Sunday, December 4, 2011


It can be quite startling and often disturbing (as it should be) when you get a glimpse of the monster in the mirror.  This “monster” may be bitterness, anger, irritation, pride, resentment… and the list can go on and on, but whatever it is, it seems to come from a deep hidden part of the heart that is deceptively concealed behind all the nice and pleasant characteristics and then presents itself in an unexpected moment.

Over the last year and a half it seems like I have faced this monster more than I would like to admit, more than the rest of my life put together. Feelings that I didn’t know I could harbor have surfaced. Feelings that are normally attributed to violent people crop up making me reconsider who I really am and causes me to wonder what damage I am actually capable carrying out.

As I have come to serve people specifically here in Haiti for this time period of my life I have realized that I am not as kind of a person that I thought I was.  I am not as loving or giving as I could be. I am not nearly as quick to serve as I should be when I am faced with someone else’s comfort over my own. I am not as gentle or sincere as is necessary to connect with others. We came to Haiti to make a difference and to help people, but I have found that I am faced with a dilemma. I don’t love people the way I should.

A couple days ago I was faced with this reality on a more personal level, and it hurt to see how callous I can be. A few months back I had employed a few teenage boys to help pick up trash around the hospital and do some grunt work for a couple days. Most of them worked half-heartedly and showed up late, so I tried to teach them some work ethic since most of them had probably never done much work in their lives. I had given my phone number to one of the boys, Ezekiel, who worked every day and he would randomly call to see if I had any work for him.

A few days ago Ezekiel called me again. I didn’t pick up the phone as there are several of the boys that call several times a week and I just couldn’t be bothered by them at the moment. It took too much effort to try and understand them over the phone and so I just ignored it. Besides, I was busy. I was in the middle of a project that I have been putting off for months--putting a slideshow together to raise awareness about the needs of the hospital and all it’s hurting people. In fact, I had just typed into the google search bar “songs that talk about people in need” to go along with the picture presentation when Ezekiel called for about the 5th time. I finally answered simply so he would stop calling and cryptically answered “bonjour.”

He only speaks creole but I was able to make out from his pitiful tone and a few words here and there that he was hungry. I felt bad, but practically everyone is hungry here. Just because he calls doesn’t mean that I need to respond, or does it? I honestly didn’t want to give him money and all the food that I had needed to be cooked so I just wanted to say that I couldn’t help him, but I could if I stopped what I was doing. If I really wanted to I could take 5 minutes out of my day and find something for him. Then the irony hit me. Here I was trying to put together a presentation for people in America to get them to help, and here I was with a young boy right in front of me that I was about ready to brush off simply because I couldn’t be bothered.

I found a coupon for him to get bread at the market and ended up finding 50 gourdes (just over $1) so he could buy a lunch. I was still annoyed at this point, although now the annoyance was equally distributed between being bothered about being interrupted and annoyed at my heartless attitude. Through it all even though I knew it was probably the right thing to do, I didn’t just automatically react in love. Even after I decided I would help him I didn’t spontaneously have love bubbling out of me. Even when I gave him the small gift it took everything I had to try and be understanding and take the extra time to connect with him, rather than rushing to give it to him and move on.

I ended up helping him, but it was probably more out of a guilty conscious than genuine love and well-being for his health. I know that I can’t give food and money to every single person that needs it, but no matter what happens or who I encounter I want my first reaction to be love.  I realized how heartless I can be to someone in need, and I didn’t like my reaction.  I also realized that I can’t just muster love up. I can pretend, but to have the genuine thing…that is a gift. A gift that truly only comes from God, because God is Love. I want that love. I need that love to transform my life.

Thankfully God promises to give us this gift of love and to remove our stony heart and replace it with his lovely Spirit. Thanks be to God! There is hope!

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Ezekiel 36:25-26

Notice another irony: the text is found in the book of Ezekiel.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

More Farewells

The end of the year is fast approaching, and that means that it is time to start saying more good-byes. Our most recent farewells took place on Dec 1 when we had to send J’mo Dickie, our prosthetist for the last year, to the airport to catch his plane home to New Zealand (via a few days stop in California).

