Summer Shenanigans!

Greetings family and friends!

The Ferguson’s are excited to share with you our special plans for this summer! At the end of June we both will be camp counselors (aka Big Campers) for Royal Family Kids Camp. As some of you may recall, last year Brian got to be a Big Camper the week before we left for Haiti. This year both of us get the exciting opportunity to do it together!

Why is this special and worth sharing on our site (and taking up your reading time)? This camp is special to us because of who the campers will be. Each year RFKC takes children, ages 6-12, out of the El Paso County foster care system, buses them up to a campground in the mountains, and for 5 days allows these children to be just that, children. While we are so excited to get the chance to hang out with these incredible kids, we also must keep in mind where these kids are coming from. As we went through training we were soberly reminded of the backgrounds of abuse and neglect these children come from. Something special about camp we both love is the birthday party. Many children who attend RFKC either don’t know their actual birth date or have never had it celebrated, so one afternoon all of the kids get to blow out candles, eat cake, open presents, and dress silly as we celebrate the miracle of their lives! Some of the kids may show up with physical signs of abuse, some may retreat at the sight of so many adults, some may inappropriately cling to us as they express “love” in the only way they have been taught. However the child comes to us, our job is to make sure they leave us knowing they are LOVED, they are VALUED, and that it is our JOY to spend time with them. While it is a faith-based camp, our job is not to preach, but to DISPLAY the love of Christ to them.

There are so many stories of redemption and restoration that come from Royal Family. It’s not uncommon for children to come to us as bed wetters (often a sign of physical or sexual abuse) and not wet the bed a singe night of camp! Allowing these kids to be kids and be supremely loved is a task we can’t say no to. And it’s a task we can’t do without YOUR help!

Royal Family seeks to make the camp as accessible as possible for the families sending these children. Part of this accessibility is making the camp free of charge for the families, which means us Big Campers have to raise money to GET OUR KIDS TO CAMP! It costs about $750 for one child to go to camp. Each Big Camper is assigned two Little Campers to be with for the week. This means each Big Camper has to raise support for two Little Campers, a total of $1500. With both of us having two Little Campers we will need to raise $3000 to send all four of our kids to camp! Will you help us?

RFKC is partnered with New Life Church, here in Colorado Springs, and fortunately New Life has made giving a tax-deductible gift super convenient! Here’s how:

1)    You can give online. Click on this link and choose “Give Online”. From there you will prompted to create login information (no charges, it’s simply a way for the church to keep up with who gives). After logging in click “Give Now”. On the new screen that comes up it will ask you to verify where you want your giving to go. Make sure you select “Royal Family Kids” then select either Brian Ferguson or Courtney Ferguson. Once you’ve selected one of our names you can enter the amount you wish to give and submit!

2)    Write a check. You can make the check out to New Life Church and in the memo line include “RFKC” and whoever you’re giving for (Brian or Courtney). You can mail the check to New Life Church, 11025 Voyager Pkwy, Colorado Springs, CO 80921 OR you can mail it to us and we can deliver it. Our address is 311 Elmwood Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80907.

You play a crucial role in getting our kids to this life-changing week of camp. We NEED your help! We are so grateful for all the support you have shown and the love we feel from you. Thank you for your considerate gift and thank you for taking time to love these children!

Life with Margins

Life has been crazy since we have returned from Haiti. The Lord has been so faithful to provide. When we made the decision to return to America we had almost nothing planned out. Now Six months later i feel caught up in the daily routine  of my American life. I mostly wanted to take the opportunity to update everyone on the events of our life.

Upon returning i applied to work at one of the only residential care facilities in Colorado Springs called Griffith Center for Children. I initially applied for the a part time, nights and weekend position working for the residential program. While i was in training the supervisor of the school program made an announcement that they were looking to hire two full time teachers assistants. The pay was the same but the hours where much better (7-2 or 7-4, instead of 2PM-10PM). Now i was hesitant to take even the part time position because we also committed a year living in Joel Home which is a transitional living program for young men who have aged out of foster care. This would mean that i would work full time during the day with troubled kids only to go home and then live with them too. But I took the position when it was offered because i felt i would be able to engage in the Joel Home better with the TA’s schedule than working nights and weekends. About 2 months into the TA job my supervisor calls me into her office and asks me if i would ever be interested in getting trained as a supervisor for the Griffith centers. I told her that i would consider it but i would most likely want to wait until my commitment at Joel home was fulfilled ( in December). Then about 2 weeks ago (3 months into this position) my supervisor calls me into her office again and says that there is a teaching position available and that if i want it the job is basically mine… Oh yeah and attached to that position is the wilderness directors position (which is always held by a teacher). I walked out of the office in glee and disbelief, i even remember driving home and asking myself can this be real? Did i just get offered my dream job? Once the excitement wore off the inevitable onslaught of my logistical brain kicked in, and i began to find holes in this plan. Pretty huge holes. Like hey Brian you have  BA in psychology and NOT teaching. The only way for you start teaching is enrolling in a certificate program that meets every Saturday for 5 hours for the next 2 YEARS (NOT GOING TO HAPPEN) or going to graduate school for a masters in teaching. Furthermore i would have to start all of this in august. I walk myself through the options, plan A) say no and keep my job as a TA (Which i see myself being able to maintain for…not much longer) or B) say yes, Start teaching (which i have never done), start managing a wilderness program (which i have never done), go to graduate school full time…while working. So basically after teaching in the morning and going to school in the evenings i would come home and live at Joel home, oh yeah and don’t forget to be a good husband. I ponder…and then i ponder some more. I Naively want to tell myself that it could work, i could find time to do all that, it would be worth the sacrifice. Then i think of the times i have gotten burned out because i was trying to do too much. Somewhere in the midst of the the mental torment that this decision making process was i remembered a talk that the youth pastor i worked with in college gave about how our lives need to have margins. Yes there are seasons that the Lord calls us to be busy and complete work for his name, or so that we can get to the next level or whatever. But in the midst of all of that we need to have margins. Space, time that we don’t have things planed, because if we feel the need, or have to schedule every hour of our life (even with good things) we generally a) don’t leave room for the holy spirit to work in our lives, b) usually aren’t making enough time for the people in our lives c) are totally miserable. I really wanted this position for so many reasons but i had to remember that every time we say yes to something we are saying no to something else. If saying yes to the job meant neglecting my responsibilities to my wife and to the young men that i am responsible for mentoring at Joel Home then it wasn’t worth it.

Turning down this position was a very difficult choice, and i wish i could say that i have just moved on, but i haven’t. It still lingers in my mind, taunting me, telling me that i will never get another opportunity  like this again. So i have to have faith, i have to believe that God cares more about relationships and priorities than he does about job titles and resumes. That our God is a God who inhabits both the praises and the margins of his people.

