|| J O R S H K Y ||

Meet sweet, sweet Jorshky.

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Jorshky was born on October 28th into a family that Matt and I love dearly. One of Matt’s best friends here, Francky, lives in Minoterie with his wife, 8 year old daughter, and now his precious new baby boy. Matt and I have the honor of sponsoring their daughter Mary Jenn’s education through MOH. We truly have more love for this family than I could ever express.

Jorshky took us all by surprise because the doctor had told them that he was a girl! Now this sweet little family has a whole bunch of pretty pink clothes, and a little boy. I love that he surprised them because Francky always wanted a little boy. Mary Jenn, their daughter is his little princess so Francky has always said now he just needs a little boy. He was pretty bummed when he found out their baby was a girl because he already has a girl. He prayed and prayed and prayed for a little boy. A week before Jorshky was born I was asking him what he wanted to name his little girl. His response? “I don’t have a name picked out for a little girl, just one for a little boy.” I laughed and called him crazy since the doctor told him it was a girl. Little did I know.Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with se1 preset IMG_1820

Matt and I got to go visit them two days after Jorshky was born and my heart filled with love for this little guy so quickly. But really. We adore this family.

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Those little baby feet, though…

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We got to go back out to visit them on Saturday afternoon, which was such a sweet time. Rachel went with us and I loved getting to watch her snuggle with that sweet baby. And of course, my heart melts every time I see Matt hold him. Every stinking time.

Saturday afternoon may have been one of my favorite moments I’ve ever had here in Haiti. Well, maybe even in my life. Mary Jenn had not been allowed to hold Jorshky yet because they were nervous to let her. I asked if I could help her and Francky said yes! The sweetest moment ever. Helping Mary Jenn hold her baby brother for the very first time. UGH. I still tear up thinking of that moment. Just look at these pictures and her precious face.IMG_2136 IMG_2137 IMG_2138

I melt.

One of my favorite things here in Haiti is being able to take pictures of our Village Champions families, printing the pictures in the states, and bring them back here as a gift to the family. The way they light up with joy seeing pictures printed of their precious families brings me so much joy. Of course, I had to take family pictures of this sweet family. IMG_2141 IMG_2140
And now for the sweetest family picture I think you will EVER see…. 🙂IMG_2139

 

Will you please join me in praying for this sweet family? I know Francky, Rosemithe, and Mary Jenn would love your prayers as they adjust to life with a newborn. And I know they would appreciate prayers for Jorshky as life  is so fragile those first few days, weeks, and months. Especially in Haiti. They are also in the process of finishing their new house, which will provide a permanent structure for them to call home. Will you pray with me for that house to be finished soon so they can move out of their temporary home and into one that will provide more safety and shelter for them?

Thank you!

Rejoicing Will Come.

I was standing there folding socks. One after another. And without even realizing it I found myself wrestling with the Lord.

I shut off all my emotions and got back to my “wifely duties”.

Before I could even blink, I was wrestling with Him again. This time at the kitchen sink as I bleached fruits and vegetables from the market this week. I knew I couldn’t run anymore. I had to face Him. Be real.

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Lord, what are you doing? I don’t understand any of it. And honestly? I don’t like it. My heart is heavy and hurting and I just want it to stop. 

The past few months have been dark and heavy. All the meanwhile I’ve seen the Lord more than I ever have. I’ve witnessed moments that are sweeter than words and I’ve seen His faithfulness in ways that I can’t even describe. Yet, there has been a weight.

There are so many things I don’t understand, and I’m starting to realize that’s okay. I’m starting to realize that I’m not created to understand. I’m starting to realize I’m created to trust in the One who understands.

I don’t understand why a father is taken from his family, but I know HE is a father to the fatherless.

I don’t understand why a child who has already lost his mother faces emotional and physical abuse daily, but I know HE sees him.

I don’t understand why an orphan leaves this earth at 6 years old, but I know HE is holding her now.

I don’t understand why the people we work with that are a part of our family lose their family members, but I know HE comforts them.

