Monday, January 18, 2010
I was scheduled to fly to Port by way of Miami on Wednesday, and I got the news of the earthquake on the eve of my departure, with my bags packed and my heart ready to see my friends and 'Haiti family'. The first 24 hours were like a nightmare, sleeping and waking and praying, answering frantic and well meaning phone calls and trying not to think about the future and all that this could mean. Trying to be as polite as possible when people said, "I bet you are so glad you aren't in Haiti right now!" or even worse, people who were more worried about the hurricane warning on their vacation property in Florida.
The last few days have been rebuilding days. I feel like I must have put too much of my identity in living and working in Haiti, as if that made me some elite member of society. That is why this shook me so much, I lost a part of who I liked to label myself as. I have been dealing with all of my wrong ideas about God's heart towards me. I cannot comprehend His ways or question His methods, But I can take these broken pieces of my life and rebuild them on a firmer foundation that won't be shaken the next time the storms of my life rage.
It is always strangely refreshing to find out that you aren't as strong as you think you are. It frees you to make mistakes and wrong turns without fear that you won't find your way back to God's path for your life. I don't know what is next for me, as much as I wish life would go back to the way it was before the earthquake, I am hopeful for what God is planning for me.
The grief I feel for the people of Haiti is deeper than anything I have experienced. I can't watch the news, because of the hopelessness in the way it is being reported. I can't imagine facing this tragedy without faith that my God will work everything together for good. My prayers stay hopeful, I am comforted by the fact that God loves the people of Haiti more than I do. I am believing for miracles to be released in Haiti that haven't been seen before. I want to hear stories of limbs growing back and gas tanks that don't run out and even people being raised from the dead. I am praying for the orphans of Haiti to experience the love of their heavenly Father, and to live to bring glory to His name. I am praying that the government is rebuilt with more stability than ever before. I am so glad that I have a big God who takes big requests like these!
I am so proud of the missionaries in Haiti! The stories I have heard are unreal. I know how difficult and stressful life can be in Haiti on the best of days, and I can't imagine how draining it would be right now. I am praying for peace and strength and favor for everyone I know. I am praying that people would see how unselfish and peaceful all of the Christians in Haiti are and they would want that for themselves.
I will close with a quote I loved from a friend's facebook status, "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future."
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Or a day in the life, however you want to look at it. Here is the run down of what I do in an average day:
Wake up at 8:00 on a good day or 7:00 on a running day. Read my Bible, ask God for patience and wisdom. Drink some coffee, eat some fresh bread. Good morning world!
Start school at 9:00 sharp. Usually. Joey and I start with math, then all of us do Creole together. We work our way through all of the subjects, and finish sometime between 12:30 and 3:00. Occasionally, we get a little silly.
After that, there is nothing I would rather do that curl up with some criminal minds. There it is. That is my average day in Haiti. Of course, there is no such thing as a ‘normal day’ in Haiti. I just live in the moment and enjoy everything. Haiti is so beautiful!
Monday, November 16, 2009
I love weekends in Haiti! You never know what could end up happening...
On Saturday, Megan and I went to a museum in downtown Port au Prince with her friend Francois. It was really fun to see a different part of the city. Our tour guide spoke english, but I think he was making up the dates he told us. Oh well, it kept things interesting. After that, we got some drinks and sat in a park. That wouldn't have been safe without Francois there because there are lots of men around with nothing better to do than make kissing sounds at the white girls. The best part was a conversation I got to have with a Haitian man. It was definantly a God moment, because usually when people come up and try to start a conversation I ignore them or tell them that I don't speak Creole. But for some reason I started talking to him. He wanted to know all about me, especially whether I had a husband or a boyfriend. He informed me that if I marry an American he won't want me to be visiting Haiti. I told him that I might get lucky! I explained to him that I am in Haiti because I love God, and God told me to come here. I asked him if he loves God, and he said, "a little bit". I told him bluntly that he needed to accept Jesus as his savior so that Jesus would forgive his sins. He told me that he loves money and wondered if following Jesus would help him make more money. I know that some people might believe that and even preach that, but I chose to tell him the story of the rich young ruler. Our conversation didn't end with him accepting Christ, but I hope some seeds were planted.
That night we headed over to the birthing clinic where Joanna lives for a party! Joanna is an amazing cook and made lots of pizza and other great snacks. We had a great time getting to know each other better. I love having so many girls to hang out with here! Then, the unexpected happened. A woman went into labor and came over to the clinic. It was a lot of fun to hang out with all of the midwives and in the morning, to be there for the birth of a sweet little boy. But I have to admit, that is one disgusting miracle!