A Real Man

The birthday cake was cut and the coffee was brewing. We all sat encircling the two eldest women as though we were small children again. We listened intently as they relived stories from days long past: stories of childhood chores, bathing in a # 3 washtub, the festive day they got hot running water, and the youthful trouble in which they would sometimes find themselves. These two silver-haired sisters sat and laughed for hours at the opportunity to remember what life used to be for them.

We had gathered to celebrate the 82nd birthday of Brian’s grandmother. A godly and well-esteemed woman, I see in her so many qualities I hope to someday possess. What struck me most about that day was not that we were celebrating her 82nd birthday, but the subject which took up the majority of her and her sister’s conversation: their father.

A combined 160 years of life and the thing these two women most wanted and enjoyed talking about was their father, the man he was, and the legacy he left for them.

I think about the men who play the biggest role in my life. Men like my own father, my grandfathers, and my husband. These men, by life’s selection and circumstance, have been given the platform of influence in my life and the life of many others in their own lives.

The respect and admiration I have for these men and the thought of their legacies started me thinking about our Joel Home guys. Who will tell them about the platform of influence they too have? Who will show them what it means to be a man, a husband, a father? Who will show them how to sacrificially lead their families? Who will stress to them the importance of unconditional love for their children and how important is to them that they come to their child’s athletic games and school events?

How fortunate I was to have men who knew so well how to show their love for me. How fortunate I was to have men who knew so well how to show their support for me. How fortunate I was to have men who knew so well to teach how a woman is to be treated, honored, and cared for.

And what of our guys here at Joel Home? Who will show them? Who will teach them?

My prayer is they will see these things in my husband. I pray they see the godly, big-hearted man he is and how much he cares for them. I pray they see qualities in my husband that they too hope to possess. I pray they see me admiring and honoring my husband in a way they hope their future wives will. I pray they see the ways we serve each other, love each other, build up each other, and sacrifice for each other. I pray they see Christ in us.

I also pray there are others who will come along beside us and desire relationship with these guys. I wish people could see how incredible these young men are and how much heart they have. I pray people will join hands with us as we desire to teach these young men about legacies and true manhood.

If you are reading this I have some challenges for you:

First, for those in the Colorado Springs area, if you have any interest at all in serving alongside these incredible guys we need mentors! We need men, or couples, or families, or however God is calling you, to choose to invest in these guys and model for them what the life of Christ and the life of a man looks like. If you are interested in becoming involved or would like more information, please feel free to contact me at

Second, if you are not in our area I challenge you to join Joel Home, Children’s Hope Chest, and us in prayer for these guys. Brian and I have three guys living with us in Joel Home II and there are three guys living in Joel Home I. That’s a total of 6 young men who need to be covered in prayer and be lifted up as men. Will you commit to standing with us in their corner and encouraging them, supporting them, coaching them, and praying for them?

Friends, I am so grateful for each of you who take time to read the words God imprints on my heart. I am thankful for all those men who shape and impact my life and I lift each of you up in prayer. Will you too lift those men who are special to you up in prayer and tell them how important they are? Will you remind them of the importance of their legacy? Will you build them up as men so they can become more like Christ and better lead your families, your groups, and your communities? Thank you friends for your commitment to the family of Christ and to the men in your lives.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” – Psalm 1:1-6

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14


A Life Imbalanced

The band played and I closed my eyes and listened as the lyrics washed over my soul. Each Sunday finds us in this church auditorium, hands raised, hearts aligned, and lives laid down. Then each Monday finds us jumping back into the race of life and to-do lists.

It’s been too long since I’ve last written. Busy only allows for busier and I’ve bought the lie that somehow this over-booked schedule is some sort of goal to attain.

Last Sunday morning I was finally able to articulate to my husband what I’ve been feeling:


We prayed about this while we were still in Haiti. Go back to our previous posts and read our hearts and you’ll know that this busy, mis-focused lifestyle was exactly what we wanted to avoid. In fact, our most previous post titled “Don’t Get Soft” was exactly about what I’m writing today.

It’s been 3 months since we returned to the United States. It’s taken less than 3 months for us to fall back into the routines and patterns of everyday America.

I don’t say this to claim it’s wrong or sinful to be American, be busy, have nice things, or enjoy the comforts our culture allows. I do say this to make clear that when the time we spend in communion with Christ (in prayer, reading the Word, and meditating on Scripture or God’s holiness) is bumped down a few pegs in order to allow more time for comforts (such as television, going out, and yes, even good things like spending time with family), we can know we have created an imbalance.

I can enjoy all of these things and more, but when I substitute good things for time I would usually spend with Christ, the natural repercussion is an imbalance.

For those of you who know us and stay updated with us, you may look at our lives and be surprised to read these words. We serve in ministry, regularly attend church, spend time in prayer, read our bibles, and give of our time and resources. But this life is not about checklists and spiritual to-dos. This life is about the condition of our hearts and dieing to ourselves. After all, isn’t the heart what God examines (1 Samuel 16:7)?

And if I’m being honest about the condition of my heart, I could summarize it in one word: Longing.

My heart longs for more of God and for more of the things of God. My heart longs for more time spent in awe of Him and meditating on His glory. My heart longs for the Presence of Christ to permeate every thought and interaction I have.

I don’t want to fill my schedule with more to-dos, more items to check off, or even more service opportunities if my heart isn’t fully aligned with God and my first priority isn’t time with God.

I don’t want more good things of this life if my life isn’t saturated with the good things of Christ.

My first choice must be Christ. I, like John, must daily be willing to say, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:3).

This life must be less about me and more about Christ. And the more my life is about Christ, the more my life will find its perfect balance.

What about you friends? What areas of your life do you find you are giving more of yourself to than to Christ? What things do you know you could rearrange or perhaps even eliminate in order to spend more time with your Perfect Creator? What are some ways you can become more aware of His Presence and spend more quality time in His Presence?

My challenge for you is not to go and spend 30 minutes in prayer or even 5 minutes in prayer. I don’t believe in putting numbers to a relationship that demands our all. I do believe in acknowledging the holiness of our Almighty God and falling in worship of Him wherever we are. I don’t challenge you spend a few extra minutes in your morning praying so you can check that off. I challenge you to ask God for more of Him and to fall in love again with the Savior you once were so enamored with. This, I believe, is a challenge worth saying “yes” to. This, I believe, is worth giving our lives to.

I want you to know dear friend that if you are reading this you can know you are being prayed for. I pray God highlights areas of your life where you’ve stopped surrendering to Him. I pray you are able to recognize any imbalance that may be in your life. I pray you fall more in love with your Savior and desire more of Him. I pray your heart longings are more for the things of Christ than the things of this world.

– Courtney

“But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!” – Psalm 40:16

“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” – Matthew 6:19-21,33


“Don’t get soft”

Well folks, it’s getting closer. The countdown is officially at 3 days. Whoa…what? Yes, 3 days. Three days left to soak up our remaining time here and three days to finish preparing for our homecoming.

