Thursday, November 16, 2017

Haiti October 2017: Surrender


I’ve sat down several times, in an attempt to continue on with blogging about our Haiti trip. I’m not sure exactly why it’s gotten more difficult. Processing and sharing any trip has always been emotional and in some ways a struggle, and in other ways a blessing. But this time it seemed even more difficult. I think it's partially due to that fact that there was a “wrestling” with God that occurred in my heart and mind as the trip progressed, and in some ways continues to exist at times.
It was tough to experience, even tougher to process, and tougher still to write about and share. So please bear with me, as I try to get my thoughts out as honestly and humbly as I can. 


For the remaining 4 days in Hinche, our schedule basically stayed the same. In the mornings we had "free time", which we spent in a variety of ways which I will hopefully blog about in more detail at another time. 
We would return to the compound for lunch, and in the afternoons I would lay down and rest for a couple of hours, until we would head out for home visits.
We were usually able to get 4-6 home visits done each afternoon before we headed home for dinner.
We would eat. I would shower the girls and I and I would go to bed.
I did very little else than what was absolutely necessary.

 

And yet, my body was failing me a little more each day.
I recognized the signs. I did my best to ignore them, and cover them up with whatever medications I could. But my body continued on in a downward progression.

A lot of people have asked me, since returning home, what happened? Or what did I get so sick from? And the truth is I wasn’t “sick” per se, this is just something that happens to me. It isn’t common, it may occur two or three times in a year. We aren’t totally sure what the cause is (though we have our suspicions) and for all of you who will ask - I have gotten testing done, and tried a few different things (namely diet and supplements) to help and I have actually seen a lot of improvement, but I still experience setbacks at times. The timing of this, “setback” was very unfortunate, but it was in a lot of ways completely unrelated to Haiti.

 

At home, in normal circumstances, I would have just stopped. I would have spent two or three days just resting in order to recover from whatever type of “crash” I was having, and I would have moved on.


But this time it was different. This time I couldn’t stop. This time I couldn’t get the rest my body needed. This time I pushed. Because I had to. 

Although I did rest as much as I could, it wasn’t enough, and my body let me know that, loud and clear.

I had come to Haiti with a fairly substantial task to accomplish. As part of my responsibilities and heart for the student sponsorship program I had set a goal to go to as many home visits as I could of the sponsored students. My greatest desire for this trip was to get to know the families in the program better and to build relationships with them.

But this was not the only thing on my heart to do, I was really looking forward to spending time with my friends, and the kids and ladies at the compound. I wanted to spend time in the kitchen cooking, and learning how to do laundry by hand.
I was excited to spend time just BEing there. No agenda. Just hanging out with the people I love so much.
I had really looked forward to spending precious moments with my kids as they were introduced to the country and the people I love so dearly.

 

I imagined sitting for a while after dinner listening to Lavaud tell stories.
I imagined watching Treyton play basketball with the boys and coloring with Audrey and the little girl who hung around at the compound.  
I imagined teaching Alexa and her new friends hand-clap games and how valuable communication without words can really be.
I imagined racing hot wheels with Titus and the two little cousins that I can hardly tell apart.


I imagined experiencing the “softer” side of Haiti with my kids.

And while in some sense, I was able to do some of these things, and in other ways, I wasn’t.

 

As the days began to pass by, and I began to realize, I wasn’t getting better disappointment and doubt began to set in.

I continued to try to be open and honest with the group, everyone was so gracious to me throughout the trip, they continually checked in on me, and worked to make me as comfortable as they could.

 

I felt so loved.
But I also felt like a failure. I knew I wasn’t the only one feeling the disappointment and desperation from what my body was going through.
I wanted to get better for me. But even more so, I wanted to get better for everyone else.

Every trip I’ve taken to Haiti has had some level of spiritual warfare associated with it, nothing crazy or even visible, but present nonetheless. I came to Haiti expecting it, and I recognize that it is likely a contributing factor of what was going on physically.

Spiritually, I refused to give in, and I wasn’t alone, the entire team stood together in our desire and prayers both against the enemy and for healing.

 

We were daily, hourly even, asking God to heal me. Asking for God to turn the tides of what was increasingly becoming a major problem and setback to the trip. And while, we weren’t immediately receiving the answer we wanted, we were hopeful and expectant for the Lord to heal me before the 9 days were up and the majority of the group (and my husband, aka, my “rock”) left for home.

