Saturday, November 28, 2015

Haiti (Part 4)... From PAP airport to Grand Goave

When we got to Port Au Prince, the airport was EMPTY. Our plane was the ONLY plane there. This is not the norm at all. But come to find out, it was an election weekend...so people were staying put. I was not aware of these things when we chose our weekend a year and a half before our actual trip. But God knew...and he also know that the emptiness of the Haiti airport would make it MUCH easier to keep track of 3 munchkins while collecting 8 checked bags from the baggage claim. As we walked out of the airport people were sitting everywhere. Apparently just hanging out?? If you smiled at them and said bonswa (good afternoon in creole), their eyes would light up and they would say bonswa back. I was immediately in love with these people. God got us through everything with ease and we were soon piled into a 15 passenger van with Sean (one of the missionaries) and several guys from the hands and feet childrens village and transitional home. Everybody was super-friendly. :)

view from just inside the PAP airport



It was HOT. SUPER-HOT. The van had some AC but not a lot. It still felt good when you could feel it :). As we made the 2 hour trip to Grand Goave, where we would be staying, I took in all the sights. SO DIFFERENT. I felt like i could observe for forever. Unfinished buildings...EVERYWHERE. People...EVERYWHERE. Traffic (car/bike/motorcycle/people walking)...EVERYWHERE. Trash...in abundance. The drive was interesting in the sense that Haitians don't have the same style of driving or traffic laws that we do. Well, they might but they don't follow them and nothing is done about it. Lots of honking. Lots of swerving and passing. Lots of traffic heading toward you and passing on random sides of you....or you passing them. Never once did I feel unsafe though. I trusted my driver. I knew we were in Haiti because God had us in Haiti and when you're walking with God there is nothing to fear.

Natalie was so exhausted she fell asleep in the van.
Love those snuggles :).


Two hours later we arrived at our destination on top of the mountain.The kids were anxious to get out and run around...but it was dark, so they couldn't go to far. This would be our first night of cold showers and sleeping without AC. And it really wasn't so bad...we were blessed with personal fans on each of our beds which ran off the solar power stored up during the day. It's the little things :).

Our room where we stayed in Grand Goave.
(this is NOT your typical style of haitian living...the majority of haitians do not have
electricity or running water...or what you see here...)








Thursday, November 26, 2015

How do we Handle GOD's resources?

My heart is so full and I just can't even think of enough accurate words to describe the joy  of what I see God doing in my life these days. It's just something that can't exactly be put down on paper...it's just too intense. Too amazing. Too indescribable in an ordinary language. God is so good. SO GOOD. I love seeing his hand of sovereignty all over my life as I look back on all he has done and look ahead in wonder with where it will all lead me.

Sometimes God just allows things to "click." And lately he has been radically altering my perspective on things of this life versus things of eternity. I thought i had a good grasp on what it meant to seek first God's kingdom and to store up treasure in heaven and not on earth. But how God has revealed himself to me in the last month(s) is just mind-blowing. He continues to show me that the more you study and desire to know him, the more he reveals himself through his word and renewing my mind.

I want to be careful to pour my life and resources into things that matter eternally. Does this mean never take a vacation or do something for fun? Of course not! But it does mean NOT taking in worldly pleasures in excess to the point that I am spending too much of my resources on myself and not on others who have spiritual and physical needs that God wants to use the rescources HE has GIVEN ME to meet those needs. God does not provide for me to live a life of excess. Anything he provides beyond my needs, he intends for me to reach out as his hands and feet to minister to others and a lost and dying world who needs to know their Savior. Great motivation comes when I realize that money spent on let's say something like six flags, is not bad in and of itself, but it does not offer anything of eternal value. There is no treasure stored up in heaven for that (X) amount of dollars. That same amount used to help a friend in need, or the orphan or widow, or however else God leads - HAS VALUE FOREVER! It makes use of my earthly resources ETERNAL! We have the power and choice to choose to use God's resources to  enjoy the pleasures of this world or to invest in things of eternal value. And that is how how the way we spend reveals where our hearts are. Now God also gave us all things for our enjoyment...so yes I will go to six flags periodically (well only if it's not in the heat of the summer ;)...Great tool to invest in relationships and lavish love and joy (gifts from God!) on our kids! The problem comes when all we ever do is spend the majority of  our GOD's money on ourselves and enterntainment...that is foolish and will burn in the end. We are failing to be wise stewards with what God has entrusted to us when we fail to pour HIS money back into HIS work.

