Monday, December 24, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas

 From Haiti to wherever you may be, Merry Christmas!

Christmas Card 2012

May The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Choose Love

Tonight I poured water from a bucket over my tired body while tears coursed down my cheeks. Some nights a shower and tears go hand in hand.

Today, to everyone's surprise and despite the best efforts from amazing nurses and an incredible doctor, Sweet Wadagans died. His broken heart was all done fighting, God scooped him up and took him home.

I loved that boy. I loved his smile and the way his eyes lit up when I came in the room. I loved his silly faces and his incredible laugh. I loved his quiet snuggles and the slow way he would chose exactly which toy he wanted to play with. I loved the fact that just days after open heart surgery, he was smiling and playing and showering us with his contagious joy. I loved his hugs and his fist bumps. I loved something about him that spoke to me. Something that called to my soul and captured my heart.

Tonight while I watched the clean water turn brown as it ran off my legs I cried, a deep, ache in your head and gasping for breath kind of cry. I watched as the dirt swirled down the drain and I desperately wanted to stop it from escaping my grasp. My heart longed to hold on to it because the dirt and muck of this broken day remind me of exactly why I am here. Not to save anyone, I sure didn't do that! It was because that brown water, full of sweat and tears was also full of hope and love. Not the kind of love I have for every child, though I do love them all, it's a love reserved for a special few. The love that is poured into someone, that for one reason or another captures my heart. Wadagans did, and I will never for a second regret it! I was blessed, honored and completely unworthy of being allowed to know the joy that was Wadagans. Not joy in an obvious, smiles and laughter kind of way but joy in a quiet, wise beyond his years and kindred spirit of hope kind of way.

Wadagans was a little boy that I knew and adored and who, once again, changed "my Haiti". He gave another face and another name to the love that I am called to live. To see one of God's most precious creations, to give myself to them, to put hopes and dreams and worth upon them, that is what I am here for. I can find it in an old man who needs someone to sit with him while he tries desperately to have just a few words heard or I can find it in a malnourished little girl who needs to hear someone whisper that she is precious and treasured. It comes at the most unexpected time and in the most surprising place, it crashes over me like a wave when I am unable to stop its force and it comes to me softly, in a whisper of grace, in a moment of fear.

Love her, hold your heart, let Me in.

Love is beautiful but sometimes, a lot of times, it hurts. It hurts because it's so real and so raw that it makes us vulnerable to the brokenness of this world. At the same time, it also makes us available to see Him more clearly. Because God loves us, with that kind of reckless, no matter what, capture His heart kind of love. The kind that we here on earth can only hope to see. It's the kind of love that is willing to send His Son as a tiny baby to rescue His lost. It's the kind of love that let that same Son die to break the chains of sin that kept us apart. It's the kind of love that looked down and saw him, a little orphaned boy and said "bring me my child" and it's the kind of love that said "yes, even though she is broken and weak, I'll let her be a part of this".

If left to my own design, I would never have chosen a life where my heart is broken, over and over again. If it were up to me, I would have escaped this place a long time ago. But, much like the love for Wadagans, that without my understanding captured me, so has His call. I have to believe that this plan is for something more than I can see on this dark night. That somehow, someday it will all be worth it. Until then I pray and I beg, with every ounce of my faith, to be captured again. For as long as it takes and until I go to Him, to allow me to love His people and through it, learn to be loved by Him.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Up On The Mountain–Part 3

