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Seeking Sonshine

"Not all who wander are lost" – J.R.R. Tolkien

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June 2018

Journey of a FlameThrower πŸ”₯…Part 3

We woke up in Port-Au-Prince around 5:30 a.m. our time to get ready for the eight hour trip to the Northwest part of Haiti. We had the BEST fruits and fruit juices I have ever had in my life in Haiti. Bananas were like nectar from God Himself. (Don’t get me started on banana chips…) Amazing! We quickly grabbed some things to stay the night in the NW and got on our way. Port-Au-Prince traffic is also a very unique experience. They use their horns to communicate all sorts of emotions and intentions. It is this intricate, personal way of transportation and I have never heard nor seen anything like it. NPR even did a story about it! https://www.npr.org/2017/07/14/537174782/the-secret-car-horn-language-of-port-au-prince

First Haitian Breakfast! 6/4/18

I had been told stories about the roads leading to the Northwest and how treacherous they can be. We had no idea what we were in for. πŸ˜‚ Rough Riding from Port-Au-Paix

We had to switch out people riding in the very back because it got very rough. We crossed through a river. Yes. A river. I couldn’t believe it but we made it!

Haiti Faith Building Exercise – Crossing the river πŸ˜‚

I remember I saw so many women and children walking alongside the narrow dirt roads with cars barely missing them. Where were all these people coming from? They live in the hills and come to get water because water is hard to come by out there. We learned that the culture dictates the area of Northwest Haiti to be the poorest of the poor. The roads are completely treacherous and at times, impassable. What would have taken us almost two hours to drive in America, it took us eight.

This was the point in the trip where I began to feel God completely changing me and wrecking my heart and mind to realize how much I take for granted everyday. Clean Water. Air conditioning. Flooring. Paved roads. Sanitation. My own vehicle. Medical professionals that are readily available. The ability to be able to read my Bible in my own translation.And yet, the JOY I experienced when meeting with our missionaries later that afternoon was like nothing I could rationalize, except I knew the Source. ❀️πŸ”₯

Northwest Haiti – Eventz Marc and family church, schools and home

The pastor who started this church and school is a graduate from STEP Seminary in Port-Au-Prince. He is unique, because he was called to this place, in the middle of a dormant and remote place, to pastor the people in the area. Most pastors would take the call and live in nearby larger villages or towns and travel to the church on weekends to have more benefits and advantages in town for their families. Not Pastor Eventz. He and his wife made their home among the people living in this area. They invested in the land and the people in this remote area of Northwest Haiti. He and his family have recently come to see 43 kids commit their lives to Christ of the 75 children who attend weekly on Saturdays for an Awana or VBS type event at their church. They also run a school for the children in their area. Their prayers are for buildings that would adequately accommodate the children, sewing machines and fabric for the women to make clothes for the children to wear so they may attend church, (It is a standard in their culture that they must wear good clothes to church. If they have none, they will not go) Bibles for the children to read and study, and that Compassion International would agree to sponsor this school.

Biblical Truths God Put on my Heart:

Isn’t it true that sometimes it is the very road itself that can stop us or stall us in our faith journey? The roads we encountered on our passage to the Northwest were eroded in areas that made the roads completely unbalanced and dangerous.

I can relate to these patches of road. The more I think about the roads we drove on, the more I see what a beautiful metaphor it is for my soul and personal journey. Doubt eroded some areas and hard times caused mudslides when my life felt like it was out of control and terrifying. Potential dangers lurked on the sides of the roads at times. There were plenty of pitfalls available if we had chosen to stop. We made it safely through to our destination by focusing on the road ahead and not stopping. We can relate this to spiritual battles we face when we keep focusing on Jesus. We will face resistance when we are trying to submit. Keep focusing on Jesus. Google your situation and add Jesus that the end of it. I have done that. Separation and Desperation are scary apart but paralyzing together. They are two of the enemy’s main tactics. Stay close to the Vine. (Jesus)

The rewards of the journey far outweigh the potholes, erosion and obstacles if we will not give up.

Photo Credits:

Nicky Howell

Julie Reuter

https://loveachild.com/2016/01/clothing-donation-in-la-tant/

http://www.traveladventures.org/continents/americas/hinche.html

Journey of a FlameThrower πŸ”₯…Part 2

We returned on a very eventful trip home this morning. (6-8-18) God showed me so many things and opened my eyes to His Word on this trip. I am only in the beginning stages of processing through it, but I wanted to share it with you. I hope that if you ever feel God may be placing an opportunity to serve anywhere along your path, you say, “Yes. Send me, Lord.” It’s scary and exciting and also terrifying at first. But, friends, it is so richly worth it. ❀️

I did end up getting that suitcase packed and after a nice flight attendant gave me a super strong plastic bag, it even fit in the overhead compartment box. #whew

We made it through security and kissed our loved ones goodbye until Thursday. (Or so we thought πŸ˜‚)

#teamhaiti2018

We settled in to part one of a three leg journey from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. I kept a prayer/worship/experience journal during the mission to help process it all later and extract God’s truth from it. (Great advice from a fellow Haiti missionary friend!) I didn’t want to forget a single detail. My thought was not to overwhelm or bore anyone, but rather work through the Biblical truths that my eyes were opened to during this time. Please add any comments on anything similar if you feel led. No pressure. πŸ˜„

Gorgeous views from our flight in to Haiti.

