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!


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