Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tell What You Have Seen #ifgathering2016

Tell What You Have Seen #ifgathering2016

     A few weeks ago I hosted an IF:Local for a small group of women. This was my 3rd time to participate in IF. The first year was just me and my computer watching the livestream in the middle of the night when everyone else in my house was asleep.  The second year was with our church (at the time), and this year we met at the BSU on the campus of ENMU. I feel personally connected to IF, even though I have no connections other than as a participant, because about 10 years ago God gave me a dream and IF seems like the promise of that dream coming to be. Anyway, this year Shelley Giglio was one of the speakers.  When she was finished speaking I told my discussion group, “If I were a speaker, my talks would be very much like Shelley’s. She is pretty even-tempered, as am I. She didn’t use lots and lots of words with big elaborate stories, jokes, or examples…which is totally my style. She said what she needed to say, and it was meaningful and important and to the point.” Maybe that’s why her few minutes during the two day shebang has stayed with me most vividly.
     She was speaking on the passage in John 20 when Mary was at the tomb and Jesus wasn’t there, but then Jesus appears to her, the first person to see him after his resurrection. Shelley pointed out that Mary didn’t recognize him until he called her name (vs 15-16). For some reason the fact that him calling her name was what opened her eyes to the truth of who he was had never stood out to me before. Isn’t that beautiful. Jesus calls to us personally, by name, and we see him for who he truly is.
Shelley also mentioned, as people usually do, that the first person to see Jesus alive again was a woman. But Shelley also said that sometimes women have a hard time figuring out their place in the kingdom, but women have a significant place with Jesus. I identified with this so deeply that I will never forget it.  I DO have a hard time finding my place because I don’t have “typical” women gifts. I feel like the tradition I was raised in tries to pigeon-hole women into serving with children or serving through hospitality or food based ministries. So for MANY years, well my whole adult life really, I’ve tried to figure out my place because I’ve tried to fit my square peg into the round hole of children and hospitality, but time and time again I struggle knowing those are good things but not MY things. Please don’t hear me saying that I am unwilling to serve in those capacities.  I have always volunteered to serve with children, but not on an every Sunday basis. I am more than willing to invite others into our home, and we do so often. I have always brought food when I’m asked to do so.  It’s not that I am unwilling.  It’s just when I serve in those ways, I feel I have no gifts because it becomes so clear that those things are not how God gifted me.
     For some reason, as a youth and college student I was more free in the area in which I served. I never felt this tension, and as a result, I understood my gifts and used them with passion. I led my first small group for 8th grade girls when I was a junior in high school; I was an intern for my former youth group after my first year of college; I led a ministry team in my college ministry that worked with the youth group. When I married, my husband was a youth minister and I continued to lead in these ways for several more years.
     But around the time my 2nd child was born, I started feeling the tension, that in order to fulfill my role as a woman of God, I needed to be serving in a different capacity. So I tried, and I slowly lost my confidence in who God created me to be. I was now serving on our MOPS leadership team, and as the MOPS coordinator there was once a month when I could address our group and try to share something to try and disciple these women in our midst. That once a month I felt like I was doing what I was called to do, but all other times I was just SO very grateful to God for allowing me to work with the best team ever. The women I served with on the MOPS team were and still are such an awesome, creative, loving, self-less group of women. I love them so!
     The straw that broke the camels back (if you will) was when my husband decided to leave ministry and pursue teaching and coaching. We had to move. I had said "Anything" but was devastated in more ways than one; however, he felt called to this. He sees it as much of a ministry as vocational youth ministry and treats it as such. He is so good with those kids, and he has always been better at incorporating his faith into everyday mundane tasks than I will ever hope to achieve. His students know his faith is real and come to him with questions. He really is doing what God has asked him to do. But when he left ministry, I felt like I lost my place. I truly thought I would be a minister’s wife till the day I died. I felt my gifts were validated because they also had the “minister’s wife” title attached to them. I thought, “How can I lead now?” “No one will take me seriously because now I have no credentials.” (Don’t worry I see the flaws in that, I am validated because I have placed my trust in Jesus not because of a position.)
     It’s been a crazy year and a half trying to navigate my way in this new station in life, but God showed me his “enough-ness” while hosting IF:Local this year. I really didn’t want to host this year, but when Jadee Isler tagged me on facebook one day because at the time there were no New Mexico IF:Local sites, I caved and signed up to host again. For the last 6 months or so, my family has been attending a church in a nearby community that my husband’s cousin planted a few years ago. We really wanted to go out there and support him and their mission. The church is meeting in a theater, and the wi-fi was insufficient to host IF. I was really feeling like we should try to host it at the college. I emailed the BSU director one day and told him, “I know you don’t know who I am, I know you don’t know what IF is, but here is some information. Is there any way we could host this at the BSU?” At first, I thought he was so skeptical it would never work out. But to get to the point, it did work out.  God showed up, and brought ladies together from several different churches, different age groups, different towns and we are the better for it.
…Back to Shelley Giglio’s message…

