St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Actually, it’s technically the feast day of St. Patrick. From Catholic Online, St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was actually born in Roman Britain, but was captured by Irish pirates. He was taken to Ireland where he was a slave – working as a shepherd. Patrick was held captive in a land of pagans until he was about 20. 

After returning home, he had dreams & visions about returning to Ireland as a missionary. Patrick did just that. Of course, there’s now differing legends about what happened after he returned to Ireland. He did preach & convert pagans in Ireland for 40 years. March 17 is the anniversary of his death.

Patrick loved God with all of his heart, mind, & soul. He wrote about it. One of his poems, The Breastplate prayer, is one that all Christians have come to know. 


This is just a portion of this prayer. I think it’s quite evident that St. Patrick wholly loved God. He even used the Shamrock to explain the idea of the Trinity.

While I am not Catholic or Irish, I believe we should celebrate the life of St. Patrick – not necessarily in our ways of partying and drinking. However, St. Patrick is such a great example of someone who loved God wholly.  He wanted to be bound to Christ. 

Here’s the whole St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer:

I bind unto myself today

The strong Name of the Trinity,

By invocation of the same,

The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.

By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;

His baptism in the Jordan river;

His death on Cross for my salvation;

His bursting from the spicèd tomb;

His riding up the heavenly way;

His coming at the day of doom;*

I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power

Of the great love of the cherubim;

The sweet ‘well done’ in judgment hour,

The service of the seraphim,

Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,

The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls,

All good deeds done unto the Lord,

And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today

The virtues of the starlit heaven,

The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,

The whiteness of the moon at even,

The flashing of the lightning free,

The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,

The stable earth, the deep salt sea,

Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today

The power of God to hold and lead,

His eye to watch, His might to stay,

His ear to hearken to my need.

The wisdom of my God to teach,

His hand to guide, His shield to ward,

The word of God to give me speech,

His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,

The vice that gives temptation force,

The natural lusts that war within,

The hostile men that mar my course;

Or few or many, far or nigh,

In every place and in all hours,

Against their fierce hostility,

I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,

Against false words of heresy,

Against the knowledge that defiles,

Against the heart’s idolatry,

Against the wizard’s evil craft,

Against the death wound and the burning,

The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,

Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,

The strong Name of the Trinity;

By invocation of the same.

The Three in One, and One in Three,

Of Whom all nature hath creation,

Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:

Praise to the Lord of my salvation,

Salvation is of Christ the Lord.


As we celebrate this day by wearing green and pretending to be Irish (unless you are Irish then you’re not pretending), let’s also remember the example that St. Patrick left for us. He loved God with his whole being and his ministry was evident of that.

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CM Connect Breakout Session – Slow Motion: How Slowing Down Will Move Your Ministry Forward

Something that has been coming up over and over again, is the notion of slowing down. Just yesterday, I was text messaging with a friend. She commented that I am the busiest person she knows. That’s saying a lot because this particular friend is a mom of two under age 4, a small business owner, an army wife, someone who is involved in her church, and so much more. While I know she didn’t mean for it to sound as a not so good thing, those few words made me stop and think. Busy.

I have a tendency to fill my calendar so full that if I try to jam anything else in, something falls. I have a tendency to book myself to be in 3 different places at the same time without even thinking about it. I try to keep it all straight, but I often fail. I do this, not just in my personal life, but in ministry also.

I had the privilege to sit in a breakout session presented by April Jackson from Group Publishing. It was called Slow Down: How Slowing Down Will Move Your Ministry Forward. Talk about good timing! April gave us 4 principles to slow down so we can move forward called S.T.O.P.

  • Spend time with God each day
  • Take time to listen
  • Organize with structure
  • Practice Daily Reflection

Spending Time With God Each Day

When we talked about spending time with God each day, I absolutely loved the idea of making sure I write an appointment with God each day in my planner – in ink. I live by my planner. The thought of writing this in ink in my planner every day is just amazing and crazy and mind-blowing, for me. I prefer to write things in pencil because of the fact that I tend to over-schedule myself and because with my crazy schedule, things get moved on a constant basis. I’m also a military spouse and a veteran, so I know that things will change multiple times before these things happen. Writing them in ink says a lot. It means this IS going to happen.

