Tag Archives: help one now

Haiti 2.0

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I returned from Haiti late Saturday evening and am still “recovering” from the trip. “Re-entry” is a funny thing, though I’m glad to be home in lovely Austin with my family, I ache to be in Haiti with the other side of my family as well. It’s more than a mission trip or learning journey now. It’s going home, seeing family, seeing how the kids have grown and changed, catching up on the past year’s events. Water to my soul.

We arrived Saturday afternoon after delays and barely catching flights. Brennon (who had been in Africa directly beforehand) & Dario (HELP staff in Haiti) met us at the airport to take us up the mountain to Pastor Jean Alix’s. The change in the airport alone is ridiculous. Last year we rode from the plane to the airport in a stuffy bus and went through a small, chaotic baggage claim/customs area. This year we walked from plane to customs in a nice air conditioned airport. Not nearly as chaotic as last year getting to the bus outside but there are still the guys that clamor to carry your bag to your transportation for a tip. We noticed on the trip up how so much more rebuilding has taken place as well. Amazing.

Our next day started bright and early with a church service at Yaveh Shamma. In the 4 walls of an actual church on the grounds! We walked in and I was in awe of all of the construction going on. Construction from The Legacy Project that raised funds for a proper school in place of tents is in full swing! We walked into the service and were able to sing along a bit while I tried to dry the tears. Some of the kids noticed us and kept peeking at as during the service while we marveled at how much they had grown. Right after, they started making their way over. Beautiful Kettlie remembered me immediately and came to give hugs. I didn’t see him coming, but I looked down and there was my Anchelo, pushing his way to me. Little love pushed his way through and jumped in my arms and gave me what might be the best hug of my life to date. He held on and I tried not to weep uncontrollably. (Sort of succeeded.) He ran off and made his rounds after that. I already loved this boys before that day, but goodness, if he didn’t enlarge & permanently seal his spot in my heart right then. My heart hurts a little writing about him and not being able to sit and play with him.

If this post had a moral to it and wasn’t just me rambling of my love for Haiti & the partnership of Help One Now, I think it’s this: Sponsor a child through Help One Now. (Not even mentioning James 1:27.) Even if you never get to meet them, even if you only ever get to send money & the occasional letter & photos. You will help change a life, a community, a future. You will have someone in another country that loves you and thanks God for you, someone who pours over your letters & photographs & passes them around for their friends to see. And if you do get to meet them, maybe you’ll get a hug that will threaten to bring you to your knees & they’ll hold your hand and cherish the time you have together. It’s beautiful and amazing to be part of someone’s life that’s so far away.

These pictures are from Monday when he got a good running start to jump to me all over again. Love that Andrea was right there to capture it.

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I’m going back to Haiti!!!

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Last year I went to Haiti on a mission trip learning journey/pilgrimage with New City and Help One Now. I was on board the first day I heard Jacob mention the trip to Haiti. I was excited to get out of the country and get more involved with Help One Now. I didn’t know what to expect and when I arrived I wanted to say “Hola” to everyone I saw. I’ve only ever been to Spanish-speaking countries before so I was even more out of my element than normal. This was a good thing, it allowed me to hang back and observe some, figure things out a little, before jumping in thinking I’ve got it.

We covered a lot while in Haiti…Finish reading here

I apparently only blog regularly when I am out of the country, so I will be posting what we are up to here!

Want to help me get there?

If you would like to make the check out to me, I have a friend that is able to match the funds dollar for dollar! Comment or find me here and I’ll send you my address! You can also give directly through PayPal here. (PayPal will take 2.9% + $0.30 of the donation.) Or you can also make out checks to HELP and send them to: PO Box 26716, Raleigh, NC 27611.

Want to go with me? Check out the info here!

