SO Thankful Replay…Day 13

When we started our campus plant back in 2010 – just a few months after the earthquake it was SO overwhelming. After haggling with the landowner to buy our property (he’d been offered double just to keep us from coming) we thought the worst of our problems were over.

However when the St. Louis staff arrived – they were treated like outcasts. If bananas cost 3.00 they were charged 5.00. They had curses placed on their doorsteps. As we were building the church from the ground up (emotionally/mentally/spiritually) they were cast to the side.

We tried to hire the locals to help us build the orphanage. But they wanted double what we paid EVERYWHERE else. We thought eventually they would give in….meet us in the middle or something. Surely if we held our ground for a few months we’d finally advance. Nope. So then we brought some of our St. Louis construction men to the property to help us build. We were eager to get moving. But sure enough – the townspeople threatened/cursed the workers so they left. Seriously? SO frustrating.

We did not personally know the pastor who was assigned to the Mole. That was a shame because he ended up going all voodoo on us. His posse tried to burn down our military tent twice. They set the podium on fire and we lost all of the communion trays, baptism registries, bibles, songbooks, curriculum, and other items that were locked inside. They tried to run our staff out of town blaming them for the reason the pastor was being fired.

It was probably the closest I had ever been to quitting the mission. The pastor was able to get the entire community to turn on us. He even tried to take me to court  – saying I owed him $30,000.00 Haitian dollars as severance pay. The judge immediately sided with us and the mayor eventually got involved and helped us escort the pastor’s family out.

So here we were. A brand new plant -destroyed before we knew it. Or at least it felt that way.

But an amazing thing happened. We had our first medical team come to the Mole and they were able to do minor surgeries….all for free. Hundreds of villagers received free care. The police chief in our village had gone to PAP to have a tumor removed from his leg. It was 6 pounds! He was quoted $45,000.00 to do it. We did it for free.

All of a sudden the entire town began to change it’s attitude towards us. They realized that we were truly there to help them. With the supplies that this medical team brought in – I was able to start a one-room clinic!

Now it was time to find a new pastor. How were we going to do that? We realized how critical of a role the pastor played and how important it was to find one who was slow to anger & quick to listen. We needed a pastor who was gentle yet didn’t mind holding people accountable. It’s a fine balance.

Through the most difficult struggle – we found Pastor Agenord. We actually knew him from our time in St. Louis. He went to our Bible College & did devotions every morning with all of our mission programs.

Our church which had dwindled down to 10 people after letting go of our first pastor –  jumped up to 200 within a few months. The women’s bible study group which at best was 10 ladies jumped to 40 – – sometimes as many as 100.

Though our St. Louis staff had been treated like outcasts God used another tragedy for His glory. One of the families in the church had a brother pass away suddenly. It was the St. Louis staff that went to his house, prayed with him, offered to help give what they could towards the casket, & showed this entire grieving family the FACE OF JESUS.

A week had passed by and news had spread through the village. The “real” missionaries were from St. Louis. No one in the Mole congregation had reached out to this family like our staff did. After YEARS of suffering & condemnation  – – the village shifted. The inflated prices our staff paid went away.

I’ll never forget when we held our first “elections” for President, Vice President, Secretary, & Treasurer for our women’s group. Ladies who don’t even attend came to vote. I was actually worried that this would somehow be political & lead to trouble. I told them my name could not be voted for as I would be coming alongside whoever they chose.

So the votes came in…..

President: Momma Gigi – St. Louis

Vice President: Mme Nene – St. Louis

Secretary: Mme Prophet – Mole

Treasurer: Miss Beth – St. Louis

WHAT?? That’s right! That’s when we knew the change was real & the St. Louis Staff could not dispute it – they were truly accepted!

Out of the darkest moment of our ministry in the Mole…. birthed real change & real growth that simply could not have happened without the struggle. We didn’t know what we needed….until we had experienced what we didn’t.

So today I’m thankful that I can put ALL my HOPE into the ONE & ONLY GOD! Though it can be incredibly painful – I am thankful for the trials that lead to Kingdom Advancement!

Rick-Warren-Quote-Gods-Purpose

SO Thankful…Day 13

Ups and downs are simply apart of life. In one way or another we all face problems and trials that bring us to our knees. We face things that threaten our “Hope”.

After living in Haiti for a few years – my dad made me responsible for all of the staff on the St. Louis campus! With over 150 staff members – that was quite the task! We had daily devotionals each morning and every day employees were allowed to stop by my office with their problems and needs.

There were days that I was totally overwhelmed by their needs. I just didn’t have the resources. Time and time again I heard – “After God there’s only you”. After they asked their father in Heaven – their “Hope” was in me. I was the only other person who could help them. There were days where I felt defeated. If one more person came through that door to tell me how much they were hurting – I was going to quit! Too much for one person to bear.

Last week we learned that two of our largest supporters no longer had the means to help. I thought the 2011 roller-coaster of personal support was finished! With a $900/month loss – I found myself in tears as my family of 9 heads to the states for the Holidays –  and we’re broke. Seriously Lord? Of all the times to fall short – my plate doesn’t have room for this new burden!

Ever feel that way? Like you just can’t handle ONE MORE THING?

My God says He won’t give me more than I can handle. Sometimes it feels like I’m walking that fine-line but I love the way God sends me His angels to remind me  – He’s still here! He’s got this!

Back in St. Louis:

God would send me Janet. A janitor for the medical department – she simply would walk in my office and ask if she could pray with me. She never asked me for anything. Many times she would get on her knees and put her hands on mine and pray over me.

On another day Momma Gigi would walk in. She would tell me that God placed me on her heart at 4am and she spent the last several hours just praying for wisdom for me. How did she know?

Later a nurse would seek me out. She had brought me mangos. She said she had extra and God told her to bring them to me.

Two ladies from the baby orphanage showed up in my office with a small basin of water. They asked to wash my feet. That I serve so many and God sent them to me. How humbling…….

I’ll never forget one December-  the women from the Miriam Center all came into my office. I thought they were coming to complain or quit! They handed me a gift that they all had chipped in for. It was a glass punch bowl with 8 small glass cups! My eyes filled with tears – the sacrifice they made just to give to me.

***

Sometimes the burdens we carry for our families, our friends, and ourselves are just too much. Ever think about the weight of those burdens? Doesn’t your back hurt? Do you have someone “after God” that you’re counting on to pull you through this? Are you putting your “Hope” in their basket?

God showed me time and time again that I was placed here to serve His purpose. He has a great task for me.  He needs me to listen and He needs me to teach the Haitians that there should never be “after God”. But there is “ONLY GOD”.

I emailed my family last week to let them know about our loss of monthly support. I told them, “I just lost my biggest supporter”. Janeil quickly emailed me back  – “God is your largest supporter! He has plans for you! Plans to give you a Hope and a future”.

I tell the Haitians all the time – we don’t need to put our trust in anyone else but Him.  They don’t need to place their HOPE in someone or something “after God”. Here’s the thing – Neither do I. He has plans for me to run full force without any weights slowing me down!

As we head to the states today – my backpack is full of diapers, snacks, wipes, babies’ change of clothes, and passports! I REFUSE to carry unnecessary burdens in it too!

So today  – I am thankful my HOPE is in the ONLY GOD!

 I am thankful that He bears my burdens & is an Ever-Present Force through every trial I face!

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