Home – what a sacred and comforting word. Home is that place where guards are left at the door and people are fused together through the workings of struggles and victories and every inside joke that falls between.

I can’t wait to see my family and hug my sister. I can’t wait to sit around a dinner table and laugh with them. I can’t wait to hear about all the life that has happened in my absence.

But there’s an apprehension that comes with the anticipation. The words of a once-met missionary pastor echoes in my head, “Don’t get soft…don’t get soft.”

He’s spent his last 26 years overseas and raised his family there. He may be from the US but his lifetime is notched elsewhere. He’s made the decision to come back to care for his dying father. And his words to me are “don’t get soft”?

Why would those be the words he chose to give us? Likely, because this man knows the ease with which it is to slide back into the comfortable habits and routines of American living. America is soft. Yes, you heard me: America is soft.

Back off overzealous patriots, I’m neither a flag burner nor a hater of all things America. In fact, I love America. I love the opportunities found there. I love the freedoms fought for there. I love the union of cultures as other people seek to make America their new home. I love that in a single day I can drive from a beach to the mountains and then to the plains. America is beautiful. Ok, America rant done.

But soft, yes she is that, too. We are far too complacent and far too accepting of mediocrity. We are more about our comfort and avoiding hardship and difficulty than about living a life abandoned for the King of Kinds (speaking here in mass generality).

Brian and I are going through the book of 1 Corinthians and yesterday were discussing chapter four. Paul is addressing the church at Corinth and how their efforts to escape ostracism, hardship, and maltreatment make them as if they were “living like unbelievers” (3:3).

Wait, did you catch that? By seeking to avoid these things, the Corinthians’ lifestyles were matching that of unbelievers! Don’t we seek to avoid these things? Aren’t we taught that suffering and persecution is a bad thing? Hmm…so if Paul says avoiding these things makes them similar to unbelievers, what should the life of a believer look like?

Let’s look back at chapter four beginning at verse 11: “Up to the present hour we are both hungry and thirsty; we are poorly clothed, roughly treated, homeless; we labor, working with our own hands. When we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we respond graciously. Even now, we are like the world’s garbage, like the dirt everyone scrapes off their sandals.” (HCSB)

So you’re telling me, that according to Paul, our lives are to be flavored with things such as poverty, maltreatment, persecution, and want?

Well, yes and no. Is it wrong to have wealth and live in a nice house? No. Is it wrong to have wealth, live in a nice house and prefer those things over a life given for the sake of Christ? Yes.

And that’s the issue Paul was addressing. I don’t believe Paul had anything against working a well-paying job, having a nice house and raising a good family. These things that are the makeup of the American Dream are not evil. But the motives of the heart that cause us to chase these things instead of Christ are. The Corinthians were choosing to avoid struggles and looking different for the sake of their own comfort.

So how does this apply to us and our soon departure from Haiti?

Well, we’re working on it, praying through it, and writing about it. But somehow we have to move this from elusive concept to tangible. We need to put skin to this realization that, truly, we can’t get soft.

I need to desire, like Paul, to be the “scum of the earth” (look soon for Brian’s newest blog sharing the same title). My care for the shiny things of this world must be so diminished to that of my desire for Christ that it seems I hate them.

So forgive me for not wrapping this writing piece up all nice and neat for you. This writing, along with my life, is a work in progress. We’re learning how to live differently. We’re learning how to make our lives a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). We’re learning how to take Haiti home and not leave it and all of its lessons on the runway in Miami. Mostly, we’re learning how to not go soft.

– Courtney

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2

“I’ll be Home for Christmas”

The dark parts of the morning find me breathing deep on the rooftop, waiting for the sun to awaken. I breathe to fully enjoy the moment, to savor the sights and sounds of Haiti. I think I’m able to see things a little clearer now; like that moment of sight right after you put on prescription eyewear for the first time. I close my eyes and feel the cool morning breeze on my face. I listen to the calls of the rooster (who thinks the sun has been coming up since 3am). I listen to the neighbors’ voices lifting early morning hymnal songs. I feel the sun begin to warm my face. My eyes take in the misty clouds over the mountain ranges and the green farm fields pooling under Earth’s giants. I release a deep, contented breath, thank God for the moment, and begin to pray.

This moment is so special to me and my prayer is that in each moment I am able to slow down, if only for a minute, to take in all that surrounds me. This is becoming more important to me because now I know just how numbered my days truly are in Haiti.

Yes, friends, the Ferguson’s are coming home.

These words are bittersweet. As my wise mother-in-law reminds me, to every “yes” we give, we give a “no” to something else. But we’ve prayed and weighed and prayed more and counted the cost on either side. We know where our next step will be, even if we are unsure of the steps to follow that one. In our moments of doubt and uncertainty God gently whispers, “It’s time”. And we know this.

God has given us a season of rest and refreshment coupled with opportunities of service and life-lived ministry. We are grateful.

Our hearts are full and we are ready to take our “cup runneth over” home to share our portion with others. We are excited to again share life with our friends and family and those we’ve yet to meet. We are continuously overwhelmed with how well we are loved by all of you.

The calendar is marked. November 26th has reserved us a ticket back home, where our first stop will be in Sweet Home Alabama.

November 26th means 25 days will be all that we have left here. 25 days to give wholly of ourselves. 25 days to dig in a little deeper, love a little harder, and hug a little longer.

Will you pray for us? Will you pray in our closing time here we will remain faithful to the work given us? Will you pray we remain faithful to the ministries God has placed before us here? Will you pray we will choose 100% engagement and to be fully present, not allowing our minds to take us to the future where worry resides? Will you pray for the tightrope we’ll need to walk of being wise about planning ahead while remaining in the moment?

With overflowing hearts of gratitude we say thank you. With anticipation pulsing through us we look forward to reunion with you. And with cups running over, we send our love your way from knelt prayers.

The Tentative Plan:

Our plan is to fly into Alabama on Tuesday, Novemeber 26th. We plan to spend a couple of weeks with my family before flying to Kansas City. From there we will be celebrating our friends Zach Boyer and Sydney Staggs as they do the “I do’s” on December 14th (whoop whoop!). Post-wedding we plan to rent a UHAUL and, with all of our belongings loaded, traverse the travel woes of I-70W through Kansas (pray for no blizzards this time!). We currently plan to settle our nomadic selves in Colorado Springs for the next season of life until God again asks us to pack up and move (cue “Colorado” by Paper Bird).

