Follow us, following Him.

"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it." ...Well, why don't you ask Him?... "Because I'm afraid He would ask me the same question."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Divine Appointment

Sometimes God puts you in the exact right place at the exact right time…That is what He did a few weeks ago in Haiti.  We were meeting with some sponsored families for Isaiah61, Schelda’s family in particular, and spent quite a bit of time hanging out at her house.  I felt compelled to ask a lot of questions and had several different feelings stirring in me.  I felt sad, worried, happy, grateful, loved, noticed, rewarded, aware, and on and on.  My brain was so consumed with Schelda that I had a hard time focusing… Yet God still made me notice them.  

Two sisters.  I had met one of them before.  I am not exactly sure of their names or ages, but they are the daughters of the pastor “up the mountain”.  So brilliant.  So helpful.  The older daughter had been the one that was in charge of helping us filter through and find the families that were in the most desperate need for our sponsorship program.  

At this point I didn't know anything about her except that she was helping us with the sponsorship program for Isaiah61...

Little did I know that the tables would be turned…

She went from being in charge of finding families, to being a child that needed school.  She put herself before everyone else.  She would never tell me that she needed school, but God told me to ask the questions.  

“Are you going to school?”  Yes was her answer.  (ask her where…)
“Where are you going to school?” Port Au Prince (my heart sank…)
“Why are you going to Port to go to school instead of going here?” Because we do not have the money for me to go here and a relative has offered to pay for school in Port Au Prince. (i all of a sudden feel sick…)
“When are you leaving?” Tomorrow (do something now…)

For what seemed like an eternity, I did not say anything.  My mind flooded with all of the things that could happen to her if she goes to school in Port. (safety, restavak, sex trafficking, death, sickness, pregnancy). There are so many stories of kids that come from the countryside to go to Port Au Prince in hopes of a better life and they end up pregnant, sick, malnourished, and so on.

Don’t wait Amy. Do something.  

“I will help you if you want to stay and go to school in Moreau.”  (no words, just a huge smile...)
“Would you like to do that?” (no words, a giant head nod and a hug that I will never forget…)

Both her and her sister were suppose to be traveling to Port Au Prince the very next day, but God had a divine appointment for the 3 of us.  

Friday, May 30, 2014

my job is to love

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"  

How many of us have heard this a gazillion times?  I am sure we all have and we ask small children the same.  Me personally, without a "working career", I still continue to hear it.  

In the past 2 weeks God has shown me exactly what my job looks like.  He wants me to love.  I was MADE to love.  

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7
 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  1 John 3:16-18.
 Be on guard.  Stand firm in the faith.  Be courageous.  Be strong.  And do everything with love.  1 Corinthians 16: 13-14
 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God.  Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.  But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  1 John 4:7-8.
 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  Matthew 22:37-39.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3: 16.

I have finally figure out what I am made to do.  Love.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Broken and Healing

this is like nothing i have every experienced before.  brokenness.

I just returned from my 12th trip to haiti and i have seen, heard, and felt things on this trip that i cannot keep quiet about.

I don't even know where to begin.

We tried to go to the government run hospital two different times and were unsuccessful.  But we felt His nudging to keep trying.  On friday afternoon, we made it there at about 230 pm.  We walked down a paved street lined with sheet metal walls.  This road was maybe 20 ft wide and would have been very tricky to have two cars drive through.   As we walked, carrying our lotion and wipes for washing the hands and feet of people the Lord put in front of us, we had no idea what we were about to see.  We crossed over into an areas that was dirt and grass and trash and continued to follow the path He had laid out for us.  We had no idea where we were going.  We were trusting the hospital staff to lead us to the abandoned adult room that we had come specifically to visit.  (Honestly I just wanted to go see the babies because holding them and kissing them is enough to make them happy).

We finally got to the place where the adults were housed.  We walked up a ramp into a 40X40 room, tin roof and sides, concrete floor, and 12-15 abandoned people housed there.  We were all in shock at the conditions.  Some of the lucky ones had a 2 inch mattress to lay on, directly on the floor.  Many others were just on a sheet or directly on the concrete floor.  Some were clothed; some were not.  Some could talk; some could not.

One man was covered in flies, laying directly on the floor in the corner, completely naked... moaning in pain.

Left to die. Absolutely left there to die.

They all have a story.  I was struggling to ask any questions because I was simply too afraid at the thought of knowing.  Knowing how they got there.  Knowing how they have been treated.

