Friday, March 25, 2011

"How do you describe Indescribable?"



“Incredible.” “Amazing.” “Fulfilling.” “Awesome.” “Beyond words.” “Mountain top.” “Indescribable.” At the end of our time in Haiti, we all circled as a group, hearts weighing heavy with sorrow knowing our time quickly passed and is now ending, and we shared it all. We talked about what expectations we had, and how greatly they were exceeded. We discussed the changes we knew the Lord is trying to do in our lives and how sometimes he never gets through to us until we break from all the distractions in the world or have our eyes opened to the worst poverty on the planet. What will it take? That is a question I ask a lot. Sometimes I think God has to bring us to our knees before we even consider coming to Him. As each person in the team uttered great descriptive words that tried to capture an uncapturable experience, we realized that we were all striving to put words on something that there are not words for. Ron prayed, “How do you describe indescribable?” The reason for all of the bonds, all of the work, all of the moments that we will remember forever is because the entire week we were truly in the pure presence of God. Those who read this and don’t know what that really means, I honestly don’t know how to describe it. It is overwhelming. As hard as we try to describe the presence of God and the experiences we just shared during the week, we couldn’t. There are not words in any language to bring that to understanding. Trying to describe the presence of God to someone that has never known Him is like trying to describe a sunset to someone that has never seen color. How do you describe indescribable?

Haiti was worse than I imagined. The city is dark and broken. Dust and dirt coat lungs. Rubble is now everyday landscape. Drains and now bathing spots. Tents are now homes. Children are parentless and parents are childless. The word destruction does not come close to what our eyes have taken in. Through it all, somehow they have joy. The people shine bright smiles past their dark skin. Their eyes tell a story of brokenness, while at the same time, sharing a testimony of hope. The light of Christ, like never before, has begun to spread across the dark country of Haiti. Just as buildings are still being cleared and reconstructed, hope is born.


The work of our hands only accomplished small tasks this week, but our hearts and presence amongst the people I pray impacted them beyond words. We know we were impacted. About half way through the week, a few Haitian children and teenagers would join us each night for worship. Music would echo from my guitar and voices would rise throughout the room. Carlton and one of our new Haitian friends played percussion on red Igloo coolers. The cook’s son, Ishmael brought along his small deep toned guitar to assist in bass. Before we knew it a worship band had formed and sung praises to our Maker. Eighteen Americans and a handful of Haitians all sat in a giant tent making an anthem about the joy of our Salvation. Deborah, a girl about twelve years old pulled on Christi’s shirt and requested a song close to her heart. She didn’t know the English so she began to sing the tune in Creole. After the first line, smiles spread across our faces knowing the tune that she was singing was Heart of Worship. We laughed. We played. We sang English and they used the familiar words in their own tongue. Two languages clearly distinguished harmonized into one song. “I’m coming back to the heart of worship, it’s all about you, it’s all about you Jesus. I’m sorry Lord for the things I’ve made it, because it is all about you. It’s all about you Jesus.”

The last night as we tried to tell each other what the week had meant to each of us, we realized there were no words that could reach the summit of the mountain where we stood. We closed in prayer asking the Lord to remain in us and allow us to remain in him. Just before breaking to clean and pack, two of our new friends, Ishmael and Deborah, stood up with something to say. In broken quiet English Ishmael shared his heart, “We just want to thank. Thank you. For sharing with us. For let us play and sing. For spend time. For being here. We see Jesus.” Our hearts already on overflowing with love just poured over. He said, “we have something small for each.” Deborah opened her binder she gripped tightly in her hands, and revealed a gift that each of us will cherish forever. She had used her artistic gifts to create drawings unique for each person on the team. Each illustrated ample amounts of time and intricate design. Everyone in the room fought tears as she passed out the drawings in silence. She would smile and give a hug with each present. Once she returned to her seat, we all sat in a silence of awe.

A member of the team said, “I just saw God today.”

How do you describe indescribable?



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Inbetween


Sometimes…  I get so focused on ministry and missions, I forget about the people in between. I have schedules and phone calls, flights and destinations, and the people that get me there and help me along the way, I will often overlook. Becoming too focused on thigs that seem like good things, can make me miss the best opportunities in life. Why?! I say to myself that I am committing my life to ministry, but I don’t share Christ with those I pass in the airport, and sometimes don’t even smile at the lady selling me a seven dollar granola bar next to the gate I am about fly out. Regardless of what vocation we are in, whether it is behind the surgical mask, garage truck, or cockpit, we all have a calling. We miss it everyday we forget about the people in between.

I glanced at an awkward man next to the airport phone booth. He finishes his drink, as I was surprised to see whom he was talking to. Will and Conner, two guys on our trip that I have become very close with over the past years, are deep in conversation with the man.  I ease drop as I hear them giving this man hope in a situation that looks hopeless. They are telling him about how life with Christ is beyond what you can know before experiencing it first hand. I am blown away. These guys haven't even stepped foot into our destination and they are caring about someone in between. That is what it is about. That is truly "getting it." Impact has been made on us and on those around us just in the travel to Haiti. Honestly, impact like I have never seen it before.  These students… amaze me. All of them. Their faith, their boldness, their trust, their courage… I would do anything to have the faith they have when I was their age.

After boarding the plane bound towards Port-au-prince, we realize that it was full of about 90% mission teams. It was extremely uplifting being able to talk to others in the same route for the same reason. The new trip excitement began to set in.

Since I have been on a few flights before into the mission field, my new trip excitement doesn’t hit me like it used to. They call it the honeymoon phase. This time it wasn’t there much at all, which allowed God to impact my heart in a way he never has before, or a way I have never let him before.

