Thursday, December 30, 2010

Help Us Help the Children

It is so amazing to see God's hand at work, and the possibilities excite me greatly. Everyone who has heard anything at all about our November trip to Haiti knows that we came back with a burning desire to go back and help as many as we can.

Since our return, even more people have been placed in our path. People who love the children who are now orphans because of the Jan. 2010 earthquake. People who are willing to sacrifice and do whatever they can to be sure the children are taken care of. To hear the stories is amazing and heartbreaking at the same time.

We have been put in an amazing position to help at yet another orphanage whose needs are great. These 24 children (most from Cite Soleil, slum in Port au Prince) lost their parents in the earthquake - many witnessed their parents and/or siblings perish before their eyes. Right now they live a building that was recently flooded. The children were knee deep in water. At the current time, they are able to have two meals per day which consists of rice and beans and noodles. There is no fruit. No meat. No vegetables.

Imagine, if you will, day after day of rice, beans, and noodles. Look past the obvious that it is bland and dull. Look to the nutrition that is lacking in these precious children's bodies. Ask yourself how you can help. WILL you help? A summary of our current projects is at the bottom of this page.

Paul and I plan to get on the ground as soon as possible to help these children, as well as the beautful children at Children of Hope Orphanage and Hospice in Thomazeau, who captured our hearts in November. We pray that we are able to get back in January - and we need your help in order to do so.

There is so much to be done in Haiti, and these children are beautiful and full of love. They need to know they are loved, and they need to be fed physically as well as spiritually. We need to get healthy food in the bodies of these children.

Please help us help these children. All funds go directly towards meeting the nutritional and medical needs at the orphanages - NOT into some void where you wonder where your money went.

If you have to give up your daily coffee drink for a month, or eating out with the family once per week, please consider doing so. Your generosity will make a huge difference in the life of an innocent child.

Please click the "DONATE" button on this blog to make a donation, and please share this blog with your friends who could also help this mission be a success.


Thomazeau Water Mission - restore public water supply to approx. 20,000 residents, including the Children of Hope Orphanage and Hospice.

IV4Haiti - purchase and transport IV fluids to cholera victims in Haiti.

HaitianHelpingHaitian - provide healthy meals, hygeine and medical needs, and staff  for 24 orphaned children in Aquin, Haiti.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meeting Calvin - coincidence or divine appointment?

I have always said that nothing happens by chance, and this morning was yet another example of our God at work. We were sceduled to be in Jackson for the Northridge Church Christmas service at 11:00. We planned to leave earlier than we did, but as usual, we were running behind...

On the way to Jackson on our nice country road, in the distance we saw a broken down truck and what appeared to be someone on crutches limping along towards Stronghope. We see 4 or 5 cars pass by, and as we get closer we see that it is indeed an older black gentleman hobbling along on crutches, trying to carry a gallon jug as he grips his crutches...

As we pull up to him, Paul says, "Honey, we are going to be late to church this morning." It turns out that the gentleman's name is Calvin, and he has indeed run out of gas on his way to church. He was heading a couple miles up the road to Stronghope store to get gas, only they do not open til after church on Sunday...So we load Calvin and his crutches in the backseat and proceed to drive to Hazlehurst to get him some gas....Funny thing is that we too were hoping to not run out of gas on our way to church, had said just that very thing, and here we come upon a man who has done just that...Coincidence? I think not!

We learned that Calvin had just gotten out of the hospital Monday, after having been there roughly a month. He started out getting an abcess taken care of, and when they went to cauterize it, they found cancer in his leg! What a blessing for him that it was discovered. The bigger blessing it seems is that Calvin had been really missing church while in the hospital, and was really desiring to go and give back to God after God had been so good to him through all this process. He NEEDED to be in church this morning, and thought he had enough gas to get him to Hazlehurst so he could get to worship. When he ran out, he thought Satan had won in keeping him away. Add to this that he had left his cell phone in his pocket  last night, and his wife had washed it, so he had no way to call for help.

Calvin kept expressing what a blessing it was that we stopped, meanwhile we are thinking what a blessing it was for us to meet Calvin and hear his life story of growing up in the projects of New Orleans, one of 10 children that his mother raised on her own while juggling several jobs. What a testimony of hope and faith and grace he shared with us this morning. We talked about God's goodness and faithfulness in the midst of our trials, of how we must be still and know that He is God, and how much smoother our lives would be if we actually LET God be in control of our lives, rather than trying to control them ourselves.

Yes, we were 30 minutes late for a very awesome worship service, but oh the blessing we received seeing the hand of God in motion by simply allowing Calvin to run out of gas on the backroads. Had we been on time getting out of the house this morning, we never would have met Calvin, and I dare say that our day would not have been the same.

Calvin said it best when he said, "Little did I know that I was going to have church before I even went to church!" Amen Calvin! :-)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Missing and praying for Haiti

So it has been less than a month since we returned from our first trip to Haiti. I find that as the days go by, I miss Haiti more and more - not less and less. I continue to think about and pray for the faces I saw on the streets, the children at CHOH, and of course little Marie.

The people there have been through so much, yet they are so strong. I wonder just how much they can take. First the devastating earthquake in Jan., then the beginnings of the cholera outbreak while we were there in Nov., the total craziness and continuing choas from the elections in early Dec., and now predictions that over 650,000 Haitians will be affected by cholera.

As the people of Haiti currently suffer and pray for relief, most Americans are preparing for Christmas. What that involves varies from person to person and from family to family, but it usually means tons of money is spent buying lots of material items for people who already have more than they need....It also means preparing lavish meals and seeing just how much food can be consumed....afterall - most of us ARE in danger of not having another meal anytime soon - so we best pack it in while we can.

