Monday, June 02, 2008

Dear Someone Somewhere,

A while back I put parentheses around the word (Haiti) in the blog title. There was a reason for that. Because we reside and work in Haiti the majority of readers come looking for Haiti news. We don't only write about Haiti. We write about our kids about half the time ... they are more than half of our day to day life.

We'll keep telling Haiti stories, the good the bad and everything in between. There are some stories that are hard to tell and time needs to pass before they're told, there are others that are hard to explain without causing offense and therefore feel wrong to tell. But no matter what, those stories will always appear here whenever possible.

In October of 2006 I said this:
Blogs are on-line journals. Everything is editorial. It is just our opinion, we recognize you will either take it or leave it. We're not a news organization, we're a stupid blog.

Contrary to one person's criticism, we do not think Haiti is hopeless, why would we be here if we thought that? Sure, sometimes it feels that way when surrounded by so much poverty, so little infrastructure, and many years of poor government management. We're human. We get discouraged. But there is always hope. Without Christ, our lives would be without hope. With Him all things are given an element of hope. We believe that with every fiber of our being.

And, while many of our Haiti experiences have reshaped our thoughts about faith, and Haiti and ministry, (and about blogging on the interweb) the words above are still true. 

We also share the random, inconsequential, mundane and unusual things that happen in our lives. We love that you're here. We love that you're reading. We know some days you're like, "Say something would you?!??!!?" Because things can get pretty fluffy at times. Many times you probably wish we would shut up about our kids. We get that too. We're so fond of them though!

Truth be told, we keep this blog for many reasons. Some selfish, some not.  This is my journal. This is a history I can leave my children and their children.

When we left the USA I left behind things that I called "recreation." I miss long weekend runs along quiet Minnesota roads, breathing in crisp fall air. I no longer have the luxury of meeting a friend for a day of chatting and encouragement. We don't double date with our friends anymore. There are not sporting event outings or concerts. Not complaining, just explaining. (Okay, maybe I am complaining a little.) Writing has replaced those hobbies that are not available to me here. For whatever reason there are days when writing is cathartic. Because I cannot always easily talk it out on the phone with my sister or a friend, well then ... by golly ... I will write it down for dozens of strangers to read. ;) That makes total sense (?)

In reality, the MAIN point of writing this stuff out (outside of - and more important than - the ones already listed) ... is to hopefully encourage someone somewhere. Troy and I believe that God is the author of every good story, and without any prideful tone, we think we are one of those good God stories. Here is why: No less than 11 years ago we were broken, hurting, lost, twenty-somethings in search of God. Troy would tell you he was leading a double life, and I was pretty trapped in my own deceit. We'd both done things we were terribly ashamed of and we were both running hard from anything and everything that smelled like, looked like, or even hinted of God, or faith.

The fact is, we hope that we are a living, breathing example of the way God writes redemption stories.

If you've ever said "God cannot use me" or if heaven forbid- some holy-roller person told you that you were not usable because of X Y or Z in your past - you must know those are lies.

God can and does use anyone willing to be forgiven and forgive themselves. We had to do that in order to allow Him to work. We've seen and experienced rejection from those who believe falsely that God is only performance based ... and we venture to guess you have too. Throw off those opinions, they are very small things.

What is true about you, what is true about us-  is what God sees. And if we believed today - that God cannot use us - because TODAY we struggle with the hard facts of life and we grapple with deep questions of faith --- we'd have to close up shop. There is a way in which God can use anyone and everyone seeking Him. Having every little answer packaged up nice in a fancy box is not necessary or possible.

Not. Necessary. Not. Possible.

There is a misconception about what it looks like to be used. I don't think it only looks like going to Africa to hold AIDS babies.  I don't think it only looks like pulling up stakes and going somewhere far from where you live today.

I think it looks like something different for each person. That is an issue for each of us to work out with God. I think for some it is reaching out to the guy next door whose wife just left him, inviting him over for dinner. I think for others it means coming along side a 16 year old that is pregnant and afraid. Maybe it means baby-sitting for a struggling single mom down the street. Maybe it is as simple as being kind to a real geek/dork that you work with. Maybe it is finding out how to interact with the homeless in your community and going way outside your comfort zone to do it.  It mainly means allowing God to take us to uncomfortable places where we're loving people that we don't find all that lovable. The location in which it happens is irrelevant.

The people that showed me unconditional love when I was a pregnant unwed mother (twice) are the people that changed the course of my life. The people that showed Troy compassion during a time of searching and running and lying are the people that laid the ground work for him to be doing that for others today.

We hope there is something here for you. Whether it be a story about Haiti that moves you, a goofy kid moment, a confession that helps you know you're not alone in your struggles or a chance to see God's amazing creativity and ingenuity by working with ordinary people that are not missions trained, ordained, perfect, or even all that together ... Be encouraged.

tara (& troy)