Peace and joy to you friends and cheers to sweet reunions soon,

“For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
– Isaiah 55:12-13


I don’t belong here… This is not my home

I want to start by saying that I love Haitian culture, I love the Haitian people and I am very grateful to be having this experience. With that said it has been made very clear to me that this is NOT my home. I don’t fit in here. I’m a goofy 6’3″ tall white guy with curly hair and bright clothing. I don’t speak the language very well, and Haitian living and culture continues to baffle and amaze me. Haiti food and “purified” water is delicious but it often upsets my stomach. There seems to a constant and nauseating smell of burning trash. It is not safe for me to leave the compound we live in alone. I can’t just go for a jog or a mountain bike ride whenever I please because I look different. Despite the fact that we have almost all the comforts of home they are still just not quite the same. They are for the most part cheap imitations/ smaller/ less powerful/ less reliable versions of what I am used to in the States. For example, we have a refrigerator that keeps things cold, it is less than half the size of what we enjoy in America and is dependent on an undependable source of power. The contents of the fridge are the remnants, the leftovers of whatever the teams leave behind; we eat the forgotten scraps of our American comrades but hey no snack left behind right? We will do our part for the American people : ). We also occasionally are blessed by a care package from our family or a random trip-goer who intentionally brought us stuff. And yes we can and do buy some food ourselves but we only go shopping once a week and we need a driver and body guard to escort us through the chaos to the safe haven of Caribbean Market, or the oasis of Belmart where we can shop for overpriced food alongside our fellow ex-patriots, UN, and American embassy staff with American pop music softly playing in the background. $30 for a few days worth of crappy snacks… Supply and demand thou art a heartless fellow. The bed is large enough for me and Courtney (just barely) and whatever insects decide to grace us with their presence any given night. To be honest I’m not sure what size it is, it’s not a twin and it’s not a queen so I guess I’ll call it a Haitian tween mattress. While the mattress is inscribed with the words “Orthopedic” I think the adjacent Caduceus symbol (pole with the snakes and wings) is a better description of the comfort because I feel like I need to take medicine for my back each morning.  We have bug screens and a door sweep yet I still find myself able to swat an average of 2-3 mosquitoes every time I use the toilet. We have running water but it’s not clean to drink. The list goes on. I don’t say this to complain, I desire no pity, I only share this because God used all this to speak very clearly to me. One day I was in the bathroom listening to the song “The beautiful letdown” by Switchfoot as I endeavored to swat one of the 3 mosquitoes buzzing around me trying not to wonder if this would be the one to give me malaria. Jon Foreman sang to me:

“It was a beautiful let down
When I crashed and burned
When I found myself alone unknown and hurt
It was a beautiful let down
The day I knew
That all the riches this world had to offer me
Would never do

In a world full of bitter pain and bitter doubt
I was trying so hard to fit in, fit in,
Until I found out
I don’t belong here
I don’t belong here
I will carry a cross and a song where I don’t belong
But I don’t belong”

I found a strange comfort in those words “I DON’T BELONG HERE”. Not in an “it was a mistake to come here” kind of way. Just a realization of this is not my home. This is a foreign land; they speak a different language and do life very different than what I am used to. I will not able to be fulfilled here. But with that came a comfort because I knew that one day I will return home. With that understanding suddenly things didn’t seem to bother me as much. I didn’t matter that I was uncomfortable, inconvenienced, and unsafe. Because it was only for a short time. In December I get to go home and enjoy all the pleasures and treasures I have stored up there. Then it hit me this is how my attitude should be about this life, not just this time in Haiti. Because the truth is we don’t belong here on this earth. Philippians 3:20 says, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ”. While the Lord has placed us on this planet for a short time we ultimately belong with him. We long for a day that there is no more sin or suffering but will never experience it until Christ returns, but we have that desire because Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that “he has set eternity in our hearts”. In the same way that I don’t mind to be uncomfortable in my time in Haiti I shouldn’t mind to be uncomfortable during my time on earth because I know that it is only temporary. I don’t need to feel complete or fulfilled in Haiti and I don’t need to feel complete or fulfilled on this earth because a day is coming soon that I will have all that I need and more in Heaven. Furthermore, with the exception of a suitcase, I took nothing to Haiti and I can take nothing back. I could buy all sorts of nice things in Haiti but I can’t really take them back to America with me. “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Timothy 6:7). So what shall I do while I am in Haiti? Just sit around and be content with mediocre standard of living and take solace in knowing that soon I will be comfortable? To quote Paul, by no means! We have work to do. Just because this is not our home doesn’t mean that we don’t have responsibilities. 2 Corinthians 5:20 gives us the mandate that “We are …Christ’s ambassadors” and we are to be about the work of reconciling the world to him. That is difficult work and is often uncomfortable, inconvenient and unsafe, but take heart because we have a King who cares and a kingdom that is coming, that kingdom is full of the Glory of the Lord and it is comfortable, it is very convenient and it is very safe, and there we have treasure that cannot be lost. Don’t settle for a cheap imitation of living. We are not supposed to find contentment in this life, and any comfort we find is a cheap imitation of what the Lord has waiting. Just wait, have hope, believe in the kingdom of God; it is near.

You’re not an orphan

The past two days we have been visiting Global Orphan villages working on Child Profiles. Our task is to match the information we have on the children with what is in their file and what is current. This requires working with the social worker for each village and having a translator to read the files for me and help me answer the questions I need to complete the profile. Each child has their own profile which answers where they are from, who their family is, their reason for admission, their birth date, date of arrival, etc. It didn’t take long for me to go into task-mode and I was soon cranking out the profiles alongside my coworker/translator Odines. This task was more time consuming than we anticipated as each file looked different. Some files provided straightforward answers to the exact questions we had. Other profiles were more like short stories written on the child and would require us to take time and read everything so we had a full understanding of the provided information. Some stories were similar to each other in the reason why the child had come into the care of the church. Other stories were not as similar and caused us to pause before moving on. As easy as it was to get caught up in the task, we were reminded that these are the stories of children, living and breathing children who were running and playing right behind us. Some stories were quite unfortunate and reminded you that this world is broken in its inability to provide even for a child. Some stories were more difficult to swallow as we read the heartbreaking facts of a child’s life before they came into church care.

As we were going through these stories I began to struggle with the fact that, though I often interacted with these children, I hardly knew them at all. It was only because of my work that I had gained what little information I knew about them. The difficult aspect was that some of these kids seem to come from shadows; no one knew a lot about them and they didn’t seem able to answer a lot of questions for themselves. My heart ached with the realization that these children are so unknown. Teams come down and love on the children well, but only have a short span of time to spend with them. I come over with the teams and get caught up playing and don’t think to stop and get to really know a child. I felt as though all their faces had been hidden. I didn’t like the fact that there was so little known about the children and that information was not always easy to access with them. I didn’t like the idea that one of these kids could be easily forgotten.

