Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lord Bless Me So That I Can Be A Blessing!

As many of you know this blog is named after the song “Overflow” written by Brian Lusky the worship Leader at Grace Baptist. This morning during worship this song was played

As you draw me near, I come
Drawn with holy fear and awe
Into heaven’s doors to see u as you are
You who formed the earth with your hands
Sun and moon shine at your command
Who can know the vastness of the Lord most high

Bridge 1
As I draw near I offer my life to my Jesus
Who fills me with mercy and grace
As I go out I will open my eyes and awaken
You will be a blessing through me

You’re the overflow
The sustainer of my soul
Pouring out of me
Living water for the weary
Bless me so I might be a blessingHeal me so I might bring healing
Cover me, so that I might be a covering
For you

Its because of you, I must go
Sent to tell the world and to show
Friend or enemy, the love I com to know
Where confusion reigns I will be peace
Where there are bondaged chains bring release
Where there are tears and pain, may I be the joy of the morning

Bridge 2
Heal me with your love o Lord, pour out till I overflow (4x)
layed and fits perfect with all I have been meaning to share.

The Song says “Lord bless me so that I might be a blessing.” This is exactly what the Lord has been doing the past few months he has been blessing my socks off so that I can be a blessing to my brothers and sisters in Haiti. The only reason I have been able to accomplish all that I have been able to accomplish for Haiti plus get all my schoolwork done and sleep ;) was God’s strength, mercy, wisdom, and encouragement threw it all.
God has a tendency to speak to me while I am laying in bed trying to go to sleep. He knows it is the only time I slow down long enough to hear from him (an area I need to work on). Back in January God really laid upon my heart an email I received a few months before about the need for peanut butter in Haiti. This need and idea for the peanut butter drive was given to me long before the earthquake hit. It took me a while to be obedient and write a blogpost about it, because I did not know where to start or what to do. God laid it upon Maryann Workman’s heart to and gave her the idea for the “Spread the Love Campaign” This campaign is spreading and it is not over after already collecting over 1,000 jars of peanut butter. The word is spreading and I believe this campaign has a long way to go and many more families and children to feed in Haiti. We can feed Haiti one jar at a time. It has been amazing to watch God’s hand in the development and process of this project.

God also laid upon my heart to do more speaking. Ok, so I was a little reluctant at first but I was obedient and put that I was looking to do more speaking in my support letters. Who knew God would call me to speak to over 8 groups of people in a 3 month period ranging from middle school students to Adults and even being the sermon at 2 churches. God has taught me a lot about when He calls us to something He will prepare to do whatever the task is….even speak a sermon :) I feel so humbled and blessed that God has allowed me to be a vessel he can use to share what he is doing in Haiti!

It is very hard for me to be back in school and in Erie when my heart is in Erie. It has taken me time to remember that God has me here for a reason and purpose and I need to make the most of where God has me and be open to him using me. All these speaking engagements have helped me realize this. God has been using me to accomplish big things threw his power that I would not have been able to do if I were in Haiti right now. Hundreds of people would not have got to hear about Haiti and the work that is being done for the kingdom of God. What a privilege to open peoples eyes to see that they have brothers and sisters in Haiti who are on fire for Christ and working to change a nation and turn it back to God.

God laid upon my heart about a week ago to email some therapy companies and see if they would be willing to donate some much needed equiptment for Haiti. I got up early Monday morning and sent out 2 emails requesting donations. I am not going to lie I was a little doubtful. Much to my surprise (nothing should surprise me anymore because God has been so faithful when he has asked me to do something) I got emails back the same day. Sydney the owner of Sydspeak emailed me back and said she would love to donate not 1 but 2 Sydspeak machines  Praise God! I found her website while looking for pictures for the sign language DVDs I have been working on. It is a battery operated communication boards that has 100 of the most commonly used words needed to interact. Check out the website Immediately when I saw it I though of Walden and Kem and how much this would open up there world for interaction then I realized how much steven, Den-Den, John, Ju-Ju, McKinely, Tamara, etc. would benefit from them. I super-excited to get these to Haiti and implement them into therapy and educational play time. Ok, so it could end here and you could see how amazing God has been but I then had the opportunity to talk to Sydney on the phone and she told me that a friend of hers just translated the brochure for this piece of equiptment into Creole and that she was going to have an overlay template with the creole made for the board  Coincidence…I don’t think so! God-incidence! I emailed 3 more therapy companies today and am praying that God will open doors if it is His will to get much needed therapy equipment and toys donated.

