Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Pallet of Bleach

I need to tell you a story.  Lots of details so I hope I will do it justice.

Bleach.  I need to explain the value of this simple liquid.  It is almost five to eight times more expensive to purchase in Haiti than in the states.  MOH is blessed to occasionally get supplies from Convoy of Hope and bleach is one of the items we get. We use it for multiple tasks, so it is a huge blessing when we get it in large quantities.  We do not get it every time but when we do, it is basically like Christmas.                

Story time. 

Rewind back to Hurricane Matthew, October 4th, 2016.  The hurricane had devastated the southern portions of Haiti and Mission of Hope was working with various partners to help bring immediate supplies via barge to the south.  I remember standing in the warehouse looking at our Mobilization supplies (Mobilization is the department that specifically works with short-term volunteers & sending them to the villages we work with), and figuring out if there would be anything helpful for us to send.  We had a three-fourths of a pallet of bleach.  You now understand that value of this item and if I’m being honest, there was a moment of hesitation when I wanted to maybe keep some of it.  I could easily justify keeping a few bottles but when I thought of moms and dads worried that their children may get cholera, I knew we needed to send it all.  I called the Haitian guesthouse coordinator that I work with and told her that I wanted to send it all.  She too mentioned if we should keep any.  I told her I had the exact same thought but if we were living in the south, would we want someone to send us the bleach or keep some.  She immediately said, ‘we need to send it all.’  I told her that I believed the Lord would somehow return the bleach to us, that if we trusted in the goodness of who God was, somehow we would get more bleach.

On February 1st, I received an email from our stateside support office letting us know we would be receiving some supplies from Convoy of Hope and that they should be arriving by the end of February or the beginning of March.  The items on the list were tuna, paper towels, cereal, and granola bars.  I made a note in my calendar to check on the status of this container at the end of February.  February came and went and still no container.  We knew it would be arriving any day but with customs and fees to pay, it was a guessing game as to exactly when it would come.

Yesterday, March 13th, 2017, I got the call that the container was here.  I was so excited because we are right in the middle of spring break and with over 200 volunteers here this week; the extra supplies arrived just in time.  When I walked into the warehouse and headed to the look through the pallets of supplies, I instantly noticed a pallet of bleach.  Simultaneously the emotion of excitement and doubt entered my mind.  I knew that it might be meant for Mobilization but I also know that many departments receive things on containers and it may be intended for someone else.  I called the stateside office and asked for confirmation that the bleach and also a mystery pallet of Clorox wipes, another amazing item to have in Haiti, were intended for Mobilization.  It only took about ten minutes for the confirmation to come.  It was ours.  Not only did the Lord return the bleach, but we got a whole pallet of Clorox wipes in as well.  I stood and looked at both pallets and got misty eyed.  Here it was.  AND he gave us back more than what we originally gave.

This will be the last container of supplies I will personally see come through for Mobilization.  With my time in Haiti ending in April, there won’t be another container of supplies that I will need to do the paperwork for.  This was it.  The last one I would see.  I get misty eyed now as I think about the Lord’s attention to detail and His faithfulness to provide what we need exactly when we need it.  As I step into the unknown of transitioning back into the life in America, I will remember this day and remember the faithfulness of God.       

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

a season of change

People are always surprised when I tell them I live in Haiti.  Most conversations on the plane rides to and from the states result in blank stares, lots of questions, and most times, the final result is people not understanding why I live in a country that so many have deemed broken.  Almost six years ago I came on a one-week trip to the small island of Haiti, never realizing that it would change my life forever.
2011 - Internship time in Leveque

Fall 2015.

It started with a whisper, “I am going to move you.”  It was one I quickly dismissed, as I didn’t want to pay attention.  Days would pass, maybe even a week and there it was again, “I am going to move you.”  I shooed it away like a quick motion of my hand dismissing a mosquito buzzing in my ear.  I didn’t know what it meant, and I didn’t want to.  Weeks passed.  Months passed.  The whisper stayed the same.  Never changing.  Never increasing or changing in tone.  The same, calm and steady whisper, “I am going to move you.”

Spring 2016.

It wasn’t until an all too familiar night at the guesthouse dining area and I was sitting and talking with team members who had just arrived to Haiti, when all the dots connected.  Visitors who come to Haiti all ask the same challenging question, ‘How long will you stay?’  This question came when I had been on staff for only a week and it is the same question I answer five and half years later, ‘How long will you stay?’  And for all these years I have answered the same way every time.  And on this night it was no different, but this time I heard that same answer in a very different way.  ‘I will stay until the Lord…. Movesme.’  The words literally came out slower this time as I heard the whisper in my answer, “I am going to move you.”  I politely ended the conversation and quickly headed to my apartment.  I needed to think.  I needed to figure out what had just happened.  And as I sat alone and began to think of all the memories I have had in this place, an overwhelming sense of joy, sorrow, laughter and tears filled every space of the room.  How could I ever leave? 

Spring 2017. 
2011 - More afternoons painting in Leveque

Today, I have come to a new crossroad and while I used to think that moving to Haiti was the hardest thing I’d ever have to do, now I know that leaving Haiti will prove to be the even bigger challenge.  At least when I came to Haiti I knew, for the most part, what I was moving to.  But as the end of April gets closer and closer, the realization that I have no idea what I am moving to next, becomes my new reality.  And in that reality I remind myself of this, He is the one who is moving me.  He is good and He does good.  And all I have to do is be obedient.  So even though I am leaving behind countless memories, friends, and the place that has become my home and captured my heart, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am stepping into the next great adventure that He has for me.

To those who have journeyed with me on this Haiti adventure, thank you.  Those two simple words do not do justice to my heart’s deepest gratitude for the prayers, financial support, emails, texts, messages, cards, care packages, gifts, and so much more.  Thank you for loving me well and being a part of my story.

To my family who has graciously let me follow this crazy desire to live in Haiti, I am coming home!  I am looking forward to birthdays, holidays, camping, picnics, hunting, niece time, movies, and so much more!  Thank you for being my greatest support.  Thank you for listening to my frustrations, triumphs, heartaches, good days and days that I never thought I would make it.  Thank you for always encouraging me to put my hope in Christ and to follow what He has for me.

To the countless MOH staff and interns I have served with these last five and half years, you are the only ones who will ever truly ‘get it.’  You will be the ones I need the most as I make this transition back to America.  For those of you who have gone before me, be ready for questions.  To those of you who stay, you know I am just a text message or FaceTime audio call away!  Thank you for loving me, being gracious with me, allowing me to fail and being a part of so many great successes.  Thank you for being co-laborers in Taking Kingdom Ground! 

My journey is not ending.  It has only just begun. 

2011 - fun days in Cabaret

2012 - January birthday celebrations

2012 - Sunday afternoon soccer games! 

2012 - Some my favorite days were spent in Leveque.

2013 - Residency status is official!

2013 - Mountain time in Fretas.
2013 - My bucket skills need some work.

2014 - Little Matthew!  What a cutie!?

2014 - VBS!  VBS!  VBS!

2015 - Sunday morning church friend.

2015 - Graduation time at MOH.

2016 - What an amazing woman.  Can't wait to see her in heaven one day.

2017 - Peace out Haiti!  See you again soon.