A super dorky thumbs up in front if our 1st and 3rd home in Haiti. Home sweet home…again.
My plant is trying to recover as well.
When your fridge looks like this, you are moved in completely. Shout out to my nephew on an amazing owl.
I am working through the MAGIC TREE HOUSE series with my 3rd little. There is a moment in every story, after Jack and Annie have adventured in another time in history, that they make their return to the frog creek woods, a walking distance from home. Every story is anchored in this moment. They climb into the tree house and wish aloud to return to the Frog Creek woods and then, as Mary Pope Osborn wrote:
“The tree house started to spin.
It spun faster and faster.
Then everything was still.
MAGIC TREE HOUSE, by Mary Pope Osborne
The fact that this is a children series has never dampened my enjoyment of her books and especially this moment. I have always thought it poetic and serene. I was recently reading with Lydia and the plot of the book we were on was exceptionally weighty and physically uncomfortable for the main characters. Lives were hanging in the balance and everything hung on the characters ability to come through. As we neared the end of the book I was feeling the pressure on these kids. They were saving lives, they were under immense pressure and they were cold-uncomfortable. When the moment came, and they returned to the Tree House after the violent spinning and it was “still. Absolutely still.”, I could physically feel the release. They were home. This time that moment caught in my throat. I sure related to the characters and I realized I need to feel that sense of stillness here, living in Haiti. We have, the last year, had that sense of stillness that comes from being home. Brief Haiti home history: In 2015, we moved to Haiti and into 400 square feet of a home we shared with 6 other adults who resided in the rest of the house. 8 months later, we transitioned to another portion of the same home and occupied a little more space but still shared the rest of the home with 6 other individuals. We moved to a different house in March 2016 (our family only) and it has become a respite, where the spinning stops and I can get lost in my back yard, caring for my goats. I know that God provided this house and we have enjoyed every moment of God’s sweetness in it. We got an amazing deal on this house, it cost less to rent than houses 1/2 its size. After all the transition of moving us and the kids to Haiti, this home, where the kids could have their own spaces, and our dog could run. This house with trees and space for our goats, with a rooftop view of the ocean and mountains of Haiti, was a sanctuary. A place for God to heal us and restore us a bit from a stressful transition. In this home we have grown to really love Haiti, and Haiti has become home. From this home I began to see us growing old here and began to see how the insanity of moving my children here was really going to work and we were going to flourish here. We launched KONBIT here and I fell in love with my neighbors. I LOVE THIS HOUSE. I was certain we would be in it a long time, that was what I wanted…needed, so I was sure God would make it so.
Now this is the part in the story where I tell you that because God loves me, and I am His princess, He gives me what I want. This is the part of the story where God waves a magic wand and does what I want. I have moved to HAITI, for goodness sake. LORD, DO WHAT I WANT!!!! Sorry, I keep getting a little self involved (or a lot) and emotional. It turns out He did NOT do what I want. We found out just 2 months ago that the rent on this house was being raised…considerably. Then we found out that the home that we had been in previously (the home we shared with 6 people when we first moved here), was available for a little less than we could rent this for. Sounds like a no brainer, but there was/is a battle happening in my spirit. The original house is better suited for us to host teams, which enables us to save the ministry literally 1000’s of dollars a year in guest house rentals. but…There is no yard for KONBIT goats, dogs, my children, it’s noisy and on a busy street. It is a fine house but it is not the house I want. It is the house that I need to submit my heart to because it is best for us to accomplish all God has called us here for. I am literally in denial about this move. Not healthy, I know. I am working on it. This house sits directly in the community we minister in, Lafferonney. This house is God’s will but it doesn’t feel good.
To help me process, I knew I needed to chat with some of my Haitian Mamas. I have a few but there is one in particular that I felt led to chat with. We went to see Simone who is spiritual giant trapped in a tiny old ailing body. Last week I went to speak with her and break the news that I was moving a few miles away. There were tears in my eyes as I shared that we had to move but I did not want to. I told her we would stay connected and that she was a part of my life for good. She became very adamant and animated as she began teaching me about the sovereignty of GOD. This is a woman who has food, sometimes. Who lives in a block house with her 2 year old grandson, who she cares for. She lives in chronic pain as she faces hunger, arthritis, and stomach pain with few meds. This woman for whom nothing has come easy and who looked at me with love and kind determination began to preach. Buckle your seatbelt. This woman does not speak of the nearness and sovereignty of God from a place of study, but of experience.
Simone, My Haitian Mama.
