? That whatever they took wouldn't fix what they are looking for? Ugh, apparently I am still dealing with the anger part because it makes me mad as I type this. I found myself praying that justice would be served, these men would be caught and 'get what they deserved' and then He whispered

"God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled" 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7

This isn't my battle. I was reminded of the deep voodoo traditions that are ingrained within this culture and knew that this was not a battle that we could fight.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."Ephesians 6:12

SADNESS- So by now I had been in shock, felt guilty, and then was just plain pissed. Then the sadness hits, the 'what-if' game (which is not healthy for anyone I might add). I just wanted to talk to Stacie, one of my best friends, the girl I shared a room with all summer, who I met in February and knew from that moment that we would be close forever. I wanted to hear from Cam, to know that he was okay and was going to be able to recover from the feeling of helplessness. I wanted to hear from the Mulligans, this couple I barely know but feel like I have known forever, to encourage them that life in Haiti truly is great despite the opposition they had come against. I was simply SAD, I just wanted to cry. I had school that evening and remember getting a text from my brother saying he was crying and just didn't get it. We were both so sad... so, so sad. Our family was hurting and there was not a thing we could do about it. We clung to each other, Tamara, and Dana, they knew how we were feeling, we all stayed in touch with one another since we did not have contact with our family in Haiti. We begged for the "Joy of the Lord, to be our strength." Because, we sure as heck didn't have any.

ADJUSTMENT- I began accepting that there was nothing that could be done about the way I was feeling, I had to let my emotions do what they were going to do. The team in Haiti began moving forward with the transition process. Stacie had to come back to the states to get her heel taken care of that she had broken during the event, the team remaining in Jacmel had to move all of our staff and children to a safe temporary location. Our priority is safety of our staff and kids, and our team believed at that time that Jacmel was not the safest option. They began transporting 50+ children to another location. Thankfully the majority of the kids had no idea what had happened, or at least had not witnessed it, so to them this was a little vacation, and they were excited. I imagine this moment being bitter sweet for the staff, being ready for a new adjustment, but we cannot ignore the fact that they were leaving their home. In Haiti you cling to the little that you have that is comfortable because so much of life there is uncomfortable. Yet, the team that went through this, I believe, 'get' this, they did what they had to do, letting go of any bit of comfort that 'home' may have given them.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

RECONSTRUCTION- After adjusting to this new transition of having moved all of our staff and kids the reconstruction process began. I really wish I was there for this part. All of our HAF kids were now living in the same location and had to adjust, had to reconstruct some things, many things to make this work, but the children made sure it happened. During the reconstruction process the group of children whose home was about to be invaded welcomed their 'cousins' with open arms. The boys said, "we should all share beds so they have beds to sleep on", the girls gave up their second uniform for school for the other girls to wear so they would not feel ' out of place' wearing a different uniform than all of the other children. Mind you, these are kids who came from an ugly situation just a few short years ago, where they had NOTHING of their own, and not even enough of ANYTHING to share, and they were willing to give up what was 'theirs' to ensure their guests felt comfortable. We can learn a lot from children and their willingness to sacrifice. There has been a lot of reconstruction on this end as well, I have had to forget the beginning of this grieving process and move forward so I can do everything in my power to help where help is needed. Decisions have to be made, money has to be raised, emails need to be responded to. A lot to get done to continue this reconstruction, but I can tell you right now the Lords hand has certainly been in this. Relationships are being nurtured and lives are being changed. Someone posted this quote today and I find it perfectly fitting for this step:

‎"The hand of God seems intent on bringing meaning out of randomness, purpose out of chaos."

ACCEPTANCE- Now this is a tough one, not sure I have even began this process yet, nor am I certain that anyone in the HAF family has began this process. There is still a lot of grieving and healing to do and I am sure there will be for awhile, but we can say with certainty that the Lord is moving each of us forward and we trust that He will heal each of us. It will be a long journey and for many of us it will be much longer for some than others, but we have each other to lean on and to encourage one another, when days are hard, and nights are long we are here for one another. Everyone who is a part of this team, and that includes you, those of you who commit to praying for us daily, those of you who support this journey we are on, who walk alongside of us, thank you.

You may have recognized those 'steps' as the grieving process, and like I stated earlier it is the best way I could think to put words to my emotions. There is so much going on and I am certain there will be for a long time. So let me tell you how to pray, but first let me tell you why to pray, not just because you can, but because the Lord answers specific prayers. Below is a post from Stacies blog but it is a conversation that we had...that gives me the chills EVERYTIME I think about it, everytime I read it, just acknowledge that this moment really happened. She has already worded it, so I am not going to even pretend like I can put words to it:

"During those moments, Carrie kept repeating "Jesus is here, Jesus is with us" and it was so very calming to my heart.
And I think it was her repeating those sweet reminders that made me remember another specific verse.

It was a verse I had just days before written as encouragement on the wall of an fellow missionary friend who had been robbed. Psalm 34:7.

"The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and He delivers them."

As I remembered the words of that verse, those precious words, I got this vision of this great and mighty army of angels encamped in a circle all around us, acting like a divine barrier of protection between us and the men.

And then I understood why God had us in what seemed like THE WORST possible place in the whole compound, out in the open and exposed.
He was showing me that His mighty army of angels needed us there so that His whole army had room to protect us....because really what seemed like the worst place to be was actually THE BEST place we could be.

It was the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to me.
I don't want to sound like a whack job, but I promise you the visions that I saw were so clear, so profound, that it was almost like God was allowing me a glimpse into the unseen world to show me His greater purpose of our situation that I would have never grasped, never understood the purpose in being in that scary of a situation, if He didn't.

But God's Kingdom is always like that, isn't it?
Things are backwards.
Things that should make sense don't, things that shouldn't make sense do, and when you're most tempted to think God is no where to be found, really He's closer than you could ever imagine.

Days later, I was telling this to one of my best friends, Rebekah.
She told me she couldn't believe I was saying those words. Because the night before the break in, she was at our sister site in Grand Goave, and had prayed these words for us: "Lord, I pray You'd send a mighty army of angels to surround that compound and to keep them safe."
The very same words.
She prayed those very same words.
We sobbed together at the faithfulness of our Lord.
And how everything, EVERYTHING, points to His glory."

Did you catch that? The EXACT thing that my mom and I prayed for on the phone on Thursday night in Haiti became a reality on that early Saturday morning. Wow..

You may be reading this wondering how I can be affected so dramatically when I wasn't even there...all I have to say to that is, "The Haiti Connection" I don't get it, and don't think I ever will, but I know the Lord has bonded me with these people for a reason so I'll take it...

Now onto what you can pray for. Pray for safety of our staff and children, pray that these men will be caught, and as difficult as it is to say, more importantly that they will come to know Christ through this, pray for our children as they are in a much tighter space right now, pray they will be thankful for a safe place, pray for funding to replace all that was stolen, pray for healing for our staff that was violated, and the children who witnessed it, pray that the Lord will use ALL of this for His glory, that His story will shine through this even if we can not currently see it, pray for rest for our staff, pray for all of the other missionaries who have been violated as well, pray for their healing and funding needed to replace what was stolen. Lastly, pray that none of us EVER forget how He showed up that night, when THEY arrived, HE was there with HIS army...

If you are able to donate to help with the funds that were stolen you can do so here

If you want to read about the other ministries affected by these robberies you can do so here, and here

I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read this, and the time to pray for us, it means the world to me and I know it means the world to the entire Hands and Feet family.

Still continuing this journey,

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We're headed back to Haiti...

