"If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice? - David Livingstone
In August of 2013, I went on my first mission trip to Jacmel, Haiti. I was so excited about the trip and all that God had in store for my team and I. However, immediately after leaving the airport in Port-Au-Prince and beginning the 3 hour journey up the small curved streets and steep mountainsides towards Jacmel, I was confronted with the reality of life there. Honestly, the poverty, filth, and trash overwhelmed me, leaving me feeling sad, and completely helpless. Little did I know, my experiences over the next week would not only change my life, but ignite my passion for service like never before.
I quickly returned to Jacmel just a few months later in January of 2014, again in January of 2015, and in March of 2015, for the first time, I served in Bamboo, Jamaica. On each trip, we visited the local villages, hospitals, and orphanages, held VBS, and/or nightly revivals - all while sharing the love of Christ with the locals. In May of 2014 and 2015 I traveled domestically to New York City for mission trips that focused on reaching out to the homeless on the streets and providing makeovers to women in homeless shelters in Brooklyn, many who were burdened with mental illness and substance abuse issues, giving them makeovers while also ministering to their spiritual needs.
Every single trip has been amazing in it's very own way, however, there is just something very special about what God is doing in Haiti... On one trip, while visiting the only hospital in Jacmel at the time, we came to the door of the pediatric area, and our host decided it was best for us not to enter. We stood outside the door of this one room building and began to pray. As we heard the cries of the children just on the other side of the door, we began to cry out to the Lord on their behalf. Just as my emotions were beginning to overtake me, I heard another sound, and began to walk away from the group towards it. As I rounded the corner of the building, I realized it was the sound of crashing waves hitting the shore, just down below from where we stood. Through my watery eyes, I stared at the sand, then the waves, then the vastness of the ocean, then the mountains, and the trees, and then finally, with my chin that was once down, now up, I looked towards the sky. At this moment I realized that even in the midst of the pain and despair there - God, in all of his glory and splendor - was also there. I could see him in the blue hues of the water, in the greens of the trees, I could feel his breathe in the breeze blowing across my skin, and I could hear him in the sounds of the waves beating upon the shore. All this gave me the one thing I lacked while heading up the mountain, but that I now had - HOPE. Hope that those babies were all in his hands, that we ALL are in his hands. It is this hope that drives me to serve, love and share Christ with both Haitians and Dominicans in my new season…
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you… In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." - Job 12:7-8,10 NIV
Sooooo.... here goes my first blog entry. I would love for it to be a long, thought out, beautifully written dissertation on how on bold and confident I am, BUT that would not be genuine, as I truly am a work in progress. So for now, I thought I'd share what inspires and reminds me about who am I am in Christ, as I begin to enter this new phase of my life - one that is full of unknowns, concerns, questions, and yes - from time to time - a little fear. I hope this encourages you as much as it encourages me.
Be bold. I know you might have concerns… but walk boldly. I know you might harbor doubts… but don’t wallow in them. I know that others may not believe in you… but bring your fears to Me.
When I am the Truth on which you stand, your foundation is sure. When I am the place where you run for shelter, your defense is solid. When I am the Voice that you make time to listen to, your confidence can be real. Be bold. Not because you have all the answers. Not because you can see the future clearly. Not because you don’t ever feel afraid. Be bold because you trust ME.
You can absolutely be brave when your knees want to buckle. You can positively have courage even when you lack confidence. You can certainly be gutsy when you believe that the God of the Universe lives in you and cheers you on.
Don’t indulge your fears. Don’t rehearse what can go wrong. Don’t give power to those people, places or situations that threaten to bring you down. Focus on ME. Make ME your place of refuge and safety. Choose my protection and authority. Trust what I say about who you are and where you are going. BELIEVE that I will go to war on your behalf if necessary. And, that I always win.
So be bold. Take chances. Don’t let anything or anyone intimidate you or make you live your life in fear. Don’t let any voice drown out the directions I give you for what steps to take next. Don’t let any uncertainty you may have about your abilities override what I see you are capable of. Finally, know that I am here when you need to stop, catch your breath, refuel, and emerge again ready for battle.