It’s been a year this week that my life was turned upside down by a knock on my gate.
A year ago this week that I found out that the son that had been mine wouldn’t be able to stay. The dreams I had for him and our life together came crashing down with one small demand. I was devastated. Beyond devastated, I put on a brave face but inside I was broken. I had no idea how life would go on without that little boy. I had no idea how I would ever be content again, let alone happy. I had no idea how God would ever be able to pick up all of those broken pieces and turn them into something beautiful. But I am weak, and He is strong. My vision is clouded and my understanding, dim. His beautiful plan, set into motion before I ever took a breath, was not deterred by the pain that losing my son brought, if anything, it was made all the more beautiful because of it.
Because a year ago, even though I put on a happy face, there was no joy in my heart. I struggled to find good in a very bad situation. A year ago I couldn't see how anything I was doing in this country meant anything. I couldn't see what in the world God would possibly want with me.
But through this year of growing pains and giant mistakes, of fighting for control and embarrassing temper tantrums, He was working.
He blessed me more than I could ever imagine and much more than I will ever deserve. With friends who have become as dear as family, a daughter who brought laughter back into my home and a passion for His will to be done. He brought me back to the place where I found a longing for His people and He gave me that overwhelming passion once again.
I am still a mess, and I always will be but He looks at that mess and He sees potential. Somehow He sees something that He can not only use, but that He can control. That’s right, control. That great big, bad, scary to give up thing. Being broken hurts and even when all the pieces are put back together the memory of the pain is still there. That memory is enough to overtake the human inside of me that wants to be in charge and let Him be the boss.
Great big and beautiful things happen in Haiti every day and they would happen if I weren’t here but the beautiful things that happen in me, they happen because I am here.
There are moments in this life that literally take my breath way, when I think on how much God cares about the smallest details of my life.
In May I came back to GLA because I needed a quick place to stay for a while. 7 months later I could not be more grateful for how things have worked out. I was blessed to spend the last 7 months in a place that cares for sweet, sick and fragile babies. While the losses that I experienced were heartbreaking, the things that I learned were priceless. Being allowed into the NICU at GLA while they cared for children taught me more about medical care in Haiti and grew my hunger to learn as much as I could about how to best help the people here.
Last spring I met a woman named Jessica, a nurse who is living in Haiti while adopting her sweet daughter, Phoebe Kate. Jessica and I quickly became fast friends but I had no idea how God would bless our friendship. This summer Jessica introduced me to a program called Midwife To Be and I instantly felt a click, like this is what I had been waiting for. The course is incredible and right up my alley! I signed up right away and Jessica and I are now both enrolled in this incredible training program.
And, if that weren’t enough, at the same time that my position with GLA was coming to an end Jessica and Phoebe Kate were making a change in their lives too. This lead all 4 of us to start looking for a house that we could rent together. In almost no time (which is pretty much unheard of in Haiti) God provided the most beautiful home for us!
It is right here, next door to GLA. Still among my entire support system and best friends.
See that balcony just behind the house there? That's GLA!
It is open and bright and it even has enough room for our girls to have their very own play space!
Jessica and Phoebe Kate moved into the house in November. This week Annabel and I joined them!
We are looking forward to spending Christmas as a family in our new home and pray that God would bless this space to our comfort and to the service of others in whatever way He sees fit.
*Jessica and Phoebe Kate
As you know, in Haiti rent is paid in advance for the year. Our wonderful landlord (again, a blessing from God) has allowed us to move in after paying the first 6 months rent. Jessica was able to cover that cost and now it is up to me to pay the other half by the end of January. This will cover the rent on the house through next November. My half of the rent is $3,000usd our total rent for the year is $5,500 plus $500 addition cost for getting the house ready to move in (new paint etc…)
The blessing and the difficulties of my work come together right here. I hate having to ask others to take care of me, especially when it comes to finances. I hate, hate, HATE it. But I love that I have you all to turn to. You who have traveled through these highs and lows with me. You have “seen” me at my worst and thankfully, you love me anyways. Without your prayers I don’t know where I would be. Without your help now, I don’t know what I would do. While it is humbling and difficult to have to ask, I have no doubt in my heart that God will provide for me, as He always has, through you.
If you feel led to help with this need, I thank you. I thank you for believing in my life in Haiti. I thank you for believing that God can and will use me here, for something. I thank you for still walking this crazy road with me.
You can donate to our rental fund though our chip in button that is linked directly to paypal.

One year ago the family that I had was broken and I didn’t think it could ever feel any other way. Today, while there will always be a part of my heart missing, we have a family again. A family that, for now, is made up of two unbelievably blessed, and maybe a little crazy Mamas and 2 sweet Haitian girls, doing our best to serve our God recklessly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Without Suffering There Would Be No Compassion

PicMonkey Collage

Today he is well and I remember, just like I prayed I would, how far he has come. And I remember too, just like I prayed I would, the depths from which I myself have been recovered. Saved from the disease of indifference and the infection of selfishness that once filled my soul. He has come far in the care of his nannies and the grace of God. I too, in the care of the ones God has given to guide and restore my life, and in His grace, have come far.

Today, he is well and yet the cycle of complete need for His rescue continues.

It continues in her.


She is between 7 and 8 months old with a story of survival that would wreck even the strongest of men.