     The first thing Jesus told Mary to do was to go and tell what she had seen. So Shelley told US, “You have to be able to tell what you have seen.” I have seen God restore my hope. I have seen God renew my purpose. I have seen God make a way when it seemed unlikely. I have seen God be enough.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Does God Promise Us Better?

     We live in a time and place that has been given a “blessed” station in history.  21st century Americans know very little of what it means to have nothing but the clothes on your back and the people in your life. However, we are the same people who feel like we deserve better.  I am so burdened by the lie that God wants to give us more, better. I know “prosperity gospel” is an overused word. I feel like when we (Christians) first started talking about “prosperity gospel” it was easy to identify, but it’s gotten sneaky and has found a way to creep into well-meaning Jesus followers’ theology.
     There are many verses that talk about God wanting us to prosper. Jeremiah 29:11 may be among the most popular verses quoted on that topic. I’m not here to debate the definition of the word prosper, but I would like to consider that it may not mean what we want it to mean.  I have looked, and the bible does not promise that God will make all our dreams come true.  It’s not in there even though I would love for it to be. I think if we’re not careful, we can use that verse to give us a false hope that God will make us influential or wealthy or at least comfortable.
     My trouble comes in when I place that verse next to passages of scripture that describe followers of Christ being tortured, imprisoned, and killed because of their faith. Why would God promise to make all of his followers prosperous, and then ask some to have nothing or die for Him? I’m not a theologian, but I make sense of it by thinking like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. “The God we serve is able…, but even if he does not.” God can give us all things. God can save us from all things. God can heal us. God can rescue us. But even if he does not respond the way I'm hoping, he is in control and worthy to be praised because he has already fulfilled all of those things (saving, healing, rescuing, etc.) through Jesus.
     Just consider the life of Christ. I would say he was successful because he accomplished what he came to accomplish.  However, if you judge success from a 21st century American view, you will find that he was not wealthy, he did not have a large estate, and he was as famous for ruffling feathers as he was for his miracles. In fact he made the wrong people mad long enough for them to have him crucified on a cross. Dying on a cross does not seem like the American view of the word “prosper”.
     Thankfully, that is not the end of the story. Jesus rose from the dead and overcame death so that we might also be with him eternally if we believe in his dying on the cross payment for OUR sins. Now that seems like successful life, but success that had very little to do with materialistic life this side of heaven.
     I’ve been seriously wrestling through this topic for a year now.  When we moved, a dear friend from our old hometown and I were talking.  I was trying to tell her that part of the reason the new town is so hard to live in is because there is just an oppressive spirit everywhere with a false religion that parades as truth.  I felt it the first time we lived there, and I feel it still. But in the wake of this false religion many are left feeling like something isn’t working.  This false religion says that if you love God and have enough faith he will make your dreams come true. In the process of me trying to explain this to my friend she said, “I believe God wants us to prosper, and not just spiritually.  I think he wants to bless us materially.” I didn’t know how to respond.  I love this woman and worship with her, and it left me reeling with confusion because I really respect her.
     Thus began my wrestling process. I knew what I've always believed, but then here was my friend who believed differently, so I pressed into the scriptures like I do whenever I have a big question. I know God wants to meet all our needs. I just think that as American’s we have a skewed idea of “need”. But recently it seems like God is trying to tell his people that He is ENOUGH. He is the prize, not the promise of something better or something more. In the past week I have seen the following quotes by women who are public Christian figures. 

