Tag Archives: defend the orphan

Showing His Love: Haiti Day 1

 

 On our first full day in Haiti on this trip, we started off going to a church service with the orphans and the local community. As they sang songs of worship, it was incredible to watch young children raise their hands and sing. During times of prayer, many children would get down on their knees and face the benches they were sitting on. It was moving to see so many of them engaged in the service knowing that very few of them had probably ever been to church before coming to the orphanage. 

After church, the kids changed clothes and we got to play with them. One of the incredible experiences of coming on a journey like this is that you get chosen by the kids. They run through the crowd of the team looking up at each face and determine who their “blanc” is. For the rest of the trip, the children who chose you will find you each time you’re there and climb in your lap, hold your hands and love you. Watching it happen reminds me of how God seeks us out like the one lamb who got away. Once He finds us, He holds us and gives us unconditional, undeserved love.

As we were playing, a bell started ringing from the cafeteria and the kids immediately ran to go eat lunch. While they were eating, we took a walk into Maya to visit with some of the locals. On every other trip, they have come to us, but this time, we went to them. On our first stop, we encountered a man who was proud to show us his two bedroom home made of rock and mortar. It had a tin roof, dirt floors and no electricity. His face beamed as he showed us his handiwork. He then walked us over to a 3′ by 3′ house looking structure. He proudly proclaimed that is son built it. You could see from wall to wall how much his son improved each time. This father had now passed down the ability for his son to survive. 

After visiting a few more houses, we returned to the orphanage. We played with the kids some more and then went to the covered porch during the heat of the day. Several kids layer down on our team members to rest. As I looked on, I thought of how my own son loves to lay up against me or my wife. Doing so provides them with a sense of security and love. These orphans don’t have parents to give them that. It was a blessing to watch our time provide those emotional necessities to these children.

After playing some more, we then returned to our guest house in the city of Gonaives. The team cleaned up, ate dinner and then met for our own service. We shared stories of things that we had seen that touched our lives and how we saw Jesus in those things. We were reminded that Jesus shows up every day in our lives all around us. We will see Him if we take the time to look. We also have the opportunity to be His hands and feet to others if we will be available when the opportunity arises. 

God’s desire is to use each one of us daily to show His love to someone. There are hurting people that sit next to us, walk by us on the street and post on our social media feeds. It’s up to us as believers to reach out to them and show them the love of Christ. If you don’t, who will? Jesus said in John 13:35, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (NLT)” How will you show love today to prove to the world that you are His disciple? 

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Let Go Of Fear, Be Used By God

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We started our fourth day in Myan. We picked up right where we left off. One team went back in to keep painting and the other team went to finish staining the bed rails in the girl’s rooms. A group of freshly hired nannies showed up for orientation. They started with prayer and a beautiful song. While they met and others painted in the same room, I began cleaning paint off the floor with a few others. As I scrubbed, I began to think how my own sins have stained my life. I’ve tried to wash them off on my own with limited results. Nothing I do can ever erase them, but God’s love, like the paint thinner we were using, can wipe away the stains.

As the day progressed, it got hotter. The wind wasn’t blowing either which made for a tough day. When we got through painting the walls and the others were through staining, we met outside to play with the kids. Everyone stayed on the porch in the shade. As I walked around, I saw three small children taking a nap on a blue carpet outside of their room. They were so peaceful. When I got on another porch, I found more orphans asleep on the chests of our team members. I thought of the rest we get when we trust God fully in our lives. When the fires come and life gets hot, we can rest assured that God will take care of us. We just need to crawl up on His chest to rest in the assurance of who He is.

In the early afternoon, we came back to the guest house to grab a sand which, grab things for the Gonaives orphanage and to get some reprieve from the heat. Not long after arriving at the orphanage, the kids, orphans and locals, all came running. We sat them on a hill and one of our students told them the parable of the Lost Sheep. She told them that wherever they went in life, no matter what happened, Jesus would always be looking for them. We then played Marco Polo on the soccer field to illustrate the point. It wasn’t long until Marco Polo turned into a soccer match.

In the evening, we came back to the guest house, cleaned up and ate my favorite meal here, roasted goat. We met on the balcony for service. God spoke during that time and challenged us to let go of the fear that keeps us from true worship. He wanted us to let go of the fear of what others might think and to let to of the fear that keeps us from talking about him. The students began to share what God laid on their hearts. They began to share why they came and what they wanted God to do. One said she was afraid she’d be a nobody in life, but found that no one who serves God will ever be a nobody. We are heirs to the King of Kings, princes and princesses.

We all struggle with sharing our faith at times. If we can’t share with other believers, how can we ever share with the world? We should be so full of Jesus that He leaks out of us wherever we go. We have to learn to let go of the fear of what others will think of us, push past that feeling like we’re going to explode and just speak. God will do the rest. It’s not our words that change people’s lives. It’s His love and His spirit that draws them in. We are merely vessels used by Him. We only work when we’re full of Him, are willing to open up and are poured out. Don’t be afraid. Let Him use you today.