After touching down on the runway, and weaving our way through customs, my heart was soon shattered walking out into the hot Haitian climate. The air is stiff and I can taste the humidity. My eyes first locked with a boy on the other side of a chain link fence that he happened to be gripping tightly while staring deep into me. Beggars lined the wall as we proceed through with our bags and bags of bags. Survivors may be a better word. Many of the men and children were missing limbs, which I am assuming was from he destruction that took place here nearly 2 years ago. It looks like it happened 2 weeks ago. Haiti is in shambles. Hopeless is a fitting word from the outer perspective. Buildings lay in ruins, people dressed in rags, and smells of sewage and poverty wreaked the air. Something I have never seen before…. countless fields stretching to the horizon of tents. Tents that are now homes to those that homes now lay in pieces. I still can’t believe the things we are seeing. Worse than I thought it would be. God is here though. We have seen it already. Hope is being restored to the hopeless.

So many more stories to come... 


Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Haitian Nation


Throughout life, chapters of life close and open. Some are joined with great joy and others deep heartache. Each one impacts who we are and the lens we see life through. Changes can shoot us into a tailspin if we aren’t set on a solid foundation. Change is the only constant in life, so why is it so hard to get used to? I don’t even feel like I have processed the experiences of the recently paused chapter of Costa Rica and today a new chapter is being penned in my life. Praise God (literally) that I am not the author of my story ever since I set my chapters on the Rock foundation.

So much is happening it is hard to wrap my mind around. Sometimes I don’t even believe it is real. Is this real life?

While gazing through the glare on my computer screen I am typing this on the way to Ft. Lauderdale to catch the next flight to Haiti. My eyes are heavy. 4:15 a.m. seemed to come earlier than it normally does. Once again, we are walking into an unknown land with foreign surroundings to see what God desires to do. Sometimes I wish I could tell people all these great plans and structures I see the Lord setting into place. My desire is to have it all figured out. Usually… that is not the case and I seldom see the end result, but I know when he is moving. He is moving. I pray that my transparency doesn’t cause doubt of what God is doing, but only shows how great He actually is. Plans for this world have been put into place for us to act on. Our “yes” has been uttered toward heaven and we are off to discover the next pages. We don’t step with ignorance but with complete trust knowing that when we put our faith in his faithfulness we can never lose. God is doing so many great things across the world. We have been so blessed to see it happen in Birmingham, Uganda, Montana, Costa Rica, and now…. Haiti.

If you will… pray for guidance. Pray for hearts. Pray for obedience. Pray that we are His hands, that we see with His eyes, and our heart breaks for what breaks His. Pray for His voice to be the only one I hear and the only one I follow. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lead Us Again


It seems like many of my blog posts are written while aboard planes. Like the others, I am now writing flying over the Caribbean Sea and attempting to break down the experiences that I have just left. New faces, events, languages, and cultures have flooded my mind. Though I cannot see it fully yet, God is up to something that is so much bigger than me or any individual project. I am excited to watch it unfold and eager to see what is going to come around the next turn. Regardless, I know it will greater than all I could ask or imagine. That is how God works. He always amazes. Ephesians 3:20



The past two weeks have been beyond encouraging. After spending time in San Isidro with Will and Yolanda, I spent the last two weeks with Will Faircloth, a missionary in San Jose, Costa Rica. Entirely different, entirely new, and an entirely awesome experience, I tried to soak in every second. Will and his wife Ella are in the process of building a children’s home just outside of San Jose. They are partnered with another couple, and each brings teams from the United States all year to continue work on this home for Costa Rica’s children in need. These are pictures of the home and this is also the place Sozo is talking about partnering with in Costa Rica. Will also teaches in the seminary in Costa Rica and holds a children’s club every Saturday in the slums that teaches about Christ. Both Wills I stayed with during this time in Costa Rica are incredibly Godly men. There focus is following Christ, living the Gospel, and building the Kingdom. (God continue to shape me in that way).




(I actually typed this post a few weeks ago) But now that today has rolled around, I have realized the significance in the date. Today is March 10th, otherwise just another day, but March 10th last year was not just ordinary day for Jay Clark. Most of you know, Jay is one of my best friends that lead the way into Uganda on this exact day one year ago. I can’t believe it has only been a year. I feel like I have aged a decade. The experiences that have passed in this year I never would have dreamed. I would have laughed if someone would have said something in advance. I remember vividly watching Jay hug his sisters the night before in the parking lot in the pouring rain as they all cried and said goodbyes. It was like a movie scene. I had to turn away. Jay stepped out onto the water, when everyone else told him it was crazy. Jay had faith and trusted in the Lord to guide every step, even when it seemed uncertain. Neither of us knew what to expect, but God had so many plans already penned on the pages of life eagerly waiting to exceed our imagination. Jay is now about to get married to a beautiful Godly woman, and I know him and his new wife will always glorify God in all they do and live for Him everyday. It is great to see. Love you brother.



Sozo Children International is continually working through the daily trials and joys of ministry. Some days are mountaintop, the next are valleys, but everyday we are trusting in God’s faithfulness to direct every step. Currently, we are talking with the missionaries on the ground in Costa Rica to discern how Sozo is going to get involved in a Costa Rica project and begin caring for children in Latin America. God is opening doors like we never imagined. Please be prayerful that healthy partnerships are created and overall the name of Jesus is glorified and children that otherwise would not, will have a family, a home, and a life.


We are also about to send out four mission teams on Saturday. Into the nations we go heading to Costa Rica, Uganda, Montana, and for the first time… Haiti. Please be in prayer for God’s will to be done, Kingdom to be built, and guidance for our teams.