Archive of ‘faith’ category

Going to Haiti

going to haiti

Back in April I went on a missions trip to Haiti.

Some trips are ordained from the Lord, and this was one of them. It came at a perfect time. My best friend’s six-week old baby died a week before the trip, and the funeral was three days before I left. I was grieving and in shock and wondering whether I should even still go on the trip.

But of course I couldn’t do anything here, so off to Haiti I went.

I told my family “no news is good news” and was off the grid for seven days. After weeks of being glued to my phone waiting for updates on Owen, it was strangely refreshing to not have any connection with anyone. It gave me time to process what the heck just happened in the last six weeks and be fully present in the work our team was doing in Haiti.

No part of the trip was restful — we got up early, painted buildings in the hot sun, and were emotionally drained by the amount of poverty we saw — but the trip was restful for my soul. I wrestled with God at the brokenness of the world. I still am, really. This whole world is so broken, every single square inch of it is sick and sad and not what it was intended to be. But during this trip, he began showing me the ways he’s piecing it back together and bringing restoration. Goodness in the midst of evil. Joy in the midst of poverty. Hope in the midst of loss.

I have never longed for heaven as much as I did during that trip.

DECISIONS I'M GLAD I MADE GRAPHIC

Read more on why I decided to go to Haiti and my experiences there. Read my post on Owen and more from my friend Allison’s blog.

On Contentment

I took an unintentional week off of blogging, due to a terrible, no good, really bad week. We have been dealing with a few health issues, broken computers, broken air conditioning [the upstairs thermostat read 90-degrees one night], and overall crummy circumstances.

In the middle of the week, as I was running late for work and bathing Leia because she happen to roll in poop that morning (oh yeah, that happened too), I started to think about Paul and his little secrets.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. – Philippians 4:12

Uhhhh… HOW Paul?!? How in the world do you remain content when you are in want? When you are hungry? My body is naturally always unhappy when I am hungry because it needs sustenance. How can your circumstances really not effect your content-ness?

He answers it in the next verse:

I can do all things through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13

Ah. Well there is the most over-used and inappropriately misinterpreted verse in the Bible.

Sometimes when I’ve heard a verse so many times, it loses its power. I can do all things through him who gives me strength. Yeah, yeah. He can help me. I pray a “get me out of this mess” prayer and ask for that supernatural strength to change my circumstances.

But last week, I stopped and thought about what it would look like to practice contentment when your circumstances don’t change and are still very much annoying.

Through him who gives me strength. 

The one who gives us strength is the Holy Spirit, and there are two major things that the Holy Spirit does:

1. Points you to the cross.
2. Enables you to love others.

When Jesus summarized the law into two statements — love God and love others — it wasn’t just a way to justify, it is the only way to set us free. The more I focus on the cross and what it represents, the less important my cares seem. It reminded me of the lines of this old hymn:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

And the more I look around at the needs of others, the more petty my problems seem.

As some of you may remember, my best friend’s baby died earlier this year. He would have been six months this past Saturday, and oh how I wish I could see what he looks like at six months! To honor his life, his beautiful parents encouraged people to participate in doing random acts of kindness on the 23rd of each month. My “bad week” seemed so insignificant in light of Owen’s life and death, and it was pure joy to find ways to spread love and kindness in his honor. I was moved to tears seeing all of the ways people celebrated his life.

Love God, and love others. That’s the secret of contentment.

Letter to Myself

Letter to Myself - Five things I want to focus on during this season in my life.

Dear Self,

I thought about writing a letter to your younger self, but she has already lived those days so what’s the point of going back? Life is too short for regrets and today is too important to worry about the future, so let’s focus on this present day. These beautiful, golden days that you wake up to every single morning.

Here are five things I want you to focus on during this season of your life:

1. Enjoy this free time. I am not even going to pretend like your life is busy because it’s not. You have a lot of free time. Continue to fill up your free time with J. He is really funny and makes you happy. Go on trips together and get to know your city. It’s a pretty place. Try new things and learn as much as you can. Don’t bother spending time doing things you don’t enjoy — you don’t have that much time. Figure out what makes you come alive and spend your time celebrating that.

