Monday, October 13, 2014

Haiti Class of 2015 Team - Day 1

Hi Everyone!

Our team name is Haiti Class of 2015 because we have 4 high school seniors from Mahtomedi High School on our mission team :-)  And we just happen to have 15 people in total on our team!!  We arrived at the Healing Haiti Guesthouse this afternoon safe and sound with 33 suitcases of much needed donations!

We are feeling so blessed to be in Haiti to be Our Lord's servants, and we are so ready!  Tomorrow we will be going to deliver water in Cite Soleil, the poorest area in the world.  We are honored to be going there to serve.  We'll also be serving at Haitian Initiative after our water deliveries.  We will be sharing our experiences all this week via this blog.

15 Serving Him!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Days five/six: Blessed

What an amazing team we have here in Haiti. Helping hands, each bringing their own gifts to the table to make the team able to maximize what God has been able to do in and through us this week. 

Some of the days? Are hard. No matter what the giftedness, sometimes there is just enough to break your heart. 

Friday started with a trip out to Carrefor- a Home for Sick/Dying Adults. We drove along the coast, getting a glimpse of the beauty in Haiti. We had to split up- men can't be in the women's area and vice versa. The upper level had a few different rooms of women, so as a group of women, we split up as well. My room had a woman who was in need of care- the doctor there volunteers a few times a week and otherwise works in a clinic and has applications out to secure a position at the hospital. What a blessing he is. Jaime was able to talk with him while rubbing lotion on one of the women that was being treated. The rest of us in my group gave massages to the women in their beds and painted nails. Conversation is limited due to not being fluent in Creole and them not understanding English. In the other women's room, they had just lost one of the patients there... I couldn't imagine. 

Next stop was at General Hospital. It is a hard place to describe that would honor the Haitians and be true to my description in my head. It is a much different space than what we expect in the care we receive back home. I am so thankful it exists, as they provided care to many in the wake of the earthquake. I am thankful they have it to determine what is wrong with the children we see there. I mourn the status of the buildings we were in. We have a couple of teachers who organized a drive for supplies for the hospital down here- providing formula, bottles, clothing, etc for the parents. Each crib received one in the first three buildings, then we went across the street to the actual hospital building itself and delivered in the maternity ward areas. We were able to give each bed a bag- there were just enough. We also had the opportunity to hold babies- some born earlier in the day that were laying with their mothers. I held one that was less than 10 hours old. The button nose, the curly hair, the soft skin... babies like ours back home but not born into privilege- born into poverty. I wonder what life will hold for them in the coming days and years. I know my kids were able to be driven home on paved roads in a newer car, in a brand new car seat that was fitted to ensure their safety, with a new bunting outfit on, blankets, and then brought to a home with running water and electricity. Then were provided all the food they needed, the infant check ups, the well child visits, and since have enjoyed always having food, clothing, and shelter. I understand we have people in the US that don't have all the same luxuries, but I can say is the people at home have options for shelters, government aid, and programs to assist them. It isn't perfect, but they are all still options that the Haitians do not have available to them. It's a hard day. 

Saturday (yesterday) was a second trip to Grace Village, this time to spend time with the orphans. There were bears cut out of felt that they were able to choose colors and buttons for eyes, stuff, and put the heart inside of them. All of the prep work a true labor of love by Shelley (one of the leaders). The other project were kits supplied by Home Depot back at home- a wooden calendar with the dates on them. The guys helped the kids put those together, while there was a group sewing bears, another putting the snack together for them. We also have on our team someone who put a fundraiser together to provide AED's for Grace Village and taught a CPR/ emergency response class. What a blessing they were able to provide those and the extra measure of help, in hope they will never need to use them. 

To help us wind down and spend time together as a team, we were blessed with the time and ability to visit Wahoo Beach down here. It is absolutely beautiful and gives a perspective of something other than the poverty that exists in Haiti. The water was wonderful, sun bright, and few hours relaxing were much appreciated. 