Well that's a tiny portion of what's on my heart right now. Just the tip of the iceberg. God is amazing. He is good. And may my life GLORIFY HIM ALONE! <3

"TO WHOM MUCH HAS BEEN GIVEN, MUCH MORE WILL BE REQUIRED." Luke 12:48

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

our suffering for God's glory


I am so thankful and beyond blessed by the amazing friends God has purposely placed in my life who love HIM whole-heartedly and speak so much of HIS TRUTH into my life! Yesterday morning, God used two of my friends, within FIVE minutes of eachother, to remind me of his precious promise in Ephesians 3:20-21...the first friend was via text message bright and early in the morning and the second was a friend via my facebook feed. I KNEW God had a purpose in feeding me that verse twice, although I wasn't quite sure what it was YET.

God knew that the enemy had been chiseling away at my mind over-time the day before...telling me what a horrible, impatient mom I was. And really attacking me with lies that I will ever get things right as mother to my children. I felt like the failure of all failures. The worst. A disappointment to my kids. That I would ruin them.

AND THEN MONDAY HAPPENED...I don't usually mind mondays. I love all days. But THIS monday morning brought so much torment to my spirit as it crashed down on me with a flood of impatience and annoyances before we even left the house for school. I just wanted to cry. But i refrained. As we drove to school, Andi Rae prayed for our day. And that sweet girl prayed for her momma to have a better day too with the perfect words given to her by the Holy Spirit. That little prayer warrior ministers to my heart all the time!

When I got to school, my friend, THEEEEE BBE was waiting for me in my office (that stands for best boss ever ;). LOVE HER SO MUCH! Annnd...after a cheery greeting from her I crashed with all my emotions flooding out my eyeballs and talk about about how I was feeling. She closed the door, listened to my heartache, hugged me, looked me in the eye, called out the devil's LIES, and SPOKE GOD'S TRUTH into my life over and over...combatting every excuse or reason I brought up that may justify any LIES I was believing with consistent and constant TRUTH and great God-honoring advice. (seriously, how did i get so blessed to have a boss/friend like this!?) She reminded me that I am human and will make mistakes...BUT GOD. ONLY GOD can heal me and change me. She reminded me how important it was to continue to apologize to my kids when I wrong them and to LOVE on them especially after a struggle. This among many other things. This convo brought SO MUCH healing.

By now my eyes were firey red from my tears and it was crazy obvious that something was bothering me...bringing amazing love and concern from my other teacher friends who saw me. Some prayed over me - praying exactly what the Holy Spirit led them to pray, leading to even more healing in my spirit...followed by more speaking TRUTH into my life. Another friend reminded me that my kids are not my own. They are on loan from God...they are GOD'S KIDS! And to keep that in mind when I get irritated and impatient with them. It serves as a reminder to give them grace...love them well.

I must continuously give myself grace too...because God has given me amazing grace. I am a mom desperately seeking and running after the heart of God for my life and my familiy...and I am doing the best I can. There will be hard days. BUT GOD. BUT GRACE.

God used my vulnerability and honesty, my amazing friends carrying my burdens, and my longing to be free from the enemy's lies to heal me yesterday morning BEYOND what I could ask, think, or imagine. The rest of my day did not go as I expected when my morning started out so crappy...i had a fear the rest of the day would follow the same pattern. BUT GOD.  God used his spirit and his people to turn my day around BEYOND what I could imagine. He did what only GOD can do. All my classes went exceptionally well, and the love and renewed patience I felt for my kids refreshed and inspired me that GOD gave me Eph 3:20-21 that morning to show me how big and amazing he can be in my life. And just how much he loves me...and my children <3.

And remember...the purpose in the struggle...is ULTIMATELY - GOD's GLORY <3.
(this was our cool-down yesterday for several of my classes :). God is good :D.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Haiti (part 3)...take off to arrival...

Traveling to DFW to MIA to PAP was such an exciting time! The kids, especially, were in great anticipation to ride an airplane and go find some friends in a new place. Other than some rain while driving the trip went smoothly. Oh ya, we DID have a 2am fire alarm in our hotel haha! It was the quietest, politest fire alarm we have ever heard! A soft voice came over an intercom (that was ONLY in the hall ways and could barely be heard in the rooms) and said "there is a fire in the building. Please exit..." We weren't very fast exiters as we packed up our stuff in case we couldn't get back or it burned because we NEEDED it for haiti ha! We were first floor and had the window if necessary anyway ;). It ended up being nothing...other than maybe an attempt from the enemy to sleep deprive us early ;).

