March 6, 2013


I keep finding blog posts that I wrote back almost a year ago now and so I am posting them....

The Story of Ruth holds many lessons for us: leaving all that is familiar to follow God, His provision for us when we are faithful, Ruth meeting Boaz and it is our first real glimpse of what it means to have a Kinsman Redeemer. But one person who often gets overlooked in this story is Naomi.  She goes through quite a bit of tragedy in the space of five verses.  I think maybe that's why we miss it.  Her story seems so short and seems to be simply the introduction to the story of Ruth. By verse 14 we are singing Ruth's praises for her loyalty and commitment and away we go.  verses 20-21 grabbed me this time.  "Do not call me Naomi (which means pleasant); call me Mara (bitter) for the almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?"

What strikes me here is that Naomi has no idea the good that is going to come out of her tragedy.  There was a famine that caused her husband to take his family to a foreign land to search for food.  Her husband died. Her sons married women not from their own people. Then her sons died. If all these things hadn't happened; Ruth would not have been redeemed by Boaz, Obed would not have been born and Obed would not have become the grandfather of David, who would become the iconic King of Israel, man after God's own heart and through this line the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was born.  

Our tragedies, bumps, bruises, sorrows, pains, all come with lessons...usually for our benefit, but not ours alone.  In this case Naomi went through a LOT of tragedy and it appears as though the purpose was not even primarily for her to learn a lesson, though I imagine she learned about trusting God and His ways, her tragedy was for the purpose of getting someone else (Ruth) where she needed to be to fulfill her role in God's plan for humanity.

Sometimes we can't seem to find a purpose behind our suffering, trials, struggles, but there is always hope. How often do we focus on our immediate circumstances - God has dealt bitterly with me! We despair - not even a hope; yet God is at work.  What Naomi didn't see was King David, and then the Messiah because of her trials....sometimes we don't see the good that comes from our trials. But the truth is that our hope is the same hope that came out of Naomi's trials....the Redemption of it all through Jesus Christ - her's quite literally. 

There is a song, Blessings, that plays on the radio that says "What if your blessings come through raindrops. What if Your healing comes through tears. What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near? What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?...What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy? What if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights...are your mercies in disguise."

The truth is that when we stop trying to tell God what is good and right and start Trusting Him, our lives often take unexpected twists and turns...sometimes those very painful ones are the very things that teach us to rely upon the One who will never fail you nor leave you...and that is the very best lesson of all...walking closely with Him.

September 12, 2012

Silence, Grace and the Gospel

It seems it's been quite some time since I have posted...not because I had nothing to say but because I didn't really know where to start...I have been in the US now for 5 months and in some ways I am still adjusting to being home.  While I know that God will use me anywhere I go, I also know that there are some places that need me more than others.  What I wanted to share today, though, is what God has been teaching me for the last 18 months....

Choosing to move to another place always comes with some uncertainty; choosing to move to another country, culture and language takes that uncertainty to new levels...But we go where we are lead, and believe me, the doors God slammed shut, hurt - even if they didn't actually hit me on the way out ;-)  But as He often does, other doors opened and I found that my path had taken a detour to the western third of a tiny island in the Caribbean.  From decision to go to departure was slightly less than 2 months...things moved really fast and the next thing I knew I was spending my annual family vacation in Michigan doing things to get ready for my flight to Haiti in under two weeks... Things moving fast, helped me not freak out about leaving EVERYTHING familiar behind to go live in a strange place with people I had met and known for a week. There were moments where I thought I might be crazy.  But sometimes God calls us to do crazy things for Him.

Grace.  For years, the idea of grace was tied to the cross...and by that I mean a point in time event that had little to do with daily life except as the motivation that took Jesus to the cross.  As I began to prepare to move to Haiti, God began to show me that His Grace is so much more.  Every bump in the road that was resolved was grace. The man who carried my suitcase across the airport in the rain: grace.  Michelle meeting me inside security at the Port Au Prince airport: grace. Mark and Will's luggage not arriving on time and therefore the warm welcome in the airport parking lot upon arrival. Kyle being in Port Au Prince for Kirby's hearing tests and therefore someone to ride all the way to Jacmel with me: Grace.  The people who supported my trip making it possible for me to go: grace.  All these things were blessings I didn't earn or deserve, but God orchestrated all kinds of circumstances to give them to me anyway.  There were moments of grace in daily life.  This is where we like to stop...we all say "Amen" and feel good that we have learned to recognize God's hand in the little details of life.  Pat ourselves on the back and feel like we've grown...which we have, but that's not where we stop.

The harder lesson to learn is that when the bottom falls out, when people disappoint you, hurt you, abandon you, and you are left with pieces of your life all around you, that is God's grace too. Tension, hardship, and conflict that came along with changes in leadership: God's grace.  Because storm clouds while dark and violent, bring refreshing rain that replenishes the earth.  Conflict and trials bring greater dependence upon God and a deeper (and closer) walk with Him.  This too is something we don't deserve, this relationship, we haven't earned it, deserved it, even known how badly we needed it, yet He offers it to us.

Tied to His grace is always the Gospel - God's plan to redeem and reconcile His people - each situation for the glory of God the Father.  The Gospel at work in our daily lives is visible when we remove ourselves, our pride, from a situation and allow God's light to shine into all the corners of our messy, sinful hearts and let God work. To get out of the "looking holy" business and into the being made holy practice.  When we are open (but not glorifying) about our struggles, we allow God's glory - His grace - to be seen by be experienced by those who might not otherwise be looking for Him in daily life. The Gospel doesn't end with repentance but it is essential in our daily lives...

