2014 HAS BEEN A GREAT YEAR!!! (yeah I know we’re only 12 days into it). I have to say it quickly before something bad happens!! I think those were my famous last words until about the 18th of January last year….. when our staff had an incident trying to buy supplies for the team.
It was 4 years ago today that the earthquake changed Haiti. It changed our ministry. It changed us. The day we held our loved ones a little closer as we grieved for those no longer with us. There are many days where it feels like it all just happened yesterday…where the tears come from a place so real deep inside that it’s hard to put it into words.
One thing that God has shown me is that bad things WILL happen but it shouldn’t change what we think about the year….. or what we think about HIM.
If we think 2014 is going to be rainbows and sunshine – -don’t forget sometimes the ground NEEDS the rain. The crops cannot grow without it. Sometimes God has to send the snow so we are forced to stay indoors and spend time with our family.
I had such high hopes for 2013 – and yet it is in the top 3 of the hardest years we’ve ever had to walk through. And even though we shed many tears – we also celebrated God’s great faithfulness.
In January 2013 we were also told we had to move out of the rental house and build our home on the property. I remember shaking – – thinking – – there is just NO WAY. The resources for our mission and around the world are scarce. We’ve put out that need for over 4 years. It never landed. Now you tell me I have 6 months to raise AND build our home? NOTHING is built that fast in Haiti even when you DO have the funds. And now we had to build it AND fundraise it?
You see so much of what we do relies on our own strength…..our own resources….our own thinking. The world’s resources ARE scarce…..but not God’s. Not when it’s HIS will.
Last week I spoke to our women’s group about Giddeon and how he won the battle. Here there were 32,000 soldiers and only 300 in his army. They had swords and shields and he had a trumpet, a torch, and a water pitcher. He was not only outnumbered but also given weak weapons to defeat the army. Of course these were God’s weapons. And although they didn’t make sense to us – they only had to make sense to God.
While 2013 was really hard – I also saw God move in ways that just don’t make sense! Our home was built by July of last year. We didn’t even start building until May. That’s unheard of in Haiti!
The price kept fluctuating and as soon as we thought we had everything we needed – some other new problem would surface. It was a never-ending cycle of nickel/diming that we felt like we couldn’t escape. We had tapped every resource we knew of.
But God provided for us in the strangest ways – from churches we had never visited – from friends who are as poor as we are – from folks who sacrificed because they believed in our work – from people who entered into our lives for just a brief moment. None of it was how we thought it would be – yet – God paved the path and confirmed beyond a shadow of doubt – that this is where HE wants us.
In the fall of 2012 our church hit a rough patch. Not even a rough patch – but literally fire from the evil one, arguments that wouldn’t cease, voodoo services on our property….ugliness that seemed never-ending.
At the beginning of 2013 Pastor Tim helped transition our new church Pastor – Agenord. He taught him SO many things about the role of the pastor and the role of the church. By April we were back in hot water as arguments resurfaced from 2012. Are we going to have to hit the– RESET BUTTON– every single year? So frustrating.
But those arguments actually caused growth….those arguments ended with a truce. What seemed nearly impossible was not too hard for God. In the fall of 2013 – just one year from our roughest time as the church – we had young and old – women and men – digging the foundation for the church they were wholly committed to. AND – they were doing it for free!
In just one year – the very people who tried to burn our church down were kneeling before the alter…. asking God for forgiveness. The very people who tried to run our staff out of town….were holding their hands and telling them that they were some of the greatest missionaries they had ever met.
We experienced a great loss when Jose’s sister was diagnosed with cancer early last year and passed away in August. This is a time when family must come together and sometimes that doesn’t happen just like you think it should. So many people stepped in to help us during our grieving process. God used some really special people to help relieve some of the burdens that were drowning us in those difficult moments.
We knew God wanted us to reach the abused and enslaved. No one would help us. NO ONE. My children became part of an ugly campaign. Though none of us had anything to do with the people leading this campaign – they sought to destroy our family. But their evilness only led us to the head of social services. We went there to defend our children and left defending all the children in the Mole. We are leading the way to stop these horrible things and now we have back-up from Social Services. We have a great plan this year (which I can’t share here) that we firmly believe will yield Kingdom results!
For the first time this year we held two discipleship programs. We paired 20 women who were in our women’s Bible study with 20 women who didn’t know Jesus. (Many who forced their children into horrible situations in order to put food on the table). We had no idea if this program would work. We had no idea if our own ladies would stay faithful in prayer and mentoring. To our surprise many accepted Jesus and the others still attend our church services. We yielded REAL Kingdom fruit!
The rain definitely fell…..sometimes there were flash floods……sometimes we had to swim to higher ground…….sometimes there was ice on the road and we were spinning in all directions…..sometimes the cold in the world forced us all indoors……but every day the sun rose and when the rain stopped the rainbows flooded the sky.
I don’t know what 2014 will hold….I pray it’s a year of deliverance. I pray we aren’t flooded with tears like last year.
BUT more importantly I pray that regardless of what happens – we will never lose sight of Jesus – we will never let go of His hand – we will never stop looking for the good in the world – we will never stop believing HE is in control – we will never grow weary of doing good….we will embrace the rain until the sun comes out…..
I pray we will believe God knows the best way in all things…..even when His ways don’t always make sense to us.
Categories: Personal Stories