22 February 2019

but take heart

A few days ago I was talking with Lucner and asked him what the global church should be praying for Haiti.

His response surprised me, and I've been both burdened and renewed in purpose ever since.

"Pray for the church. Church members have a sense of losing hope as things get tougher and tougher in this country.  A restoration of hope...that is surely among the things to pray for right now."

I guess I thought he'd say something about the government, or about prices, but to have him identify that believers are feeling hopeless just pained me...and has stretched me with that burden.

First, that just cannot be. The church cannot let go of the hope we have in Him.

When we're trusting in men, in governments, in changes, in countries, we are going to be hopeless and frustrated and disappointed.  That is universally true. Over and over again. We're gonna come up dry again and again, unable to share the fruits of His peace, His grace, His hope and joy with others, unable to experience them ourselves.  If the church in Haiti is losing hope...that's as grave as any of the issues Haiti is dealing with, if not more.

cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans
who rely on human strength 
and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, 
with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
in an uninhabited salty land
Jeremiah 17:5-6

Don't get me wrong...these uncertain days upon uncertain days are weary-ing.  Haiti's struggle after struggle...it's an earthquake, it's a hurricane, it's a drought, political manifestations again and again and again, the poverty, the roads, the problems.  We've never been through such an ongoing season of so much tension and so much uncertainty in our lives.

I understand the temptation to despair--and I understand that with my freedom to come and go as I please, my deep freezer, the solar panels in my back yard, homeschool for my children, a bank account in America, my passport, food in my cupboards...that I don't really understand.

But because of who HE is, family, we don't have to seamlessly understand another hurting person's experience to be a Biblical encouragement to them, poured out wine and broken bread. If prayers are needed for believers to have a restoration of Hope, Lord, USE ME. I am a Hope Bearer!  No matter what our "day job" is, if our trust is in Him and our roots are deep, then we can be His fruit, we can be His shelter...we can be His encouragement.

blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit. 

I'm tired. 

It's been months of tension and only the Lord knows if Haiti is entering a time of peace and for how long. I would give anything for two hours removed from it all...to have a date night with Matt in a cool, clean restaurant with good food and no precious kiddos and safe streets and on a safe night.  With dessert. It's hard to even picture that, it's been so impossible for so long!
We spoke in chapel together today after three great days of classes. There was joking and there were no kids and so I tried to pretend it was like a date.

But all that said? 

I am genuinely excited to be in Haiti right now. 

Because nothing's really changed.  Lucner confirmed it.

What's really needed in the world today--in my corner of it, in yours, too--is the HOPE we have in Christ that cannot be shaken, cannot be taken. We HAVE that hope. And daily, I have opportunity after opportunity to share it, and reinforce it, to encourage it and to genuinely live it.  

If you know someone in Haiti...from a trip or a newsletter or a sports camp or whatever, send them an email or a FB message or a letter today, encouraging them in the Hope we have in Christ, the stability we have in our Rock.  If you are someone in Haiti, join me in asking our brothers and sisters what they need, how they feel, how we can help, how we can pray, and in encouraging them with His transformingWord.  

And if you're someone wherever, His Word is overflowing with words of hope and encouragement.  Being rooted deeply ourselves in Him means that we can spend our days sharing His hope and encouragement with others.

It's so badly needed.  

In Me you may have peace
In the world you will have tribulation
but take heart
I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

21 February 2019

keep calm and carry on

With a tank full of fuel, we are on day two with full classes, praising the Lord.

We need your continued prayers...this has been such a stressful season for Haiti and we're not out of it yet. It's been a stressful season for our students, for our friends and for our family! How challenging the sweet stretching of our faith! Ongoing daily struggle is not easy...it's not easy living every day not knowing what tomorrow is going to bring. What an tiny identification with our Haitian brothers and sisters this all has given us opportunity to that we never really understood before...what if there IS no fuel, what if there IS no food, what in the world will tomorrow hold?

