Monday, October 29, 2012


Ready, set, stop! Fully loaded after weeks of intense, focused preparation. Every item carefully scrutinized for necessity, 28 suitcases, 13 overstuffed back packs, 13 people with congested schedules rearranged to accommodate a mission of mercy, to deliver a breath of fresh hope and help to a scathed and battered land. On the road at long last, final good-byes and well-wishers behind, a caravan of cars pressed south with precious cargo in tow, precious lives to touch in front, and incredible people inside to carry a message of hope and help. About two hours into our journey today, Hurricane Sandy rang in and cancelled our trip. She is big, and powerful, and out of control. Or should I say, in control. For when I consulted with American Airlines about when we could possibly fly, I was greeted with total impotence. In the course of just a few minutes our trip went from joyful excitement to candid questioning, to gentle despair. I have worked along side of great individuals across the course of my life, but as reality set in today that all our plans were washing away before their very eyes, I became aware that I was surrounded by a very classy group of Christians. It is great to witness people walking out their faith. This cancellation didn't affect a few people, but hundreds, and untold scores of hours, and hundreds of dollars, and mountains of details. After the first bout of bad news we drove a few miles and settled into a cozy Applebee's corner table to consider our plight and calculate what perhaps may be the new plan. The new plan as it was hammered out constituted returning home, integrating back into work schedules and postponing our trip for ten weeks. Life is this constant strain of articulating walking out the will of God, practicing our faith by stepping out, and responding when we get slammed back by circumstances beyond our control. We are left wondering who exactly is in control. But if we are truly submitted to God, and trusting Him with our lives, and He is actually in control, what else is left to do but trust and believe in spite of these unexplained perceived setbacks? This is our first trip fully cancelled. So many little things had come together in spite of ornery details, and yet God said not now! It's painful! Krystle didn't talk the entire drive back to Traverse City, the conversations on the phone with other team members were discussing many of the reasons God had stopped the trip. The point though is that God doesn't need a reason to stop us, He just can! He has a plan, a way that plan is to be fulfilled, and He drives us through that course, and simply asks us to follow. We are prone to second guess ourselves when things like this happen, as a team leader I feel responsibility to these amazing people who have put enough confidence in me to travel alongside of us as we endeavor to bring help and hope to the nation of Haiti. Did I miss something on the timing? Did I overlook something of the Divine? What happened? What happened was God moved the timeline. And godly people with us today cooperated in an unquestionably beautiful showing of faith and character that I will mark with deep appreciation in the course of my life, forever grateful to journey beside such endearing fellow sojourners! We will join again soon, to continue the rest of this journey we have been sent together on. We will not be dissuaded,  we will accomplish that for which we have been sent forth, and those who support us and are the wings upon which we ride, be assured tonight, we are in our saddles and ready to go! We are just waiting on the Commander in Chief of the Universe! Baby Klarissa is doing well this evening. Naromie is okay, but struggling in the healing process. Please keep them in your prayers. The team is safely all back home as well! Blessings to all, and thank you again for your support!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Klarissa Belle

