April 16, 2023
Each of our lives is a story - and a good story at that. Of course, it is! The Author is the most amazing person EVER! HE is the Alpha and the Omega - the FIRST and the LAST. And HE is the very BEST storyteller.
Some of you may disagree with me from the very first sentence, thinking, "My story is NOT a good story. You don't know what you're talking about." But have you considered that your story is not yet over? Don't the best books often include impossible situations, dread, sadness, and loss? Those best stories always finish strong, though. If you know and love the Author, you can confidently believe your story has a purpose that will bring peace and joy to your heart.
What's more, our stories are intertwined with each other's stories. As complicated and amazing as your story is, it's also an important part of the overall story. The story of Jesus calling His beloved to Himself. Today let us consider how the LORD writes our stories to interact with others' stories, becoming parts of the bigger story.
(Names are changed to protect identity - not all of us are proud of our pasts)
lived most of her thirty years in a rundown area of Haïti's capital city, Port-au-Prince. Life was very hard for her in every way. One day she was struck by a stray bullet. Talk about scary! She left the city after that and ended up in Grand-Goâve. She found work (not an easy feat in Haïti!) and was invited to a Sunday morning service at MOHI's church in Thozin. She came to know the LORD. Today she is no longer dominated by fear but truly knows that peace that passes all understanding.
grew up in a remote village in the mountains of Haïti, living with his mother and sister. He had other siblings who lived in different cities with different relatives. Hector's family was very poor. It was common for Hector and his sister to go to bed hungry. It wasn't unusual for them not to have a cooked meal for days. They would often sneak fruit (mangoes, oranges, grapefruits, avocados) from their neighbors' trees to ward off the insistent pain of hunger.
Even though Hector was very smart, it was difficult for him to go to school. Sometimes his dad would send money for him to go to school, but there was no money for some years. Even when he was enrolled in school, he missed many days because his mother needed him to go far down into the valley to fetch water for the household.
When Hector was 14, his father came to get him so he could go live with him in Grand-Goâve, where MOHI was just being established. His dad brought him to the mission to be tested, and at the age of fourteen, he was accepted into the third grade. Hector loved learning, and he loved no longer going to bed hungry. He excelled at school, became a great soccer player, and a somewhat popular musician. He heard about Jesus - and heard about Jesus - and heard about Jesus - until he finally decided to follow HIM.
Today Hector is married with a family of his own. He used his education and experiences while at MOHI to become a worship leader and is now starting his own business, giving back to the Haitian people by providing jobs.
came to a Sunday morning church service at MOHI one summer morning. She was newly widowed and had several small children, including an infant. I remember conversing with our leaders about how the church could help her. The church gave her a little money for food, and we expected that she would be on her way, making the rounds between all the churches (as was often the custom), but that was not what happened. We are so grateful for the LORD drawing her into fellowship with us and that women in the church reached out to her. She has long been a committed part of the church. She was able to get a job and begin caring well for her family. All of her children have gone to school at MOHI through generous sponsors.
Those are just a few of the many stories we know - and some of the thousands we will one day know. There are still untold thousands yet to come as you and I let our stories intersect with the stories of others.
Here's a little update on happenings at Mission of Hope International this past week. Remember, your generosity is impacting these stories right now!!!
The clinics at MOHI are one way you impact people's stories. Here they receive education about caring for their bodies and their families. They hear the Good News and have someone ready to pray with them personally. An MD consults them, their lab tests are done onsite, and their teeth can be cleaned, repaired, or extracted. For someone who's hurting, these services can make all the difference!
How many stories are forming in the classrooms at MOHI? From ABCs and math...
...to meals and job training, opportunities abound for these stories to be impacted. More than ever, it's difficult for families to provide adequate protein sources for their children. The canned meats and peanut butter you all gave to go on the shipping container are making a difference today! And the soy from our friends at Against Global Hunger is being devoured.
Together we are increasing the chances for these stories to impact their world through a nutritional boost in those first three years!
The wonderful garden saga continues in Luperòn. The small garden continues yielding many favorites (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, beets, carrots, parsley...), with the eggplants slowly showing their "baby fruits."
The big garden - well, I am learning a lot through this experience. You may not know this, but I grew up helping out my dad at the family's nursery, Shetucket Park Gardens. Each Spring, people would spend a lot of money to purchase plants from us. I thought it was crazy since most of them had been grown from seeds or cuttings right there in the greenhouse. I didn't understand why people didn't just do that themselves rather than spend all that money. (Then I grew up and did the same thing.)
We grew sweet corn and sold it each summer but never made the raised rows I saw in the Haitian gardens. I asked about it many years ago and was told it was to keep the water in the garden. The irrigation process in Haïti was more complicated than opening a garden hose, so I accepted that explanation. Now, however, I'm watching the same process in the Dominican Republic, where we have a simple irrigation system. So, why the raised beds? I went to Google for answers. I found out that raised beds:
Save space (you can plant on the sides of the mounds, as well as the top)
Drain faster (for soil with a lot of clay)
Save water (by keeping the water where the plants are growing - especially with sandy soil)
Keep the soil aerated (because we walk between the "hills," not on them)
Lessen the chance of bacteria and fungi infestations
There you have it. When I learn, you learn, too! By the way, those raised rows take a LOT of sweat to create.
Here's a peak from the church in St. Etienne. These folks are blessing the congregation with an encouraging song.
That's it for today. Thanks for coming along on this journey of storytime with me. I hope you are encouraged to continue impacting others' stories for good. I pray the LORD will light a fire in each of us this week so that we will look for ways to continue impacting and even impact more. Blessings be upon you!!!