Saturday, November 20, 2010

Finding Peace In The Midst of So Much Death & Tragedy!




The past month I have had to face dealing with death more than ever before. Within a 3 week period I have been faced with the fact that 10 friends and family members went to be with the Lord. 2 that were extremely close to my heart…

-Do I know they are in a better place? YES…

-Do I know they are worshiping the God of the universe, free from pain, free from suffering, free from this corrupt world? YES

- Is there a selfish side of me that is still struggling with all this? YES

- Is there a part of me that is still breaking over what is happening in Haiti with the Cholera and the fact that these people are still suffering from the earthquake that happened almost a year ago and the hurricane that happened a few weeks ago? YES

-Is there a part of me that is breaking for the children and people of America who have never had a chance to succeed, never felt loved, gone hungry, live in broken families, have been abused physically/sexually, who have never laughed, never felt peace...? YES

These past few weeks I have felt sorrow like I have never felt sorrow before, I have wept for society and what our world has come to. I have been forced to ask God many questions including WHY? I have longed to be at home in PA…I have longed to be at home in Haiti BUT I have also seen God reveal himself to me in Mighty ways, I have felt God’s arms wrap around me, I have see God give me peace that surpasses understanding and strength I did not think I had within me. I just want to share a few things God has been teaching me and ways he has revealed himself to me.

3 weeks ago I lost 2 relatives in 1 week. My mom’s aunt and my uncle Don. My uncle Don passed away from a heart attack that took his life before he even made it to the hospital. A complete shock to all. Just the weekend before he was up at camp with the rest of my family (what they do every weekend) joking around, hanging out with the 3 amigos/stooges (my dad and my other uncle Walt). 3 days later he is gone…I struggled with this…It was a reminder of how short life is…only God knows the day of our last breath. Am I living everyday as if it were my last? I really struggled with the fact I could not go home, that I could not go to the funeral, that I could not have a mom/dad hug…It was just a really tough week. After 4 days of pain, frustration, sorrow, regret, etc. God gave me peace that surpassed all understanding that I just woke up with on Sunday morning. I was driving to church (which is 45 minutes from my apartment) and up in the sky I see the biggest, brightest rainbow stretching from 1 mountain range to the other. I just knew it was a gift from God.



This past week was also a very tough week. On Sunday I found out that one of the little boys Daniel (5) in the Prince of Peace Deaf School had passed away from Cholera. It really hit me hard because it was the first death related to the Cholera outbreak in Haiti that hit close to home. I don’t know why I thought everyone in my life would be free from this epidemic…My heart breaks because this is a disease that has a simple remedy of clean water, sugar, salt BUT is not easy at all in this country where there is a lack of access to medical care and supplies…where parents have to walk hours to get help and with cholera you could be dead in hours… I was angry that this country kept getting hit with 1 tragedy after another…my heart ached that death has become a norm in Haiti…that children dying is the norm, that malnourishment is the norm, that hopelessness is the norm. The God of hope is knocking at the door of so many hearts in Haiti. My prayer on Sunday was that God would be glorified in the midst of this cholera outbreak…that people would come to him, that those who know him would not be tempted to turn away even after the loss of a child or family member. I woke up Monday morning with peace that God is in control. That God has a perfect plan…that God sees the future. I was reminded of the feelings I had after the earthquake and now 8 months I can look back and see the good that came from the earthquake.

I know that the first voice Daniel heard was God’s…I know the first music he heard was the choirs of heaven singing praises to their Lord. I know Daniel will never be hungry again, never feel pain, never cry alone, never be scared, never be looked down upon or rejected for his disability.

Monday night I watched a movie entitled Fighting the odds…A movie about an epidemic in America. The epidemic of the number of children who have parents in prison and how man of them follow in their footsteps. It opened my eyes to what a sheltered life I have lived. I am thankful for the life God has given me, I have been blessed beyond measure. I have never been beaten, never been sexually assaulted, never gone to be hungry, never had to worry about being safe if I went to sleep, never had parents in prison, never been involved in gangs or drugs…but the truth is…this is not true for the majority of the children in America. The movie was based on a true story and a women who was a parole officer who was paroling 2nd generation families. She knew something needed to change and started a program in a high school where 50% of the population had a family member in prison. 1 period a day they would go to this class on their own choice…it was amazing to see the changes in these teens lives. (If you want to watch the movie it is on hulu.com for free). Though the movie had a wonderful ending and since 2001 when the program started more than 200 kids have been helped…my heart was aching for these children and the children of America. Earlier that day I had sang the song “Give me your eyes” By Brandon Heath and God definitely had opened my eyes more…but what can I do to help these kids….