     When we voluntarily moved so Jay could pursue a new path he felt called to, we took a step back financially, socially, occupationally, and in living space. After that conversation with my friend, I kept asking if God wants to bless us not just spiritually but materially, WHY is my family where we are? We serve God, and have served him faithfully for decades. According to what my friend said, there was something wrong with us because God wants to give us more not less. Then I would think about missionaries who serve in places without the promise of comfortable living. I would read passages like the end of Hebrews 11 and the book of Habbukuk. I would think how it is impossible for every Christian on the planet to be “the best” at whatever it is they do. Not everyone can be the CEO, if you will, but they can still be successful, and even the jobs we deem insignificant are important. The world works best when everyone plays their part well. After all this, I just couldn’t conclude that God was all that concerned with me being blessed in the American sense of the word.
     If I have learned anything by walking through the last year of my life, it is that God is not interested in making all our dreams come true unless our only dream is to have more of Him. He wants to be our pleasure, our delight. He wants to be what defines us, sustains us, and brings us joy. God is able to give us all things because he is God, but even if he does not, he is still worth living for and is still good. Just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego… My God is able, but even if he does not, I will still live for him.
     We cannot give, serve God, or place our faith in Christ based on the idea that he will make our material or physical life better.  We place our faith in Christ because we acknowledge our desperate state and know we need saving. We know that only God’s son is qualified to save us. We see that his ways are the path to the best life now. Even when we don’t understand. Even when things around us seem to be out of control. Even when the world seems against us. He is in control. He is working. He is good. He is worth serving. His words are true. He is the Prize.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


My Anything Story

     I think my Anything story started when I read the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker.  I had been wanting to read it since my husband read it, but I also was nervous to read it because I saw what changed in him because of it.  After reading that book I now asked God what he wanted for my life not just in general but with every day decisions down to the smallest things like food I ate and things I bought and what I threw away.  I tell this story a lot to give an example of how much this change infiltrated my life…
     My family was moving from one house to another that was just a couple streets away.  Our hall bath now had a creamy tan color of tile rather than stark white.  I really wanted to buy a new shower curtain, but I lost my mind a little thinking about how I didn’t really “need” a new shower curtain.  The one I had was in good shape and wasn’t terribly dated, it just didn’t go with the room anymore.  I fretted with this for a couple of weeks… I ended up buying the new curtain. ;)  I don’t know if God was pleased with my new purchase or not, but I do know he was pleased that I didn’t take the old one for granted and that I considered how much I’ve been given by his grace.  You know, we had a lot of people come through the new house those first couple of weeks and I had so many positive comments about my new shower curtain.  It was by far the most talked about thing in the house (My things are functional but not impressive, obviously, if a shower curtain is the topic of conversation.) I got to tell that story of how I fretted over the decision because I had been coming face to face with excess around me. I don’t know if God used that conversation to get others thinking about it as well, but I think maybe he did.
…Anyway, that’s where my “Anything” started.  God I’ll do anything even deny myself a new shower curtain if that’s what you want.  LOL! Fast forward about 2 years and God was making my “Anything” more costly than a shower curtain. 
     My husband who had been in youth ministry for about 15 years was now changing into a teaching/coaching career.  We were leaving a place that we’d lived in for over 7 years.  My girls were leaving everything they’d ever known.  I was devastated.  I desperately wanted to stay, but I knew I had said “anything” God.  So I went quietly.     
     The quietly only lasted until we entered the new town we had been called to live.  I was angry, sad, and bitter.  Why would God do this?  Why would God take me from a place where we were established, comfortable, and life and marriage were easy to a place where life was much more difficult financially, relationally, and spiritually.  For a short time I was so prideful that I said, “If this is what you do to people who have served you faithfully for years then I want NO part of it.  I tried to turn it off.  Everything I’d learned about God, everything I’d taught about God, everything I’d sung about God, I wanted it to leave me alone.  It wouldn’t.  I’ve walked with God for about 25 years and even under all my anger and pride, God was there and I knew he was in control (whether I wanted him to be or not).  He would send me encouragement from friends at just the right time, or give me a word from scripture that spoke gently to my heart.  Yes, I had tried to turn off my walk with God, but I still read scripture each morning.  I could turn off my Christian radio when I didn’t want to hear what they were singing, but I couldn’t NOT read my IF:Equip for the day.  I was young when I gave my life to Christ, and honestly I don’t know how to walk through life without him completely.  Even in my ugly rebellious heart, there were disciplines of life with Christ that I couldn’t shut down.
     I kept serving him because that’s who I am.  You know the word says you are not your own, you’ve been bought with a price.  I wanted to walk away because I was mad at where God had taken me, but I couldn’t walk away because I am his.  He’s been slowly healing my heart, and opening my eyes as I repent of my pride and selfishness.  Everyday I struggle to say I really do mean it, “anything”.  He’s making me live the words that I have said to so many that he is better than my comfort, my easy life.  He is better than friends or a ministry.  He is worth it even when life is hard. 
     Tonight I get to be a part of leading women through the “Anything” study.  I am so excited to see what God is going to do through the women that surrender everything to him.  I have only read the first three chapters, but I know these women and many in this town know that ache for more.  I pray that women find it in telling God they’ll do anything, and that those around them will see that our God is great and worth following.    


