Sunday, July 25, 2010

God's lesson

A couple weeks ago I was very much aware of a lesson God was teaching me. Sometimes I feel like I'm not aware of His lessons or aware of them later than I should have been.

I was in a bit of a leadership role and things were pretty busy. Not chaotic, but busy. One lady was very smiley when we were face to face, but phone conversations and emails were another matter. She was very critical of the job being done...and not just my job, in fact, very little to do with anything I could control. Anyway, she would tirade, but then when we saw each other again, she was all smiles. It was odd. But that's a little beside the point. During that same week, I received some other news. Nothing that had anything to do with her or anything I was sharing publicly, but not news that was all warm and fuzzy.

It made me remember, I never have any idea what someone else is dealing with in their life. Maybe they're sharing it with others. Maybe they're not. Maybe I would be in that circle, maybe I wouldn't. It doesn't matter if it's the waitress at Chili's or a parent of a student or my neighbor or a close friend. The Lord was reminding me to treat others like I would want to be treated...ALL the time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Haiti: Part I of...I'm not sure yet

Most of you know I recently traveled to Haiti. This was a scouting trip of sorts to make plans for a full-on trip in March. MJ and I were VERY BLESSED to be able to take this trip. We have outlined a sketch of what the March trip will look like (construction and medical) and made lists of supplies that are needed and supplies to avoid.

Most of you that read my blog have probably already received the below in an email. Each day of the trip, we wrote a brief post of that day's events. When we travel in March, we will do the same thing. These posts can be found on the church's mission blog. Over the next few days, I hope to compile more of an emotional reaction to the time in Haiti. This is more of the nuts and bolts of it all. Thank you for your patience as I process through the trip. Thank you for your prayers as we traveled!

I'm adding a few pictures throughout this post. They're not necessarily from that day or events, but they do represent Haiti.

A baby girl standing in the doorway of her one room house.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
We had a bit of a delay in Houston and missed our connecting flight. It was the last flight to Fort Lauderdale of the night, but the Lord is full of provisions and we were rerouted to Miami! However, our bags did not make it. Thankfully, we had been instructed to pack our clothing in our carryons but the missing luggage included all the food and medical supplies we were bringing.
A short 20 minute drive to Fort Lauderdale, we fell into bed in the wee morning hours.

A couple of sweet boys that weren't quite sure how to respond to us.

Thursday, July 8, 2010
The Lord multiplied our sleep and we were able to arrive at the airport in the nick of time…literally! They closed the international flight check-in right after us (and we walked straight up the desk, past a REALLY LONG line of passengers!) We traveled through security quickly and met up with the Austin group of 12 at our gate. That flight went very smoothly and we’re in Haiti! The team and the family here at Haiti Bible Mission have all been so welcoming! We have already made friends, shared laughs and concerns with traversing a new country. MJ is the only one of the 14 of us that have ever been to Haiti before, so it is a new experience for us all!
We just ate a DELICIOUS dinner of rice with beef stew topping and plantains and petta. Absolutely yummy! Dave Stockeland, the HBM Director, led devotions this evening and asked us to ask ourselves questions when we’re reading God’s Word. “Is there a command I need to obey? Is there a promise I need to claim? Is there an example I need to follow? Is there an example I need to avoid? Does this show me something about the Lord? About myself?” These are questions we plan to ask ourselves in the coming days through our personal devotions.
Thank you for your prayers! Haiti does not participate in Daylight Savings Time, so we’re on the same time clock y’all are! It’s 7:30 right now and we’re planning to shower and go to bed!
Alyssa and MJ

Isn't she precious! Lord, remind me to pray for these children!

