Friday, September 30, 2011

Our days are numbered...

I can't get over how many days have past since I first came to Haiti. Every day in class we add another number to our calendar. The kids count the numbers and practice saying their numbers correctly in English. To them, we are learning to count the number of days in September, now October. To me, each number signifies one more day. One more day we have to serve. One more day to learn. One more day to love.
One more day.
Today is the last day in September. Time has gone by so fast. Each day seems so long- we sweat and seem to be constantly restoring fluids to our bodies with waters and juices. We bandage scrapes and scratches, clean up vomit, give medicine, discipline children, sing songs, play games, sound out words, make animal noises and classify the sounds we make, sigh, wipe our sweat and keep going- praying with every step we take. Most days seem to crawl by. But today, as I added the number 30 to our calendar, the days didn't seem so long anymore. Our days are numbered and I am moved now more than ever to make the most of every single God given one. These children will not be with me much longer. Their adoptions will go through and they will finally be home with their adoptive families. Then, the educational concepts and skills I have taught them will somewhat matter, but what will matter more is the impact I have made on them through eternal eyes. How did I love them? How did I dedicate myself to teaching them every day? How did I show them to love one another? Did I bring joy to their lives and each day encourage them to live a life of holiness?
Only God will know that. So today and every day- hour by hour, moment by moment- I commit to God what is already His. Though we experience troubles and problems surround us, we hold fast to Yahweh, whom has ultimate authority over all creation.
Teach us to number our days. We bow at Your feet and submit all we are to you. Holy Holy Holy are you Lord!

"So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands!"
Psalm 90:12-17

Friday, September 23, 2011

They learn. I learn.

From the first day of class to today, I have seen every child improve in the classroom. Whether it is with counting, letter recognition, grammar, reading, behavior, or even eye contact, the children have grown. I am not sure why God has allowed me to see such growth already, but He has. For that I am thankful.
Some days I wake up and feel like a teacher. I can't wait to get into the classroom and begin working with the children. Then, other days I feel like doing anything but that- teaching.
When I was in college learning to become a teacher, my professor told us if we ever wake up one morning and dread going to teach, then we should choose another profession. After being a teacher for a little over a year now, I have to disagree with that. On my "feel-like-being-a-teacher" days, I know I was designed for this.
On my "be-anything-but-a-teacher" days, I can't help but feel human. And in my humanity, I am reminded of just how much better He is at everything. Including teaching.
Seeing how much the kids have grown within the past three weeks makes me proud. Not of myself, but of them. Each child has his/her own unique gifts. They choose to use them and do well or give up.
With their quirks and antics, they keep me laughing- even when I am on the verge of throwing in the towel for the day. As you may have gathered by now, I am an extremely weak individual.
Even drained and annoyed by the kids at times, they are also the very same blessings used to restore me.
God Himself, uses them to renew me.
I want more than anything to explain the love and passion within my soul for God alone.
Who am I for Him to be mindful of? And yet, He is. Every time someone tells me the Lord reminded him/her to pray for me, I am overwhelmed. The Lord puts me, Laura, on my brothers' and sisters' hearts. Through their prayers, or I guess I could say your prayers, the Lord moves and works.
He walks with me daily, and in a country like Haiti, there is nothing more that I want or need.
He has grown me in so many ways, and I pray this is only the beginning. The Lord has used the people in Haiti to  teach me so many things. He has used the people back home to show me so many things. Through His word, He has revealed to me new and powerful things. In my soul, He is nurturing and healing and speaking and quenching and empowering. My mind is too finite to comprehend it all.
For now, I sit. I listen. I seek. I crave more of Him. Where He leads, I follow. What He reveals, I treasure. What He takes away, I give freely. What He gives, I return in praise. I am His and He is mine.
Pray with me. May all His children desire Him and nothing more. May we devote every waking minute to His heart and plan. May we overcome the schemes of the enemy and pursue righteousness. May we meet together and encourage one another daily. May we pray and intercede on one another's behalf. May we love to the point of tears, and regret nothing.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

