Monday, July 17, 2017

Conversations with Children

I have always been intrigued with how children learn and their view of people and the world around them.  A lot has changed in Haiti since I first started coming in 2001.  One of the local villages has tripled in size since the devastating earthquake in 2010.  Saturday we spent a couple hours worshiping, learning, and feeding un-churched children.  There is a program that has about 50 or so young children that come each Saturday to learn about God because they don't typically attend the local churches.  They sat so attentively for two hours singing and hearing the Gospel.  Afterwords, I was privileged to get to play around with a few of the kids.  To one of them I said, "I feel like you probably get into a lot of mischief."  He agreed that he does and so I asked another little boy if he did too.  He replied with "I do, but not as much as him.  He causes a lot of mischief."  I laughed and went on to ask which of the kids standing around me did not cause mischief.  What the young man told me next was the most honest response I have ever gotten from a child.

He looked at me perplexed and responded with, "All of cause mischief.  Everyone in this zone.  We all sin, but we pray for forgiveness and try not to do it again."  I was blown away and asked how old he was.  He told me he was 9.  I told him he was a smart boy and I asked who around us didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus.  He pointed at the other young boy and said "Him, he causes a lot of mischief and is not a Christian."  He went on to tell me the other little boy was "a child of Satan."  Though a lot of what he said was an honest reflection of what he knew, I wanted this other little boy to know the love of God.  We kept talking and the other little boy became pretty shy.  I asked my open and honest friend what he wanted to be when he got older and he told me he wanted to be a pastor.  I also found out that no one in his home attends church and he just walks to church with his friends.  He was such a sweet and loving little guy and I pray as he continues to grow up, he continues to have that boldness and honesty.  I love conversations with children!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

New Respect

This summer has been one of learning to respect the jobs that others do.  I have strengthened many relationships and have absolutely loved getting to know our workers on a deeper level and learning about Haitian culture.  Don't get me wrong, they are loving asking me questions about American culture too.  I have always tried to be respectful to others and make sure that I help others.  My desire is to make sure that I always leave things better than I find them.  However, I have learned to respect masons, construction workers, fireman, and mechanics much more this summer.

Within the last 2 weeks, I have had the privilege to go out and work with our two men that repair wells.  This is a NEVER ending, tedious job with lots of job security.  There is a lot of lifting involved and trying to get the people watching to help.  Most places they go, people have no problem helping out, but from time to time they encounter communities that just want the well fixed but don't want to help.  I must say, I had a great time when I went out to help.  It was extremely hot but getting to interact with local people is so much fun for me.  There are two things I love about this particular area of ministry.  One is seeing the joy and relief in the people when the well is fixed but the best part is seeing our two men witness and minister to other Haitians.  Sometimes, they actually get pretty fired up and start preaching.  :)  These two men gain the respect of the community while they are restoring water, and then they are able to share the gospel.  I find such joy in listening to their conversations and then hearing them share God's Word.

For the masons and construction workers out there...cheers to you.  It's a lot different here in that we are in the middle of the desert with no shade around us.  Even the small breeze we get is pretty hot.  The guys mold their metal, and make everything they need.  My job, a couple of days was tying rebar.  We used figure 8 ties and for two hours each afternoon I helped.  Apparently I wasn't the best and I was sent to cut wire.  Often I messed that up too but we had fun.
There have been a couple days that we have used a really old firetruck to water trees on the property.  Some days we have kids/teenagers that help move the hose around and spray the water.  However, yesterday we just had a driver and myself with the hose.  Things started off fine because it isn't an extremely powerful hose, though heavy, and I could manage it.  After an hour of this and refilling the truck twice things quickly began to change.  Things were beginning to spin and it was getting darker, my arms and legs were pretty shaky and the 110 degree, desert heat was getting the best of me.  I was sent to sit in the truck and even got to drive it a little.  For the firemen who can do this, while running up flights of stairs, with 80+ lbs of gear, I respect you even more.  Thank you for your service.  

Lastly, I spent a day in the shop with our mechanic.  That was a much more desired job in that we weren't in the heat so much.  My OCD self didn't love the grease and dirt but I managed.  I don't know how you all work with all of that yuck on your hands so long.  I helped change the oil in the van and checked the other fluids.  We also changed out brake-pads, all of which I have done with my dad in the past so, I kind of looked like I actually knew what I was doing.  

Even had a little time with other friends

The joy and love I've been able to share with our workers over the last couple years has been fun, relaxing, and even rejuvenating.  It's amazing the difference when you get away from technology and actually have conversations with the people around you.  I have grown to love each of these men and women as my own brothers and sisters.  Being single affords me the ability to be adopted into many families and this is one big family!!!!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Burden for the Lost

This one has been brewing for a few days.  This past year, I lost two very important people in my life.  Zachary was only 18 and my Granny was almost 93.  Two very different people.  Zachary was young and full of life.  Granny was elderly, had suffered for years with Alzheimer's, and was bed ridden.  I had babysat Zachary for years, enjoyed birthdays, holidays and even vacations with his family.  Granny was my last remaining biological grandparent.  These two losses have made me think long and hard about the purpose of life, afterlife, and Christianity.  To sum all of this up, I can honestly say that God is faithful and provides strength, comfort, and hope through all of life's circumstances.