I can’t do Jamieson justice by trying to describe him, but in short he is a man that doesn’t fit the mold, but in being that way he is able to touch lives in a real and genuine way. He comes across as gruff and a bit crass and doesn’t beat around the bush, but it doesn’t take long to see his deep love for people and his commitment to serving them and making their life better. Through J’mo I have learned the importance of sincerity, honesty, and service.

Jamieson asked to do worship the day he left, and by the end I think he had brought tears to most of our eyes. He ended his talk by handing out a special gift to each one of us that I will treasure always. It was a soda cap with a safety pin stuck through it so that he could pin the cap to our shirt. If you have seen the cartoon “Up” you will understand its significance immediately.  I guess that means that us long-term volunteers are now part of a club. A club that I am proud to be apart of.


Left to Right: ZJ, Emily, Lynn, J'mo, Brittany, Nathan,
Amy and Brian (if you look closely you can see we
are all wearing our new badge with pride).

J'mo and Me and my soda cap pin

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


This year for Thanksgiving we actually got to take a little break for several days in a row! For the first time in nearly 1 ½ years since we have been in Haiti all of us long-term volunteers were all able to go on a little trip together over a long weekend. We didn’t have any other short-term volunteers coming in and so all 9 of us were able to take a 4 day excursion to Ile-a-Vache, or Cow Island.

It was about a 4 hour drive on the treacherous roads of Haiti and 20 minute boat ride to this beautiful little island, but it was certainly worth it. Upon arrival we were shown our little bungalows on the beach and immediately were able to start relaxing. It was a rustic little place that was just a step up from camping, but that’s all we needed. We weren’t at the hospital so that is all that mattered. We were surrounded by fresh air, crashing waves, clean space, and peace!

Even though the main reason we were able to take this little vacation was because of Thanksgiving, it was also kind of like our last hurrah before many of our long-term volunteers leave. It was a nice opportunity to be together outside of the work environment and just connect with each other in a different way before life takes us all in different directions and places.  We may cross paths again, or we might not, but not matter what, each one of these wonderful volunteers have left a lasting impact on my heart and life. They have been family to us for this last year and so they will always be apart of our lives.


Our bungalows on the beach

Lynn and Amy at Abaka Bay

Left to right: Lynn, J'mo, Nathan, Marc, and Brian

Laundry day! Things seemed much more clean and
organized on this island. Houses even had lawns!
Hiking through the island, there are no cars!

Relaxing in the perfectly clear water

Monday, November 21, 2011

Early Thanksgiving

Since we will not have an opportunity to have Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving, we had an early feast this weekend. It is amazing the creations you can come up with making a full Thanksgiving meal using a toaster over, a prosthetic oven, some electric pots, and a little electric burner. With a team working together I'd say it turned out to be a grand success!

Just a few things we are thankful for:
* A new generator that works
* Clean drinking water
* A sheltered place to sleep
* Plumbing
* An awesome team of volunteers
* Friendships
* Supportive family
* People who sent us Thanksgiving treats so that we could have pumpkin bread and pie
* Our crazy cat
* All the long term volunteers get to go on a long weekend get-away this weekend to Ile-a-Vache
* And of course a God who cares for us better than we can ever know!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Today was a sad day. A day of change and uncertainty as we said good-bye to Terry and Jeannie Dietrich. They served whole-heartedly for the year that they were here and it was great having them here. Now we will have to find a way to move on and continue the orthopedic program even without them. They will still be back for a few weeks here and there, but currently we don’t have a long-term replacement for Dr. Dietrich, which is disconcerting. There may be an orthopedic surgeon that might be able to come down, but as of right now there is a lot of unknowns about how it will all work.