Will the roads stay open? Will more fuel come again? When will Lily and Sofie's school open? Will the students be able to continue to come? Will prices stop rising? Which of all the daily rumors and fears and stories are and will be true? Can the deep-seated changes that need made really BE MADE? Has anything actually changed? Is anything ever actually going to?

Man alive, I tell you straight...anytime I put any hope or peace in anything other than HIM, it's all just dashed.  Our hope and stay is Christ-alone, I am reminded everyday. He is SO faithful, making it possible, with His help, to be FAITHFUL in this time, in ANY time.

We are here with our brothers and sisters, your brothers and sisters, too. Having dinner with different village families has been so good this week, loving on them as they love on us. We continue on, trusting Him with and thanking Him for each day.  Each day.

From Emmaus' facebook:

At Emmaus, we really love doing what we do. This morning, we are incredibly grateful to be all about it...all classes full, generator house re-fueled, food purchased, public transportation running. We praise the Lord, His Word powerfully and transformatively going out, persevering together. 

PLEASE KEEP PRAYING...The only peace that is not fragile is His. Lines are long, tensions and prices are still high, elementary schools are reopening and all plan to be back in full swing by Monday, everything is functioning again...with stress. Life isn’t easy, and this peace hasn’t been cheap. 

Pray for believers to continue to grow in this stretching time. Pray for the lost to find Him in this dark time. Pray for the church to be faithful in this heavy time. Pray for leaders to put God’s best for Haiti first and foremost, in the service of her people, in this delicate time.

We are keeping on, in the hands of a never-ceasing God. Keep on with us...#prayforhaiti

Some pix from this morning and yesterday!

19 February 2019


Oh man.  Today was a big day.

Today Leme went to the bank, and it was open, and he was able to get money, and the rate has gone slightly DOWN for the first time in a WHILE.  Nellie went to the market, in Cap-Haitian, and we've got enough food for another week of 150!  Trucks are coming and going, and finally, this evening, for the first time in 10 days, there are fuel trucks barreling past the seminary heading to town.

These are all really big things.

We've got food and fuel and cash and students tonight.  We'll have class tomorrow, having only missed three days in a very chaotic and stressful time.  Even our student from Milot, where there are major hospital-something related protests that I do NOT understand, is on his way.

While this doesn't mean that all the deep-rooted issues are solved by any means, this is a lot of practical progress in a relatively short amount of time...we are fully aware that God as been at work and fully trust that He will continue to be!  Keep praying for these young, dynamic, transformed, humble men and women here in Haiti...so so badly needed.  Pray for their relationships with the Lord, growing even now as they persevere, serve and trust in the middle of difficult times for our country.
Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, outdoor
Meanwhile, some of what we've been up to with a LOT OF DAYS at home.

Lily knit an entire scarf.  Very useful.  
The kids have ridden the "magic roller coaster" to all KINDS of imaginary lands, including meeting moon aliens, riding desert camels and investigating African jungles.
Rick has gotten an INCREDIBLE amount of work done in the new classroom building.
Book-time with Batman.
A lot of cooking, a lot of people eating...and a lot of kitchen help :)
Rick also did 100 little badly needed maintenance jobs, also some with help :)
More Rick and Maxi work!
Lily also did a whole series of feather accessories.  Also very practical :)
Lily and Sofie and Nikki persevered with a LOT of homeschool.  Kiddos in Haiti have missed over 2 weeks of school...Lily and Sofie are anxious to get back to their "every other day" go to school and homeschool arrangement!  We would NOT have gotten through this time without Nikki.  not even close.
Ben learned to drive.
and drum.
and read.
We've spent good time with people we don't always get to.  Dinner Monday night with Jean-Sius, Florina and Shayla was such a gift,
And Edlin and Ben got extra buddy time.
Christie (Maxi's little girl) and the girls got to spend almost every day together, which we all love.

