Does This Post Contradict Itself?

I’m tired of being in the generation of criticizing….everything.

I think it’s social media. Inhaling too much information. Also, assuming everyone wants to know what we are doing, what we are thinking, and which Disney Princess we would be.

I think it’s that we are living on comforts – our money goes to food and shelter, yes….but mostly? We are living in competing comforts and ways to be entertained.

So a news story or viral video happens and eeeeeeveryone has something to say about it.

I would hate to be the parent in the center of the surreal moment of the Cincinnati Zoo this week. Everyone just KNOWS that they’d do life differently and they have an opinion on her life. Then another portion criticizes the people that are criticizing her.  Mwenzanmi.

It’s things like this, that remind me how small minded we are.

Then I remember how small minded I am.

Then I remember how big, good, and gracious He is.

Thank you, Lord, for loving this opinionated and slow-to-action generation….myself included.

 

 

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The Last Sunday in May

Today is Mother’s Day in Haiti.

Today I watched and learned as a volunteer, a mother, came from the church where they were planning a celebration and sacrificed her afternoon to braid a girl’s hair who was quiet and withdrawn as she is in the center of a domestically unstable situation. Add the situation to a blunt culture, and she is being called out for her bad hair (not taken care of in the moment), lack of manners (she is quiet and not herself and therefore rude in not responding), and her dirty dress.

That mother will get no thanks from the girl, she will get no time back.

That girl ended the hour laughing, singing, and walking around with her head in the air and a sticker to share with everyone.

An hour. A mother’s trained hands and deft fingers braiding. Silly songs and gentle words. She worked quietly and with skill – not slacking simply because this was a “charity braiding”. She was unseen and unknown and used the time to answer questions and have teaching moments with a grown woman who lacks basic skills in this culture.

This is the stuff that the world is aching for from the church. This is breathing life.

 

May 17th

It’s the day before Flag Day (a fun lil Haiti pride and history day), the day that an amazing, beautiful representation of partnership team left, and an afternoon of excel sheets and curriculum files. This calls for pictures!

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Captions are on the pictures above. And below – a #fierce5 week!

You know what’s worse than being singled out, not being able to blend in, and everyone assuming you’re a “millionaire”, one who chooses not to share?

Your friends having to suffer for being your friend.

The few friends that are real friends – not seeing you as an opportunity but as a person, people that truly come over and just laugh on the porch with you…the ones that do so much for you, and that you would not get through the day without.

Those friends suffer because they “walk with the blans”.

People assume they have money and blatantly say that they do, people then also assume that they are holding back money and not sharing with others. People always ask them for things and insist they have what they don’t. Being our friend, those friends who are with us day in and day out, is a sacrifice and hard.

Same thing with people who are on staff. People who go over and above to keep me safe and take care of the Sant Mouvman but also are a family with us.

This is one of the things no one tells you about international living.

This is one of those long term things that people don’t see.

It’s pretty lame, y’all. It’s another thing to throw in that bucket of life of “that’s not fair”.

You know how it goes….call me a chich, but don’t you dare start with my friends.

Not deep thoughts here. Just the way life is, and it’d be great if there was another way.

Relevant Magazine just posted an article challenging short term mission trips…encouraging them and saying they are GOOD, but introducing ideas. One was for matching giving – whatever you had to raise for a trip, give away in partnership.
 
Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the JOBS if you partnered with an org or microlending company or community development movement. Imagine the issue of long term missionaries – both the lack of them due to the issue of fundraising, or the stress on them to constantly be fundraising.
 
This is a punch to the gut reality check kind of challenge….but I like the brainstorming that it starts.
I can tell you how many can be employed with that kind of challenge…..if just half of the people that came on a trip in 2015 did this, 100 people could have small jobs. A small business could be started. A training facility and program.
Actually, a lot of people on trips with Breathe Partners ALREADY do this. In giving towards sponsorship and empowering students to go to school while also providing moringa, discipleship, and more – there is huge impact going on there. People sacrificially partner with me when they already have sacrificially given time and presence and money to come on an experience trip. THANK you for who you are….literally, your very character.

It’s the little things

I may have mentioned the proverb “Piti piti, zwazo fè nich li” – Little by little, the bird makes it’s nest. This is not my favorite Haitian proverb (there are so many good ones), but it is definitely my most used one. I’m always tossing it around in meetings that may feel discouraging to remind us that we are not in the business of quick fixes or microwave results! (Microwave dinners don’t hold a candle to slow cooked barbecue, anyway)

As I come back to get hunkered back down at my desk (which is my first place to work in my own space, by the way! Just set it up this week…..little by little!) after a mild interruption, I shook my head and grinned like a little girl as a realization hit me.