9 days ago a woman packed all of her belongings and left her home in the slums of Cite Soleli, where she went, no one seems to know. What she left behind, the most precious of any treasure…

I can’t even begin to imagine what this baby’s eyes saw and searched for while she sat alone for 8 days. I can’t entertain what ideas must have plagued her little mind while she sat and wondered and waited. My body will never know the feeling that hers did, having nothing to eat or drink as the hours passed into days.

And then a rescue. A family member came along and found her. She scooped her up, in her sickness and filth and brought her to the closest clinic she could find. That clinic referred her to God’s Littlest Angels and through our gates she found rest. An IV started quickly, filling her dry body with life saving fluids. Clean clothes, a diaper and a bed were presented and she lay her heavy head down and slept, cared for and prayed over by women who believe in healing and hope.


Her healing won’t be without pain, hard work, tears and sleepless nights of prayer. In the time it takes The Father to do His healing work in this little girl, I know that there is still work to be done in me. I can imagine it might be painful, difficult and exhausting, I can anticipate sleepless nights of prayer and probably some tears. But, just in the same way I can see the big picture, how the things that are happening now are leading her to a better future, and to hope, God’s plans of hope and future for me, the big picture, are so clear to Him.

I can’t get to a point in my heart where I see that their suffering was worth it, no matter how incredible the outcome. My human heart and small mind can not comprehend the idea that somehow, in someway, this is good. I don’t believe I ever will, I don’t believe I have to. I only have to believe that while this world is not good, my God is.

It is said that without suffering there would be no compassion… I can imagine that children like these, the ones who have suffered so unfairly, will grow to be people so full of compassion that it spills out into everyone around them, the kind of people who change the world.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dear Annabel, You're One

Annabel Kay November 15, 2011

Dear Annabel, 

Today you are one. A whole year old. I can't believe how much my heart changed on the day you were born and how much it keeps changing every single day. 

Watching you grow up has been the greatest joy of my life. Seeing your sweet personality develop is indescribable.

I love how determined you are! In your mind there is nothing that you can not do and there is nothing that will stop you from achieving your dreams. From climbing up towering staircases to putting all the shapes into the shape sorter, you are determined and you are committed. You have never been easily distracted from whatever you set your mind to. I hope that as you grow you keep your determined spirit. Even when it makes you difficult to parent, I know that it will make you the kind of person who changes the world.

Annabel you are determined but you are also compassionate. You take a genuine notice in other people and you are thoughtful. If someone is hurting you are sweet and gentle. If someone is sad you are silly and entertaining. You have a way of noticing how other people are felling and loving on them in just the way they need. You are a blessing to so many people.

I can't believe how beautiful, loving and smart you are. I feel like you teach me new things every single day and each day spent with you is even better than the one before. You are a precious gift, you have made my life more than I could have even dreamed of or dared hope for.

As I look back on this past year, all of the joy, heartbreak and lessons learned I am in awe of how far we have come. I dream about the next 12 months, I can't even being to imagine the places that time will take us but I know that each and every step will be that much sweeter because I will get to share them with you.

On this very night last year I could hardly close my eyes, I just kept looking at you, reminding myself that you were real, that you were mine! While I watched you dream I claimed over you a beautiful promise for your life. This year I pray those same beautiful dreams over you. I pray you grow in Him to bring joy and blessings to others.

 "Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness." Psalms 89:15-16

Monday, November 12, 2012

Up On The Mountain - Part 2

You can read how I came to be living in the mountains above Port Au Prince again here.

I came back to GLA this spring when I found myself in a situation that I needed to distance myself from quickly. I desperately needed a place to go home to and I knew there was only one place in this foreign land where I would find that. There are absolutely no words to express how humbled and thankful I am over how I was received. The entire staff graciously opened their lives and hearts to my daughter and I and gave us a place to call home. More importantly they gave me people to call family while my own was so far away. I cannot imagine what my life would look like today if I didn’t have these people supporting, loving and encouraging me.

Last November I came to GLA for a Thanksgiving visit. It was my first trip back after almost 2 years in Leogane. Driving up the mountain road a longing in my heart began to grow. I realized just how much like home this felt to me, how good it felt to be here. I pushed fought myself against feeling too much, instead listening in rapt attention as the devil whispered lies into my ear. He told me that if I wanted to serve God it had to be painful, it had to be full of hardship, loneliness and discomfort. Stupidly I bought into his lies, I thought that not having electricity or consistent running water or a single friend to turn to, meant I must be doing His will. Suffering for Jesus, you know.

