Back Home…

I went to Haiti last week. I got back Monday night – late. I haven’t made it physically into my office yet and it’s Thursday morning. It’s a problem. I want to be back in Haiti. So instead of embracing my life in Kansas City, I’m wallowing. I’m wallowing around a half packed house (I’m moving into a studio apartment July 1st) cleaning out my DVR and working remotely. I’m not sure what to do now. God is doing some pretty amazing changes in my heart with this trip and I’m having a hard time responding to them.

I miss salty kisses.

Stealing sunglasses.

Fried plantains.

Broken Creole.

Smiles as wide as an ocean.

Sticky hot air.

Colorful vehicles.

Cactus fences.

Concrete buildings.

Futbol.

Hair braiding.

Hand washing laundry.

Hugs that never let you go.

I miss the community I feel when I’m in Haiti. I have a life in KC and have some pretty incredible people that care immensely about me here but it’s not quite the same. It’s not the same as feeling people praying for me, supporting me, loving what God is doing in my life and the country of Haiti. Thank you for being part of that for me the past couple weeks. Please keep praying for Haiti, my team, and myself.

The Open

For those of you who don’t CrossFit, this is going to sound a little weird. I’m sure my posts about CrossFit already sound weird to you but this will probably push past your understanding…

The CrossFit Open begins tonight. I am terrified. I am praying to God about the CrossFit Games.

There. I said it (kinda). I am completely afraid of the workouts they will be posting for me to do. At this point, there really is no joy or excitement about this actually. I am sure this will grow but not at this particular moment.

What is the CrossFit Open you ask? The CrossFit Open is the first in a series of CrossFit competitions that advance you to competing in The CrossFit Games. The CrossFit Games determine who (male and female) are the fittest person on the planet.

It is actually a pretty cool and all inclusive process. For five weeks (starting tonight), a workout is posted online and the two winners from last year’s competition complete it. You then have until Monday night to complete the workout in front of a judge or video record it and submit you time/reps online. Online ranks you against everyone else on the planet that has completed the same workout. After 5 weeks, the top so many people go compete at the regional competition. Those top two athletes then go compete at the CrossFit Games.

Anybody in the world can compete (for $20). It is truly a global competition. The Olympics try to accomplish this but certain countries, political issues, and monetary contraints apply. With CrossFit, it’s you against everyone else, with the support of your local CrossFit community of course.

I workout three times a week at a box I love and with people that make me happy in the midst of intense physical and mental challenges. I don’t want to workout anywhere else.

But.

I am scared of these workouts. I am scared to see how low I will be ranked. It’s pretty common for me to be one of the last people to finish or one of the people with the least amount of weight on my bar. This doesn’t bother me in the comfort of my own box, with my own people. Seeing it displayed for the world to watch is another story.

This fear of approval from others is an idol in my life. It is something that I strive for that is not God. At church we talk about this all the time. God please help me to remember that you don’t want me to be perfect, that you only want me to seek you. Help me remember that Jesus was perfect so I could have the freedom not to be.

It’s the same reason I never took to learning foreign languages in school. I studied spanish for 6 years but would get cold sweats everday when I had to go to class and actually speak it in front of my peers. I don’t want to mess up, to sound dumb, to be the person to not get it. This is the same with me trying to learn Creole to go to Haiti. I want to be perfect. It’s unrealistic. It inhibits my drive to be a witness and seek Christ. It is sin. With God’s help He can change me. I can’t do this myself.

So I signed up for the CrossFit Open. I am not going to make it very far but I am going to enjoy an additional workout each week with folks from my box. It’s going to be fun to see myself struggle and perservere. It’s going to be incredible to push the body God gave me in ways I never imagined when I walked into my first CrossFit box last year.

4 Months and Counting…

Four months from today I will on my way to Haiti (God willing)!

My next trip back to the country I love is June 18-23rd. Please check out our website if you would like to go with us!! It will have been 8 months since I’ve been there and I am beyond excited about seeing the kids again. My heart soared when they recognized me the last time our bus pulled into their yard. I can’t imagine how it is going to feel this time.

I just officially registered to go this morning which means the fundraising starts in full swing! You can help me go to Haiti by praying and/or donating here.