You see, I just figured out the inverter (part of converting solar energy to energy stored in batteries to electricity running through the house) after it chose to get spunky today.

What just happened already made me feel like a straight BOSS. As a 25-year-old female, home improvement/repairs can be the most discouraging and simultaneously empowering juxtaposition in my life. I’m here and therefore, it falls on me.

Ever been that person?

Our inverter straight stopped. No lights. No nothing. No explanation. No history of this behavior…ever. No electricity if I need to ask for help (my back up plan is running a marathon between the back, bottom level battery room and the roof three stories up to send texts, receive them, and run back and forth for more needed info for the conversation. The roof is the only place I get a signal on my phone.)

The inverter problem, after some troubleshooting and a few hours of a back up generator, is solved.

WHICH IS AWESOME.

Here’s what is even more awesome, though – I was happy about the inverter, I couldn’t wait to share about what God has done through this electric system since this time last year.

I can tell you what I would have done last May. (Last December, too. Maybe even March? Hey, don’t judge. We’re here to celebrate what God is doing, not ask me why my skull is so thick.)

Screamed/cried at some point. To myself, alone in my room – but it still would have happened. Freaked out. Done the running to the roof before trying to even solve the problem myself (while claiming that looking at the inverter and saying “I don’t understand!” is troubleshooting). Snapped at someone. Been angry and let a bitter root get a stronger hold in my soul that I’m the one dealing with this – a young single female who has never owned a home or run a business, and who didn’t ask to.

That didn’t happen at all today – in fact, besides the constant worry that we are stewarding what we have been given well, it wasn’t a big deal at all. Still interrupted my day and all that – but we’re all good.

And that, friends, is a gift. That is the grace of a Teacher who is more than long suffering with me. That is Jesus. That is the Spirit shaping me for better things that I was created for.

Keep running to the messes. Keep remembering that there is no condemnation, and that He is patiently working in you as you lay your awful heart and attitude at His feet and tell him what it FEELS like is useless the longer that He has you where He placed you. He designed it the way that He did for bigger things in you.

Little by little friends.

 

 

 

 

 

Election Season.

Y’all, I am NOT about to talk politics.

This is just an issue that I want to keep those with a heart for this lil Caribbean nation up to speed on. Not because “Haiti’s government is so awful” – but because every country has it’s issues, and every government affects it’s people.

Elections were supposed to happen a while ago. There have been delays and issues all over, rumors for some reasons why, proof for others. Demonstrations for things all over the board. It’s affecting people and will continue to.

  • There is currently an interim government in place. They are not “paying their bills”….things like fuel delivery. Meaning, we may eventually have a shortage in gas around here – and prices will fly up – and electricity and one of it’s main sources (generators) will have issues – and transportation will have issues, and public transport could stop. And the city will not then get the farmer’s goods from the countryside. And dominoes will fall all over the place.
  • The government is not equipping and paying public hospitals well (public hospitals are the ones that those with “the least” financially will most likely go). Doctors and workers are striking. People are showing up to the hospital and going untreated (there are people frustrated over a mother in labor who passed away outside the hospital because of this)
  • Demonstrations are blocking roads, causing frustration, keeping unhealthy cycles going in some areas of Port-au-Prince.

Outside of elections, there are just general infrastructure things lately…

  • The big news and major thing affecting many people in the area is a fallen bridge, one of three (really, more like two) ways out of Port-au-Prince. This bridge – which fell because hungry families were stealing bolts at night to sell – fell a couple months ago, before rainy season. No news on a new one. There was a detour put through the riverbed that it went over (since it was a dried up bed) – but that detour is not usable now due to rainy season. We are THANKFUL for rain! However….the bottle necking in and out of Port-au-Prince is making trips that are less than 45 minutes last up to five hours…..one way. This trip is necessary to get teams and drop them off. One round trip can be a day in traffic. (Also….cars can overheat, safety can be an issue sitting there all day…etc). Like I said….no news for a bridge into the city – where the airport, supplies, and so much more are.
  •  It’s sad how often the idea of calling the police when in need is laughed off. Something we take for granted in the USA sometimes, “911” as well as response when it is called. When Pastor Jackson went to the Emergency Room last week after an accident, he waited four hours for help. When Pastor Moise went with his infant Kharis a few nights ago, they said he’d have to wait until 8am (also at emergency). Our systems are not perfect in America…but man, this stuff is tough. It’s 2016!
  • Friends and community members continue to knock on the gate for machete cuts, cleaning and post care after hospital visits, and other medical needs. Ibuprofin, hydrogen peroxide, bandages, and neosporin aren’t household items in our neighborhood.

Not complaining at all. Just observing and informing. This is reality right now…it’s when we’re informed that we can best come alongside!