Even after God called me back and I moved here, I continued to fight those feelings of guilt. It shouldn’t be this beautiful to be his servant. It shouldn’t be this filled with joy, all those blessings must be a mistake, or maybe a test. The lies swarmed in my mind and captured my heart until I had no choice but to cry out for The Truth. Searching His promises, I found myself enveloped in a sense of joy and peace. Did you know that the very God who created the universe, created you and I with longings, hopes and desires? He planted them in our hearts, sewed them into our souls while He knit us together in that secret place. Did you know that He longs to give us the desires that He planted in our hearts? Did you know that He loves when we come together with others in fellowship and worship of Him? Did you know that it’s not a sin to enjoy little comforts of life? I can honestly say that I did not believe those promises until I searched them with an broken and weary heart. Until I closed my ears to the lies and soaked myself in His word. Now I believe, wholeheartedly that goodness and joy are what He offers His children.

My 6 months here have taught me that goodness and joy do not mean a life devoid of sorrow and hard things. Babies are still dying, children are still starving, families are still broken by poverty. I grieve over it, I am broken to it. Some days it fills every one of my physical senses. I still look at this place and in the same breath exclaim the beauty of His creation and the longing for His return. This world and especially this country is a hard and hurting place. I see it with every turn of my head, but I can go on because I am filled with a joy that I once heard about but never felt. A joy that is not dependent on how happy I feel or how discouraged I am. A joy that does not grow and waver in my circumstances.

I have been depressed, clinically depressed and medicated for that depression. I believe that depression was real. I believe it was a chemical imbalance in my body that needed to be fixed with modern medicine. Those days were dark and hard. So hard! They were days of purposelessness and wandering, full of self pity and self loathing. When my medication started to work and the fog lifted I felt like a new person. Like I could face the day, that I could crawl out of bed before noon, like I could handle a shower and clothes other than sweatpants. I felt like a “normal” person again. I didn’t, however, feel joy. I felt ok, I felt happy but that deep down in my heart joy, I hadn’t found that yet.

So slowly that I didn’t even notice it happening that peace and joy began to overtake my heart. As I starting setting aside, even the tiniest amount of time each morning for a short devotion, as I started to sing songs of praise in a place where 2 or more were gathered. As I felt his presence fill up my senses it happened. In the past 6 months my grown up faith has matured in ways I am still only discovering. This is not the faith of my Dad or my Grandpa, it’s not the faith that my mother told me about when I was a little girl. It’s not the faith of Sunday School class or even church services as a young adult. This radical, life filling and joy giving faith is mine. It’s in my heart, it’s overtaking my life. It’s incredible.

I am not saying that this change happened because I moved back into this house. This was a divine work of God, He didn’t need this building, this city or even these people to set His choosing on me. He didn’t need anything but for me to open my heart and accept it. To let his awesomeness fill my day to day life. I believe that He chose to bless me with these comforts and friends in order to remind me of His promises, how much He cares about my human heart.

In those promises and in His joy I have found myself with desires and dreams met. Those longings that He created in my inmost being well on their way to being fulfilled.

God wants me to have a family to support me. Here in this place I have a group of friends, sweet sisters and brothers, who make up something unlike any human relationship that I have ever known before. We all make our home in a place that is a foreign land. We live and eat and work and worship together. We grieve together, celebrate together, annoy each other and do our best to bless each other. We grow together in our Savior’s love and we encourage each other when one is slipping. It’s not the family with whom I spent my childhood but it is the family where I have grown in, from a child into an adult. These are the ones who watched me learn how to be a mother, graciously accepted the mistakes I made along the way and encouraged me when I felt like I was doing everything wrong. They are the ones who knock on my door and ask if they can take her for a while and give me a break. They are the ones who have allowed me to be the mama I want to be because I don’t have to do it alone!


Seriously, these friends are incredible…

I can’t wait to tell you how my Beautiful and Gracious God has written this story, bringing together all the desires of my heart while blessing me with the family that I was longing for. I can’t wait to show you what He is doing next in this weak but willing heart of mine.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A plan in action

Things are finally coming together for when my time is up at GLA. My temporary position will be filled by a full time staff member who will arrive in January.
God has revealed some incredibly exciting plans for the next chapter! I'm so excited to share them with you. Over the next few days I'm going to tell you all about the wonderful blessings coming my way and how you can be part of it.
During this time I would love to have your prayers, of thanks to God for His provisions and of unwavering faith in His plans.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

And Then He Smiled…


“No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.