One girl, probably late teens or early twenties, I connected with right away.  I walked through the door and her eyes met mine.  Big brown gorgeous eyes that looked deep into my soul.  She seemed handicapped, sitting with her legs folded out like a little kid does.  I sat down right next to her on her soiled mattress, grabbed her hands, and started singing in her ear.  When I was finished singing "10,000 Reasons" in creole, I asked her to sing to me.  She proceeded to sing a song in da da form that sounded a bit like the first two lines of "this is the day".  (This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made...)  As she was singing, she would rock back and forth and hold tightly to my hands.  The same tune for an entire hour.  :)  She seemed to be in heaven.  We had a special connection.  I don't know her name, age or any piece of her story, but I know her song.

Today the hospital was planning to tear down that room.  I trust that they were all successfully moved to another part of the hospital, but one can never be sure.  Lord protect those frail bodies.  Grant them a healing that only you can give.  Restore their souls as my sweet singing girl restored mine.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

the path

i hate sitting still.  it makes me crazy.  i NEED something to do.
i have always been this way... ask my parents.  if it is not one thing, it's another.  so this idea of resting is hard for me.

i'm called, i feel it.  but wait????  i struggle with that.  so many times in the scripture the Lord tells us to wait.  what is He trying to teach us/me in this waiting time? i know that He has a purpose during this time and i will continue to seek Him for wisdom and discernment.  if i can hear His reply.

lately i've been asking Him to speak to me in my dreams.  He has been and sometimes it scares me.  sometimes i want to take it back and say, "nevermind Lord, just kidding, i really just want to sleep tonight".  but i have come to the conclusion that it is really hard to listen with the business of life.  i know He is there.  i know he is listening.  i KNOW he is talking.  i just can't hear Him.  that is sad, and almost depressing that i cannot be quiet, or stay put long enough to actually hear Him loud and clear.  i'm not saying that i don't hear him during the day, just that i struggle.

so, haiti.  education.  so so broken for the cycle of poverty and feel like the way out has something to do with education.  specifically women's education...
where do we go Lord?  show us the way.  we have this brokenness, and in His Word He tells us that when our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we don't know what to do.  (Proverbs 24:12)


we feel like our eyes are opened and we want to act. we hear the call.  show us the path.  we are following your lead, Lord.  

“Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know and holds us responsible to act…” Proverbs 24:12

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

almost 2 years

February 20-27, 2012 was my first trip to Haiti.

What?  It has only been 2 years??  I feel as if I have been traveling there a lot longer than that.  He continues to soften my heart for what He has.  I have just returned from my 10th trip and I fall more in love with the country each visit.

This last trip I thought God was opening doors for what ever may be next for our family in Haiti, and then He gently closed the door.  He is loving and good and closes doors.

I am confused.  It has been 2 years.  I feel a calling, yet I sit on the couch with my laptop and talk about confusion.

I know during this time He is making a path that is perfect for us.  He has gone ahead to prepare a way for us.  When we try to prepare the way for ourselves it ends in a mess.  We know.  We tried that.

People keep talking about the waiting period.  The waiting room.  The hallway between the doors that have closed.  Time of rest.  Be still.  Hang tight.

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.
 Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.(Psalms 27:14 NLT)

I HEAR YOU!!!  and I want just a glimpse of what is to come.  Just a bit.  A blink.  An idea.

Be present today.  What is going on today that God is wanting us to be present in?

The other day Xan came home from school crying because the girls in her classroom were complaining about the school lunch.  The mac n cheese was appalling, according to ALL of her classmates.  She felt sad and told them that for sure it wasn't THAT bad... With big eyes they responded, "YES, it is THAT bad!!".  My 11 year old daughter doesn't know what to do with situations like this... through tears she told me she was finished living in America.  And now, her mother doesn't know what to do with situations like this...

Henry decided he didn't want anything this year for his birthday.  Pou kisa? (why?) I asked.  He couldn't give me an answer.  I tried to find something that would be more meaningful to him and suggested we sponsor a child through World Vision.  A child that was born the same day he was.  Everything seemed good and then through tears in his eyes he told me he was worried that the money we would send wouldn't go straight to that child.  He asked me to start saving money for children in Haiti that we can bless instead.  What?? Once again, mother doesn't know what to do with situations like this...

It isn't just my heart that is broken.  Apparently God is working on little hearts as well.  So, what do I do as a broken momma with broken children?

Love Does.  Bob Goff has written a book that describes how we can live our lives doing and make something incredible out of ordinary.  I know that He wants me to DO while I am waiting.  It is not just thoughts and feelings.  It is action. What does that look like today?

Today is Henry's birthday.  We had French Toast for dinner, just because.  Yesterday was Xan's birthday.  We had chili cheese fries for dinner, just because.  But I don't want things to happen just on their birthdays, just because.  How can my just because be played out in my daily life?

Coffee with a friend, just because.
Random loving text, just because.
Drop everything and go help a friend in need, just because.
Send money to a missionary, just because.
Tricky conversation with someone you care deeply about, just because.
Candlelight dinner, just because.
A wink, just because.
Pay for gas for a stranger, just because.
Smile, just because.