Life can change at such incredible speed. Some days it seems one rush after another comes in unrelenting waves. One moment all is serene and expected. The next, tumult erupts, the earth shifts, normal fades, light shatters, and you stand in a stark place of an unknown reality. Such was the start of my day yesterday. One moment I was talking with a homeowner discussing his new well location, the next I was holding him prone on the ground, watching in horror as his body stilled and his breathing died away. I wondered that I was here, two strangers sharing a moment unexpected, unexplained, uncertain. I called his name, listened for the beating of his heart, but all to no avail. What was I beholden too? Why was I here? Calling on a source of omniscience that would be silent to my questions, sending me back to simple faith. Suddenly his breath caught, and I went into first aid mode. As the EMT's pulled away, I was grateful that for me the moment had passed, the burden of what this would bring a suffering family remained behind, but he was in better hands than mine. The day would prove he would survive, but many unknowns linger still. More tragic news careened into my life within the hour. I thought this day could not end well. In those moments where visibility is low, and fog is dense, my pace slows but I gingerly edge forward. Upon arriving at home, after evening plans went askew, I was sitting at the table working on a project, my phone flashed and a message appeared reading: Robinson Louis "good news", before I could respond another message blinked on the screen, "guess what". A flood of thoughts flew through my mind, but the most promising unexpected one was that their baby was on it's way. In truth, she was already here! Arriving in desperate Haiti at 8:44pm was a beautiful baby girl. An orphan boy's long dream had become reality, now a man, and now a father, defying all odds, following God's plan, he was receiving another reward of life. They were receiving the gift of a lifetime, a new package of joy to share with the world. As I chatted with him on the phone, another gift sprung forth. He asked us to name their baby! It was girl heaven at our house last night! As the circle of God's life would have it, Klarissa Belle received the name Beth and I had chosen to name our second girl. It means "bright shining, gentle, lovely one" and in the picture here, there is no doubt! This is our second time to name a Haitian baby, but our first is already in Heaven, lost in the earthquake almost three years ago. There is redemption here, a precious and generous gift that only God can give. We have some great plans for this trip, but I have a feeling some will be usurped by a baby who will only be 4 days old when we arrive! This is a huge answer to prayer for us. Naromie has suffered miscarriages, and as a couple they were told they could not have children. They had taken on an orphan baby boy in December of 2010, and have done a remarkable job with little "BooBoo". We have been so concerned as Haiti is a country cruel to pregnant mothers, and cruel to it's children. BooBoo's mother passed away in childbirth. As the days have worn on here at the end, Naromie was well past her due date. They had set plans to try inducing labor. But in Haiti, that is a scary task, and while weather prevented the doctor from getting to them, I now believe it was a plan much bigger than that. Something set in order by God through the prayers going up on their behalf the last 9 months. A natural birth was in order, the baby came quickly, and both mother and daughter are doing exceedingly well for now. Destiny has been put on notice, a force of life to be reckoned with has enter this world! We are delighted to watch and see what will become of this incredible life force! Thank you to all who have stood beside us in this vigil. In three days we will again be wheels down in Haiti with a brave and noble team of 13! Pray for effective ministry and aid to flow through us to these deserving people. With hearts full of thanksgiving and sending blessings to all, we go!

Monday, October 8, 2012


A blisteringly busy summer is giving way to fall, and I ponder that Christmas is steaming toward us at an incredible rate. I have struggled to write the last few months, wrestling with a back injury, an extra heavy work load and recently topped everything off with a series of Kidney stones. However, even though my pen has been silent, the work of God in Haiti has been thriving. I will work over the next few weeks to bring the news up to date. In the meantime, I was jolted again to reality with some difficult news this morning that while alarming, was also affirming. It has been reported that in northern Haiti near Cap-Haitien where we have a friend working, they have discovered that witch doctors are kidnapping children, beheading them, and using their hearts in sacrifice ceremonies. This cuts to the quick with me, smashing my heart with sadness and a bit of terror. It is hard to comprehend this kind of evil, it is hard to comprehend this kind of struggle. A place where children are born in suffering, where starvation is the norm, where each day is a small miracle to survive, that this kind of injustice is added to their terrible burden, and that these tiny lives are snuffed out in such an irrational, savage way. One asks where God might be, is He powerless to stop such evil. That is a debate for a different day, but one thing became so clear again today, our orphanage and many others are snatching children in Haiti from terrible harm. My heart beats with joy that our children at Orphan Dream are bedding down on mattresses, wrapped in sheets, with loving guardianship around them. That they are behind gated walls, locked doors, and surrounded by a band of loving, caring, supporting people. That they are fed and clothed daily, are transported to and from school, are learning and growing, and are being loved and cared for, not left alone to the ravages of a harsh and crippling land. We are part of a miracle here. We get to be a part of a plan for deliverance, of snatching these young helpless lives from the travesty of a country trying to escape it's tragic and ill-gotten past. I was reminded today that I may not be able to save them all, but I will not stop trying. And if enough of us pitch in, and join the fight, we will drive back against the evil that seeks to rob these beautiful, amazing, deserving lives. Thank you for joining us, for following us, and for supporting the endeavor to bring grace and help to the suffering of these incredible hearts and lives. Blessings to all!