There is much to process as I return to Haiti and continue working, starting with the Woodside Church construction team. I have already started thinking over and praying about some of the things I heard/witnessed/ saw while I was in the DR. All of the things I want to talk about have to do with people. As I get older, I realize more and more how relational God made us; there are fewer things I find more of a delight than sitting down with someone and getting to know them, talk to them about life, and if possible, offer some advice. This trip to the Dominican Republic was no different.
I’ll start with the bad news first, I did a stupid thing and didn’t listen to the Spirit and jumped in the pool at Kristin’s house with my phone in my pocket.. So, I don’t have a phone until Stone Hill brings the one that I had to buy. That happened on Sunday, so I didn’t have a phone for most of the trip and thus have no pictures! Crap. Anyway, that was just about the only downside of my trip>
Kristin is the national director for Foundation for Peace in the DR. She graciously let me stay at the foundation house as well as her own farm up in the mountains for free. This was maybe a simple thing but it was a huge blessing to me. It freed up the money I brought to be used for and with other people and thus enriching my time even more there. Kristin is like superwoman. She has so much on her plate and yet has not cracked under the pressure of having a 2 year old, owning a farm, fighting with local government over a bunch of things, all the while leading the efforts of an international non-profit. I honestly don’t know how she does it! She is so kind and welcoming even as she has so much stuff to do and I was blessed to be able to be a guest in her house. The stories she tells about how God has moved in her life in mighty ways in order to establish and bless her and the foundation in the DR are crazy. Her love for people and the country is evident in how she treats her neighbors and plans to help them in intelligent ways. Over all, it was an honor to be around her and glean from her wisdom and soak in her heart for God and for ministry. She has been looking for a right hand man/woman so to speak that can be full-time in the DR and so I ask that you pray for the ministry there, for her personally and also that a person would be found soon who is willing to sacrifice their life like she has in order to further the Kingdom alongside the FFP staff.
Aimee is a long-term volunteer for FFP and is on her first year of two. I enjoyed getting to know her and sharing conversation and thoughts about the ministry. She is a talented young lady who knows Spanish very well and teaches in the FFP school that is on the same property as the house. Aside from teaching she translates when needed and helps a bunch with the groups and leading them in Kristin’s absence. I was struck most by how easygoing she is. She seems very comfortable in the country and has no trouble driving the crazy streets to picking up conversations with strangers.
Callista is a homeschooling mom of three along with her husband Jeff who stayed for two months and are ending their time of service with in the DR shortly. I am glad that I had the opportunity to meet her family (I had met her along with Aimee when the leaders trip came to Haiti). I believe out of the American staff, I talked to her most. We talked about everything from homeschooling the kids while serving to differences between Haiti and the DR to demonic oppression. I was struck by her fire to serve the Lord in whatever capacity she (they) could. Her family sold their house before coming down to the DR and that was a huge leap of faith. The end result wasn’t what they had hoped it would be as they are leaving early but that family is holding on to the promises of God! The strength in the face of adversity was evident and even though this chapter of their lives was shorter than expected, I was honored to be a part of the ending and to be able to share some of my life experiences with them in order to encourage and build up for the next thing God has for them.
Which brings me to Fania. There are a myriad of things I think about when it comes to her, most prominent of which is how strong of a woman she is. Her story is one of hardship every step of the way. I don’t even know all the details but what she shared with me was hard to imagine for a privileged white American man like myself. I don’t want to violate her privacy so I won’t tell any details, but know that it is by God’s grace alone that she is where she is today. Life has not been kind to Fania in almost every way, but God has strengthened her in ways that I can’t even fully comprehend. Her resolve to not give up and her dreams for her life are so tangible and beautiful, and by God’s amazing grace I know her dreams will come true. At the same time I was sensing all this, there was a definite sadness that came with it. No one should ever have to go through what this woman has gone through. Even to this day, the country that she lives in hates her. It reminds me of the US and how we as a country have decided that we are more comfortable with the hate of black people and foreigners than we are with love and acceptance. It is very similar with the DR and Haiti. Being in the DR as a Haitian is not easy, even as part of an international organization. My heart goes out to her because of the daily struggles she has just because she is Haitian. Because of that along with what some other people have done to her in the past, I know she knows what heartbreak is.
I should take a step back as I forgot to tell you how I know Fania. If you read my last blog post, you know already (I believe?). I met her at the inauguration of the Men nan Men school because all of the DR staff came over to celebrate the opening. At that time we didn’t even talk, just exchanged names really. I spent more time with her towards the end of my internship in Haiti in 2013; Adam and I went and visited FFP in the DR for a week before returning home to the states. At that time though I didn’t know much Creole and so I wasn’t very talkative with Fania, Adam was more so the one who talked out of the two of us. After returning to the states, I never talked to her on FB because we weren’t really friends. I was surprised at how much I missed her when I arrived in the DR and spent time with her. It was weird almost, like I didn’t know I missed her until I saw her. I would venture to say that the best thing about this lil vacation was getting to reconnect with Fania and feeding into her life and encouraging her. I feel that after just a few short days, I can call her sister. I ask that you please pray for this beautiful soul. She knows that God loves her and is there for her which is very important, but I am praying for breakthrough in the tough areas. I am praying for blessing upon blessing and movement into the areas that have been stuck because of uncontrollable situations. I am praying for her protection physically, emotionally and spiritually. Please join me. I look forward with anticipation to the news she will have of what God is doing in her life in the next couple of years.
As I said previously, people are what is important. I didn’t really get good sleep while I was over there but sleep isn’t everything. Fellowship and iron sharpening iron is more important. I don’t feel rested from my vacation in the DR but that’s ok. I believe God had me go over there in order to listen to his people and in turn, pour his love into them. After all, that is what Love is.
P.s. we have two construction teams back to back now, please pray for physical protection for both the FFP staff here and the team members that are coming down. I am excited to be able to receive Stone Hill on the 10th of the month!
God bless you all,
Thanks for praying with and for me.