Another item in this category is to recognize long lines in the grocery store as an opportunity for a few deep breaths and a time to listen for the voice of God. This is a great time to practice breath prayers. I started to think, as we talked about this particular point, “You want me to be patient in a line at the grocery store? I don’t have time for that. I’ll find the shortest line, thank you.” I am learning to change my thinking on these things. Not only is a line in the grocery story a chance to listen for God’s voice, but it’s also a chance to talk to the person in front of or behind you – a new opportunity to show the love of God – to be the light, so that when others see you, they see God.

Taking Time to Listen

We talked about listening to understand versus listening to respond. I am guilty of listening to respond more than listening to understand. How often in ministry are we listening to parents or volunteers or even our pastors and thinking of our response as they’re talking instead of listening to understand and process? We have all the answers, right? I don’t think so. It is always good to clarify what the speaker is saying. I have been working to retrain myself to listen to understand. Sometimes I will say back to the speaker, “So what I am hearing is….” in order to make sure I am understanding what they are saying. It is also god to ask, “Is this what I hear you saying?” or “Do you mean…..?”. At the end of a discussion, it is always good to summarize it so that everyone is on the same page.

Organize with Structure

I consider myself to be an organized person. I have some OCD tendencies, but sometimes in ministry, I can lose that structure. April gave us some suggestions for organizing meetings with these questions:

  • Where are we going? (This is a team mindset)
  • Where are you going?
  • What is going well?
  • Where can we improve?
  • How can I help you?
  • How can you help me? (How can I be an effective leader?) – this shows you are willing to grow and that you  have a teachable spirit

Structure forces us to slow down and think. It also helps us to reach our goals. Sometimes in my strive for perfectionism ( I am so guilty of this, as you may have read in one of my Haiti trip blog posts), I do not want to ask the question, “How can you help me?” in the meaning of asking how I can improve and grow. Sometimes I am not open to constructive criticism. I’m working on that. I know that I cannot be an effective ministry leader if I am not open and receptive to constructive criticism. I don’t have all the answers. Notice I said constructive criticism. This does not mean I need to be open and let myself get hurt with criticism from those who are saying harsh things out of angst or not getting their way. That is not constructive criticism.

Practice Daily Reflection

As a young teacher, I learned to often reflect on my performance of the day. Could I have done something differently to be more effective? Was I fully engaged? What worked or didn’t work? We did this in the Army too – it was called an After Action Review (AAR). April gave us some other questions we can ask ourselves at the end of each day:

  • Did I do my best to set clear goals?
  • Did I do my best to make progress toward my goals?
  • Did I do my best to find meaning?
  • Did I do my best to be happy?
  • Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
  • Did I do my best to be fully engaged?

These are some excellent questions to ask ourselves at the end of the day. In the handout we got for this session, they used a rating scale of 1 to 10 for each question. This was adapted from Trigger by Marshall Goldsmith & Mark Reiter. This is a good thing to follow. I don’t know if you personally need the 1-10 scale, but at least ask yourself these questions and answer yourself honestly.

Be honest with yourself in your reflections. Sometimes that’s the hardest part. Sometimes it’s also too easy to be your own harshest critic. As you find yourself reflecting at the end of the day, don’t forget to reflect on God’s word. This can help to keep you balanced. It can help you to be honest with yourself and not be too hard on yourself.

 

Rest in the Lord. I am going to add something in addition to what we learned with April. Try to take a day of silence and solitude at least once a quarter – once a month if possible. As leaders in ministry, we need this. We need it to be refueled and renewed. In another session, Heidi M. Hensley talked about making sure her volunteers, staff, and herself get to a worship service over their weekend so that they are being fed. That can be hard to do in ministry – especially if you’re at a smaller church with fewer services and less volunteers. Something I’ve found is that there are some local churches with Saturday services that I can attend. Crossroads is a mega church in Cincinnati. It’s 5-10 minutes from my house. I try to get there on Saturday evenings where I can worship Jesus completely undistracted. If I don’t make it there, I subscribe to their podcast which will download the video to my phone each week. In addition to that, my new church posts the sermons to our website on Monday afternoons, so I can go home on Monday evening and watch the sermon. Recently, in a KidMin group on Facebook, a known and respected ministry leader posed a question about doing a live stream worship service for those of us in ministry – something we can come together for virtually. I love that idea. We need to take care of our own personal faith journey. That is going to require us to slow down. When we do this, I believe we will see great growth in our ministry and ourselves.