Just because might just change someone's life.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ou sonje mwen?

You remember me?

After being to Haiti 10 times in the last 2 years, this is a phrase that I have said on recent trips, seeing if people remember me being there before.  There are so many faces.  Honestly I struggle to remember them.  I am not gifted at all when it comes to remembering names, especially when there is a lot of stuff going on around me.

But...the momma with the 15 day old baby that changed my life about a year ago, I will NEVER forget.  She let us hold her brand new baby!!  Wow.  A group of white people coming into her section of Cite Soleil, the slums of Port Au Prince, Haiti, and she allowed us to hold her baby.  She was not a mother desperate to find a better life for her baby, attempting to give it away to us.  Instead she stayed close by our side, watching every move we made, protecting her sweet gift from God.  Her baby was all wrapped up in clean blankets and had a knitted green and white hat on... beautiful.

February 2013 (15 days old)
We all prayed that God would protect that sweet sweet face.  But, it is Cite Soleil.  It is dark and desperate there.  Not a good chance this baby will make it past 3 months.  We were told by other missionaries that many mommas in Haiti do not name their babies until after they are 3 months old, understanding that there is a very good chance they will not survive.  I don't remember if this baby girl had a name.  I would like to think that she did by the way she was loved and taken care of, in the hopes that she will survive.

I have been back to that particular section in the Cite three times since first meeting "her".  I always look for them.  I know that I will not recognize the baby, but hope that the mother will "sonje" me.

One week ago today, I saw the mom.  I recognized her.  I asked her in creole if she remembered me!  She said yes and that we held her baby when she was very tiny.  Only God.

February 2014 (1 year old!)
Sweet Christina is thriving!  She looks healthy and well taken care of!  Mom was breast feeding her while we were talking, so I was able to tell her how amazing that was and that her "Christina" would be strong because of the nursing.  I told her that the milk she had was the perfect food for her baby.  She smiled and gave me a big hug.

I have been praying for a year.  This baby changed my life, and continues to.

I told her I would be back soon and that I would remember her... and pray for her.

Mwen sonje ou! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

From start to finish

Sometimes in America we think we are helping, but yet there is a piece of us that is unsure if our help or donation is actually going where we think it is...

We just returned from a trip to Haiti on Monday February 3 and we were able to see the mouths that were being fed by the Feed My Starving Children meals packaged in the U.S. !!  It was amazing.

Feed My Starving Children is an organization that packages meals for kiddos to eat in impoverished countries.  Contents are rice, soy, chicken, veggies... This is a dry meal that is cooked with water and can feed several tummies.

This week in Haiti we had the opportunity to visit Haitian Initiative, a soccer program  for the children in Cite Soleil (the most dangerous place in the world as stated by the United Nations).  The children play organized soccer after school and then get a meal when they are finished with practice.

Feed My Starving Children...

So many little mouths to feed.  They open many packets of the food, mix the appropriate amount of water in, cook in LARGE pots,

and serve the children a bowl of food.

They seemed so happy to be receiving a hot meal, and we were excited to see that the volunteer work done at home and the food is actually going to places such as this.

Three days later we went to deliver water into the same slums and I happened to have a little girl hanging on my shirt that was eating the leftovers of the dry food right out of the bag.  I will never forget her eyes and hoped that through that food... life.


I know that life is more than food, something the Haitians are constantly teaching me.

"That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life-- whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear.  For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing..."  Luke 12:22-23.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Adrenaline rush

Every time.  Sunday night before taking a new team to visit the country I love.

I can't sleep.  My heart races thinking about the beautiful faces of the Haitians I have fallen in love with.

I count down the hours.  Making sure every thing is in place here in Minnesota.

What will God teach us this week?  We are empty.  Empty vessels waiting to be filled with you.

Break our hearts for what breaks yours, Lord.

This week we put in your hands...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

keep seeing, livesay blog

This is a blog from a family living in Haiti doing amazing things through Him.  Please read and allow the words to sink deep into your core.  

keep seeing

To my left, out the window, a man with crumpled legs lies on the sidewalk in the sun. I see him.

His hair is matted and tinted a peculiar orange. His clothes stained so badly their original color is unknowable.

Flies land freely on his face, his hands. 

His life is this.

Sitting against a wall, watching men and women and children go by; he watches life happen from his prison. Trapped in a body that doesn't cooperate and a mind that won't allow him to communicate at all, he sits.

He is a reminder that many things lie outside of our solutions, outside of our abilities, outside of all our talk. I have no answers. I have no ability to fix it, there is no "justice" for him.

I see him.
I cannot fix it.

~          ~          ~

To my right, an older man pushing a wheelbarrow as I walk past him.  I've come to know him a little bit. 

Well, that is a stretch. 

I've come to know his name. 