 

So what do you do when you don’t receive the answer you were hoping for?
What do you do when the disappointment of “unanswered prayer” feels like it’s crushing you?  
How do you process the confusion of knowing you were acting in obedience, and being faced with seeming failure?
What do you do when you start feeling angry with God for not giving you the answer you so desperately want? 

I struggled. I am still struggling a bit.
But, I wasn't alone, and I'm not alone, and God used (and is continuing to use) my "team" to help me get through it. 

 

One afternoon (I’m not sure if it was Monday or Tuesday) I was sitting in the girl’s room with Olivia, Donna, and Tim and I was sharing my disappointments and even some of the doubt I was starting to feel, and how I really didn’t think my body was going to be able to last the planned 18 days. We were on day 5 or 6 and my body was feeling more and more exhausted.

After I shared, we began to pray together.
As Tim began praying for me….. the floodgates opened and the tears that I had been trying so hard to hold in came pouring out. All the doubt, the anger, the disappointment became too much to hold onto.

As Tim prayed for both my healing and God’s will to be accomplished, I began to fully agree with him in my heart.  I had been, up to this point praying for God’s will to be accomplished, but I hadn’t really meant it. I had prioritized my healing over His will and was mostly just begging for His will to line up with mine…. Not the other way around.

 

Tears ran down my face, and down my knees as I pulled them into my chest. I felt my heart began to change, it felt wonderful, and painful all at the same time.  As every tear fell, I could feel myself letting go little-by-little. I began to loosen the grip on my will, my plans, and my goals. I began to picture myself kneeling with my hands wide open, literally laying down my agenda and my wants at his feet.


As Olivia and then Donna began to pray, I realized I was not the only one crying…. We all were. Our desperation was tangible, but so was our surrender. In our prayers we praised our Creator for who He is and we acknowledged His goodness toward us. We all, one by one poured out our hearts before God, and while I can’t speak for everyone, it felt as though once we poured and emptied ourselves, we each one let it go, and trusted Him to do what was best for each one of us.

 

After the final amen. I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders.

I was still disappointed. I won’t deny that. But I was completely surrendered.

In writing this I looked back into my journal from Haiti, I will end with the entry I found there:

I feel so much weight, a fear of disappointing others, and myself. I am realizing that I may not be able to continue on as planned and personally it’s devastating, but I can hardly even think about that part of it, for I am not the only one affected.
My physical pain seems to pale in comparison to the pain of hurting and disappointing others.
My weakness frustrates me: my physical weakness, yes, but I realize that my spiritual weakness is far greater.
I truly believe I heard the Lord and followed Him here in obedience. The plans we made came out of prayer and a genuine desire for obedience. To see it not working out is confusing, and in some ways a challenge of faith.

Lord, I am one of little faith, I am so easily tossed about by the waves that surround me. I’m confused. I’m scared. I long to obey, and yet, my flesh selfishly continues to seek it’s own way.
I give this hour, this day, this trip, and my entire life to you.
Lord, I ask you to use me in spite of myself. May you receive all the glory that is due You.

Psalms 68:19-20
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily BEARS US UP,
God is our salvation. Our God is a God of salvation.”

Psalms 73:25-26
“Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
 My flesh and my heard may fail
 but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
  

Monday, October 30, 2017

Haiti October 2017: Not Forgotten

"He who counts the stars and calls them by name is in no danger of forgetting his own children."
~C.H. Spurgeon~


Waking up Sunday morning, I immediately recognized the familiar sounds of the compound: the ladies working in the kitchen, a rooster crowing, an engine rattling nearby. I also notice a few less-normal sounds. Talking and chatter, below my window, people are already gathering and working at the church.

It’s interesting to me how quickly our bodies and minds begin to adjust to new circumstances in ways that we would have never expected; the way we start to “get used to” things we’re not used to experiencing.

On this trip one of those things is definitely the bugs, namely the cockroaches. If you would have told me a week prior to this that I would become used to seeing and working around cockroaches (without freaking out) I would have told you, you were insane, but that’s exactly what has happened.