Lots of outdoor exploring...
And a LOT of games that I have absolutely NO idea what was going on.

THANK YOU for your might prayers and please, continue.

Worshipping together in chapel tomorrow is going to be an incredibly sacred space. We have a lot to be praying for, and much thanks to give.

18 February 2019

God at work through His peace-makers

After 10 days of Haiti at a stand-still, paralyzed by high prices, lack of fuel, political tension and mounting fear, this morning began with loud mayhem and the sounds of glass shattering, right in front of the Emmaus gate.

Throughout the night a few young men worked, blocking the road with large rocks, setting a few tires on fire, attempting to continue the chaos and fear.  Throwing bottles and rocks at passing motorists, around 7 am a motorcycle with three people was hit and plunged upside-down in the ditch.

Yesterday the village church prayed with urgency, heard the Gospel with hope, and glorified God with faith, and were reminded by the local pastor: We are not to think as the world thinks. We cannot respond as the world responds. We cannot do what our neighbors do, no matter how hard things get. Remember Whose you are, and let everything you do be done as a child of God, reflecting God.  Never forget we are God's people!

No sooner did the moto hit the pavement that the church and the community hit the road. They ran to the assistance of the injured. They pulled every rock from the pavement, women swept every shard of broken glass away, men pushed burning tires into the ditches to extinguish, and Emmaus' man at the gate called the police. As the peace-makers worked, the trouble-makers fled.

I share this story from our morning because THIS is what the Gospel does, THIS is what God is doing through His people, THIS is what Haiti needs. This is what Emmaus is here for, empowering and encouraging and equipping men and women for transformative Gospel sowing and living--
in good seasons, and even more-so, in dark ones.

Haiti needs men and women, heavy in prayer, full of the Holy Spirit, strong and courageous, to peacefully transform the violence, the lawlessness, the corruption, the history...every single day. The problems run deep and deeper still, and the government has spoken up several times in the last days, outlining some good, solid strategies for deep-rooted, incredibly difficult change.   

Maybe things will.  Maybe they won't.  

But when the church stands steady and rises up well in the face of fear and injustice, allowing it to continue no further...change in our communities, in people's hearts, is imminent. 

What a joy to see big trucks, the first in almost two weeks, whizzing by Emmaus right now. What a joy to see students and staff coming this morning, asking about classes. What a joy to hear leaders on the radio urging schools to reopen and children to get back into them. What a joy to see clinics and businesses and schools trying to reopen today.

There is a long way to go.  But as long as we are praising God in the uncertainty, as long as men and women are refusing to fear, as long as His children can be faithful, waiting upon the Lord...change is coming. Change is coming.

We ask for and are grateful for your continued prayers.  Pray for our staff and students and brothers and sisters right now, peace-makers spread throughout Haiti this morning.  Pray for their courage and their peace.

Pray for Haiti, keep on.  

For His glory, we will keep on, too.

Thank you for being a praying, giving, going part of developing Christ-like leaders for Haiti, for such a time as this.

Stacey Ayars, for the Emmaus family

17 February 2019

all I have needed

I was as anxious to get to church today as I was to get away to the beach yesterday.  

I was as anxious to be with other believers as I was to be off the campus.  

And I was even more encouraged by their testimony today than I was by the solid mountains and the dazzling ocean yesterday. 
Because I don't struggle during good times...only bad.  And I don't give in to the temptation to worry during the day...only at night.

And this has been night, night all around.

But to walk in the sunshine with cars finally zooming past, to look down the road and see other believers stepping out, coming to join you, you coming to join them, for the only cause that matters...it was The Church even before we got to church. 
Better yet, to come together, all with such heavy and broken hearts for a country and a people we love, He loves.  Helpless.  To lift up our hands and hearts and cries and PRAY.  

To worship together with imperfect people like myself a mighty God on the throne...to pray together in one voice, two languages, a common and urgent and pleading prayer...to listen to His word, His truth and be encouraged by it.