 

Slow down. Rest. Reflect. Breathe.

 

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It’s all about Relationship

Relationships. That’s how we’re to build our ministry. Makes sense, right? Then why is it that so many churches are getting this wrong? There’s been a post going around about what Millennials are seeking from churches and why they aren’t attending churches anymore. One theme I picked up on was that Millennials are seeking relationship.

If we’re preaching relationship, then why are we so bad at doing it? Jesus was all about the relationship. There are many examples throughout the Gospels where Jesus practiced relationship. He had an inner circle of 3 friends: Peter, James, & John. John was his absolute closest friend and most trusted confidant. Jesus also had his 12 disciples. They spent a lot of time building relationship with each other and then building relationships with the multitudes that followed them and Jesus everywhere they went.

If we KNOW relationships, we KNOW ministry. However if we have NO relationships, we have NO ministry. To be honest, I haven’t always been best about building relationships in my ministry, which is why at that time, there was no ministry.

The nice thing about building relationships is that it also builds a sense of trust. When the day comes and you mess up, because that day will happen (it does for me, often), when you have a relationship with people in your ministry area, they are more gracious and forgiving than if you don’t have that relationship with them. Relationship are the FOUNDATION of your ministry. In my last church, I had a difficult time building relationships with the families. As a result, the foundation of my ministry there easily cracked.

Building relationships with the kids in your ministry area is equally important. Just because they are little doesn’t mean they don’t matter. When kids in your ministry area KNOW that you truly love and care, they are much easier to work with. According to Dan Jenkins, who ran the breakout session on relationships, when kids know that you truly love and care about them, it’s easier to discipline them instead of constantly being on them to keep their hands to themselves or whatever the case may be.

One huge piece of building relationships is learning to listen. Listen to the parents. Listen to the kids. Listen to your team. Listen to your co-workers and pastors. Don’t just hear them, but listen. Force yourself to slow down and listen instead of thinking of what you want to say next. This is hard to do, but it is good practice and it goes a long way with those in your ministry. I can attest to this. When you listen, instead of just hearing, you can discover what the needs are in your ministry area and build on those. Listening builds relationship.

Greeting families when they are dropping off and picking up kids is a great way of showing you care and building relationship. Heidi Hensley, in another breakout session, talked about greeting families while wearing the giant overstuffed Mickey Mouse hand. Kids know and love that Mickey Mouse hand. I ordered myself one of those after listening to her talk about that. I cannot wait to see the looks on the kids’ and their families’ faces when I stand by the door wearing my big Mickey hand (not to mention the looks on the faces of the rest of the congregation).

I’ve recently transitioned into a new and smaller church. I’m super excited to be there. Our council is doing a book study together of “The Emotionally Healthy Leader” and it lead to conversation about our behavior types via the DiSC assessment. I am a C when it comes to this stuff – I am introverted, analytical, very detail and task-oriented. Sometimes, because of that, relationships can be overlooked. I have to intentionally work at it. I know that sounds weird for a children’s pastor to say that, but it is true. Now, as far as my personality goes, according to Myers-Briggs, I’m an ENFJ – an extrovert. It should be easy for me to be relational and to build on that. While I am extroverted, my anxiety and my need for everything to be right and perfect and detailed often gets in the way.

Relationships don’t take details and don’t need to be perfect. They can’t be perfect because we are human and we are a fallen people. Thankfully, God gives us grace and forgiveness. He is a God of mercy and grace. The number one relationship we really need to foster and work on is our own personal relationship with God. We need to be working for Him, an audience of 1. When that is in place, it will be easier to make and maintain relationships. God designed us to be relational, starting with our relationship with Him. The entire Bible is full of examples of God being relational. Look at His relationship with Moses and Abraham and Noah and David and Daniel and Jesus. Just as God had relationships with those Bible “heroes”, God wants to have relationship with us.

When we build on our relationship with God and with others, we can help others to have that same relationship with God. Relationships matter. Relationships are connecting with one another and helping them to connect with God.

 

***Featured image from Vertabalo***

 

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Haiti Saturday Travel

What an adventure! As I write this post from my phone, I realize I need to take more pics with my phone. I’m going to try to give a day by day account of this trip. 