2. Invest in girlfriends. You have some pretty awesome friends. Keep them, and keep making them a priority. Text them when they pop into your mind and have them over when your house is really messy. I have a feeling these relationships are going to be pretty important in the years to come. Don’t be afraid to make new friends, either. Kindred spirits are just a hello away.

3. Make church a priority. Do you remember how long it took you to find this church? And do you remember all of the mediocre ones you went to before? This one is a gem, and you are so lucky. Continue to attend and sing and soak in the wisdom. Smile at the people in the hallway, because attending a new church is scary. And say yes when you are asked to help in the nursery. Those kids may be your babysitters one day.

4. Improve your inner beauty. Stop looking at yourself in the mirror so much. Continue to make healthy choices, because it makes you feel good, but don’t be consumed with it. Attraction is 90% personality and 10% looks, so focus on making your personality beautiful. Be kind and wise and helpful. Speak up against injustices and fight for what you believe in. Listen more than you speak, and when you feel like giving others advice, give them a hug instead.

5. Don’t worry about the future. Do you remember years ago when you were worried about college and grades? God provided and you went to a great school. Do you remember crying ugly tears, worried you would remain single forever? God provided and you get to do life with a great guy. Do you remember when you were worried about moving to DC? God provided and you met some great friends and started a wonderful career. Do you remember when you were worried about money after paying for a wedding and replacing both cars in the first two months of marriage? God provided and you were able to save enough to buy a house in the next two years. Whatever you are worried about, just stop. God is going to provide.

The days are long but the years are short, and being content with today is hard. One day you are going to be so nostalgic for this time in your life, so try your very best to savor every single moment of it while you are in it.

I’m not sure how to end a letter to yourself, so we will just leave it at that.

- Ginna

PS – Photo above from Death to the Stock Photo

Help for a Haitian Orphanage

On our last day before we left, we visited an orphanage near where we were staying in Titanyen. The orphanage is run by a couple, Yvon and his wife, who care for 46 children ranging from 1 to 15 years old in their very small home.

Haiti is a dangerous country, especially for children, as kidnapping, child sacrifice and trafficking are very common. Over 350,000 orphans were created after the earthquake, and Yvon and his wife saw a need to care for these abandoned children. They started bringing a few of them into their home at a time, and over the last few years it has grown to a large orphanage of 46 children living in very small quarters.

The folks at Global Outreach work closely with this orphanage, and it was a true privilege to meet Yvon and see how he loves these children dearly. While we were there, the children sang us two songs, recited scripture, and showed us around their small, humble home. They were so darling.

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We brought the kids some Easter candy. :)

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Pictured above is their kitchen, and below is where they wash their clothes. I didn’t get a good picture of their bedrooms because they were so dark. There are two small rooms packed with bunk beds, one for girls and one for guys. The older kids get to sleep in the beds, while the little ones sleep on cots on the floor. 

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Funding for the orphanage comes from churches and non-profits, but many sources have decreased and they are suffering to stay afloat. There are no public schools in Haiti, so if you go to school you have to pay tuition, buy uniforms, books, supplies, etc., and the few that were in school had to be removed to help pay for food, etc. They have a deficit of $4,418.

My team members and I started a t-shirt campaign for the next two weeks to get this orphanage out of debt and hopefully get kids back in school: https://www.booster.com/haiti-orphanage-fundraiser.

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I know, another t-shirt campaign and another request for money! But as someone who met these children and know the hearts of the ministry we worked with, I have complete confidence that all of the donations will be used for good and none of it will not return void.

All of the profits from these t-shirts will go directly to help this orphanage. The more t-shirts are sold, the greater percentage of profits go to the children. For example, if 50 are sold, $11 or every t-shirt cost will go to Global Outreach, whereas if 500 are sold, $14 of every t-shirt will be donated. If you feel led, there is an option to give above and beyond the t-shirt cost.

Please consider buying a t-shirt, sharing the campaign with your friends or followers, and praying for these kids. Thank you so much for your support!

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