I don’t understand why babies and little ones don’t have the chance to grow up, but I know HE is Sovereign.

 

Sunday night at staff church, Matt was sharing about the majesty, power, and greatness of our Lord. We read scripture after scripture accounting to His holiness and I was left in awe. I know the Lord is holy. I know the Lord created the earth and everything in it. I believe that. Yet, I wrestle with Him when He chooses to take little ones home to be with Him. I wrestle with Him when ones I love witness real and hard things. I wrestle with Him when people dear to my heart mourn the loss of a loved one.

But I still believe He is in control. I still believe He holds each and every one of them in His hands.

How can I believe that, yet feel so burdened? How can I believe the Lord knows all, yet feel so frustrated when children are abandoned. Does He not see them? Does He not want better for them?

He does. 

 

This morning I was studying 1 Peter and was slapped in the face again with the truth that to follow Christ is to suffer with Christ – but suffering isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yes, it’s painful and hard. But the Word testifies that suffering produces good things.

Suffering makes us more like Christ.

We are reconciled to God through Jesus’ suffering.

Blessings come from suffering.

“Christ, while deeply and truly understanding our suffering, has also provided an end to suffering once and for all.” -SRT

What a beautiful promise. What a beautiful hope.

If I truly believe that He uses all things for His Glory and all things for our good, then I know that He is using each of these circumstances to bring Himself glory and for the good His people.

I believe that. I truly do. That does not minimize the pain of death. The frustration with injustice.

It points me to Him. 

 

In staff meeting today, we walked through Psalm 13. I found myself slapped in the face, yet again, with the truth that the Lord is faithful even when I’m faithless. He’s faithful even in the hard things. He. Is. Faithful.

David is crying out to the Lord asking some hard questions (v. 1-4). But verse 5 stopped me in my tracks.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” 

In the midst of David’s pain, in the midst of the sorrow, he still trusted in the Lord’s steadfast love. Did you see that? Have = past tense. Even during David’s moments of crying out to the Lord wondering what in the world He is doing, David still trusted in the Lord’s steadfast love. Okay, so I trust in the Lord’s love and sovereignty, but these situations that are happening daily are still heavy and my heart still hurts.

The next part is what gets me.

“my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” Shall…. not is…. not has…. but shall. David isn’t currently rejoicing in salvation. He’s mourning. His heart is heavy. He still trusts in the Lord, but he’s not to the point of rejoicing yet.

So, David trusted in the Lord’s steadfast love in the midst of a really hard season and knew that he would rejoice in salvation at a time to come. He praised the Lord in the midst of it all, yet his heart was still heavy. Rejoicing will come.

Rejoicing will come. 

 

I’m still standing at the kitchen sink, cutting fruits and vegetables. Processing all that is happening in my world. All that’s happening in the lives around me. All that’s happening in this country. In this world.

Tears stream down my face as I feel peace, real peace for the first time in a while.

The Lord is good, friends. He is faithful. He has a plan and purpose. What a sweet hope we have in Him and in His salvation.

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Will you join me in praying? I know myself, Matt, our staff, and Mission of Hope as a whole would deeply appreciate your prayers. Prayers for the Lord’s provision and protection. Prayers for the Lord’s strength. Prayers for endurance. Prayers for peace.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for running this race alongside us and lifting us up. The Lord is at work and I am so excited for the day when we will look back and rejoice at the Lord’s deliverance and faithfulness.

Encouraged & Refreshed.

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We’ve been back from our Fall break for about a month now and I still love looking back on our time home. It was filled with LOTS of travel, which means it was filled with many sweet reunions and we got to see so many of our favorite people. We were encouraged, loved, and blessed by everyone we came in contact with and are SO grateful.

Here are some pictures to tell the story of our time home.
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Matt and I got to take two days when we first got back to get away just the two of us. I cannot even begin to tell ya’ll how much of a blessing it was to be able to spend time just the two of us. We rarely get that time in Haiti. We got to go on dates, relax by the pool, and just enjoy being with each other. Such a blessing.