Lyrics
Look down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile highBest seat in the house tonight
Touch down on the cold black top Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shockOf confusion and chaos
All those people going somewhere Why have I never cared
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me you heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see
Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what’s underneath
There's a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He's out of work, He's buying time
I’ve been here a million times A couple of million eyes
Just move and pass me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
I need a second glance
Give me a second chance
To see the way you’ve seen the people all along


Wednesday, afternoon I got word that 6 more of my friends had died from the cholera outbreak in 1 day. 5 from the Gran Moun and 1 baby from the baby orphanage and 2 more babies were really sick. As I read the email I could feel my heart breaking…I didn’t know what to do, what to think, and all I felt myself doing was questioning God…WHY!?! I had to stop myself…I had to remind myself that he is a good God, that he a plan, that he sees the big picture. I forced myself to go to Bible study because I knew I needed to take my mind off of the situation and stick it on God and focus on him and worship him. I cried threw most of worship and on the way home in the car. My heart was just breaking for Haiti…It was pitch black out and as I was almost home I saw a big white cloud (the only cloud in the sky) and it was shaped like a heart. In that moment I felt God tell me I am holding your breaking heart together and I love you! Just moments later the song Held by Natalie Grant came on the Radio the one line that really stuck out was… “This is what it is to be loved and to know, That the promise was that when everything fell…We'd be held”

Held By: Natalie Grant
Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
Were asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be heldThis hand is bitterness
We want to taste it andLet the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held
If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you surviveThis is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

Later that evening I heard the song Hold us Together by Matt Maher which says It's waiting for you, Knockin' at your door! Every moment of truth, When your heart hits the floor. When you're on your knees then... Love, will, hold us together, Make us a shelter to weather the storm. And I'll, be, my brothers keeper, So the whole world will know That we're not alone. After much prayer that night I woke up Thursday with a peace. The day went well…of course Haiti was on my mind and in my prayers all day but I had peace…until…

I got word Thursday evening of the names of the 6 friends that had passed away on Wednesday from the Cholera. I found out the 5 Gran Moun were Seno Semelise, Kubonn Jacques-Cius, Anaise Louis, Cledanord Petit-Frere, and Madam Monfort Mesidor and the baby was Isaiah Joseph, 2. My heart dropped as I read the last name Isaiah. He was the baby I was closest to. Isaiah was born 3 months premature. It was a miracle that he was alive. That summer everyday I would lay down with Isaiah on my bed and take a nap (well he napped sometimes I just listened to my MP3 player). I held Isaiah while I ate, he went down to the Gran Moun with me. That summer I had Isaiah most afternoons and evening. I remember praying over this boy, praying for God to use him in mighty ways. Praying God would help him grow up to be strong physically and to rely on God and draw his strength from God. To hear that Cholera had taken my precious boys life just ripped at my heart. I lost it all over again. Later that evening I was IM’ing my friend Beth a missionary in Haiti who had also been very close to Isaiah. She told me something another missionary had told her earlier that day. She said picture the 5 Gran Moun waiting in heaven for Isaiah…picking him up and carrying him to Jesus. This put a big smile on my face. That precious boy is sitting on his daddy’s lap…this little boy never had a daddy before. I know he is smiling and laughing up in heaven. I also picture my 5 amazing gran moun in heaven dancing there way into Jesus’ presence singing praises the whole way J. God is GOOD and ALL THE TIME God is GOOD. Not just when things are going good…not just when I am happy and full of joy…BUT ALL THE TIME!







This morning I heard the song What a Friend We Have in Jesus… The words to this song hold such truth. I definitely beared needless pain because I refused to carry it Jesus right away and let him have it. But I also felt in a deeper way what a friend I have in Jesus and what peace he has for me…He wants us to carry everything to him and He wants to be our refuge!

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.


I also read a devotion by Beth Moore which fit my circumstances perfectly…
"Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7, HCSB)

We live in times of great strife and unrest—from the war on terrorism at home and abroad, crime and dissension in our communities, to family traumas in our own homes. Every person has their share of concerns. Peace is the yearning of the heart—a dream unfulfilled. Yet, according to the Bible, peace is possible even in the midst of troubles.

Jesus said in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. . . . Your heart must not be troubled or fearful." Jesus did not promise an untroubled life. He said, "In the world you have suffering. Be Courageous! I have conquered the world" (John 16:33). This peace of which Jesus promises is God's gift to His children. It fulfills the yearning in our hearts.


I do not believe it was a coincidence that this whole week my Beth Moore study has been on Peace…