The orthopedic program is not the only place that is going through changes. The rehab center will be seeing a lot of change in the next few months, in the prosthetic lab we are going to be having to say good-bye to J’mo, our medical director is moving away, and also more good-byes will be happening at the end of the year as ZJ and Lynn and Brittany will all be moving on. There is a lot of changes and a lot of unknowns as the hospital tries to continue on. There are high hopes that things will thrive but at the same time wondering how that will happen on a practical level. Please keep everything in your prayers through this time of change.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another Water Story

Loved being able to wear the headphones and hear the
remarks back and forth between Joe and the
air traffic control towers. A lot goes on behind
the scenes when you fly!
Since there again has been a big gap in updating our blog regularly I wanted to share a little experience that happened to us a couple months ago. Since our last post was on water, I thought I should continue on that theme and reinforce the importance of water.

In Aug we had a surprise trip back to Florida because our pilot friend, Joe, had a couple extra seats on his little plane. We jumped at the opportunity to get some much needed rest and were eager to spend some time with Joe. It was pretty awesome getting to ride in his plane as it had totally been redone since the last time we got to fly with him (he and his family were on Home Makeover and part of the makeover was outfitting his airplane so that he can continue his mission work in Haiti and other places).

Part of our trip back to the States was even apart of one of his relief missions. At this time the Bahamas had been hit hard by Hurricane Irene and Joe had just received a call from Cat Island saying that they were almost completely out of fresh water and could he help? Of course he said "yes" and so part of our route home took us to the Bahamas to drop off 2 emergency water purifier systems that was able to provide enough clean drinking water for the entire island! Water definitely is a necessity!

 It was really awesome being able to be apart of this trip, not only because we really got to help some people in a very practical way, but we also got to spend the night on Harbor Island! We weren't supposed to, but by the time Joe had explained how to use the water purifier system a storm had rolled in and it wasn't safe to continue on to Florida. I was half hoping that would happen as I had never been to the Bahamas. It was beautiful in spite of the damage. Some places were hit really hard by the hurricane and there were trees bent over all around, but it was still beautiful. Especially being able to walk out onto the Pink Beach and just soak in the peace and calm! We stayed the night at one of Joe's friend's house which was only a couple blocks away from one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Nathan and I walked out onto the spongy ground up choral pink beach and we literally felt our burdens slip off our shoulders. What an amazing gift!

Perfect quote by the controls of the airplane!

Joe demonstrating how to use the water system that he invented.

Finally! I quiet moment just to think...or not think at all!

Not normally a big fan of pink...but I'll take a pinkish beach!


Carefree moment on the beautiful pink beach!

Life’s Little Annoyances Turned into a Blessing

In our little room/house we have an air-conditioning unit that sometimes blows semi-cool air. Not only does it work less than perfect, when it is on it constantly drips water.  Sometimes it might just be a little drip and other times we have our very own in house waterfall. Consequently we have to keep a large bucket in front of the door so that we don’t end up with a flood in our room. This of course is an annoyance because it not only splashes water everywhere but since we have to keep the bucket right in front of the door it can make it very cumbersome to try to walk in and out. More often then not when we forget and quickly open the door water tends to splash everywhere.

One good thing about our waterfall is that our spoiled little cat only will drink fresh or moving water, and so instead of having to constantly refill her water dish she now simply drinks out of the constant supply of moving water. I thought this was really the only blessing from our water leak, but today I found another reason to be thankful for it. After an early morning work-out session I ran back to the room to get ready for morning meeting and was about ready to jump in the shower when Nathan reminded me that the electricity was out…thus no water. This happens fairly regularly and normally isn’t a problem, however I forgot to fill up our back up shower bucket so that we could have water on hand for such an occasion as this. There were maybe about 3 cups of water in the bottom of the bucket. I figured I would do the best I could, but I was completely drenched in sweat so figured I might have a difficult time. Then I remembered our bucket of water from the air-conditioning unit. There was plenty in there to get rinsed off! No, it wasn’t the cleanest water, but it would sure be better than smelling like I was.

You can’t beat the feeling of scrubbing off the grime and filth and getting clean, especially when there was a chance that it wasn’t going to happen. I did not relish the thought of spending the first part of the day entrenched in my own stench. It reminded me to be thankful for our little waterfall that is often so annoying, but it also reminded me to be thankful for water in general. Something so basic is so often taken for granted.