March 24, 2012


This has been an interesting time - this gap in writing on my blog. What has transpired during this time has taught me a lot about God, the Grace that we live in each day, and the importance of relying on the Gospel in our daily lives. It is with a sad heart that I am writing to say that I have left HaitiBaby and SurfHaiti and must remove my endorsement of these ministries at this time. I appreciate all of your love and support and will keep you posted on how God is leading me in life, ministry, and my love for Haiti.

February 23, 2012

February 4-6

Saturday & Sunday, Days THREE and FOUR, Kris (a surfer friend who is French and comes most weekends) came in to surf. He brought a friend from work, Hannes, with him. Hannes is from Germany. I really feel like we should get a map and start marking where all the people who come through here are from. We also had a couple guys who work with Save the Children in Port au Prince come over to rent surf boards for the day. Colm is from Ireland (Red Hair, Fair Skin – classic Irish); Mark is from England. This was their second weekend to come. Last weekend they both got “sun stroke” which their supervisors had instructed them NOT to get this time. I called them in every couple hours to remind them to rehydrate. Spain was also well represented this weekend. Three surfers from a spanish NGO in Jacmel came out to surf. Olive Tree showed up early Sunday – I love when they come spend the day with us. Alfaida (the cutest baby) comes with them and she lives with Sarah and I LOVE getting to play with her. Sarah took in Alfaida when her mother, who is HIV positive, wasn't sure where she was going to live. Said she needed help for a few months to get things together. She is supposed to come back for Alfaida in March. Alfaida has tested negative for HIV! Which is a HUGE blessing. One more test to go for it to be official.

Monday, Day FOUR, we walked up to Marigot in the morning and then spent some time across the way in the Baby House cleaning and organizing. Then Travis said he was off to see Nick and Gwen, with Joy in Hope. We invited ourselves along (after calling first) so we could meet their kids, see their place and use their internet (which is faster than ours way out here in Kabic). We decided to cook dinner – BBQ chicken and Rice. We made the BBQ sauce from scratch. Plus they gave us a Loaf Pan so I can make bread in a real loaf pan! Two of their girls helped us cook and we played Apples to Apples together... which is a lot of fun! The winner of the night: “Your Face” I'm thinking.

February 20, 2012

Beginning to Catch Up

I have not posted much in the last couple weeks, because they have
been busy, growing experiences...and because Dr. Ken left for two
weeks to go back to the States which meant Amber and I were here at
the beach house just the two of us (though Travis did come stay with
us and our friends were awesome to come by regularly and check in on
us). The real test as to my comfort living here – off a compound, in
a community. So over the next few days I will post things I wrote
while he was gone, but waited to publish until he returned as I didn't
want to publicize that we were living "alone" any more than necessary.

Days one and two have gone well! Thursday (Day ONE) began with a lady
coming into our yard through the beach gate. She kept saying something
in Kreyol about Travay (work). I tried to communicate with her but
she didn't seem to understand me. I tried asking her to come back
another day, in Kreyol, but she wouldn't leave. We ended up calling
Sarah from Olive Tree Project and handing her the phone. Sarah talked
to her – apparently she wanted us to give her a job. Sarah told her we
already had all the people we needed right now working for us, Thank
you, Sarah for handling that one! Then we went by Hands and Feet and I
dug around their depot and found all the clothes I was missing except
my swimsuit - oh and my baby sling, I just thought of that one... We
met Cameron Peoples' parents and saw Rebekah (never enough time).
Then we went over to Dave and Darlys' house and helped them with some
office work - QuickBooks and filing papers. Darlys took us over to
Cyvadier Plage for Jus au Lait, which is not on the menu but they made
it for us anyway :-) and French Fries – thank you Darlys for that
treat! We ran into Nick and Gwen while we were there, as well as the
Hands and Feet crew. Then we headed back to the house. Travis came to
stay with us for most of the time Dr. Ken is going to be gone. It was
a day full of people and friends, just like being at home – which is
nice because sometimes being here can feel very isolating. So many
people want things from you, everywhere you go, everywhere you turn,
so having a community of people who are not demanding anything but
friendship from you is really important and running into them all day
is really a treat.

Friday (DAY TWO), we spent some time doing Bible Study together,
looking up different verses that talk about prayer and discussing
their implications....The Bible says to pray without ceasing, but it
also says to be careful how you approach God, to listen rather than
say a lot of words. Those are two things I've been pondering how they
fit together. We are told to ask God for things, but to examine our
motives before we ask. We are told to submit all requests to HIS WILL.
Then we walked along the road towards Marigot, came back and swam.
Then headed to Cyvadier Market for water and eggs (the eggs were
really fresh looking!) We got some cleaning done in our room and Kris
(a French surfer friend) called to say he would be coming Saturday, so
Amber and I spent the afternoon cleaning the guest house for his
arrival. I paid our weekly staff all by myself today! That consisted
of Eva, who I am quickly becoming a big fan of, who cleans for us
twice a week and Benji who takes care of our yard and generally looks
out for us girls. I had to hunt Benji down, I think he thought maybe
with Dr. Ken gone he wasn't going to be paid but once I found him, he
came and did his job as well as he usually does it. Angenita showed
up and started fussing at us, she does our laundry, she was quite put
out that we hadn't had her wash in 5 days! She gets paid by the month
and does the most amazing job ever! We had clothes that weren't white
when we brought them (but were supposed to be) that are now as white
as if they were new. Laundry is done by hand and Angenita definitely
has skills. Then we had visitors stop by looking for Diane. We sat
around a while staring awkwardly at each other. I tried to talk to
them, in both Kreyol and English. But mostly we sat there. Then they
left. The funny thing is that I know one of them speaks English – she
used to talk to be pretty often. Oh well :-)