I am New York City bound - for the first time in my life.
How exciting is this?!?!
I'll be at the BlogHer conference in NYC this Thursday and Friday. Each year they generously bring in "international activists" on a scholarship (read: free gift trip!) to share about their work. I learned of this honor back in April. It was such a surprise to me that I almost deleted their email thinking it was spam. Lots of emails begin with "Congratulations" - at that point my finger heads for the delete button - only this one had nothing to do with Esquire Sven Modderman or Aafiya Muhammad or any other person leaving their fortune buried for me in Burkina Faso.
This year four international activists were chosen. I'll be meeting and speaking with women that are doing important work in the Philippines, Zimbabwe, and Sudan.
I don't so much (ever!) think of myself in terms of "international activist", as much as I think of myself in terms of "mom, wife, friend, sister, and child of the King"...But those are the words they used. With that in mind I'm going to do my very best to advocate for the Haitian women I so admire while I share in New York. The challenge is to adequately communicate and represent the depth of beauty they daily exhibit in their strength, their struggles, their courage, and their undying hope.
I am excited because it is such a privilege to be invited to come share about the work Heartline is doing in Haiti; work that I truly believe is resulting in lives lifted up, improved, and changed. I shy away from dramatic statements and hyperbole, but I think I can safely say this work is saving lives in Haiti.
More than that, though - what an honor it is to share the stories of this place and these people that I dearly love; stories of people that have changed me.
Prior to my own scare delivering Noah in 2004 I can honestly say I never once considered that all over the world women die giving birth due to a lack of very simple things, a lack of healthcare workers and midwives. I did not consider that not so far away is a tiny little country that boasts the highest maternal mortality rate in the western hemisphere.
I'm tempted to share dozens of other mind-boggling statistics. It really is pretty crazy to see how dangerous womanhood and childbirth is in some of the world's poorest countries. Sharing them would be my way of trying to convince you it is dire, trying to make it important to you, but I'm not going to do that.
Statistics are numbers meant to prove a point. For me, the bigger point is this: Behind those statistics are real.live.breathing.feeling.struggling human beings. They are just like you. They are just like me. They are mothers that love their family. They want a stable life. They want to feel healthy. They want to live.
The fact is, I'd rather tell you the miraculous story of one tenacious woman and how her life was spared. I'd rather tell you about the hundreds of courageous mothers and babies that are thriving. I'd rather tell you about the ways God is showing up and providing for these women. I'd rather do all of that than depress you with the statistics that Heartline Ministries endeavors to help them beat.
That's what I plan to do in New York City.
*Thanks to MK Smith for putting together the video for us with 48 hours lead time
**Heartline's website is www.heartlineministries.org