AUSTIN, TEXAS
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Coffee shops. We. Love. Coffee shops. Needless to say we spent hours in many of the cute little Austin coffee shops. Heaven.

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Sweet, sweet friends. We loved spending time with them and exploring downtown Austin together.
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Rainy afternoons in downtown Austin with two of my favorite people. Photo taking, Modeling, antique shopping, coffee drinking, walking, etc. Matt always takes a billion pictures when he has my phone instead of just one and this may be the first time that I’ve been thankful for 2093423 pictures instead of just 1.

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We ended our time in Austin with a date night at a wonderful restaurant (that served popcorn instead of bread!) and then we met up with our sweet friends to enjoy the rest of the night under some string lights. It was magical.

BUFFALO, NEW YORK
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Farmers market. Love love love. Last summer I remember biking to the little farmers market up the street from Darrick & Jodi’s house and loving it. This year we did the same thing. I love adventuring with this sweet family and we had such a wonderful time with them, even if it was too short.

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TheWELL. No words for how thankful we are for this body of Christ and their constant love and support for us.

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We finally got to meet this sweet bundle of joy that we’ve prayed for for months. Thankful for the joy and grace that is her story and I know the Lord has big plans for her future. Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset
I am blessed beyond words by this beautiful woman. She has spent hours, days, months, and years pouring into my life and setting such a great example for so many. So thankful for her hospitality and love.

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA
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We came back home just in time for Kevin’s triathlon on Captiva. I couldn’t imagine a better location for a triathlon than here. We got there well before the sun came up, but it was all worth it when we got to watch the sunrise. Oh, and there was coffee. So thankful for that.

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After the triathlon we got to go to breakfast with this precious family. They have been a constant support and encouragement for more years than I can count. I’m so thankful for all of them. So very thankful.

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Matt and I had to take up every opportunity we had to spend time at coffee shops. Coffee + donuts at Bennett’s? A must.

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One of the last things we did in Fort Myers was go out to lunch on the water with my precious grandparents. I am so thankful for their presence and influence in my life and can’t imagine life without them. We sat for hours listening to them tell stories from their childhood, how they met, and other sweet stories from their lives together.

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Our time home was so very needed and so very refreshing. Looking back we are so thankful to have such sweet family and friends who open their homes and give us opportunities to rest and reconnect. I wasn’t sure what to expect coming back to the states after a very busy and sometimes heavy season. The Lord was faithful and gave us exactly what we needed to fill us up so we were ready to head back to Haiti. We came back to Haiti encouraged & refreshed. So so very encouraged & refreshed.

We are so thankful for every one of you. Your sweet words of encouragement, love, hospitality, and interest in our lives in Haiti. You mean more to us than we will every be able to say. Thank you!

His Grace Abounds

Something really sweet happened last week during the last week of VBS. First, lets rewind to week three of VBS. Monday morning, a group of about 430 kids from Titanyen came in the front door of the church for VBS. Every morning I would stand and greet the kids as they came in. Have you ever had one of those moments where you meet someone and know that they’re going to change your life? Maybe I’m alone in that, but I saw a little ten year old girl and we made eye contact. She smiled the most beautiful smile full of joy and I knew my heart was in for something big.

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Throughout the morning rally I sat by and watched her as she sang songs & danced. My eyes wouldn’t stop filling with tears as I watched her. Sweet Mydaline is 10 years old and is an amputee. I chatted with her a little, got to know her name, age, and found out she has two sisters. I approached one of our Village Champions and asked him what happened that caused her to lose her leg. He responded with a story that broke my heart & reminded me of the Lord’s grace all at once.

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One night in 2012, when Mydaline was 8 years old, her and her family were sleeping in their home in Titanyen. A truck coming down the road, lost control, and crashed into their home in the middle of the night. Mydaline lost her grandma that night & lost her leg as a result of the accident. I will never understand why things like that happen. I do, however, see the Lord’s grace all over that night. Knowing what I do about healthcare in Haiti and how complicated it can be, I’m amazed that this precious girl survived that night and could receive the surgery she needed to save her life. She lost her leg, but I know she didn’t lose her life for a reason. The Lord is going to use this girl.