I needed it. Worshipping together was nourishing for my soul and watered my mustard seed.

I've seen all the same videos and news reports you have. If you haven't, don't go find them.  

But this weekend, all the fear they instigate and the fears for the future grew strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.  In the strength of the voices rising--all the same--to Him around me. In the smile of the little girls in front of me and beside me, singing their hearts out and clapping their hands.  

At His feet, all that darkness and uncertainty and inability and frustration and fear just fades.
The Church isn't about the people being awesome or always acting like they're supposed to or getting it all right.  It's not about the perfect pastor or the right building or the best programs or a great sermon or even having the fuel to power a generator for a microphone.  

It's about coming together to fade the world in the brilliant reality of Jesus.  It's about coming to Him--He who IS right, He who IS Good, He who IS worthy--together, the very act of worshipping together driving away the doubts and fears and discouragements of very real realities.

The pastor this morning stood for just a moment, and very directly and carefully said this to his Haitian - American - Canadian - Northern Irish flock.  

Do not look at others to see what you should do. Do not do what you see your neighbors and countrymen doing. Do not worry about what might happen tomorrow. Do not be tempted to respond the way others are going to respond.  You Are Followers Of Christ.  You act, you pray, you speak, you respond like His children! Do not ever forgot that you are God's children.  NOW is the time to look like it!

Lord, thank you for God-fearing men speaking the truth like this across Haiti and the world today!

Right to the heart, he admonished me. 

I cannot worry as those who have no Solid Rock do. I cannot fear as those who have no lasting hope. I cannot worry about tomorrow or the next day or the what-ifs. I cannot respond to my children or my husband or my friends or family out of a stressful situation instead of out of His grace and lovingkindness. I cannot complain like one who hasn't embraced His salvation. I cannot judge like one who hasn't found His grace.  

Tomorrow morning, I will not have the opportunity to teach.  And that's hard. But I DO have the opportunity to remember that that's not actually why I'm here, or what I'm actually here to be doing.  I'm here to share with others what Christ has shared with me...and NO manifestations, NO riots, NO fuel crisis, NO political instability, NO inflation can keep me from doing that. 

Lately, that has meant that our evening family walks that used to be about relation-shipping with staff and students around campus are about praying over the empty buildings instead, relation-shipping with Him.  This week, that means that instead of eating lunch with our staff and students, we're having over for dinners families in our village. This week it means that time we usually spend doing will be spent more practically...praying.

Tomorrow morning, our students will not have the opportunity to come to classes, to eat in the cafeteria, to come together and study God's Word.  And that's hard.  But they DO have the opportunity to do what we have all been equipping them to do...to live and give the Gospel, in their communities, in dark places and times of great need.  

That has meant that today I saw our fellow believers, all far more affected by all of this than I am, taking this all as an opportunity to worship.

Oh, I am praying, pray with me.  I am praying for the many who are suffering. I am praying for men and women to come to know Him mightily through this crisis.  I am praying for Haitian Christians to be stretched and deepened in this season.  I am praying for this to bring Haiti into a new reliability and richness in Christ.   

And while I am praying, I am praising the Lord....like the church in Haiti reminded me, today.

"Christ Can"

16 February 2019

His rest

A few days ago our friends down the road went to a little deserted island.

That sounded a little crazy.

We are in the middle of too much to go swimming. Things are too bad to leave home. There is too much to do to step away.

But on Thursday it became obvious that Lily, especially, NEEDED something fun and normal.  She's been missing going to school and playing with her friends so much, and people in her life leaving has been unsettling. Doing the same thing everyday and being unable to get out hasn't even phased Sofia, madame of the moment, but Lily...she has an anxious heart and it's all been weighing on her. 

So Shelley gave me her contact with a little boat and this morning we gathered food and water and Rick and Nikki and our neighbors and we WENT.