Monday, September 22, 2014


     The number seven, in the bible, represents completion or perfection.  I guess God decided that is was the perfect number of years for our ministry in Taylor.  In just a week, our time here will be completed.  I am so sad, but I am also so grateful to have been part of this community for as long as we were.  I think the stats show that youth ministers stay, on average, 2 or 3 years in one place.  Even though I was secretly hoping we could live here forever, I am SO grateful that we got 7 years.  Like I mentioned yesterday on Facebook, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Jay was allowed to have the freedom to make some changes and do things a little differently to suit how God wired him to do ministry.
    Taylor has been so good to us.  I absolutely love the generational worship that happens at FBC Taylor.  My family is loved and supported tangibly by people of all ages.  That is a huge blessing that has not been taken for granted.  To have other like minded adults, teens, and kids come alongside me and Jay as we try to raise our girls to know, love, and serve the Lord has meant the world to me.  My girls love their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, but 4 and half hours is the shortest distance between us and any of them.  To have people here take us in as family has meant the world to us.
     I also appreciate and respect our pastor, Matt Hudson, and his family.  I have had the privilege to sit under the teaching of both Matt and Penni.  They are so wise, and humbly serve the Lord through the holy spirit in them.  I think it is such a testimony of how they listen and obey the spirit by how God was stirring this "missional" mindset in their hearts the same time he was moving this idea into the hearts of Christians leaders across the nation and especially in our part of Texas.  Matt and Penni spent time in Portugal as missionaries and felt God calling them to apply this mission idea to the local body of believers in America.  They will be greatly missed.  Nelly (their dachshund) will be greatly missed too. ;)
     I know no church is perfect, and we have faced our trials.  But we have sought the Lord, and I feel the love is greater because we have persevered together.  I pray that if there are still those not on board with the direction God is leading, that they begin to see the beauty of how God is moving in a fresh new way here in Taylor.  I pray they jump on board and live life surrendered to God and serve him wherever they find themselves: in the store, at work, in the yard, at the table, etc…
     We have so many great friends who have done so much for us through the years, but I wanted to love on the Kovars.  Debbie was our realtor when we first moved here.  She showed us probably 100 homes. LOL! I'm sure that was torture, but in the process she became one of our very first friends.  We had been here a couple weeks, maybe, and we left our 15 month old with her so Jay and I could go to a football game.  People at the game were asking, "where is your daughter?"  We said with Debbie, our realtor.  :)  They were just here yesterday helping us pack up.  Me and Debbie packed the kitchen.  Pat and Jay took the trampoline apart and got the heavy stuff out of our attic.  From beginning to end they have been friends who will go the extra mile to make you feel loved and help take care of you in your time of need.  Thank you guys!  We love you!
     Thank you to all of our friends, teachers, students, mentors, and volunteers who have made this such a great place to be.  We will continue to pray for you all, and ask your continued prayers and support as we make this transition.
                                                         A few picture memories :)
Ansley and Kate 

Look at these babies…All graduated now.