As I roll over I take my ear plugs out and grab my water bottle, I glance at the floor between our beds and notice two cockroaches, one certainly dead (as it is on it’s back) and the other’s status is unknown to me. I don’t even bother checking, it is too early in the morning for me to muster the energy to kill it, even if it were alive. I’m pretty sure it’s not anyways.

I’m confident I already know how these two cockroaches met their end: they must have foolishly entered Olivia and Alexa’s bed last night. For whatever reason, no one else has had problems with the roaches getting into our mosquito netting with us at night, but they must have a special attraction to Olivia, as she has experienced it more than once. On the first night she told me that she tried swatting/slapping them away, but that they would come back, so she has now resorted to squeezing them, to ensure their death, and then tossing them out of her bed. I can only assume that’s what happened here.

I smile a little nervously, because while I want to rejoice in the fact that two more cockroaches are dead, I also realize that for every two cockroaches that lose their life, there’s an unknown number hiding in and among our room.

I am sure to look inside my shoes before I slip them on.

I grab my clothes and head to the bathroom, where I diligently shake out every article of clothing before slipping them on. This is a lesson, also learned the hard way, though gratefully, not on my own….

Last night, Tim had gone in to to take a shower before bed, I was brushing my teeth while he was getting everything he needed set up. After grabbing his towel off the hook in his bedroom, he had brought it into the bathroom draped over his arm. He was standing there talking to me, asking how I was feeling, when he had gone to hang his towel up over the shower curtain, two cockroaches fell from his towel onto the floor between us. While typically this would have evoked at least a small scream from me, in this moment all I could do was laugh.  I was mostly just glad it was his towel and not mine.


I am looking forward to today. We have church this morning, and we are planning on going out to the waterfall this afternoon. I am worried about whether or not I should go out to the waterfall, or if I should take the opportunity to rest, but I already feel like I’ve missed more than I’ve wanted to on this trip with my kids, and I want to see the waterfall with them. I tell myself “no matter what” I’m going.

 

After breakfast, we all head downstairs where we will walk next door to the church. As we make our way down the stairs we see the orphan’s pull up in the truck. 48 orphans. One truck. I’ll never get used to seeing this. J


I find Dieunaylove right away. She looks like an angel. She’s wearing a spotless white dress. I am certain that the orphan mama’s dressed her up extra-special because they know we are here.  She looks beautiful. She’s walking towards me, she has a bashful look on her face and I can’t stop smiling. We hug. I kiss the top of her head. Oh how I have missed her.

I grab her hand. She smiles up at me. I introduce the kids and Donna to her, although I know introductions are not needed. We walk to church I hold Audrey’s hand in my right, and Deiunaylove’s in my left. Despite any physical struggles I’ve had, this is EVERYTHING. This moment. It’s inexpressible. I want to remember every detail.


I have Dieunaylove sit with us during the service rather than where she normally sits, with the other orphans. She holds my hand the entire 2 ½ hour service. The church is always hot, with little to no breeze, but of course, it feels even hotter than usual to me. I’m really struggling physically, but I don’t care. I don’t want this time to end. I have a feeling of fullness that I can’t possibly comprehend or explain. As soon as service is over, one of Dieunaylove’s friends comes over to bring her back to the group. I tell her I will see her at the compound before she goes back to the orphanage.


Once we all make our way to the compound, we have the opportunity to take some pictures. I’m feeling really weak and lightheaded, but I know how important it is I push through, I don’t know if I’ll ever have this opportunity again. I’m suddenly saddened and slightly anxious by the enormity of this moment, but I don’t want anyone else to notice, I just want them to enjoy it. I try to keep smiling.
 

It’s time for the orphans to go. They all load up. Deiunaylove is one of the last ones to get up in the truck, she like me, doesn’t want our time to end. She gives me her “spunky” smile. The one that stole my heart that first time we met…. I smile back at her and wave. Something in me wants to cry. But I don’t.

After lunch, instead of going to the waterfall we decide to do the orphan shoe distribution since they are all out of school and we will probably be doing home visits most of the other afternoons.


Thanks to generous donors, we have brought a pair of closed-toe shoes (which is required for school) for each of the orphans.  Treyton and Alexa, who have both helped me organize, check and double check that we had all the right shoes and sizes, and then pack all of the shoes, are excited to be a part of distributing the shoes today.