So... blessed. Blessed in the perspective of the quality of care we have back home. The ability to not only have a doctor look at and diagnose the issues, but the medication provided. Blessed to have a sterile environment to be cared in. Blessed to see how Grace Village has come since my first trip- when there were shells of the dorms for the kids and the feeding center-- to today with two dorms, feeding center, medical clinic, school, aquaponics, church, and under construction are four houses for family style living. Amazing blessing of God. Blessed to see the kids blossom under the care being provided and having the approval of counselors on the system in place- the kids love it there and don't necessarily wish for something else. Blessed. I was sore the last couple of days physically but I had been supplied the medication required and was able to get some semblance of relief. Blessed by the staff that takes care of us so well down here. Blessed by the experience of loving on children. Blessed by the ability to take a part of a day and start to decompress as a team. There are hard days in Haiti- tears from all present at times- but blessed in knowing God continues to break our hearts for what breaks His. It is my prayer that one day, all might understand the blessing through the hurt. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day Four: Change

I love Haiti. It's so interesting that for a week, it feels like two days and four weeks all at the same time. Each stop, each activity, each piece of the day feels like an entire day. And yet? At the end of a week, I'm always wishing for more.... If my kids could only be down here at the same time... The temptation to stay would be excessively strong, regardless of the logistics.

Today was a mixture of things. We started the day with a trip to Titayen for the Grace Village tour. Grace Village is the- I'll call it a ministry center- for Healing Haiti there. There is an orphanage. There is a feeding center. There are ovens. There is a clinic. There is a school. There is an aquaponic system. They're building additional buildings so the elders can come live there. We did a tour, with Bianca providing a great synopsis of what each building is for, what the intent is, and the potential plans for the ministry and the local outreach. I love Grace Village. It is so well built, providing opportunity for a better life as can be had as an orphan here. The view is beautiful. The colors, the design, the layout are really great.

Next was visiting those that are in our elder care program. Elder Care is honestly not my "sweet spot" with Haiti, but this amazing ministry of Healing Haiti. The elders are supported and cared for through food and water deliveries, as well as medical care at the clinic at Grace Village. The support comes from sponsors back at home. Today we brought food and juice to them and rubbed them with lotion on their hands and feet. One of the ladies on the team found lavender oil for their hair and they worked together to rub it into their scalp. We also had packed nail polish as a way to pamper them somewhat. We visited five different elders, with varying health statuses, home conditions, and family available to them. Their faith blows me away. Their reliance on God is unprecedented. Their perseverance is an example to live by. I am so blessed to be able to spend the little bit of time with them.

From there we went to Juno's orphanage to complete the same craft with Jesus written on the kids' hearts-- the project was well received and there were some special connections made with those on the team.

The word today was change. There is a pot hole in the road near the guest house that we drive past/ over every day that has been here for the last three and a half years since my first trip. Change- the pot hole was fixed today. There has been other road construction including an actual detour- not just a patch. Awesome. The change in Haiti from that first trip down- the cleaning up, road work, improvement as a whole. Change- the change for the orphans that we were able to touch their hearts and their day in bringing a project for them. Change- For the many resources now available in Titayen due to the building so that there would be better care for the Elders as they are. Change. Sigh. Three and a half years ago, I said I wasn't sure if I was going to come back because it was out of my zone. I built houses so LA would be a better rebuild for me, right? Or REALLY? Anything BUT coming back to Haiti was where I was less than qualified to do any kind of fix. Today? Change. A peace that surpasses understanding struck at Grace Village. I'm not saying I think God is doing anything or calling me to anything.... but the peace came at the time someone made a comment to which I responded, "I could just live here."  I didn't panic. I didn't make an excuse. I didn't say it for anything but what it simply was... an admission that if God had it in mind, my heart was open to doing more. I made the comment to the team that there are many more qualified and worthy of the position and calling than what I am.... But if God wanted me to, I would give up winter for Him. :)  Haha.

