Wednesday, January 13, 2016

It's Time to Change it Up!

Most of you that have been following my blog thus far have been following to keep up with my life in Haiti and what God is doing in my life. Well now that I am back from Haiti and living in North Carolina again I don't just want to end my blog. So I really want you to keep up with whats going on with my life (wherever that life is) and still with what God is doing in my life! 

Some of the blog is going to be the same! You will still read lots about Haiti, lots about Jesus and His never ending grace and even get some sneak preview updates of some of my favorite Haiti items! However, some things are going to be new and hopefully you find them as exciting as I do!  I will be posting lots of fundraising ideas (#FundraisingFriday), travel tips, some of my favorite things, insight on amazing organizations both in Haiti and in North Carolina and of course all about my crazy life of ministry and high schoolers. 

So if you like crazy, come visit often. Get the tips and tricks that have worked for me! 
Also, sign up for my newsletter on the side to get even more information!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Coming 'Home'

I have typed and hit the delete button more during the start of this post than anything I have ever written before. Where do I start? I will start with the details. As some of you may (or may not) know I spent the last 3 months serving with i'mME in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I am now back in North Carolina, my 'home'. Back here for much longer than I had originally anticipated. I originally planned to be here for a month and head back to Haiti towards the end of January. After a lot of prayer, guidance and really looking at where I was, I decided that i'mME is not where the Lord wanted me right now. Have you ever been in a place of confusion and exhaustion? A place where you feel like you have tried it all and God is literally the only constant to cling to? I am confident in the fact that the Lord has a plan for everything and that there was purpose in me going to Haiti even for this short time. I am also confident that although my time serving with i'mME and my time of living in Haiti has come to an end I know that God is sovereign and He knows what is next for my life. When we are confused and exhausted, questioning God or when we are confident and clinging to His truth, God is the same. So I encourage anyone, whether you are stuck in phase one of being lost and confused like me, or if you are clinging to the Truth of Christ and knowing that God is faithful, God is there and ever present in our lives. We can trust in that. Trust in Him and cling to Him. 

So, that is where I am now...Back in North Carolina...Transitioning once again...

Everyone keeps telling me how happy they are that I am back and I really (really) appreciate it, I find myself unsure of how to respond yet. I love each and every person that has said that and that will say that to me over the next few months but I am not sure how "happy" I am to be back. So when I say, "Me too!" I don't think I actually mean it. I am however happy to see my family, friends and amazing church family. Their support was huge when I was in Haiti and is even more prevalent now that I am back in North Carolina. I honestly just feel a little lost and confused.

The loss is a little harder to see, I was only gone for 3 months. So most people think, "hey, that's not really that long" and in the grand scheme of things they are right. It's not that long. But in that 3 months I left my family, my friends, my comforts, my American life, people speaking English, stores, straight lines, coffee shops on every corner and my church family. I moved into a house with 3 amazing friends that became my family. I woke up every morning to my Haitian co-workers talking and laughing outside the kitchen door. I went to bed most nights in the dark waiting for the power to come on. I lost other North Americans that worked in Haiti for other organizations that encouraged, loved, and checked in on me constantly (shout out to the Babe Cave). I lost 13 kids that made me laugh, cry and every emotion in between on a daily basis. I lost my 'job' and my daily routine. So you see, although it was only 3 months. The loss is great. Essentially, I lost it all when I got on the airplane to come 'home'.

Just to try to give a better understanding and explanation to the loss that I feel. This was not a rash decision. The idea of losing everything that had become my normal for 3 months weighed heavy on me. Not only the thought of losing everything, but the idea of going 'home' after I had told everyone that I didn't have an end date for my time in Haiti. I bounced back and forth on the decision almost daily. (Sorry to my roommates and best friend how who to deal with the chaos swarming in my head.) Just thinking of the loss right now makes me almost sick to my stomach.
 It hurts and is painful. 

I am also confused. Confused and searching for what comes next. I spent 89 days serving in Haiti 24/7. My normal has been serving 24/7. I keep asking myself after I spent so much (little) time in Haiti, how do I move forward in North Carolina? What job is going to fit with my heart and desires? What time frame should I be trying to stick to? How do I recreate the same heart to serve 24/7 as I had in Haiti? I am trying to decide and work through all of these questions while all at the same time all of America is giving their own opinions and advice on what I should do next and what my life should look like here at 'home'.

