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

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's May and this is my first post of the year :/

The work/ SAH dilemma

                As a disclaimer, this is only my journey and does not equate to the plan God has for everyone’s life.  I thought I’d write it down in case it could serve as encouragement in some way to anyone else.

                After college I had jobs, but I have never had a “career”.  Before we got married I told Jay that I would like to stay home for a while when our kids were young.  So, I quit my job when I was about 6 months pregnant and was a stay at home mom for the next 6 years. 

When my first child was 3 I started grad school which took me 4 years to finish instead of 2 because of my desire to be at home as much as possible, and because we had child number 2.  There are so many reasons I wanted to go to grad school but one of the main reasons was because I am a good student.  It’s too bad “student” can’t be a career, right? J No one wants to pay me to study things I find interesting and then take a test or give a report over it? No? Oh, ok just checking.   

A few months before baby #2 turned 2 I started inquiring of the Lord what was supposed to be “next” in my life.  Was my life to be more of what I had been doing (staying at home), or was I supposed to find a job?  I had been applying to jobs at least once a month for about a year (since I finished grad school) at this point but wasn’t super serious about getting a job.  But at the same time I started seriously seeking what God wanted next in my life, I started applying for jobs once or twice a week.  I was searching the word of God for a black and white answer telling me what God’s plan was.  In short, what I found was that women should be busy at home.  The proverbs 31 woman turned her skills into a “job” and made money to buy land for her family.  Adam and Eve “worked” in the garden before sin entered the world.  Wives are supposed to be the “helpmeet” for their husbands.  None of this was black and white enough for me.  HAHA… God is patient with me, thank goodness!

I had a few call backs for jobs that didn’t pan out, and after a few months of trying to figure it out I told God I would stop trying my way.  I still had a few applications out there, but I’m not going to press this anymore.  If you want me to work, then you’ll have to make it happen.  Since I still seemed unclear on moving forward, I assumed that meant God wanted me to keep walking where he currently had me. 

A month or so went by, and I had a dear lady from church tell me to send my resume in because she had recommended me for a part-time job.  She told me about the job, the hours, and the requirements, and I sent in my resume.  Within a week I was interviewed and given the job.  The original hours for the job were Monday through Thursday 9 to 1.  My youngest would have to have childcare on Mondays, Tuesdays through Thursdays were covered.  The lady who recommended me for this job told me to ask them if they would consider rearranging the hours to be completely during the hours I already had childcare covered.  Guess what?  They did!

So, currently I am a GED instructor at the community college where I live.  I take my oldest to school and get done in time to go pick both my children up for the day.  I mean God so creatively took care of all the details so I could still be busy at home.  When my kids are away for the day, I am busy using my gifts and education to help others.  I am still being my husband’s helpmeet.  The last time I had this work/stay home conversation with my husband, he said, “If you stay home that will just mean I have to take Ansley to school everyday”.  So clearly he thinks I’m more helpful when I’m working.  ;)  He stills stands by the promise that he totally doesn’t care whether I work or stay home.  I have asked NUMEROUS times what he wants me to do and he never gives a definitive answer.  I later talked to my cousin, who is also a minister’s wife and a SAHM.  She was telling me that it’s funny how we put words in our husband’s mouths sometimes.  She mentioned a time when she felt like she was not loving her husband well because with 3 young kids her house was not perfect.  She felt he was upset about the situation.  Her husband told her that he never said he expected her to have the house clean when he got home from work all he wanted was a kiss when he got home. 

I know now, that I wanted Jay to tell me what to do because then I wouldn’t have to make the decision.  I felt like there was a right answer and a wrong answer and if I chose poorly then I would royally mess up my family and God’s plans for my life.  I continued to pray fervently about the situation and discuss it with a couple of close friends who also prayed for me.  After a couple of weeks I really felt a peace about either outcome.  I felt the Lord saying, “Jamie, they are both good options.  Now, you go where your heart is telling you to go.”  What freedom that gave me!  I don’t know why we think that God puts us at a crossroads waiting for us to choose incorrectly so that he can punish us for being so stupid.  That is definitely not a correct picture of the God who IS love and the one who extends greater grace than we can ever imagine. 

So with my new freedom, I sent a letter stating I had enjoyed the year but was not planning to return for the following school year.  It was hard, and I was nervous.  But because of the life and ministries God has blessed our family with; I know that He is going to use it all for his glory and purpose.  Ultimately that is all I want from my life.  Yes, I would like to be a part of my children’s lives as much as I can.  Yes, it would be awesome to start saving for colleges, weddings, and retirement.  However, God says to trust Him for tomorrow’s worries because today has enough trouble of its own.  God has never left me and has always proved he is faithful in good times and bad.  If there is anything I’ve learned over the years it is that my life is not for me.  I am not given life to make myself comfortable.  He has far greater things to accomplish then my comfort.  Besides he wants to be my comfort not for me to find it in the things of this world.  I want nothing but to be used by him to share the hope of the cross with the world.  If I do that at home with my children, I have lived well.  If I do that while working, then I have lived well.