My body rests in safety.

- Psalm 16:9

Monday, October 22, 2012

Every Once In A While

Every once in a while, one comes along that is different than the others.

One who wrecks me and reminds me how far from acceptable this normal life of mine is.

And I am lucky, when one comes and my life is changed again, in an unimaginable, and miles away from easy way. I am blessed as my heart and passion are recaptured for this place.

Last week it happened again, through him.


20 months old. Just over 12 pounds. Eyes full of stories, pain, history and life.

When I removed his shirt to bathe him for the first time, he bit me! He’s a fighter, he has to be to have made it this long.

While he sat naked and my eyes traveled his broken and weary body I saw something that I had never seen before... Along his back there they were, honest to goodness piercing bones. With no fat to cushion as he lie on a mattress, for who knows how long, his tiny vertebrae had rubbed raw though his fragile skin.

“Lord, break my heart, save me from my selfish desires, from my human self. Lord, show me how desperately this world needs you, how desperately I need you!”

And He did. Through this little boy. Who, because he was born into a sinful world, has suffered more than you or I could ever imagine. His physical pain is outrageous. His emotional trauma is heartbreaking. His future, one week ago, was hopeless.

But today, it isn’t so. Today he is 1 pound heavier than he was when he arrived. Today his belly is full and his bed is clean. Today, while he snuggled in my arms I whispered in his ear promises, not just of my earthly love but the story of a love beyond all others. A love story of a Savior who knows his name, a Father who saw his face, loved him with a daddy love, and who died to rescue him.


One day soon he will smile, and then he will laugh and he will be well. He will run and play like he should and I will step back and smile. I will remember how far he has come and in the same breath, I pray I will remember the depths from which that very same Daddy has rescued me. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Baby Daddy

When I was 19 years old I remember saying that “if I’m not married by the time I am 22 I’m going to DIE!”

Ok, dramatic? Yes. But in the world I knew then, not so far fetched. Some of my girlfriends from high school were already married, many more well on their way. I felt a little sad, a little lonely and a bit left out. Why wasn’t I in on all of that? Once, I thought it might be within reach, but loving someone and loving the idea of someone are very different things. Luckily, I learned to differentiate before making a big mistake.

Fast forward and it’s 8 years later. I have a daily conversation with my daughter that goes like this:

“Annie, say Mama”
“No, MAMA”
“Say Mommy”

And I know, it’s just because of how language develops. I know, it’s just a sound. Those words mean nothing to her but oh, they pierce my heart. It kills me to know that my baby doesn’t have an earthly father in her life.

Someday I will have to tell her of a papa who walked away… I don't know how to do that. I have no idea how to put into words what circumstances would cause anyone walk away from that amazing little girl. How can I explain to her something I don’t understand? Her birth mom visits her often, she loves her fiercely! Her papa came once, he wanted to see her, he held her and smiled and said she was beautiful. I know that he loved her in that moment, I saw it in his eyes, but when he put her down and walked away, I never heard from him again. I have his photo, there is no question that is her papa, she looks just like him. He knew too and when he looked at her he claimed her, he said it. But still, he walked away.

Someday she will ask and I will have to tell her and I have no idea how to do that. No doubt God has already whispered the words that I need. I pray I have the wisdom to hear them.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would be 27th years old, blessed with the most incredible child the world has ever known, and be doing it alone. Being a single mother was never an idea I entertained. It wasn’t one of my childhood plans. It doesn’t fit with what I thought I wanted at all. This situation isn’t the one of my dreams, but she is. This breathtaking little girl that fills every day with joy and laughter and more love than I ever knew I had to give. She changed my life and my dreams and the things I wanted and even needed. My calling to Haiti began long before I saw her face and it will continue for long beyond what it takes for her to be mine forever. This calling was never about her or even me but this calling changed when she arrived. Because now this foreign land is my home, because it is where my family it. It’s here for as long as it takes for my baby and I do the work He has prepared and learn the lessons He is teaching. My dreams are in her future and the incredible things I know she will accomplish, my perseverance is in teaching her to serve alongside me for His glory.