Today was the perfect temperature, a little bit overcast, but still mostly sunny. Still in the low 80's and 60% humidity. It is amazing that that feels cool to me. I have a feeling that this week is going to fly by just like last week did. The whole month will probably fly by. This time next month I will be on a plane from Miami to Denver! I'm going to freeze my tail off!
I am starting to really understand the language, and getting a little more comfortable speaking to people. Megan and I learned the handy phrase, "what? you've never seen a white person before?"
God is teaching me so much about going with the flow and expecting the unexpected. It is a great feeling to not really be concerned when we are out of propane and don't have enough power to run the microwave and still get a fairly well rounded meal. As always, thank you so much for your prayers!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
- I am thankful that I am here in Haiti, with the cockroaches and mosquitoes, living a life that brings crazy challenges everyday and keeps me on my toes.
- I am thankful for all of the new friends I am making. There are so many amazing people here and I love that I have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.
- I am thankful for old friends, for everyone who is praying for me and reading this blog. I need every little bit of prayer I can get!
- I am thankful for podcast sermons and the prayer room webcast that keep me filled spiritually.
- I am thankful for Criminal Minds.
- I am thankful that I get to go home for Christmas and see all of my family and friends, and then go to onething in Kansas City!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Looking back, it is hard to describe the mix of emotions that I feel toward the last month of my life. God has been so good to use all of the tough things for good in my heart and my attitude toward the world. Something about Haiti has a way of taking every comfort that you lean on and hide behind and stripping them away from you all at once. Haiti has a way of challenging the things that you thought you believed beyond a shadow of a doubt. Haiti shines a spotlight onto things in your heart that you wish would stay in the dark. I am so thankful that I have learned to live without so many of the things that I would have considered necessary even six months ago. I feel like if I can live in Haiti for a year I can do anything.
I have become more confident here. Yes, I can leave the house without makeup. I can even be in a group of new people without hating every minute of it. God has been speaking to me so much more here, maybe because I am taking the time to listen. I have met so many wonderful people who challenge my way of thinking and encourage me. Haiti challenges me in new ways every day and I love that I am growing in ways I couldn't have grown if I had stayed in America.
Today really sums up all of the conflict in my heart about living here. We visited Sisters of Charity Mission today for about half an hour. It is a hospital for sick and malnourished babies. It is so hard to see rows of cribs with severely sick babies waiting for their next meal or dose of medicine. They are understaffed, but they work hard and the place is clean with running water. It is so overwhelming and depressing to look around the room and to know how little I can do. I tried to take it all in pacing the rows of cribs and touching some of the babies as I prayed for them. At first I was scared to pick them up, they look so fragile, I thought they might fall apart. When I did it felt good to know that this one was comforted, even for just a few moments. This is where the conflict is, I loved being there because I could make a small difference, but it is so hard to believe that God loves these little ones as much as he loves me. It is hard to imagine that he has a plan for their lives to prosper them and not to harm them. God, where is the justice in Haiti?
I want to end tonight's post with a parable that you have probably already heard, but I need to hear it again and you may need to hear it again too.
A man went down to the beach one morning and saw that the tide was unusually low. Thousands of starfish had washed up on the beach as far in each direction as he could see. The man knew that if left in the morning sun they would all die. Despairing, he knew there was nothing he could do to help them all. Then he noticed a person down by the water. As he walked closer he saw that it was a boy picking up the starfish and throwing them into the sea. "What are you doing?" asked the man. "Returning the starfish to the ocean," replied the boy. "If I don't they'll die". The man said, "but there are thousands of starfish on this beach, what you are doing won't make a difference." The boy reached down and picked up another starfish and tossed it gently into the sea. "It made a difference to that one," he said.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Well, I guess since I haven't had anything as crazy and "blog worthy" as the flood (thank you God) I haven't updated my blog for a while. So here is your update of my fun weekend and regular life in Haiti. On Friday, we had a girls night at the birthing center, which was tons of fun and got pretty crazy. Unfortunately, I think they all saw my crazy side, since I had an energy drink. I guess I can never go back to being the sweet, docile Corrie that everyone thought they knew. Oh well, I can't pretend to be normal for too long. We had a violent game of spoons and some catch phrase, and then we decided to make an 80's music video wearing scrubs and birth center stuff. Suffice it to say I have moves. We didn't have any warning that this picture was being taken by the way.