As I’m working through all of this in a mess of mental chaos I began to hear that familiar Voice that, upon its entrance into my thoughts, brought immediate calm. God reminded me that He knows each of us and He knows us intimately. 2 Timothy 2:19 reminds us that “The Lord knows those who are his”. Again the Lord said, “He knows those who take refuge in Him” (Nahum 1:7). And again, Job says, “He knows the way that I take” (Job 23:10). And the Psalms are filled with expression after expression of God’s goodness in knowing us and pursuing us. Our God is not a god to sit idly back and watch His children walk in lonely isolation, unknown to Him. Our God is not an indifferent god who is passive about His relationships. What a pathetic god we would serve if those were descriptions of Him. No, we serve an All-Mighty God. The King of Kings, who could choose to remain in His heavenly Kingdom, chooses instead to enter our lives and pursue us wholly. He is proactive. Seeing our immense need for Him He willingly substituted His Son in our place – all for the purpose of pursuing and redeeming us! This is the God we serve! Think on this friend, if you truly are a child of God, you have an eternal Father, Brother and Friend. The Word confirms us as heirs WITH Christ (Romans 8:17). We are new creations, made to shed the ways of our old, and embrace the newness we’ve been given in the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our identity no longer has to be what has previously defined us (father, mother, employee, addict, athlete, stubborn, widow, widower, orphan, performer, whatever title has sunk its claws into our skin). We are free, the bondage has been broken, we are children of God and He says He will not leave us as orphans (2 Corinthians 3:17; John 14:18). Friend, if we could truly know God, that He knows us, and understand how that alters our identity, I assure you we would live as changed people.

My encouragement to you today is to rest in the knowledge that you are fully known and you are fully loved. As Timothy Keller puts it, this is “what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us” (“The Meaning of Marriage”). As you go about your day immerse yourself in this knowledge, in this radical love. Our God intimately knows those children. He knows and cares about the big details and the small details of their lives. Not a hair on their head is unaccounted for. This is true for you, too. You are known, you are loved, you are not forgotten, you are important, and you are wholly pursued. All because of our Heavenly Father, the Holy of Holies. I pray you grow in knowing Him more and in understanding your identity as a child of God and a brother with Christ.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as children, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:12-17). Amen.

Haiti blog 2

Friends and family,

Round two has arrived. Due to busy schedules and technological difficulties it has taken some time to post this. We both have a section again. Courtney will go first again. Enjoy.

Today, I live in Haiti. I say these words not to repeat old news to you, but to remind myself that “we’re not in Kansas anymore”. This morning we dropped a team off at the airport. They are now in the air and making their way back to the States. It isn’t until the bus ride back to Jumecourt Inn that I’m finally able to have a true moment alone and retreat into my thoughts. I’m currently reading “Ruined for the Average: Finding God’s Riches in Haiti”. To read a book about the plight of orphans or the brokenness of a country from the comfort of your own home could perhaps allow an emotional response, maybe even create a desire to become engaged and “do something”. But to read a book about the realities my eyes encounter daily is a completely different experience.

And something has changed.

We drive through downtown Port-au-Prince and I forget to notice the trash encompassing life in Haiti. We pass mountainsides and I miss the over-populated, crumbling houses. I see passing faces and am blind to a deformity or missing limb. This is Haiti. From the world’s eye this is ash. This place is described with words such as dirty, poor, God-forsaken, messy, and dangerous. But really, isn’t this description synonymous with our condition before Christ chose to enter into our reality, our depravity? Without Christ we are messy, poor and dirty. We can’t possibly lift ourselves from our own wantonness. In the same way the Haitian people walk around in the trash-cluttered streets, we walk around in our trash-cluttered lives covering our garbage with comforts, materials, and distractions, pretending to be ok, to be good enough, to not need anyone, especially a Savior. Oh, but if only you could hear these people when they sing and audibly pray the words “Merci Seigneur” (thank you Savior). I need to correct that previous sentence…they don’t just sing or pray, they cry out! They shout their thanks and their need. In the midst of physical filth they lift their hands and are eternally cleansed, anticipating the day they’ll live in their home eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1). I place my face in my hands and tears meet them. I am envious of the love these people have for their Savior, their King. Their inability to change their circumstances make them all the more hopeful of the day they meet this King who traded their place on the cross and loves and knows each of them dearly and intimately.

We are missing it.

Do you know that the same Christ that these people cry out to is the same Christ that we can experience? Do you know that, despite some church or cultural traditions, you can raise your hands toward Him, you can shout praise to Him, you cry out in anguish to Him, you can sing “halleluiah” to Him, you can share your excitement with Him, you can vent your frustrations to Him, you can give it ALL to Him? Why, oh why, do we hold back? Why have we adopted this “too cool for school” mentality? Instead of filling our lush sanctuaries with awe and praise, we come before the Holy of Holies with our hands in our pockets, eyes glazed with a lack of zeal, and believe He accepts this “gift” of worship. Friends, who are we to claim the name of Christ on Sunday yet claim the names of Me, Myself, and I the other six days?

We need a change.

And no, not an Obama-care kind of change. In fact, change is too timid a word. What we need is a collision. We need to collide with the Creator of the Universe and walk away radically altered – for His holiness and His purposes. We need to be stripped of our entitlements and recognize that, before God, we hold nothing in our hands. Now, I am not claiming that we are nothing and of no value. On the contrary, we know from Genesis that God created us in His image and values us enough to trade His Son for us. What I am claiming is that we can bring nothing to God that He hasn’t already created or given to us in the first place. So why not come before Him, empty hands uplifted, and offer Him our lives? As Jim Elliot said, “he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose” (1949). But what does a collision with the Savior look like? If you will, allow me to share my collision experience…

About 5 months ago, I was given the opportunity to come to Haiti for the first time. Assuming what most Americans assume when they come, I thought I would be helping and blessing people, working in the name of Jesus, etc. And yes I was doing all those things, but not in the way I imagined. But the paradox occurred when these things (blessings) I was “doing” for others was reciprocated to me 10 fold. Our second day we drove 3 hours up into the mountains to a village called Hinche. This village is not visited as often as the other Global Orphan villages due to its location. When our group pulled in the children surrounded our bus, shouting and jumping with excitement that we had come to play with them and love them. Still unsure of my role, but excited to be there, I stepped off the bus and began to wander around the chaotic jubilation. I stopped when I saw a small girl, braids covering her head, looking up at me timidly. I could see she was slightly overwhelmed by the large group we had brought. I bent down to her level and smiled at her. She returned that with an even bigger smile and a laugh, and then reached up for me to hold her. We were bound together for the rest of the day, playing, laughing, and eventually, her falling asleep in my arms.


