Friday, October 22, 2010

The Beginning

Marco in June. 
Well, I fly out in 6 hours for Haiti.  God has done a glorious thing in my life over the past 3 years-- He's turned me from an average church going "Christian" living totally for myself to a radically sold out lover and follower of Jesus Christ, willing to go wherever and do whatever He says.  In June, on a missions trip with Impact 195 to Jeremie, Haiti, God said, "I've called you to work with orphans."  He used a little boy who never smiled named Marco with big sad eyes that completely broke my heart.  I said "Yes, God, I will go."

Marco in September.
I returned to San Diego in June and began making preparations to return to Jeremie within a few months.  I prayed for Marco every day and cried often when I thought of him and all the others like him.  When the second short term missions group from Impact 195 returned to Jeremie in September, I wasn't quite ready to leave yet.  I sent a picture for Marco with a note on the back.  The group arrived to his orphanage, recognized him right away, and gave him tons of love and personal attention all day.  They said he was a completely transformed kid-- all smiles.

I was shocked and thrilled to hear the story when the group returned, and wondered about how such a quick transformation could occur when this precious little guy was so wounded 3 months prior.  And I put myself in his shoes- imagine you're a little kid with no mommy and daddy surrounded by an orphanage full of 50 other kids.  You've probably never been singled out or felt special in your entire life.  One day this group comes back to your orphanage- you recognize a few of them, and all of the sudden, they recognize you.  You are surrounded by a group of people calling you by name, hugging you.  You are being singled out for special attention from the entire group of orphans.  Someone hands you a picture, maybe the first picture you've ever had of yourself.  It has a note written to you on the back.  You feel loved, really uniquely and specially loved.

And God started speaking to me.  "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, You are Mine."  Isaiah 43:1.  "See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands."  Isaiah 49:16.  God knows Marco's name.  Even if Marco doesn't yet fully understand this, he got to experience the truth of it and it transformed his little life.  And I cried.  This is going to be my life-- sharing in word and deed with precious little ones who have no idea-- that God loves them, He knows their name, they are special, they are cherished.  Wow, what greater privilege could I have to do with my life?  I have had this ridiculously blessed life not so that I can enjoy it for myself, but so that I can give it away.  What a joy, what a joy.

I leave today for 6 months right now-- to live in an orphanage, learn the language, get immersed in the culture, and let God further develop and clarify the vision.  I'll return in April to put a long term plan together, then head back to Haiti shortly after that on a one way ticket to build an orphanage and share the love of Jesus Christ in tangible and real ways.  I think this is going to be the rest of my life.  And I can't wait.  Thank you dear friends and family for getting me to this point-- of being so well loved that I can go share it with those who are desperate for it.  I am filled to overflowing with gratitude to God for you all and love you so!!

7 comments:

  1. What an AWESOME story about Marco's transformation!! As I read it I had goose bumps and tears brimming in my eyes!! Thank you for sharing this special story! I can't wait to hear the many, many, many more God will bring into your life!! Love and hugs sweet friend!! :)-Mindy

    ReplyDelete
  2. That was so beautiful Melissa. I can't wait to hear more. This is what I love about prayer. God is giving me such a heart for you and this whole mission so I can pray from His heart and it's on my heart so much because of that. I love you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. So remarkable to see God's word made manifested in a tangible way. Just one visit! They are going to know and grow by leaps and bounds with you there. It will be so amazing to see how they are after six months time. The continued transformation will be indescribable.

    For the joy set before you....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Looking forward to seeing Marco in your arms and not just holding your photo. Thanks for inspiring me and so many others...thanks for pointing the way to the only One!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Melissa,
    What an awesome testimony of what God has done in your life. I pray that your relationship with God will grow deeper and you fall in love with him more and more everyday that you are in Haiti! May the people see God's love through your wonderful and bright smile. I remember the joy you have the day we did Dovetail, singing "Everlasting" while packing food boxes. :) I'm excited to see what else God has in store for you! Thank you for keeping us posted!
    <3 love and hugs,
    Analyn :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Melissa! I've been checking the news about the cholera outbreak... so many thoughts and prayers for you!! Danielle

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dear sweet Melissa! Your story (God's story) is absolutely amazing and inspiring! I have NO DOUBT that the Lord will not only use you to impact the lives of countless orphans, ushering them into a personal relationship with Christ, but that your example will motivate and inspire others to do the same around the world! Oh, the fruit to come... what a sweet calling...

    Love you girl and praying for you every day! Hugs, Darah

    ReplyDelete