Monday, February 18, 2013

Excitement is Building

In the last week, we confirmed that we will have a place to stay in Haiti as early as April. This was a concern, since we are a large family. When we were at NVM in November, they did not have one place large enough for a family of 6. So, we talked about options. All of them required some work and money. The option NVM proposed and we agreed to was a house that will eventually be used for medical staff (when the hospital opens). We have been anxiously awaiting updates so we would know if we can indeed move down as planned. Praise God, this has lined up for us! In addition to that, we ordered passports for our two youngest children in the last couple weeks. God willing, those will arrive in a couple more weeks. Things are lining up! The house still has to sell, but we are going to hand that task over to our realtor in March. Throughout March we will finish selling the rest of our belongings. At the end of the month we plan on heading out to do out-of-state fundraising. We have connections in many states, and we are excited for an excuse to see family and friends as we raise our support. For those who are curious, we are currently at about 30-35% of our support pledged. The half-way point will definitely be a time of celebration! As this month quickly draws to a close, we are preparig for another garage sale. The kids are really getting excited as the departure date draws nearer. Still, there are struggles as more and more toys and clothes are sold to other families. Some of the toys that cannot go are the hardest to part with. I spent an hour yesterday going through my jewelry as well and cut down to less than half of what I own. As we part with things that seem so meaningful, we are reminded just how meaningless they really are. Honestly, one of our most exciting thoughts is how much simpler life will be in 1100 sq ft with only a few things. Perhaps this may inspire you to live is freeing!! You never quite realize how much your stuff has a hold on you until you let it all go.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Spiritual Warfare

     Lately, I've been reading a lot about Haiti: books on missions to Haiti, books on missions in general, information about the country, culture, economics, etc. I'm attempting to understand as much as I can before we are actually on the ground. The more I read, I'm realizing I may know more, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'll understand a whole lot of it until I'm living in it. However, there have been glimpses into the culture and aspects of missions there that I believe will help me even in transitioning. One of those glimpses has been into the spiritual warfare that is a present reality in the country and that I believe accounts for much of what is going on there.
     Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere - it was already before the Jan 2010 earthquake. More than 70% of the people live on less than $2 a day and 60% don't have basic health care. Half the population is under 20 years old and due to poverty, 225,000 of those children are living as restavecs (modern-day slaves). Behind all these statistics, lies a spirit of oppression over the country, most notably, in the form of voodoo. The Western idea of free will does not truly exist in Haiti, because to them, the voodoo gods (lwa) are responsible for everything that happens. Their only course of action is to petition them for change. It's a fatalistic religion robbing them of all hope. And make no mistake about it, the forces of darkness behind this religion are very real. Culturally, there is more that complicates things, and as I stated earlier, I have only begun to get a glimpse of it. One thing I do understand - we are headed into spiritual warfare. We can choose to ignore it and focus only on the physical aspects of ministry; we can fear it and choose not to bother; or we can acknowledge it and prepare ourselves for the spiritual battle that is already going on. We choose the latter, because we know and believe in a power greater than any other in whose name the chains of oppression will be broken. In the name of Jesus, there is hope, there is peace, there is freedom, and there is life. Nehemiah Vision Ministries exists to bring people "from darkness to light; from hopelessness to eternal life." Please pray for us as we partner with them and bring the message of hope to the people of Haiti and that they would embrace Jesus.