 In all seriousness? Haiti is in the business of change and heart work. We come down here to serve and end up changing ourselves. The song I played this morning was Beautiful Things by Gungor and one line says "You make beautiful things out of the dust; You make beautiful things out of us"... Regardless of the direction that God calls us to and impacts us for after Haiti, He alone is the one able to make the heart change while we are here, and as we start to prepare to go home. I'm not ready to go by any means yet. We still have things to do, places to go, people to see, hearts to be touched. In the midst of the dust and dirty and hard days, God is making something beautiful in the changes. Onward.

Day Three: Learning

Being a team of 19, we have some things that make our size an absolute blessing. In other things? We are a little big. That was the case yesterday when we went out. There were choices that had to be made as to who was going to go to the Home for Sick and Dying Babies and who was to go to Gertrude's.

Home for Sick and Dying babies is a place where parents can bring their children for medical care, formula for the babies, and so forth. There are children there that have illness due to malnourishment, among others, but malnourishment is the prevalent reason they are in a crib with an IV hooked up, based on previous experience. Their parents either come and stay there or they come to visit during the day or when they can, but at times need to go work- just like those parents in the US. There also is a place that breaks my heart- the room with the orphaned children- some confined to a bed due to lack of nourishment. Many a size or three smaller than what we are used to for a multitude of reasons. It's a visit of diaper changes, feeding, holding babies, and sometimes, just stroking the back or belly of the kids too fragile to lift. 

The second option was where I found myself- Gertrudes. Gertrudes is a special needs orphanage down here that just blesses me more and more each time I'm down here. It is the picture example of the improvement of Haiti from my first trip three and a half years ago- an improved facility,  cleaner- better clothing for the kids- a playground that has been fashioned for these disabled children to be able to have safe play.  Being a child in Haiti is hard. Being an orphan is that much more tough. Being a disabled orphan without the facility care that we are able to offer is indescribable. And yet? This great joy from each of these kids. They have this ability to smile and find joy in being held in the sunshine like Maxo. They love to be pushed in their chair like Alencia (?sp). They loved the suckers we brought for them. The balloons. I had a little girl fall asleep on my lap not long after I picked her up. It's this great thing to have a smaller space and have a small child fall asleep on you- the ability to take the picture of the other kids playing, smiling, just pleased to have someone come to touch in love and not only to care for a base need of wiping the drool or a runny nose. 

We then went to the Apparent Project- it's this great company that employs Haitians making beaded necklaces, wooden bowls, metal art, aprons, and so forth. They have Haitians making all of the items as a means for these people- the parents- to have employment with honor so they are able to care for their children or just themselves in general. I love the idea, the solution that gives them the ability to work toward supporting themselves instead of merely offering a charity- give a man a fish versus teach him to fish. It's pretty great. 

Next stop is LaFarre's orphanage. One of our first timers had the idea for a velum heart on top of a foam heart- the velum heart having Jesus written on it, and the kids being able to write their names on the foam one. The symbolism, for how they were cut, tied, and assembled, was to show Jesus name is written on their hearts. What a great idea and a great reminder wherever they are. They also were able to decorate them with stickers and crosses and so forth. Awesome. We were given a tour with part of the team being able to talk with them about how to finish the church they have started. The question was asked- what is needed- how much- what part do you need done the most. The answer? A roof. The possible answer? A couple of brothers on the trip. There are questions to be asked and details to work out, but there is a possibility of solving this need. 

