So what have I been doing for the last 2 months? A lot of reading, visiting churches, hanging with my family, listening to God, and spending time with some great people. Below is a list of some of the highlights:
What to do with the Rest of Your Life by Keith Miller
Fields of Gold by Andy Stanley
Tangible Kingdom Primer by Hugh Halter
The Daily Bible (chronological Bible) commentary by F. LaGard Smith
The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
Guerrilla Lovers by Vince Antonucci
Simply Strategic Stuff by Stevens and Morgan
How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins
Have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Lehman
Willow Point on Lake Buchanan
Disney World, Orlando
Mission of Hope, Haiti
Wild Oak Ranch, San Antonio
Hyde Park Baptist Church
Austin Christian Fellowship
Lake Hills Church
Discovery Church, Orlando
Hill Country Bible NW
Church of Hope, Haiti
Keith and Andrea Miller
Young Gun Exec Seminar – Ted Beasley, Monica Scamardo
John Leffin – Mission of Hope Board
Brad Johnson – Mission of Hope President
Greg Tolander – COO, Field Asset Services
It’s our last day here which is a little bitter-sweet. I’ve endured: no electricity, no air conditioning, bad water, malaria infested mosquitoes, tarantulas, scorpions, and extreme heat. As I write this list I realize that I’m going back home to a place where none of those hardships exist, but the people of Haiti will continue to live with those things every moment of every day. They never get a break.
I won’t be able to change the nation of Haiti, but I can make a difference in the lives of a few children. I can go several times a year to Mission of Hope to show the love of Christ to these kids. I can sponsor children so they receive an education, food and clothing. I can make the people at my church aware of how they can get involved to impact the children in Haiti. One life at a time, we can make a difference and before long, a nation will be transformed.
Today I spent time in the hospital ward with Alexandria and Rosemary. Alexandria has a severe infection in her leg and the doctors and trying to determine whether they will have to amputate her leg to save her life. I tried to provide a little relief for her by giving her a fan to keep her cool. I brought her batteries over the next few days to keep her fan going. While I was away, some of the women in our group had prayed for her and apparently her fever has lifted. Hopefully God is working another miracle and ridding her body of infection so she can keep her leg.
Today we also visited the Good Samaritan orphanage which is in a really remote area. These kids have very little and many were sick. We sang and danced with them to hopefully give them a few hours of joy. One little boy just wanted me to hold him the whole time, so I just sat with him. I’ve never seen so many kids just starved for affection.
“He makes the lame to walk and the blind to see!”
I’ve seen that statement come to life over the last couple of days. Mission of Hope is only 1 of 3 prosthetic labs in the country. Today a 5 year old little boy who had his leg amputated was receiving his prosthetic leg so he could walk again. He will be able to have a normal life running and playing with his friends that wouldn’t have been possible without Mission of Hope.
Just like the woman who received her sight, today was a reminder that God does miracles. Maybe not the way we would, but he does what we says he will do whether we believe it or not. God uses doctors, pastors, prosthetic technicians, and people like you and me to be his hands and feet.
We found out this morning that the woman who had been blind since the earthquake woke up last night and could see! She hadn’t been able to see for the last 6 months and during that time her friends have been praying fervently for her. Seeing this first hand is a reminder that God does heal!
Our team went down to greet 1400 kids as they came to school. Most never had hope for an education, and now many are graduating from school with plans to become pastors, doctors, teachers, and leaders in their country.
We worked hard today painting the bathrooms in a new kitchen for the orphans in the Village of Hope. Most of the orphans had been abandoned and their little bodies were sick with worms and disease. Now, these kids are healthy, loved and eat 3 meals a day. We formed sidewalks around the classrooms where the kids go to school. We played games with the orphans and just made everything today about showing them love.
So much of the work at Mission of Hope is about changing one life at a time. Finding children who have been abandoned and giving them health, hope and love. One of the children I played with had been abandoned with 12 other kids under a tarp. Mission of Hope took these kids in and gave them a loving home.
Today I attended Church of Hope. Hundreds of people traveled by foot, bike, bus and animal to worship God. It was a great reminder that God hears praise to him no matter what the language. The 3 hour service in 100 degree weather was all spoken in Creole. A woman who had been hit in the head during the earthquake and blind for the last 6 months collapsed from the heat. The preacher asked people to put their hands on her and he prayed for her healing. People carried her to the hospital so she could be cared for.
After the service we traveled to Susmatla to eat at a restaurant 2 graduates from the School of Hope started with a micro-loan. After lunch we walked back into the village. While walking, it wasn’t uncommon to feel the hand of a small child grab your hand to walk along side you. It truly felt like I was being the hand of God, holding onto the hand of a child who was wondering if there is a God who cares. Maybe for a moment they experienced his love.
We also traveled to the additional land that the Haitian government has donated to Mission of Hope. As we arrived, groups of children came out of the bushes to meet us. One day there will also be an orphanage, church and school on this property to care for these children.
Today I’m flying into Haiti and realized my family is spread across 3 time zones. I’m on the East Coast, the kids are in Austin, and Raquel is in Seattle. As I’m headed into Haiti, my hope for the trip is to:
1. Serve the people and children at Mission of Hope the way Christ would serve them. It may be that I just show love to the kids so they know that they are valued. My kids experience love from their family every day. These kids don’t have parents to love on them.
2. See how God is at work in a place that has been devastated by disaster. It’s been 6 months since the earthquake and there’s been little done to start rebuilding. I love seeing God do things only he can do.
3. Spend time alone with God so I can hear more clearly what he’s saying to me without the distractions of life back in the states.
4. Learn and grow from the people at Mission of Hope. This organization is only 12 years old and having a huge impact in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each day. There is so much to learn from them.
2 Chronicles 29 & 30 has a great account of a leader who was trying to set things straight for a nation that had continuously rebelled against God. Hezekiah was the new king of Judah and his first order of business was to get rid of idols that had replaced the worship of God. He sent out a letter to all the people of Israel and Judah inviting them to come worship and serve God again in the temple. He wrote, “the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” But did everyone humbly return? NO. “…the people scorned and ridiculed him.” Nevertheless, some people did respond in unity, and the Passover Celebration was held for the first time in years to celebrate God’s faithfulness and deliverance. People’s hearts were once again set on honoring God. “There was great joy in Jerusalem.” People gave God a tithe of everything and they even had a ‘great amount of leftovers.’
Because a leader “sought his God and worked wholeheartedley. He prospered.”
This was a question posed by Bill Hybels that was inspired by the famous philosopher Popeye the Sailor when he said, “that’s all I can stands…I can’t stands no more!” God saw something in Moses when he was moved by the mistreatment of his people. Moses cared about the same thing God cared about, and God chose him to rescue his people from slavery. David saw a Philistine giant, mistreating God’s people and he couldn’t stand it anymore. So David went after the Goliath with a few stones and a slingshot.
So what is it that wrecks you? Does God look at you and see you care about the same things he cares about? Is he calling you to lead out in an area of holy discontent?
Just returned from a trip to Orlando where my family visited the Disney parks for a couple of days. One thing stood out: the power of kind, affirming words. Disney has created a culture where their ‘cast members’ all end your conversation with a positive statement like, “have a magical day!” It’s amazing how just a few words or a little extra attention make a difference…even when you’re paying $3 for a soft drink.