OCC box wrapping

Camryn and Ansley… stinkers
Hostess at Adalynn's baby shower
Katie and  Adalynn

Jay in Haiti playing angry birds with the boys

Ansley turns 7

My dream came true to be pregnant with friends the 2nd time around.

Babies are captivating :)
Adalynn just chillin with Mylik
Dnow 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Living on mission

       For quite sometime I've been trying to figure out this "missional living" thing.  I get that it's a shift in thinking.  It takes the mundane in life and gives them eternal purpose.  I know this in my head and my heart understands its importance, but the practical application of it, fleshing it out, is a little more difficult.
       When I read things like...
   "There are no such things as spiritual and secular jobs--we just made that up.  God calls people to himself, and then to display him in every way, wherever we are... We are made to work in the mundane, but we aren't defined by the mundane.  Because Jesus set us apart with a deep purpose to live out... If you're showing God to the world in whatever you're doing, you're on the right track.(Restless, 41)"
       I get it!  I whole heartedly agree and say Amen.  But it also makes me a little bit nervous because we are so comfortable keeping our faith to ourselves.  Most of us will claim Christ.  We have some kind of relationship with him, but we feel inadequate to share our faith in everyday situations.  We feel inadequate because we don't really know what to say.  We don't know what to say because we don't spend time in God's word.  We don't spend time outside of church in personal fellowship with him.  But we are NOT inadequate at sharing what's important to us with others. 
       It's amazing what people will promote.  I mean "social" media are no longer for social purposes; instead, we are saturated with advertisements for a wide array of products and lifestyles.  I'm not complaining.  I'm simply voicing an observation.  We have no shame in sharing our healthy eating habits, exercise of choice, whatever the latest product is that is meant to give you a better, more beautiful life.  But it has to be said that even though a healthy lifestyle is of benefit, it will not save your soul (1 Timothy 4:8).  It will not have any impact on eternity.  Matt Chandler has this to say, "At the end of the day, our hope is not that all the poor on earth will be fed.  That's simply not going to happen. [Matthew 26:11]  I'm not saying we shouldn't feed and rescue the poor [Isaiah 58:6-11]; I'm saying that salvation isn't having a full belly or a college education [may I add a healthy lifestyle] or whatever.  Making people comfortable on earth before an eternity in hell is wasteful." (The Explicit Gospel, 83...I added the scripture references)
       God uses people to make himself known, that is his way.  I've been so challenged to allow God to use my everyday to make himself known.  I don't know about you, but my days seem filled with insignificant things.  It's easy to keep my perspective of life about my routine details instead of seeing my routine details as an opportunity to make God known.  Isn't that our purpose in life, to know God and to make him known. 
       So let's get after it.  If you don't know God, get to know him.  If you know him, but not in a way that impacts your daily living, then press into him.  He is the Savior, but he is so much more.  Let's live on mission, but let's do it by speaking the name of Jesus and sharing his truth with our friends, neighbors, waiters/waitresses, co-workers etc.  "Some people won't like hearing it.  What else is new? This has been true as far back as Genesis.  It has always been true  that some people do not want to hear this message.  But some are going to hear it and be saved.  So, relational evangelism? Go for it, as long as it turns into actual evangelism.  You hanging out having a beer with your buddy so he can see that Christians are cool is not what we're called to do.  You're eventually going to have to open up your mouth and share the gospel.  When the pure gospel is shared, people respond." (The Explicit Gospel, 81)
     If you have a business, use it to create an opportunity to share the gospel.  If you go to the gym, use it as an opportunity to share the gospel.  If you take your kids to a play group, use it as an opportunity to share the gospel.  If your making dinner for your family, use it as an opportunity to share the gospel.  "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of the God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