As many of you know there are a group of us who travel to the Hands and Feet Project once a year since our first visit in February 2009. Since 2009 over twenty people have traveled to HAF as a part of this group. Five of the original eight have returned each year. This year is a little different, since our first trip three of us have completed internships, one is a full-time missionary in Haiti, and another is a full-time staff member stateside. To say that I am overwhelmed is a bit of an understatement when I look back just three years ago and see how far the Lord has brought us in this journey of being His hands and feet it absolutely blows my mind! Well, even with the changes in our group dynamic we are still committed to take a team down once a year and our fourth trip is rapidly approaching. This year we have a team of eight, as of now, and 4 spots still open. We are hoping to take down a full team once again, so more individuals can fall in love with this place just like we did 3 years ago. We are so excited and so ready to return... This year funding has been a bit more difficult for most of us, as you can imagine, we still have quite a bit of money to raise in the next few weeks, we will be purchasing our airfare before the end of the month and are short approximately $2000 at this point. If you feel like you are able to donate towards our trip you can do so by using the chipin widget in this blogpost or emailing me for other ways that you can donate... I know I say this before each trip that we take, but the truth is these trips could NOT happen without each of you, without your prayers, encouraging words, and financial support. My heart is so sincere when I say I cannot say Thank You enough, to EVERYONE who has been a part of this journey, whether you have been on a trip or have just supported us in some way over the years, we could not do it without you so Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. You have played a part in the Lord breaking our hearts for His children. As always if you have any questions regarding our trips feel free to comment here or shoot me an email and I will answer any questions you have to the best of my ability! I truly appreciate each and everyone of you, and thank you for taking the time to read this...I have another much needed post coming soon, just allow me to get through finals :o)

Continuing the journey,


Saturday, November 26, 2011

It’s the little things…The “Haiti Connection”

I apologize that this blog is a few days overdue, a lot has happened since my most recent return from Haiti and I have not had the chance to sit down and share yet another piece of my heart with you. On November 11th I headed back to Florida to meet up with a group to take down to Hands and Feet. This was going to be our first “Expedition” group, and I had the wonderful opportunity of being the “leader”. Despite how many times I can come and go from Haiti the uncertainty of what could happen always gets to me, especially bringing down a group of people that I did not know. However, let me tell you, the Lord most definitely orchestrated this team of 9. I could not have asked to be a part of a group any better than these individuals. We all connected in what those of us who have been to Haiti like to call the “Haiti-Connection” emotions that you experience when you go on this journey that those who have never been will not understand, no matter how often you try and explain it. But, before I get to this group and our time in Haiti, I want to touch on the “Haiti-Connection”, this summer I had the wonderful opportunity to meet a group of people that work for Be Like Brit. They were staying at Mission of Hope, where our staff stayed as well, until our new home in Grand Goave was built. Anyway, I was able to build this “Haiti-Connection” with PJ, Ross, and Pat. Even though we have literally only seen each other a handful of times in our life I feel like I have known them forever. Well, on the 11th I was able to meet up with Ross & PJ for dinner in Florida, and we were able to celebrate PJ’s birthday. I know it may seem so simple but I feel like it just explains this connection we have. We live hundreds of miles from one another but make it a point to stay connected! I was SOO excited to just see them and be friends in ‘real life’ ha-ha. We just get each other, we can be sarcastic and feed off of one another’s sarcasm but we know that we have a pretty ‘special’ relationship. They may argue with me right now, and say we are not even ‘real friends’ (even though I did get you a card Zanmi) but whatever. Our dinner was full of inside jokes and good stories, sorry to Dana and Kristha, but thanks for listening to us. All of that to say we experienced things together that no one may ever understand, but us. Having a network of people who have the same passion as me for this broken culture is indescribable I feel like my relationship with them illustrates this bond that I now have with a new group of people.