Arriving at the orphanage, my body seems to be screaming at me. I want a nap so badly. My head is pounding (which is NEVER ideal for an orphanage visit), my hands are shaking and I am still lightheaded and nauseas. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. Anytime we’re trying to distribute things at the orphanage, leadership, organization, and consistent expectations are key to ensuring the least amount of chaos possible. I am fully aware that I do not have the energy for all of that. I say a quick prayer and ask God for a successful distribution.

We decide we’re going to work from the cafeteria, that we will have one or two kids come in at a time, we will check to make sure the shoes fit, record that they received their shoes and what size they end up with, we will take their picture (to update their profile), and then we will have those orphans leave the cafeteria so that it doesn’t get too out of hand.


We begin to set up the shoes on two different tables – a boy table and girl table. As we are setting up the shoes, the kids can’t help but gather around, taking a look at what we have brought. There is a lot of excited chatter and energy, as we have all of them leave and start calling their name, one-by-one. 


Ethan, Tim and Treyton work on handing out shoes and checking sizes, I record which students receive their shoes and if the shoe fits properly, Olivia takes pictures giving me the photo number for each orphan so that I can record it, as well. 



Alexa helps Olivia and I for a while, but soon find Dieunaylove, and they are now off playing together.


Things aren’t going quite as smoothly as I would normally like, but considering how I am feeling, and the number of shoes/orphans we had to go through, it is going really well.


After distributing the shoes, we decide to call the orphans back in, one at a time, to give them their personalized pencil cases that my friend Amanda so generously donated and made (together with our friend Chantae). The kids are really excited about their pencil cases. This is much simpler than the shoes, and it’s going much smoother – Pastor Lavaud is here and he’s making everyone laugh. He’s having two of the older boys act as police, as we call out a child’s name he has the “police” escort the kids in, once they receive their pencil case, he immediately has them escort the child(ren) back out…. The kids think this is hilarious… and it is.

I love these days.
So many smiles.
So much joy.
So much love.

While the gifts are always genuinely appreciated by those we bring them to, what we’ve found to be even more appreciated is the heart and thought behind the gifts. The reality is, for the people that we spend our time and energy serving here, whether it be the orphans or the sponsored student families, they are considered the “least”. In their society, and even from a world-wide perspective, both the families and the orphans are the poorest and most needy in the society, and they are not used to people caring about them. A gift for “just them” or a personalized item is something most of them have not only never received, but never even really considered. These moments, where they realized that they are loved and thought of by others are rare for them, and they mean more than anything.


They are the unheard.
They are the hopeless.
They are the forgotten.
They are the broken.
At least that’s what they’ve been told and have come to believe about themselves.


All the money and goods in the world cannot fix this sort of mindset.

So we go deeper.

We read before going on this trip that the cause of poverty is multi-faceted and is only partially a physical issue – poverty is also spiritual, psychological, mental, emotional, and communal.

No, we cannot fix this with money or things.
So, our focus and hope as we spend time with the people is to point to the only ONE that can heal the spiritual brokenness and hopelessness that ALL of us experience.
Our goals are to consistently share the gospel and the Word of God with the people we’re ministering too, and to promote Lavaud’s ministry and church as a long-term option for them to continue hearing the truth that can heal, bind-up, restore, and comfort.


As believers our mission is in the relational, so we work to start and build relationships, to be among and spend time with the people we’re trying to serve, not to save them or solve all their problems, but so that they know we care.

We have been told repeatedly, that to visit the homes of the students and families in the sponsorship program (those who are the most poor) is something that just “doesn’t happen”. Pastor Lavaud has told us, that the poor are not accustomed to people going out of their way to see them and visit them. It’s a strange and new thing for them, this idea of being seen and heard.


This is a step.

Our heart for the people here goes so much deeper than just wanting to provide for physical needs. We long to know them, and for them to know us. We want to rejoice with them and mourn with them, and they with us. We want real relationship, not dependency or control.

We want to show them with our actions that we are not so different, us and them, in fact, we’re a lot more alike than they’ve come to believe. We’re broken too, and while our circumstances may be different, we’re not better off.

We want them to know that we are here because we love them, and because we want to learn from them.


They’re not alone.
They’re not forgotten.
They are each someone special and God is working in and for them.

