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How Would I Know

This morning as I was getting out of bed I was reminded of a song that seems to keep my heart and mind in check . It really has put the whole year into perspective for me as I read over some of the past years blogs of my own and my mission family. Seeing God’s hand at work in the most difficult situations isn’t always easy. In fact to those who are on the outside looking in, you may see it as dramatic, crazy, difficult, impossible or unbelievable and at times even ugly. Let me just say, that while in the midst of the past year, at times it felt like all of these and  it has been very real. It has cut right to the core of my heart and to the hearts of those I love and serve with.

In this song it refers to learning to appreciate the hard times….I know what you are thinking…well many of you:>) How in the world can you appreciate the hard times? In my life I have walked through them not always knowing that the Lord was with me or even acknowledging He was with me. I’ve walked with others through them. I’ve been at the bottom of the pit only to find the only place to look is up. (PIT= person in training:>) The hard times of the past prepared me for the hard times of the present and with it came the appreciation as well as a peace and joy that could only come from Him. The bad choices I made, uncertainty, grief and anguish I went through, the times of doubt and rebellion, shame and guilt and those times I wanted to just give up….this was training ground for the future God was preparing for me. He can, will  and has made good things come from the hard times. So… if He can do this, don’t you think we should appreciate them? It’s not an easy challenge, but when you look at it with His eyes, His heart, His mind you can find that peace and joy I was speaking of.

Lord you continue to increase my faith through the hard times as well as the good times. You have never left me even in those days that seemed so very dark. You’ve  always shown your light in ways that I knew you were there. Through your Word…in a song…a surprised knock on the door…through the love and hugs of a child…in a special note…in a divine meeting…with your angels of protection…a phone call or e-mail from a friend…in a dream or vision…Lord in all of these and more you met me where I was and taught me, guided me, encouraged me and  lifted me all the while loving me to mold me into the woman of God You desire me to be. It hasn’t always been easy, but Father I do want to tell you how much I do appreciate these times….otherwise how would I know!! Lord I know the times ahead will still be hard, but I know and trust that you will continue to walk with me. Help me Lord to walk in such a way that you will be glorified and that others will see You in me. I love you Lord so very much. In Jesus precious name….Amen.

 How Would I Know 

If it wasn’t for the times that I was down
If it wasn’t for the times that I was bound
For all the times that I wondered
How I would ever make it through
All the times that I couldn’t see my way
And I had to turn to You
How would I know You could deliver
How would I know You could set free
If there had never been a battle
How would I know the victory
How would I know You could be faithful
To meet all of my needs
Lord I appreciate the hard times
Otherwise how would I know

I remember all the times I had to cry
And at the time all I could do was wonder why
Why would a God so kind and loving
Allow me to go through all this pain
If I could see into the future
Then I would know the joy I’d gain
Repeat chorus
How would I know that you could make a way out of no way
How would I know if I never had a need
Brother I know what you’re goin’ through
Sister I know cause I’ve been in your shoes
But I can truly say that I know what God can do
Repeat chorus

Lyrics by Jackie Gouche-Ferris and Andrew Gouche…Performed by Kathy Troccoli

Unexpected Encounters

When I left the Mole on Thurs. little did I know what the next couple of days would bring to me and who I would meet along the way. Like most people I want the day I fly to go smoothly with no complications and no hold ups. In the past 3 yearsI I really haven’t had any problems with flights…praise the Lord. I’ve lost one suitcase and I’ve had my share of running for my next flight when the flight I just got off was late and barely making the flight. Running through the airport trying not to trip over my own 2 feet and not hyperventilating. I think I have had my best exercise in those times:>)

Our flight from the Mole to Port au Prince went smoothly. The day was beautiful to fly and all our luggage just fit into the 5 passenger plane. Spending the evening at a hotel in Port au Prince just chilling for the day and getting a good nights rest was wonderful. The next morning went smoothly as well as we arrived at the airport and went through security to start our day of travel. Our flight to Miami went well and even the crazy long walk to customs and getting luggage to recheck went great. Then to Chicago we headed. This is when things started. Our flight ended up leaving much later…imagine that!! Which meant we were going to cut it close to catch our last flight home. Like down to the last minute close. Thankfully we gained an hour, but it was still going to be close. When we landed we must have been at the very end of the airport because our flights were at the opposite end of where we landed. My prayer during our flight was that our intern Erica would make it home that night. I knew how excited she was to go home. We quickly as possible went to see what gates we needed to be at, but hers was not on the board. I couldn’t leave her there so I went to the counter and they said the flight already took off and the next one would leave shortly. They already had her on it and we took off running. I said my goodbye’s and showed her to her gate and off I went. Went I reached my gate they were pulling away from it and I was put on the next flight that didn’t leave until 10am the next morning.

Thank you Jesus for answering my prayer and getting Erica home. “God will make a way where there seems to be no way.” You are faithful.

So with all this lead up where are the unexpected encounters you might be asking yourself:>) I sat down at one of the gates after I had my usual first meal…chinese….I know still rice, but so much different than I am used to:>) I settled in watching the news channel that is piped in. I knew I couldn’t watch to much without going balistic…lol God knew that too because just as I was thinking this a little elderly lady came and asked if I need some company. She was from Germany and was traveling to Oklahoma City to visit her daughter. She too had missed her flight. She was so very precious. She sort of reminded me of Mrs. Claus…Really. For the next couple of hours we would laugh and share stories. Actually I listened quite a bit as she told me about her family and her time in Germany. Such history and so fascinating.

