They heard Matt preach at Houghton College just a few weeks ago, and felt like maybe they heard God's voice in it. Matt told them if they were interested in moving to Haiti, first they should come on down for a few days, meet the team, feel it out, ask God to put some skin on the call.
So they did, missing Thanksgiving with their families to spend a long weekend checking out Haiti and Emmaus.
And you know what? All I could think about the whole time was: they. are. so. young.
They're not even married yet, for heavens sakes, haven't even graduated. Do they understand all the challenges? Do they know all that's involved? Do they really have ANY idea?
Of course they don't.
And as soon as all those crotchety old-person thoughts, bordering on cynicism, started swirling around in my mind, God brought an image of the hand-painted Haiti magnets we gave out as favors at our wedding...I'm sure one of you out there still has one of those on their fridges!
When we were 20. A year before we graduated.
You know what I want to say?
Many of you were there. We worked our tail-feathers off all week for over a year to pay off college-debt and travelled every weekend to come to your church. And we blinked in the lights and tried to articulate calling and passion and plans, we shook your hands and answered the question Just how old ARE you guys? over and over and over. You sat through presentations we probably stumbled through, let Matt preach sermons that were probably far from powerful or coherent, listened to our schpeal about Haiti and Emmaus probably way too many times.
And we had NO IDEA, no idea all the challenges. We had NO CLUE of what all would be involved. We had absolutely no. idea.
But you listened, and you shook our hands, and you kissed our cheeks, and you gave your counsel, and you prayed for us, and you GAVE.
You crazy people. You laid down all your wisdom and experience, you gave us $25 dollars a month before we were ever even in Haiti...some of you still do, after all these years. You believed in His call and supported Matt and I before we could speak a word of Creole, before we knew one name of one student.
You KNEW we were young. You knew we had NO idea. Maybe you even thought we would never actually get to Haiti.
But I suppose you saw something in us of passion. Of conviction of His calling. Our desire to be obedient, our desire to lay down our ridiculously young lives as best we could, however we could. Or maybe God simply told you to, so you trusted Him.
|the day we moved to Haiti|
Man alive, I look around today and I am so deeply grateful for you...all these years, investing in the Gospel in us then, investing in us now.
I watched Matt preach this morning in a dark tiny church alongside four of our selfless and dedicated students, and I experienced God use him, heard the student-pastors sharing with their congregation about the role Matt plays in their forming and filling.
And you were there.
And that same God that was with us so many years ago as we started raising funds and prayers to move to Haiti--the same God who DID know, that same God has been with us ever since.
Somewhere around year five, I wasn't sure if our marriage was going to make it. Somewhere around year ONE, we weren't sure we were going to make it in Haiti. We've got lots of horror stories we could share with our new young friends, lots of ugliness, lots of struggles, lots of dark dark nights and lots of tears.
But I'm not going to. Because you. You believed in Christ-in-us with your love and prayers and money...many of you still do--and that has made ALL the difference--not just in our lives, but in the lives of countless others. You've given us to Jesus over and over, and He has not changed.
So very unexplainably thankful for your help and prayers, then and now and forever will be.
|our first house|
We praise the Lord for you.