Woke this morning to the sound of my wife sobbing with her computer in front of her. I didn’t even have to ask. I knew what she was doing. The same thing that I have been doing…looking at pictures of our beautiful little girl. I went over to her and saw the picture that she was looking at and just started crying also. My heart felt punctured as I heard my wife say, “This is all I have…just pictures. I can’t hold her. I can’t kiss her. I can’t touch her. All I can do is look at her pictures. This is all I have.” Oh how that crushed my heart to hear those words come from my wife who has been broken through this trial. And I wept with her. We didn’t say anything. We didn’t need to. We just held hands and wept.
Then I had to bring myself to realize that this is NOT all we have. Yes, it is all we have for something tangible to keep us close to Susana, but the greatest thing that we have is HOPE. Truthfully, we know this. We really do. You all know that we know this. But it is a fight for us to lay hold of it each minute. Our hearts ache so bad sometimes that we just let hope slip through our fingers for but a moment…and that’s the moment where we hurt the most.
I was there the other night. I was crying like crazy in our room here at the Mission House in Haiti while the team that we have here was downstairs hanging out and sharing about all the good things that the Lord has been doing this week. And He truly has been doing some great things. But, I was crying. And I told my wife, who just sat with me comforting me without having to say anything, “I know that she is in heaven. I know that God is unfolding His perfect plan. I know that God is good. I know that we will see her again when we get to heaven, but…I DON’T CARE! Right now, I just want my baby girl next to me. I want to hold her. I want to kiss her.” And my wife just held me as I cried. And once again, God’s grace was enough for me to grieve well and continue to trust in His plan and move forward with joining the team downstairs to talk about the amazing things that we have seen God do this week.
And that’s what happened to Maria this morning. She had that same feeling. Yes, it’s all true. Susana is dancing with Jesus. She is whole. She is happy. But all that was left for Maria to hold onto for a moment were just pictures. And that hurts more than anything in this world. But again, God’s grace comes and reminds us that we are indeed able to hold onto something much greater than pictures. We hold onto hope in Christ that is immovable and unshakable. His plan will indeed come to pass and nothing will hinder Him. And once His grace brings us back to that bedrock truth, then we are able to grieve well and then move forward with what He still has us here for – to share that message of hope with the world around us.
And that’s what He used me to do today. This morning, a group of us went just across the way from our house and started engaging a group of haitian teenagers in general conversation. That conversation then led me to share with them about Jesus. Then one of the team members ran back to the mission house to get these John Piper Gospel booklets in Creole to give to these kids. We handed them out and I shared about how knowing Jesus and treasuring Him is the most important thing to do in life. The kids were listening as well as reading the booklets. It was wonderful. Later that afternoon, another team member continued these discussions and shared the gospel of salvation with them.
In the afternoon, we headed up to a school in Marigot that we are partnering with. I led the group of about 150 kids in a craft activity of making the salvation bracelets, so I had the opportunity to share the message of salvation with those kids as well. It was really cool.
Then later afternoon we had the orphaned kids from our program come to the mission house again for discipleship. There were about 15 kids that came. It was so incredible to once again see our mission house filled with kids listening to the word of God and gaining more understanding of what it means to walk with Jesus. We played with them. We prayed with them. We showed them a tangible expression of the love of Christ. Some of the kids were actually crying when we said good-bye because this was the last day for those kids. The Biltmore Team has done an awesome job ministering to these kids.
Tomorrow, we will get up at 4AM and drive 4 hours to Titanyen to the orphanage that we are partnering with. The construction team built bunk beds for the kids at the orphanage and we will go there to assemble the beds and also just love on the children. They are going to be so excited to finally have their own beds. I’m certain that most have never owned a real bed. It will be a super long and super hard day. Some of us will be riding in the back of a dump truck for the four hour journey, which includes many twists and turns through the mountains. But our sacrifice will bring great glory and honor to God and therefore we will ride with joy in our hearts.
And even amidst such a great day of reaching out and sharing the love of Jesus, my heart hurts as I miss my little girl so much. I have much more to say, but now I am tired and need to go to sleep since we have to be up tomorrow morning so early.
Remember to visit www.stilliwillpraiseyou.com to view Susana’s Homecoming Celebration memorial service on-line. Let others also know about this website. Please keep Maria, Isabela, and I in your prayers. Thanks so much. God bless you all.