I have a father here on this earth and there are no words to describe how blessed I am by him. I look at my daughter and I think I get a glimpse of his love towards me. One day, in the blink of an eye and a lifetime ago, I was that baby and he stood over my crib and thought and dreamed about what I would be. I’m guessing this surprise life never crossed his mind but I have never once doubted that he loved me or that I made him proud. I know it because he tells me and I understand why his eyes fill with tears when we talk about it. Because now, I know what it’s like to have a child that you love more than life, to know that whatever she does, it will be incredible and you will be outrageously proud.

And still, among the blessings and joy and peace He gives, this isn’t how I thought it would be. Some days it’s not even what I want it to be. I know that no one ever thinks that someone else’s child is as beautiful as their own. Some nights while I watch her sleep I long for someone to share in the wonder of her with me. To stare at her and whisper over her amazingness. To marvel over her tiny fingers and toes and dream about her future. Someday a man may come along who is just crazy enough to look at this adventure and want to be a part of it. A man that will win both her heart and mine. It may happen or it may not. Either way, as I daydream and long for those moments I am reminded so purposefully that her true daddy is there, standing beside me, staring at this beautiful child that He knit together, marveling at her beauty. The perfect Father. Abba, hers and mine.

So for now, while she chatters over and over “dada, dada” I will just keep smiling and laughing like it’s the most adorable thing in the world and I will combat the piercing pain in my heart, I will fight the feelings of failure that come with not giving her a daddy here, with the promise that I know. My God is a father to the fatherless. My baby needs a daddy and if she never has an earthly one, she is still forever be marked on the palms of His hands. His precious daughter. His beloved child.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Love Your Neighbor

There is a reason I am the way I am, a reason for where my priorities lie. I will be the first to admit that I act impulsive, entitled and outrageously selfish more times than I can keep track of in a 24 hour period. I will never claim to be selfless or to truly understand sacrificial love the way we are commanded to. I will never claim that I am doing anything more that what God tells each of us to do, I am loving my neighbor. My neighbor who happens to be a beautiful brown baby, a child of God in need.

Once upon a time I could put the value of a human life on the same level as a favorite pet or television show or comfort food. Once upon a time I had the luxury of never having seen a child so starved that his bones practically pierced through his tissue paper skin. Once upon a time I had never seen a mother hand her daughter to a stranger in order to preserve her life. In a life before this one, it didn’t cross my mind that for every breath that entered and left me each day, another child became an orphan to a ruthless disease called AIDS. I used to fall asleep each night with no idea that 16,000 children had died that day because they didn’t have anything to eat, even if I had known it wouldn’t have meant much.

Because I hadn’t held them, I hadn’t sat up with them at night watching their chest rise and fall, begging God for that next breath to come, I hadn’t bathed their lifeless bodies and placed them into a coffin or cardboard box or old suitcase to be buried in a cemetery where no one would visit.

DSC05986April 2012 (542)

I didn’t know their names or their stories. I didn’t know the feeling in the pit of my stomach that would overtake me the first time a child smiled and I knew, this one would not die, he would live. I didn’t know the absolute miracle of watching him run and play and splash in a blow up wading pool. I didn’t know what it was like to feed her the first bits of food she had eaten in days and watch her eyes light up.

 LynsOct20101_thumb1DSC07210April 2012 (23)image_1349120495166936

These images, burned into my mind forever are the reasons that I am changed. They are why I am barely a memory of the person I used to be. Because once upon a time I didn’t know but now I do.  My eyes have been opened by the commandment of my Savior, to love my neighbor, more than my family, more than my home, more than my dog and more than myself.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Change The World


“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

Meet Mike.
Mike is 5 years old. He lives in an area of Leogane called Darbonne. Mike is entering Kindergarten and his favorite subject in school is singing.
Meet Solidad.
Solidad is 10 years old. She lives in an area of Leogane called Signeau. Solidad is going into the 3rd grade. She loves to draw and has impeccable handwriting.
Solidad and Mike are beautiful, bright children who need help. They should be in school this year and if someone doesn’t help them they won’t be. Tuition, books and uniforms cost a total of $280usd per student. We need $560uds to make sure that both Solidad and Mike can go to school this year.

Mike could be a teacher, an engineer, a pastor. Solidad dreams of being a doctor, she could do it. She be the one to rise out of a landscape of tin and tarps to make a difference for her people. Solidad and Mike are the hope that this country has. Will you give them a chance to change the world?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Little One

Today was hard. Not extraordinary, just hard.

Today I was homesick and I let my mind wander to the “what if’s” What if I could just hop on a plane with my baby and fly away for a while. What if I could just have a break, a few hours of coffee with my sister. What if I could just sit with my mom and watch her hold my daughter in her arms. What if I wasn’t “stuck” in this place.

And then I was crabby. I was on edge because someone didn’t speak to me the way I though they should. I was frustrated and snappy.

And I was tired! Annabel didn’t sleep well last night and I would give just about anything for a nap.

Sometimes, in the middle of this crazy world I still manage to forget just how difficult it is. I get caught up in the blessing of incredible friends, material comforts and my sweet baby girl. I get frustrated when things aren’t just so and I forget to look at the world just in front of me.

And while I easily forget, moments present where I have no choice but to remember. Some days I am reminded harshly that this world is hurting. Full of pain and broken in sin.

Late Tuesday night a baby boy died. He was tiny, malnourished and sick but oh my, was he beautiful! 6 days ago his papa handed him to me to feel his slight weight in my hands, yesterday I handed back to him a tiny box.

This afternoon I went to visit the NICU for a much needed lift in my spirits. I didn’t find it. Instead I found our nurses gathered frantically around an incubator. 3 or 4 pairs of hands at a time reaching for different equipment. Administering different medications and checking stats. Standing back and watching her slip away I have never felt so aware of my own blood cursing through my veins. As they listened for her heartbeat my own pounded in my ears. I watched the clock and as that second hand crept around and around, we all knew, she was gone.

For the second time in 2 days I opened a bin of clothing that we keep and pray to not need. For the second time in 2 days I cradled a tiny little treasure and for the first time in a long time I let the tears fall. We like to think that these children are “ours” that for some reason we have a right to them but I am reminded once again that they are His and He is the one who holds their every breath.

I wrapped up the little pink blanket and I walked out of that room discouraged and frankly, a little angry. “I don’t get it, I never will and I don’t want to do it anymore.”

Tonight, because my sweet Jesus knew how badly my heart needed to hear from Him, we sat in worship. Singing His praise, the words that flowed from my mouth ripped into my heart.

“All of my ambitions, hopes and plans, I surrender these into Your hands…For it's only in Your will that I am free…All for Jesus.”

Not for me. It’s not for the lives I see resorted or the tiny bodies I see buried. It’s not for the blessing of a baby girl in my life or the heart wrenching pain of a son who was once mine but isn’t anymore. It’s not for strength, weakness, sorrow or joy. It’s not for the stories I have to tell or the eyes that are opened to this place called Haiti. It’s all for Jesus because, if it wasn’t I would have given up a long, long time ago.

Only in His will am I free to hand it all to him, over and over again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fall Newsletter

I'm working on my fall newsletter! If you aren't on the mailing list or haven't received a newsletter recently please shoot me an email so I know to add you to the list! rhyanbuettner at gmail dot com.

And...just to make the post worth looking at I'll leave you with this precious smile!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Up On The Mountain

This spring my dog ran away. She came all the way from Minnesota with me last fall and as much as I don't like to admit it, I really loved her. She was consistent. She was a bit of home. She was a pain in my butt, but for some reason, I loved her.

And then she ran away. She was gone, and it sucked but that's life and crap happens.

Just a few weeks after Sota ran away it was obvious that God was leading me away from the place that I thought I would be for a long time. Away from my very first grow up, all on my own home in Haiti. I didn't understand it but I knew it was happening. God told me to trust Him and I said I did, but truly, I didn't. Instead I stuck my nose and my plans in where they had no business. I worked with every little bit of my weak and untrusting heart to make sure that I took care of ME. I made MY plans, put in MY opinion and took care to try and control MY life. I said I trusted Him but when it came down to it I didn't.

If there is a lesson that I have learned over and over again it is that HIS plans are not MY plans and HIS plans are always, 100% entirely more than I could have ever dreamed or imagined. They are always good. But then I have to get in there and make sure that I am involved. That I dig around in the dirt trying frantically to make something beautiful out of the mud that I find myself in.

Trusting, wholeheartedly in God, it is scary. Not trusting Him is even scarier. It is painful and full of disappointment. It is a path of broken dreams and crazy, crooked gravel roads that dig into your bare feet and tender heart. It is a path that leads in pointless circles. It is a place that I don't ever want to be again.

Because I chose to make my own plans, instead of waiting on God, the last few months have been rough! I am thankful for the lessons I learned and I know that God created some beautiful bits of my spirit in the place I took myself to, but I do not believe that this spring is what He intended for me. Do I believe that He left me there to live in my mistakes? Not at all! I know that He used my time for good but I also believe that, had I listened to HIS peace, had I waited in patience I would have missed a load of pain and heartache.

In mid May I left the organization I had partnered with just 2 months earlier. Living and volunteering in a ministry, you see the inner workings of the place. The things I saw while a part of that mission were, unfortunately, not the things that I want to tie my heart to in this land. They were not what I felt like God had prepared me for and they were not what I felt like I could put 100% of myself into.

So I rushed myself into a place that God was not calling me to and I made a mess and found myself, once again in a position of fear and anxiety vs trust. But God, who proves himself faithful over and over again, pulled me out of myself and blessed me with His plans. In a huge surprise to me those plans brought me back to the very place where this crazy Haiti journey started.

On May 15th Annabel and I moved into room 5 at God's Littlest Angels. Back to the mountain. Back to the place where I first fell in love with this country. Back to the very land where I stood when I was broken to the lesson of trust that He is still teaching me every single day. I could never have imagined that I would find myself in the place again, I still don't really have any idea why. I do know that I am here. That I am being blessed with amazing friends, beautiful weather and a bit of a "break" from the strain of the last 2 years. I am finding passion for work that I never even blinked at before. I am remembering why I fell in love with Haiti and I am being blessed with the time to get back to "that place".

Annabel has a great nanny who takes care of her while I am working in the office during the day. My job has been to oversee the applications for the school sponsorship program, preparing for the next school year. I love it. We are cozy in our little room. We are having fun with some of the best friends I could have asked for. We are getting to know precious little babies and falling in love with them. We are happy, healthy and comfortable. Not things necessary for life, I've learned that lesson a million times over, but they sure do make for a wonderful season.

In the past 2 years I have been alone, more alone than I knew was possible. There were days and even weeks at a time when I didn't have anyone on this earth to turn to. No one but God. It wasn't comfortable, it wasn't easy but oh, it was beautiful! There were hours of darkness, with no electricity being turned on for the 8th day in a row where I thought that I would lose it. Hours with nothing to do but huddle next to the kerosene lamp and search The Word for promises that I knew He had made me. It wasn't comfortable, it wasn't easy but oh, it was beautiful! That life was lonely and dark and it was HARD but it was beautiful. Now that it's over I find myself longing for it again. In those years, in the middle of the road I was on, I couldn't even begin to imagine I would one day be in a place where I would long for those things. Somedays now I do. The loneliness that brought me to my Saviors side. The darkness that forced me to crawl in his light, all of it changed my heart in ways I never knew existed. Those are the things that brought me closer to Him than ever before, when I had nothing but Him I learned that I really didn't need anything else.

God brings me seasons and in this one, filled with physical comfort and surrounded by an amazing group of fellow followers, He is no farther from me than He was on those days when I cried alone in my small, empty house. In this season it would be easy for me to forget where I was when He was closest to my heart. How easy it is to turn to our own ways when we don't physically need His presence in our lives. I pray with all of my might that I remember the darkness from which I have come and the faithfulness I experienced during those long, difficult months. I pray in thanksgiving that my God holds me always, in the pits of my disobedience or high on the mountain of faithful trust, I was never once anywhere but in His hands.

My job here at GLA will be reevaluated in the next few weeks (I was brought here in a temporary position) I don't know what will happen. I know that He is faithful. I know that whatever it is, He is the only thing I can count on as constant as I struggle to live this life of full surrender.

Will you pray that I would trust? It's not easy, I want to take it into my own hands and yet, I've seen how that works for me. I need to give it up and while  today I sit here and remember how necessary it is, tomorrow my human mind will fight it and I will need to boss my heart into submission to His will. I have to do it every day. Too many times my humanness wins... I am praying that I will have the wisdom to hear His voice and follow His call for our family, will you pray for us too?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Last 6 Months

I haven’t posted a single photo of Annabel in 6 months!
This should make up for it!
February 2012 (82)
February 2012 (120)
February 2012 (266)
March 2012 (1)
Getting ready to crawl!
March 2012 (202)March 2012 (255)
First twists.
March 2012 (17)
Still a little small for the car.


May 2012 (40)SONY DSCDSC_0864SONY DSC
Flag Day.
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At the beach.