I last wrote as I was at the airport before leaving home. From there, the rest of our travels were definitely blessed by God. That is the only reason I can think of as to why we made it. At CVG, we boarded on time and all looked great for our flight to Philly. We were able to get some breakfast at Subway once we were past security. Then, we had to de-ice the plane, which added extra time. We were late to Philadelphia and arrived at our gate there at the time the plane was supposed to take off, and although the door was closed, the plane was still there. Once the gate agents saw there was a group of us headed to Haiti and it would be way too much trouble to try & rebook us, etc. they reopened the door and let us on. If you know airlines, they NEVER reopen that door. We were told to pick an open seat and sit. That’s what we did.

In Philadelphia, we sat….and sat….and sat…for more than 2.5 hours waiting to de-ice and take off. We left Philadelphia about 90 minutes before our flight from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) was supposed to leave. We arrive to FLL and looked at them flight on the airline website where it showed we had just missed the flight and one of our team members received an email saying he had been rebooked out of Miami the next morning. We didn’t rush right off the plane. 

Once we deplaned, our team leader asked about rebooking. The gate agent asked what flight we were supposed to be on. When she told him Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the agent told us the flight was still there and it was just a couple gates down. We went down and saw that, indeed, the flight hadn’t left yet and they were currently boarding. There was another group on a missions trip in front of us. As we all stepped up to scan our tickets and board, we had all been rebooked – the other group and ours – about 20 people. They hadn’t given our seats away, so they rebooked us to this flight – and even had our bags taken from the storage area (bc we’d already been rebooked) and loaded to the plane. We made it on this flight. This flight that was scheduled to leave at 1:55 originally, but was delayed in Haiti coming to FLL, so it was still there when we arrived. 

We arrived in Port-au-Prince (PAP) about 6:30 PM or so, but we made it. We had to pay our $10 “tourist tax” and go through customs before heading to baggage claim – which is also an experience. It’s super crowded, so a couple of us watched for and pulled our bags (we had a unique travel tag on them from Servants In Fellowship) while others loaded them to the carts. Some of the luggage (in general) had been thrown onto the carousel from the plane, that at one point, several suitcases started falling off. It was just an experience to go through. Nothing like any of my other travels. 

It was only by God’s grace that we made it. As much as Satan did not want us here, God protected us and provided a path. We were all exhausted and super hungry when we arrived at the guest house, but we made it. I’m excited to see what the rest of the week has in store! 

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How Can You Influence People?

Today, we ended up with a rain day. We were supposed to start building homes in the mountains, but with the weather, it wasn’t a good idea. So, we ended up visiting Faith Academy started by FanFan, visited a Fish Farm run by Dr. Val, and then spent some time shopping at the tin market. It was a pretty cool day.

Let me start with Fanfan. I cannot even begin to tell you his story or how God has used him to do amazing things. Fanfan grew up in an orphanage here in Haiti, where he learned about Jesus early on. At one point, he felt a call from God to start a school. He negotiated the land price, made the transaction, and started building. Faith Academy used to be just grades K-6, but this year was able to add 7th grade. Next year 8th grade will be added and 9th grade the following year. The enrollment of Faith Academy is up to 400 students. Because public education in Haiti isn’t free, only 50% of kids here are in school. At Faith Academy, the cost isn’t like that of the other public schools. The quality of education is better. Faith Academy is supported by many in the US, so kids could attend for free, but Fanfan wants parents to have a stake in their child’s education. At Faith Academy, they’ve been able to support a lunch program that was just once a week, to feeding kids everyday. It’s amazing what FanFan is doing with Faith Academy. My last visit here in 2015, they had just finished building the cafeteria for Faith Academy and had the walls for the chapel up. To see that all completed with benches and everything is beyond words amazing. 

I wish all of you could meet FanFan and experience his love for Jesus and how closely he listens to God’s call. When he walked into a classroom, the kids and teachers all stood up for him, out of respect. God has used FanFan to bless so many. 

It was super cool to hang out with some kids at recess time. There were a few girls who wanted me to just carry them and out of nowhere, it seemed, I became a human jungle gym. But you know what? All some of these kids want is a little bit of love. Someone to love on them and brighten their day. Watching Greg with a girl named Lovely was special. Work he had done with a previous organization brought Lovely to him and Cathy. He said when she arrived at the orphanage, she was 2 years old and weighed just 8 pounds (yes, you read that right – 8 lb). That’s what an average newborn weighs. Now she’s in 5th grade at Faith Academy. The smile on both her and Greg’s faces when they saw each other – I can’t even begin to describe it. 

