Another Year Gone By

Dear 2013,

You changed me. Forever. At the end of 2012, we had lived in Haiti for almost 4 months. Everything was new. Most things were different. And our family was beginning to see life differently.

But now, it is 2014. We still experience new things often. All of the things that we saw as so different feel so familiar now. And we are experiencing life in the most amazing ways.

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My prayer is still the same. Our family goal is to live life among the people of Haiti in a way that Jesus becomes real to them. The gospel of Christ…a story of redemption…the gift of grace and salvation all brought down to us.

I’ve learned the significance of the value of life. I’ve learned that although I sometimes think I want something to go my way, but God always has a better way. I have an increased desire for my life to be less about me and more about Him. I fail at this so often but God offers me so much grace.

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Our toes are wet. Our hands are dirty. Our knees have been scraped up a bit. Our hearts are different….changed. War wounds are there. Scars abound. Joy is complete. The rawness of life is sometimes beautiful, sometimes scary, sometimes nerve-wracking but always feels extreme.

He is malnourished. She is a child slave. Their family lost a child two days ago and now another child is suffering with fever. He hasn’t eaten in three days. She was beaten because she got mud on her school shoes. They sleep under a tarp on bed of dirt.

We love them all. They are family to us now. They have taught us so much about life. Our faith has been tried, strengthened, and deepened. I’ve seen the faith of the people around me and wondered if I ever really understood faith or even joy or loyalty. I’m so thankful for the example they set for me. Life is raw, but oh so real…a little rough around the edges.

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So what do we make of this? What role is God asking me to play in the lives of the people around me? When someone experiences tragedy, will they feel God’s comfort when I am around? When they experience joy, will they see the celebration of joy in my heart too? I hope so. With desperation, I hope so.

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So, thanks 2013. Some days felt unbearable, but God’s hand was in every moment. Our lives and hearts have been touched forever. Until next year…..

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