I am having a serious struggle with this right now. I know that we are a giving people, but it seems we give as long as we can remain comfortable. As long as it does not interfere with us getting our stuff. Nevermind that children are dying of thirst and hunger and cholera just a short 3 hr. flight from here... Keep in mind that there are no social programs for families in Haiti. There is no unemployment to draw. No medicaid for the kid's medical care. There is only the love of strangers who are willing to sacrifice their time and their resources in order to save them.

Another thing I am struggling with is what happens when people stop us to ask about our trip. Funny when we start to tell them about it, many don't really want to hear about it at all. It feels like sometimes they ask out of a polite obligation, because when we start to tell them of all we saw, and how we are raising money and working with missionary pilots to get cases of IV fluids down to the cholera victims who are DYING from dehydration. They seem to glaze over and walk away muttering something we can't quite understand.

At first I was taken aback a little, but I have decided not to take any offense at this. I chuckle sadly, because this seems to be the norm these days. People just don't quite seem to "get it." Even within the church, there are those who will never understand what motivates us to action.  I think it goes to the very basic call to "love your neigbor as yourself," and as John Piper explains it, "Love your neighbor as yourself" is not a command to love yourself. It is a command to take your natural, already existing love of self and make it the measuring rod of your love for others. There is not a harder command in the Bible than this one. It means: Want to feed the hungry as much as you want to feed yourself when you get hungry...Care about what happens to others as much as you care about what happens to yourself."

This is the only explanation I know of how and why our hearts have been called to a people who are in desperate need of the light and love of Christ if they are to live.

"A heart which is acceptable to God is not one which depends on its works - but rather one which trusts so fully in God's grace that the result is a life of love." John Piper

Friday, November 26, 2010

Please help save lives today....Just $31 saves 14 lives from Cholera

Quick post as we are about to head out to Stewpot Ministries to serve linch to the homeles...

The people of Hait are in dire need of our help. They do not have the resources available in their own country to take care of this. Cholera is rapidly taking hold, and many thousands are going perish, but you CAN help. Our friend, Dr. Jenny Chapman has access to medical supplies, and can get these ordered quickly, and we can get them flown over to Haiti.

We need people to spare $31.00. This will buy a case of IV bags, so that the people infected with cholera can recieve the fluids they need to survive this disease, which truth be told, should never kill anyone.

In light of all the shopping for ourselves going on today, please consider contributing just $31.00. This will save 14 lives.

You can donate on this page securely through Pay Pal. or you can get a check to us or to Zion Hill and write IV bags for Haiti on the memo line.

Thanks and God Bless.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Did Jesus really say......

"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need." Acts 4:32-35

I know many of us question at times, the real meaning of what Jesus "meant" when He told the rich young ruler to sell everything and follow Him. We wonder does He really want us to sell all we have today and REALLY give it away to those without? Can't I keep some for myself? What if I get hungry, what if I need it for myself....the questions cn become endless - to the pont that we we do nothing for anyone.

True belief and true faith demands that we take Jesus at His word. When he said sell everything and give to the poor he meant it. He did not tell us to keep what we need for ourselves and to THEN think about helping someone else. We are to put the needs of others before our own, not our needs before theirs. That is selfish thinking and selfish giving. It also says that we really lack faith, that we really do not believe that if we sell everything and go to make disciples, that He will provide for us.

That is DANGEROUS thinking and dangerous theology. Remember the widow in Mark 12 who gave "less" than all the wealthy who made sure their offerings were loud going in so everyone would notice - and the focus would be on THEM? She gave ALL she had, and Jesus used her as an example of how we are to give - sacrificially. We are are to give until it hurts, NOT as those who gave out of of their abundance, so it did not affect their lives at all. There is nothing sacrificial about keeping what I need for myself, and then seeing to it that others are helped with my leftovers.

The people in Acts knew that nothing they had was their own. Those who had homes and property sold it willingly so that no one would be in need. They did not sell their "extra" homes and their excess land. They sold what they had, knowing that God would provide for them in the end. They did not try to determine what they needed to be comfortable. They did not put their own needs first. They put the needs of the body of believers first. They all sold their belongings to take care of one another, so that no one would be without. To miss the true meaning of this passage of scripture, and to say that it means something else entirely is to say that Jesus wants us to be selfish, to not really love our neighbors as ourselves.

The passage above says what it says, and it means exactly what it means. It does not say that they sold their extra stuff or their abundance. It does not say they kept what they needed for their basic survival and THEN sold the extra to give away. It says they selflessly sold what they had so that no one would be in need.

That is love, and that is putting the needs of others before your own needs. If we will notice, Jesus gave us a model to follow. He was the model of sacrificial giving and sacrificial love. He did not give us His leftovers. He gave us His all, and THAT is what he expects His children to do as well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homesick for Haiti

I find myself at a loss for words - yet I feel as if I have so much to say. We flew in from Haiti Sunday evening, and I went to work Monday morning. I have not really had the "decompression" time that is needed to fully process the 11 days in Haiti. The thoughts I AM able to get together are scattered, and I know try to bear with me, if you will.

I think there are probably a lot of people who do not understand why we went, and truth be told, it is hard to explain. Paul and I were called to missions before we even met one another, so it is something that we have known, or hoped, we would do together. We did not go on this trip for ourselves, or to say we "went on a mission trip, aren't we cool." The purpose was not to go have a good time or go on a "Christian" vacation for fun.