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Haiti Makes Me Happy

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This week I’m in Haiti with students from Lifestyle Christian School and will be sharing what we are doing and learning. Our first two days have been full of travel, but also full of rewards. After two flights, we arrived in Port au Prince Saturday evening. When we got in the back of the coreluv.org trucks and headed through the city, I took a deep breath to breathe in the Haitian air. The noise of motorcycles whizzing by, the smell of burning trash, the blaring horns of semi trucks, the music coming from stores and people walking everywhere reminded me of the times I’ve come before.

I looked at the group of mostly first timers and exclaimed, “Haiti makes me happy!” They’re learning first hand this week how it makes them happy. When we walked through the door of our guest house, we were greeted with the smell of fried chicken. We sat down, ate and then retreated to the balcony for our first service. We sang worship songs accapella. We shared about our first impressions of Haiti. Then the missionary here told the group to be thinking of three questions this week:

Where did you see Jesus today?
What makes you sad? Mad? Glad?
What do you see that you are not OK with

On Sunday morning, we went to a Haitian church service. We didn’t recognize any of the songs. We didn’t understand any of the language either. There was no air conditioning on a 90+ degree day in that building. Even though it wasn’t like a church any of us were used to, we experienced the same God we would have at home. I noticed several times when our group had their hands raised in worship, had their head bowed in prayer joined in the corporate worship. It was amazing to see and experience. There are many nations, many languages, many denominations that serve the same God.

They asked if one of us would like to preach. Jeremiah threw his hand up without hesitation. He later said, “I don’t know why I did that!” I know it was because the Holy Spirit was upon him. He preached through an interpreter a convicting message about Jesus overturning the tables in the temple. He pointed out that Paul referred to our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit. He asked, “Since when did we start thinking it was ok to put thing into our lives, our temples, that God is not ok with?” I pray that we give God permission to come overturn the tables of our hearts and turn our lives into houses of prayer.

We left church and went to visit a woman whose husband and father to her children is a witch doctor. They are very poor and can’t care for their children. They are considering giving up the children to the orphanage. If they are able to come, imagine the course change for that family. Children who were born to a witch doctor would typically become witch doctors themselves. Children who live in these orphanages grow up to follow Christ. Before leaving, our group joined in prayer for that neighborhood. We prayed that God would liberate them from idolatry and shine His light in such a dark place.

From there, we went to “Faith, Hope, Love”, an infant rescue center. In this orphanage are children with HIV, AIDS, lymphoma, HPV, brittle bone disease and so many other life threatening things. Their parents can’t afford the medical care they need so they drop them off here. We went in and began loving on these children, playing with them, putting them on our shoulders and marching around. Laughter filled the air as these kids without hope had students who weren’t afraid of their disease and touched their hearts.

We left Port au Prince and took the slow drive to Gonaives. We stopped at the mass grave site where over 100,000 bodies are buried in a field. Survivors of the earthquake shared their horrific first hand accounts of what happened and what life was like. We drove through tent city where so many in Port au Prince still live since that fateful day in 2010. We followed the coast northwest and stopped at a resort to let the team cool down in the Caribbean waters. They learned to catch jellyfish without getting stung. After leaving there, we drove through the farm land of Haiti to make our way to the guest house in Gonaives.

After an amazing dinner, we joined together on a balcony and began to worship God. We talked about what it means to give up everything you have for God. We also talked about the widow in II Kings 4 whose husband had died and she couldn’t afford his debts. Elisha asked her what she had in her house. All she had left was a jar of oil. He told her to get jars from everyone she knew, fill them with oil and sell them. When she did, she didn’t just have enough to pay the debt. She had enough for the rest of her life. God always goes above and beyond what we ask. He simply requires us to use what’s in our house.

Today, we’re going to work at one orphanage most of the day and visit another one later to play with kids. I’ll update you tomorrow.

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Bringing Hope to Haiti

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Day two in Haiti started off at Faith, Hope, Love orphanage and infant rescue center. When we arrived, most of the kids had already left for school. The few that remained touched my heart. One child had hydrocephalus, another had lymphoma in his eyes and the other had brittle bone disease. As I saw the little girl with this bone disease laying in her crib, my heart broke. She was so thin and frail. She had no strength to move. As the others walked on to see the rest of the orphanage, I stayed behind to pray for her.

She reminded me of my spiritual state. I was helpless without Christ. I had no strength without Him. He had to come into my life to give me the strength I needed to survive. It was He who pulled me from my broken state where I couldn’t stand, lifted me up and provided the strength to move. It is with proper nutrition that both she and I have a chance. Mine comes from God’s Word and spending time with Him daily. Without that, I would die spiritually. For her, a doctor called yesterday and agreed to give her a feeding tube so we can get her the nutrition that she would die without.