This trip will be different for me because I’m leading it (eep!). I am honored and excited by this opportunity and a little nervous. That nervousness is my desire to control the situation and doubt that God is enough. He is enough. All the time He is enough. Haiti is such a clear whiteboard for God to teach me things. I sit up straight and listen when it comes to Haiti. I pray this could be my reaction and life stlye in the States too.

Since God is enough, He will provide people to go on the trip with me. Right now, it’s just me. I am praying that a dozen people want to live and breathe and see and smell Haiti with me. It is such an amazing country and people. I pray Lord, please provide a group of people from Kansas City that love you so much they want to demonstrate that to children who don’t have earthly parents, to children who call out “Abba, Father” only to you. Please burden your people’s hearts in Kansas City to want to go and love your people of Haiti.

Run for Orphans

The Global Orphan Project is hosting a 5k race series with two 5k’s to raise awareness about their work. I travel to Haiti with GO to work with orphans in villages in Gonaives Haiti. They are a wonderful organization who are doing God’s work to make a difference in Haiti (and all over the world). Please sign up to run these 5k’s with me!

https://goproject.org/go-project/engage/events/5k/

Redeemer Goes to Haiti 2014 | myGO Project

It’s 2014 now.

In 2013, God gave me a heart that has fallen madly, completely, and utterly in love with Haiti. There is no other way to explain it except that God has open every door for me to go to Haiti, love the people of Haiti, and want to be a part of the re-building of His people there.

It’s 2014 and I’m now asking for your help. Redeemer Fellowship has two trips scheduled for going to Haiti. I will be leading/helping lead at least one (but hopefully both) of those trips. In order to do that, I need your prayers. Please pray and ask God to make it abundantly clear which trip(s) I should be going on, for Him to provide other people to go with me, that we would be His hands, feet, and heart for the people of Haiti, and that He would provide the financial support required for all who want to go to be able to go.

Finacial support is the second way you can help me. Please prayfully consider helping sponsor our trips to Haiti. You can use the link below to make a tax-deductible donation. All the funds will be used to fund these two trips to Haiti in 2014.

Trip Dates: June 18-23 and October 22-27

If you would like to go on the trip, please go to www.redeemerkansascity.org/haiti for more information or contact me on here.

Redeemer Goes to Haiti 2014 | myGO Project.

Relationship.

I went to Haiti thinking I knew what I was getting myself into. I was excited, not nervous like last time. I was ready.

God must have such a great sense of humor.

1385715_10104004847625134_969568045_n

“I love you like Jesus loves you.”

Really?

You’ve known me for less than 4 hours. and yet, I completely believe it. Completely.

The children of Village de Vie in Gonaives, Haiti understand the gospel, a gospel most of them have never actually read. A gospel most of them do not have access to in their own language. They understand the love that Jesus has for us. enough love to die for us. A love whose only requirement is wanting relationship. these children seek to have relationship with you. all you have to do is let them sit on your lap and suddenly my heart bursts.

I was not ready to cry in Haiti.

I was not ready to have my heart-broken again by The Lord of All. I was not ready to see all the lessons God has for me. I was not ready for the children to remember me by name and come running across the school yard to greet me. But God is sovereign.

“Small steps, one at a time, because He knows my faith isn’t strong enough to take a big step. The God of the universe knows my limitations, and still loves me enough to work within them. He does this with literally billions of people all over the world at the same time. God blows my mind, stirs my heart, and quiets my soul. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9).” -Ruined for the Average

Such an appropriate quote. I read it for the first time as I sat on the airplane back to Miami. I didn’t want to come home. I didn’t want to leave Haiti. The first time I left Haiti I knew, deep down in my gut, that I would be back. No question. No hesitation. And God provides so I went again in October. This time, I wasn’t sure. I wanted to be sure. content. established in my ability to go back to Haiti. Instead, I am waiting for God to show me how and when. I can’t imagine Him giving me such a love for Haiti that He will not be faithful in fostering an opportunity to go again. but I will pray and wait and see. A lesson in patience.

1381977_930864433770_1603743517_n

God is also teaching me about relationships using small steps. The obvious lessons about relationship from Haiti are with the children. the community. the church. How to be in international community. How to provide lasting impacts. How to help raise children that live on another landmass. But what’s deeper is that these children already get it. They love us because we spend time with them in relationship. They pray for us and we pray for them. That’s all it takes because God is handling the rest. The same with our relationship with Jesus. He wants us to spend time with Him and He loves us. that’s it. no strings.

1378096_930863914810_1227119512_n

But deeper than that, God has given me relationships with other people who live in the Midwest and love Haiti. people at Redeemer. people with The Haiti Orphan Project. people who have significantly different world views than I. believers and non believers. Let me be the first to tell you – watching a non-believer loving a child of God and being the light of Jesus in their life is astounding! God truly uses all people for His Glory. These people have shaped my life in KC. They have provided comfort and support and speak into my life on a regular basis. I am so thankful.

And when I question God’s influence and ability to make a difference in Haiti, He connects me to people all over the USA. Some via blogs that I read and take refuge in. some via my Mother’s sewing group who now wants to help establish a sewing center and provide dresses to the girls of Haiti. people I have never met who have seen my photos and want to help. People who have no other incentive to be a part of Haiti except to provide for people who need. people who restore my faith in humanity and the God who created it all.

And deeper still.

God keeps showing me the next step to take. always. This trip He blessed me with wonderful examples of marriage and relationships. A friend’s boyfriend showing up at 4am to send us off to the airport. A husband parenting his child. letters written to fill in the time without technology. conversations about learning to be pursued. conversations about redemption in a marriage. a wife taking pictures of her husband loving children. leaps of faith to try something new and uncomfortable. I was overwhelmed by the love people have for each other and could only imagine the love God must have for us! It is so much I cannot even fathom it. My heart cannot contain all of it.

“God’s love is greater than anyone can know…” -Ephesians 3:19 (NCV)

As I sat on the plane back to Miami, for the first time in my life, I wanted to wait for the man God will give me to marry. I’ve been waiting. I am being obedient. but not with a joyful heart. I’ve done this out of duty. but for the first time, I was excited to wait for God to bless me with someone who pursues Him, loves me, and wants to work to see Jesus’ love poured out to this world. For the first time, I added something to my nonnegotiable list – he must love Haiti.

At one point in my life (driving cross-country with my Mom in March of 2011 actually), I had a list of items that I wanted in a husband. It was a long list. mostly silly. and completely artificial. I remember my Mom asking me if I had it written down. I did not but I was sure that I was going to remember all of those things when “Mr. Right” came along.

Since then, I’ve been born-again in my faith and come back to loving God and learning to trust His plan and rule over my life. Until October 22nd, my list had shrunk to one item – he must be a Christian who pursues God and points me back to Jesus (I guess that technically a couple of items). But October 22nd added that he must love Haiti and want to be in international community and even that he will want to adopt a child (or children) from Haiti. I’m writing them down and talking about them.

A year ago I would never have had a serious conversation about adoption. I wouldn’t have considered it. God knew this. I have friends who are orphaned and friends who are adopted. I’ve ignored both of those issues for years. He sent me to Haiti to open my eyes to what adoption could look like. It’s messy. It’s broken. It needs love and God’s support. It is exactly like me. It requires faith in Jesus. and trust in God’s plan and sovereignty. reduction of self for another.

My Mom and I talked about adoption when she was in KC right before I left for Haiti. It was a generalized conversation about how this was something on my radar. Something I was just beginning to think about. it was a good conversation but one we left for far off in the future. I’m 26. not married. busy career. adoption is a serious committment and I have a hard time sticking with the same shampoo all the way thru the bottle. But sitting on the plane October 22nd, I had the same feeling and determination about adoption that I did about returning to Haiti. This is something I am going to pursue until God changes my heart. I pray that He doesn’t. I pray that He provides the right man to go through this process with and the right child to bring into my life. I pray for it to happen in His perfect timing. and I pray with thanksgiving in God’s ability to use small steps to take me a long way from where I’ve been. I am only hopeful in what the future holds for me and my family.

The children of Haiti have created room in my heart that will one day be big enough for a couple of humans to fit into. God is still working and I am thankful. Thankful that I wasn’t ready. Thankful that God uses small steps so that I can start to comprehend His power and grace. Thankful for the lessons I learn in Haiti and how they translate back to America.

893529_10103946239027234_983797290_o

Uniquely American

20131029-082053.jpg

Jury Duty is such an interesting concept. No where else in the world can you be summoned for this privilege. This is distinctly American.

It seems so fitting for me to be sitting in this over crowded jury waiting room only one week after leaving Haiti. There is nothing more different than where I’ve been in the last seven days. Although, I imagine, there are many in Haiti who would jump at the chance to be sitting in this room with an American passport, waiting for their name to be called to go upstairs and pass judgement on their peers.

The Jackson County Courthouse was built in the 1930’s and not much has changed in this process and setting since. The judge and jury supervisor blame it on the economic downturn we’re currently residing in but I view the smaller women’s restroom that has not been remedied from the time in American history when women were not allowed to serve as a fitting example of lack of legislative process.

The other striking lack of progress is the amount of money we’re going to be compensated today. Maybe it’s my position as an engineer. Maybe it’s my understanding that dish washers at the seafood restaurant under the interstate bridge make more money per hour. Or maybe it’s just the idea that someone can serve our country at war but cannot be excused for jury duty that makes me shutter at the $6 (plus $0.77/mile) I will be making today.

It is also fitting that I remember that a family of 6 can live on $20 per month in Haiti and I am complaining about $6 for the entire day. This is just another example of how God shapes my world so that I can grow and understand. If I had been in this room two weeks ago, I would have been stressed, fabricating a way to get out of this “American Dream” opportunity, and trying to control my bruised ego that says today, I am worth the same as all the people around me. My education does not grant me elevation. My understanding of the world does not get me out of this. My summons to jury duty is a honor. It is an honor not afforded to many. An honor that I should give thanks for. But God is good and just. He shows me Haiti so that I understand the importance of my American life.

So here I am. Sitting. Waiting. Hoping to actually get chosen to serve on a jury. I have tickets on an airplane to Houston for 8am so technically I should be excused. But I don’t like Houston and I don’t particularly want to go there tomorrow. Jury Duty is not something my boss can argue with. And according to Missouri State Law, he also can’t negatively react to or make me take PTO. Maybe this will allow me the opportunity to be a positive influence on someone else’s life. Or maybe God has already turned this exercise towards His purpose by making realize how blessed I am to be a citizen of the United States with the ability to miss work, not get penalized, and serve my country.

Re-entry into society

I’m struggling today (10/22) with re-entering into the American society that I was raised in and only left a week ago.

It’s interesting what will set you off. For me, it was the new toilet paper holders in the bathroom at work.

They are all shiny and chrome and exactly the same as the grey plastic ones they replace (except for the material of construction). It’s probably the shiny-ness that made me realize they are different.

The world is not shiny in Haiti. It is colorful. It is beautiful. It is painted. but mostly it’s grey and well loved. How can my company justify replacing the toilet paper holder when the others are perfectally useable when there are people, children, that are not receiving an opportunity to have an education or worse, are starving to death? How do I sit in my desk at my office, cold from the air conditioning, when there are people in Haiti that need help? When my heart is pulling me back to the monetarially poorest country in the world?

God puts people exactly where He wants them. He has placed me in Kansas City. He has blessed me with a comfy chair and a cubical all to myself. Lord, I am thankful. I am thankful for my job. I am thankful for the heartarche. I am thankful for Haiti.

It helps that the people I went on the trip with have started posting in social media. I get the notifications on my phone. My thoughts turn to when they will be done posting and my life with be completely consumed by my to-do list and work obligations. When they have drifted back into their American-paced existence.

I pray that Haiti would be on my mind everyday for the rest of my life. I pray that I cannot do anything with my life that doesn’t consider God and Haiti. I know that I do not have the ability to remember them as much as I want to. I need God’s help. I am a sinner. because of that fact, yes fact, I will fall short of my desire to focus on the Lord and His will. Lord please help me.

Update 10/25:

I’ve blogged a tremendous amount since I’ve been in Haiti and will hopefully share some more of those posts in the coming days with you. I am back into the office pace now. I am thankful that it is Friday. and I am thankful for having a hard time adjusting. That sounds silly but as I apologize for being tired, itchy, or slightly-out-of-it to my co-workers, bosses, and vendors, I get to talk about Haiti.