We feel as if missions is going to be the way we live our lives. We have been praying for years and trying to listen - so that His voice alone guides our steps. So if it makes any sense, this trip to Haiti was meant to go and meet people, take supplies that were needed, and to help in whatever way He led us. But it was to ultimately determine how or even IF He wanted to use us in Haiti.

I have to say that we saw life as we never have before. It still defies explanation for me. What I did learn, is that there are beautiful people there who do NEED our help. Who welcome our help. There are needs that He put right in front of our faces, needs that if we ignore as though we never saw them, will be a slap in the face of our Almighty God. I am not prepared to do that. I do not want my "religion" to be in vain. I want to do whatever it takes to say "yes" to the One who gave me life. The One who expects me to do the same for His children when they cannot do it on their own.

I find myself thinking of the children of CHOH, our new friends in Haiti, baby Marie, and the people I saw on the streets each day all throughout the day. They are in my prayers when I awaken, when I go to bed, and all throughout my day. I find myself wanting to check the news for what is happening with the cholera outbreak, with the protests against the UN presence there...with the ordinary events of the day - although very little of what happens in Haiti can be considered ordinary.

Everyone who has been to Haiti, has phrases that help describe what you go through....and it appears they are pretty universal. Haiti seems to have a pull, a way of drawing you back to her...even when you might want to resist...

There is what Dr, Jenny called the "Haiti Heartbreak" - and oh yes it is VERY real - I experienced that with baby Marie and Obed. I think my attachment to Marie was fairly obvious to most, and something about Obed still tugs on my heartstrings...I have kept that one mostly to myself. I can only deal with so much emotion at one time. It seems that the uncontrollable shedding of tears is part of the this thing they call the "Haiti Heartbreak." I don't like it.

The "Haiti Hangover" is that feeling you have after you leave Haiti - I think mine started on the plane. I thought I was great and made it out with no tears....How wrong I was...Before the plane took off, the tears were flowing, and I wanted to be back at the guesthouse, back at CHOH, just back on the ground in Haiti. Just get me OFF this plane!

Finally, there is what I am calling "HaitiSick." It is being homesick for Haiti. That's where I am at this moment. Haiti and its beautiful people are in my prayers, in my thoughts, and in my dreams....I am restless, and I do not feel like I will be at ease until I am back in Haiti - trying to show the love of Christ to some of the most resilient and amazing people I have ever met.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Captivated by Haiti

Today is our last day in Haiti. It is hard to believe we have been here 10 days - feels like we just got here yesterday. We have seen so much, and met so many wonderful people, that it is hard to put into words what I am feeling right now. The simplest explanation is that I am not ready to go.

As I try to capture my thoughts, I struggle, since I am scattered and overwhelmed today. I am trying to process everything and be rational, but am quickly learning that when you come to Haiti, be prepared to have your heart broken in inexplicable ways. It defies reason and it defies logic. I can say at this moment that I don't like the feeling. Most likely because it is out of my control - and that makes me very uncomfortable to say the least. I don't like sitting on the balcony of the guesthouse crying for no apparent reason - although I am sure baby Marie and the other beautiful children have something to do with it.

Spending time with Greg and Michelle and Dustin and Ashton as they serve the Lord has been an eye opening experience for us. We came to Haiti in the hopes of this being our first trip that would set the groundword for future trips. I am sure we came with a "plan" of what we might be doing, of what we might see - even though we had no idea of what to expect. Travelling around with them for a few days before the rest of the group got here helped us clarify how we might be used here in the future.

It is still overwhelming to me - because everywhere we turn, someone needs something. What we learned from spending time with Greg and Michelle, is that when you come to Haiti to do mission work, the first thing you have to do is throw your own agenda out the window. Follow God's lead, ask what He would have you do, and then do it. Only then will He be glorified - and that is the goal of any missionary - to bring the Father glory. It does not mean you can't come with a goal of what you hope to accomplish - it just means that you better be in tune with His will.

We are just getting to know the group from Church of the Cove in TN, and I wish we were going to be here to work with them next week. They are such a wonderful group who have such a heart for Christ, that they are just a joy to be around, and I know we could learn much from them were we to be here a few more days with them.

Bobby, Lourdie, Momma T and the rest of the workers at CHOH - what a blessing to have met them, to see love in action. To see the sacrifices they make for the children when they could very easily be doing something else that would be easier for them, is humbling to say the least. The children at CHOH are so full of love, and so respectful of one another, and so grateful for any attention they get. They simply blow my mind.

Haiti as a whole has captivated our hearts. Everywhere we turn there is one paradox after another. There is beauty amidst the destruction, joy in faces filled with sadness, strength in those who are broken. It is this very quality of Haiti that guarantess we will be back, again and again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Crazy Beautiful Haiti

So I have been thinking a little this morning - been up awhile with Marie Jane, she has decided she likes it when I do not put her down! :-)

Haiti. Unless you have been here you cannot possibly understand why someone would even want to visit. As you can see from the pictures I have posted, there is devastation and filth everywhere you turn. The daily scenes just make you want to cry, throw up your hands and go home. Homeless children and adults are everywhere you go. To the average American this would be a hopeless situation. Why bother, right? WRONG.