Friday, July 9, 2010
We awoke this morning to roosters and the clicking of donkey hoofs outside our window (at 5:30am)! After a yummy breakfast of pancakes and pineapple, the men cut and removed nails from long pieces of wood. This wood later in the morning would be used to construct support for a tin roof at a gym that Mark Stockeland works out at–for $3 a month! This gym is more of a work out room, and the weights are recycled car parts (the bars were axles, the weights on either end are gears from big trucks). Construction at the gym attracted quite a crowd, but many of the onlookers jumped right in and helped us paint or nail the boards together. We returned to the mission house to eat lunch and sort the medical supplies the Austin team brought. Ours are sitting hopefully in Houston in our lost bags. This afternoon we drove about 45 min up to the mountains to the Stockeland's home church. The church is on the outskirts of a village nestled in the woods. Beyond the woods is a river. Near the river bank, there is a huge soccer field. Mark had arranged a soccer game with the teenage boys of the village to play against our team, along with the boys that live on the compound with the Stockeland family. Both teams played a great game! There was a convention going on at the church tonight, and will continue with 4 services tomorrow, and ending on Sunday morning. We were able to meet and pray for the pastor of the church, Pastor Eric, after the service tonight. He was so excited to stand next to MJ because finally he was taller than someone!!!! It was such a blessing to be able to pray over Pastor Eric. The precious Haitian girls prepared another wonderful dinner. We’re LOVING the native food! Pastor Dave leads devotions each night and asked specifically that any who share would use the pronouns ‘I and me,” making it more meaningful…more personal. Stop and think: When you hear someone sharing what the Lord has taught you, and they use “we” or “they” it doesn’t mean as much as when they use “I” and “me.” Something to change in our own conversations.
The Austin group is heading to another camp tomorrow where they will spend the night. We will stay here in town before leaving Sunday morning.
We appreciate all prayers! Love you all!
MJ and Alyssa

There was an Auburn fan or two on our team, so this one made several people smile.

Saturday, July 10, 2010
Today has been a fun day beginning with taxi rides on ‘motos’ to the market! We walked around fresh fruit, vegetables, fish markets and butcher shops. A very interesting and awesome experience! The fresher the meat, the more flies. Yumm! It was great to see Mark interact with his valued sellers. He explained that he does shop at various vendors at times to share the wealth, but really tries to be loyal to a few, specifically some that are believers knowing they can support their families and further the Kingdom.
From the market, we traveled back to yesterday’s construction site and continued our work on the roof and painting the posts. We finished that project when we ran out of supplies…a few more sheets of tin are needed and Mark will handle that in the coming days.
MJ and Alyssa were able to talk to Mark and Dave about plans for a group’s trip in March and we are excited about our preparations. We look forward to helping to build a refugee house as well as set up a medical clinic in the same area as the construction workers. Lacey (Mark’s wife) said the construction will bring the people and then the clinic can help them!
This afternoon the rest of the Austin team left for an overnight trip to a village that is a 2 hour drive and a 1 1/2 hour hike. MJ and Alyssa stayed at the Stockeland’s house due to our early morning flight. We weatherproofed the metal gates to their garage and then helped Lacey with dinner.
We look forward to the upcoming months of planning and praying over our trip and the team that God already has in place.
Please pray for us as we travel tomorrow, in Haiti, by ourselves. The system the Stockeland’s have in place is very good, but we are still new to this!
Love you all and will talk to you when we arrive in Miami, approximately 7:00pm.
Alyssa and MJ

This is the airport in Jeremie!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Uncluttered = Calm

I didn't always understand, as a child, when Mom would talk about not being able to relax if there were things everywhere. I thought "Of course you can. You sit down. You relax. What's the big deal if there is clutter? How do the two (clutter and relaxation) have anything to do with each other? I understand. I am TOTALLY my mother's daughter!

I don't mind a little clutter. But eventually I have to pick it up. And I REALLY don't like it when the clutter builds up and up and up...and goes on and on and on.

The past month, I've had things in my apartment. I'm tutoring this summer, so some school materials came home for me to use. Some are in the dining room and some are in the living room. Discreet...but there.

Two different piles for a garage sale took up my living room for two weeks. The garage sale came and went and I got rid of all of that.

Then just a few days later, all the VBS craft supplies came home to stay. 5 boxes and a few bags were lined neatly up under my wall of clocks. Not in the way, but taking up space. Gradually a few would find their way to a different home, but the pile remained. Haiti food supplies were next. A different corner had peanut butter, pancake syrup, bandaids, Tylenol, Desitin, stickers, bubbles, and you get the idea!

I love VBS and I am thrilled and beyond blessed to go to Haiti.

But I was ready for my home to be calm.

MJ and I packed all the food and medical supplies for Haiti on Saturday. One corner clear! The suitcases are sitting along my bookshelf, but it's not piles!

Andrew loaded all the VBS boxes in to his car today, so that cleared out the whole living room!

I put a lot of the school/tutoring materials (from the dining room) in my car to drop off at school tomorrow. I brought a lot more home than I needed, just not sure what all we would use, so I'm returning what I don't need.

Not everything is back in place. There are still some piles that need to be 'put away,' but overall I'm feeling a little more at home and less chaotic.

I know. tree.