Isaiah 61
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

(Enjoying a little "down time" together, Titus and Audrey color in the boys room) 


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Haiti October 2017: Home Visits

As we make our way down the bumpy road, I look over at Audrey who’s sitting beside me in the truck, she’s on full alert, taking in the newness of a world she’s never known existed. Titus is sitting in the front seat with Tim. The older kids are riding in the back of the truck with Olivia, Ethan, Sylveus (our amazing translator) & Kilick (the school principal).


We’re headed out on our first home visit, we’re driving down what feels like an alley, but is actually a road. To say that the neighborhood is “compacted” is an understatement. There are houses lined up literally side-by-side, front to back, with hardly any space in between. There are kids, half-clothed, playing in the road, they scoot out of the way as we approach. Once they realize we are “blancs” (white), they stop, smile, and wave at us, some even run after the vehicle. The older kids and adults don’t bother waving, they just stare at us, as our truck, which is filled with 5 blanc adults, 4 blanc children, and 3 Haitian men makes its way slowly down the bumpy one-lane road.


I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to the staring. I wouldn’t say that it bothers me, and it certainly doesn’t offend me, but it can be a little discomforting at times. I keep hoping that one day it will stop, that one day, the people would just recognize me as someone who belongs there and that I’ll be someone everyone is used to, and that my presence would no longer warrant the looks. I’m not really holding my breath on this, but I figure a girl can hope. J

I’ve been to the home we are headed to before so I “basically” know where I’m going…. not that I could get myself there. Or Back. But I at least recognize where I’m at and I realize we are almost there.

Once we park, I’m at the mercy of Guensly to get me out of the truck (I will continue to try to open it every time, but) the truck’s door handle is broken, and my super-secret ninja skills seem to be no match for it.
By the time I get out, I see Madam Noel already making her rounds with hugs and kisses for everyone. Hands down, this mama is one of the kindest and most hospitable women I’ve ever met. Never mind that we don’t speak the same language, a shared language isn’t necessary to recognize this woman is 100% genuine.

Once we all get situated on the front porch, we start the unfamiliar process of interviewing this family. This is our first home visit interview, so I’m not exactly sure how this is going to look or even how the communication will work, but after the first few questions the nerves start to wear off a little bit. Each of the adults contributes questions; we are all affectionately curious and interested in getting to know the students and their families better, and that seems to guide the conversation. This is feeling far more natural than I expected.  

Francelove, who is one of the few high school students in our program, answers most of the questions herself. This is encouraging to see, as last time we were here, she wasn’t feeling very well and her mother did most of the talking for her.


Madam Noel graciously allows us into her two-room home and points out where the 11 people who live here all sleep.  It’s truly mind-boggling to my first-world-mama-brain that this could not only be happening on a regular basis, but that this family is not unique in their situation here in Haiti. Space is not a luxury most families in Haiti can afford.

 

Francelove, who’s 16 years old, has made a connection with Audrey and at 7-years old she’s too big to be held, but that doesn’t stop Francelove from picking her up. She starts talking directly to Audrey, who quietly tells her “I don’t speak Creole” but that doesn’t slow Francelove down a bit.  Audrey looks confused. I can tell by the way Francelove’s speaking to her that she’s complimenting her, I lean over and whisper into Audrey’s ear “She likes you.” Audrey smiles, and wraps her arms around Francelove’s neck.


We talk for a little while inside the house, but we are careful not to overstay our welcome. And like we will do for all of the home visits, we take a picture of Francelove for her sponsor and leave the family with a creole Bible, a personalized pencil case, two-gallon bags of rice and a bag of beans.

 (....when in Haiti.... right? :))

I realize, once again, how many people have contributed to this moment.
There have been so many generous people who donated their skills, time, and money to make these things possible. I am amazed at how God is able to use so many, complementally working alongside one another to accomplish His will. Some are called to go, some to give money, others to pray, and still others to volunteer their talents and time.  I am so humbled and blessed to be even a small part of what He is doing.

(Kilick and Titus during a home visit) 

We make 6 home visits that first day. Each one is unique. Each one special and filled with sacred moments.  


From the first moments after landing in Haiti over a year and a half ago I had fallen in love with the people here, but it’s obvious to me as we visit family after family, that God is peeling back a layer of not only of my heart, but of my understanding of the people we are here to serve.

