To stay united and updated about this process of getting to One Mission Society, what's happening throughout this support-raising journey, and where I am in the meantime!

Monday, November 29, 2010

HAITI- An Overwhelming Joy

Her face has been in front of me all week.  The Homes for Haiti brochure Jessica and I designed is being printed in-house, which means as of this week, I’ve printed, cut and folded 1,000 of these brochures.  Thankfully, we have some good equipment that speeds up the process.  Even so, Miss Italienne, the recipient of the first OMS Homes for Haiti home, has been on my heart and mind a lot.

Though I only spent an afternoon with this beautiful woman, she really made a lasting impact on me, and my heart aches to think that the chaos around her has probably heightened all over again since the Cholera outbreak and rioting going on in Haiti.

Just a month ago, I was sitting on a chair in the gravel outside her house, hearing about her experience during and after the January 2010 earthquake. Matt (an OMS missionary) and Junior (one of the Haitian seminary students) translated for me as I interviewed her.

She told me about how she became a believer after she visited a Penecostal church as a teenager and noticed a power there that was different from the liturgical church she had grown up in.

“Before being a Christian, it was a miserable and sad life,” she said. “Then, I learned God would take care of me.”

If there was ever a place that would challenge this theology, I’d guess Haiti would be one of the toughest. But here, more than 20 years later, Miss Italienne still firmly believes this.  Her sincerity was evident in the joy beaming from her face.

And as I listened to her joyfully share, eager at the chance to tell others about what God had done for her…I couldn’t help but think about a verse posted on my computer at work:

“We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.”

Colossians 1:11-12 (MSG)

When I read these verses, I was struck by the fact that the strength described is overflowing in supply.  So often I go through trials only to come out on the other side with bitterness, frustration or feelings of defeat.  A lot of the time in trials, my expectation is to make it through “gritting my teeth.”  But the truth is, God’s strength is bigger than us just barely making it through—in fact His strength is SO big, that in Colossians, He says I can ask Him to bring me through a trial with joy overflowing!  I don’t know how He has that supply, but He does.

It was so cool (and convicting) to see Miss Italienne living these verses out so clearly.  She lived a hard life, and even after God provided a home for her, she still lives a hard life.  But she exemplifies a solid faith that spills over into joy.  That is unnatural but possible with Jesus, and I want to be more like that.

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.
I will be glad and rejoice in you.
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."
Psalm 9:1-2 (NIV)

Check back for Miss Italienne’s experience during the January earthquake!


Thursday, November 11, 2010


“And God said, ‘You’re going to go up there aren’t you?’ And I went, and that’s when I committed to missions...”

We sat around a round table at Paradise CafĂ©, just a mile from OMS. The OMS Mobilization department was hosting the OneWeekend retreat for anyone considering his or her next step in missions.  These four women had already been through half of OneWeekend.  Just when you may think these participants would be ready for a break from the tough questions and deep conversation, here they were, ready to dig deeper at lunch.

As we sat down at the cafe, one of the girls, a sophomore from Houghton College, finished sharing about how she became a believer in Christ.  It was a beautiful story of God pursuing her and working out seemingly impossible logistics for her to make it to a conference where she met Him and then committed to missions.  We all sat amazed and touched by her story.  I guess what I’m getting at is it showed the Lord’s glory enough to fill you up for a day, but the beautiful thing was, then the other women chimed in, and before we knew it, each of them was sharing a story of God’s grace in their lives.  It was truly amazing.  To think that one story of God intervening in someone’s life can be so powerful and then to realize that our God is so huge that He is big enough to make that kind of impact in each of our lives.  Awesome.

Getting to know these attendees, wrestling through questions with them, praying with them, and seeing them either open to the Lord’s leading or being honest with what’s holding them back…was the highlight of my weekend.

To see each of them seek a respite in the same place where we serve and work everyday gave me a different perspective of headquarters.  It was so great!  The Lord spoke to us during this weekend. What an answer to prayer.  He showed Himself through the attendees, through the facilitators, through answering our prayers in a time of need on Saturday.  He is so huge, and it was such a blessing to spend time with these 30 adults in the exciting stage of seeking where He wants to lead them.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Where Are You Now?

Hi friends,

I'll be posting a few more stories about Haiti, but before I do, I thought I should write a quick note to make it clear that we did make it back!  Since being home, I've been able to visit World Gospel Church to participate in and share at their annual mission conference, and last weekend, I was able to visit our Haiti team in Columbus, Indiana.  Both were such an encouragement!  Now, I'm getting back into the swing of things at headquarters.

Tropical Storm Tomas is heading towards Haiti right now.  Please pray for protection and encouragement for the people there.  Pray especially for those who are homeless or living in tent communities.  While I was in Port, we experienced a thunderstorm during a tent service, and this was nothing compared to Tomas.  I can't imagine trying to sustain a tropical storm without a home.  Let's not forget about them.

I'm so thankful to have been a part of the Columbus team to Haiti. Thank you so much for praying for us and for your support.  I will definitely be sharing more about the trip!  However, as I do, I'm reminded (and I hope you remember, too) that I really have no understanding or grasp on Haiti's history or culture.  As one of my teammates put it, it's like during this trip, we were just able to dip one toe in a huge ocean. What I can share with you is what I observed as a first-time visitor, what I learned from talking with and interviewing people who are living there and what the Lord taught me while I was there.  And my hope is that through sharing these things you'll be encouraged or at least a little entertained...

Praying for Haiti with you,