There of course is also a spiritual illustration in all this too. How important it is for us to not take for granted the cleansing water of the Holy Spirit that God wants to give us each day so that we can be clean and pure rather than emitting our own natural stench. We need the fresh flood of clean water every day (or all the time) otherwise we will be walking around all day in our own toxic odor, which we may have become accustomed to, but for those around us it can be quite suffocating. Naturally we stink, so we need a good daily washing (or scrubbing)!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meet The Team!

ZJ helps out wherever he is most needed.
In this instance he was needed to
help build shelving for our storage rooms!
Thank you ZJ!!!

Its about time to introduce the other wonderful group of volunteers that we are working with.  Since we first got here a year ago (can’t believe it has already been that long) there were just a few of us long termers—our name for people who are here for 3 mo to a year.  Now there is about 12 of us living, working, eating, and do practically everything together at the hospital…and yes, we are still living in the hospital.

In no particular order here is our team as follows:

ZJ Charles-Marcel—Doctor ZJ comes to us from Mexico and is doing his “year of service” after medical school here at HAH.  We are blessed to have him here and definitely believe that he will be a fine ortho surgeon one day.

Brian Harmon—Architect from OR who has been here since Sept and was only going to be here through Nov 2010, but looks like we get him until Nov 2011! He is working on lots of designs and building projects, including housing for the volunteers!
Brian and his buddies!
 Lynn, Mack--education translator, and Marc
Lynn Byers—RN who came in Sept and was only going to be here until March 2011, but like Brian she has extended her stay until the end of 2011! It’s a good thing she is still here because she is the link between the foreign volunteers and the local Haitian nurses. She helps to coordinate all the ortho surgeries amongst a variety of other duties. She has done an amazing job of learning Creole in the time that she has been here and can get by for the most part without a translator.

Marc Julmisse—Program Coordinator for HAH. She has her hands full with all the staff education that is taking place and will take place in the future.  She has committed to being here for a year, but we are hoping that like Lynn and Brian she will extend that to an even longer commitment. She is definitely needed as we find ways to make improvements to patient care at HAH. When she is not doing staff education she is busy saving babies in the limited NICU.

From Left to right: Marc, Audra (visiting pediatrician), Lynn
Brian, Azaria (visiting student volunteer), Terry, Jeannie, Amy

Jeannie and Terry Dietrich—they came to us from WI in Nov 2010 and will be here through Nov 2011. Terry is an orthopedic surgeon who has been kept busy with all the orthopedic cases that have not had the opportunity for orthopedic care before now. Jeannie is an RN and helps hold the OR together. She works tirelessly making sure that everything is all set in the OR for the ortho cases. She is also a great cook of banana bread!

Jamieson Dickie—or J’mo as people call him here, is a prosthetist from New Zealand. He arrived here the first week in January and will be here through the end of this year. He adds spice to life at the hospital with his humor and pranks!

Brittany Blair—Brittany also arrived in Jan and will be here through the end of the year. She is a graduate from Andrews in Clinical Lab Sciences. She is a great asset to the team since the Lab is an area that very much needs to be updated. She has been working diligently on providing staff training and searching for new ways to improve the lab.

Randy and Sherrie Tall—Randy is an electrician and is now the new head of maintenance for HAH.  With some of the crazy electrical work that has gone on here before, Randy is definitely kept busy making sure things run properly. Sherrie is not actually here for the summer as she is working back in the states for a few months, but she might be able to come back in the fall. When she was here from Jan-April she spent most of her time sorting and sorting supplies!

Alex Miller—newest addition to the team. Arrived this week and will be here for a few months working with architecture designs with Brian.

Amy and Nathan
Nathan and Amy (that is us)—Nathan is the assistant administrator at HAH and is a bridge between the local administration and other foreign organizations that are looking for ways to get involved in helping the hospital. He is kept extremely busy trying to fix all the problems that come up from day to day. I am the volunteer coordinator for people who want to volunteer at the hospital. I also randomly do odd jobs around the hospital as well—like sorting boxes and boxes of supplies. At this point we have filled our 1 year commitment, but we are still here and will be here at least through the end of 2011. 