In the 20 seconds it took for that first interaction to take place, this little girl showed me what my posture toward Christ should look like. With arms reaching high, hands fully open, awaiting my bigger arms to wrap around her, God used this little messenger to tell me, “this is what I want from you, child”. That’s it. God wants me. God wants you. God desires you. And God desires that you would long for Him in the same way that little girl yearned for my love and affection. On the other side of that, God also revealed that He delights in Me, in my time, in my affection, in my adoration, in my attention, in the same way that little girl does. Our heavenly Father JOYS in us when we JOY in Him. The Creator of All doesn’t need us for Him to be glorified, but He DELIGHTS to have us delight in Him and He DESIRES His children to desire Him.

Having the love of Christ taught to you in 20 seconds by a tiny Haitian orphan who can’t speak English – that, my friends, is a cataclysmic collision.

We need a collision. We need to collide with the unfathomable Creator, Father, and Savior, and walk away radically altered, shouting “Merci Seignuer! Thank you Savior!” My prayer for you as you are reading this is that you would experience collision. I pray God provides that opportunity for you; whether that occurs in Haiti, in another country, in your church or your community group, at your kitchen table, over your cup of coffee, standing in the grocery line, in a conversation with a friend, watching your child play and need you, or however He chooses to do it. May God collide so fiercely with you that you can’t stand anymore the idea of being average, of being complacent, of claiming Christianity for the sake of wearing the badge. I pray you meet God and that His reality explodes to life for you, that you fall in love with Him and fall in love with pursuing Him, as He will pursue you. Friend, and fellow Child of God, I implore you to stop settling. You are called to a greater life. Everything you’ve longed for cannot satisfy your thirst, but Christ can. And all you have to do to start shedding the lies of the Enemy you’ve believed for so long is this…cry out to Jesus and say “Thank you Savior”. Amen.


Brians blog


The other week we had a church from Wichita, Kansas, come stay at Jumecourt as a reservation (when they use Jumecourt just as a hotel, they pay per night/meal). This group was in Haiti to work with a village they sponsor called Balan, it is just 30-40 minutes down the road from us close to the Dominican border. On one of our days off this group invited us to join them.


The issue. There were about two hundred people that came to the village and a lot of them were malnourished. Every couple of minutes a child would come up to you and rub their belly and ask “manje” which means “food” in Creole. The dilemma is that I do indeed have food but all my experience has taught me that feeding children in large groups causes problems, BIG problems. I think back to a story a team member told me from her first trip to Haiti (a year ago). She was over at Source de la Grace (one of Global Orphan’s villages), which was connected to Jumecourt before a wall was built to divided the two compounds. There is a small window in a shipping container turned store (a part of the clinic that is on the other side of the wall) that had chips for sale. This well-intentioned woman wanted to bless the children by giving them all a small bag of Doritos and, if it only cost $10 to feed all 80 of them, why would you not? Well, needless to say, she got a lot more than she bargained for and in her own words “It was the scariest thing I have ever seen in my life”. The people in the store could not hand her the bags of chips through the tiny hole fast enough and thus the term feeding frenzy was exhibited. The kids started fighting over the chips and the well-intentioned blessing became a curse. The security guards had to come and pull the kids off each other. Lesson learned. This is a perfect example of when helping hurts, which is also the title of a book that is full of story’s with equally tragic consequences of well-intentioned givers. That is, in a lot of ways, the reality of Haiti and how it has gotten to where it is now. Haiti sustained 3 hurricanes and then a 7.0 earthquake. Hundreds of thousands died, those who weren’t crushed in the rubble began to starve. There was and still is great need. The watching world rushed in to help and came bringing gifts of free rice, free clothes and chicken for pennies on the dollar. Initially this was a great help to feed the starving that lost their homes and livelihoods. But a long-term consequence emerged as the donations continued after the immediate need. I’m not a business major but it doesn’t take a genius to know that you can’t compete with free. And all the people who supported their families by growing rice, by making or selling clothes, or by raising and selling chicken suddenly found themselves completely out of business. Whoops. This is all a very simplified version of a complex problem in Haiti, but I use it to give an example, or more of an admonishment of the dangers that our good intentions can have.


Ok now back to my first story, dozens of malnourished kids are coming up to me asking for food. What is my responsibility as a human, or more importantly a Christian? Mathew 25 issues a biblical mandate to feed the hungry and give water to the thirsty. It scares me that Jesus says, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat” (Math 25: 41-42). And James would also condemn the inactive, “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:15-17). But how can these two realities coexist? What are we to do? Are we damned if we don’t and damned if we do? Should I look into the eyes of the starving and say “Sorry kid, I read in a book that I shouldn’t give you food because it will teach you that you don’t have to provide for yourself? Or “Sorry kid I had a bad experience once, not doing that again”. I truly ask myself and wonder what would Jesus do in that situation? He can feed thousands with a loaf of bread and a fish. But for some reason I can’t multiply my Nature Valley bar to feed 5. So what do I do? I can feed one or two my meager snacks and they will be hungry again in a couple of hours. Or I can watch their confused faces as they watch me eat the snacks that I said I didn’t have.


I tell this story only to help capture the helplessness I felt on that day. I don’t think that my salvation was in question in those moments. But it really challenged me having this very pressing need and not knowing what to do about it.  




God has been challenging me a lot during my time in Haiti. I want to share two stories.


We are driving in the mountains on the way to visit a village in Hinche, which is about 3 hours away from Jumecourt. As we drive I begin to watch the people and I notice people spending a lot of time doing things that we can do instantly in America. For instance, getting water. This is a 30 second chore in America. I bet if you’re in your house right now you could get up and have access to clean drinking water within 30 seconds from one of the maybe 10-30 sources of clean drinking water available to you within your house. Then I think of the people who live on the mountain tops an hour away from Jumecourt. Odines, one of our translators, told me that they have no sources of running water on the mountain so someone has to hike 2.5 hours down the mountain then 2.5 hours back up everyday just to get water. When we arrive at Hinche I see one of the mommas doing laundry and she works and doesn’t even finish her load in the 3 hours we are there. Then we get back on the bus and I see people walking their livestock to the market, which is probably a few hours away. I think about how much free time we have in America. How much we are able to accomplish in a day. I mean we could throw a load of clothes in the laundry, fill up a water bottle and then take our cows to market in half the time it took someone in Haiti to do one of those tasks. And then with the rest of our day we could listen to a sermon, volunteer for a charity, tell that homeless guy about Jesus and still have time to watch like 5 episodes of Lost. But does it matter? It was hitting me that so many people in the world spend the majority of their lives doing the things that need to be done so they can survive just to do them again tomorrow. Find food, find water, find shelter. And is my life any more valuable than theirs? Is God so pleased by MY striving, by MY accomplishments, by MY résumé? Am I any more valuable to the Kingdom than the man that spends half his day just procuring clean drinking water? Am I any closer to God, made any more in His image? I swallow hard… Forgive me Lord for thinking otherwise.