Hope is why we come, and it is also why we stay. The church service on Sunday was amazing, An armed guard was at the gate during worship. The "sanctuary" was packed - wall to wall and with people standing ourside. Worship was led by beautiful Haitian youth, who have seen God only knows what in their young lives. They sang, "Mighty to Save", "Halleluiah, God is Good," "I Just Want to Thank You God," and several other songs praising our God. They sang with such conviction and hope, that I was left speechless at their sincerity. They were filled with His joy. Their faces were radiant. They raised their hands, They did not get in their cars and drive to church as we do. They walked. From who knows what conditions to worship. They MEANT what they were singing. They are truly thankful in the midst of their turmoil and loss.

This is just one of the reasons you come to Haiti, and one of the reasons that once you are here, you don't want to leave. The people are beautiful and strong. Those who have faith in God, have it for real. You see it and you feel it. Their warmth and their smiles are contagious.

Humbleness. Paul has been to places here that I have yet to see, areas of extreme poverty where the faces of young and old alike are still radiant with joy. But even from my trips to the orphanage, it is evident that with so very little - in our eyes - the children are filled with love and hope. A level of poverty we cannot even fathom, that would destroy many of us, is just part of life. They have not been tainted by the world of stuff, and I pray that we Americans do not bring that to them. Part of  what makes the Haitian people so beautiful is their ability to be content in their current circumstance. I am not saying that they do not wish things were different - they alone can answer that question - but their circumstances have not broken them. They have survived so much, and still they shine.

The lost. The other reason we must come is to reach those who are dying. Voodoo is real. The Catholic Church here has been infiltrated to different degrees by voodoo. It is so important that we provide the means and training and resources for local spiritual leaders to lead their communities to Christ. We cannot come here and effectively evangelize, but we can make it possible for the local pastors to meet the overwhelming needs of their communities.

I know that it is not reasonable to think that we can come down here and change Haiti overnight, maybe not in our lifetime. I do believe that by taking one step at a time, following the lead and direction of our Father, that if we take the time to invest in one child or one family at a time, we will impact Haiti, and our Father in heaven will be glorified. That is afterall, why He put us here. Those who have the means, are to help those who do not. That is what He calls love.

Monday, November 8, 2010

God is awesome - prayers still needed

Ezechiel and Daniel took Marie Jane back down to the clinic. The voodoo man decided he did not want her, and said the mother could do whatever she wanted with her. Her mother and two brothers are staying at the police station tonight, and Marie Jane has been returned to Michelle. Tomorrow it will become more clear what the plan is going to be.

It is beyond amazing how one little soul can tug on your heart in an instant. Maybe you have to be here to understand, I don't know, but it is obvious this is one special little girl - as they all are. She just happened to be the one God placed in our lives today.

Our God has once again showed how He is mighty to save, and how He hears the prayers and cries for mercy from His children.

Please continue to pray for all involved, and pray that His will be done and that He be glorified. It is our hope that if possible, this mother can stay with her children, as that seems to be her desire at the moment. She had been beaten and kicked by him before she fled to the clinic with Marie Jane, and she was in pretty bad shape. God heals, and He restores. He alone can bring beauty from ashes.

Voodoo - Pray for Marie Jane

I am sick to my stomach right now, and tears are flowing. The precious baby Marie Jane, who is pictured on my Facebook was brought in by her mom today to a clinic in Haiti. Michelle got a call to come pick the baby up, because her dad, who is a voodoo priest, beat up the mom and wants to sacrifice Marie Jane.

We went to the clinic, and brought Marie Jane back with us, and have been trying to find a solution that would allow the mom to remain with Marie and her two brothers. She wants to be with them, but is in very real danger if she remains anywhere near the voodoo priest husband who wants to kill her and sacrifice little Marie Jane as a voodoo offering.

After we got home with Marie, we got a call that she has to go back to the clinic. The mom had left the clinic to go back and get some of her belongings, so she could seek safety, and the dad demanded that the baby be brought back to him. We had to send her back with a couple of the Haitian men who work here at the guest house. We are praying for safety for all, because this could turn into a very bad situation, very quickly.

It is our prayer that the local pastor, who has gone to see the dad now, will talk reason into him, and she will be able to come back here tonight.

Friday, November 5, 2010

First Impressions of Haiti

Well, we made it in one piece to Haiti after experiencing what the pilots called minor turbulance along the way! I call it something else entirely. The landing was less than stellar, but it was a landing at an airport, so that is definitely a plus!  The experience at the airport was just that - an experience! Mere words cannot describe getting off the plane, being herded onto a bus and taken to customs, and then to the insanity of  the "baggage claim" area - a giant room filled with men and luggage scattered everywhere - because by the time you make it through immigration - the baggage is who knows where!

You are immediately accosted by numerous workers wanting to retrieve your bags, put them on the cart and just start walking off with them - as they argue with one another about WHO is going to take them. It is a little unnerving, because these guys did not speak English, and we did not speak Haitian Creole! Pointing to the bandana I had tied around my carry on backpack, did make it so they could find our bags, since I had tied a bandana on all the bags. Yay me! :-)

Once we had finally made it through immigration and retrieved all 5 checked bags, we had to go through customs (all in a large overcrowded building with no air). I made it past the customs guy no problem - he looked at my loaded down cart, looked at me - hesitiated a moment and waved me through. Meanwhile this same guy stops Paul (as my guy is sprinting away with my loaded cart) and asks him what is in one particularly large (76 pounds to be exact) bag. Paul makes up some stuff which happens to be true, the guy hesitates and finally waves him on. Praise God, cause I was not ready to have them go through all our stuff and lose it.

We hurry outside with our carts and see a young man holding a sign that says "Paul and Melody."  I breathe a sigh of relief, however, other men want to carry our stuff, I tell them we have it, they are persistant, our guy and the other guy are arguing....Uh OH! The two guys are racing off with the carts and arguing, and I am doing my best to keep up! Thankfully I spot Michelle in the distance and feel MUCH better about the outcome of this event.