God also laid upon my heart the idea of making American-Sign Language, English, and Creole Learning CD’s all combined into 1. I came up with around 700 words with the help of many books and around 35 sentences that will be included in these videos. Rolgard who is from Haiti but here in the states studying to become a physical therapist with the hopes of returning to Haiti and opening up his own clinic translated all the words into Creole. He is also going to video tape himself saying each word in Creole. Each word will have the English, Creole, Sign, and a picture of each formatted into a DVD. There will be Categories and themes that these words will fall into. The American Sign Language classes at Gannon University are going to sign all the words and I am taping on April 7th. This project has turned into a much bigger project than I though but I know that God will make a way for it to be completed and I am excited to see how many people it can help. A PT from Gannon thinks I will be able to get them published when I am done and they will be able to help so many other people around the world and especially in Haiti  Please Pray for this project as there are many pieces that need to fall into place.

God opened another door in Lab a few weeks ago. Our lab was on Wheelchairs and we had learned about wheelchairs many times since I have been in OT school and lab is on a Friday night…so lets say I did not have the best attitude. Well, I ended up talking to the guy who brought in the wheelchairs at the end of lab and he had recently got back from taking 40 custom fit wheelchairs he made over to Honduras with his wife and handing them out. I am meeting with Him the Friday after Easter to show him a wheelchair evaluation form I created to use down in Haiti to get measurements on my kids that still need wheelchairs and he going to try to make custom made wheelchairs for them that we can have shipped over. God-incidence again! The company helping me is Presquile Rehab from Erie.
For one of my classes I have to write a business plan and I chose to write one for the program I will be running this summer in Haiti “For Jonathan Sake” the community outreach program running out of the Miriam Center. I am super-excited to see what God has in store for this program. I have enjoyed working on this project especially researching the history and view of disabilities in Haiti and what rehab services are currently available. I wrote a post on the view of disabilities in Haiti not too long ago. It is very interesting. I have also enjoyed working with Courtney and reorganizing this program so that every child will receive 20 minutes of 1 on 1 therapy, 2 hours of educational play, and 1 hour of vocational training for the mother a week as well as receive food for the entire week. I will be doing Bible Study with the women and educate them on home-programming to do with their children. The first thing I will do when I get to Haiti and start evaluations on all the children on in the program and also in the Miriam Home, develop treatment plans, and educate staff of Miriam Center. I recently posted a post with pictures of all the For Jonathan Sake children and their parents :) You shoudl check it out if you haven't yet.
This summer is going to be an amazing summer of potential and growth for the Miriam Center. I am flying into Haiti May10th and am staying till June 14th. An OT, 2 special education teachers, and 2 nurses from Oklahoma are flying in with me and staying for 2 weeks. Then right after I leave an American Sign-Language Teacher is coming in for the summer. There is another Special Education Teacher coming in for a few months, and possibly some more OT/PT’s coming in for 2 week Trips.
The OT that is going into Haiti with me Lori Basey, I have never met but feel like I know her and she is my role model. I met Lori 2 years ago when I had a Business Class that we had to find an article on someone who ran a community program and present it to the class. I thought this was the stupidest project ever and since I was the first to go I decided I would use whatever the first article posted was. Well, God has a sense of humor the first article was on occupational therapy in the homeless shelter. The topic I had recently picked for my Thesis  So I read the article and was amazed by this program Lori had created and ran. I presented it to the class and tried to find more information but couldn’t really (that was because I was googling the author of the Article and not Lori). The second project in the class was to split into group and pick an article that was presented previously and call and interview this person. I convinced my group we should try to contact this lady. So we ended up finding her number, calling her and setting up a conference call. The conference call was amazing. Hearing her passion for community OT and to learn she no longer works at that homeless shelter but now owns her own mission organization that travels to 5 different countries and a few big cities in USA mainly Oklahoma City. I was amazed and on fire. After we hung up I could not get her and the call off my mind so randomly one day at work when I had nothing else to do I called her. We talked for an hour and she filled my head with possibilites and dreams that I could do and I was so pumped when I got off the phone and in shock that I had actually picked up the phone and called her. We have sense kept in touch and talked every few months over the phone. She is so on fire for God it is amazing. She is the president of No Boundaries International (NBI) and last summer surprised me by going and visiting the Miriam Center in Haiti a few weeks after I left. Courtney IM me and told me my friend from Oklahoma was there….I was like I have a friend in Oklahoma.???? Lol….Well a long story short Lori is flying in with me May 10th I am super excited for the opportunity to work side by side with her and learn from her. She has recently gone threw multiple disaster relief trainings and has been over helping since the earthquakes in Haiti.
The game plan so far. I am graduating May 8th with my Masters in Occupational Therapy (WAHOOOO). Then I will fly out of Pittsburgh Monday afternoon and spend the night in Miami. I will then fly to PAP early morning and get to work with a Tent City (I have been blogging about) Teusday. I will spend the night in PAP and Wednesday morning spent it in the Tent City again and fly to Pourt-AU-Pay on the last flight and then arrive at the mission Wednesday night. While in Haiti I will study for my boards every morning for 2-3 hours following breakfast prior to starting work in For Jonathan’s Sake. I really need to be diligent in doing this since when I get back from Haiti I will be taking my big certification board examination. It will be hard to be diligent but I can do all things threw Christ who strengthens me….And Courtney is going to lock me in our room  that’s what good friends do…force them to study! Love you girl!
I could go on and on talking about how many doors God has opened…All the ways He is blessing me so that I can be a blessing to Others. Thank you to everyone who has played apart in helping me live out the journey God has me on. I could not have done any of this first of all without God and second of all without all your prayers and financial support. I pray that God blesses you 2 times as much as you have blessed me and all the Haitians we have been able to help. Please pray as this last month of school is going to be crazy busy studying for my boards, finishing up projects for school and for Haiti, packing, and enjoying the last month of college life and time with friends.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tent City