I see him. I greet him, "Bonjour Marcel".  "He keeps his eyes forward and replies, "Bonjour Madame". 

Marcel is what many folks might describe as 'slow'.  He keeps his head down and quietly, daily, always faithfully, does his work.

His job is coming to pick up trash from middle class families. Marcel walks the trash about two miles away where he can dump it.  He does this by hand, on foot, just he and his trusty wheelbarrow.  Over and over again. Day after day after day.

People call him "Mesye fatra" - or - Mr. Trash. That is why I have decided it is important we know his real name.

His life is this.

Taking people's garbage away in his wheelbarrow. Walking miles in heat, mud, dust, and traffic. Coming home to eat a little, sleep a few hours, then wake up and do it again tomorrow.

Marcel can move. Marcel can work.  He may be suffering from an incomplete development of his mind, but Marcel is making a small wage. His grueling work hasn't meant a climb up a corporate ladder to success, but it has meant a meal most days and a place to lie his head at night.

Marcel is a reminder that life is not fair, and poverty steals much. I have no better ideas for Marcel. He's not headed to a promotion or an earthly reward for his diligence.

I see him. 
I cannot fix it.

~          ~           ~

In front of me at the Maternity Center is a pregnant woman.  She is nervous and shy.

The other midwives and nurses tell me she is really doing well. I should have seen her when she first arrived on the doorstep, they say.

Her story has been shared with me in fragmented pieces by my co-workers. Abuse. Poverty. Servitude. She is pregnant but has been so used that she cannot say which man might be the father. It matters not. She is not interested in knowing him anyway.

She seems mainly accepting that this little life within her womb is heading full-speed-ahead toward delivery day, toward life outside the walls. She has begun to trust a few people, although I know I'm not among them yet.

She will deliver later this spring, during a time of year that signifies birth, new life, and resurrection.

For her, there are a few things we can do.  We can show up weekly and at her delivery. We can support and encourage in those difficult early weeks and months.  We can believe in the metaphorical significance of her spring time birth. We can choose love. We can be love. 

We see her. 
We cannot fix everything, but we can fix some things.

~          ~          ~

In my room, lying on my bed, my son is crying.  

"What is wrong, son? Why are you so very sad?" 

He pours out his sorrow in words and in tears.  I listen.  I empathize. I listen some more.

He wants to be comforted and I have been given all the gifts necessary to provide him with the perfect words of assurance and comfort.  

I see my son. 
I cannot fix everything, but I can fix some things. 

~           ~          ~

This is life.  Seeing sorrow. Seeing want.  Doing what we can.  Seeing sorrow. Seeing need. Refusing to stop seeing it, even when our lack of ability to fix it frustrates us.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Miracles still happen

My last trip to Haiti left me with one word for several reasons... Miracle.

Ben wasn't suppose to be on this trip, but God made it very clear, through a series of events that he should go... Miracle.

Everyone on our team was either physically, emotionally or spiritually attacked by the devil and had a legitimate reason to stay home.  We didn't... Miracle.

The most life changing of events that took place during our trip was also a miracle.  We arrived at stop #26 in Cite Soliel to deliver water to the people there and they came running, desperate for it.  Skinny street, many people, too many buckets to count, people upset because there wasn't even a chance they were going to get water before the truck ran out.

I was holding the water hose, Ben and Tim were handling the buckets.  At one point I looked down the line and saw what seemed to be an infinite number of buckets.  Sadness overflowed my heart.  There wasn't any way we could provide what they needed that day, not even water.

The Bible story about Jesus feeding the 5000 came to my mind... Lord you provided then, provide now.  I trust you.

Then the water "ran out", or so I thought.  We looked up and the water truck workers had turned the water off because there were no more buckets left to fill.  WHAT???  We left stop #26 with water still in the truck.  A miracle...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Follow me

"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34-35
 I am reading the book Follow Me by David Platt.  Another one of those books that rocks me to my core.
But what does follow me really mean?
~Every moment of every day.
~Death to pride
~Death to ego
~Completely aware of His presence.
~Not a spectator.
~Not a consumer.
~Denial of earthly pleasures.
~Willing to follow, to the deep dark places.
~Give up my family?
~Death to self.
~Surrendering everything.
~Refusing to settle for anything less than the best for Him.

How Lord?

It took me 37 years to find my passion. My first mission trip to Haiti was almost 2 years ago and I cannot even fathom my life without Haiti now.  

I wake up thinking about it.  
Throughout the day I sing songs in creole.
I go to sleep praying for the people there.  So many have touched my heart and if it wasnt for the stirring of His spirit to go, my life would be completely different.  

Follow me... through which door?

Open doors for us, Lord.  (and close them as you see fit).

I will take up my cross each day, knowing that it looks different each day to do that, and trust you to be my guide.