Monday, February 17, 2014

Worth It

     As I'm in the process of moving out of one phase of parenting and into the next, I realize even more how the hard things are worth it.  When you have babies, toddlers, and preschoolers we know in the back of our minds the hard things (ex: telling them no when that sweet face is irresistible, feeding them vegetables even though they fuss, insisting they sleep when their tired, etc.) really are what's best for their growth physically and their growth in maturity.  But my oldest is in grade school now, and she pretty much understands when we say no, eat your healthy food, and you need rest, although sometimes hesitantly.  The hard things now consist of explaining modesty, laying groundwork for "the talk", communicating truth about bullying, and helping her create a biblical picture of her beauty and self worth.  These issues leave me wondering, "Did I explain that right?" "Is she getting it?" "Was God glorified in the way I handled that?"  When she comes to us with an awkward question I want to answer it honestly and in an appropriate manner for her maturity level.  That is no easy task.  I don't want to ignore her because I want her to ask ME those questions and not some friend who is getting their information from who knows where.
     I have had a lot of hard conversations with my second grader.  Two specifically, I never anticipated having with MY dear sweet angel.  I have cried with her, and disciplined her through her tears all in effort that she will come through to her next season of life and have the same understanding of why we sometimes tell her no and insist on honesty and modesty much like she understands now why we make her eat things that aren't her favorite and have a bedtime.  Of course, the fear is that instead of understanding, she will reject our values and create her own.  Thats why showing love through forgiveness and grace is just as essential as showing love through truth and discipline.  If they do not go hand in hand our children may be pushed to one extreme or the other when they are old enough to tackle life's issues on their own.

     I am still navigating this parenting thing and have so much to learn, but the other day I was given a sign of encouragement.  My oldest has typically been less affectionate than my youngest.  She writes us notes and I get I love you mom's a lot, but I don't recall ever getting this message until last week.  I'm going to treasure it for a very long time.  It reminds me that even though helping a child walk through life in a God honoring way amidst a self promoting culture is extremely hard, it is so worth it!!!  Soldier on parents.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013



     That is a super creative title isn't it. I have been a little intimidated to sit down and write this post even though I've wanted to write it since before I even left for Haiti.  There really is so much to say that I don't even know where to start.  I think I'm gonna just stick with some of my favorite stories from Haiti and what I took away from this trip.
This was at 3 Cords.  The business that employees deaf and disabled Haitians.  Many of whom get treated at the prosthetics lab at the Clinic on the MOH campus.  Click on the words 3 cords to see their website.

   - Our first day there we got to see and tour all the different parts of Mission of Hope (MOH).  On our tour they told us that MOH had tried to dig to reach the well water about 8 times and never hit it.  After the earthquake in 2010 MOH hit the water the first time they dug.  
During Sunday morning church

   - The pastor at the church on the MOH campus started out as the gardner for the Johnson family who founded MOH.  Through his relationship with the Johnson's he came to know Christ and felt the Lord calling him to be a minister.  He is from the village of Simonet (I think) which they said had 13 Voodoo priests.  This man took God's truth back to his village and today there is only 1 Voodoo priest.  The rest have converted to Christianity.  This man has since gone to school in Port Au Prince and received a seminary degree and continues to share the gospel.

   - A couple of days in I started thinking that what we are doing seemed insignificant.  We were painting houses, playing with kids, picking up trash, and talking with people in the villages.  But it seemed like there were so many bigger things we should be doing.  Then Jay and Holden (who went last summer) were talking about how they could see a difference from last year to this year.  They saw progress and how MOH is slowly reaching it's goal of bringing life transformation in the name of Jesus to every man, woman, and child in Haiti.  It made me stop and realize that we are just a small part of a big story that God is writing.  I appreciated even getting to be a part at all.  It makes me long to go back and share in the rejoicing as God continues to draw people to himself.  
Jay with some of the boys during "kids church"

   - We went to the church on the MOH campus Sunday morning and Tuesday night while we were there.  They sang familiar songs, but we'd sing one verse in Creole and one verse in English.  It was such a picture of the church (all the people of God) coming together with one heart to praise the name of the one who saves.  We sang the song that says, "together we sing, Holy is the Lord God almighty, the earth is full of his glory".  These words that I've sung thousands of times have never had more meaning then they did that day.  With people all over the United States standing together worshiping with the Haitian people surrounded by such beautiful creation that shouts the glory of the Lord made this song have new meaning.

