Foreign Land

*Disclaimer: Sorry that this blog is somewhat scattered/disorganized there’s so much going on in Gressier and I haven’t had the time to be able to succinctly collect my thoughts…but I figured this update was better than no update 🙂 (Also I didn’t have time to proofread)

We walked by a grave that was crumbled because of the earthquake…you could see into the grave. The bones were still there. The skull was still there. One of my Haitian friends, who I was walking with, stopped for a few minutes and looked into the grave. He started talking, so truthfully, saying, “No one even knows who this is. No one knows if it’s a man or woman, if they were beautiful, or what they even looked like.” He said,”No one knows where they lived or what they did or how much money they had.”

My friends words kind of surprised me but then again they were so factual. There was someone in that grave, whose earthly body had now been exposed to us…but no one knew who he or she was. God really used this to speak to me because of the truth of what my friend said and the facts–once we are gone, we’re gone. All we have is NOW to make a difference.

And maybe what I’m about to talk about doesn’t mesh for you, but for me it did big time. After seeing the grave and thinking about the truth that we have only now…that’s what got me thinking about the word ‘Missionary’. Someone called me this the other day, and I have to admit I kind of laughed but then felt funny. Missionary…to me it’s a strange word to be called. To me, it’s an uncomfortable way for someone to “set me apart” from everyone else.

Because…a missionary is one who is sent on a mission. Right? When speaking about Christians…it’s one who is sent on a mission to further the Kingdom of God. Sometimes people put, to a “foreign land” in there too. But really, with that definition…YOU are as much a missionary as I am…in Matthew 28:19 where Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” He didn’t say, oh by the way that’s just for “missionaries”. He also didn’t say, that doesn’t include the nation you currently live in.

With this understanding, even if your “foreign land” is the United States, or it’s another home country or city, the place you are now is your foreign land…(I say this because in actuality we weren’t made for this world, so to a certain degree the whole world is a “foreign land”)…but more importantly YOUR mission field is where YOU live, even If you’ve lived there your whole life…Secondly, because we are ALL called to share the love of Christ, we are ALL instructed to be “missionaries”. The actual word “Missionary” is never mentioned in the bible…but instructions and encouragement on how to share the love of Christ…instructions about how EVERYONE should share the love of Christ is.

With all that said, you can see, there is nothing different between you and me. Nothing.

It’s easier to categorize what I’m doing as something grand and big, because then that might separate you from what’s possible. It might give you a slight comfort thinking that God has given ME a vision but He hasn’t given you one for loving people better or furthering His kingdom. Or you might think I’m on a different “level” or something…but this is not true.

I am here because I saw a need. Truthfully…I did try to run away and close my eyes. But it didn’t work. Why? I’m not really sure…Maybe because I prayed that God would not let me ignore the hurt and pain…I just could not and did not want to ignore the suffering and poverty I saw and so now I am here. I’m here in Gressier where no two days are ever alike. It involves everything from cleaning out wounds that have gone way too long dirty…to giving a granola bar to my 78 year old friend who is trying to rebuild his house…to measuring all my 97 students for uniforms (most who have never had one before)…to teaching my English class Chris Tomlins Our God and hearing the joy in their song.

I don’t go around preaching, pointing my finger or telling people what to do. Many times I don’t even talk (sometimes because I’m drained with trying to speak Creole 🙂 haha). But here in Gressier, I just love. A smile at the old lady thats always digging in the trash, giving a hug to Jefferson, a 12 year old orphan who lives with his grandmothers sisters friend, helping my 7 year old neighbor Dashka carry her water to her house, even just giving out a granola bar…just LOVE…everyones responsiblity and a “gift” everyone posesses.

I am here in Gressier, where every one of my neighbors lives in a tent or half open house. No one has running water here. No one has electricity here. But sadly, do you know what I have that these other people don’t have…a roof over my head, and four walls.

Can you imagine this? I don’t have electricity or running water…but I am STILL “better off” then most of Gressier. Think about that. Even though Ive lived here a while, I don’t and won’t ever get used to that fact.

Most of my neighbors, my school kids and my kids in the feeding program have either fungal infections, worms, scabies or something worse…why? Because it costs $3.00 to go to the doctor…and then another $2-3.00 for medicine…none of the people in my neighborhood have the extra $6 for the doctor visit for one child.

I had a child one up to me and ask if I could help her get some shoes. Flip-flops in fact. I looked down and she had on two different shoes.

I’m not saying these things do you can think how sad it is. I’m telling you because this is the realty of Gressier, Haiti. My kids don’t have shoes, my kids don’t all go to school, my kids parents have no jobs, my kids families have no houses…

Sometimes I think God brought me to Haiti…a country that does NoT speak English…because He knew that if He brought me somewhere that I knew the language well I would have 25 kids in my house now. Having a slumber party every Saturday night with 10 girls who I can’t understand everything they say (sometimes because they speak super fast) has made me realize there is no way I can take in a child now who I don’t understand all or most of what they say…it’s hard. (plus, I am not too good at disciplining children in the first place…but disciplining in another language. Grrr…really difficult!)

My heart breaks for these children that have no where. No one. Please pray that God opens up doors for what’s next with these children.

Jesus. We need you. We need you to OPEN our eyes. Open our eyes. Take off our Blinders. This life is not about us. Help us to see, we are ALL called. Please give us the courage to ask what YOUR will is for our life. We know you don’t GUILT us into action, you don’t PRESSURE us into action. You CALL us into action. To be your hands and feet. We have one million orphans and child slaves here in Haiti. We jar 163 million orphans in the world. This is not a government problem…this is not a corruption problem…if we wait for a “solution” from them, we will always wait. This is not an “oh how sad problem”. This is about LOVING like you Jesus. Unconditionally. Poor, dirty, contagious, however these kids and people may be. Lord, please help us all love better. And the first step of loving better is Our Eyes Being OPENED…because once we have seen through your eyes. We can NEVER TURN A BLIND EYE AGAIN.

Jesus in Disguise.

As Mother Teresa said of the lepers and orphans on the streets of Calcutta, “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”

This has spoken to my core and shakes me every time I think of those words.  Because It Is True.


Everytime I see a child with her belly sticking out. With orangish hair. With cracked skin. My heart hurts. I wonder when the last time she ate was and I wonder what her life is like. To be hungry. All the time.

This starving, malnourished child. Jesus in disguise.

Would you look at Jesus and think, “Oh how sad.” And move on with your busy day? Or would you help feed this child?

Yesterday I met an 85 year old woman who walks everyday to get water to drink, cook and bathe with. Everyday. Miles with a huge, heavy water jug.

This Elderly woman. Jesus in disguise.

Would you look at her and think, “Thank goodness that’s not me.” Or would you help support people building water wells?

What about the woman I met who has 8 children and is struggling to feed them, clothe them and send them to school.

This struggling mother. Jesus in disguise.

Would you look at Jesus and say, “I’m not helping you, you should have stopped having children when you couldn’t take care of them.” or would you just LOVE this mother and help her provide for her children?

Today I spent all morning at the temporary “school”. Creating files for all of the children there for the Respire Haiti sponsorship program. These beautiful children, able to go to school now, not waiting until they have their full required uniform. (I can’t even tell you how many kids I took pictures of that had on two completely different shoes).

These eager-to-learn children. Jesus in disguise.

Would you look at Jesus and say, “I shouldn’t have to help you, you’re government should help you.” Or would you help children in Haiti who don’t have free education.

None of the negative questions above are what God calls us to do or say. We are NOT called to judge. We are NOT called to disapprove. We are NOT called to “fix” people, countries or governments.

We are called to LOVE. We are called to help. In fact we are commanded to serve. To serve the least of these.

If I thought that I had the ability to “fix” things, I would drive myself insane here in Haiti. God never told me I was coming to Gressier to fix people or to change a system. God brought me to Haiti to love. Person by person. Child by child. Family by family. Each one Jesus in disguise, fighting to eat. Fighting to survive.

God brought me to Haiti To get lost on the mountain Yesterday (don’t worry mom it was daylight) and find two more children who have never been to school.

God brought me to Haiti to feed hundreds of children spiritually and physically every Saturday on the mountaintop in Gressier.

God brought me to here to tell YOU about our neighbor, Haiti. So close to the U.S. That it takes me less time to get from New Orleans to Port au Prince then it does to get from New Orleans to my sister in Los Angeles.

Haiti, our backyard. One of the poorest and most needy countries. God called me to be the voice of the more than ONE million orphans here. To be the voice of the 300,000 Restaveks here.

We are NOT to judge, or to put on blinders and pretend it doesn’t exist. We are called to fight for the fatherless and serve the least of these- the orphans, the poor, the widows. ALL of them. Jesus in disguise.

…For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me, Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’. And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:35-40

People are NOT Projects.

People are NOT projects, People are People.

I feel like I’ve heard this somewhere before but don’t remember where…regardless the truth of his statement is SO powerful here in Haiti.

Since the earthquake January 12th there have been MANY people who have arrived in Haiti wanting to help…government workers, humanitarians, celebrities, missionaries…and included in this are the MANY projects that have been started since the quake.

But, The people of Haiti are NOT a project. The country of Haiti is NOT a project.

As I sit in my room tonight under my mosquito net (with no electricity and sweating profusely even though it’s February! Pray for rain here!). I can’t believe that I’ve only been back in Gressier for 12 hours…this morning two friends (shout out to my Ozzie friends 🙂 haha) brought me to Gressier so they could see it. Within the first few minutes of our walk to the mountaintop two young children spotted us. As they ran up and we all walked together, I asked them a few questions. Of course I knew after about one minute that God had brought them to us on purpose.

I know everyone wants pictures, but I can’t upload pictures (I’m typing this on my iPhone) this link may work though- but if it doesn’t here is my description, the two girls (on the left) we met were adorable! Joyful and Smiling even though you could tell they were malnourished and had never been around “blancs” before, definitely never got a hug or held hands with one 🙂 …one of them said she was 12 but looked 7…the other little girl said she didn’t know her age when I asked her. Neither are in school. (So now this makes 99 children who are identified who need to be in school).

Meeting these kids just made me see that no “project” would have ever found these children. Why? Because they are hidden in this city…because they are young and cannot fight for themselves. These are people, children- who need help. Who need a voice!

I pray fervently that the people here are never going to be a project (for me or anyone else). They are my friends, brothers and sisters in Christ. I have never felt so welcomed, it was startling how I had SO many hugs and kisses given to me today…I was pretty late to the English class I am teaching in the afternoons but they were SO excited I had actually returned from the states and was back living in Gressier.

My heart is so filled with the people here in Gressier. They are beautiful, warm and inviting.  THEY will go without food so that I can eat.  Me, someone who has NEVER felt the hunger pains of going without food for days.  Someone who has NEVER had their house destroyed to the point of living under a sheet. I learn so much from their hearts. I am constantly humbled by their desire to help each other the best way they can. And I am so encouraged at their willingness to help me as well. Even though I was gone for 2 Saturdays, the feeding program on the mountain still took place…MANY people from Gressier volunteered to serve food and play games with the children…everyone who helped couldn’t wait to tell me how great it was, to tell me that there were so many kids smiling and laughing…that they ran out of plates…so much enthusiasm!

Beautiful excitement awaited me here…but so did amazing need…right away.

Day one back, after only 2 weeks away and the need I SEE here is overwhelming…I KNOW God is guiding my steps. My prayer Is that HE continues to give me strength. These children are in such need, they are beautiful, but helpless…they need to be fought for…these children in Haiti are the future of this nation. They need voices speaking for them now.

Proverbs 31:8

%d bloggers like this: