This has been an incredible year of ministry here in the Mole. The seeds we’ve spent 5 years planting and watering are finally beginning to bloom….and we are reaping a bountiful harvest.
They say it takes a village to raise a child….and equally it takes short term missionaries to raise up and impact a community.
As I reflect over this year alone – I still stand in awe of what our teams have accomplished to advance His kingdom. We’ve hosted medical clinics, taught parenting and health classes, held adult bible studies, led youth conferences, hosted revivals, poured into our women’s ministries, loved and encouraged the staff, worked alongside our construction teams, completed projects and repairs, held pastor trainings, provided animals for suffering families, fed children, hosted weddings, provided movie nights, loved on the fishing villages, prayed in people’s homes, were human jungle gyms for the orphans, led Jesus dramas, worked in the fields, provided spa days, hosted parties, taught self-defense class……and the list could go on and on.
Teams represent hope. The Haitians know as long as groups keep signing up for trips – God still has His eyes focused on them.
We teach our travelers the importance of being different than any other visitor who comes to our village. We are called to show this community the Face of Christ as we serve as His hands and feet. We aren’t tourists but called by God to shine His hope and glory for the whole world to see.
Sometimes I think we downplay the changes and impact we can make. Look – we all know we aren’t going to come in for a week trip and change the world. But I don’t think that’s even what God is asking. I believe our jobs as missionaries are to create “dates'” with the Haitians and Christ. We have the chance to visit homes – open our Bibles – and where two or more are gathered there the Lord is. We have the ability to bring the very presence of God into a straw mud hut.
Our goal isn’t about how many kids came to our vbs but how many people you sat down with and got to know. It’s about establishing a relationship of trust that ultimately allows you to lead them to Christ.
I believe it’s our job to reach out to at least one person on every trip…… do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.
As missionaries we are overwhelmed by the ministry that is before us. There aren’t enough of us to reach the multitudes the same way a group can. We only have so many hands, energy, resources, and time. We can only hold so many orphans at one time. We can only play with the street kids so much. We need reinforcements.
Many homes do not want us to enter into their business because we live there and speak the language. The same people who cower away from us…..run to the teams. You have the ability to reach people we often can’t. There’s been so many times this year where teams educated us about their findings that we may have never known.
Something we often neglect to share – which is of equal importance – is simply how teams personally minister to us. We have no real church family. Life can be discouraging and no one wants to really blog about the loneliness or disappointments that show up everyday.
Teams often come in for one reason and yet sometimes the biggest thing they have accomplished is lifting us from our despair. My children don’t really fit in. When we are in the states none of their friends can really understand what my children have seen and experienced. Without understanding it’s hard for relationships to grow deep.
When the kids are in Haiti – they are viewed differently. I’ve watched their Haitian friends take advantage of their generous hearts. I’ve watched my children struggle to find their place in this world.
But when teams come in – there is this unexplainable bond that takes place. Somehow my children begin to find out who they are….somehow they fit in. The travelers aren’t their friends because they want something from them. They just love them and accept them. It’s an acceptance that’s hard for any missionary child to really find. This is why my children’s best friends are much older. Malaya’s best friend Ruth is in her 60’s.
So not only am I grateful for the way the teams pour themselves out daily doing community ministries…..I’m just as thankful for the way they encourage our staff and children. I’m thankful for the ways they ask and truly want to know how are we really doing? How they encourage us …. pray for us…… wash our feet …. throw my kids in the pool…. Carry them on their shoulders…..play more card games than they ever dreamed of just to connect to Malaya.
i hope teams never forget or doubt the impact they make -,or its ripple effect.
So today I am thankful for our short-term missionaries who leave their comfort zones….. so they may build relationships, lead people to Christ, offer a loving touch, encourage those of us working on the battlefield, & create footprints in cement!
I wish I could upload even more pictures….but here’s what my internet would allow for today! 🙂
SO Thankful…Day 14
Short-term trippers often ask me if their presence here really matters? The needs seem so big and it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s hard sometimes to see the big picture – or even notice the small changes when you’re here for such a short trip.
What teams don’t understand is that they have a way of accomplishing things in one week that would take us months to do! We could never reach as many children as teams do! We could never paint as many nails as the teams do! We could never play ball and love on the street kids the way the teams do! There simply isn’t enough of us here full-time to pull off the amazing things that teams can do!
There are several teenagers that won’t come to any activity we schedule. We offer free food and a bonfire on the beach and they still won’t come. But teams come in and play basketball. Those same teenagers that won’t have anything to do with us want to play ball with the Americans! Somehow through the course of the game a relationship is formed. We had been here for a year and couldn’t get them to do anything but look at us. The team played with them and that day those same teenagers showed up at the teen conference! A few of those boys still attend our events!
My neighbor has a horrible temper. In the year that we’ve been here we’ve never seen her smile. She is raising her two grandkids – two rough little boys no more than 10 years old. Those little boys are a lot of trouble no doubt. But she doesn’t just whip them when they make bad choices. She BEATS them. There have been times that those boys have come to my clinic and I’ve had to clean their wounds.
There was a team that came to Haiti in May. They brought jump ropes. They began playing with the children right in front of our home. We noticed that the grandma came out and held the jump rope with the kids. For the first time I saw a smile on this woman’s face. The next thing I know she’s actually jumping!! She was smiling and laughing. We’ve been here for a year and NEVER ONCE did she smile in our presence. I can’t help but feel like a seed was planted that day. Before she would never let us pray with her. Since then I’ve been able to make small chit-chat with her. She’s even allowed for some of the team members to pray in her home.
These are just a few of the dozens and dozens of changes we’ve seen since moving here.
Maybe these things seem like small things – but in a land dedicated to satan – I praise God for every seed planted!
So today I am thankful for short-term missionaries!
For those that come here to help advance the NWHCM ministry!