This past week, we had the privilege to pray with 10 young people who made their own personal decision to accept Christ.  As we began preparing for Haiti, our goal was to bring honor and glory, through service, to Jesus Christ.  Ultimately, leading people to Christ is our desire.  10 brothers and sisters have joined my family and committed their lives to Christ.

If I'm honest with everyone that reads this post.  I wasn't thrilled about doing a VBS.  VBS requires a lot of work, a lot of planning, and quite frankly is exhausting in the heat of Haiti.  I love the kiddos but pulling off VBS is hard and there is a lot to sacrifice.  God reminded me this week that he said, let the children come to me.  Had we not been obedient to what God had asked us to do, 10 people may have never committed their lives to the Lord.

As someone who has a desire to do missions, I allowed my own personal likes and dislikes to distract me from focusing on the Lord.  Seeing people give their lives to the Lord has always been something that I desired for all, but over the last year, I realized just how short life can be.  I have always been saddened by lost souls, but this past year, my heart has been literally broken by them.  I have a burden to see people come to the Lord.

Friday in clinic was very difficult.  There was a middle-aged man that came in and had been previously burned.  God spared his life and he was able to get the medical attention he needed.  However, he has a place on the back of his leg that never quite healed.  The smell of infection was nauseating.  Well, at least to me, because I have a very weak "medical" stomach.  He handed Sheryl (the nurse) a piece of paper and she began a conversation with the man.  It was evident that everything on that paper hadn't been explained to him.  The paper indicated that he had cancer.  We aren't real sure why that hadn't been explained but as we worked on his leg, I asked if he had accepted Christ.  He said the famous Haitian phrase, "not yet."  My heart immediately ached for this man.  Without a miracle from the Lord he was going to die. For the next 30 minutes we poured into this man and we prayed with him.  I wish I
could say he accepted the Lord but he didn't.  We explained how serious his medical condition was.  I have been burdened for him since he left the clinic.  In one day, he learned he had a condition that would sooner rather than later take him to his grave without a miracle from God and that he was destined for an eternity of suffering if he didn't make a decision to personally accept Christ.  God is faithful but it is ultimately our decision to accept or deny.  I honestly believe that God has given him a second chance and that we can continue to pour into him in the short amount of time we spend with him.

Please be in prayer for the 10 children that gave their lives to the Lord.  Pray that someone will come along and disciple them and they continue to grow in their faith.  Also, please be in prayer for our friend at the clinic with cancer.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


About 9 months ago, a team from my home church began to come together.  As weeks unfolded, there were 11 people that committed to go on a mission trip together, to Haiti.  I knew of everyone on the team, but didn't know everyone well.  There were a lot of personalities and I wasn't sure how everyone would mesh.  We met monthly for about 3 months, bi-weekly for about 2 months, and weekly for a month.

Walnut Memorial Baptist Church out of Owensboro, KY should be extremely proud of the 11 people that represented them in Haiti.  This was the first team I have ever led and was apprehensive about doing so.  I knew it would involve hours of planning and preparation but in the end it all paid off.  With the hours of meeting and praying together this group was very unified.  Our purpose for going to Haiti was to win souls, disciple the saved, and be hands to help the missionaries on the ground.  All of this was accomplished and I will have future blogs about this.  However, this blog is dedicated to thanking the Lord for such a supportive home church and thanking the people that made this a great week.

Why do I say WMBC should be so proud?  First and foremost, 10 lives were eternally saved this week.  Secondly, the spiritual preparation of the individuals on this trip were evident from start to finish.  Each team member gave their testimony and several led in devotions.  Thirdly, your senior pastor and his family are one that dedicates their lives to serving the Lord, their church, each member, and others.  Pastor Travis serves as God leads him.  He may not always make the easiest and most desirable decisions, but he makes them led by the Spirit and seeks God's direction through prayer and His Word. We watched as he loved on, poured into, and discipled pastors in Haiti, and we watched on with pride in what God was doing through him.

Other members wrapped their arms around children, presented God's Word to them, did crafts, and played games in a way to help lead them to a new or deeper relationship with Him.  We loved on the elderly, the wounded, and missionaries to encourage them in their walk and work.  There were several elements of physical labor, all to help relieve some of the burden of the missionaries.  Walnut you had people all over the world this last week serving.  We had people in Owensboro, Georgia, Zambia, and Haiti.  Praise God for the work He is doing within our church as we become more and more missional.  

To each member of our team, I say thank you.  Thank you for your dedication, thank you for your service, and thank you for loving our Haitian brothers and sisters.  You all were a GREAT first team to lead.  It makes me apprehensive to lead another group because you were so great.  I love and appreciate everyone of you!!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

You Can't Follow Jesus Standing Still

 Jesus said, "get up for your faith has healed you". Getting up is a physical response. Jesus said, "come, cast down your nets and follow me." Again, this is a physical response. The response wasn't sitting in listening to Jesus. The response or responsibility of those listening was the physical response to what Jesus had said or done.