The next day we lead our team to the nearby village that is run by pastor Calix. I have been conducting a little experiment with the group that we are leading this week seeing the difference in how well behaved the kids are based on whether or not we bring toys. My hypothesis is that generally the kids will be better behaved if we get off the bus, bringing nothing and just spend the entire time building relationships and playing, hugging, tickling, chasing and carrying them. Conversely, that if we get off the bus and begin to just hand out toys, not only will certain chaos ensue, but our team will not be able to build good relationships with the kids because they will be more interested in the toys than in the team. And thus far my hypothesis was being proven correct. (This is not to say that that toys are in anyway forbidden, but just more of a strong de-emphasis on giving vs. being with the kids). Anyway back to Calix. I am sitting outside of the village with my back leaned up again the massive sliding metal door, by butt sitting on hard pavement with Wendy (pronounced “Wenday”) sitting on my lap coloring. As one of the other children flip through the color book pages she discovers a hidden page of stickers. At that same moment one the team members standing above her also witnesses her discovery and quickly reaches down and takes the book from her hand and pulls the stickers out of the book (before coming to the village we ask that no one give out anything to the kids because it will pretty much always lead to fights). The girl becomes quite upset and starts to speak in Creole and conveys to all the other kids in the area that there are stickers. Instead of sitting quietly on laps coloring, all 5 of the kids sitting outside only care about getting stickers. The one girl who initially discovered the stickers spends the next 40 minutes just standing by the front of the bus asking every team member that passed by for the stickers (in Creole) to no avail. The girl eventually figured out that I was telling every passing team member to not let the kids on the bus or to let them have anything off of the bus and she directed her frustration at me in the form of a good old fashioned Creole tongue lashing that was punctuated by a surprisingly painful hair pull. Even Wendy (who I had hung out with the last 3 times I have been to Calix) was upset and wouldn’t play with me anymore. So I just sat there by myself thinking “Well that’s the last time we bring coloring books to Calix”. I was upset and even a little embarrassed. I’m supposed to be leading this group and now I have a small child rebellion on my hands. And then I also remembered that the trip leader’s church sponsored this village and I thought “man it’s embarrassing how these kids are acting right now, they have come so far and worked so hard to just hang out with them and just because they didn’t get one thing they wanted they throw a fit and don’t want to hang out at all”. As I sat there brooding in my frustration I felt the Lord whisper to me “Really? You have never acted this way? How many times have you asked for something that I didn’t give you and you acted this same way?”

First Haiti Blog!

We are finally here!! Both me and Courtney wrote a section for this blog. Courtney’s is more interesting so i will put her’s first. Mine just talks a little more about what we are doing here.


Courtney’s blog…

Winner and Losers


Today is the 2 week mark for us living in Haiti. It has been 14 days of adjustment with many days of adjusting ahead of us. There have been good days, there have been hard days, and there have been days that have held a mixture of both. Today was physically difficult for me due to some “stomach adjustments”, but nothing too rough. I’m not sure at this point that I’m able to fully articulate what this process and experience has been so far so I’ll write what I can and pray it conveys logic and understanding, but most of all, Christ’s transformative work through our human frailty.

I’ve titled this short blog “winners and losers” because of a Twitter hashtag I’ve recently learned about. Let me preface this by saying, despite being 24 years young, I do not use Twitter, nor would I know how to use it if I had Twitter. With that said, I’m going to write as though all who read this are as Twitter illiterate as I am so to avoid any confusion, and hopefully without offending anyone’s intelligence. Twitter users often use hashtags to further express whatever it is they are Tweeting about. A hashtag is marked by the (#) symbol. For example, if I wanted to Tweet about a sunset I may say “what a beautiful sunset” #beauty. Once you hashtag something that hashtag becomes a link that can be clicked on and others can see how you and other people may have used this hashtag. Get the idea? I’m sure you do, my apologies for being so elementary in my explanation. Anyway, a few days ago a previous GO Fellow, who still lives in Haiti, came to Jumecourt because she was going to give a team we were hosting a tour of the organization she now works for. A group of us were sitting around talking and she was allowing people to ask her questions about life in Haiti, Haitian culture, etc. Amidst the conversation she told us about the Twitter hashtag called #haitiwins. It’s become a joke in the Twitter world and a way for people to share funny (or not-so-funny) stories of how Haiti “beat” them that day. This previous GO Fellow joked that everyday Haiti wins in some way. This is a catchy phrase and the trip team members loved the idea of using it, especially to express funny or hard situations. For example, this particular team was riding in their open taxi truck, which is called a tap-tap, when someone from off the street walked up to their truck and stole a young girl’s iPhone directly out of her hands – tough situation that you can’t really do anything about. Haiti wins. I started thinking about this phrase and Brian and I even found ourselves jokingly using it (the internet is out, we can’t correspond with incoming teams, Haiti wins, etc., etc.). Now allow me to backtrack for a moment.

We had our first team that we led come in this weekend. They were a youth group from Florida so they were a lot of fun and brought great energy. It’s amazing the energy that teams bring and how it completely changes the mood of our compound. The teams generally arrive on Thursday and depart sometime on Monday, so it’s 5 days of going hard. Friday went really well. I loved getting to explain so many things and answer all the team’s questions. I particularly loved getting to play at Laogone with a group of 4 girls who never left my side. We were all exhausted but we returned to the hotel with full hearts. Saturday we got to visit the village that this particular church sponsors and that went well, too. Sunday we took the team back to attend church with the village they sponsor. Pastor Kesnel, who is a wonderful man with a heart for kids and an incredible story, pastors the church. His church shares a compound with the orphanage he oversees so the children who live there are free to roam wherever they please during the service. I was excited for this service because we actually had a translator and could be engaged with the service, which isn’t always the case. As I’m listening to Pastor Kesnel I notice kids appearing around me. One sat with a team member behind me. Then another one came in and sat with another team member behind me. Then one came and sat between Brian and me. Before I knew it, a little boy came and crawled into my lap. I’m usually excited to have the kids approach me, but this day they were being particularly disruptive and kept fighting over trying to steal our pens (this is after a kid had already stolen our pack of gum I had sat on top of my Bible). The little boy in my lap was even more so disruptive for me because he was still being potty trained, which means that he doesn’t wear any pants or underwear so as not to soil what few clothes he has. This pantsless wiggleworm picked already annoyed me out of the crowd and turned monkey as he endeavored to climb on me anyway he could. After numerous attempts to have him sit on the wooden bench beside me I finally gave up after realizing that his determination to be held and loved by me was greater than my determination to cease my discomfort. Even more annoyed and now no longer able to focus on anything besides not having him urinate on me, I began to pray. Want to know what I prayed? Did I pray for this sweet boy’s salvation or that he would fall in love with Christ? Nope. Did I pray that he would find family in the other children he lived with and within the church in his village? Nope. Surely I prayed for God to bless him and allow him to grow beyond the age of 5 (more than 10% of Haitian children die before age 5). Nope. Instead, I prayed for myself. I was hot, annoyed, hungry, uncomfortable, and ready for the 3-hour service to be over. I recognized how uncomfortable I was and had to ask for forgiveness. I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be in air conditioning and eating a delicious home-cooked meal after the service. Sunday, I was tired and just not “feeling it”.

