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!!!!