The following are a series of posts written by Jody Castillo a missionary from NWHCM on a tent city that her family has taken in and is trying to support in any whey that they can. I read these blogs and felt convicted to help in anyway that I can. The Money that was collected at my home church New Bedford Presbyterian Church went towards helping this Tent City. I also told her that she could use 500 or so jars of peanut butter that was collected and shipped over for disaster relief. Half of the money that is collected at the women’s retreat will also go directly towards helping them. PLEASE keep this tent city in your prayers and blow is listed the names of the head of each Tent so that you can pray by name for a family. These are real people, with real needs, who need prayer and our help. I have the wonderful privlidge of spending my first day in Haiti May 11th sharing Christ's love and worship with the my brothers and sisters in Christ in this tent city.

“It began in the eyes of a little boy in a red shirt. His smile was bright as he was standing outside of his new tarp home. Before he locked eyes with me – I watched him flying his little kite made of plastic strings. Unaware of what was around him or perhaps inspite of it – his laughter filled my heart where sorrow had started to set up camp.
The little boy in the red shirt led to two other cute kids and then the leader of their small tent zone. He explained that USAID gave a few tarps and that’s it. There’s no food. There’s no water. They live right across from the palace. “Everyone comes to take pictures of the palace – they stand right outside our tarp-homes – but no one sees us though we are in plain sight”. He has 50 families in his tent zone. There is a committee of 3 people who “govern” that zone.

I was impressed number one that they’ve already established some type of government within the tent cities. I was also impressed how he could tell me the story of every family who lived there. What I wasn’t impressed by was the fact that the Red Cross has 50 million dollars and I don’t see those red crosses anywhere but at the airport. The families explained to me how hungry they were – how thieves come into their tents and steal what little they have. The whole reason they have tent zones with committees I’m told – is so that everyone can watch out for everyone else.

The one thing they kept saying over and over again- God protected them.
What? You have nothing.
We have everything right here – all of my family survived – said an old little lady sitting on a bucket outside her tarp home.
The old lady showed me her tarp home. She has a blanket on the ground. “When it rains – it soaks my blanket. But there is nothing I can do. I have no where to go. Everything I own is right here,” she told me. She let me take a picture of her home. I asked her if I could take HER picture. She said when someone stops the hunger in her home – then her photo can be taken.

We prayed for God to lead our hearts today. We prayed for God to give us HIS eyes. The leader’s words – “no one sees us – though we’re in plain sight” – really hit me hard. We prayed with the leader and told him we don’t have a lot – but we will see what we can do to help their zone. Jose goes back and forth to PAP every other week to pick up groups. He can check in with them and make sure the food is being given out correctly. With those 50 families are 145 children. We are using our personal ministry money to help this zone. We don’t have enough to feed them every day but we will do what we can – knowing God will provide as He always does. Why? Because God gave me His eyes and whispered to focus on what is right in front of me – and in that moment – it was little boy in a bright red shirt."