Fast forward back to the last week of VBS. I had been talking with Mydaline’s uncle about getting her into our prosthetics lab to see if we could get her a prosthetic leg. Monday morning of the last week of VBS, I saw her get off the bus for VBS and we went right up to the prosthetics lab. Our prosthetist had other patients in there that morning, so he told us to come back the next morning. Tuesday morning came, Mydaline got off the bus, and we walked right up to the prosthetics lab again. My heart was instantly filled with joy when NoNo, our prosthetist told her to sit down so he could get what he needed to make a mold of her thigh for her prosthetic leg. By the end of Tuesday morning, a mold had been made.

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Yesterday morning, I met Mydaline and her uncle at the prosthetics lab for another appointment. NoNo measured the length of Mydaline’s other leg and told her to come back that afternoon for him to see if her mold fits and if the leg is the right length. We came back around 1:00pm and he checked the mold, but didn’t have time to finish the rest of her leg. Again, he told us to come back the next morning.
I woke up this morning very hopeful, but also a little anxious. Yesterday we were told there would be a chance she would get to walk for the first time today, but only if NoNo could find a foot the right size for her. As of yesterday afternoon he didn’t have a foot that matched the size of her real one. As I walked down to the prosthetics lab to meet Mydaline and her uncle, I was praying and just asking the Lord to let Mydaline see Him through this morning. That she would feel His love for her and know that no matter how long it takes for her to get a leg, He only wants good for her. What happened this morning left me in complete awe of how our Creator works.

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I arrived at the prosthetics lab to find a sweet little 8 year old girl who lost her leg in the earthquake. I talked with her and her mom while waiting for Mydaline to arrive. About ten minutes later, Mydaline walked in the door and when she saw another little girl in the room she instantly smiled. Not even five minutes after that, a little 9 year old girl came in too. While NoNo was finishing Mydaline’s leg, the girls and their moms shared their stories. I sat and listened and was blown away by the sympathy they had for each other. As Mydaline’s uncle shared her story, I watched as the other mom’s faces felt the pain that I know Mydaline’s mom felt as she watched her little girl have to go through this tragedy. There was true empathy and compassion in their faces. They understood and showed so much love to Mydaline the rest of the morning. The room was filled with understanding of each other’s pain and circumstances, but even more so it was filled with the joy that there is hope to come.

The Lord is so good.

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Then, it happened. NoNo brought the finished leg over to Mydaline and attached it to her. I’ve never met a girl so gentle, so sweet, and so determined. Within seconds of her wearing the leg, she started walking. NoNo guided her in how to walk and taught her how to bend the prosthetic knee. Mydaline spent over an hour walking up and down over and over again. Each time with more strength. Each time with more grace. More confidence. More joy.

S o     m u c h     j o y.

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I cannot even begin to express the joy in my heart and I know in hers. For the first time in two years she could stand on two legs. For the first time in two years she could walk. For the ||very|| first time.

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Matt & I come to the states on Monday for vacation and some stateside work. I am so thankful for such a sweet way to “end” our summer here. Going into this summer, I asked the Lord to grow me and teach me more about Himself and surely enough, He did. I asked him to empty all of me so that everything that happened this summer would bring full glory to Him. He definitely did that. I asked Him to show me how VBS could bring true life transformation to a child. Oh my heart, did He do that!

I’ve seen the Lord’s grace in Mydaline more than words can say. Through this precious girl I’ve learned more about the Lord’s love, joy, grace, and peace than I ever could have imagined.

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The Lord is so good and faithful.

His grace ||a b o u n d s||

 

V B S // 2

Well, VBS finished last Thursday. SO bittersweet. It was an exhausting six weeks, but I wouldn’t have traded them for the world. I’m amazed looking back at how faithful the Lord was through it all and how much he moved in the lives of the children and in my own life. I couldn’t be more humbled or thankful for this season. It was definitely dark and heavy at times, but coming out of it I can see how the Lord was using it for His glory & to grow me.

