Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Major Earthquake in Haiti

The word is out all over the world about the major earthquake in Haiti yesterday. Jared and Stacey felt the tremors in Pignon, but because of the poor communication systems and lack of news media there weren't even fully aware of the damage in PAP until this morning. Please be in prayer for the people of Haiti, especially in the capital city of Port-au-Prince(PAP) where damage is widespread and severe. Haiti simply doesn't have health and government systems equipped to provide help.

Hope is a commonly used word among missions to Haiti, but I think it is safe to guess that a sense of hopelessness is widespread in Haiti today. But there are many Christians among the people of Haiti who already have chosen to put their faith in God while living in a land that offers little hope. Pray that their faith will empower them to help others and that others will feel the love of Jesus through them. Pray that through this tragedy the people of Haiti will truly discover that God is their one true hope. 

Please be praying that Jer, Stacey, and all others working in Jesus' name in Haiti will know how they can best bring hope and healing to people affected directly or indirectly by the earthquake. Pray that God will equip them with His love and compassion, His strength and wisdom so the help they offer will have both immediate and eternal significance.

Thank you for praying!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Million Candles

"We, as Christians, can look at our broken world, shrug our shoulders, and say, "That's just the way things are." Or we can instead embrace a vision of what could be--if we'd each pitch in. Isn't it better to light a candle than curse the darkness? And what could be accomplished if we lit not one candle but many? The light of even one challenges the gloom, but the light of a million could obliterate it."

Richard Stearns, The Hole in Our Gospel (p. 275)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Haiti Recap - Part 2 - How We Got Here (and I'm not just talking about the airplane)

Admittedly, our trip to Haiti was prompted by external circumstances as much as by a heart for missions. That is not to say we don't have a heart for missions; in 2007, before we discovered Tori's impending and unexpected arrival in our lives, we had begun making plans to take our family on a mission trip to Mexico over Christmas break. Steve's also been to Nicaragua, and we volunteer or donate in various ways locally. But that's beside the point.

All I know is had Jer and Stacey not been there, I'm not sure this trip would've entered our minds. And I am positive that without the generous and anonymous donation we received, we would not have gone, at least not this year. Through those circumstances and much prayer it became clear that God intended for us to go on this particular trip at this time.

Even so, the decision for both Steve and me to go was not an easy one, even with the offer of the donation and the wonderful prospect of seeing Jer and Stacey and the kids.

Steve would have to miss a week of work at a busy time and opt for another week of unemployment pay since all his vacation time and then some was required to cover the mandatory shut downs this year.

And just let me say that leaving four kids behind is challenging.

Mentally challenging to combat all the "what if" thoughts involved in both parents traveling overseas.

Emotionally challenging for a stay at home mom who's used to being with her toddler 24/7.

Physically challenging to coordinate school and extracurricular schedules and childcare (seriously, I probably spent equal time planning, scheduling, organizing, and packing as we actually spent on the trip!)

Spiritually challenging to let go of control of it all and trust God.

But eventually, it all went off without a hitch (well, except the first night we were gone when Anna called our hotel in Florida, homesick for us and in sobs, and I spent the rest of the night crying with my cell phone next to me on the bed in case she called again), and we were on our way across the ocean to Haiti.

MFI's (Mission Flights International) restored DC-3 WW II plane that flew us from Florida to Haiti:

The interior of the MFI plane, including several members of our team:

First views of Haiti from the air:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Haiti recap - Part 1

Now that the dust has settled--and perhaps even more importantly, my stomach has settled after a bit of a rough transition during the first week back home--and the holiday busyness has come to an end, I'm finally going to try to formulate what I'm sure will be a less than complete summary of our trip to Pignon, Haiti, in November. I discovered that when people return from a Third World country with pictures and you think you've got a bit of understanding what it's like there, it's actually quite true when they say you can't fully understand it until you've experienced it for yourself. I suppose it's like when someone tells you to enjoy your kids while they're young because they grow up so fast; one day you realize they really are growing up so fast that you should've listened! Anyway... there is much to share, so I'll try to stay focused. :)

Before we even arrived in Haiti, I felt like God began to open my eyes to see the world from more of a Kingdom perspective. It was like He was showing me the world from a heavenly view as I looked out the window of the plane and peered at the tiny world below.

Our world feels very "normal" when we live in it day to day, but I was reminded that there is nothing ordinary about it--it truly was beautiful in a way I've never experienced before. I'm sure I looked nothing like a seasoned traveler as I leaned forward in my seat to stare out the window of the plane at the scenery below. Glancing at tiny buildings which now appeared to be no larger than a Monopoly house, school buses the size of a staple and fields that now seemed to be the size of a postage stamp, I thought about the God who made it all, and I was humbled--actually, that isn't nearly a strong enough word--to think how often I live my life as if I am somehow in control.... How I forget about the God who made it all, sustains it all, and can give or take any of it according to His perfect will.

As we began our descent toward the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, huge homes with private pools, tennis courts, and who knows what other luxuries peppered the landscape. As is often the case for those of us in the middle class who have more than plenty but not nearly as much as some, I seldom think of myself as wealthy. But our affluent life in the United States--mansions and tennis courts or just a comfortable house and a used mini van to get us where we need to go--is far from normal compared with the rest of the world's standard of living. I again considered what my attitude toward my life and "stuff" is with the realization that the next day's scenery would look very, very different.

A first glimpse of Haitian life from the runway at the Cap Haitien airport: