(all of these pics are from our first trip to Haiti: April 2003)
Waaaaay back in 2003, when I met my sweet man at the Kanakuk Institute, we went on my first overseas mission trip. We left in April and arrived in Port Au Prince, Haiti. We were there for about 10 days and spent all of them at an orphanage both loving on the orphans and helping to build onto the kitchen there. At the time Jeff and I were engaged to be married in August. Our hearts were united to one another, to God, and after that trip we had strong heart for the Haitian people, and most definitely the orphan.
So, way back in 2003, the Lord planted a seed.
Fast-forward 7 years. Last year, we were content in Bartlesville, OK serving Grace Community Church and the youth there. In our content-ness came much conviction! We had a heart for these people and we felt called to be serving Haiti in some way. We had no idea what it looked like, but we knew the Lord wanted us to also change the way we lived. We realized it was in direct correlation with how He had lead our hearts. If we changed our lifestyle and began living simply (or more simply) then we would be able to free up some of our finances to serve more: others in our community, and also our sweet Haitians. So around this time, we decided to change our lifestyle and also were trying to see how we could get to Haiti and what that looked like.
We had ideas everywhere from going on a short-term mission trip to packing up everything we owned and moving our family there forever. We were really wanting to hit somewhere in the middle of those options and take the whole family for about 2 months—a long sabbatical from work would be required for Jeff to make this happen. As we were talking and praying through these things with the Lord, is also about the time when out of nowhere we got the phone call from New Beginnings.
So as we were preparing our hearts to leave Bartlesville for a short time, God had really began to prepare our hearts, without even knowing it, for long-term. You can read the more detailed story about our leaving Grace and accepting a job at NBC here. When we accepted the job here in Bixby, we were excited to see how the Lord was going to work out what he had already called us to. We definitely felt the calling for both Bixby and Haiti. We learned of the strong encouragement for mission work at NBC (Mexico, Africa, India, and now Joplin are some of the locations this year). We were encouraged to make the plans and lead a trip with NBC, however we really felt we needed to be able to serve without leading a trip, at least the first time back to Haiti.
We knew the Lord had called us to Haiti and we wanted to stand up to our end of making it happen this year (that was our commitment). So we began seeking out different avenues for a short-term mission trip (starting a new job and asking for 2 months off, doesn’t really work J) for either Jeff and I or our whole family. Because of the earthquake in Haiti, things have definitely changed, and as we talked with more people and did more research we felt it would be best to go as a couple and not our whole family, for now.
The Church at Battle Creek, a Tulsa area church who also has a huge missions ministry, had planned for 5 trips to Haiti in 7 months. When I contacted the guy he was already on trip 2, and when he arrived back we spoke about the possibility of Jeff and I joining. There were two spots available on trip #4 (June 27-July 3) AND that was the trip going to do children’s ministry/VBS/Orphan care. How cool is that (that was our specific prayer request to serve orphans)? So it has all happened very fast!
When we came to the first meeting, our leader was leaving 3 days later for trip #3. Now, we are exactly 2 weeks out from our departure day! Jeff and I have become human pincushions (we each had to get 6 shots!) and have many of the necessary items needed for us to go (Malaria pills, bug nets, etc.).
One of the most important things about this trip for us was to sacrifice things in our lives to cover the cost of our trip. However, we would love to ask for your prayers first and foremost!!
Secondly, because we are going to be doing children’s ministry/orphan care, there are things we would love to have donated so you could be a part of what we get the privilege of doing… making these sweet, but unbelievably poor, children feel loved, cared for, and special. Thankfully smiles and hugs are free, and for one whole week we will be passing those out non-stop! But, we want to be able to take fun things for these children to play with that we can leave behind, until we are able to come again (Lord willing…with you!) :)
We have a family that has donated some salvation necklaces/bracelets already. That was one of the main things we needed. Some of the things that we were asked to consider bringing: Frisbees, deflated soccer balls, bubbles, paddleballs, jump ropes, sunglasses, and anything else that can be given out to LOTS of children.
But, even if you can’t donate any items (or monies towards them) we certainly covet your prayers, both for our safety and also the ministry that will be done, as well as, for these sweet people we will be loving on who are the poorest of the poor. We hope to share the love of Christ, the message of Christ, and that these people who live without hope, will know Hope, will know Love, will know Him!
We are so thrilled that the Lord has provided us this opportunity to go and serve and love in Haiti. Our plan is to go back to Haiti each year and begin to take our own children, and lead groups of other adults and youth as well! There is much need there! We can’t wait to go this year. Will you serve alongside us with prayer, and then also if you can with donations for the items needed? Thank you in advance!!