My word was long in coming yesterday. Learning. Alyn Shannon, by all accounts, was an amazing woman. One of the most powerful videos I've seen with regard to Haiti, but also this organization, was one where she relayed she asks what is God trying to teach me? So learning. Learning about how to better deal with special needs kids so I can better serve the babies at Gertrudes. Learning about each team member- one person has a brother who, solely from the misfortune of a car accident, now has brain damage. Her perspective and heart being at Gertrudes is not one I'll forget any time soon. Learning about each other- the funny stories of the brothers coloring each other's hair or other childhood stories, the boyfriend of one of the teens on the trip, the differences each of us bring to an excessively large team. The story that touched my heart was one about of the men on this trip. A headache and an insistent wife once upon a time led to the discovery of a brain tumor. The prognosis is not great by the world's standards. The prognosis in God's timing I pray is different. The way God has shown up and blessed them with provision and answering the craziest dream is not something that I can accurately describe. Learning- what is God trying to teach me in the differences in each team member- how everyone ticks- how every one of them is able to bring different strengths and encouraging those they do bring that they may not see in themselves. The learning of what God is trying to teach me. I continue to be amazed and blessed by the differences in each trip, each day, and each time I go home what it is God wants me to know an understand. To HIM be the glory. Mold me and teach me God. This is Your trip and your team to do just that. I would hope for no less.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Day Three- Michelle

"DO SOMETHING" - Day Three.
For whatever reason, AGAIN, I'm still unable to get onto our Team Blog. Urggg!!! On a lighter was BEYOND ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! Although I really, really wanted to go to the Home for Sick and Dying Babies, they had to split our HUGE group into 2 groups, and because of my crutches - our leaders thought going there would be physically difficult for me to get to that home. So, I ended up going to Gertrude's Orphanage for disabled children. Turns out that even though I wasn't expecting to have my socks blown off, they were!!! RIGHT AWAY, the first little one that I see is a beautiful tiny Haitian baby (who was probably older than she looked), but she got badly burned from a grease fire - so much that the entire top of her tiny head was scarred...she hardly had any hair...and her right arm was badly burned (even having lost fingers - I'm thinking from the fire). Anyhow, I got to hold her and sing to her, and she was the MOST BEAUTIFUL little baby!!! Of course you "see" her burns when you just meet this little angel, but it doesn't take long before you just "see" a beautiful baby girl. I never caught her name, but I will NEVER forget her! My entire team helped me today - getting me a glass for clean water so I could brush my teeth, helping to look under my bed for things for our craft project, helping me get into the "top, top" (our vehicle for the week), helping me get out of the vehicle, helping me gather gift things at the Amazing Apparent Project (Haitian art store), helping me navigate through another Orphanage today - which, I MUST tell you.......the entire trip was worth it because of this ONE place!!! Gordy, Tyler, Katie & Jen and Veronica - you know those hearts that you all helped me with? It went over soooo well that my heart was overwhelmed with PURE JOY!!! It was important to me to convey the meaning behind the craft - that Jesus has written His Name on their hearts, and that He has ALWAYS known their names, and that He has ALWAYS loved them!! Soooo blessed by how they latched onto the symbolism of the craft project!!!
Getting around with crutches, and not being used to the Haiti heat, was a bit exhausting. I had to sit down several times JUST to give my good leg a break. Uff da!!! (Dats a good Scandahoovian expression!)
 Bottom line - today was worth everything! Truly - being a part of this Mission Trip is one of the VERY BEST THINGS I've EVER done in my entire life!!! If any of you reading this post have ever felt a tugging on your heart to be a part of a mission trip, or even better yet - that you felt something like that would Totally bless your're RIGHT!!! You need to listen to that tugging in your heart. That's the Holy Spirit drawing you closer to God. It doesn't have to be Haiti for you...but it is sooo eye-opening to see how a 3rd world country lives! I look forward to coming back to Haiti. Let's see...maybe once a year?
Also, once again - I wasn't allowed to have my camera, so the pictures are coming...from someone else's camera. It feels like a part of what I love doing isn't allowed to function. (I LOVE taking pictures!!!)
Maybe I could bring my camera tomorrow? I hope so!!!
We have a Great team, including our Haitian "staff." Thank you, Cadet, Emmanuel, Brunet, Jean, Maxim, and Furneese and her family. You are sooo Wonderful, and I appreciate all the good food and for teaching me more Creole!!! I count it a sincere privilege to be serving the poorest of the poor with you all. God is good...ALL the time, and all the time, God is GOOD!!! If you've never answered the call to "Do Something," - I suggest you don't put it off any longer.
More later. LOVE from Delmas 31, Port au Prince, Haiti.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day Two- Michelle

Today was "Do Something" - Day two. 

What a day it was! It was our first official day of actually "doing something." We visited one of the schools, to the cheer of the kids seeing us walk in the door...we poured clean drinking water (dlo pwop) to one of the poorest cities in entire WORLD, I sprained my ankle, got to visit the Doctors Without Borders French-speaking hospital for x-rays (it's NOT broken) - and I'm toolin' around Haiti on crutches...I got to help console a young boy who gashed the bottom of his foot WIDE OPEN (long, but amazing story...I'll tell you when I get home)...I got to sing & sing some more & sing some more, while back at the guesthouse with my leg elevated (which I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED)We have a "word of the day" - and today, mine was "LOVE." Even though my ankle "popped" and "cracked" as I fell to the ground, I STILL felt and saw and experienced God's Love in a very powerful way today!! My brother RAN to help me when he heard that I got hurt. He may be a brat, but he's an Awesome brother...and I love him VERY MUCH!!! Thank you, Matthew!! My teammates are Great, and they have also shown love by taking very good care of me. I connected with several of the Haitian people today by telling them that Jesus Loves them. Jezu Renmou!!! (I might be spelling the last word wrong.) But, when you say it - people's eyes light you just broke through the language and culture barrier - and touched their soul. (Remind me to tell you all about the chicken story too.) I have to show you video or a picture to go along with. The morning temperatures are beautiful, only I have no idea what they are. Maybe something like 70's?? We are locked in at night. Not just the door to the guesthouse, but the windows and gates surrounding the guesthouse. And, I guess there are always armed guards patrolling the house through the night. Isn't that wild? NEVERTHELESS, I feel safe. The 2 phrases of the day, for me (specifically) is "Too anointed to be disappointed" and "Too blessed to be stressed." (Thanks, Tom, for the perspective.) Thank you to EVERYONE who donated items, donated money, offered me encouragement, and who are continuing to pray for me - because this experience is AMAZING...and is definitely one of the VERY BEST things I've ever done in my life!!! Bondye Benou! (God bless you!)


Day Two: Release

 Water truck days are the things that make missionaries, missionaries. They're amazing. They are heart wrenching. They go exactly as planned and then not at all.

Mornings in Haiti start with breakfast that puts most farm kitchens to shame (I know these things. I come from generations of farmers). Breakfast? Went according to plan. And then we prayed that God would take the day and run with it.... ten minutes in? Tom said that just when we tell God how things are going to go, we are inviting Him to bring an eraser. We had some erasing on the day.

Erase One: We were supposed to go to the water truck and deliver the first truck of water right away. First stop? Elder's school. We brought suckers for the kids, supplies for the school, and toured the school. I'm so amazed by the commitment to education here. Haitians are so intent on providing the best possible opportunity for their children... the kids walk from their tin shanties in Cite Soleil to school. It's humbling and exciting to see their continued hope for more and different that they would instill opportunity with their children through education.

Erase Two: The changed trip to Elder's School was supposed to be to use the time needed to fix a flat tire on the water truck. That time turned into additional time on the side of the road at the turn for the water fill station.... that turned to time waiting at the fill station. The time was spent essentially in team building- talking, exploring the water truck station, watching the fill on each truck as it came through. I had joked, without knowing, that it isn't a trip to Haiti without a flat tire. It can happen easily from the condition of the roads we find ourselves on. I had wished to be wrong because it can be a quick fix or a longer process.