   - I had several encounters with motherhood while I was in Haiti even though I did not have my children.  There is an orphanage on MOH campus.  One day we went to the baby room to play with the kids and it was just so funny to me to see that kids are kids and moms are moms no matter where you live.  There was a girl about 3 probably who was obviously the oldest child in the room.  She would grab our hands and tell us to sit down.  She started singing a song that sounded like, Are you sleeping, are you sleeping, brother John, brother John... Jay asked her to teach us to sing it with her in Creole. We were all clapping and would sing a line after she sang it first.  After a few minutes her room mommy wanted her to take a nap.  She went with her mommy and a few minutes later snuck out to come play with us again. The look on the room mommy's face was such a familiar one.  I just thought to myself, "I feel ya".  If you're a mom you always have something in common with another mom, no matter how different your lives may look. 

   - One day we were walking around the villages, and we stopped at a house where 2 girls were washing dishes.  I got to step in a help.  It was just a reminder to me that we are here to not just tell people about Jesus, but we are here to do life with them.  I may only be there for a week but many people with the same heart will be coming behind me to say you matter, your life matters, your needs matter and I want to come along side you and do whatever I can.

   - We got to see several villages, but the village we spent the most time in was Titayen.  The people there know their neighbors.  Whenever we would paint a house the neighbors would come and hang out and share in the experience.  Whenever we went past a water pump there was always a gathering of people.  It just reinforced how important community is and that I need to be better about engaging in every day life with the people around me.  I'm gonna be honest and admit that I struggle with what this looks like practically for me.  Jay is so much better at this than I am.  Maybe that's part of why I married him. ;)

   - This last one isn't so much about Haiti but it was part of our trip none the less.  On the way home our pastor's son Holden was sitting with his girlfriend and an Air Force medic.  Jay and I were in the row in front of them and got to hear the whole conversation.  The medic didn't believe in Jesus.  He did know the story of Jesus and how sin separates us from God. But I was taken by his constant use of the word religion.  I guess following Christ is such a way of life for me that I don't view it as "religion".  The medic believed in heaven and that you basically have to be more good than bad to get there.  He also said that he had "tried it out before" but it didn't seem to made a difference.  I just know there are many others out there like him.  The word of God is very clear that it is not our works (our goodness vs badness) that gets us to Heaven.  It is by placing your trust in Christ and giving him control of your life.  You can not "try" Christ following on like a garment in a store.  You either trust him or you don't.  I pray you do trust him because He is so faithful to his word, but you have to take him at his word.  You can't pick and choose what fits your lifestyle best.  The Lord is so full of love for you no matter what you do or don't do.  The Lord longs to be gracious to you, but you have to accept his gift.  
Many of the homes had a gate to the walkway like this one.  Inside the gate were about 3 different family homes.  

     So there it is.  My blogpost about Haiti.  I have so many more experiences that stand out as memories I'll cherish for a long time, but I figured no one wanted a detailed day by day retelling of everything we did.  Haiti is such a beautiful place.  It has changed me and I am grateful.      

Just for fun I'm gonna share the lists I made.  What I won't miss about Haiti and What I will miss about Haiti.
What I WON'T miss about Haiti
1. The smell (everything smells but y'all, our room was out of control stinky!!!)
2. The gnats (everyone was so concerned about mosquitos... not 1 bite but those pesky gnats were awful)
3. The roosters (MOH has a few roosters on campus and God provided an alarm clock every morning over and over that no snooze button could silence)
4. No AC (however it rained almost every evening which kept things relatively cool)
5. Cold showers (at least there was running water... no bucket showers this trip)
6. Bug spray
7. mosquito nets over the bed
8. the benches (MOH has no chairs that have backs on them.  By the end of the week my body was aching for a chair with a back on it.)
9. Crazy driving (how are there not wrecks every 5 minutes in Haiti, I will never know)

What I WILL miss about Haiti

1. The kids
2. The view

3. the nonmaterialistic culture 
4. unplugged life (I didn't even have my phone!)
5. Our team (the ones we brought and the ones we worked with all week; our interns)
Our 6 with our interns

6. Seeing the church- the body of Christ from all over the globe working together