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One foot here, One foot there

25 Feb

I realize I’ve been in Haiti now for 8 months and haven’t really blogged about this experience yet.  Just the truths being strengthened in me, but not actually what life looks like here.  I think that’s for a couple reasons.  Sometimes when you try so hard to find a rhythm in a new place, it becomes your rhythm, your normal, your mundane and although my rhythm has been in a location that is way different from past locations, I forget just how abnormal it is some days.  I’ve gotten use to the generator sounds, the roosters crowing at all hours of the day, the daily need to have water pumped from our well in order to have water in our house.   Finding a fan to sit by, moving around the house to find the best internet connection, cooking with what food is available at the market has become life.  A life I’ve never lived before but somehow in the every day, I forget that some people might actually be interested in what that looks like.

Although at the same time, it’s hard to explain something so outside of everyone else’s context.  No one back home knows just how funny it is when Amos pulls out his newly learned English phrases or why a three year old has breathed life into my time here.  The people, the places, the sights, the smells, the experiences are so outside of what people at home know that although I so desperately want to connect with others on life here and explain the ins and outs, I unconsciously give up knowing that because life is so extremely different here, all the explaining still won’t be able to paint a full picture.  You really can’t know this picture of Haiti until you’ve step foot inside of it.

We laugh at how different it is here – in rich, good sometimes difficult ways.  Trips away seem like a weird vortex – unable to compare you just live two separate lives.  One foot immersed in Haiti life and one foot trying to stay with American life.  I have lived here in Haiti but I still stayed some what in American life.  I iMessaged my best friends, I skyped my boyfriend, I kept up with lives in America through the handy connector called Facebook.  In two different worlds at the same time, trying to bring the two together in a messy, God honoring way.

It got me thinking about the Kingdom of Heaven and life on Earth.  Those are two totally different worlds.  The Kingdom of Heaven is one of endless life, love, peace, joy.  Life on Earth is full of pain, suffering, war, and injustice.  As followers of Jesus, it’s almost as if we have one foot on each world, trying hard to bring them together in a messy, God honoring way.  We live surrounded by horrific news updates and what seems like endless stories of injustice.  We’re faced to see those things, wrestle with where we stand in our hearts and stand up for those who can not defend themselves.  Yet because we’ve been qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of light (Colossians 1:12), we stand also in the Kingdom of Heaven with full and free access to life, love, joy, peace, justice.

It’s hard to stand in two different worlds at the same time, let alone try to bring them together.  There’s a time to be fully immersed with where you are at, but it seems as if God has gave me 2 different worlds in this season of life with Haiti and America.  And it seems more and more that He’s given me 2 different worlds until I get to Heaven.  To be fully immersed in this world looses sight of an important truth and promise God gives His people.  He has overcome the world, so we can take heart.  It’s hard to be fully immersed in the Kingdom of Heaven since we don’t live there yet, but we have full access to it.  If we stay in a bubble and try to ignore life on Earth we miss the precious opportunity of bringing Heaven to Earth – of releasing joy and peace in the midst of pain and tears.

So with one foot here and one foot there, we stand.  Trying hard to grasp how to bring two different contexts together in a messy, God honoring way.  It’s not an easy task but a righteous one to attempt.  And thankfully Jesus was pretty successful at mending the two so the more we look at Him, the easier it becomes.

Bel Ayiti, You’ve Changed Me

22 Feb

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Chè Bel Ayiti,

I’ve read in a few different places that many people come to Haiti to change you only to find out that it was in fact Haiti that changed them.  I’m here to bear witness to that statement.  It is Haiti that made me face things I had figured out how to ignore and Haiti that made me wrestle with God about things I had figured out how to stay busy enough to move around.

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It is your people who taught me the deep stand of worship and faith, the joy of simple jokes and the value of people.  It is your natural beauty that continually reminded me how big God is, how true He is and how creative He loves to be.  You were created beautifully, Haiti and although not many people see it right away, I’m thankful to have been one to have witnessed.  Your frequent multicolored sunsets, your majestic mountains, your ocean waves and your viewpoint of the stars had me memorized many days.