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The last week of VBS was so full of stories of life transformation that it’s hard for me to put it into words. One of my favorite stories I’ll share in another blog post – it definitely deserves it’s own post. For now, let me share some of our VBS stats with ya’ll!

Week Four
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ATTENDANCE

Central Campus (Source Matelas) – 409 kids
North Campus (Leveque) – 284 kids
Off Campus (Fovo) – 340 kids
TOTAL: 1,033

SALVATIONS

Central Campus (Source Matelas) – 52 kids
North Campus (Leveque) – 20 kids
Off Campus (Fovo) – 20 kids
TOTAL: 92

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Week Five

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ATTENDANCE

Central Campus (Minoterie) – 435 kids
North Campus (Bercy) – 350 kids
Off Campus (Cabaret) – 325 kids
TOTAL: 1,110

SALVATIONS
Central Campus (Minoterie) – 52 kids
North Campus (Bercy) – 2 kids
Off Campus (Cabaret) – 50 kids
TOTAL: 104

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Week Six

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ATTENDANCE
Central Campus (Titanyen) – 485 kids
North Campus (Labodrie) – 310 kids
Off Campus (Zoranje) – 315 kids
TOTAL: 1,110
SALVATIONS
Central Campus (Titanyen) – 53 kids
North Campus (Labodrie) – 31 kids
Off Campus (Zoranje) – 26 kids
TOTAL: 110
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FINAL VBS STATS:
6, 576 children attended VBS over the past six weeks – thats 6,576 children who heard the gospel, ate a hot meal, and received lots of love.
22,717 hot meals were eating through VBS this summer. 45,434 bags of water were given to the children as well.
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And my favorite of all, 912 precious children put their faith in Jesus and have decided to follow Him. 
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Will you join me in praying for all these sweet babies? Our Village Champions will begin following up with the children from their village soon. They will be discipling them, getting them plugged into a local church, and speaking with their families. This is HUGE. We want these children to have the opportunities to grow in their relationships with Jesus and continue that throughout the year.
Thank you all so much for your prayers. They mean more than I could ever put into words.
I am so grateful. 

The Adventure Continues

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First of all, we want to say thank you so much for all of your love and support as we followed the Lord’s call to move to Haiti. The Lord has been so faithful in providing for us and and has used you to play a huge part in that. We hope you feel how truly appreciated you are.

This past year has been far better than our wildest dreams. There have been plenty of challenges, but the Lord is faithful and we are so thankful that He chose us to play a small part in His redemption plan for this nation. It has been very clear since day one that this is where the Lord wants us. So that leads us to some exciting news…

T H E    A D V E N T U R E    C O N T I N U E S!

Matt and I are SO excited for all that this next year will hold as we stay in Haiti and continue our ministry here. Matt will continue as the Church Advancement Coordinator working with our Village Champions & local pastors. I will continue teaching! The Lord has blessed us immensely with a wonderful family here in Haiti – North Americans and Haitians. We’re so thankful for this opportunity to stay and continue to dive deeper into the relationships we’ve been building over this past year and continue to love the people the Lord has placed in our paths.

Not only do we have a wonderful family here in Haiti, but we have wonderful family in the States and all over the world. You are a part of that family & we are SO SO SO thankful for your love and support. This past year held many challenges and joys and we knew that we had your love, prayers, and support through it all. We are beyond grateful. It has been really neat being able to learn more about the Lord through the way you all have rallied around us and supported us. The Lord is doing some HUGE things here in Haiti and you are just as much a part of it as we are. Thank you!

In September, we will start over with fundraising for a new year. We would love if you would consider and pray about either continuing supporting us or starting to support us as we adventure into another year of trusting the Lord to provide. If you are interested in supporting us, we would love if you would consider being a monthly supporter. Having steady monthly support bring so much peace to our hearts. One-time gifts are also vital to our support and we appreciate that just as much. Feel free to visit our support page for more information on how to support us. If you prefer to mail in support, send us a message and we will get you what you need! Please know that we appreciate your prayers just as much! We are so thankful for all forms of love and support!

