Haiti: One Year Later

Today marks one year since the start of our week long mission to Haiti. The past few weeks the thought of what I was doing a year ago was something I could not keep myself from dwelling on.

A year ago I was frantically packing my backpack and checking things off a list to make sure I was prepared for Haiti.

A year ago I was praying with some of my best friends that we may be lights in Haiti.

A year ago I had no idea what the next seven days would hold and that what I would see would change my heart forever.

A year ago I had no clue that I would feel this empty a year later.

Our mission trip was immediately devastating and rewarding. Poverty was thrown in our face but we got to love on some kids and see lots of good other people were doing in Haiti.

We loved on kids every day, carried bricks down a mountain, prayed over people, and mostly just learned about the country.

What are we doing now?

Man this is the hard part. What do you do after you come home from a place that desperately needs people and prayer and encouragement and knowledge?

There are days I am impatient because the line at Starbucks is too long and I’m going with out breakfast so I won’t be late to work. There are days that I really don’t want to study I just want to watch TV or mess around on Facebook.

WHO CARES? Some of these people don’t eat for days and have to walk miles for clean water. Many do not get the chance to go to college.

No one warns you about forgetting.

That is the thing about short term missions. I know HELP One Now has a great relationship with the communities they shared with us in Haiti and I actively keep up with what they are doing there. I know that our money and the time we spent there helped them continue their relationships and the ability to bless the children in the various orphanages and different families in Jean Alix’s community. But what am I doing now?

The first six months after re-entry all I could do was talk about Haiti. I told my friends, my family, random people I would wait on at work. You said two words to me and it was word vomit about all the craziness going on in Haiti.

Now, some days I forget I even went.

I know, terrible person over here. But seriously, how many people out there go on mission trips and sometimes forget to remember and tell people about what was there?

Some of the best conversations I have ever had with people back home started with me telling them about what is going on in Haiti. We can not forget to talk about it. We can not forget to pray about it. We can not forget to do something about it.

I wish I had the ability and the knowledge to go back and really give back something more life giving. There is only so much you can do in seven days.

Usually us Americans go somewhere and ultimately take. Haiti did more for me and my heart than I ever did for it. This is so backwards.

My fear is that the kids we spent all week with in the village see so many faces come and go and build houses and make promises of coming back and then never do. I want to go back just to say “I wasn’t kidding when I said I would come back and hug you and encourage you to keep working and learning and loving your country”.

I know God will provide for them. But as humans and as Americans the natural instinct of “I can do anything” creeps up and steals your mind away for a while in hopes of making your own plans.

Maybe some day God will present me with the opportunity to go back. But for now I still struggle.

Sovereign God,

Thy cause, not our own, engages our hearts,

And we appeal to thee with greatest freedom

To set up thy kingdom in every place where Satan reigns;

Glorify thyself and I shall rejoice,

For to bring honor to thy name is our sole desire

Lord, use us as thou wilt,

do with us what thou wilt;

but, O, prompt thy cause,

let thy kingdom come,

let thy blessed interest be advanced in this world!

O do thou bring great numbers to Jesus!

let us see that glorious day,

and give us to grasp for multitudes of souls;

let us be willing to die to that end;

and while we live let us labour for thee

to the utmost of our strength,

spending time profitably in this work

both in health and in weakness.

It is thy cause and kingdom I long for, not my own.

-The Valley of Vision

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Music and Minnesota

Sadly the summer is coming to an end. Between summer school, interning at AFS, work, and having Joe home I have been going non-stop since we got home from New York.

In the busy-ness of summer I did get to do a few of those things that I’ve always wanted to do…but never thought I’d actually get to.

In the past two weeks I have actually crossed off two big things on my bucket list.

Number One: Lead a worship service by myself.

Yep I did that. I love my church and I love worshiping on Sundays with them but leading it all by yourself is a whole other monster. Usually I leave that to Michael and I just get to sing harmony or lead on an occasional song. It may seem like no big deal to some of ya’ll. I can tell you Joe is one of those. He kept telling me “You’ll be fine! You’ve been ready for this for a long time”. However, I do not agree. I had been playing my guitar everyday for close to two months in preparation for that day. It was so rewarding and definitely something I will continue to strive for but practice is what prepared me. Sometimes we just have to jump in full force and quit saying we want to do things or we hope to do this and just do it.

For those of you that know me, music is my passion and there is no greater feeling than playing music over people in the presence of God. I am blessed to have people like Joe, Michael, and Randy to push me to do the things I love even when I have a million other life things going on.

I lead worship, hands were raised, Jesus was praised and I would do it all over again any day. If anything the experience boosted my confidence. For those of you trying to do anything that seems a little out of reach and you think you aren’t prepared…you probably never will be. You have to run at it head on and not give up.

Number Two: I went to Minnesota!

Oh my how beautiful it is out there.

I unplugged from everything for a week and really tried to be present during this vacation with Joe and his family. I read a few books, got a really great tan, learned how to ski and enjoyed being far away from all the hustle of life. No plans was the best. My favorite part was watching the sun set every day. Killer view up there yeah?

Spending days on the lake with nothing better to do was more than this girl could ever ask for.

Hunter dog loved it too.

Some of the best pizza ever!

Fire, Smore’s, and Sunset. Yes please.

We went horseback riding too!

Another one of my favorite things was sailing. I don’t have any photos of us actually sailing but I love this one.

I’m looking forward to many more memories and summers spent at Ottertail. That will be our last visit for a few more years due to Germany but it was pretty great time.

Hello August

Hello August.

You are a funny month. Full of mixed emotions. You sneak in and take away summer. We look at you and think “Wow, summer is gone and over half my year is gone.” We find ourselves feeling like we have slacked off on everything we said we would do this year and start resenting all the time spent doing meaningless things. We feel a sense of extreme discontent with the passing seven months. School is about to start again. The ease of the summer and less busy times slips away and stress weighs down our minds as we realize there is so much left to do. Then justification sets in. “Well it’s been a busy year so far. There was this and that and…” After some more thought, Hope makes it’s way around. There are still months, weeks, days left in this year. So much can still be accomplished. If we just pull it together, we wont feel this again in four months. But then we look back at all that we have done and feel somewhat accomplished. Moving forward again. Anticipation of fall comes around and an excitement for warm colors and cooler weather creeps into our thoughts.

You are a funny month. Convicting and hopeful. Disappointing and inspiring. A catalyst for what’s to come.

Hello August. Glad you came around.