The last blog entry was not my typical update; for those of you that missed it, you can flip back to it, or just read on. This won’t be the ‘typical’ update either, so buckle your seat belts 🙂
God has led me to the decision that I will not be returning to Haiti after I go back to the States in June. That has been the ONLY thing He has given me insight to, in terms of post-summer 2017…after that is still a mystery, but I am confident that God will reveal His plans in His most perfect timing.
While I will not be returning to Haiti as a long term missionary, that does not mean I will be ending my time serving Mission of Hope International. In addition to working as camp director, and then in whatever career opportunity comes next, I will be working stateside with MOHI in a new role:
“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind…” Luke 14:12
In Luke 14, Jesus tells several parables; two revolve around the setting of a banquet. In both ‘banquet’ parables, Jesus makes it a point to emphasize the importance of inviting the “poor, crippled, lame, and blind” to this extravagant banquet. Verses 12 through 14 describes our life on earth, and who we should be serving as followers of Christ. Rather than serving those who can easily pay us back, Jesus says to serve those who cannot pay us back; to care for those who don’t have anyone else to care for them.
This is the basic principle that Mission of Hope International’s “L14 Ministry” is founded on. This is a specific, focused portion of MOHI’s ministry that aims to serve and care for the disabled population of Grand Goâve, Haiti. MOHI has been serving the disabled population of Grand Goâve for many years, and this is a restructured continuation of their work.
While I have been volunteering as a missionary teacher here for six months, the classroom has only been one area where God has challenged me to use the servant heart that He gave me. Another area that God led me to while I was here, as many of you know, was in the form of caring for and supporting a disabled girl named Djanicka down the road from our house in Grand Goâve. It was love at first sight when I met her back in October, and I knew I just had to help this beautiful girl in some way, shape, or form. After the experience of consistently providing for a disabled child in need, it seems only natural that I would expand the perimeters of this care to other disabled individuals in and around Grand Goâve. Of course, God knew what He was doing when He opened the door back in October with Djanicka. He knew that if I walked through that open door, that there would be more than just one individual in need that could be served.
According to a report written by Christina Nuñez from the Global Citizen, “Eighty percent of people living with disability live in developing countries, and most of them have no access to healthcare.” (2015) Also in that report, she refers to a statistics and information given by World Bank, estimating that “20% of the world’s poorest people have some kind of disability…with little to no access to services, many people with a disability find it difficult to get around, they become isolated, dependent on others, and they experience discrimination, increased poverty, and often premature death.” (2015)
By creating a specific ministry which focuses on serving this population, these issues can be addressed, and change can begin to take place. We want to be able to provide food, physical aid and services, and familial support to those who suffer from physical disabilities. We not only seek to provide long-term, consistent care and support to the individuals and their families, but we also seek to invite them to the Great Banquet, which God has promised to His people; we want to meet their physical needs and their spiritual needs, bringing them the good news of the beautiful, healing, life changing love and grace that Jesus has to offer.
I am excited to be directing such a ministry under MOHI; it really is a gift from God that I will be able to continue to serve the people that I know and love through this organization, even while I am back in the States. I am honored to be in a leadership position such as this, and I look forward to what God will do in the future. If this aspect of MOHI’s ministry touches your heart, if you have a love and passion for this specific population that is in need as I do, please consider coming into a partnership with us, through prayer and/or through financial means. Contact me at email@example.com for more information.
I want to end this blog with a special shoutout to three wonderful young ladies. My sister Alena and two of her friends, Julia Herin and Kaylie Gerry, came to Haiti a few weeks ago. I didn’t include this in my last blog, because that one was solely focused on my announcement for my future plans. Now, though, I want to take a moment to say how beautiful my time was here in Haiti with them, and how honored I was that they got to share this life with me.
Their time here was short, but every minute was filled with beauty. I am so proud of the work each of these ladies did, from helping in the MOHI clinic to distributing food and clothes. I saw their selfless hearts time and time again over the past four days: every time Kaylie got out of the car, she would look for the closest child so she could open her arms wide for hugs; Julia went right to work whenever and wherever she was needed with a servant heart; and my beautiful sister Alena did her best to learn the language quickly, so that she could interact and connect with as many people as she possibly could. All three girls used their specific God-given gifts and talents to serve, and I am certain that their Father in heaven is so proud of those three daughters. I could see that from the Sunday they arrived to the morning they left, that their hearts and minds had exponentially changed. God moved in each of their lives that week, as He always does with those who serve and love Him & His people.It was the first time in Haiti for the three of them, and I have been checking in with them since their departure. They, along with myself and so many others, will tell you that whether you come to Haiti for one week or one year, it grabs your heart & soul and doesn’t let go. God uses this place to change people’s lives; if anyone is interested in serving here in Haiti, I encourage you to do so. You will never be the same…in the best, most beautiful way possible. Contact Renee Edme at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about serving short or long term here in Grand Goâve, Haiti.
Come to the Great Banquet that God has promised us, described in Luke 14. Come, and bring others who need love, peace, hope, restoration, healing, and forgiveness with you. We’ve already been invited; all we need to do is accept that invitation.