It was a very different kind of trust. Trusting him with letting go...trusting Him with stepping away. Trusting Him with being gone. Trusting Him with our family, and being what our family needs, too.

And it was SO good...exactly what we ALL realized we needed.

We drove a few miles to the pier, left the truck with a group of young guys fixing nets whom Matt joked with about babysitting some of the seven kids, hopped on a little boat with our new friend Wislet and enjoyed the majesty of God's creation of Haiti and allowing the kids to be kids and allowing ourselves to not think about all the problems for a little while.

Because on the water...there were none.

It is gorgeous, mountains painting the backdrops of every horizon. 

I love these people. 

 I am so, so incredibly thankful for Matt's leadership of our family and the peace and trust and joy that has just been exuding his life and constant interactions with people in this dark time.  There is a lot on Matt right now, and he's so obviously passing it right off to the Lord and loving people WELL (and passing out by 8 pm!)  Nikki has been a steady friend...always calm and loving and consistent for the girls, and allowing for Lily and Sofie to literally be some of the ONLY few children in Haiti who have NOT missed the last two weeks of school.  With them being unable to GO to school, she's been faithfully homeschooling every day, every day, and that stability has been so good for all of us. 
We are so thankful for these people, too...our neighbors, Bill, Julie and their three boys, are also such trusting and steady people, full of His joy...filling hard days with children for our children to play with, with friendship and help (together, we are making the food difficulties work!)
Even Ben seemed so glad to be in a different setting for a few hours (why does he look so BIG here!?)
At the little island, passing fisherman came ashore with lobsters and fish, which well-rounded out our lunch of fruit snacks and almonds :)
Nora is the most independent 3 year old the world has seen, I'm sure.  She played in the ocean every single minute today and was blissfully happy.
Lily collected every sea creature known to man and built them houses and named them all...this barnacle slug was "squishy" and she wore him most of the day.  This child.
Ben loves the beach as much as his sisters, and it's so fun watching all his personality growing!  Being present in body AND mind has been a challenge these last few days and I am so thankful for this focused day!
We are hearing all kinds of different "news" for these coming days...but have a guarantee that they're in His hands.  Praise the Lord, for His rest and peace today, for the family He's given me, and for the future in His hands.

15 February 2019

the vibrant Word in uncertain times

A huge praise the Lord...every single student who left between last night and this morning got safely home.  Every one.  Even Lynton and Jonas, going all the way to Gonaives, had not one barricade or blockade or issue!  We're praising the Lord for that, all the while missing them on campus.  

Gertha got to a local market and got us all kind of eggs and onions and pineapples and oranges today, a lot more cars were on the road, and Micheline even came to help with the kiddos so I could get some work done.  Some rumor that "the bandits" are taking a few days off from protesting so everyone can get out and restock on groceries, some hope that if things get moving again it could help, everyone is frustrated that there is no plan, no proposal...and the one thing every one of us have in common is that we have no idea what tomorrow brings.  It is a stretching place to be, actually having to trust God with each day!

As she and Gertha were leaving today, I cornered them both and made them be direct, something no one likes to do culturally.  "What do you need in your house right now?" I asked, and neither wanted to tell me, because they don't want to ask.  Finally, I pried and they both said the same thing...rice is so expensive right now. So expensive.  The rice I gave them Monday is gone, because they're helping feed those around them who don't have jobs, don't have help.  
"God will take care of us?" Gertha said. Asked. Said again, trying not to ask.  

Holding these women's hands in my kitchen, these women who have BEEN God taking care of our family so, so many times for twelve years, I was grateful to be here. Sacred space.

"YES. God will take care of us." I pulled out my Bible for the 13th time today, back to the passage that was scheduled for my reading for today.  We read it and prayed and I pressed some rice money into their hands and God is taking care of us.  I pray for His people throughout Haiti. 

I'm so thankful that we have good Haitian brothers and sisters who are keeping us posted and staying involved in what this all means not only for them, but for us.  As always, we know that our Haitian brothers and sisters KNOW a lot better than we do, have seen and understand a lot more than we do, and they are beautifully protective of our family and community here at Emmaus and they are such good counsel on all things Haiti!  

The girls have been missing their school friends so much, but today 6 of their village buddies came for the day and they all had such a good time.  The girls were all cracking me up...doing something they are NEVER allowed to do because schools won't allow for it...painting their nails :)    
Tonight as the girls laid in bed falling asleep, I pulled open my Bible again and read to them again the same words.
Because reality is, trusting Him today looks like choosing, working hard, to be present as Nora is playing with mushroom "books about Jesus" instead of being tempted to worry. It means looking for moments to encourage Job, Leme, Gertha, Maxi and listening to His leading. It means thriving on Him, in the middle. It means still cooking and cleaning and carrying on and focusing on Him. It means caring for our girls well, pushing Ben on the swing with a grateful heart.  It means not riding on every wave of emotion, but being firmly grounded on Him.  

It means actually, deeply trusting Him. In the moments. In the conversations. In the decisions. In the not knowing the future. In the waiting on the Lord. 

I've read Psalm 27 so many times in my life. So many.  But my reading plan for the Word in a year gave me Psalm 27 for February 15th, and it's never before meant what it does today, not just for me, but for our Haitian Brothers and Sisters. 

Read it with me, and pray it with me, for you, for us, for Haiti.  For whatever uncertain future you're facing, too...

"The Lord is my light and my salvation--
So why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour
when enemies and foes attack
they will stumble and fall. 
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even when I am attacked, 
I will remain confident. 

The one thing I ask of the Lord, the thing I seek most,
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on an high rock.
Then I will hold my head high
and offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.

Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me.
My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me."
and my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming."

You have always been my helper.
Don't leave me now; don't abandon me,
God of my salvation!
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will hold me close.

I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.

Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord."

14 February 2019

just a Jesus away

It is much easier to say, "See you Monday!" than "See you...."

It is much easier to trust God with the students when they are here together in our sight than when they head out the gate alone.

It is much easier to sleep when large trucks are passing by and music is blaring than when the world is silent...waiting.

It is much easier to follow Him when you know what tomorrow brings...but then again, we never do!

Working to trust Him in the harder.

Matt, Lucner, Bill and Pastor Codo taught all our classes this morning to the many students who were here, but after days of it becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous for staff and students to come and go, afterwards we cancelled classes for tomorrow.

As long as rocks and bottles are flying, as long as tires are burning, as long as threats are growing, it's by far safest that the students be home with their families...and as fuel continues to be impossible to find on day 8, and as buying large quantities of food is harder with the city being entirely shut down...it is impossible to keep caring for so many people much longer, and unsafe to have staff and students coming back and forth every day.  Some walked for hours yesterday to get home.

Feeding everyone lunch and watching everyone go broke me up. Our students WANT to learn. Our teachers WANT to teach. They have worked hard to be here. We don't know when they will see each other again. When they will continue to be equipped.

Beyond that, we all WANT peace in Haiti. We all want our children to return to school.  We all want the banks to open and to be able to buy fuel and to be able to buy food and to come and go. We all want a future. Everyone wants justice and peace, but the reality is that years of corruption and no consequences have to come to a head sometime.  There are consequences.  And everyone pays them.

90% of people, hard-working and peace-dwelling, sit at home, unable to get out.  And angry, frustrated, young, unemployed men take to the streets and keep them, keep us, there. Because something has to change...because enough is enough...because there is suddenly no law and they can get away with lawlessness...because corrupt men are paying them to...even because they are just bored.