The adventure continues after we make it to the truck...Suffice it to say that driving in Haiti is NOT like driving in the USA. I saw maybe one light. Let's just call it what it is - it's a free for all. No rules. Whoever drives faster and crazier wins. Cutting people off is apparently part of the driving process....It is an amazing experience to say the least. Add the "potholes" to the mix and you feel as if you are in a video game - continually dodging oncoming trucks, potholes, chickens, dogs and goats! Yes, they all share the road! :-)

After we had lunch, we went to the Children of Hope Orphanage and Hospice where we were greeted instantaneaousl with hugs and kisses from the childen, and then from Mama T and Lourdes. The children are precious, and so are these ladies who love them so.

As everyone  knows, a hurricane was approaching Hait as we left, and it was suggested that we postpone the trip. Paul and I talked about it, but it was never a serious consideration for us, as we really believed that Haiti was not going to be hit.

Everyone we know sent up prayers that Haiti be spared more destruction. We just prayed and prayed and prayed. Even today we were under a hurricane warning. We got a little rain. It just shows the mighty hand of God answering the prayers of His children. He always hears and he always answers. He is so good.

This afternoon, Greg took us for a drive around the area. Pictures can not really prepare you for what you are going to see. And smell. The level of poverty here is completely indescribable. Our poor in the US are wealthy compared to what we saw today. Living in squalor doesn't even begin to describe the conditions. Tents, shacks, shantys, overcrowding is an understatement. The smell of the area close to the port was like nothing I have ever smelled.

So when you come to Haiti, your senses are overwhelmed, and you shake your head, and your mouth kind of falls open in disbelief. And you shake your head in disbelief at what you are seeing, thinking it must be a scene out of some horrible movie about what it might be like in the last days. It is NOT something you expect to see in 2012. Not when so many have the means to help - yet do not.

While your senses are overwhelmed by the sadness and destruction that you see, your heart is also filled by people who are still so full of love and hope that it is contagious. Their smile simply warms your soul.

Monday, November 1, 2010 still.....

Call me crazy if you like, but as I sit here thinking about what lies in store for this team of about 15 travelling to Haiti in the coming days, I am left with just one conclusion.

God is waiting on His children to demonstrate that they really believe that He is control of it all. We all say we believe that He is in control, but when it comes right down to it, if we are honest with ourselves, many of us will have to say that we spend much of our time trying to control everything and everyone in our lives - EVEN our God.

I have been watching this storm for days now. Watching what can only be considered a bizarre turn towards Haiti. It turned in to a hurricane pretty quickly, but has since weakened considerably to the point that it is now very disorganized.

In my simple little mind, I see satan himself attempting to bring more devastation to a people who are already destroyed. Many of these people rely on voodoo and other false "religions" to get them through. What a win for satan if he can get us to turn our back on Haiti. Think of all the souls he will gain if we (meaning Christians - not me in particular) stay away out of fear, or even worse, out of indifference.

I say if satan is the one trying to send Tomas to Haiti, then perhaps the wind shear and the dry air that is weakening Tomas, is nothing less than the hand of God himself taking command from the hands of his fallen angel. God is in control of everything that happens, and God is good.

We must continue to pray, BELIEVING that the God who created the universe hears and answers. We do NOT sit back and say that it's the weather and it is beyond our control and there is nothing we can do! NO! We pray to the One who DOES have the power to calm the stormy seas. "Peace. Be still..."

He did it once, why do we believe He will not do it again? Let's be faithful to our brothers and sisters in Haiti. They are depending on us, and they don't even know it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Faith enough

Spending much time in prayer these past few days.

It is amazing the chaos that ensues when you agree to step out of your comfort zone and do something that calls you to rely completely and totally on your God. It can be scary territory for one who has spent her life trying to control what is beyond her control. (That would be me in case you did not follow)

Suffice it say, that the evil one has stepped up his attack and is in assault mode.

From the initial clumsy feet meet wet floor incident last Thursday morn, to events of a very personal and hurtful nature midweek, to Paul and I coming down with what could only be described as a fabulous case of what we Southerners call "the crud," to what is now a hurricane with sites set on Haiti, one has to wonder what God has planned for this team from TN, MS, and WI when they arrive in Port au Prince later this week.

I try not to spend much of my time asking WHY all of things are happening at once, rather I choose to ask my God WHAT He wants us to learn from this.

I come away with the belief that he is demanding that His children rely on Him and Him alone, that we have faith enough to believe that He knows what He is doing, and that He will take care of His precious children in Haiti. It is not our place to question the One who created everything. It is our place to trust that His will is for the good of all.

I believe He wants to show us just how mighty and powerful He truly is. He CAN repair what we cannot. He CAN change the hearts of those who seem to have lost their way. And He CAN dissolve a hurricane IF he so chooses, and we have to believe this with every ounce of our being.

I know He expects us to seek Him, to change our wicked ways, to humble ourselves, and to PRAY to him about all of this. And if we do these things, He will hear us. If His answer happens to be "no" regarding any of these issues, I pray we have the grace to accept His will, knowing that whatever His plan is, that the God who created the universe, still has us all  in the palm of His hand. Is there really any place we would rather be in the midst of our storm?

Friday, October 22, 2010

The devil doesn't want you going anywhere

I was just telling my 20 year old son Destin about how I hurt my knee pretty badly yesterday morning. The first sentence out of his mouth was "go to the doctor, the devil doesn't want you going anywhere!"