Haiti: Day 7

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Day 7

Sunday was a beautiful, windy day! We spent the morning in Spirit of Truth Church in Guibert. (Sounds like Gee-Bear) Pastor Jean-Alix Paul translated for our Pastor, Jacob Vanhorn, for a really good word on adoption, physical and spiritual. Before speaking they introduced each one us. We stood, took a little applause and sat. Except me, I stood, took a little applause, sat, was told to stand back up as I understood the words “pitit fi” and “CJ Rich.” He was saying I was CJ’s daughter-in-law. CJ worked for Hope for the Hungry and with Jean-Alix for years, and is the one who introduced HELP to Jean-Alix. There was much applause for that!

Before that though was a time worship. I found myself praying through the time as it was obviously in a foreign language and it was easy to let my mind wander since I could not understand anything. I found myself overwhelmed by God’s sweet presence and couldn’t do much but sink to my knees, pray, but mostly weep. I couldn’t – and still can’t – fully articulate what was happening at that time. I do know a big part of it was God doing some things in my heart I had been praying for. It felt almost as though he was freeing up some space in my heart for things He wanted to put there.

Let’s back up some. About a month or so before we left for Haiti, I woke up on a Sunday morning not feeling so hot, it was more emotional than physical, but I summed it up as, “I don’t feel well” and stayed home from church that day. I got up and thought I would get some cleaning done or anything that didn’t require thinking. I turned Spotify on and All Sons and Daughters’ “Reason to Sing” came on. Well, goodness. Here’s a little excerpt…

When I’m overcome by fear
And I hate everything I know
If this waiting lasts forever
I’m afraid I might let go
I’m afraid I might let go

I need a reason to sing
I need a reason to sing
I need to know that You’re still holding
The whole world in Your hands
I need a reason to sing

If there be a victory
Will you sing it over me now
Your peace is the melody
Will you sing it over me now
If there be a victory
Will you sing it over me now
Oh Lord, your peace is the melody
Will you sing it over me now

Well, not much cleaning got done that morning. I sat in front of my computer and played the song over and over until I knew all the words and was all stuffy from weeping through them. I’d like to say that I had been seeking God everyday and was waiting on Him for answers or something like that. Well, that’s just not the case. For as long as I can remember I’d been working under the ridiculous assumption that I could get where I am going on my own. Of course I’m thankful for the cross, but I viewed it as a jumping off point for me. No me and God, me and Jesus, me and community, just me. So, inevitably, I felt claustrophobic by the walls I put up around myself. I couldn’t see/hear/feel God, or maybe I just couldn’t recognize Him. I couldn’t see where I needed or even wanted to go from there. I felt alone and I’m the one who put myself there. I prayed and wept more and asked God to forgive me for being so silly and selfish.

I had the realization that I had crossed some things off my life list that I knew I could not accomplish by myself. Adopting was one of them. I hadn’t admitted that to anyone, not even fully to myself. I talked about it like it was happening, with no real driving force behind it to make it happen. So I was carrying around this pain of letting something go that didn’t even need to be. I never consciously thought, “I can only do this with God, so I won’t even try,” it just kind of slipped in and took hold. Adoption hurts, its long and drawn out and messy. I admitted just the night before how I don’t like to get into the mess of life. But, like I said the night before, that’s not where life happens, that’s not where true beauty is, where Jesus is. And come on, trying to stay out of the mess of life is not possible, by even trying you just create other messes.

After the weeping, there was some peace, some hope. Fast forward back to Haiti. I had been fighting to stay truly present as it is a defense mechanism of mine to hide and not let the pain in. By God’s grace, I stayed fully present and took it all in and was overwhelmed. But it was okay, because I wasn’t trying to deal with it on my own. I wasn’t trying to handle Jacky’s swollen belly, or the little baby turned away from the hospital to later die of dehydration. We’re not equipped to handle it all, we’re equipped to lean into a loving Heavenly Father for comfort, strength and grace. We’re equipped to work towards a solution for these things. We’re equipped to seek Him, follow Him, in whatever hard or easy situation He deems us worthy of.