Sunday, February 01, 2009

Lots more Q and A

Q. I would love to hear more about QCS, the other missions in Haiti you have discovered and the missionary comraderie. I know you and Troy are passionate about working WITH each other. Any new thoughts, progress on that front? (Heather)

QCS stands for Quisqueya Christian School. Three of our kids attend school there. We LOVE the school and we love the teachers and staff. Quisqueya is the original name of this island (The DR and Haiti combined.) It is pronounced Kiss-kay-uh. We are amazed by the leadership and the solid group of teachers. We think it is an awesome place for our kids to go and that they are learning to be global citizens and we've come to value that.
I could go on and on gushing about it ... but instead I will share some fun facts:
  • Total of 225 students from 163 families (Pre K through 12th grade)
  • QCS started with 33 families in the fall of 1974
  • 41 on staff
  • Staff from: Haiti, Jamaica, Canada, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Australia and the USA.
The second part of your question about our desire to see a more unified effort on the part of all minisitries is harder to answer briefly - so the not so brief answer ...

This is such a dificult thing to explain and to quantify. There is nothing super-tangible about networking and trying to unite people. Yet, it seems that a good portion of our time is spent connecting people and helping people navigate the "Haitian System".

Neither Troy or I feel we are visionaries, but we both feel we are gifted in the areas of encouragement, networking, and communication and those skills have been used by God to build a lot of connections to a lot of people in a short period of time. The point is not to walk around saying "I am connected" the point is to put people together that can make bigger impacts, spend less donor money doing it and ultimately achieve greater results. God blesses joint efforts, we believe this wholeheartedly. For whatever reason we've been able to connect some folks that are now moving forward to do ministry together and all of us are benefiting from those relationships. We feel there is lots of progresss being made.

This week we watched as the folks from Canaan (Gladys and Henri - marriage photos below if you scroll down) connected with our friends from Michigan (Nate and Brenda) and plans for a Training Center for pastors in Petit Goave began to unfold. Their goals are shared, one has a building to offer and a network of pastors that need training, the other has a desire to oversee, pray, train, and administrate. It was a God-ordained meeting and we wait with anticipation to see what will come of this unified effort. These connections are happening frequently and in many areas of ministries - both in Haiti and in the USA.

Last month we enjoyed playing a small part in assisting the MN Teen Challenge folks with their search for both property and employees as they begin phase one of planting a rehabilitation program here.

To put it very bluntly, there are two types of ministries and missionaries. There are those that openly share their resources and knowlege and want to boost each other up, and there are those that are the "circle the wagons" variety. We feel that the circle the wagons variety are on the way out, that a more unified effort can happen even with the resistance of the old school way of doing things.

Suffice it to say, if the goal is truly building His Kingdom, and not our own little kingdoms, then cooperation with one another is key. This is not to say we all agree on every last detail of theology and doctrine. This is to say, let's quit dinking around with arguing theology and lets work together to do more good and be more loving to the Haitian people. We've watched people sit around and debate theology, and that was not so much what we thought Jesus would do.

Competing to be the biggest mission or being jealous of someone else's success in ministry is offensive and misses the point.
Let's not hoard our stuff, let's share our stuff. Let's match up donors to their passions, even if it means our own ministry might miss out on a few bucks. Let's trust God is bigger than all of that and let's lift one another up at every turn. Let's not worry about which ministry gets the credit for which things. Cheering as someone else gets to be used by God to do God-sized things is beyond satisfying.

We continue to feel passionate about this topic and believe that God will continue to connect us in ways that will bless both us and Him.
At the end of the day it is easier to report tangible things, but these less tangible things are what we find most exciting. In the coming months we hope to highlight some of the ministries that we have not yet highlighted. Stay tuned for that.

I'd love to hear his (youth Pastor) take on your current life in Haiti.
Your current Bible study?
What would you say to an unwed Mom today?
BTW, how are the newlyweds doing?
What did you want to be when you grew up? Did it come true?

In the coorespondence I have had with my former youth pastor Brent, he said a couple of things that really stuck out to me. He talked about the fact that those of us who ran from God and truly "came to the end of ourselves" have maybe been blessed in that we now experience a deeper truth and understanding of His loving kindness for us. He says he anticipates he will visit Haiti in the future and that we'll reconnect face-to-face some day soon. He said that hearing from me and learning of the impact he had was a huge encouragement to him. (I wish so much that I had access to my photo albums to scan in the photo of the day he did Britt's baby dedication/baptism. My hair was so awesome.)

It would be very hard for me to tell this story in writing, but the short version is that the day I found Brent and thanked him for the role he played in my life, he preached a sermon at a church a friend of mine attends ... we were all unaware of our common connection to each other. So, after 19 years without contact, not only did we reconnect, but just a few hours later he preached at a church in Colorado where my friend sat needing confirmation and clarity of her own - and Brent (and the connection we learned of in the process) was her encouragement that day. God is into details, I am convinced of it.

Your next question was the one I was avoiding answering when I put your set of questions off until last. My current Bible study... The question implies that I daily pick up my Bible. (awkward silence) I want to paint a pretty picture and offer my excuses, but that is not what I am going to do. I currently read my Bible infrequently and am keenly aware that my deeper walk with Him depends upon my obedience in this area. I'm not there. I hope to be able to report growth and progress soon. I figured you'd notice if I skipped just one question. :)

{ I am in a Women's Bible study with other ladies working in missions, we are reading Captivating by Eldredge. I don't relate well to chapters one and two but it is too early to review the book as a whole.}

What would I say to an unwed Mom today? (I am assuming you mean an unwed Mom who wishes she were not unwed.) I'm not 100% sure. I would probably just encourage her to keep pressing on. I understand how difficult and lonely it can be. I remember thinking that I was damaged goods and would never find my Mr. Right ... and even feeling unlovable. I guess I would try to find out if she felt that way and attempt to convince her that there is nothing further from the truth. Healing comes in stages and takes time. With time and the support of people like Brent and my parents, I came to a place where I could identify how far I had strayed from the truth.

The Newlyweds are in Texas doing very well. They are busy with classes and work and their new puppy, but they look and sound content. It does our hearts good to know they are happy. We wish we could meet them for a double date.

I don't remember wanting to be anything, or knowing for sure what I wanted to do as a kid. I think I did some things by default, just based on my choices as a teenager and situations those choices created ... but I did not determine my long range "this is what I want to do" until about six years ago. I have not moved a single inch toward that goal but I think that someday, when the kids are a little bigger, it might still come true. :) I don't know though because like most of you, God does not reveal things in a "five year plan" to me ... but someday I hope to get my Masters and do counseling as a marriage and family therapist ... in Haiti or wherever God drops me.

Happy Sunday.