How right Destin is. As soon as you make plans to go and do something for God, where you KNOW He will be glorified in the process, Satan is going to spring into action as quickly as he can to stop you! And he really does pull out all the stops!!!! It can be a very simple little thing to literally knock you off your feet...

Rewind to yesterday morning. My sweet husband was trying to help me, so he "swiffered" the house for me before work. In my haste to get dressed, I scurried into Shelby's room in my wedges, and all of a sudden....clumsy feet meet wet slippery floor...

You can probably tell where this is going - and you are right....

My left leg, which already has a screw holding the medial, lateral, and posterior cruciate ligaments in place from an auto accident some 20 years ago, went sideways - popping, crunching, and cracking all the while - as my right leg went in the opposite direction....

Needless to say, it was not a pretty sight, and had it not hurt so badly - I would have laughed at the comical nature of the event...HOWEVER - with our mission trip to Haiti only 2 weeks away, I was not laughing....crying in pain and frustration was more like it.

I made my way to work and quickly realized my knee was functioning far from normal. It hurt to walk, it hurt to bend over and it CERTAINLY hurt if it twisted in any direction....Walgreens is right across the road, so I hobbled over, got a sturdy brace and a bottle of Aleve, and said many prayers for miraculous healing of the knee.

Needless to say, the whole situation troubles me. The knee feels no better, and the entire outside of my quad muscle feels bruised...and I really cannot walk very well at all.

We have work to do in Haiti, and I cannot figure out for the life of me how this injury figures into God's plan. I know He HAS a plan for us, and I know in my heart that it involves the beautful people of Haiti.

I know that satan would love to stop us from going and sharing the light and love of Christ, so I ask that you please pray that we are protected from these attacks of the enemy that aim to stop us from serving. There is power in prayer, so we all have to remember to pray for one another each and every day we take a breath. The battle is already won....we just have to do our part as His soldiers.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Our worst day is but a dream.....

Last night I was reading the blog of a missionary in Haiti. She had been working at a med clinic all day, when a young lady came in for a pregnancy test. She already had 2 small children, and was single. She had been on birth control, but something went wrong. The young lady's test came back positive, and in an instant she decided to abort the child.

As heartbreaking as this news was to the missionary at the clinic, she realized that there are not couples in Haiti waiting to adopt this child as there are in the U.S. - there are orphans everywhere. The government is corrupt and makes international adoptions a nightmare, and how is this young woman going to take care of another baby?

Who knows if she even has a "home." With 1.5 million people still living in tents in Haiti, with no jobs, very little food, unsafe drinkning water, what was this woman to do?

I am utterly ashamed to ever think I have had a bad day in my life! Right now it does not matter what most Haitians do, their tomorrow is going to look just like their yesterday, and it is going to be that way for a VERY LONG TIME! They cannot go get another job, or move to a better part of town. They cannot work harder to make it better. There are no jobs, and there is no town to speak of!

Haitians need the hope and grace and love that only Jesus can provide. I cannot imagine the feeling of getting up everyday knowing I was completely powerless to change my situation. As a Christian, I try to imagine that minus Christ. WOW! A feeling of hopelessness like no other overtakes me. What is it that makes you go on? How do you go on day after day amidst the darkness that is sure to try to consume you?

I imagine you pray to whomever for someone to come and help. To love you. To show you that there really is hope when you cannot see it for yourself.

This is why we must go. Our heart breaks for these beautiful people who continue to hang on depite all odds.

Help us help them, won't you?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Everyone has the ability to help

As our day of departure of November 4 quickly approaches, I become acutely aware of how much "help" we need. I know that not everyone feels called to go to the "mission field," but I do believe everyone can help those who do go. Everyone has a God given ability to help send....

There are three impoertant ways in which you can help Paul and I in the coming weeks.

I have always believed in the power of prayer, and I have seen God move in my life and in the lives of those I am close to. There is no doubt in my mind that those changes are the result of intercessory prayers - others praying for their fellow believers.

We are going into a country that has been devastated. Life for the most part is chaos. Voodoo is widely practiced and was actually acknowledged as an official religion in Haiti. I can only imagine the spiritual warfare that is present there. Prayer is critical!

So PLEASE pray for our trip, and pray for the missionaries who now call Haiti home, who try to shine the light of Christ in what I am sure can be a dark and dismal place much of the time. Pray for the Haitian people - that they are receptive to the Gospel, and that they have the strength to face the obstacles that are continually placed before them.  I know that God hears, and God answers the prayers of those who pray in belief.

I am very uncomfortable asking for financial assistance of any kind, but Christ tells us that we have not, because we do not ask...So that leads me to believe that if we are to do his work full time, we will have to have financial support of those who want to help, but do not want to go, and we will have to ask for that support.

It is our goal to be full time "missionaries" in Haiti. There is a need there that will never be met if we (Americans) do not leave the comfort of our lives and "go make disciples of all nations."  With 1.5 people living in tents, and hundreds of thousands of orphans in Haiti, I think there is a lifetime of work to be carried out, and it is time to go and shine His light, and show His love to a hurting and broken nation.

I believe we do not have to be perfect, "holy," people to be called to action by our God, like so many of us think. All we have to do for proof of that is read His Word, and take a good look at the original 12. Isn't amazing how God can take a common, not so special, ordinary sinner and use him/her for His glory. I think it shows us just how awesome and powerful He is!