The impact that Greg, Cathy, FanFan, Chris, & Kendra are having on the Haitians they work with is beyond words. Truly amazing things happen when we listen to God’s call. We are seeing it each day we’re here. 

Greg introduced us to Dr. Val today. Dr. Val is originally from the Ivory Coast, Africa and attended Auburn University in the states for his masters, Ph.D., and his post-doc. What he learned there, he has been able to implement and improve the lives of Haitian families. Dr. Val owns a fish farm. We got a tour of it today. We saw the itty bitty baby fish (which look like minnows) & the little bit older fish (think your average goldfish size) they keep at the hatchery. Dr. Val told us that they give the families that actually raise the fish a farming kit. They raise the fish until they are big enough to be processed back at the hatchery. When the fish are processed, Dr. Val is able to sell fish to hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores. He’s also able to sell them to the street merchants who make a living selling the fish. Currently, Dr. Val has 254 fish farmers with the kits. Those fish farmers make $2000 (US) by raising these fish. Dr. Val is influencing many lives through his fish farm.

After visiting Dr. Val, we went to the tin market to do some shopping. This is always an interesting place. Artists are trying to make a living with their tin art. Some of the art is extremely beautiful. I’ve learned to barter at the tin market. This is the place I like to pick up little thank yous for those who have supported me for this trip. It’s also a chance for me to support a Haitian family. I may not spend a lot of money, but $10 US is huge for these guys sometimes. I learned today that it takes 66, $50 Haitian to make $1 US. We take so much for granted. We have so much that we are blessed with in the US. I don’t mind spending a few dollars on tin art to support a Haitian who use trying to make it on his own. Don’t get me wrong, I do think these guys probably make some money off tourists, but you never know what their needs are.

Where are you in your life? How are you influencing people? God has called me to a life of serving Him by serving others. Being in ministry means that I probably won’t be making a ton of money, but the treasure that I am seeking is heavenly rewards. I love serving others. I love seeing their smiles or watching them understand something fully for the first time. I tutor a 6th grade boy in Over-The-Rhine (in Cincinnati). He hasn’t had half the opportunities I did at his age. He struggles with school. I’ve come to love this kid and it pains me when I see him struggling and not able to fully understand the concept we’re working on. Outside of his schoolwork, I hope to have a positive influence on his life. I pray that God will work in his life and that he will go on to make a bigger impact on someone else. 

Micah 6:6-8 says, “With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give him my firstborn for my transgressions? The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul. He has shown you o man. He has shown you what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” 

Maybe you don’t have much money you can offer, but what about your time or your talents? How will the Lord be pleased with your offerings?

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Haiti – Our Last Couple Days – Finding Beauty in the Garbage

Thursday and Friday – we spent the days in the Village of Kago building houses. By the time we finished on Friday, we built 5 homes over 3 days. I cannot even begin to put into words the feelings and emotions that bubble up when we present the family with the lock & key to their new home, as well as a Bible, before we pray over the house and family. In our blessing of others, we are blessed. 

Before tearing the first house down on Wednesday, I got a video of the water (from Tuesday’s rain) running into the house through all the holes they had in their roof. I try to imagine myself in their shoes. My family and all our possessions in a super tiny makeshift home – made from rusty tin/metal and tents/tarps (and the tents are NOT anything like the ones we use in the US for camping, etc.). In a conversation I had with FanFan, I learned that the average Haitian family lives in less than $2 (US) each day and Middle Class families earn about $150/month (US $). 
God was working on, in, and through me. Being in a country like Haiti, you learn to appreciate all we have. In the US, we’ve become such a materialistic society. It’s all about what we have. Whereas in Haiti, people are so happy with the little that they have. They have a joy that is inexplainable except that it comes from God. 

I loved working side by side with or Haitian friends. The community in which we were building helped us in building. The kids would help unload the truck and bring our supplies to us. When was the last time we saw a sense of community like that in our own neighborhood? It’s amazing to me. 