Erase Three: This is where the word release originated. Cite 17 was our destination. I mentioned "my kids" yesterday. I have this one kid I saw my first trip, was surprised with on my second trip twice and in two different areas. I have named him Max. I made the declaration that I would continue coming for as long as God would show me Max. Well.... December came and went without a Max sighting- even on the other teams that were down the rest of the month, or the subsequent months. Friday? My friend sent me a picture of him on someone else's shoulders. I thought... Well... maybe God said- you came back without Max last time... I thought I had let it go until I took a picture of another Haitian boy that looked just like him hoping upon all hopes it was "my" Max. I don't know why I love him. I don't know why he's my kid. He's never said a word to me. He just hangs on like I'm his momma and clings like a little boy will. Release. Learning how to release this little boy that I've loved in my mother heart for the past three years.... knowing God may never have us cross paths... To be honest? Hurts. Release. Release of all the plans that I've told and bargained with God on.... we're all guilty of doing just that- the panicked prayer of God if you do this, I'll pray more/go to church/give more/etc. Specifically with Haiti, that was my bargain- you provide Max and I'll be willing to be obedient to you, God.

Erase Four: A second flat tire. A missed water stop because of the delay. Erase.

Erase. Release. Release of emotion. Hearing of a child that died and we were exposed to a fresh grave site. The hurt of walking on garbage, knowing it is the same place they live in a tin shanty. I had conversation with a few people and just gave a hug saying that of all the places? That was a place to cry and have God break their hearts. It's hard to willingly recognize the magnitude of our abundance when you are walking on garbage. And yet? They pray for us in our abundance, knowing their reliance on God to provide is not a perspective most of America understands. They have a joy- to sing Glory to God standing in the midst of all we were surrounded with today. Could I do the same? Maybe for a day, two, a week, maybe a month. For a lifetime? I know the answer is no.... I need their prayers for my distrust based on lack of faith due to my abundance.

Release of the plan. God had something else in mind. Release of the laughter at times. The joy in the Haitian children especially. God teaches me something different each time I come, and for today, the lesson was in letting go. Part of our time together as a group was in worship tonight and one of the songs we sang/listened to was "Help Me Find It" by Sidewalk Prophets. Part of the song says "I don't know where to go from here; As long as I know that You are near; I'm done fighting; I'm finally letting go....If there's a road I should walk; Help me find it..." Release. God... You have Your work cut out... but I promise I'm going to try real hard.

Up an' at 'em!

Happy Tuesday!  
If you're at Guest House 2 and currently sleeping ... you won't be for long.  Lots of smiles, music, and laughter ... ready to go!  
While the house comes to life I'm enjoying the cool morning on the porch.  Taking in all of the sounds and smells.  Rained a bit overnight, so everything is cool and fresh.  I love it here.  Words cannot adequately describe how much.  Barely 30 days ago I was returning home from my first trip and sad for the not knowing of when I would be back.  And here I am again.  The last couple of weeks have been such a whirlwind of activity and excitement, and I am beyond thrilled.  Crazy.  That was my word for the last two weeks.  Crazy in so many ways.  All good.  The morning after I said a tentative yes to this trip, I woke up with "Here I am" running through my head.  "Hear I am, Lord.  It is I, Lord.  I have heard you calling in the night.  I will go, Lord, if you lead me.  I will hold your people in my heart".  I haven't heard that song in close to 20 years.  But here I am.  I am listening.  I will quietly watch while God's plan for us unfolds.    
Today is water truck day.  Three stops in Cite Soleil with a visit to Elder School during one of the refills.  Let's go!!!   

Monday, March 24, 2014

Team "DO SOMETHING" - Day One

Monday, March 24, 2014

Team "DO SOMETHING" made it to the Minneapolis International Airport bright and early today.  Everyone made it on time, everyone had what they needed, and EVERYONE (including me) was Super excited that this day had finally arrived.