It is our desire to be obedient to the call that God has placed upon our hearts, and we need your help to do that. I know that if this is His will, then He will put it upon the hearts of family, friends, and even complete strangers to support our call to missions. So thank you for your help. :-)

If you wish to donate, you can click the DONATE button on this blog, or if you prefer to send a check, email me for details.

There are supplies that are needed in the orphanages and medical clinics all over Haiti. I have posted a short list on a previous blog, so if you are interested in helping with supplies for us to take down with us, e-mail me to see what we need the most.

Thank all of you who are already praying for us, and those of you who plan to sponsor us with the gift of a financial donation. Please be assured that all financial gifts will go towards this trip - and what we pray will be a semi-permanent stay in Haiti taking care of orphans.

God Bless all of you,
Melody and Paul

My email address -

Saturday, October 2, 2010

You are their hope....

In just five short weeks from today we will be in Haiti. We are so very excited to see how God is going to use us on this first trip, and it is our prayer that He will see fit to use us permanently in His service. It is our heart's desire to be in the center of His will, to be His hands and feet, and to go and show the love of Christ to those who are hurting.

We do need help from everyone, as we cannot do this alone.

Supplies are not readily available in Haiti, so we are collecting items to take with us that will be used at the orphanages and med clinics. Please look over the list and see what you can provide for some of the 1.5 million Haitians who have lost their homes, their jobs, and their families and have been left to live in tents. They are relying on the loving kindness of strangers for assistance. They have no other options.

Supplies Needed:

Children's Tylenol, Motrin, and Aspirin
Adult's Tylenol, Motrin, and Aspirin
Antacids - TUMS, Rolaids, similar product
Neosporin type ointment
Band Aids
Twin Sheet sets

 We prayerfully ask that you consider supporting our call to missions. There are many expenses involved in such an endeavor - supplies, airfare, lodging, and meals to name a few. We pray that you will ask yourself how you can help, be it it purchasing supplies for us to take with us, or helping financially by clicking on our "Donate" button.

Thanks so much to all of you who are praying for us and supporting this trip. May God bless each of you as you bless those in Haiti. You are their hope.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What do we really believe about missions?

I have been thinking lately about the words of Christ. There has been much discussion of late about whether Jesus really meant it when he said to sell everything, go make make disciples of all nations....Opinions definitely differ in the area of what the actual responsibility of the local church is when it comes to missions...

8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8

Here is where for some it gets sticky - why some churches think their part of The Great Commission stops at the borders of their local community. In so doing, they "deny Jesus' vision and command for His followers."

Some church "leaders make Acts 1:8 sequential and say they are focused on reaching their "Jerusalem," their own city or town, and perhaps extend their witness in the larger surrounding area of their "Judea." They have no responsibility beyond their locale until they have successfully fulfilled their local mission. Unfortunately this never happens!...Certainly God wants us to witness to the lost where we live and minister to the needs of those around us, but it doesn't exempt the church from responsibility for the mission of God to the ends of the earth. If a church sees responsibility for the mission of God as a set of concentric circles, they will never move beyond the narrow core and will forfeit the privilege of being a part of what God is doing among the nations."
 from Spiritual Warfare and Missions

If we take the verse above at face value - it says we will be his witnesses in Jerusalem, AND Judea, AND Samaria, AND the ends of the earth. From what I can see there is no and THEN. He does not say once you finish in Jerusalem, THEN go to Judea, and once you finish there, THEN go to Samaria....and THEN perhaps once you have done that, THEN go to the ends of the earth for me...

You know WHY he did not say "and THEN go...." Because he knew there would always be a need in every town...we would get quite comfy and settled into "our Jerusalem," and we would never be free to go to the ends of the earth for him. So He simply said "go..."

I believe Jesus has given us the gift of salvation, and he has left the Holy Spirit with us so that we may GO and fulfill His mission to proclaim the gospel to those who have NEVER heard of Jesus.I am certainly not dismissing the great need for local missions - that is essential - just as taking missions all over the world is critical. WE are not to choose one over the is not an "either/or" decision.  Both are to be supported by the church.

"If every church that acknowledges the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the way of salvation to a lost world, that recognizes all have yet to come to him in repentance and faith are lost and bound for an eternity in hell, and would be committed to the Great Commission of discipling the nations, the mission of God could be readily fulfilled, even in this generation. But Satan does not want to see that happen, so he convinces churches to be content with their provincialism and limited focus." Spiritual Warfare and Missions

I have to stop for today, but may pick this up again later. It was not meant to step on anyone's toes..Just meant to make us all think about what we believe is truth.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

This is why we go....

Lately I can't seem to get the upcoming trip to Haiti off my mind. At times I wonder if or how God can even use me down there. I am just one little person with not so many skills, so how I can I possibly make a difference?

Then I remember that when he calls you, and you are obedient to that call, he WILL qualify you. He will never leave you to "wing it" on your "get behind me Satan!"

I have been trying to get current information about the situation down there, and read just the other day that there are 1.5 MILLION people living in the various tent cities. Sometimes a "tent" is simply sticks and old sheets put together - the bare ground is the floor. It is estimated that most of these same people will be in their tents for years - as recovery and clean up is beyond slow.

A day or so ago, a storm came through, (think along the lines of a tornado and torrential rains here), and those who were displaced after the earthquake once again lost their shelter. They already are without power, and food and clean drinking water...and now the "roof" over their heads is gone....again.

I wonder how many of them have Jesus to cry out to? I wonder how many wonder why this is happening to them? I wonder how many do not know that their God has them in the palm of His hand at this very moment, and that He loves them?

For those people here in America who think it is better to just send a check, or to take care of those in our own community and let "someone else" worry about the people in Haiti, I ask you this....