The houses we build aren’t anything extravagant. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The houses we build are 12×12 made out of 2x4s, plywood, & tin. For most of us, we can fit that in our living room. These houses don’t have a kitchen or indoor plumbing of any kind. It’s one room with a window, a door, and 2 plywood shelves. BUT – it’s dry without worry of water ruining their possessions. It means they aren’t sleeping on the ground. It might be cramped with a family of 5 or more people in there, but for the Haitians who get these houses, it means everything to them. They are more than grateful that we would come and do this for them. 

I got to work with a Haitian named Mack. Mack is someone I will never forget. He is from the Village of Montreal where we built the last time I was there. He is now working with Greg & Kris in other villages. Mack doesn’t speak English. Yet, he and I worked together to finish a couple houses. We learned to communicate with each other despite the language barrier. Mack didn’t smile much, but when he did it was a beautiful smile. I don’t know much about Mack’s background, but my guess is he is more than grateful to be doing this work after seeing his village blessed with homes. There was just something about Mack that makes him unforgettable. The world could use a few more people like Mack. 

(This is Mack and me)

I can’t begin to describe or even explain how God moved in me and worked on me during my time in Haiti. Some things became crystal clear to me. This was a trip that was scheduled at the perfect time. It was something I needed even more than I realized. Thursday night, as I sat in my room, writing out my prayers, I was listening to music and tears streamed down my face as I finally said, “Ok, God, if you’re leading me down this path, as anxious about it as I am, I will follow you”. I’m not ready to publicly talk about this path, but I ask that you pray for me because it will be a long and rocky path. 

Trust seemed to be the theme of the week. As we all shared on Friday night about what we got out of the week, there were a number of us working through a lot of hurt and pain. There was a lot of tears. I’m glad I have new friends who are walking this road with me. God puts people in your path for a reason. Something that my new friends and I talked about was finding the beauty in the midst of the ugly, the hurt, the grief, etc. Sometimes we have to really search for it, but in the midst of everything, we can find something beautiful. As I continue to find the beautiful in my pain and hurt, I know that God has my back. 

In Scripture we read, “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord” (Romans 8:28). In the midst of tragedy, trauma, & ashes, we can find good. As we drove by what seemed like endless trash on the side of the road in Croix des Bouquets, there were some beautiful flowers blooming in the middle of the trash. 

I believe that we, as God’s masterpieces, are often the beautiful in the midst of crap and trash. We live in a world that is all about what is for them, instead of what they can be for God. We are the beauty in the midst of trash. We are light in a dark world. In Haiti, where there is hardship and uncertainty, there is joy. So many are hurting and grieving, while you may not be able to see it right now, there is something beautiful there. Take heart, friends. Trust in the Lord. He’s got our backs.

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Perfectionism Isn’t Needed

Wednesday….the day of our trip that I struggled with most. I felt like a failure because of my struggle with anxiety and perfectionism. 

We were building 2 houses  up on the mountain on Wednesday. The ride up was long and bumpy and, for me, anxious. Getting up some of these roads in the trucks we use can be really hard. As we found out Wednesday, if a truck is too heavy, you won’t make it up the hill. My morning started with anxiety. It didn’t get any better after that. 

What was super cool was the kids, in the Village where we are building, helped us carry wood & tin from our trucks to the actual worksite. This was one little guy, who can’t be more than 3 or 4 years old, wanted so desperately to carry things. He was so tiny and cute. When we were carrying the wood for house #2, we gave him some of the smaller pieces to carry. The kids and their willingness to help is just so amazing. They want to help. They’re so grateful for what they are receiving. 

I attempted to hammer in some nails on Wednesday. I did that fine on Monday. However, I struggled with it on Wednesday. I bent more nails than what I got hammered in. I started to really beat myself up about it. I started to listen to the lies I was telling myself. 

Once we got back to the guest house and unloaded/re-loaded the trucks, I had a few moments alone where I was able to get myself together. I started to remember that I am God’s masterpiece. He created me for a purpose. I don’t have to be perfect. That’s why Jesus died on the cross – because I am imperfect. All I have to do is trust God, trust in what/where/how He is leading me. 

I came to Haiti seeking God. I’ve been trying to figure out what God is trying to teach me. The lesson I’ve taken away from this trip has been to trust God wholly. He’s not going to lead me astray. He only wants good things for us. Trust is a really hard thing for me, so this has been a harder lesson for me. I can’t say that I will always succeed in trusting, but I will try.

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