A few days later.... (Written by Jody Castillo)
Yesterday I got a phone call from the leader of our tent city. With a shaky voice he asked me – did I “remember” him? Of course I remember you. I just saw you a few days ago! He sounded relieved. The insecurities that these people must feel – even when they are “seen” they believe they are so easily “forgotten”. He said all our hope is in you. I immediately corrected him and said your hope is in HIM not in me. Anything I do for you – I do ONLY because of Him.
I asked for him to make a list of everyone in his zone. I want to know names/ages/family sizes. This weekend we will begin feeding them. I would really like to get back down to PAP one more time within the next week to really spend some time in that zone so that I can better know their needs first hand. We will have over 240 Americans here within the next 14 days though so it’s going to be hard to break away. At least Jose can make sure the food gets delivered over the weekend. It’s not enough to feed them every day-maybe 3 meals for the week. It’s a start for now."
I started this morning off in Bible Study. I don’t normally get the chance to do that before 8am but I found a moment where I could open His word before the knocks on my office door start. After I was finished reading I decided to listen to some worship music. I have the Daraja Children’s Choir on my ipod. The first song I heard this morning was from their cd. One of their songs starts off with Jeff Foxworthy reading an entry from a journal he kept in his back pocket while visiting Africa. Africa is so much like Haiti and so his journal entry immediately related to my home. I found comfort in hearing his words and wanted to share with you what he says:
The things I saw today should never be seen. They shouldn’t exist. Mountains of unbelievably stinky garbage - who’s ooze mixes with raw sewage – puddle up in mud streets. Atop these mountains are vultures and pigs – and women and children rooting for rotten food. You don’t know whether to vomit or to cry. Surely hell cannot be worse than this. But it is. Because hell includes separation from Jesus and that is not the case here. Amid the squaller, the sickness, the stomachs aching in hunger – there are scattered smiles the likes of which I’ve never seen. There is a joy here because they know a risen Savior. In their smiles you find the courage to help. We share the same God and we cling to the same promise that our trials here are but temporary. There is a glorious day coming. A day on which the disease and hunger and fear will be gone forever. And on that day without doubt – I know that I will wear a smile like theirs as I listen to millions of my brothers and sisters from Africa – sing to the King.

A few days later...
Today I received the names and household sizes of the 50 families in the tent zone by the palace. These families are made up of many varieties. You have some with just one parent and several children. You have some with an older brother taking care of his younger siblings. You have some with no parents but a grandparent or aunt that is watching over several children. I was blown away by some of the sizes of these families because the tarp-homes could maybe fit two people sleeping in them. There is NO WAY that families of 5 or more could even fit in these little homes. I was way off in my number count. I thought we would have about 160 or so people to take care of. It’s 265 people in this small little zone. There’s over 200 children! I didn’t get the ages of all the children which I’m thinking for that – i just need to personally go down and visit to figure out some of this.
One thing I know for sure – these people need your prayers. I’m listing the names and household sizes so that you can pray over them. Not all of them are Christians I’m sure. God has laid on our family this huge burden to reach out to these people. Yet when I think what all is involved in really making a difference – it’s overwhelming. I know I need food – but they don’t even have a way to cook it. I have to think about charcoal stoves. They have no oil to prepare their rice/beans. I have to think about that. They live in tarps – NOT TENTS. We need to start collecting tents. What in the world will they do when it rains? I need to get some vitamins, baby formula, peanut butter, sheets, and clothes out to them. My parents have 2000 jars of peanut butter and 70 bags of rice that I am going to send down on the truck this week. It seems like a lot but I know it’s not even a dent.
I have no time frame of how long we can help or what all we can provide for them. This is the promise I have made to God – whatever you give me Lord- I’ll share it. I will give what I have and when I don’t have it – I simply can’t give it. I have put this burden back on God’s shoulders and told him if you provide it Lord – I will do my part. I’ll be His personal assistant for as long as He puts this task out in front of me.
Just got a phone call from the leader of the tarp-city. It's pouring down rain. There were little children crying in the background. He said everyone is soaking wet. :(“


There are so many verses on Helping the poor, the weak, those in need. It is our call as Christians to do what we can help those in need. God has blessed us so that we can be a blessing to others. May God overflow out of us into the lives of those around us!
Deuteronomy 10:18
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.

Deuteronomy 15:11
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

1 Samuel 2:7-8
The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.

Joshua 1:14-15

... You are to help your brothers until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you ....

Psalm 9:9
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.

Psalm 9:18
But the needy will not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.