As we took off from miami to port au prince, the craziness of what was ahead hit me. There was no turning back now...was going through my thoughts...along with i hope this week isn't too stressful with 3 kids in a foreign country! :D

Here are a few of our travel pics!


We LOVE our Eula :). This is at the hotel the night
 before we are supposed to take off for Haiti!

 


There's more than one direction to sleep on a bed!


 This tired momma asked andi rae to hang it up! LOL! 
Out of the corner of my eye, I thought it was a phone! :D


 Waiting for daddy to park the car and come find us in the airport.

ahhh these little munchkins kill me with their cuteness!


 Tired girl...

Excited to fly!


 God reveals his glory in his creation!


 Sooooo thankful for Eula to help us with the kiddos! 
Natalie was testing Eula's energy lol!

She's such a ham! 
Keeps us laughing.


 ...crashing again ;D


 ARRIVED IN Port Au Prince, Haiti!
Time to get out the leashes to keep our kiddos close
through potential airport chaos. Thank you Tammy! :D
(We had 7 bags for 3 adults to carry thanks to your donations, PLUS the kids had their own suitcases and backpacks!)




Stay tuned for more of our story! :D

Thursday, November 5, 2015

HANDS AND FEET PROJECT IN JACMEL AND GRAND GOAVE, HAITI (part 2)

Because of another missions trip Drew was involved in summer 2014, and to avoid confusion on which october we were going, we opted to wait until November 2014 to start fund raising. God provided enough to purchase our passports in just about at month...Then between January and May, God provided the $7200 my family needed to be fully funded for Haiti! When I saw that God was providing more than enough and well before we needed it, I contacted our friend Eula, who had been to Haiti many times before, to see if she wanted to join our family on this trip. Of course she said yes and God provided the funds for her before they were even due as well! God is soooo good and his resources to accomplish his plans are limitless!

A couple weeks before we were scheduled to fly out to Hands & Feet in Haiti, some of the missionaries emailed me asking if we could help with various donations and supplies that were needed. Passionate about giving what we can, we jumped right on it. Once again, God came through in amazing ways through CHA in here in small town texas. In less than a week we had almost more donations than we could physically get over to Haiti. Clothing and over 100 pair of shoes plus 30+ puzzle books and candy for Christmas presents for God's children in Haiti. Problem was we had no luggage to get these donations there (minor detail I hadn't thought about haha!;). And again, GOD KNEW :). And through His people, he provided MORE THAN ENOUGH luggage to move these items over-seas.


Tennis shoes that CHA students, staff, and parents donated.
 There are boots and sandals too which are not shown!


  The second graders really jumped in and took a lot of 
responsibility for this great project!

shoes and donations all packed!


CHA students and staff praying for a successful trip to Hands and Feet!
We are so blessed by this great family school family!


Thank you to those who prayed, paid, donated, helped, etc to make this missions trip a success! GOD IS GOOD! ALL THE TIME! :)




Tuesday, November 3, 2015

HANDS AND FEET PROJECT IN JACMEL AND GRAND GOAVE, HAITI

A year and a half ago, I sat observing my children and their behaviors and realized I wanted to do something drastic to help rein in what really matters in life. God matters. People matter. Eternity matters. Our connection with God above all else matters. Toys, possessions, materialism, accumulation of stuff, keeping up with the Joneses does not matter in the end. Having things is not wrong. But living for them is. God expects us to use whatever he has given us to love him, love people, and further his kingdom. And to hold things loosely. Even at their young ages of 2, 5, & 6...i could see a sense of materialism and entitlement that needed to be addressed. So I started searching for a way to introduce them to a drasticly different culture to prove to them that we can be satisfied in Jesus regardless of our environment and possessions. Enter Hands and Feet Project in Haiti! We had known about this Childrens village (orphange) for some time since it was started back in 2001 by Drew's favorite Christian band, Audio Adrenaline. I decided to email them and see what their minimum age was for missions trips. Other groups we had talked with could not allow small children due to the nature of the work being done those weeks. I quickly received a reply saying there is no minimum and we were welcome to bring our small family! GOD IS GOOD!!!! He gives us the desires of our hearts (psalm 37:4). so we set a date for a year and a half later, Oct 24-31, 2015...we would embarq on the journey of a life time for our small children who would be 4, 6, 8 when that time arrived.

We had 1.5 years for this one income, pay check to pay check family to raise $7500. this was a God-sized task. But if he wanted us to go, we would go.

I showed the kids the above  video...and Andi Rae's words were: "Oh mommy! those kids are so happy and they don't even have a lot of toys! I want to  sell all my toys and go be their friend!" Ok, Andi Rae...here we go!

to be continued...