We will be back in the states at the end of this month for vacation time and some stateside work and would love to connect with you! We will be in the states from August 25th-September 19th. We will spend time in Fort Myers, Plant City, Austin TX, and Buffalo NY. If you want to meet up for coffee or ice cream shoot us a message and we will gladly try to get together!

I truly cannot say it enough. Thank you. Thank you for showing Christ to us. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for praying for us. Most importantly, thank you for helping to bring life transformation to every man, woman, and child in Haiti.

 

From the bottom of our hearts, T H A N K    Y O U!

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Jacmel Adventure

This summer has been a summer.

It has been really neat to see the Lord work in and through everyone who has come down to MOH. I get the privilege of seeing life transformation happen in thousands of children’s lives every week. I’m so humbled and in awe of how the Lord moves. But in all honesty? This summer has been incredibly hard. Physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I’m being real with y’all. My heart has been rocked this summer and I’ve probably cried more than I have all year. But it’s good. The Lord is working and moving and I’m grateful to be a part of it.

Saturday our awesome COO, Bob, took some of the staff on an adventure. My heart desperately needed a day of fun and adventure with my sweet family here and it was beyond what I could have imagined. It is such a blessing to be under leadership that cares for the hearts of their flock and pours into them (and takes them on awesome adventures!)

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We left early in the morning and drove down to Jacmel, a town on the southern coast of Haiti. We went to Bassin Bleu and had a blast hiking, climbing waterfalls, jumping off of them, and swimming. After Bassin Bleu we went down to the beach, walked around, and then found a great place to eat right on the beach!

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It’s funny how just a day of adventure with your family can fill you up. My heart is so thankful for a fun day that brought great joy and lots of  laughter.

V B S

First of all, I am SO sorry that I have been MIA from our blog recently. And even more so, I’m so sorry that I haven’t updated all of you on whats going on here in Haiti this summer. It has been c-r-a-z-y! Crazy busy but crazy awesome! We have approximately 250 North Americans here every week, which is so wonderful!! Needless to say, we’re a little busier than we have been in the past. I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to work alongside my dear friend Bailey to help with VBS!

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VBS is six weeks long here at Mission of Hope. Every week we have a VBS happening on our Central Campus, North Campus, and Off Campus in a village. We just finished week three, which means we’re halfway done.

VBS here in Haiti looks pretty similar to a VBS in the states. Once the kids all arrive, we start the morning with songs, dancing, games, etc. It is so fun to hear those sweet little voices singing about Jesus and dancing all silly. Once the songs and games are over, one of our awesome Village Champions comes up and shares the Bible story for the day. After the Bible story, the kids split into groups by age and we start rotations. Every child rotates between five stations: Bible, games, agriculture/community health, crafts, and food. I always love hopping from station to station to see the kids learning how to brush their teeth, hear them singing songs about Jesus and quoting Bible verses, see them playing soccer and other games, and one of my favorite parts: seeing every child eat a hot meal.

Every week, one of my responsibilities is to share the stats with all of our staff, so I figured to catch you up on the last three weeks I’d share those with you too! Along with some really sweet pictures of really precious children.

Week One
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ATTENDANCE

Central Campus (Source Matelas) – 471 kids
North Campus (Leveque) – 385 kids
Off Campus (Simonette) – 200 kids
TOTAL: 1,056

SALVATIONS

Central Campus (Source Matelas) – 176 kids
North Campus (Leveque) – 77 kids
Off Campus (Simonette) – 25 kids
TOTAL: 278

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Week Two

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ATTENDANCE

Central Campus (Minoterie) – 410 kids
North Campus (Bercy) – 400 kids
Off Campus (Turpin) – 512 kids
TOTAL: 1,322

SALVATIONS
Central Campus (Minoterie) – 101 kids
North Campus (Bercy) – 23 kids
Off Campus (Turpin) – 53 kids
TOTAL: 177