The excitement and anticipation leading up to today has been like a spark being fanned into a BLAZING heart's FIRE!!!  God has brought all NINETEEN of us together, on this "Do Something" Team for a reason.  And, although we have an itinerary, that doesn't mean that we know how God is going to SHOW UP...and how God is going to work His plan in us and through our team!  It's Exciting, isn't it!?!  

I just HAD to blog about today before I allowed myself to go to sleep.  I'm the last one up in the guesthouse, and while it's still called "today" - I had to write about it.

Like I said, our "Do Something" Team is 19 in number.  That's a Great BIG team!!  And, you know what?  When God calls you out on the waters, to stretch your faith farther than you think it can go - He's gonna show up BIG time!!  So, we are collectively (at the Great leadership of Tom & Shelley Gacek) soooo looking forward to tomorrow, and the rest of the week, to see just how many Amazing "somethings" God's got in store!!!  

Sending our LOVE from Haiti,
Michelle Nelson
Team "Do Something"

P.S. - Yes, Estella and Hannah are safe...and happy to be in Haiti.  (To the Moms!)  ;)

Day One- Open

Back in January, my pastor had talked about finding a word for the year to focus on in how to seek out God, to find Him in Bible study, in prayer, in life in general. My word that I selected was trust. Trust to let go more of the kids I call mine that really He has entrusted me with-  to raise to love and honor Him, but are in all ways, His.  Trust in my work. Trust in making life in our little house work. Trust in how I was to go and be guided and called on the year. I have said for a long time that I have "controlled" trust in God- that I will move based on having my own back up plan in case....I laugh and smile now, knowing and realizing that perhaps my "controlled trust" is really just another possible defiance in the direction God had for me. But, I digress. Controlled trust.

I decided to go to Haiti, by the world's standards, on a whim. It was a month ago. On a Saturday night service at church. I was serving, and after talking about Micah 6:8 of doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God... talk of the global outreach at church.... Talk revisiting the fantastic night celebrating all God has done for Healing Haiti in the past year.... And Tom saw me, and asked if I wanted to go to Haiti. A conversation with the kids on a few occasions, and with confirmation from the kids that I should go to Haiti because "God wants you there if Tom asked you", I am on this team. Not because it was convenient. Not because I felt like it. Not because I wanted to just get away for a week. God provided such a plethora of signs in a single week that I found myself unable to do anything else but say Yes. If I'm wrong, God will still use me anyway.... but if I'm right and to not go? I'd rather be a fool for leaving on a perceptively worldly whim.

In each trip blog, I have to have the disclaimer my life is a running collection of a soundtrack as well as seeing the "perfect" picture to capture a moment that is generally insignificant. I randomly threw in Newsboys "Go" album over the weekend. Part of the chorus is "Go; From the top of the world; To the bottom rung; 'Til the work is done; I'm gonna send you...."  Go. Trust.... but they all lead to Open. Open to the crazy to leave kids I have guilt not seeing every day because we have a split family, sports, dance, and activities that keep us busy and away from the family time I had always envisioned. Open to the world's standard of crazy to come back to somewhere I was just at 3 months prior. Open more than anything else, to seeking and discerning the why. Why did God ask me to trust that the details would fall into place to leave. Why did God ask me to join a team that was already large- what can I offer when there are more capable, organized, and effective people in my eyes here? What am I to be taught in the week? What is God going to lead me to in coming? What area is going to be stretched and pulled to such significance that I'll never be the same? What happens if I don't see "my" kids? What happens if I get sick for the first time on the fourth trip? What happens if God finds a different way to break my heart wide open? And in all the questions-- where it the prayer for trust? Where is the giving up and trusting in all circumstances rather than just the space of "I did my part. You do yours.? It's the glorious unknown that gives sometimes such a scare that there is no other option but to simply act as led by God.

Open. Go. Trust. Do Something. It as if God is saying "I created you... to Go from the top of ht world to the bottom rung, til the work is done, I'm gonna send you.... to do something."

Dear friends. Watch out. God is definitely going to do something on a team of 19.