We also have 2 incoming volunteers that will arrive in July.

Francel Alexis—He is a Haitian orthopedic surgeon that is finishing up some training with CURE in the Dominican Republic. We are fortunate that he will be joining us for 3-6 mo and will be able to help support the orthopedic program.

Emily Rivas—PT graduate from Loma Linda University and will be working in conjunction with the hospital and the Adventist University next door to help coordinate the rehab at the hospital and the future education program for rehab.

Even though they are no longer here, I can’t in good conscious leave out the long termers who have already served here and are now serving in other places in the world. If you are one of these 4 people reading this, know that you are appreciated and missed.

David Harris— Currently in Rad Tech school, was here from April-Aug  2010 working in supply and filling in as needed. David’s cheerful spirit and song leader qualities are greatly missed.

Scott Nelson—1st Orthopedic surgeon in Haiti after the earthquake. He spent 5 months as the volunteer medical director and spearheaded the orthopedic program at HAH. He continues to be involved with HAH and visits with ortho teams about every 3 months.

Brooke Beck—An RN who arrived on the scene about a month after the earthquake and worked tirelessly and wholeheartedly at HAH until the end of Aug 2010. 

Jessica Scott—RN who worked here from July-Dec 2010 coordinating all volunteer medical staff. For most of the time she was here we did not have a long term orthopedic surgeon on staff so she did a great job orienting the new medical teams that came in each week. She helped to fill a very difficult gap when we didn’t have very many long term volunteers.  


Monday, June 27, 2011

Earthquake Jitters

On Friday there was an earthquake that most people felt at the hospital. Fortunately it was not very large (I think it was a 3.5) but by the commotion it created you would have thought it was rather large. Seconds after it started the whole hospital seemed to be in a panic as people started exiting the building. There was lots of frantic chatter and commotion. After about 15 minutes life resumed as normal and had quieted down, but it goes to show how traumatized the whole country is, and rightfully so. Evidently 1 person died at the time of this earthquake, not directly from the quake but because he jumped off of a building in fear that it would collapse. There were also reports of people getting hurt from being trampled on as groups of other people tried to all frantically exit buildings at the same time. The traumatic experiences that everyone has gone through here is hard to fathom. I can't even begin to imagine what types of memories are haunting people from day to day.


Paperweights and Power

It is about time that I starting blogging again!!! It has been way too long! To start off with I'll post an entry that I wrote down from April 21, 2011.

I was musing to myself that since the power is down right now that there isn’t a whole lot of work that I can do at the moment. I have a lot of work to get caught up on prepping volunteers to come, but without electricity there is no Internet and therefor I can’t communicate with them. I decided I would make some food, but it still requires electricity to cook it so then I figured that I might as well start doing our laundry and washing our dishes that have piled up in our sink (ie bathtub). I went over, turned on the water faucet and only a couple drops of water sputtered out. For a brief second I’d forgotten that when the electricity goes out we no longer have running water in the hospital, so all my plans at being productive have been foiled again.  Everything I need to accomplish has been thwarted all because there is no electricity. I feel essentially handicapped.

As I have been sitting here contemplating what to do next I decided to take the forced calmness of the day to spend some time in Bible study. That is when it hit me, or I should say that God used the opportunity to get a point across to me. Which is, without being connected to God’s power there really isn’t a whole lot I can do either. I have heard this before growing up and thought I understood the concept, but this time I feel like the point connected and had more force and application. Without God’s power I am a blank computer screen that can’t connect to the Internet, a water faucet without water, my light won’t turn on and I am blank. I need the constant flow of His “electrical power” in my life in order to function and in order to be useful. Without him I am empty and meaningless. Without Him I am handicapped and all my efforts to do anything become thwarted.