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Your land has seen many hardships though and your people are strong from all they’ve weathered.  Life here wasn’t always the easiest and I found myself stretched many days.  Stretched to love even in frustration, stretched to seek understanding and not stop at miscommunication, stretched to find comfort in places other than material comforts.  Most days I wished I wasn’t being stretched, but I’m thankful for who you’ve helped me become these last 8 months.  More free from fear, a deeper level of vulnerable and calmer, more thankful for a slower, peaceful, simpler life.

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You and your people will always have a place in my heart.  A deep thankfulness for how God used you to mark and shape me.  It was in your land and through your people that God spoke in real, deep ways and revealed himself to me.  I pray I leave half the blessing you have given me.

M’ap sonje ou anpil,

Kelc La

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in discovery mode

3 Sep

I’ve had a hunger rise up in me for reading lately. I’ve been soaking words up and flying through titles.

It’s reminding me of old days.  When I was little we would vacation for weeks in Cape Cod and most of my suitcase would simply hold books. Piles of them. But it was okay, because really all you need in the cape is your swim suit, beach towel and a few change of clothes. On that small island it is perfectly acceptable to wander into stop n’ shop or dunkin’ donuts in your swim suit.

One of my favorite memories of summers on the cape though is this little old musty book store my mom would take us too. It was like finding gem after gem, in this old dimly lighted place. It felt cozy, worn in, like so many others before had skimmed the same titles.

This hunger for books and stories died down as I got older… When reading for school took over my time and attention and in my spare time reading for fun just didn’t seem fun any more.

Until I arrived here and all this space and a new stirring in me to soak up knowledge has left me hungry for the words, stories and wisdom of others. To let my mind be shaken and stirred by the thoughts other people have wrestled with and fought to become true in their own lives. To discover what others have found in their victories and failures.

I’ve read cheesy Christian romance stories that seem silly but help my heart wrestle with God in tender places. I’ve read about poverty and God’s story happening in the midst of situations and people a lot of the world writes off. I’ve read thoughtful, raw pieces about vulnerability, celebration, and transition and found myself musing their words over in my head hours later.

I’m amazed by the gift God gives in communication and our ability to experience humanity in a rich way.  To encounter and learn from someone else’s journey, to be encouraged to find courage to take our own.  I’m thankful for the space to read extra in this season and the good books that I’ve soaked up along the way.

living in a beautiful tension

12 Aug

feeling versus knowing

hope infused struggle

helping or hurting

uncertain response

doing while abiding

active, restful waiting

focused eye sight

to have or to lose

eternal wealth

blessed neediness

upside down Kingdom

dream filled conversation

tears of joy and defeat

thankfulness in pain

depth in prayer

urgency in the fight

equipped armor

knitted community

broken communication

transcending love

full&narrow life

finding goodness in the rough

28 Jul

Hard circumstances.  I am first in line to avoid the sight of them.  No one seeks out hard patches. Surgery? No thanks, I have other things to do.  Death?  Mourning is hard, I can’t go there.  High temperatures and no a/c?  Excuse me, no one likes to sweat that much except for at a gym.  From all extremes, hard times are no one’s favorite.  I can testify to that.  This year has been full of hard times.  Really, I have very little to complain about.  My hard times fall in comparison to others around me.  But I’ve been put in the uncomfortable, the difficult and the risky.  And since living in Haiti, my hard circumstances radar has been going crazy.  My awareness of uncomfortable has risen far beyond any place in the states.

I get so frustrated with how tied up my joy is to these circumstances.  Things go right – I’m happy and praising.  Things are hard – I get crabby and emotional.  This week was filled with the later.  Lack of sleep, high emotions, so much heat.  I was rude, full of attitude and just plain exhausted.  And then I read this:

We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

2 Corinthians 1:5 in the message.  Hard times? Check.  Good times of his healing comfort? Even more check.  How much more in this past year, in these past 3.5 weeks have I experienced the goodness of his healing comfort?  The promises, the unexplainable peace, the courage to say yes, the guts to leap in faith, the intimacy of being healed, the necessity of being cared for by community, the expression of the body, the desperate heart of having to hear God.  Those moments, all stemmed from hard circumstances, are so much greater than anything that felt hard or difficult.  What a shame for me not to have experienced them because I hid away in what felt comfortable and easy. How foolish to only remember what hurt and not revel in the full measure of good times that came so faithfully.