In addition to loss and confusion I have felt a mixture of disappointment, uncertainty, relief, guilt, excitement, exhaustion, purposelessness and even pressure. Again, I am sure of my decision to come back 'home' to North Carolina, the decision just came with a great cost. That is what makes it difficult. It came with a great cost for me, but Jesus, see He paid the ultimate cost for me. So I will remember and cling to the fact that...God is faithful. God is in control. God is patient. God is loving. God is all knowing. God is merciful. God is understanding. God is with me and with you.

"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:8-9

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Some days in Haiti are beautiful and some are filled with tears and frustrations. I am here to tell you that working in another country, let alone living in another country, is not always the smiles, laughs and cute kids that are posted on social media. Some days are hard. Some days we wake up and wonder why God has us here in the first place. Some nights we go to bed laughing at the fact that we got absolutely nothing accomplished. But, through it all, God gives us these glimmers, these little rays of sunshine in the darkness, to remind us that He is the reason and He is our strength.

I want to tell you about one of these darker days. One of the days where I felt like no good was coming out of being here. A day when it seemed like there was too much darkness to make an impact here and that there was never going to be change. Do you ever have those days when the world just seems to be winning the battle? This was one of those days.

I woke up not feeling so well. Living in Haiti has its constant rotation of sickness going around and I guess it was finally my turn to be hit. I had my normal Monday meeting with our staff here and worked on getting us all on the same page for the week. Then our Haitian driver Fred was going to drive me to go pick up some supplies we needed from one of the street markets. I got in the car and the first thing he did was hand me his phone with a video playing. "Randa, you have to see this. See what someone did to this baby."

See what someone did to this baby?

I had no idea what I was going to see when I looked down at his phone. My heart sank when I saw. I saw a tiny new born baby laying in a pile of trash. Someone threw a baby out like trash. Someone decided that this little life wasn't worth a burial. Someone decided that they didn't want this baby. Someone decided that his little life was not one that deserved a chance. As I sat there looking at Freds phone screen I couldn't find the words I wanted to say. I was furious. How could someone do this? 

Fred began to tell me how someone had thrown him from the bridge by his house and that they just left the baby laying there in the piles of trash. Thrown out. Left. Abandoned. This is when I remembered the one person that will never throw us out, He will never leave us, He will never abandon us. God is who will be our strength. He is the one who gives us life. What a sweet reminder that even when death is all around us and when people disappoint us, He is constant and ever loving. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What is your Haiti?

Why am I in Haiti?
I am in Haiti to serve Jesus. Many would say you can serve Jesus anywhere and I couldn't agree more with that statement! I tried my best to serve Jesus well in North Carolina, just like I am trying to serve Him well here in Haiti. I am in Haiti to serve Jesus. 

Why am I in Haiti?
I am in Haiti to tell people about Jesus. Many would say you can tell people about Jesus anywhere and I couldn't agree more with that statement! I try my best to tell as many people about Jesus no matter where I am. I want people to come to know Jesus. I want them to have a desire to have a relationship with Him. I want them to find true and full life. That life only comes from the One True God. I am in Haiti to tell people about Jesus.

Why am I in Haiti?
I am in Haiti to love on the people of Haiti. Many would say you can love on people anywhere and I couldn't agree more with that statement! I believe that each of us as believers should love those around us. To love someone is to show them God's love for us. Is there someone that you need to love a little extra? Someone that might not be lovable? Someone that needs to know God's love for them? I am in Haiti to love on the people of Haiti. 

Why am I in Haiti?
I am in Haiti to be obedient. 
I am in Haiti to learn and grow.
I am in Haiti serve. 
I am in Haiti to make disciples. 
I am in Haiti to tell people about Jesus.
I am in Haiti because God gave me a heart for this nation. 

What is your Haiti? Is it North Carolina? Texas? Your school? Your work place? Your soccer or volleyball team? The kid sitting by themselves at lunch? Your cousin? Be intentional about finding the places and people that God has put in your life to tell about Him. It probably won't be easy, but telling people about Jesus is worth the effort. 
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