Happy Anniversary to my beautiful bride!!!! – Maria and I celebrated our 8th year anniversary by sneaking away for a day and night at a beautiful cabin near the Great Smokey Mountains. We had a wonderful time together. The cabin was great, beautiful view, quiet, great outdoor hot tub, and all things good. We sat in the hot tub last night staring at the stars and marveling at the vastness of God. To think that those stars were all put there by Him and are held there by Him is overwhelming. We shared in the words of David that “such knowledge is too wonderful for me and too lofty for me to attain.” Yes, the Lord is BIG! He is MIGHTY. And He is LOVE. He is all we need in this life and eternity. So, we had a great time sharing our lives together and reflecting on what the Lord is doing in our lives. We have had some incredibly challenging years in our marriage, but by His grace we have remained committed to walking through those times together. And now the Lord is doing some deep work and healing in our lives and we rejoice in what He is doing and what He will continue to do. I am blessed to have such a beautiful and God loving wife.
We began our morning in prayer on our knees together, yielded to our great and mighty God, surrendered to His will for our lives. We talked about how frail and fragile is our human soul. We are so delicate. We break so easily. We get distracted too quickly. We forget too often. We remember too much. Yes, we are a delicate people. Thank the Lord for His grace and mercy. In Him we press on and seek more and more to become like Him, while our frailty and fragility simply remind us that we are not yet home in our permanent place, therefore we continue to long and yearn for our complete redemption when He comes to take us home.
We are so thankful to our friends, the Prevost’s and the Brown’s, for taking care of Isabela and Susana while we were away. The body of Christ is such a blessing!
Back to Haiti next week – I will be heading back to Haiti next Wednesday to Sunday. I am looking forward to getting back and spending time with many people that I have come to know and love. I will be bringing a bunch of school supplies to give to the orphaned children. I will be visiting with the children in the homes where they are currently staying in order to determine what needs remain. Our sponsorship program should be up and running very soon. I will also be meeting with another young guy I know that just started up an orphanage in Titanyen, an area outside of Port au Prince. I will be assessing his orphanage and will be praying about whether or not the Lord will have us work with him and the children. Since Global Outreach has a mission base right there in Titanyen, I will spend the night there visiting with the other missionaries, and then I will fly home Sunday morning.
I am also very excited about the progress that we are making with regards to getting large amounts of meals shipped over so that we can expand our feeding programs. we have a contact in Florida who we are currently working with. They are currently filling a 20 foot container with Kids Against Hunger meals that will be shipped to us in Jacmel. They plan to start doing this a few times per year so that we have a consistent food supply coming in for the feeding programs and orphanages that we are wanting to help. Please pray for the logistics to be worked out with regards to shipping and receiving.
We have a team coming in December and another possibly in November. The December team is a college group that is coming down to hand out Christmas shoeboxes to several hundred children, including of course the orphans that we are working with. They will be shipping the boxes over within the next few weeks to insure that they arrive by December. Please pray for the details to be worked out and that the boxes arrive in time.
I am happy that our 4 wheel drive pickup truck is now in our possession. Thanks to our Ministry Director Fenel, who traveled to St Mark for 3 days to work on getting it out of customs and then to Port au Prince for a day to get it registered and insured. So, now we have a pickup truck to be able to haul supplies and food.
Pray that the Lord continues to give us vision and direction for what we are to do in Haiti. There are so many needs and so many possibilities to minister, but we just want to be in step with the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Update on Susana – Susana had surgery a few weeks ago to have the tumor removed after getting back tests that showed that it had shrunk by more than half its size and that all the other tumors were gone. The surgery was very successful as they were able to remove 90% of the tumor and they cauderized (seared) the remaining 10%. She is healing great and is feeling great. Tomorrow, we go back to the hospital for her last round of chemo here before we head off to Duke for 3 months for her stem cell transplant. So, we are getting ready for a long stretch of time where we will be away from home and in the hospital every day. Please pray for God’s strength over us.
We are so thankful for how she has responded to treatment thus far. She could not have responded better. So, we pray that she continues to respond so well that these tumors never return…ever. My prayer is that Susana lives to be a very old woman, seeing both her own children and grandchildren grow up. And I’ll make sure that her house is next door from us so that Maria and I get to witness as much as possible. Anyway…that’s our prayer. And I will continue to pray everyday for that to happen.
I don’t know all there is to know about prayer. Its a mystery that I will never understand on this side of heaven. I mean, prayer doesn’t change God’s mind and direction. He already knows the beginning from the end. But what I do know is that Jesus gave us models and examples for prayer, and the 2 examples that keep me on my knees for my daughter every day is the story Jesus told about the man that asked his neighbor for bread late at night because he had a guest. The man kept banging on the door because it was late at night and his neighbor did not feel like getting out of bed to answer the door, but Jesus said that the neighbor will finally get up and give his bread away simply because of the other man’s persistence. So, this teaches me to keep being persistent in praying for Susana’s healing. The other story that Jesus told was about the woman who was wronged and went to a judge day after day demanding that she get justice. Jesus said that even though the judge does not fear God or care about this woman’s case, that He will grant her justice simply because she is persistent. Again, I am encouraged by these verses to continue praying for my little Susana. Jesus states, “Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks is given, and everyone who seeks, finds, and all who knock, the door is opened.” And I am reminded also of the story of David and Bathsheba when they had their first child who died as a result of God’s judgment on David for his adultery. But, even though he was told that the child was going to die, he fasted and prayed like never before. He sought the Lord. He pleaded for mercy. He did not stop. And it wasn’t until he received word that the child died that he finally got off the floor and ate. So too I will remain on the floor pleading for God’s mercy until the Lord answers in one way or another. and I hope you will all do the same.
Personally – God continues to draw me closer to Him than I have ever been. I am still brought to my knees every morning and sometimes even throughout my day. I stand in thankfulness for what He has done in my heart. My soul longs to know Him more. I long for Him to continue to radically change my heart and bring it to life. I long for Him to radically change my marriage and make whole all that has been broken, and restore all the lost years that the locust swarms of sin and selfishness have devoured. I long for Him to use me to lead my family into greater truth and righteousness. I long to see Him heal my daughter. I long for Him to use my family to reach the lost and minister His love and truth to the poor. I just want Him to be the absolute center, to borrow the words of John Piper, that Jesus would be the sun in my universe in which all the planets of my being would orbit around in harmony and order. That is my prayer.