We were welcomed warmly (literally and figuratively) when we stepped off that plane in Port-Au-Prince. The airport in Haiti is a unique experience. Our experience was tame, however, and we were very thankful! We were quickly ushered to Immigration and worked our way through to see some smiling faces outside. Luke Perkins and Wadestrant Jean-Baptiste (WaWa) were there to greet us and get us out of the airport. We climbed in two different cars and took in the sights and smells of Haiti on a Sunday afternoon. We went to the house we stayed at during the trip, and were met with a delicious meal that all of us were very grateful for after not getting to eat that day!

First Haitian Meal! 6-3-18

We settled in and I began to seek the Lord about opening my eyes to see what He wanted to show me. I was unsure at this particular point in the journey as to why I was there. I had experienced multiple attacks from the enemy to prevent me from going on this trip, so I was very excited to see what God had in store. I was also a little scared that I didn’t have any idea about what I could offer or why I was chosen for the trip. I had fearful thoughts that rang out “What if this was all a mistake and God isn’t going to show up for you here.”

I had those thoughts for a moment and then decided to reflect on His specific promises of if I draw near to Him, He will draw near to me. (James 4:8a) If I seek Him earnestly, I will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)

Have you ever experienced similar thoughts? You want to have faith but somehow, you talk yourself out of it?

And what does it mean to seek, anyway? I wish I could tell you there was a certain ritual that worked for me to call down Heaven on Earth immediately. God is not able to be reduced to a formula so we can just get what we think we need. He is so much bigger and better than that! Here is one thing that always works for centering my heart: I start singing worship songs to Him. I can usually tell how far off my attitude is by my hesitancy and authenticity of my worship. Sometimes, I am truly not aware of how off kilter I have become. I choose to recall events in my life where He worked miracles and how grateful I am He still does. Do I always do this? Nope. I make so many mistakes so the times I get it right, I remember… sometimes! πŸ˜‚

I close with an invitation for you and I to deliberately set time aside for seeking God tomorrow… whatever that looks like for you. Fifteen minutes is a great place to start if this is new. I started with a Children’s Bible because I wanted the summation of His Truth. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate. Sometimes for me, it is a cry and confession to God about something that is hurting me. This is what I love about having a relationship rather than a religion. God is personal and He knows You and I better than we know ourselves. Surrendering to an unknown is terrifying, whether in every day life or on a mission trip. I relate. I wish I could say I do it easily, cheerfully and constantly. I should by now. However, I am very much in process and am glad that He has not given up on me.

Day One Truths:

It’s not about me.

It’s not for me.

It’s not to elevate me.

It’s about YOU.

Be about the business of remaining.

I can trust God. (This was the overwhelming truth He branded on my heart this trip. I have struggled with trust as long as I can remember, so this was very significant to me.

Photo Credits:

Heaston #teamhaiti2018 members

https://goo.gl/images/uLdPmr

https://goo.gl/images/n2saA9

Journey of a Flamethrower πŸ”₯…Part One

*I meant to publish this last Saturday, June 2, 2018. Oops! πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

This is my backpack (Thanks for the rental, Loraine!) buried underneath my stuff I am taking to Haiti. We fly out tomorrow morning, but I am making sure I have what I need…still. I have been dreaming about tomorrow for years. It feels surreal that it is actually happening. My connection to Haiti began back in 2012. I sponsored a little girl named Emilie, just like my one year old daughter at the time. You . We wrote to her and learned so much about her and her family and they about us. If you have ever felt the tug to sponsor a child, I pray you consider saying yes. It is incredible to watch your child learn and grow and change all the time! I first started researching Haiti in 2012 and initially planned a trip to visit then. Those plans fell through due to a massive downturn in the oil and gas industry. But, I kept believing that at the right time, I would get to go to Haiti. That time came this year.

I saw a sign in our church hallway that said the Haiti trip meeting between services. I was singing on the worship team that morning and remember being late to second service!! I had to sign up right away and start this adventure in motion. I love our church and their heart for missions. I get to become a foreign missionary and help encourage those who are set up in long term ministry in Haiti. It’s amazing what God can do with only a few!

All that being said, you know me and my Israelite side. I am fighting thoughts of fear and the unknown. Anxiety and worries have tried to endlessly drown out any joy. I realize the power of the helmet of salvation and its ability to silence the distortion and lies of the enemy. What better way to do this than to sing praise to Jesus? In the midst of being a fearful person, how can someone fear the Lord and not man or circumstances or outcomes?

To Be Continued…

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