Tag Archives: Faith

Grateful Haitians…

While in Haiti I was impressed by the people. They are poor. Poor beyond anything I could imagine. Yet these people were dignified, gracious and grateful. The following photo is a candid shot of one of these couples. I also shot the formal pose, which was their preference.

Grateful Homeowners (rural farmers)
Grateful Homeowners (rural farmers)

I volunteered with Poured-Out, installing bio-sand water filters in homes. The people have requested these filters, signed up for and paid 200 Gourde (approximately 4.00 US dollars.) This small contribution to the cost of the filters denotes ownership in the process. These people were interested and invested in learning about the benefits of the filters and the maintenance. As part of the extensive survey they participated in, they were asked if there were things they wanted shared with people in the United States to understand what the filters mean to them and why their contributions are so meaningful. I was blown away by the responses! Below are some of the responses I would like to share. Hopefully these words will give you some insight into the gratitude I was able to witness during my work in Haiti.

  • Thank you, this kind help will be easy for us to save more money, to keep our health – May God bless you. I hope this favor continues in Haiti.
  • Thank you a lot, encourage you for this good work, it is a great work, we really like it. We will pray for more people to give to this work, so God will touch their hearts. We are very happy with the work.
  • Thank you so much for the work you are doing. Be strong in the world. Cover much area with filters. She will pray we will be blessed and can continue this work.
  • God sent you to Haiti to bring clean water. Thank you so much for helping another country. We will pray for you.
  • I feel it is a big lesson, just sitting here while you install a filter for my family. Now we don’t have to worry about diarrhea or other diseases because now our water will be clean. This is a big opportunity for all of us. A big thank you to all of you.
  • I congratulate you! I think it is a big thing. My family has a filter. I hope others will have filters also. That’s why I will continue to pray for you so that God can continue to bless you to have a giving heart. Thank you.
  • Thank you for the good work. Continue the good work. Don’t get discouraged. Even though you do the work for us, God will bless you. Thank you and God bless you.
  • We need to get the word out so more people can have filters. More people need them. Doing this is a big job in Haiti. You are killing cholera in Haiti. Thank you so much. Pray that God can bless you as an organization and keep on working. Pray that God would continue to provide the money for this work.
  • I have satisfaction you have given us this filter. I want to thank you for doing this work. I know the area next to mine needs filters too, so can you guys bring more? We have other areas, communities, people who have sickness and cholera and they need filters and would love it if you could bring some there too.
  • This is a big help because we have a lot of disease in this country. This filter will help us a lot because clean water is the most important thing in our lives. Thank you.
  • I am so happy about the work I know that God put that in your heart to help us. I want to say thank you again. May God bless you to continue to do this job.
  • I say thank you for this support. It will help me not to buy water again. Money it will be used for other. Thank you a lot. May the Love of God follow you.
  • We say thank you for this effort for this help in Haiti. We encourage you to continue doing this job because God will bless you. May God protect you and bless you. Thanks for having God in your life.
  • We say thank you. May God continue to bless you and give you the ability to continue installing these filters. May God bless you.
  • Thank you so much because you leave home, your family to come. We will pray for you I pray that God will protect and take care of you. God is the one who is in control of you.
  • We thank you for this gift that you guys give. If we were buying it would cost a lot of money, but to have one is a big gift.
  • We say thank you for the team that our eves see right now because God gave you the opportunity to think of Haitian people, after the two big shocks that we have had in our country of the earthquake and cholera outbreak. We say thank you to all the people who contribute to buying this for the Haitian people. May God bless you.
  • First of all we thank God, that makes the idea in your mind to think of Haiti, and we thank God because he made it possible to do this good work. We pray the blessing of God over everyone who is doing this work. We were in need of this because we used to have to buy water to drink now we won’t have to buy it anymore.