Psalm 72:4
He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor.

Psalm 72:12-14

For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.

Psalm 82:3-4
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Psalm 107:9 … for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Psalm 140:12
I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.

Psalm 146:7-9
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

Proverbs 28:27
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

Proverbs 31:8-9
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."

Isaiah 41:17-18
"The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs."

Acts 20:35
"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

1 John 3:17-18
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy St. Patricks Day

SO, as I was reading blogs this morning I read Cammie Aberle's blog (A missionary family who serves God in Haiti with OMS). She posted a really interesting blog about who St. Patrick was and how he lived his life. I am sitting here now trying to figuere out how this holiday got turned into a drunken brawl???? I cannot figure it out.

Here is what Cammie wrote

"I have to admit that before today I knew absolutely nothing real about St Patrick's Day. Yet, Sandy mentioned what a great guy he was, so I looked him up. Here is what jumped out to me.

- He lived as a slave, sheep herding in Ireland. He spent hours praying day and night.
- He escaped after having a dream that said "Thy ship is ready for thee."
- He returned to Ireland after having another dream where the people of Ireland
were calling him back.
- Ireland was a pagan country at the time and Patrick started his ministry in
Ireland with some amazing events.
- He continued sharing the gospel throughout Ireland and much was done for the
kingdom of God.

The real story, not summarized by me is found here.

So today, the kids and I celebrated this "normal" guy turned quite extraordinary. St. Patrick did great things for God simply because he sought God, was submissive to Him and God used Him. There is hope for us all. May we all have such a deep commitment to prayer, obeying God and sharing the gospel.

God willing man......a country turned back to that's hope."

My prayer is that I would be one willing women....determined to see my country and Haiti turned back to God....with such strong hope that could only come from God.

Praising God for Cammie sharing this truth about St. Patricks day. It breaks my heart too see so many people turn this day set aside to honor a man who served God into a drunken brawl. Praying that our nation would be turned back to God!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


It has been a busy last few days getting everything collected, organized, and packed BUT we had a successful trip down to the Mission Warehouse in Kentucky. Thursday afternoon my brother took me to Sam’s club and we picked up $500.00 worth of baby formula which was identified by the mission. We loaded up the trailor Friday morning with supplies donated from churches and people around home for relief efforts and some supplies for the Miriam Center and baby orphanage. When we left home we had ¾ of a trailor full of supplies. We stopped to meet up with one of my supervisors from Cincinnati children’s when we arrived in Cincinnati. She brought peanut butter that she collected and therapy handouts that the therapists and their students at Fairfield collected for me. Our final stop Friday night was at Maryann and Ken’s house (The family I stayed with when I was living in Cincinnati) where we picked up over 1,000lbs of peanut butter that was collected at 3 different schools in the Cincinnati Area (a preschool, high school, and middle school). We had a packing party Friday night. This morning we headed down to the warehouse and unloaded all the supplies. The bay we were unloading into was full of relief supplies  As we unloaded we counted how many approximately 700 jars of peanut butter weighing approximately 1,400lbs. As I type now we are driving back to Cincinnati where we are going to spend another night visiting with Maryann and Ken.

I would like to say a few special thank you’s to….
* My Mom and Dad for all their hard work helping me collect supplies, load them up, driving down to Kentucky, and for all their support.
*Maryann for coming up with the slogan “Spread the Love” and for coordinating the 3 peanut butter drives in Cincinnati
*For Emily Bailey and her mom who coordinated the collection of a ton of supplies and peanut butter
*Stephanie Junker for coordinating the peanut butter drive at Harrison Elementary school.

Thank you to everyone who donated supplies, money, and lifted this collection up in their prayers!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Peanut Butter Drive

The Spread the Love Campaign....Helping HAiti one jar at a time!

My good friends in Cincinnati have been busy collecting peanut butter for me during a peanut butter drive campaign that kicked off over 3 weeks ago. Heading up this campaign in Cincinnati is Maryann Workman the mother of the family I lived with while in Cincinnati. She has been hard at work. Her preschool collected around 180 jars, Her daughters high school is collecting, and a public school in the area. More details to come as more information comes in. This is the video I made to promote awareness for the peanut butter and below are a few pictures of the drive. This weekend I am heading to LExington, Kentucky to take a trailor load of supplies and yes stopping to pick up all this wonderful peanut butter!

My Attempt to Replicate

A church in Venus, PA has collected over 175 jars of peanut butter as well.

Looks like the Love is Spreading!