- I spent a week living with Jacob's family.
- God really impressed me with Matthew 25 and I started doing more feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.
- The Lord brought some new friends to love on- a sick old man, a young widow with 5 kids, a 25 year old orphan.
- I made a trip to the countryside to meet some very poor, touchingly sweet families Impact195 is going to help with their homes during an April missions trip.
- I scanned hundreds of death forms from cholera victims at the health clinic I help at one afternoon a week.
- God put a new little ministry on my heart and I began reading Bible stories to children in the town square.
- I've been reading my Creole Bible as a way to practice and learn the language, and because I read so slowly in Creole right now, word by word pretty much, stories about Jesus have been hitting me as they never have before and moving me to tears.
- God is ministering to my heart in such precious ways.
So here goes... God revealed to me that He had placed a call on my life to work with orphans last June while I was on a 2 week missions trip to Jeremie, Haiti. He'd done such clear preparation in my life, and as I prayed I sensed the timing to go was soon. Back in San Diego, I began taking steps to move forward, and as I did, it felt as if God blew the doors wide open and began to open up heaven and rain down. It was a life-altering season in my experience with God, the wildest and most incredible season I'd had in my life with Him yet and I was kind of constantly in awe for about 3 months. One of the things He began pouring out on me about was Haiti.
One afternoon I was reading in Exodus where God was speaking to Moses from the burning bush- "The LORD said, 'I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey'" (Exodus 3:7-8). I had just read an article that morning about how frustrated many of the Haitians were 6 months after the earthquake with so many promises, but very little progress and how they were still in such suffering.
And as I read this in Exodus, it was like God started shining a light and began showing me the parallels with what He was doing in Haiti. How they'd been suffering for years so desperately but no one really knew until the earthquake happened, and suddenly the world's eyes were on Haiti. It's not that the earthquake created a disaster; it highlighted one. It just got the world's eyes on what was already a terrible situation in the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and the world began rushing in to help. And 6 months later, it was becoming evident to all that the world's solutions were not working. I felt God was showing me that He was getting ready to come in with His solution. He began putting on my heart that He laying the foundation for a REVIVAL in Haiti, and that the whole world was going to see it, and that the gospel and His glory would go forth to the nations. I began praying for God to send Haiti's Moses. And I offered myself to His plan for whatever part He wanted me to play, small or great. I was just grateful He was allowing me to be a part of it. Previously I was just thinking I was going to take care of some orphans, but now He'd just opened my eyes to His bigger plan. I felt really small, in this wonderful way and in awe. I made myself available to Him for whatever He desired.
In subsequent weeks He began to do more crazy things in my life, much more than I can write here. One afternoon on a day with Him at a secluded park, He began showing me what He was going to do specifically in Jeremie, through Impact195 and others in the body of Christ to raise up and empower and equip the locals. I saw not just an orphanage, but a church, school, hospital, farm, Bible college/discipleship program, coffee shop/music cafe, food and clothing warehouse, feeding children and the elderly, jobs for many of the locals, the town being turned upside town, and that it was going to send shockwaves out around the country and world. He put Isaiah 9:2 on my heart- "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined."
My heart and mind were constantly contemplating it all with great amazement at the One who "only does wondrous things" (Psalm 72:18). At a prayer meeting with the team that was about to embark on another missions trip to Jeremie in September, we shared what God had been showing us and I shared these things. A Haitian brother Gary, who had just moved to San Diego to begin Impact195, then shared a story of how several years ago his uncles in Haiti had banded together and fasted and prayed for their country, pleading for God to move in it. One uncle in particular continued fasting and praying for weeks until God finally spoke to him and said- "I'm going to first bring Haiti to its knees, and then I will raise up a generation and will bring a revival in Haiti." (I think about that alot- as it is so evident right now how Haiti is being brought to its knees and it gives me great hope for what's coming after.) During our prayer time one of the women at the meeting saw a vision of a world map with Haiti shining like a beacon of light that the world sees. I was encouraged after that prayer meeting that I wasn't off in left field with all these big thoughts, but that indeed it was God and He had been speaking the same thing to others. He continued to show this through other people as well.
Gary shared with me later that when God had spoken to his uncle, He'd also given him a vision of a bunch of Christians moving to a city in Haiti and transforming it- there was a church, school, orphanage, hospital. Everything changed for the people in the city- economically, spiritually. The town became a model not only in Haiti but around the world of how to transform a city with the love of God. I thought immediately of the tagline for Impact's first trip to Haiti in June- "Working to transform the city of Jeremie into a symbol of love and hope for the future of Haiti." I believed in my whole heart that Jeremie was this city that God showed him in that vision that He had chosen to pour out His Spirit on.
It was an incredible few months. My heart was overflowing. My excitement was high. And in October I came for the 6 month beginning trip. It was a small start, after such big visions, but I knew that this was okay, this was how things start. Yet God, again, in His extravagant grace, gave me another vision one night about 2 weeks in. While the other ones were Him speaking to my heart, this one was different- it was a vision- I saw it clearly in my head. It was more specific. I saw the green grass, the kids running, playing, the huge smiles on their faces. It was so beautiful it had me crying and crying there in my bed under my mosquito net, just praising God, and Him giving me the faith to believe that He was really going to do this. It is this I want to share with you today. This is what He is calling me and the team from Impact195 to do out here.
There was a huge piece of property, outside of town, but within walking distance. It was not only an orphanage, but for lack of a better term right now, a youth center open every afternoon for all the kids of Jeremie to come to. It had tons of things for the kids to do and play on- soccer fields, basketball courts, a huge jungle gym, skate ramps, sandboxes, a place to swim. It had classrooms for dance and music and English and Bible and other classes of all sorts. It had computers and a library for them. It had a medical clinic and church and school and Bible studies and a discipleship school. It had a huge farm. But more importantly, it had a ton of workers- Impact graduates, local disciples (who the Lord is starting to bring now one by one!), others- who were playing with the kids and loving on them praying for them and teaching them about Jesus. And most importantly, His presence rested there. He was telling me this was about filling the children so full of the Bible and the love of God that a whole new generation would be raised up to be world changers- going out into Jeremie and Haiti and the world with the gospel and love of God. The workers all lived there together. It was a community much like the book of Acts. It was beautiful. Many heard of it and came from all around to see.
There was much more that He revealed then and continues to reveal. I just write it all down in my little notebook as it comes. But this is the main idea for now. I don't know why God has revealed this all to little old me. I don't know why He chose to send me first. I'm nobody special in the slightest. I just gave Him my life and said do with it as You will. And He is. I am just grateful and continually aware of His grace, and just revel in His goodness and heart. What a joy to be a part of His great work. I've been encouraged too since I've been here and have been hearing what God has spoken to others who live here, and meeting some other missionaries He has sent here for His work. As Jacob said once and I think of often- "God has a dream for Jeremie" and He is orchestrating it before our eyes.
I ask that you would PRAY! For this property- as it is difficult to obtain here, especially a piece that big and close to town. I sense God wants to do a miracle and show His power. But that we need to pray earnestly for this, for God "has condescended to place His almighty power at the command of believing prayer" (Hudson Taylor). Pray for the team that God is calling here to begin this work. Pray that we would be available to carry out His plan in His timing and ways, and never our own agenda. Pray for the people of this city to see and respond to His power and love. I can't wait to see how He's going to unfold His plan for this little corner of the world. He is glorious beyond measure.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath... before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:17-21).