Life here is hard.  It’s uncomfortable, hot, complicated, narrow. But it is in full measure of good times of healing comfort.  It’s deep, intimate, near, dependent.  There’s so much more glory in his goodness than in the hard times of following Jesus.  I am thankful for hard times for with it comes even greater goodness.  I never thought I would be thankful for that.

when at a fork – say yes

12 Jul

It’s always easier on this side of the decision – the victory moment when you are speechless in awe at the goodness and faithfulness of God.  The ‘yes’ back then seems like an obvious choice.

As I sit in thankfulness, I look back to the last few months and shake my head at the weak moments of anxiety.  How could I be so foolish and lacking in faith?  God said He would do it and He did it.

Months ago, I could have let $17,000 in 3 short months stop me from saying ‘yes’.  The decision didn’t make sense, it wasn’t logical.  But it held the peace of God that a ‘no’ didn’t have.  And that was enough to give me the courage to say ‘yes’.

I know now – having seen and felt it personally – that to risk on God is always worth it.  In the scary, unsure moments, it’s always worth it to say yes to the ways God is leading.   For He will always come through.  And it will always be better than you could have ever imagined.

#teamimpossible

21 May

For those of you following my journey to move to Haiti, you may have noticed a call to join #teamimpossible.  You might be wondering why and what in the world that means.

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My faith capacity has been majorly stretched in the past couple of months.  I’ve been stuck on 3 main verses:

Mark 11: 23-24 amp – Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.  For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

Romans 4:19 NIV/Kelcy declaration version – I will not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but will be strengthened in my faith and give glory to God, being fully persuaded that God has power to do what he has promised.

Luke 1: 27 amp – For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

I’ve been wrestling with what does it mean to REALLY trust God?  To cling to His goodness and promises?  Because what’s easier for me to is to just doubt a little or protect my heart by thinking thoughts that would lessen the pain of disappointment.  I want to tell myself it’s okay if it doesn’t really happen.  I know God is big and can do things how He wants and it may not look like how I imagine it – but that’s not the heart behind me telling myself that.  That statement that it’s okay if it doesn’t happen is just coming from fear and a lack of trust.  A lack of trust in God’s character that He really would want to provide abundantly and that He really is kind towards me.   Self-protection is just a form of fear and wanting to make things happen on my own and helping my heart incase I can’t get it done.  Well, self-protection is dumb and in the midst of a full life schedule of the end of my training school, ending work and support raising, I’ve decided there’s just no room in my life for it.

So when thoughts of doubt or fear come, I’ve decided to cling to the promise of God.  That He wants my heart to know His faithfulness to do things that feel impossible.  That mountain moving is what He called me to do.  That despite all hopelessness, I can hope because the truth is that God is good.  As much as it has been about believing God for specific things that make my heart feel risky and vulnerable, I’m convinced God has more been after the state of my heart.  He cares that I know Him as kind, generous and faithful.  That I don’t have to protect my heart from what I think will just disappoint but can trust that I really need only to stand still and watch Him fight for me (exodus 14:14).

I can’t help but think that if He’s going to this extent to teach and show me His character that God is wanting to show Haitians the same.  That in the midst of their physical needs, His character remains the same.  He is kind, generous and faithful.  When a cycle of poverty seems impossible to escape, with God it is possible.  When pain seems like the only option, the Prince of Peace desires to be known.

Thus, the invitation to join #teamimpossible.  I’m daring to see the impossible happen on this side of flying to Haiti but also believing it will be a theme for my time there.  Seeing God show off His ability to outrageously love His children and them to receive it because they decide fear just isn’t an option anymore.  What are you trying to get done on your own?  What impossible thing are you hesitating to risk to see happen?  Don’t let fear or self-protection steal the promises of God.  I’ve been claiming the Romans 4 description of Abraham as a description of myself – feel free to do the same. We will not be people who waver through unbelief but will be strengthened in faith and give glory to God being fully persuaded that God has the power to do what He has promised!