Haiti – Lesson 1: Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear!

simple fishing boat
simple fishing boat

The Sunday I felt God calling me to go on this Haiti trip with Poured-Out left me filled with many fears. Previously, I would have used all those ‘fears’ as the reason to just stuff the thoughts and go on with life. I was just finishing up a Bible study with an amazing group of women on discerning the voice of God. We were on the lesson about God’s expectations when you hear from Him. Simply OBEY. Yikes! Knowing the truth and not complying is sin.

I asked a friend if she would go with me. She said yes. So with much fear, I signed up for the trip and started praying about the adventure and what God would have.

Without going into tons of details, it is safe to say my list of fears was long. Some of the issues were:

  • all the necessary shots and drugs I would need to take for this trip
  • having to ask people to partner with me on this adventure, both financially and in prayer
  • how my personal health would fare in this hot humid environment
  • the bugs in Haiti
  • and the list goes on

What I found was one at a time, as I turned to God in prayer I was able to see my fears listed on a sheet of paper and each one was slowly being erased from the list.

In Haiti, I realized as I had turned my thoughts to Jesus and what He was asking me to prepare for and focusing on those aspects of the upcoming trip – He was working to take care of each of those issues.

  • Before I had even started my partnering letter, a friend ask me to make sure she got a copy because she wanted to help support me on the trip. Her gesture was huge in giving me the confidence to write my letter and contact others. The generosity of those partnering with me was also huge and I’m grateful and have been greatly blessed.
  • The shots and drugs were taken with no adverse affects.
  • Though I was in an extremely hot, humid environment – and I know there was mold present as I could see it even on some of the plants at the compound where we stayed, I experienced no impact to my respiratory system.
  • Yes, I used insect repellent and sunscreen and was only mildly bitten by the bugs there.

When Jesus is the focus and you are worshipping Him and focusing on what He wants you to do, there is no room for fear.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

It is my prayer, that God our Father will continue to work His love in my life. May He do so for you also!

Go. Learn. Love. HAITI — The Short Story

I arrived home about 4 am today.

It was an amazing week! I’m still sorting through all the different thoughts and emotions involved in experiencing something so totally different from my life routines.

Market Day
Market Day
Rural Farm House eager for their filter install.
Rural Farm House eager for their filter install.

There were 14 team members, 3 team leaders, and 3 translators working together in the Torbeck area, Okay Region of Haiti.

We installed 50 filters.

Yes! 50 filters.

What does that mean?

Each filter can process approximately 20 gallons of water a day.

That creates a potential of 1,000 additional gallons of safe drinking water available each day to improve the quality of life for the people of this area.

Lovely Haitian Girls
Lovely Haitian Girls

More info and photos to follow…

GO! LEARN! LOVE! — Haiti is the place.

Go Learn Love is the motto our church uses for our missions programs. Haiti is the place in June. This week I completed the last of the immunizations I need before leaving on this exciting trip.

Thank you! Those of you who have been praying for me, and the team – God has been answering your prayers. He has been erasing my fears one at a time and building my confidence about this trip. He has also been building relationships between team members. This last Sunday as a group, we did a fundraiser. We fixed the after church brunch, provided music during lunch and had a great time working together. Lunch was a success! The money earned from this effort will be distributed between the team members. Then we had a Skype session with one of the folks from Poured-Out giving us more detailed information about our trip. June will be here before we know it!

I’d like to thank those of you who have graciously contributed to my expenses for the trip. I have about a month left and a small amount to raise to cover my trip expenses, and am confidant God has this under control. If after praying about this, you feel God is asking you to contribute to this great effort, please private message me so I can provide you the necessary information.

It will be my pleasure to share the adventures of this trip with you.

Stay tuned…

I pray blessings to each of you, who have been supporting this trip through your prayers. I believe God will use your prayers and financial support in a mighty way.

Think About It…

I won’t be here forever.

None of us will.

When you reflect on that fact, what do you think about?

I know I’ll be in a better place, so I’m not worried about me.

However, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about what that will mean for others. Probably since I was in my 40’s I’ve tried to make it my goal to ‘make memories’ with others. Besides ‘stuff’, which may or may not be of value to anyone else, I feel memories are the only thing I can leave behind which will make a potential difference in one’s life.

I think about those I’ve lost in my life. The ones I think fondly of were those with whom I shared good memories. Others, well, I was able to perform the necessary functions required at the time, but their loss was not much of a loss to me.

There will always be ‘givers’ and ‘takers’ in life, but the creation of memories only happens when each party is contributing, shares in the other’s joys and sometimes sorrows; each party wants happiness for the other. These memories may not always be about happy times. With one you truly love and are invested in, there may be times when one of you is struggling with something. In a deep relationship, even during those times you make memories with the other person by being loving, supportive and caring for them.

I want my life to be about making memories! Memories that will leave people thinking fondly of me, either when we part for a time or when eternity arrives for one of us.

I struggle with how to pass this understanding on to my children. I want my time spent, whether talking with or being together, to be about building understanding for each other and making memories. I enjoy thinking of the successes they have shared with me. I pray for the concerns they have. I love it when we are planning a future get-together or event and each of us is involved in the process.

Instead, I sometimes find conversations that feel like obligations, words with no real connection. It hurts and leaves me feeling empty. Are those the memories they will have of me? If so, I fear I have failed at what is most important to me.

We’ll Meet Again Up Yonder

Fran and Rick @ Ashcroft

This week one of my special friends went home to be with the Lord.

I met Fran Cohler about 10½ years ago at my future husband’s home. She came into the room with laughter and an open heart. A friendship was born that day which has brought me much joy and happiness over the years. She and her husband, Rick are some of our closest friends. They were people we could share good times with, create memories with, pray about family members and talk about the deeper matters of life, one’s spiritual life.

As a woman, Fran shared God’s love openly. Her fingers made beautiful music as her hands danced across the keys and she shared this love of music with many. She had a tender heart and brought encouragement, support and laughter where she went. She and my husband shared this zany Irish humor, which I enjoyed listening to and being part of.

She left her touch on my life, as I’m sure she has on many others throughout her life. She will be honored and missed by many; but her memory will linger in the hearts of those lives she touched.

 

Fran and Rick @ Pine Creek CookhouseFran and Rick in Green Bay

FORGIVENESS…

Sequel to ‘Unresolved!!!’ blog post.

Optimal health from an unhealthy relationship can only be achieved through forgiveness and God’s grace. I’m grateful for God grace and forgiveness towards me and can only offer forgiveness to those who offend and hurt me. Some days my ability to forgive is only possible by allowing God to forgive through me! It is only by accepting personal forgiveness and offering forgiveness to the other that I can find peace. For that I’m grateful!

Over the years I’ve learned that offering forgiveness means I won’t hold the offender hostage to the acts of their past. It also means I don’t harbor bad feelings or thoughts about them. It does not mean I have to subject myself to their bad behavior or abuses in the future. The last sentence may be really important for some of you to realize, so let me say it again.

It does not mean I have to subject myself to their bad behavior or abuses in the future.

When I was younger, I thought forgiving someone meant letting go of the past and just getting back on with life, acting like nothing happened. This might work if the offending party is repentant of their behavior and really wants to change. If not, I found I was only setting myself up to be hurt or abused again. This is not what God wants for any of us!

If any of you are struggling with an unresolved relationship, I encourage you to FORGIVE – both yourself and the other party; accept the peace and grace God offers through forgiveness; move on in life, trusting His guidance. For each relationship crisis, the moving on may look different. Follow His lead.

Good or Bad – The Choice is Yours; the Capacity has been a Gift….

I’ve been reading CS Lewis’ book, Mere Christianity. The following passage from the book has stuck with me.

“Why did God make a creature of such rotten stuff that it went wrong? The better stuff a creature is made of – the cleverer and stronger and freer it is – the better it will be if it goes right, but also the worse it will be if it goes wrong.”