Well a couple of hours had gone by and enter encounter number 2. A Commander in the Army who has been serving our country for the past 18 years came and asked if he could join our little party. He had missed his plane as well and he was sitting at his gate alone and got up to walk around and found us. Seems like we were the only people in the airport in our area…well, besides the workers cleaning. So the Commander sat down and we all talked for the longest time. We all were getting pretty tired so the Commander moved the seats around so that we could stretch our legs out and attempt to sleep. My elderly friend crashed and the Commander and I continued to chat. He ended up falling asleep on my shoulder and I was back to the news. I couldn’t fall asleep.

Around 3am he woke up and appologized for falling asleep on my shoulder and we gan talking about the places he served and the difficulties. I could tell even though he didn’t talk a lot about it that he had seen a lot, especially the 42 months he served in Bagdad. He reminded me not to believe the news reports that we see. I agreed with him whole heartily. He asked me a lot of questions about Haiti and what I do. I shared a lot of the story that brought me there and my faith. I can’t say he shared his, but he certainly was intrigued by what I shared. I asked him if he entered the Army after high school and he said he entered West Point, but felt he wasn’t bright enough to be there. He told me he always wanted to be in the Army, to serve his country. It was an honor and priviledge to thank him for all that he does and all that he sacrifices so that we can have freedom in this country. We talked a little more and he ended up falling asleep again on my shoulder.

Morning came and I went to get breakfast and came back and the Commander was gone, but my sweet friend from Germany still sat there and we enjoyed our conversations. We talked about our faith and God’s Word. I hadn’t asked her name in all the time we sat together…her name is Margret. We talked about why she was coming to Oklahoma City and she told me she was coming to be with her daughter as she has surgery. They found a small cancer in her breast and found it early enough they believe she will be fine. I walked Margret to her gate and she told me she knew that our meeting one another was not by accident. I agreed with her and told her I would pray for her daughter. She was moved to tears and I gave her a big hug and she gave me a kiss on the cheek and thanked me for looking out for her.

Sadly enough I did not see the Commander again or got his name, but I do believe our time together encouraged him and opened his eyes and heart to seek Jesus. I pray that he will not only serve the Army of the US, but more importantly the Army of the Lord. Please keep our military in your prayers.

These unexpected encounters I believe were not by accident and they made me realize how important it is to make every opportunity count for Christ. I don’t know if I will ever see these 2 again on this earth, but I do pray that I will see them again in heaven. Planting seeds and harvesting as well as tending to those that are growing in the faith. There is much work to be done to advance the Kingdom….Here, in Haiti and all around the world. When you have unexpected encounters… how will you make Christ known to them? Will you take the opportunity to listen well, to listen to their heart and show them Jesus?

Praise Him While We Work

The past 2 Saturday mornings we have tackled the growing weed problem in the church courtyard and between the kids church and church tent. They had really got out of hand and with all the drama we have faced in the past few months this was at the bottom of the list. The leaders of the church explained and encouraged the congregation to join us each Saturday, that we should be taking care of what the Lord has given to us.

The first Sat. we met at 5am, (yes…I must have been crazy, but felt leading by example was so important) for prayer together and then at 6am we went at it. We started out with just the church leaders and I felt I was back growing up in small farm town USA…pulling the weeds from the garden or picking up sticks and rocks out of the yard. They teased me at first, but I shared with them that I grew up doing just this. Can’t say I enjoyed it then, but now I see it in a beautiful way. Working alongside my brothers and sisters.
They used homemade hoes and machetes. I used my hands. They wielded each tool like it was a part of their body and I knew if I tried I would cut off a limb. I didn’t think that would be a wise thing to do:>) About an hour into the work a group of ladies from the orphanage came and worked a bit before heading to work with the kids. What I had done in an hour…they did in less than 35 min. I was put in my place…lol. I don’t know about you, but coming early to lend a hand before working hard all day, this showed me how incredibly strong these women are. Not physically, because I know they can run circles around me, but in heart. And they did it with smiles on their faces, songs on their lips and laughter.
There were many people who passed by and just watched…I sort of felt like a freak show:>) I even understood some of the conversations of said people. One person asked, not me personally, why is this blanc working? Their reply…because she is working for the Lord! Why is she helping you? Their reply…because she is our sister and wants to help. In those conversations I can’t tell you how humbled and loved I felt. When you jump in and get your hands dirty (figuratively and physically), even if you look foolish doing it, you show that you care and that you are here to walk this road shoulder to shoulder. You relate in a way that speaks more than their language.
The second Saturday we had more people come to help, from the youth to our elderly. We tackled the brush between the 2 meeting places. It was a mess, but as I learned from growing up…many hands make lite work. There was singing while we worked and we laughed together so much. Again it was beautiful to serve alongside my precious brothers and sisters.

This also confused those passer bys. Why were we singing? Why were we praising God? Why were we laughing? Why were we enjoying one another? I pray that by our example people will come to see that we were doing this joyfully for the Lord. That they saw Jesus in us and that they want to know this Jesus too!!
One in particular that set an example not just for the outsiders, but for me as well…Dicell…he and his wife came right on time (which for those who know, isn’t a norm here!!!) He had his own machetee and his wife helped him get situated and he went right to it. What blessed me though is he is probably in his late 60’s early 70’s, but it wasn’t the age that did it! He also crouched down to the ground like a catcher in a baseball game, but to top it all off…HE IS BLIND!!! And yes he worked circles around me…he tackled the weeds like his life depended on it. All the while singing praises to God. Boy did he show me what it truly means to work with all your heart as if working for the Lord. Amen!! When we finished, he stood up…stretched his arms into the air and praised Jesus for it all. This moment brought tears to my eyes, just as it is now as I type these words. Oh what a joy!! Oh what a blessing!! Oh what I learn through serving alongside my bothers and sisters!!

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