After we left there, we drove out of Port au Prince to the site of the mass grave for all who died in the earthquake of 2010. As we stood on this field, we were reminded of that tragic time in this country when over 100,000 died in one day. We heard stories of bodies being drug into the streets. Trucks would come and get a load of bodies and dump them in this field. Other trucks would come take rubble to the site and pile it on top of them. They did this for days. It was a grim reminder of what had happened. One of the team members asked me, “Could you imagine the memorial in America if 100,000 died in one event? Think of what we did for 9/11 for 3,000.” Here, because of poverty, they just dumped in a field and covered them.

We left there and began our long, bumpy trip to Gonaives. We rode in the back of the truck, sitting on our luggage, enjoying the beautiful Haitian country side. Mountains. Farms. Broken roads. Check points. Markets. They were all on our path. The sites, sounds and smells make this ride so memorable. Where we would place multimillion dollar homes with a view, they have piecemeal shacks with rusted tin roofs not even facing the ocean. What a stark contrast of cultures between theirs and ours. The average Haitian makes in a week, less than most of us make in an hour.

Once we arrived in Gonaives, we unloaded our bags at the guest house, said hello to familiar friends who live here and headed out to Myan where we are building an orphanage. As we drove down the long dirt road and went side to side looking for a smooth surface (which didn’t exist), people cheered and waved. We weren’t just building an orphanage in this rural community, we were bringing hope. The well that was completed yesterday will keep this community from having to walk six miles with a 5 gallon bucket to fetch clean water. The gardens we will plant will supply nutritious food. The orphans will hear about Jesus and change the spiritual landscape of this community. What we are building with concrete and mortar is creating hope.

As we exited the truck, kids came running out of no where. Dirty, half naked and smiling they came and held our hands. They walked us up Prayer Mountain and listened as we shared the vision of this property with our team. They sat in our laps as we prayed over them, their community and the future possibilities of this orphanage. When we finished, the kids sang “This is the Day That The Lord Has Made” in their native Creole. They were singing a song about a God they had never known before we arrived last year.

When they finished singing, the kids instinctively grabbed us by our hands and led us to the orphanage. There were chains of 5 or 6 people long as we made our way down the hill and through the gates. The men at the site worked until there was no more daylight. We checked the well to see how deep the water was and to get a sample. We toured the unfinished buildings and made a plan for how we could help. We told them to come back on Thursday for medical treatment and check ups. We danced and played with the kids before we had to leave. We arrived back at our house in time for a typical Haitian meal, had a church service on our balcony and went to bed. Our hearts are full and the work is just beginning.

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Expectations

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I used to have a friend who was an Army Ranger. He was proud of the fact that in any war they were “the first in and last out.” They would go in when there was no back up and then provide back up for those who would come in after them. They were on the front lines. The ones who would go where no one else would when no one else would go. I loved hearing his stories. They fascinated me. I then realized that as Christians we have the same call as Rangers. We are called to be on the front lines in this world. We are the ones who should be the standard bearers leading the way to God.

This week, I’m getting the opportunity to be on the front lines in Haiti. We’ve got a team here who has come with the purpose of defending the orphan according to Isaiah 1:17. Last night, after a very long day of travel, we met on the balcony of the guest house in Port au Prince and discussed what our expectations of this trip were. One by one, each person shared why they came and what they hoped God would do. For some, they were following a dream that God had placed in them since they were children, others had been trying to come and this was the first open door, some had come hoping for direction and others had no expectations and were open to what God wanted to do.

There’s something about sitting around a circle with other believers from all walks of life and sharing what you expect God to do. Each of us have some expectations of God, but we rarely put them into words. We expect God for healing, protection and to be our provider. We expect Him to be there when we call out in prayer or fall down and need help. But what do we expect Him to do today? Where do you expect Him to show up in your 8-5 day and make a difference? Where do you expect Him to use you? Are you giving Him the opportunity to use you to accomplish His expectations?

This is now my second trip to Haiti. I know what to expect from the trip and know there will be unexpected things. I know how a God can move here and at home. My expectations are different this time around because I’ve been here. They’re more focused now. Each time I come back I know that my expectations will continue to be more concentrated and focused. I don’t know what to expect when I get back to the States though. Each time I leave the country for missions, I leave a piece of my heart behind and return with a bigger heart somehow. My life changes every time I follow the Great Commission to go.

It’s out here on the frontline where I feel most at home. It’s where I feel and experience God in a way like no other. It’s where I not only have expectations of God, but He reveals His expectations of me. I wonder how much of His expectations of me I miss in the U.S. because I fail to have expectations of Him. What if I lived my life full of expectation of God in my every day life? How would things change? How much more could God use me? How much more often would He meet me? How much more real would He be in my day to day life? How would my country change? It all starts with a simple daily expectation of God. Take time each day to let God know your expectations of Him and I’m sure He’ll let you know His expectations of you. I promise you it will be life changing.

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