 Our response to Jesus cannot just be a mental response. We, as followers of Christ, cannot merely sit, listen to Jesus' message, and leave and until the next message. Changes to myself and those around me don't occur without the physical response to what I hear. Hearing alone doesn't change anything.

 Remember the game follow the leader, and how often kids play this game. It doesn't work if the non-leader only listens and/or watches. There has to be a response. Lastly, when I was younger and even in my adult life, I can hear my parents and even coaches say, "Did you hear anything I said?" Often, my response was or is, "yes, I heard everything you said!" However, if I don't physically respond or act, there is no way of knowing I have heard.

I want to be so connected to Jesus, it's as if I'm walking side-by-side, hand-in-hand, or like a child I'm grasping his leg/clothes, trying to not get far away.  Much like LiLu, in the picture below, I want to hang tight to Jesus.

Friday, June 24, 2016


This week has brought about a lot of things.  We had a great team from CO here that really blessed everyone.  They were so encouraging and discerning.  I love when God uses people to pour into your life that you never saw coming.  I have been doing a devotional called Steams in the Desert.  It has been really good and perfect timing.  In one of the devotions, I read from Hebrews 12:12-13.  Lift up the hands that hang down and the feeble knees; and make straight the paths for your feet, lest that which is lame excuse turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.  It is important when we go through trials, that we let our body be healed and our faith strengthened.  Wounds heal, but many leave scars.  Where those scars are will never be the same but they also serve as a reminder of just how far we've come and just how powerful God is.  I've seen this happen over and over.  Recently, I felt it first hand and continue to struggle through the loss of such a young person, but I know God does strengthen us, he lifts our hands when we can't, and he stables our feeble knees.  We grieve here for ourselves and the sadness we feel but PRAISE God, in Christ we are promised eternity.  I do not understand how people, apart from Christ, deal with their scars.

Another way this has been a reminder for me this week is through a little 5 year old girl.  For those of you that followed my blog last year, Miley came by for a visit.  I have included pictures of her scars.  God healed her and her parents were faithful to keep bringing her.  We tried several different ways of treating her burns, but God chose to do so much slower than we really wanted.  His timing was perfect.  A lot of people formed good bonds and were able to pour into this family's lives.

Miley graduated kindergarten with an extremely high average, despite all of the school she missed seeking treatment for her burns.  It is probably the highest average I've ever seen.  This may not seem like a big accomplishment for most, but kindergarten graduation is a BIG deal here.  Many don't get to attend school and those that do must sacrifice much to be able to send their kids to school.  If they attend, many don't go on after kindergarten.  Miley has a great future ahead of her and I look forward to seeing what all God has in store for this strong willed, never back down, sassy, beautiful, full of joy blessing I've been able to form a friendship with.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mountain Highs to Valley Lows and God's Faithfulness Through it All

Well, Friday, I made my way back to Haiti.  It was a week later than scheduled but nonetheless, I arrived safe and sound.  The last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions.  The next to last week of May, I wrapped up my first year as an assistant at College View Middle School.  It was a wonderful year and I absolutely loved my job.  Some days were better than others but the kiddos were great.  I never saw myself working with middle school students but I love them.

The last week of May and beginning of June, I was serving on the mission field in Memphis, TN.  A group of 30 people from my church, Walnut Memorial Baptist, traveled to Memphis.  It was a great time of serving the Lord but also, a revival for our group.  There were bonds made that will never be broken and I pray we continue to serve alongside each other.  There were two salvations and many seeds planted and watered.

The Wednesday we were in Memphis forever changed my life.  I received a call that a young man that was VERY near to my heart lost his life in a horrific automobile accident.  Zachary was a sweet, 18 year old kid that we all felt had a life ahead of him.  However, we were reminded of just how short life can be, and the importance of a relationship with Christ.  Those that knew Zach have learned so much from him.  We learned to not sweat the small stuff, to fully trust God and not stress over the petty things of life, to serve others wholeheartedly, love unconditionally, and SMILE often (or always in his case).  Though we mourn him, we know God provides peace, comfort, and love for us during this time.

The Thursday after Zach passed away, I was contacted and told that I had a teaching job at College View Middle School starting in August.  That was a huge answer to prayer and very welcomed good news!!!!

After celebrating Zach's life and being encouraged by the faith of his sweet family, I headed to Haiti.  I have seen Zach's smile in so many young Haitian children, I have felt his embrace in so many friends here, and I was even able to share his story, my first day here.  A young 20 something year old man shared with me he was going to live to be an old man and didn't have anything to worry about now.  I was able to share that we were fortunate to know that Zach had a relationship with Christ and had confessed his sins and accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.  However, we thought Zach would live for many more years, but that wasn't the case.  I continue to pray for this young man and pray he makes a profession of faith before it's too late.