Just as a computer becomes pointless without power, so when I am disconnected from God I loose my whole purpose for existence. Essentially I become a powerless computer that has simply turned into a large paperweight sitting on the desk, looking nice and fancy and being perceived as important, but not anywhere near being used in the capacity it was created for. Just as teams of computer engineers have spent numerous hours creating, designing, and programing a machine to do a variety of amazing functions, God has created each one of us for something remarkable; but if the computer (or us) is never plugged into the power source it has very limited use. I can’t imagine how sad—no, heartbroken—God must be when He, the creator of our intricate parts and pieces, looks down at His masterpiece and sees that all we have chosen to be is a paperweight when He knows that he has made us to be something grand if we were just plugged into Him—the only true power source.

So it is up to me to choose if I want to be a mere paperweight or a functioning work of art. Oh how I long to be living in the way God intended! I want to be so much more than a pretty piece of machinery that only looks nice on the outside but that is actually dead on the inside. I want to work and be used for the purpose God made me for—whatever it might be!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Close Call

Driving and walking on the streets of PaP can be quite risky at times. There really don't seem to be much of any rules and you always have to be quick on your toes. While walking to church yesterday I was reminded that you can't ever let your guard down. We were walking on the side walk right next to the entrance to the SDA University when a pick-up truck decided to start backing up rather quickly. Nathan jumped out of the way by going in front of the vehicle and I jumped up on a ledge that had the university wall behind me. I figured that the driver would stop before hitting the wall, but he wasn't even looking behind him as he shot backwards and so I got pinned between the truck and the wall. Eveyone was screaming at the driver but it wasn't until Nathan starting beating on the hood of the truck that he finally stopped. Fortunately the only damage done was a bruise on one knee and a trembling heart.

It may have been a small thing, but it was a good reminder to not take any moment for granted. Life is special and it is only by the grace of God that we are all here.

"The unfailing love of the LORD never ends!
 By His mercies we are kept from complete destruction.
Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself,
"The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!" 
Lamentations 3:22-24


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Glimmer of Hope

Taking a drive through Port-au-Prince can be quite depressing when you see how many people are living in tents or make shift shelters. Now that it is a year after the earthquake many of these temporary shelters are disintergrating, covered in dust, and are torn. The camps are cramped, they have to share latrines (if they have them) and water isn't always the easiest to get to. It is common to see people bathing from buckets in front of their shelters, on the street, or in some polluted stream. They are doing the best that they can. For the most part I have been amazed at how clean people keep themselves and their clothing considering the living conditions.

Even though there are still so many people living in this horrible situation, every now and then we see an improvement in an area of the city and its exciting. One area where there has been a vast change is just down the street from the hospital. In a previous post I had mentioned a group of people living in the median of one of the main roads. Well...there whole community has moved!!! ADRA built about 180 wooden shelters for this community and was able to move them to their new homes on the beach on Jan 13! What an amazing celebration it was. Our friends from ADRA said it was so rewarding to see the excitement on people's faces when they were shown their new home. Now each time I pass that section of road where these people used to live I just can help but rejoice!

Another cause for rejoicing is that Spendi, one of our local doctors here, has finally been able to move into a house! She has been living in a tent outside of the ER for the last year. On Friday when I was walking down the ramp I immediately saw that there was an empty spot where her tent had been. I about jumped up and down in the hallway! I was so happy and excited to see that one of our very hard working doctors has finally been able to find a home!

There is still hope for something better. When I am about to fall into despair I just have to focus on all the good that has already happened, even if it often does seems slow in coming.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reflections from January 12

I won't even pretend like I understand what everyone experienced 1 year ago today. The earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan 12 changed everyone's life here in some way. It is estimated that a quarter million people died. Many people lost thier families and friends. Everyone suffered loss in some way. I simply can't comprehend the terror and emotional pain that people experienced and are still experiencing. Life goes on but there are scars. Visible scars on people from where rubble fell on them, scars on the land where there is demolished homes...and then the invisible scars on people's hearts where they carry the pain of lost loved ones, lost homes, lost security.

Thinking back to that fatal day, I want to share a story of about how the earthquake affected one of my freinds here. It is what I shared in November at the Loma Linda University chapel that featured Haiti. This story is about Mackenson, one of the translators that works tirelessly at the hospital. He is dedicated to his work and is always happy to help out wherever he can.  I hadn’t ever talked with him about his experience during the earthquake until just a little while ago. His story explains why he is so dedicated and serves his community so unselfishly. 