Now onto our time in Haiti… As I mentioned earlier this was our first Expedition trip, which is a staff-led trip that is open to individuals who do not have enough people to create a group to travel to one of our sites. This group was originally supposed to travel to Jacmel had a last minute change of plans (more on that in the next post) and we actually took the group to our newest location in Grand Goave. Having to change plans literally only a couple of days prior to departing was the perfect introduction to Haiti life, we always try and tell groups to ‘be flexible’ or ‘we plan, God laughs’, something along those lines. I do not know what it is about Haiti but you always have to expect the unexpected. I had the opportunity to go back and forth between Jacmel and Grand Goave this summer so I knew the kids there, not as well as the kids in Jacmel, but I had started building relationships with them so I was very excited to head back to their home and see them interact with a group and continue to develop my relationship with them, not to mention practice my Kreyol since those children do not speak English fluently yet, I think I may have even had myself fooled by the end of the week thinking that I can speak Kreyol, it is quite exciting! Anyway… Once we arrived on Saturday morning we were welcomed by 31 super excited children! They were so excited to have a new group come in and to show off their new home that they have only lived in since the end of August. We spent Saturday getting to know one another as well as the children, and did the same on Sunday. On Monday it was time to get going on some projects, this group did amazing! Painting, building a closet for Michelle, pulling and scraping tile to replace in the kids kitchen, they accomplished so much during the short week that we were there. Even Jay, a five year old boy, son and brother to a couple of group members, enjoyed helping Michelle paint. The kids LOVED having Jay there to play with, and I am certain he left the end of that week with 31 new best friends. Even though the group was able to accomplish a lot of physical things, I believe that the relationships that they built were much more treasured, not only did we connect with one another but nurtured relationships with the kids that will forever be engrained in their memory. It was so beautiful for me to watch. I told the group, numerous times, at the beginning of the trip that if I am a bit quiet and seem like I am observing it’s because I am. One of my favorite things about Hands and Feet and the opportunity that I have to see people experience Haiti for the first time is probably one of my ALL time favorite things to do. I love standing back and watching people as they soak in extreme poverty and in contrast soak in the abundance of love these children have to offer, I love seeing them get emotional when they don’t think that anyone is watching, or to witness the pure joy on their faces when the kids call them by name and want to show them something. During our week there I was asked why I liked to observe, and to be honest, it’s because it brings me back to that place when I first experienced Haiti and HAF, after numerous visits to Haiti you begin to take things for granted, you no longer recognize the beauty in the little things, so for me, to watch people have this first time experience it reminds me of when the Lord called me to Haiti and how I felt the first time I went, and I am then reminded to not take the little things for granted.

The little things…the moments that happen that can change an individual’s life forever, and that will forever be engrained in one’s memory. As I mentioned above I enjoy observing others because it reminds me to live in every moment and pay attention to the little things. Well this trip there is two specific ‘little things’ that will forever be engrained in my memory. On Thursday a few of the girls and I went for a walk so they could see a little more of Grand Goave. We walked down to where the kids go to school at Mission of Hope and just stopped in the field next door for a moment to chat and observe. While we were standing there we saw a young girl, who couldn’t have been more than 10 years old walk by heading up the hill carrying a FULL five gallon bucket of water on her head, with a smaller FULL two gallon bucket of water on top of that, and then carrying another FULL bucket of water. She walked passed us and said Bonjou, but you could tell she was having a difficult time carrying all of that water. We said Bonjou as well and allowed her to keep walking while we talked to the other children who were not in school, for whatever that reason may be. She made it slightly up the hill and started yelling something in Kreyol, Kristi asked me what she was saying, so we walked up to her and asked her what she needed, she said she needed help, at first I was very apprehensive because all signs told me that she was a Restavek, a child slave, and from my summer experience with Restaveks I know that they can get in trouble if someone else does their work for them. She was a girl between eight and fourteen, wasn’t in school during school hours, and was carrying water, pretty much all characteristics of a Restavek. I asked her where she needed to go and she pointed up the hill so I thought maybe we could help her walk part way up, but not all the way to her house, and she asked again for help…now she was shaking and sweat was dripping down her face, at that moment it no longer mattered what appearance this gave, this little girl needed help, I grabbed the bucket off the top of the five gallon bucket, Kristi grabbed the one from her hand and we started walking up the hill, Teressa joined us. She went on to tell me that her mom was sick and couldn’t walk and she was so happy that we were able to help her, I communicated what she was saying to the girls and they were a bit in awe, like “Wow, is this really happening” and at that moment I was reminded that it is the little things…These are stories you will take with you the rest of your life and here I was taking it for granted, just like it was no big deal, but to this little girl it made all the difference in the world that these “Blans” were helping her! We finally made it up to her house where she invited us in to their tiny hut; we were able to meet her mom, brother, and friend. They offered us a seat, as I mentioned in previous blog posts about how hospitable the Haitian people are. We took a sit for a few minutes then headed back down after her mom thanked us over and over again because she was unable to get the water for their family. I am so thankful the Lord pushed us to help her, my assumption was wrong, she was not going to get in trouble, but rather have a mother extremely thankful for a simple act of helping her daughter carry water. It’s the little things….

