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Haiti on Hold

Due to some scheduling conflicts, my trip to Haiti is on hold. I was able to work out the time with work, but Samaritan’s Purse doesn’t need me any time that I can go. I guess that’s good, right? That means they’ve had plenty of volunteers.

I still hope to go, it’s just a matter of when. Any money that’s been given will be saved and used for a trip in the near future (or a related mission cause) unless the donor has an objection. I’ll be trying to contact every individual donor soon, but if you see this and would like me to do something else with your donation, please contact me.

Please continue to pray for the work going on in Haiti and for what God wants me doing. Thanks so much for all the support!!

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My friend Mandy over at The Lucky 7 is hosting a fundraiser raffle for my trip. Every donation of $1 or more gets you a chance to win a custom designed necklace. Click here for details!!

Give Online!

I’ve set up a ChipIn! site for anyone who would like to make a donation online. It is 100% secure and all donations will go to support the trip. As always, anything raised over and above the actual costs of the trip will be used to buy extra supplies or donated to Samaritan’s Purse to support their ongoing efforts in Haiti!

Click here to donate online. Please also consider promoting the site on your own site/blog through a widget.

Going back?

As you may know, Cholera is sweeping through Haiti like a firestorm. Friends of mine who are down there in the thick of it are reporting that they’re overwhelmed with the number of people needing help. This is as great a need as the immediate post-quake period, if not more. This is the worst outbreak of Cholera in a century!

I’ve wanted to go back to Haiti since coming home and I’ve been thinking and planning about when to go. Recently, I’ve really felt a strong pull to go now. It seems like every day I see or hear something else that makes me think I need to go. It seems like God is calling me to go and help.

But it’s not that easy (it never is, is it?). My passport expired last month. One of those things where I meant to renew it but it got pushed to the bottom of the stack. I don’t have a ready-made vacation like I did last summer. I’m in school now, so my schedule is even busier than before. And, Caleb is 2 and rambunctious! I feel like I’d be abandoning Sarah even more than the last time.

But, after having been before, and after reading Hole in our Gospel(well, I’m still working on it, did I mention I have no free time?), I can’t seem to look away like I might have before. People Jesus loves and died for are dying by the hundreds for lack of water. I can do something.

So, I’m hopefully going to be going back in January. Samaritan’s Purse asked me if I could come back net week, but I can’t arrange it with school and work (not to mention the lack of a passport). So, January looks like the earliest I could go. I’m starting to raise money and submit vacation requests and get that passport renewed. I know that if God wants me to go, He’ll make it happen.

I struggle with this question: are my motives pure? Is this God calling me to go, or is it me wanting to go for some reason? Do I want to “be a hero?” Even if my intentions are good, is this God’s will? Does it matter?

I wonder sometimes if we get caught up in the idea that God dictates every step He wants us to take. Perhaps He just wants us to serve. He just wants us to love people. Perhaps there is no “wrong reason” for going to Haiti.

Please pray for me as I try to sort it all out. Pray for Sarah as she struggles with being supportive even though it means being alone for a week. Pray for doors to open (or close). Above all, pray for the people of Haiti. Pray for those it the fight right now. While you’re at it, pray about what you can do.

Now what?

Well, it’s been almost 2 months since I went to Haiti. So what now? I’d love to go back. Sarah and I have talked about it. I’d love to take her with me and she’d love to go, but she’s not quite ready to leave Caleb for a week just yet! I’m in school again, finishing my BSN and I’ve decided to apply for the Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program at UK for next year. I’ve really enjoyed my job in CTVU the past few months and I think I always knew that I liked adult ICU, I just didn’t want to admit it! I prayed a lot about this while I was in Haiti and I felt like God was leading me in this direction. Not only for what will hopefully be my career, but all the opportunities like working in the Refuge Clinic or serving in the mission field that might be more available to me in this role.

However, that means that I’ve got to take the GRE in the next few months to make the Feb 15th application deadline! That, plus work, plus school…I’m still praying about a trip to Haiti or somewhere else soon. If God wants me to go, He’ll work it out. I’m taking the long view however. This is all essential preparation that needs to be done to get me ready to serve in a different way. Frankly, there isn’t much call for an RN in short-term overseas medical missions (there are typically nurses already there, either local or long-term missionaries). This trip was a real exception. The other exception is surgical trips where they need OR nurses (which I’m not). But, Nurse Practitioners are always needed.

Plus, I’m learning more and more about another mission field, Lexington. I’ve always known that there is much need for missions here as well, but I’ve always felt more calling to overseas. I don’t think that’s changed, but in the meantime, I think God wants me to work here and not just sit around and wait.

I am praying about something else as well. I’m scared to talk to people about Jesus. There, I said it. I mean, I used to be in ministry and did it all the time. And I did it in Haiti. But in everyday life here in the US…it makes me nervous. I’m afraid of sounding like one of those Christians that makes it all sound too easy. “If you just trust Jesus, all your problems will go away!” That rings hollow for a lot of people with real problems. I know in my head that I can just tell them what He’s done for me. That He’s transformed my life. That He gives me hope to carry on every day. That He can do the same for them. But I just can’t seem to get that out.

This weekend, Jon shared that his dad told him before he died that he had the same fears. What?! Roy Weece recorded in his journal everyone he shared Christ with and what happened after that. He personally led 9000 people to Christ! Not through a pulpit, but through one on one conversation. And that’s not counting those people who he shared with who blew him off only to think of those words years later and decide to surrender their lives.

Roy is a hero of mine. I never got to meet him, but I heard him speak at Southland once and I’ve heard Jon talk about him and his ministry. If HE can admit that he was scared to talk to people, I can too. I’ve started praying for God to help me with that. For Him to give me the opportunities and the words to say, not to go around passing out tracts, but to just love people and tell them about my best friend, the guy who changed my life forever and wants to change theirs too.