 On Jan 12 Mackenson was at his university. The university he attended was the oldest university in PAP and on that day it was a special celebration for the school. It was the anniversary of its opening over 100 years ago and so there were lots of programs and special events planned for the day.  He was in the auditorium with 500 other students right before the earthquake hit. Then someone called him out to help them with some homework. He decided to go and help the person.  Only one hour after he left the auditorium the earthquake hit and the walls of the auditorium collapsed. Of those 500 students only 8 made it out.

When Mack told this story there was a fervent look in his eyes with deep emotion. He stated over and over again. “I was in that auditorium and I should have died.  But for some reason I am here and I owe my life to God. I have a second chance at life and so everything I do I want to give it back to God.” He said he wants to prove his devotion for God, not because he is trying to work his way to heaven or anything, but he says words can only say so much and states, “I want to show the world that I love God because He has given me a new life.”

Mackenson’s story is an example to me of how I should live my life-how I want to live my life.  Just as Mackenson knows without a shadow of a doubt that every breath he takes is a gift, we too have been given a gift of a new life but it is our choice of how we are going to live it. We are all destined to die at some point—this world is going to cave in just like those wall in the auditorium did, but through Jesus we can have a second chance at life. I think one of the ways I see Mack living his life is instead of seeing how he can fit God into his own plans, I see him living for God in everything he does by adjusting his life to God.  It is a beautiful testament to me about how a person can take a bad situation and turn it into something good.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mixed Emotions

(My thoughts from Jan 10 as I traveled back to Haiti)

Sitting here in the LA airport waiting to catch the red-eye flight back to Haiti I am bombarded with emotions--uncertaintly mostly. Do I really want to go back (at this What am I really doing there that is making a difference? Do I have enough love to really touch people's lives? Can I be effective? I feel so small for such huge problems that never seem to have answers or a solution.

Everything about sitting in this ariport is a total contrast to the life in Haiti. We left Haiti in a rush right before Christmas due to the political unrest. I won't go into the detail about the whole situation, but it was absolutely mentally draining more than anything. I honestly don't know that I am mentally prepared to go back. There is such mixed emotions that I don't know how I am going to react once I get there. Part of me is happy at the thought of seeing people there, but at the same time the main feeling is an overwhelming sense of dread.

Landing in PAP, being jostled by people who I don't understand, feeling unsure in a foreign land, arriving at the hospital where many people will want to talk to me all at once...makes me just want to hide. I don't like feeling this way. To say it makes me feel like a bad person or that I can't handle it, but I would be lying to say that everything is perfect there and that I am thrilled to be heading back. I really want to make a difference, but looking at all the areas that need help in Haiti it makes me wonder what I can really do? There is devestation on so many levels that it can feel so overwhelming and almost useless. I don't feel like I have genuine love for the people or the situation. I am not the "super Christian" who has it all together. So that brings me to the unsettling question of why am I in Haiti? What do I have to offer. I am young and have so much to learn. I guess it becomes all the more evident that I can't "fix" Haiti. It is all really beyond me. So maybe I should take my focus off of trying to make things perfect and just be available for the people I come in contact with every day. But then how do I Really do that? I don't feel qualified for any of this. But due to that fact it certainly has brouht me to my knees, pleading with God to give me His love and to humble my heart before him because I am recognizing more each day that the ONLY way that we can truely make a difference is through God's incredible strength and help. I can grunt and groan and try to do things all myself, but it doesn't change the fact that I simply can't do it on my own. I don't understand it completely, but because of the pain and suffering I see in Haiti it makes me more dependent on God for strength and wisdom, which I so badly need. And now more than ever I just want Jesus to come and make this old world new. Just think...He has promised to wipe away every tear! I want that now!!!

I don't know what the future holds and I don't know the real reasons why we may be in Haiti. But I do know that God has a plan and I want to be apart of it.