Don't get me wrong, EVERYONE is very concerned and frustrated and anxious...what about the major inflation? What about food prices climbing and climbing? What about fuel? What about all the corruption? There is almost NO police force.  There are some major deep issues that are growing and growing and no one seems to have a solution.  The president finally spoke last night and promised that he is not stepping down and that violence will not be tolerated...but...offered NO solutions or plans of attack or way forward.
As I see the angry faces of violent protestors, looters and "bandits" as our communities keeps calling them, the reality is that  the young students of Emmaus are only one element away from the young people terrorizing a nation under evil men who care for them not....

Jesus.  Just a Jesus away.

Their lives surrendered to Jesus has transformed their hearts and minds and days entirely, and they weep for Haiti and pray on their knees in the chapel and they love each other well and stand for peace in their communities and they even laugh together in the face of what should be fearful.

You think the world is tired of hearing about Haiti and her struggles?  Imagine how Haiti feels.  And yet where there should be no more hope, they still carry it.  Where there should be no more joy, I still hear it, see it. Where there should be no more country, we are here.

All those things we find in the richness of Christ that the Bible tells us cannot be taken away--I can tell you that I am witness--They cannot be taken away.

His kingdom unshaken and His followers unwavering, we wait.

Waiting on the Lord, Matt and Edner continued on the master's course this afternoon with video and translation...online courses for another day.  Waiting on the Lord, the twenty students who didn't leave today have packed their bags and prepare to go tomorrow.  Waiting on the Lord, the country sits at home and prays.

Thank you for waiting with us, for standing with us...for praying with us.

13 February 2019

let your heart take courage

There were three beautiful times today that the Lord quieted my heart seeing testimonies of staff, students and friends trusting Him, with joy.

What gifts on an anxious day.

For the first day in the last 8 of major shut-down, our staff members each and ALL had very difficult times getting home, many finally forced to walk for miles.  We've been on the phones all evening, and joined the students for prayer time in the chapel tonight, praying, praying, the most practical thing we can do. That may signify the end of classes. We will see what tomorrow holds.

It is a corrupt and broken world, my friends, with injustice and hardship and struggle so rampant.

Darkness and lies do what they do...destroy.

Today, today I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

Not only do I believe I will see it, but I AM seeing....In the joyful community and watchcare of our 20 master's students, heading off together into danger with His genuine peace.  This afternoon, in the trust of our men to give it to the Lord, kick off their shoes and play soccer in the wet grass.  This evening, in the gathering of our community in prayer, praying with all of our hearts, prostrate and sacred, surrounded by such tears and with such joy.

Please pray for our students and staff who are stranded in their communities, unable to leave due to violence.  Please pray for our staff and students who are stranded here, unable to leave for the same reason. Please pray for their families and for the many, many innocent who are suffering at the hands of a very threatening few.  Please pray for Haiti's leadership, so far so silent.  Please pray for the lights throughout Haiti to only grow brighter and bolder as the dark grows deeper.

Psalm 27:13-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13 [a]I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.

12 February 2019

why I blog "too much" about Jesus

There is this big social media/blogger push lately to be REAL, to really tell it like it is, to just lay out those truth bombs.  This has been quite amusing in a lot of circumstances, and often times a little depressing.  It's important to be transparent, and for better or worse, I've always been a little ahead of the game on that transparency fad and have always just shared how it is, anyway.

Maybe I'm not tough enough to act like things are awesome when they're not, or maybe it's that from the start, I wanted this blog to be more than informational. I wanted my LIFE to be more than informational.

I wanted my life to be devotional and in a constant state of growing in Him...not just about my own experiences, but about where God is in them...not just about my own understanding, but about seeking His. And so I write the way I try to live and I hope at some point God's used something in my life or experiences or spiritual walk to sharpen yours.

Someone suggested the other day that I actually talk about Jesus too much, and that instead of just saying that things are ugly (like a good transparent truth blogger), I'm always trying to talk about how with Christ there is hope.

Well, I will take those compliments and carry on.