I’m still praying about overseas missions. I really feel like God is calling Sarah and I to that in some form or fashion. I don’t know what it is yet, but I will, when it’s time. Until then, I’ve got to trust God and chase after Him with all I’ve got.

If you’ve been reading this blog, thank you for listening to me ramble. Thanks for caring enough to come back. If you would, say a prayer for me to – as our chaplain in Haiti, Phil would say – let the Holy Spirit go before me.

I’ve enjoyed blogging and I’d like to keep it up. Maybe blog about what God is doing in Lexington and in my family and my life. I don’t know if I’ll have the time and I don’t know if anyone would read it! We’ll see..

These posts are excerpts from the journal I kept during the trip…

Today was bittersweet. I miss my family, but leaving Haiti was hard. I feel a calling to this place or this work or both. I’m still praying to see what that means. In the meantime, I know God wants me to go on trips like this. Sarah and I would love to make it a family tradition that every summer we take a family “vacation” to the mission field. I want my kids to see how other people live, experience other cultures, and most importantly, get to serve God by loving people! Jon and Beulah’s daughter and Tiffany both did a 2 year service called a Journeyman project with the Southern Baptist Convention. Tiffany served in Zimbabwe and Jon’s daughter in India. I would be so proud if Caleb told me one day he wanted to do something like that!

It was a long day today. I got up at 5:00, showered (I’m heading back to civilization after all!) and dressed, grabbed a quick bite to eat and then we headed to the airport. Jon and Beulah were on a later flight so we said goodbye at camp. I went to the airport with a bunch of people I didn’t know. They had all served at the Titiyan base. Fitting I guess, I came into the country knowing no one, and I left the same way. Except I didn’t. We had a shared experience and so we talked. We shared stories from the week, wht they’d seen and done, what I had. All while we waited for our flights. And another set of goodbyes as I boarded the flight to Miami while others waited for other flights.

I had three hours in Miami and needed every one of them! I think everyone trying to enter the United States today came through passport control at Miami International Airport at the same time today! I finally made it through and then through customs and barely had enough time to eat before boarding my next plane to Dallas.

On that flight, I sat next to a VERY exuberant woman from Trinidad. She told me how she’d started her day sitting on the runway in Trinidad for over an hour and then customs in Miami searched all her bags. By the time she made it through, she’d missed her flight to Chicago! So, they put her on a flight to Dallas HOPING she could connect to Milwaukee! She’d never been to the States before and had no idea where any of these places were. I showed her on the map and she couldn’t believe she was flying from Miami to Dallas to get to Milwaukee (where her friend was going to drive from Chicago to meet her)! We talked the whole flight about Trinidad and her life there.

When we got to Dallas, a thunderstorm had closed the airport so we diverted to San Antonio where we sat on the tarmac for about 30 minutes before being told that the storm had cleared and we were now going BACK to Dallas! In Dallas, my flight to Lexington had luckily been delayed by weather as well, but now I had just enough time to grab a quick bite before taking off again. As I write this, I am on a small jet over central KY, getting ready to land in Lexington. It has been a long day. It is midnight here, almost 18 hours since I left the base in Titiyan!

It’s been quite a week. Eight days I’ll never forget. Eight days that changed my life. Eight days that are just the beginning.

These posts are excerpts from the journal I kept during the trip…

What a day to end the week on! Kara had warned me that today’s clinic might be more like Wednesday’s (Day 5) but it was quite the opposite. It was a great day! The leader today was great. He needed to be seen himself but waited until he made sure everyone of his people had been seen first. He stayed at the clinic all day long to offer any help he could.

In the middle of this tent city, in the middle of a cane field, someone had run an antenna up in a tree and a man hung up there holding it so that everyone could gather round to watch Brazil play in the World Cup! I’m telling you, soccer here is like UK basketball times a million! Never have I seen such devotion to a sport!

I met a man name Mark who is a Haitian but he grew up in Maryland living with his grandparents. He served for years in the US Army all over the world. In January, just before the quake hit, he came to Haiti to meet his mother. He had never met her, he moved to the states when he was a baby. The quake hit and his things were all destroyed. Including his ID. He has no way of proving that he is a citizen of the United States and so is stuck in Haiti living in a tent in the jungle. He weighed himself at the clinic and told us our scale must be broken. We checked and it was working fine. He was astonished. He has lost over 60 pounds since he came to Haiti! Jon gave him his card and took his information and is going to try to get him some help through the VA. God put Jon and Mark together today. Of all the doctors that could have come and met Mark, the one that did works for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and Mark is an Army vet needing help!

After the clinic we headed back to camp and said our goodbyes. It is a sad day for me as I’ll be leaving a place I’e come to think of as home. Of course, I miss my family tremendously and can’t wait to see them, but it will be hard to leave Haiti. A far cry from my first night here when I told Sarah over Skype that I was afraid I’d made a big mistake!

We flew by helicopter to the camp at Titiyan. What a great experience! We got to see from the air a lot of the places we’d been as well as villages, town and cities. A lot of quake damage, but also a lot of natural beauty and a lot of what SP has done to help rebuild. I’m proud to have been a part of such an organization, if only for a week. This won’t be my last experience with them! A lot of natural beauty as well. This really is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been!

Back in Titiyan, I finally got a swim. There is a pool there and I got to take a dip, perhaps the most refreshing swim of my life! Several of the folks at Jax Beach swam in the ocean the other day, but I didn’t get the chance to. After our flight today and seeing some of the pollution being dumped into the harbor in Port-au-Prince, I’m not sure that was a bad thing!

Tomorrow, I’ve got to be up early to get to the airport. A long day of flying, but at the end of it is Sarah, Caleb and home.