Nov 17, 2012

While in Corpus my pastor asked me to speak about the cost and rewards of following Jesus. For each and every one of us the cost can look different but His Love and faithfulness always remains the same. God always provides for what He calls us to do even when in our head it does not make sense and the risks seem too great. We can always ask the but what if question or try and bargain. Has anyone else tried that well maybe I will do this but I don’t think I am ready for that or okay God I will give you this but I am not ready to let go of that yet. You see the thing is everything we have is because of Him. He does not want a part of us He wants everything but that is okay because He is all we truly need.  This last two years has shown me that time and time again.

Over the last two years God has asked me to sell my house, quit a job I love, give away most of my belongings, leave my friends, family and every security I have behind to move to a place where I would learn to more fully rely on Him.  Now I am not going to lie before taking each and every one of those steps I did put up a struggle wondering how is this going to work out. How am I going to pay my bills? Why do I have to leave my friends and family? What if I fail and can’t do what you are asking me to do? What I realized was God was asking me to give up control and fully rely on Him. When I finally reached a point I could do that it seemed like He kept asking for more but the more I let go the more I could see Gods hand upon my life. There is something very freeing knowing you don’t have to be in charge anymore. God has provided for every need I have had since taking this leap of faith. I have met some amazing people from all across the world. I have actually been able to spend more quality time with my family and friends. I have been overwhelmed by the love, prayers and faithful support of the work God is doing in Haiti and the work God is doing in me.  I cannot say this journey has been without challenges but I can say that through this experience I have learned to love in ways I did not think possible. I have had my eyes and heart opened and I have experienced a different kind of joy in seeing God at work.

As many of you know I moved to Haiti in January of 2010 to serve as a medical missionary.  When I first arrived in Haiti I knew nothing about their culture. I barely even knew what language they spoke. All I did know was God had given me a heart for this country. Haiti has taught me so much.  For one I have learned the difference between poor and poverty. Everywhere you look in Haiti there are people living in what we would consider poverty: small homes with very little possessions, no electricity, no running water and often many struggle just to provide one meal a day for their family. After all they are labeled the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere but the Haiti I have come to know is far from poor. They are not poor in spirit, poor in culture, poor in faith, poor in happiness. You see we tend to think of poor as not having things/stuff but in Haiti I have seen families without cars get everywhere they need to go. I have seen kids as young as 4 happily singing and dancing as they go to get water from the local well. I have seen women laughing and sharing stories as they wash their clothes together in the local river. I have seen kids yearn for the opportunity to go to school and take every chance they get to learn. I have seen communities come together to help each other out when there is a need. I have watched people receive news that there is nothing else they can do for their loved one because they don’t have the ability to provide the medical care they need but they graciously hug give you a kiss on the cheek and bless you as the leave saying “God willing” You see many in Haiti see each day as a gift putting there faith in God to provide the things they need because they have no other option.

Haiti has also taught me time and time again that it is not about me, not about my agenda but rather God’s. You see I went to Haiti wanting to share Christ love with people, to help provide therapy to those in need and to teach Haitians to be able to provide basic therapy skills to help people heal.  Those are still in many ways my intentions but my perspective is different. What God did was surround me by people in need not only therapy needs but everywhere I looked there was someone asking for something. It may be food, clothes, or money. To be healed of their injury. To help them find work. To help them find a home. To help send their kids to school. To help train them in a skill. I even had people offer me their children. It became so overwhelming trying to do everything I thought I should be doing but I was failing miserably because it never seemed like it was enough and that was frustrating. What God did was humble me forcing me to hit my knees in prayer so I could once again see I was not in control and I was not the answer to these problems. I needed to let go to stop trying to do things my way and to trust in Him. It was then I learned how God was calling me to help, I learned to see with less judging eyes and I learned what it truly means to teach a man to fish. We are not always to try and take a struggle from someone sometimes we are to help walk with them through it. That is what God does with us all the time as he stretches and strengthens us. This is what God was doing in me. He was not taking this struggle from me but He was helping me see with new eyes as I was learning to serve with a more open heart. 

I think sometimes we see a problem and think we know how it needs to be fixed. People are living in poverty lets go down and help them by giving them free medical care that will make us feel good because we are helping and it will provide someone in need with care. We do this with great intentions but then what I realized is we have assumed they are not capable .We have assumed we know how to better fix the problem and we have not helped empower them but rather created a sense of dependency.  When I first got down to Haiti we started building bucket seats to help young children with special needs learn how to sit up and gain head control. I would spend hours working on these buckets and adjusting them just right so they can hold the child in a better position so they were not lying on their back all day long.  Well I would teach the families how to place the child properly in them and send them home. Then when I would later see the buckets they were all beat up the child was not properly placed in it or the families were not using them at all. This would frustrate me because I had spent all that time trying to help their child and it didn’t matter. What I realized was these buckets had no meaning to them but what if I did this differently. What if I asked the family to bring in a bucket so they were contributing something and then had them work with me to make the bucket seat.  The buckets would then have more meaning to them because they had invested time into it and they would have a better understanding of the purpose. They would then be able to share in the joy of helping their child. This change in perspective was everything. You can make such a bigger impact when you help teach a man to fish as opposed to just feeding them. 

Today I just want to ask you in what ways is God asking you to step out in your faith? What areas of your life are difficult to give God control over? In what ways is God asking you to Trust in Him? We are not all called to sell our belongings and go overseas but we are all called to be God’s hands and feet in this world. He has a unique plan for each and every one of us when we are willing to fully trust in Him and step out in faith.