To set up this conversation you need to know we had brought her food and she was very excited because the food had given her strength. Before we told her I was moving, she was praising God, arms lifted for the food. She was repeating, “God is faithful, He knows all things, He is the only God.” She was worshiping and declaring the goodness of God. She was reminding us that God is who sent us and that God sees her and is always faithful. She was telling us that God gives her strength. It was while she was sharing this that the news announcing I was moving was communicated to her. It turns out that she already knew through the grapevine but she looked disappointed and my tears started to flow.
I said, “Simone, I do not want to move. I love this place and I love this community and I want to be near you all.” Simone responds, arms motioning toward me and eyes boring into my soul, “God brought you to us, because God had a job for you here. He sent you here and now he is sending you there. God is good and faithful and he sees you. He saw you here and he will see you there. You had work here and you will have work there.” The tears would NOT stop. This Haitians mama’s giant spirit wrapped my broken spirit up in hers and reminded me whose I am. She also reminded me that God’s will is much larger than an issue of my comfort.
If she sees the goodness of God with and without food, with and without pain, with and without good shelter, certainly I can recognize His goodness and kindness in my life. Changing homes into a smaller and much less “family friendly” home does not mean God is not good and He is not with me. I needed her that day and God used her to begin the process of righting my heart. I needed a Haitian Mama because Haitians realize that God does not ALWAYS move us up. Sometime He moves us decidedly down. In western civilization we see God’s will as the next better paying Job, promotion, bigger house, the movement up. But that is not scripturally sound and it just isn’t true in 99% of the rest of the world. God can also be in changes that move us “down”. It is about His kingdom, and what he does in and through us is to further that kingdom, maybe not us necessarily. If the kingdom is furthered more when I take a step back, then it is worth it. The disciples moved decidedly down as they served God. They went from having jobs to needing to live on the kindness of others. They went from homes to traveling constantly. They went from honor to disdain. They moved from relative safety to torture and death. Those are very downward moves physically but those moves were decidedly moving the kingdom of God forward. I am not being asked by God to endure torture and death but you would think so by my attitude and internal struggle. I am giving up the stillness, the trees, the birds, the goats and a lot of solace. But what I am reminding myself is that I am gaining obedience, I am being used to further the work God is doing, and I know God sees me and moves me.
My Haitian Mama, Simone and the Apostle Paul could commiserate on this topic. I could only sit like a sullen teenager and mope. Jesus be near, I have so much to learn. Philippians 4:11-13, “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do all things though Christ who gives me strength.”:
So, I am moving. God is moving me down in comfort but up in my ability to minister. The new home is not far and I will maintain relationships with my current neighbors. My heart is submitted but not joyful, not yet. My Haitian mamas have their work cut out for them with me. Pray for them as they disciple me. Pray for us as we embark on our 6th move and house re-organizing since we sold our home in AZ in 2013. We adore the work God has called us to here but all this relocating is a distraction and burden on our family. We are hoping to stay put for a few years after this move. Thank you for giving and praying so constantly. The Kay Konbit ministry center is a reality because of God’s faithfulness and your giving. Here’s to a home where after the long stressful days, that I can pray and the spinning would stop and we can be still, absolutely still. God let it be and God tune my selfish will to your ways and help me to value your plan much more than my own.
BLOG Update: This was written 3 weeks ago as I prepared for a move that has now happened. Since writing this we have relocated, set up a team house upstairs, and hosted 2 amazing teams. Our ability to minister has been greatly increased. The knocks on our gate are constant and I am choosing to see them as the result of great need. It is an honor to be used and available. God has us where he wants us. It is ok that I am not in love with this house or this move. I am in love with Jesus and He is sovereign and He is good. My belief in his goodness does not require my comfort. We are getting settled and many precious people have stepped up when I thought I may lose my mind. They may never know how critical their help was.
To stay connected to all that is happening ministry wise, please follow our KONBIT Facebook page and our website at www.konbittogether.org
There seems to be some confusion about our connection to Happy Kids INTL. We moved to Haiti with Happy Kids but are not affiliated with them in anyway now. We will have no access to any fundraising they are doing nor will be responsible for how those funds are used. Those funds will not come to us or through us in anyway. We love Happy Kids and know they will continue to do great things but it is not responsible for us to allow people to believe that when they give to them, that we will be in charge of those funds.
We also have had 2 donors give to another organization with “KONBIT” in its title. Be sure you are using the links we have sent you to set up and maintain giving. There are 2 other organizations in Haiti that use KONBIT in their name.
We are so incredibly grateful for you all and love you all so much. You are the “how” behind much we are able to do. God gave us a vision and literally sustains us everyday and you support the work and move it forward. God bless you all for giving sacrificially and praying for us. You mean the world.