This evening I just sat down to read the end of day 4…It was on the story of Raising Lazarus from the dead John 11…In this story alone there are several truths about peace
1.Christ purposely timed His absence from Lazarus during his critical illness. Consistently throughout God’s word, illness and infermity arise as opportunities for God’s work. Check out John 9:1-3. Why was the man born blind?
2.Christ had glory in mind when He tarried so long before responding to Mary and Martha, too. Christ waited 4 days before He returned…long enough to accomplish at least 2 goals
A.)a prevalent belief existed at that time that the spirit remained close to the body for 3 days after death. By waiting past that point, Jesus left them void of other explanations
B.)He waited until a crowd gathered at Mary’s home so that many would “put their faith in him.” Christ was peaceful in the wait. He waited thousands of years to become flesh and dwell among us. He waited 30 years to begin his ministry. He waited until Lazarus was cold and decaying before He raised Him from the dead. And we must learn to wait as He does. What profit is there in the wait…God actos on behalf of those who wait on him (Isa.64:4)
3. Christ experienced peace in the midst of tears. Why did Christ Jesus Cry? Because He saw the tears of His loved ones (vs.33-35). He “demonstrated His own love” with tears of anguish, yet all the while His peace remained. Please understand this vital point of peace: peace means the absence of fear and turmoil, not the absence of pain and grief. It greatly concerns me when I fail to see those who have lost loved ones shed tears in the name of “peace” Christ, Himself grieved over the separation of loved ones as shown here in John 11, in the garden of Gestnemane, and finally on the cross as He saw his mother’s pain and suffered the separation from His Heavenly Father. We can be filled with sadness and still possess a wonderful sense of God’s peace. Perhaps it is at that moment beyond all others when the peace of God transcends all understanding. God is not a proponent of emotional annihilation. But He gives us specific instructions about our emotions. “Trust in God at all times, O people; pout out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8.
4. Our Goal is not the absence of sorrow in our grieving, but rather that we refuse to grieve “as one who has no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13). Perhaps right now you are walking through a time when the obvious actions of Christ in your behalf seem inconsistent with His professed love for you. Oh, Beloved, can you see today that it is quite consistent with our Savior:
-Go for the greater glory?
-Have us be void of all other explanation?
-wait until many surround us who may put their faith in Him?

CHRIST HAD PERFECT PEACE IN THE TEARS


The Verse of the day on K-Love:

"Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." 1 cor 13:7

I want to end asking for continued prayer for Haiti…For those infected with cholera, those working the clinics, the families of those who lost loved ones, and that God would be glorified in the midst of such tragedy/loss…for those still living in tents…for those without food and clean water….for those who don’t know God and/or are worshiping false god’s…for those who are hopeless…

Please also pray for my heart…for me to rely on God…That even when I don’t understand that I could trust and hope in the Lord…that I could to continue to be open to His word and His will for my life…that my eyes would continue to opened to what He sees and the needs of those around me…that I would accept his peace!

Thank you for your Prayers and Support!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST HAITI!

As many of you are aware there is a Cholera outbreak in Haiti and over 900 have lost their lives in Haiti to date. NWHCM the mission I work with has 3 clinics set up in the Northwest part of Haiti. Even with all the efforts people are losing the battle. Earlier this week we lost one of hte deaf children to cholera. It really hit me hard when it hit so close to my heart. Sunday afternoon I went for a walk and talked it out with God. I was reminded that the first voice Daniel ever heard was God's and the first music he heard was the chiors in heaven. I know Danieal is in Heaven dancing with the Lord...that eases the mpain some but my heart is just breaking and aching for my brothers and sisters in Haiti. They have been threw so much. I just read the following posted in one of the missionary blogs. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be praying for the Haitians, for the mission staff, for those sick, for the families who lost loved ones. For wisdom and guidance for the nurses and doctors working around the clock. Pray that the needed supplies will arraive and for peace over all involved.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 — NWHCM staff are reporting that five people have died of cholera-like symptoms in the mission’s gran moun home, a residential care program for seniors in Saint-Louis du Nord. In addition, one baby in NWHCM’s baby orphanage has died and two more are sick and under quarantine.

At this time, NWHCM is personally contacting any sponsors of people in its programs who have died. Staff are working to investigate the possible causes of infection in its programs. Meanwhile, program staff are using water filtration systems and continuing to boil all drinking water as a precaution, as they have been since NWHCM first opened its cholera treatment centers. NWHCM is also continuing mission-wide cholera prevention education and hand-washing campaigns that have been underway since before cholera was detected in the Northwest Department.

NWHCM will continue to post updates as they become available. This has been an emotional and difficult time for NWHCM staff both in Haiti and the United States. Please continue to pray for them and for the people of Haiti as they battle this ongoing epidemic. -Andy Olsen, NWHCM media director

Thank you for all your prayers!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Open Hands - Haiti 2010 (version 2)

The group that is at our mission now helping with the Cholera outbreak...this is one of their videos from their work right after the earthquake. What a beautiful video :) God makes us new and makes beautiful things out of dust and dark!

Haiti cholera clinic faith 3

Haiti - cholera clinic faith 1

Mission Staff caring for victims of Cholera outbreak and praising God in the midst of the storm :) what a BIG GOD we serve!

Haiti cholera clinic faith 2

This is the mission staff singing to the patients at the cholera clinic. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sydspeak Thank you!.from Miriam Center wmv

The kids learning to use the sydspeak this past summer :)

Thank you Sydspeak

Sydspeak has been an amazing company that donated 2 communication boards last summer. Since then they have created a new revised versoin & just sent me 3 new ones to take into Haiti. I am really excited to have 2 whole months this summer to work with the children & teach them how to use this device to increase their ability to communicate. I have so00000 many ideas floating around in my head and am just sooooooooooooooooo excited. This is a thank you video I made to sydspeak! I will also post a video of the kids using the device from last year

Thank you Sydspeak! video

The kids putting the devices to use this past summer