After the service when we returned to the hotel I went and hid in my room. I was done. Cooked. And this was just week 2. In my quiet and alone moments I got real honest with God and told Him what was really bothering me. I missed comfort. I missed being able to eat 3 meals a day. I missed cereal (yes, cereal). I missed my family. I missed reliable electricity. I missed hot showers (ok, I REALLY miss hot showers). I missed being clean. I missed not smelling burning trash all day. And the list keeps going. Lying on my bed with my eyes burning hot from tears I was trying to fight back, I thought it…Haiti wins. “Today”, I thought, “Haiti wins.” Brian recognized that something was bothering me and came to see if I was ok (thank goodness God asked me to do this as a wife to Brian and not as a single American girl!). As I was processing all my thoughts with Brian I could hear God whisper, “Haiti doesn’t win. I win. And I’ll win everyday if you choose to let Me.”  After Brian and I prayed together we rejoined the team and the rest of the day was really enjoyable, but I didn’t forget what God had said.

The next morning we dropped the team off early at the airport and made our way back to Jumecourt. Since it was so early, the few people left on the bus slept on the way back, which gave me time to be alone with God as we drove through Port-au-Prince and Croix des Bouquets. I looked out our bus window and watched Haiti pass me by. From crippled-looking cinder block buildings to tin sheds to tents, I took in all the homes we passed and considered the people who lived in them. I considered the trip goers we had just dropped off and all the future trip goers we will encounter. Then I considered some scripture God had given me over the weekend. I’m in the process of reading through 2 Corinthians and I can’t believe how good God is to give me such an encouraging book on what genuine ministry should look like.

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart…For             what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as             your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of             darkness,” has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory             of God in the face of Jesus Christ…So we do not lost heart. Though our outer self             is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

(2 Corinthians 4:1, 5-6, 16)

“Having this ministry by the mercy of God…” Paul recognized that he was able to live out ministry only by the grace of God. He recognized the gift, though at times tiring, that is ministry. I’ve read and re-read those first few chapters of 2 Corinthians several times now. Letting God’s Word pour over me and spending time talking with God has provided more comfort than any of those other comforts I was missing so much. Granted, I still miss my family and am daily frustrated with not being able to frequently talk with them because of our internet. But what God is teaching me in these first few weeks is that, if we allow it, Haiti (aka circumstances and situations) will beat us, which producers losers. When we allow things outside of our control to disrupt our day and sideline us, we lose. Whether we’re wearing the jersey or not, we lose by riding the bench. God asks us to be in the game. He asks us to surrender all – not some, not half, not most, not even 99%  – all . All of our selves, all of our circumstances, all of our problems, all of our victories, all of our worries…everything. “And He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor. 5:15).

My prayer for this next season (and I earnestly ask that you would join me in this prayer) is that my life would be poured out for those coming to Haiti. While it is the beautiful orphan children who brought me here, I am learning that it is the trip goers who will be my ministry. I pray that when they see Brian and me they wouldn’t praise us for our “radical obedience and faith” (which has already happened), but that they would see our hearts and see that our hearts are after a God who radically transforms everyone who meets Him. I pray that we would continue to remember that Haiti doesn’t have to win, but that everyday we get to choose to allow God to enter into our circumstances and claim the victory for us. I pray that we would have an eternal perspective and that we would be about helping trip goers navigate the soul stripping and pride breaking that happens when you come here. I pray that each person who comes here would meet God and would encounter His transformative power. I pray that revival would begin in the local church and that trip goers would be a catalyst for this revival. Mostly, I pray that “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, [would be] transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). Amen.

Brians Section…

I realized that some of you might not really know what we do in Haiti. Courtney and I are the “Go fellow’s”. I know it’s a strange name. We live at Jumecourt Inn which is a hotel that serves as the base of operations for Global orphan project. Our primary responsibility is to lead private “vision” trips that come to Haiti (this is what we took our Shelterwood kids on). A vision trip is generally five days. The team will land sometime on Thursday and then they will leave sometime on Monday. On Friday and Saturday the team will travel by bus to visit the various villages (place where the orphans live) that Global Orphan partners with. Then on Sunday we take them to a Haitian church service in the morning and then a village in the afternoon. They don’t build anything, they just get a chance to experience Haiti in all of its beauty and all of its brokenness. The motto of Global Orphan is “Transforming lives through orphan care” and this really is the purpose of these trips. It was difficult to understand before I went on my first trip back in 2011. I remember someone explaining the trip to me and I think in my head I said “Wow that’s kind of stupid, and so we don’t DO anything? We just play with kids?”. And more or less the answers is yes. As you have already heard God used the two trips to Haiti to do incredible things in the lives of our students at Shelterwood. Anyway back to what we do. We help to lead these vision trips. We communicate with the teams before they come down, figuring out which villages they would like to visit and what other things they would like to do. Then once we get a schedule lined up we type it into a document that says where we are going on each day. Then we have a trips meeting with our Haiti field director Mike Rounbehler and Bertrand the hotel manager and Charmelle who also is responsible for making room assignments and knowing how much food to have ready etc. We work out all of the logistics for the trips, for example “Ok Friday we are going to Laogone, so we will take the 28 passenger bus, Jonny will be the driver, Odines will be the translator, and Kenson will be body guard. And we work out which Haitian staff goes where on what day and make sure we have enough room in the vehicles. We also work out a cash request form for any cash money we might need which for the vision trips in Port au Prince are pretty easy. All we use is 500 gourde(about $11.5) for airport parking and then keep emergency cash on us. Finally we call or email all of the villages and the church that we will be visiting to let them know we are coming on that day (unless the pastor does not speak English in which case we ask the translators to call). Quick side note there are three different regions that vision trips can visit. Vision trips that want to see Port Au Prince stay at Jumecourt Inn which is the hotel owned by Global orphan, and they visit any of the 5 villages in the port au prince region (Laogone, Hinch, Ebenezer, Calix, Source de la Grace). There is also a northern tour where the team will drive to Gonaives and stay in the hotel and visit villages that global sponsors in the northern region of Haiti. And then same idea in the southern region with teams basing out of Les Cayes. I have only done the port Au Prince tour.


That is all of the pre trip work that we do. Then there is work that we do while the team is here. That starts with picking the team up from the airport. Jumecourt Inn is in Croix Des Bouquetes only 15 miles east of the international airport and you take national highway 2 (Route de Malpas) pretty much the whole way. In America this would be a 10-15 min drive going highway speeds but it can take anwhere from 45 mins to 2 hours.