He Has Overcome the World

"Give up. Go home. What were you thinking? You can't make it in this country. This country is MINE. What good will you do here? You think you are 'Christian' enough to better anyone here? You're not. Go home. You're too weak."
"Yes. You won't last. It's too hot. You're too tired. You have no place to retreat and you NEED your time to yourself. There are too many people and only one of you. Go home. You shouldn't be here. Look around. Where are our friends? You are lonely. Where is your family? You are lonely. Who wants you here? You are lonely. Go home."
     "How am I supposed to keep going? I am not cut out for this kind of work. It's too much. There is too much to be done. The kids are so far behind. They'll never catch up. God, why is it this hard here? Nothing is familiar. I am enclosed in the same orphanage everyday. Where can I escape?"
"Oh, see? That's just it. You CAN'T escape. GO HOME. You will be comfortable there. People you know and love are there. You can teach in a regular school and live in a comfortable house there. You will have the freedom to go and do as you please there. You could meet a guy who might actually want to marry you there. Isn't that what you want? Isn't that what you need? You miss your bed. You miss the air conditioning. You miss your family. You miss your friends. You miss your church. Go home. It's not too late.You didn't sign a contract. Go home."
     "I'm so overwhelmed, Lord. Why am I so weak? I can't do this. You've entrusted me with too much and I am  too human for this! I wish you could have called me somewhere more comfortable than this. Day in and day out, we suffer. The heat is gruesome. We are always dirty. The people here are plain nuts. They don't serve you! What am I supposed to do with this? How am I supposed to look up to You when all I see is madness?"

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD." 
John 16:33

"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:8-18

"And Jesus said to him,Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.' "
Matthew 8:20

"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." 
Proverbs 16:9

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints." 
Ephesians 6:10-18

"I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases."
Song of Solomon 2:7

"And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
Luke 9:23

"For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" 
1 John 5:4-5

"We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols." 
1 John 5:18-21

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me."
Philippians 2:1-18

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
Matthew 10:34-39

"...They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful."
Revelation 17:14

"...And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."
Revelation 20:9-10

In You, Oh God, I am empowered. Through You I can serve where You have called me to serve. The lies the enemy feeds me may trick me in a weary state, but YOU have overcome him and all of his workers! Your word dwells in me. May I armor myself for the moment to moment battle waging war on this field. You are here with me. You led my path to this dark island. You are the light here. Quiet my soul. May Your voice be louder than the rest, for Your sheep know Your voice. Renew me daily. You are my only source of energy and strength. Help me, for I cannot do any of this alone. You are teaching me. I can feel You molding me. Changing me. This life is Yours. Do with it what You please. Carry me to Your heart, Lord. It is You I love.

As Jasmine always says, "Thank you Satan. You just reminded to pray to MY GOD one more time!"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"My kids will follow me..."

"This type of ministry will age you. If you look at pictures of me from when we first came to Haiti 4 years ago and compare them to what I look like now, you would be AMAZED! Boy, how I have aged! But what am I going to do? Go home, get back to being pretty and work on my art in my own little art studio? What good does that do? My art and looks will not follow me into the Kingdom of Heaven. My kids WILL follow me there and THAT is more precious than beauty or gold." -Jasmine Martinson

Thursday, September 1, 2011


     48 is the number. There are now 48 children here at the orphanage.
Yesterday we received a new little girl, Valencia. She is 5 years old. Her mom heard from a friend that she could drop her child off here, so she took up the offer. She did not want her daughter and we, of course, willingly accommodated her.

There is such a need for Jesus here.

     Valencia's mom is 6 months pregnant. She told us yesterday she wanted us to keep the child inside of her too. It looks like we will be delivering yet another baby here at OLTCH sometime in the fall.

There is such a need for Jesus here.

     4 days ago, a new baby was born here. At 3:50am on Monday morning, we welcomed Hadassah Sabbath (we call her "Haddie") into the world. Her mom immediately gave her to Jasmine and was gone the next day.

There is such a need for Jesus here.

     Today, there are 48 children. 48 children to feed. 48 children to teach. 48 children to discipline. 48 children to clothe. 48 children to bathe. 48 children to play with. 48 children to empower. 48 children- such a large task at hand.

There is such a need for Jesus here.

     They will learn. They will grow and become. They will follow Jesus, or they will be enslaved to sin and death. Some will have new families and venture outside of the country. Others will remain in Haiti.

There is such a need for Jesus here.

     We know much responsibility has been given to us. As their teacher, I know much responsibility has been given to me. My desire is to empower them. I want to teach them to read, to write, to listen and understand. I want to teach them to dream and believe in themselves. Believe in God. They have potential. Each child has a voice. Each was designed for a purpose. May God give me the dedication, creativity, beauty, grace, patience, energy, confidence, courage, willingness, perseverance, compassion and love to do what He requires of me. May the children see Him in all we do. 

There is such a need for Jesus here.

"...'Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.' "  -Mark 10:14b

Valencia is to the far left...

Roselaine feeding Haddie...

Haddie's first "rag" bath...

 Hadassah Sabbath...