(Jonna, Me, Sarah, Brittany, Vivien, Stephanie, not pictured- Megan, Paige)
I'm so grateful to have such a fun group of girls to hang out with! Saturday I painted one wall of my room teal! It is driving me crazy though, because I didn't use any tape, so the lines aren't even. I'm gonna have to go back and fix it or I may just go crazy. School with Joey and Shane is going good, we have a pretty good routine going, and they still think I am pretty smart. So that is good. I am starting to appreciate how much time and effort my mom spent teaching me and my sisters in elementary school. She learned me purty good.
I love Port-Au-Prince Fellowship! I love that it is in English, I love that there is a mix of Americans and Haitians. And most of all, I love the worship. There is a sense of community that is rare in the churches I have been to in America. We had a delicious lunch at John and Beth's house, and some more fellowship with great people. Is it weird that I feel like I have been here at least two months? Yet at the same time I feel like I will be going home for Christmas so soon!
I had an interesting conversation with Sarah, a midwife from Jacmel, after our sleepover about helping the people of Haiti. She tries to help people who will get the most benefit from her help, like paying for food for the child of a mother who will keep the baby healthy once she stops helping, instead of a mother who is just going to let the child become malnourished again. Or paying for education for a child instead of giving money to kids who are begging on the street. Or teaching beggars how to make things to sell instead of giving them a handout. But she was talking with someone else who didn't think that is what Jesus would do, He thought Jesus would help anyone regardless of whether they deserved help or not. While I understand that we didn't do anything to deserve Jesus dying for us and we don't do anything to deserve to be born into a wealthy society, I also know that Jesus didn't heal everyone who was sick and he didn't give money to every beggar, he didn't raise everyone from the dead, and he didn't perform miracle in every meeting. He has a specific plan for the redemption of everyone. Perhaps Jesus healed those who he knew would draw closer to him only if they were healed. I believe Jesus had a relationship with his Father and with the Holy Spirit that allowed him to know the Father's heart for each individual. Is it possible for us to do the same in regards to who we can give money to on the street and who we should help when they ask for help? Of course that must be true because Jesus himself said that we could do even greater things than he did on earth with the Holy Spirit living in us. I know that I am not smart enough to know what will be best for each person I come in contact with.
Well, that is my sermon for the week, sorry about that! I would love to hear what you all think of this whole debate.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
We are soo grateful to our housekeeper, Alex, for her hard work, and for Damienne, who came to live with us yesterday and cheerfully helped us clean. What a great first night for her huh? We were starting to get really silly and sliding around on our knees and singing “the Lord told Noah, there’s gonna be a floody, floody.” We even saw a rainbow and considered it God’s promise that this would never happen again.
When we were getting really close to being done I was just exhausted, and even though I knew we only had a little bit more to do I was all of a sudden really grossed out by the dirty water and the floating dead bugs. I could have sat down in the water and cried. I felt so helpless and weak. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 John writes, “’My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. … For when I am weak, then I am strong.” So I will boast in my weakness too. I was really crabby, thinking, “Why me?” the whole time, and I didn’t do a good job focusing on God. However, through my weakness I know Christ was strengthened in me. On my own strength I could never have worked for three hours without crying or yelling at someone or giving up. There is no way that was me wringing out those rags and dumping water down the drain, I know that was Christ in me. Once everything was fairly dry, we turned on the water so we could shower the yucky water off of us and get in our dry beds. Showering with no towel to dry off with is a pain. Just saying.
When I woke up this morning, Lisa was calling my cell phone and asking me and asking me to plug in the refrigerator because she was called to a birth. Great timing new baby. But there was no power at all and a really annoying beeping sound. So I woke up Shane to go turn on the generator. I had this massive headache right behind my eye and the beeping was not helping, but that turned out to be our backup internet, so we left it on. We haven’t had to run the generator at all since we have been here, of course we had to the morning after the flood when Lisa was gone.
I know all of this is the Devil trying to get us down. And I’m trying to stay cheerful when inside I’m my worst crabby ever. God sometimes cracks me up! When I got in bed last night I flipped my Bible open to Psalms, because at a time like that, you wanna read Psalms. I opened right to Psalm 93, “The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up the roaring of their waves. The Lord on high is mightier and more glorious than the noise of many breakers and waves of the sea.” Haha good one Holy Spirit, you got me laughing.
Now I am facing a day filled with laundry and cleanup. God help me stay semi-cheerful at least. Renew my strength!