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Week Three

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ATTENDANCE
Central Campus (Titanyen) – 495 kids
North Campus (Labodrie) – 260 kids
Off Campus (Mesaye) – 190 kids
TOTAL: 945
SALVATIONS
Central Campus (Titanyen) – 112 kids
North Campus (Labodrie) – 39 kids
TOTAL: 151
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Here are some other fun stats about VBS:
So far through VBS, we have reached 3,323 children with the gospel
Another key factor in VBS is that every child gets a hot meal to eat each day. 11,270 meals have been eaten at VBS over the last three weeks.
One of the things that puts the biggest smile on my face is knowing that 606 sweet little ones put their faith in Jesus and accepted Him as their Lord and Savior.
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My heart is so full.
Will you join me in praying for the next three weeks of VBS? I am so expectant for what the Lord will do! 

My Favorite Story

Today marks something special that makes my heart overwhelmed with joy.

Three years ago today, I married my best friend.

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Cliche, I know. But ya’ll. There is something extra sweet and extra special about this year. As I reflect on the past three years of being a wife and the past 5 years of watching the Lord write our story I am brought to tears. Oh my. He is so faithful.

For those of you who don’t know this random fact, the exact place we’re living now is where I started to fall for Matt. In Haiti, yes. At Mission of Hope, yes. But literally the exact place we’re living (our apartment) is where I was staying when I started to realize that there was definitely something special about this man. To make it even more sweet, the first time I told Matt I loved him (even though it was an accident – I’ll save that story for another day) was from the very apartment we’ve been living in for the last ten months.

This year is beyond sweet for me because it is so blatantly obvious how the Lord has brought Matt and I together but more importantly for what reason. We’re doing life together where it all started for us. And now we can look back and see how the Lord has been orchestrating this sweet story of ours from the very first day. The year I met Matt, I knew the Lord was calling me to move to Haiti. Little did I know that it would be four years later and as Matt’s wife.

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The way the Lord has orchestrated every little detail of our story leaves me speechless. It certainly is my favorite story.

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This past year has been full of change, adventure, faith, and so many other things. I mean, we packed up our life in North Carolina and moved to Haiti. Talk about change. But, it has been so sweet. Over the past year I’ve been able to watch my husband lead me, lead others, love with all his heart, and grow into such an incredible man. I’ve never seen him thrive as much as he has here. Every single day I become even more proud to be his wife.

Living overseas can have its challenges. Being married AND living overseas brings a whole different set of challenges. I am so grateful I get to face those challenges with Matt, even when they’re just plain hard.

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With that said, I’d love to share a few of the things I’ve learned about marriage & missions over the past year:

  • When you’re both fighting for the same thing, you fight a lot less. I can’t remember the last time Matt and I straight out fought. Can’t even remember. Now we’ve had our disagreements, sure, but fight? Can’t remember. All the things that usually cause us to argue seem so trivial when we both know why we’re here and what our purpose is here. We’re united in a whole different way and on a whole other level while living here, doing ministry, and loving on others together.
  • When you keep each other grounded, you’re reminded who you’re grounded in. I don’t know how I would have handled some of the things that have been thrown my way the past year without Matt by my side. I know I would have been fine, especially since my source of life comes from the Lord, but Matt has played such a pivotal role in my growth here that I can’t imagine doing it without him. When my emotions take over, or I’m exhausted to the point of delusion, he points me back to the Lord and keeps me grounded in truth. He keeps me grounded in the Lord.
  • When you do life together 24/7, you really do become best friends. I’ve always considered Matt my best friend. We’ve always enjoyed doing things together. From hiking, to traveling, to reading, to watching a movie, to just sitting and eating a meal together. I’m very grateful that we enjoy each others company as much as we do because we literally do everything together. Except for the hours that we’re both working at the same time in separate places, we’re together. It’s made me realize how much I appreciate our friendship. I love walking into the guesthouse where we eat and locking eyes with him. Or the sound of our front door opening when he comes in every afternoon. Doing life with your best friend really is the best.