That afternoon the children returned from school, and Wilson one of our boys who is currently being tested for Lymphoma, went directly to bed. After a couple of hours I started asking the boys about him and where he was, why he was sleeping etc. They just kept saying, Le Fatigue… “Hes tired” Le Malad… “He’s sick” so around six o clock, after he had been sleeping since noonish I finally went into his room to check on him, he was just lying on his bed, with a bible next to him staring at the top of his bunk. I asked him if it was his Bible and he told me, no it as Jean Baptiste’s and he had let him borrow it, so he could read it while he laid down, so sweet. It wasn’t long before three of the other boys joined us and sat around Wilsons bed with me. They kept asking me if he was okay, I said he was fine, just tired. I asked the boys if they wanted to pray for him, and they said yes. I told them I would pray in English and they would pray in Kreyol, so we started praying, Colon, Robenson and Elie said some of the most beautiful prayers I had ever heard, although I could only understand parts of it, they were intently praying for Wilson to feel better so he could play with his friends the following day. After we finished praying one of the older boys came in with his guitar and two brothers sat there playing their guitar singing “Big House” in Kreyol, a song they had been teaching me all week. I sat next to Wilson on his bed while we all sang “Vinny an ale, Lakay Papa Mwen, Vinny an ale, Lakay Papa Mwen, sa grou group kay kejan anpil sham, sa grou grou tab kejan anpil manje…” and so on, it’s the literal translation of Audio Adrenalines Big House, if you want to know what I just wrote check out that song. The guitar wasn’t tuned, and nobody was singing on key, yet it was one of the most beautiful worship experiences I have EVER been a part of, it was so sincere and true, and it was right after these brothers surrounded Wilson asking for the Lords healing and without being prompted wanted to sing to our God. The little things… I was so humbled by that experience, my emotions have been a bit mixed with the diagnoses of Wilsons lymphoma, but these kids got it, they know that God is healer, but they also know that He offers more than that. It made me question my response when I experience sickness or trauma, do I turn to the Lord or do I avoid Him and try and take matters into my own hands? I like being in control, I like knowing what is going to happen next, but I learned something from those four boys on that Thursday night this November. I am SO thankful for the little things.

It was time for us to leave, which is always hard for me. I love where I am in life right now, I know I am supposed to be in Nashville, but I always feel like I am leaving a piece of my heart behind, even though I know I will be back it doesn’t make it any easier. This trip was beautiful in so many ways. Even though I missed the staff and kids in Jacmel like you wouldn’t believe there was an evident reason the Lord brought us to Grand Goave for that week. Thank you to Angie, Andrew, Faith and Michelle for being such great hosts, and thank you Steve, Jeff, Teressa, Kristi, Ashlee, Alexandra, Suzette and Jay for being such a great team! My hope is we can all go back together one day and you can experience how much of an impact you really did have on the lives of those children, when you return and they remember your name. I did get to see our kids and staff in Jacmel for a few hours during the day on Wednesday and am so thankful for that time, in retrospect that day meant more than just a few hours for a lot of reasons, more on that in my next post.

I am so thankful for the little things….

Continuing the journey,