My perspective VOID of Jesus's perspective is worthless and not what anyone needs, including ME.  My words apart from His Word's are NOTHING. Nothing for anyone, nor for me.  When it's hard, I say it is.  But if you don't see me despairing, it's because there is absolutely no room for bitterness or despair in the life of a Christ-Follower.  

When He speaks into our hard, AND HE DOES, I'm gonna share that, and I hope that any truths I've shared over the years that are apart from His truths or have strayed from His perspectives have been totally lost and washed away.

All that said, this is hard!  There is no sugar-coating what a desperate and dark place Haiti is in.  We've talked, we've listened, we've read, we've heard, we've seen, we're here, and It's. BAD. and getting worse.  No one knows what needs done, no one knows what can help, pressure is climbing and so are the prices and there is still no fuel and the number of police vs. angry people is absurd.  The UN left six months ago, and things are become more and more fear-led.  Some villages are ok one hour and not the next, and when they clear up, other areas are smoldering.  Some students could come yesterday and can't today, some staff were absent yesterday and here today. Some come and can't go...some went and can't come.

Apart from Christ, there. truly. is. no. hope. for the situation or for the people of Haiti. Apart from Christ, there is all kinds of scary, awful stuff I could tell you about. Apart from Christ, we would be passing sleepless nights and encouraging others on in their fear.

But There IS NO apart from Christ, is there.  

Very simply, Lily, Sofie and Nora chanted through their catechisms this morning over dippy eggs and crescent rolls.

How old is God?
     He is eternal, he always has been and he always will be.
Where is God?
     God is everywhere He wants to be.
What can God do?
     God can do everything He wants to do.

There is no apart from Christ, and THAT is the truth bomb.  That IS the real perspective.

The real perspective is that He is HERE and can DO whatever He wants.  And I don't have to know what that is, as long as I know WHO He is.  Don't have to see a solution as long as I see Him.

As unsettling as all of this is for our little family, it is six dozen times MORESO for all of our Haitian brothers and sisters. This is their country, their reality, the future of their children, the vanishing gourdes in their pockets, the rice in their bellies, the empty tanks on their motorcycles, the burning tires on the streets they grew up on.

What an awesome privilege to truth bomb this day, not with our fears and helplessness, but with His strength and ability.  To let all things be done for the building up of the men and women of Haiti (1 Cor. 14:26). To pursue alongside of them what makes for peace (Romans 14:19). To let the Word of Christ dwell richly, teaching each other and singing together and carrying thankfulness in our hearts and lives and words (Col. 3:16). To remember that all things are lawful, but that not all things are helpful! (1 Cor. 10:23)  To openly let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts and be thankful (Col. 3:15)

What an awesome privilege to say to those with fearful hearts, Be strong, do not fear. Our God will come!  He is with us! (Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 35:4)

It is challenging to genuinely not know what tomorrow holds. To see all the children of Haiti huddled at home and not in school. To watch gallons of fuel used and watch mouths to feed and watch rice double and watch smokey skies. To listen and see and try to lead in a day where the line between carrying on and being prudent is very fine indeed.

As I've written these posts--every other day since 2006--it hasn't really been for you, whoever you are, at least not in their writing.  For it is in their articulation that I search for God in all these moments, in the fears, in the struggles, in the confusion, and it is in the articulation of the truth that I find Him again and again and again.

It's in answering the question over and over "what do I really truly believe in this situation?" that He has been found.  Every. Single. Time.

As long as I continue to dump all the questions and concerns and hard edges of my life and world at His feet and continue to find Him there, every single time, on the throne--alive and well, mighty and powerful, holy and active, asking me to trust Him...

Then I will. With His help. I will.

And I will encourage you to do the same.

Pray for the burdens of the day. Pray for Haiti. Pray for His kingdom come.  Pray without ceasing and encourage each other on in The Truth.

As Belony so simply and powerfully prayed this prayer service yesterday, Annou kitè volonte Bondye pase pito.  
Let's ask the desires of God to come to pass, instead.