This past year has probably been my favorite. And I know the best is yet to come.

I’m daily amazed at the man the Lord allowed me to marry. He challenges me. Encourages me. Pushes me beyond my limits. He sees my dreams and fights for me to pursue them. He loves me well. Protects me. Pursues me relentlessly. He points me back to Jesus when thats the last place my sinful heart wants to turn. He’s not afraid to speak truth and life to me. I wouldn’t be who I am today without his influence in my life. I’m daily blessed by this man. I am beyond grateful for him.

Happy Anniversary, Darling. Mwen renmen ou.

 

“Marriage is not mainly about prospering economically; it is mainly about displaying the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living. Treasuring Christ is more important than bearing children. Being united to Christ by faith is a greater source of material success than perfect sex and double-income prosperity. So it is with marriage. It is a momentary gift. It may last a lifetime, or it may be snatched away on the honeymoon. Either way, it is short. It may have many bright days, or it may be covered with clouds. If we make secondary things primary, we will be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be, not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.”  John Piper

Lessons from a Seed.

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This Spring season has been so true for my heart. It’s been a time of drought and growth. There have been growing pains and heartache. Oh, but there has been so much more. Joy. Grace. Peace.

There’s something so beautiful about growth, isn’t there? When you’re staring at growth, nothing happens. So many times I feel like I have such a surface level view of my own heart. I question why I’m not growing. Why I’m stuck in the same place I was months ago. Typically I don’t have an accurate view of where I am until I’m looking back on where I was.

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This season has been one of growth. Personally and spiritually. The Lord has been working. Growing me. Stretching me. Looking back I can clearly see what he has been doing all along. He’s been with me. He’s been speaking to me. He’s been here all along. Part of this growing season has brought me to a place where I fully and desperately realize my need for truth. Satan has been attacking. Hard. And it’s when I’m reminded of truth that I can battle against the lies he throws at me daily. Satan just loves to attack when we’re in the midst of something bigger and better, doesn’t he?

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We’ve been studying plants in school this semester. Every little thing we can learn about plants we’re learning. It has been such a joy to sit and watch the boys soak in the information they’re learning. They’re so intrigued by the way a plant grows. We planted little seeds to grow tomato plants (thank you Target dollar section!) To be honest, I was very skeptical and was worried they wouldn’t even grow. Within a week all three boys had at least one sprout. What little faith I had.

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I was amazed week after week as we watched these seedlings grow. The boys showed so much care and love for their little plants. I had so much joy watching them ask questions about their plants. There were a few mornings where they came running into the classroom in panic because their plants were “dead”. The plants had flooded after a huge thunderstorm so the boys decided the plants needed LOTS of sun. They were right. Another morning they came in upset because their plants were far too dry. Honestly, I thought the plants were done. They were wilted and falling over. Not a single stem was standing straight up. But the boys knew. They knew their plant needed water and they diligently watered those little plants. By the next morning, the leaves were green and the stems were standing straight up again.

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What a sweet, sweet picture. Doesn’t our Heavenly Father care for us in the same way? Doesn’t He know what we need? I have to remind myself daily that He is for me. He is for us. When I’m drowning, He knows what I need. When I’m withered and weary, HE knows what I need. His love for me, and us, is so far greater than my wildest imagination could ever comprehend. I know this truth. I hear it all the time. Yet I forget it. Constantly. When I’m drowning or dried up, I question why. All the meanwhile the Lord is there, caring for me and giving me exactly what I need.

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Today we planted our seedlings into the garden in hopes that with more room and more soil they will be able to grow into big, strong plants and bear fruit. What started out as a little seed has the potential to bring life. How precious is that truth. I’ve learned so much about my heart and life these past few weeks from little seeds and three little boys who have stolen my heart over this past year. Through the process, the growth was hard to see and hard to understand. But looking back I see that the Lord was faithful and was there working and growing me from the start. From the very, very start of it all.

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