I think of some people I know who have lives that are pretty messed up. In fact, they appear to be in a total destruction mode. It bothers me. Then when I read this and spent some time pondering the statement, it made me realize those people have a capacity to be good to the same extent they have chosen badly. It is all about life choices and God’s grace. I was left with the knowledge (or reminder); all I can do for them is to pray for them. It is not mine to change them. Oh, but the day God decides to change them, they will have quite a story to tell! May He give me the grace to patiently remain in prayer!

Grateful for HIS Protection — Again….

Strange week, it has been! There was excitement and anticipation in the beginning of the week. I enjoyed a Monday at home catching up on things and working on a writing project. Tuesday morning was breakfast with a special lady friend. I left our meeting upbeat and joyous! Hubby and I were heading out of town, but needed to mail a card first. I jumped out of the car and lightheartedly headed toward the mailbox. It all happened so fast – all I remember is that everything went wrong. Either my sandal slipped off my foot, or I stumbled on the curb. Either way I found myself running to catch my balance, to no avail. I made an immediate and abrupt contact with the cement sidewalk, landing on my hand and my head. After being checked out by the doc and sent home with some pain meds, I spent the next couple of days feeling rather foolish for not being more careful; frustrated for being injured and not able to function as I normally would; and just plain feeling sorry for myself to having to endure the discomfort and inconvenience of this all. Then Thursday morning when I awoke, I realized I had much to be grateful for. God’s angels had again been looking out for me. Tuesday’s accident was unfortunate, but could have been worse in so many different ways. There were people there immediately to check on me and make sure I was ok. One woman even had the foresight to ensure I knew my hubby and we were together before being comfortable leaving me in his care. I was able to get an appointment at the clinic where I go and able to determine, nothing was broken. I may have bumped my head hard enough to have a monster black eye, but I did not scrape any of the skin on my face. In fact, I only have two small scrapes on my hand and one on my foot. My hand is turning the same colors of my face and I’ve become a friend of ice packs this week. This has turned into a week of rest and realization again of how much our heavenly father looks out for us; cares for us and protects us!

Being a ‘mom’

Being a ‘mom’ is not always easy!

There are many different types of moms and different stages of mothering. Some are easy and fun though may be tiring. Others may cause sleepless nights and worry. Then there is the stage of being a mother to adult children. Even this time offers different emotions, joys, rewards and challenges. Today I’m focusing on the challenges and some of the lessons I’ve had to learn along the way. I’ve given birth to three very strong willed daughters. I have four equally strong willed adult stepchildren. I prefer to think of them all as my children because even if you have not given birth to them, you invest in them, love them and want what is best for them.  That is what being a mom is all about!

As the ‘mom’ of adult children, I’ve had to learn they’re all individual adults with ideas, goals, priorities and plans of their own. It can be highly rewarding to watch them strive for something and find their success. On those days, I get to celebrate with them.

On days when they contact me to just chat or call for my opinion or advise, I get to share in this unique adult to adult bonding and there is little else to compare with the joy this offers.

Then there are the days when I recognized I can only watch as one or another of them struggles with aspects of life, sometimes over and over again. It hurts my heart to watch these struggles. I’ve already learned my life experiences are not viewed with any value; thus any words of advice I might offer fall on deaf ears. I’m left with few options. I’m trying to learn, sharing my opinion or advice at times like this only leaves me frustrated. We’ve each matured to the point where these discussions are not heated, but I know I’ve hit a wall and it would be better if I didn’t try. My heart breaks as I watch the same life lesson being presented over and over again with the same outcome. Didn’t some one once say, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results?” As a mom, hardening my heart and turning away is not an option for me. Nor is focusing on one relationship so much as to allow it to rob me of the joy in other relationships.

Being a mom is not always easy! There are always plenty of reasons to be on my knees. I know sometimes praying is all I can do!