It’s overwhelming.
It’s exciting.
It’s what this trip (and every trip) is all about.

(This little girl --- wearing a jacket in nearly 100 degree weather BTW --- working to balance the water on her head was just too cute!!) 

In preparation for this trip we had been praying, and reading, and learning for so long, and now we’re here. We’re actually here and we’re doing this, and it is so much more than I even imagined.


It is a gift to be able to look into the eyes of the parents and of the students, to place faces and stories with the names and pictures I already have. I have met almost all of them before now, but I have not had this opportunity to really hear them and get to know them personally. To understand their lives and their situations even a little better is something I feel unworthy of. The blessing of this opportunity is not passing by me unnoticed.  


My head may be wanting to explode in pain, but my heart feels like it is going to explode with joy.


Back at the compound, after dinner, Tim, Olivia and I end up sitting across from each other on our beds talking through the first visits. I feel giddy every time I even think about them. I can tell Olivia does too. Tim is, as usual, my constant, he’s never quite as emotional as I am, but he feels it too, I can tell.
I appreciate this “thing” between us that we’re all sharing in this moment. We know we don’t have to try to explain ourselves because we’re already understood.

(Walking to the home visits with friends)  

It helps me to know that they “get it” because I don’t have the words quite yet to articulate what I’m feeling (I realize now I might never have them). I’ve felt this before but the home visits seem to have brought about an entirely new level of “speechlessness” to my head and my heart.


 It’s no secret that my visits to Haiti cover a wide range of emotions, experiences, and feelings. I often find myself using contradictory terms to try to describe it all:  
Challenging …. Worthwhile
Heartache…. Satisfying
Tough…. Rewarding
Spiritual attack…. Spiritual victory
Awkward…. Natural
Frightening…. Peaceful
Painful…. Joyful
Tasks…. Relationship
Loud …. Quiet

(Audrey's best buddy in Rhode, Franceska, playing during a home visit) 

Tears of joy and tears of pain often flow down my face simultaneously here (and even once I return home), and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the two emotions.
Adequate words are not available to capture these valuable moments, my time in this place, and the unseen things that I have experienced here.


Holy.
That’s the only word that seems to even come close.

I’m at my most vulnerable here.
This was not in my comfort zone.
Coming here was an act of obedience.
And it has become a sanctuary for me.

(Our family visiting our sponsored students' home)

God is here with us and He is working and we’re merely standing as a witness to His goodness and His greatness.

Words will always fail us in these moments.


I picture myself digging for something.
Something unknown. Something I know to be valuable.
I dig at the hard ground with my bare hands.
The digging is hard work. It’s slow. It’s dirty.
But I know this is important and that I need to keep going.
Sometimes I want to give up.
Sometimes I think I would rather just keep my hands clean.
Sometimes I feel like I’m an idiot digging a hole for no apparent reason.
But then it happens.
I discover something…. Something that words can’t describe but something so wonderful that I realize it is worth everything.
I keep digging, but now I have more certainty.
It’s still hard work.
It’s still dirty.
But there is no longer any doubt.
I have no idea what the purpose of this hole is, or even if there is a purpose to it.
I no longer care what I look like. Or what others think. Or even how hard it is.
I am finding so much joy in the work.
I look around and I suddenly realize I’m not digging alone.
There are people all around the hole digging with me.
Some are white. Some are dark. Our hands, all different colors and sizes are working together. 
We laugh together.
We cry together.
We rejoice together and we face defeat together.
I realize what a gift this hole has become to me. I love this hole, not just the work of it, not just the hole itself, but the people I’m digging the hole with. The people I’m digging the hole for. I love all of it.
We have each tasted a piece of God’s goodness in this hole and I think we all realize that with every handful of hard earned dirt, that there is no end to HIS GOODNESS and HIS FAITHFULNESS.

(Sylveus, our very good friend & translator, and Titus)  

The home visits are like a new layer of “the hole”.

These moments are so much bigger than what they appear.


I am standing on holy ground and it is worth everything.
Every sleepless night.
Every moment of frustration.
Every bug bite.
Every drop of sweat.
Every insecurity I’ve had to push through.
Every moment of doubt.
Every question of inadequacy.

Psalm 126:1-3
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.”