If  your world as you knew it literally collapsed all around you, and you found yourself without, food, shelter, and water, and your only means of supporting your family had been stripped from you without warning, and you could see no end in sight to your suffering....Wouldn't you LOVE it if someone showed up to hold your hand, to offer a hug, to wipe your tears, to bring you a meal, or medicine, or shoes! 

How wonderful to have a brother or sister come to you and not only TELL you of the love of Christ, but come and SHOW you His share in your suffering. To simply love you through your pain...

THIS is why we go. This is why we can't NOT go. How will they know the love of Jesus if we do not tell them through our actions?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

If only.....

"I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea." Isaiah 48:17-18

I have read this passage several times now, and each time it hits a little closer to home....There is nothing to add to this. It is as clear as a bell.

HE teaches us what is best, HE directs us in the way we should go.....the part that gets me is, IF ONLY YOU HAD PAID ATTENTION......How many times have you said those two little words? IF ONLY I hadn't said that.....If only I hadn't done that......If only......two little words...very telling words.....What is your "If only..."? 

I think that about sums it all up! Why do we all feel the need to go searching everywhere and asking those around us for answers? God's word is so clear about what we are to do..

And the best part of all, is that whatever our "if only" is, if we confess it to Him he is faithful to forgive us. We are redeemed, and we can move forward, bringing glory to His Kingdom in the process.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Is the modern church functioning the way God intended?

Think back to the original church and its they operated in the beginning....the time they spent with one another in fellowship and worship, the support they provided one another, how they lifted one another up, how people humbled themselves, how people admitted their weaknesses and faults, how people weren't afraid to ask for forgiveness (from their neighbor as well as their God), how they went to the ends of the earth for their Savior....

The question is this - is this the modern church we see today? Are we really a people who are humble, do we pray for those who wrong us, do we spend enough time with fellow Christians?

Do we let our guards down, let people see the flawed individuals we really are, or do we sit in church and act as though we have it all together? If we can't trust those we are church with to see the real us, the imperfect person who really doesn't have it all together, the one who puts on a smile for the world, how can the church possibly function as it was intended? We cannot bear the burden alone, we can't solve our problems on our own. We need our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to lean on, to pray for us, to fellowship with.

If we can't get ourselves together and be real to the world, how will we ever reach a hurting world? Does a world that is full of pain, full of hurting, and full of it in general have any desire to join the fellowship of a church that cannot admit they're not the picture of perfection? How will they ever relate to us if we cannot relate to ourselves? How they will they ever relate to "pretty plastic people" in churches with "pretty plastic steeples." How will they open up to us if we cannot open up to ourselves?

I wonder how can we share Jesus with them, if we do not really know him ourselves?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And 4 years later, she finally gets it....

I found this post from over 4 years ago...I guess I am a little slow! I get it now, and we are going. :-)

"I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?'" (Isaiah 6:8)

I am curious, how many of us hear the call of the Lord? How many of us are REALLY listening? I know that I am so guilty of being so wrapped up in my life and the lives of my children that I rarely stop to breathe, much less stop to listen for God telling me what He wants from me. I am really good, however at deciding what I think he wants from me. I think I know what I am good at, not good at, and how I think he can best use me. But guess what? As long as I am focused on myself, thinking I know better than God what I should do.....then I will be of no use to him....I will ignore the call, tune it out, or worse yet - NEVER EVEN HEAR IT! The trick for me is to finally remove the focus from myself and to surrender to his will for my life - even if it takes me out of my comfort zone. I have to be in a right relationship with him to hear the call......

My prayer is that we will all forget about ourselves and really listen for the call of God and then obey the call when we hear it. That is the only way the church will function as intended. God Bless!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

All that matters.....

As the time draws near for our trip to Haiti in November, Paul and I are naturally trying to organize and get things in order: airfare, shots, what to take with us, etc. It is a bit stressful for me, and I get a little overwhelmed by it all - wondering if it will really come together, wondering if we can financially "pull it off," and what will we have to sacrifice or give up if we go...will we be able to get groceries when we get back, pay the power know those worries that can sometimes consume out thoughts.

The more I think and pray, I am left with the thought of what a selfish thought pattern that really is. We are going into a country that was struggling before the 7.0 earthquake destroyed the infrastructure, killed like 200,000 people, left millions homeless, and created 300,00 NEW orphans. How dare I?

While we live pretty simply by American standards, compared to much of the rest of the world, I live as royalty. I am left wondering how we became so blind and numb to the plight of the rest of the world. Are those of us who call ourselves Christians so wrapped up in ourselves that we think going to church on Sunday and Wed. night, and giving our 10% is really all it takes to please our God?

Do we really think that He is going to be understanding when we stand before him and explain that we had to have a new car, a bigger house, designer clothes, plastic surgery, or whatever the case may be instead of helping His children who are dying of starvation, dying of thirst and disease every SECOND of  EVERY day.

I don't think so. There is no excuse we can offer to justify our self centered lifestyles. It is time we move to action before it is too late.

As Christ told the church in Sardis, who had a great reputation, "I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead" Rev. 3:1. All that matters is the reality of who we are before God.

His work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Cor. 3:13-15

Do I just want to "escape" and get into His kingdom by the skin of my teeth, or do I want Jesus to be pleased with me?  To say, "Well done my good and faithful servant." It is time for us to stop living selfish lives, forgetful of our God. Nothing matters except our King and our God.

Please join us as we get "Radical" with a "Crazy Love" for the One who gave everything for us.