Last time I went, my grandmother passed away while I was in Haiti so homecoming brough black dresses, funeral arrangements, and a 5-day marathon weekend in Georgia that culminated in surgery for my brother. My life swept Haiti under the rug. God has brought it out and hung it above the mantel this time. I don’t have anywhere to hide. and I like it.

 

“I was wrecked. Since returning home, my whole center of gravity is off – God is recreating who I am. It is clear there’s no going back on this deal. God just keeps pulling you forward and pulling you in.” – “Ruined for the Average” a book by the Global Orphan Project

Ready.

IMG_2232[1]

Ready.

I am so ready.

I am so ready to go to Haiti tomorrow!

And in actuality, I am not ready to go to Haiti. I did the bulk of my packing last night but as I laid snuggled under the covers in my comfy bed this morning, I was making a list of all the “to-do’s” I still have to be able to be “prepared” to get on the plane in the morning destined for another trip that will change my life.

I am so silly. so stupid.

I’ve had everything I need for 2000 years. before I was born. before I sinned. God was prepared for the type of person I would be. A sinner.

Jesus died on the cross to cover me with blood. to cover the people of Haiti with blood. Why do I feel the need to prepare to go to them? Lord please forgive my unbelief for it is unbelief in your glory and power when I feel like I can do it. Please help me to understand that it is You speaking and doing and loving these children. that I am simply a vessel being used by the potter to present Your amazing gift.

I am so unworthly. and at the same time, God has chosen me. He picked me. He loves me. and I am couldn’t be more excited for this journey! It’s a honor to feel true joy given as a blessing thru Christ. God is answering the prayers of the people of Haiti and He is always answering mine. Thanks be to God, I get to go to Haiti in the morning!

I am ready.

Money.

I wrote a post awhile back about going to Haiti again. I want to go. God has started growing a love in my heart for the children of that country that can only be explained thru His existence and control. I signed up to go on the trip and didn’t have a way to pay. I figured that if God wants me to go, he’ll give me the means to pay for it so I opened up a credit card and charged my plane tickets. (Nothing like a little pressure and timeline for God to respond).

God is the ultimate provider. I went on a float trip two weekends ago and admittedly didn’t want to go when I got in the car Friday afternoon to drive the three hours there. It was a mixed group of people from work and church so I was nervous about everyone having a good time and getting along. I prayed that God would bless my time at the river for His glory because I was having a really bad attitude about it.

The crazy part? God not only blessed my time there, provided everyone with a great time, but He also paved my way to Haiti and strengthened my faith in Him!! O how I question and God answers. I wonder if Jesus ever rolled his eyes at his disciples because God had every reason to roll His eyes at my doubts and questions from that weekend!

One of the girls (I say girls because ladies or women sound too old for all of us 23-35 year olds) from church was talking to me while floating down the river. We started talking about Haiti, which I don’t remember how we even got on that topic in the first place but God interjects that topic in my life on a regular basis, and she volunteered to pay for $500 worth of my trip. I literally sat there and couldn’t even respond. I remember thinking “say thank you!!” But I had no words. When my brain started processing, I stammered thank you and asked her if she really wanted to do that since that was a lot of money. (Why was I questioning this? She was going to pay for close to half of my trip and I was giving her an out?!?). She told me she was going to do it if she could get a tax write off. Thanks be to God!

I cried on Monday evening when she text me a copy of her donation confirmation. There were no words but gratefullness! Praise be to God for people like Ashleigh!! She also told me that her company was going to do a partial match for another $250. Again, I sat in complete disbelief at how generous people I know are and how much God provides, even when I doubt, maybe even especially when I doubt.

My total cost to go to Haiti is $1386 for plane tickets and my trip fees. Right now, I’ve received $760 which means I still need some help ($616 worth). If you need a tax deduction, please donate thru the Haiti orphan project website – make sure you out my name in the description line. I have to pay my credit card so I would prefer (at this point) for you to send me a check. You can mail them to me at my work (9400 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64114) or let me know when we can meet up.

941505_10103301864224504_445353841_n

Jesus Loves Me (in Creole)

If you would prefer to change a child’s life instead of sponsoring me, please read my tuition for transformation post and my how-to help Haiti post and go to this website to donate. $20 per month is such a small amount to make such a huge difference!