This is a special post by Ashley Wingate, one of the awesome staff at Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. Thought you needed to see this!!
MY HEART BEHIND THIS MINISTRY
Chosen – Redeemed – Forgiven – Adopted – Immeasurably Loved….
Wow. Aren’t those words that you want to define you? Well they do. These labels are placed on us by our Savior.
I’ve struggled with not having a lot of self-confidence in the past…often feeling worthless…never good enough. I tried way to long to find my worth in my relationships of this world…how those people viewed me. I often got let down. I felt like I was in a never winning battle with myself. Until God started capturing my heart. The moment when I realized he wanted more then just religious acts from me and that he wanted my heart…my world changed. I allowed what his Word said about me to define who I was.
I’ll never forget my freshman year in college when it clicked while I was sitting in front of the ocean thinking…who will ever love me THIS much…who will ever give me something so beautiful as the ocean? No one.
I was sought after…He wanted a relationship with me so much that he went to the cross…he was beaten…he was bruised…he was mocked…
Simply because He loved me. I was that special to Him. And not just me, but each one of us. That’s why His love is immeasurable.
We did a Bible study on Ephesians last year and that’s where those words stem from…Ephesians 1 says we were chosen, redeemed, forgiven, adopted, immeasurably loved. I write those very words everywhere cause it reminds me of who God says I am. The words sought after came from a friend’s blog…when I read those two words I was in awe cause those words were such a perfect example of the way God loves us.
I have been blessed for the past year to work with some pretty amazing kids while teaching pre-school in the nutrition program. However, God has continued to bring my attention and my heart back to their moms. I’ve only lived in Haiti for the past year and a half, but during that time I’ve noticed how poorly women get treated here. I feel like they are seen has having little to no value. I hear story after story about how men have more then one family, how the mom is the only one actually taking care of the kids, or how sex is often used as a source of payment instead of it being something sacred. These women are in their 20′s to lower 30′s and they have multiple kids that they are taking care of on their own. My heart breaks for them.
I want them to know their worth. That they are sought after. That they are chosen, redeemed, forgiven, adopted, and immeasurably loved.
They love their children and on top of everything else the world and this culture throws at them I don’t want the fact that they feel like they can’t take care of their children to be the cherry on top. I’m not a mother, but I can’t imagine the burden that weighs on you if you feel like you’re not able to take care of your child.
All that to say I’ve been searching for a small sewing project that I could teach these women to do that would also be manageable.
THE COIN PURSE MINISTRY
After spending several mornings searching the internet and Pinterest (I knew that would be useful for something) I found a patten for a coin purse. It looked pretty easy to teach as well as make. My hope is to raise enough money to get enough materials to bring back with me in January to make 100 coin purses. Granted if this seems to be a popular idea then I’m all for raising more. *Again this is just something the Lord laid on my heart…it’s a trial run…and I don’t know all the odds and ends yet.* I just wanted to get the word out before I got home so I could start working on raising the money.
I’m wanting to raise $5 a bag which for 100 purses will be $500 all together. I’m working on getting a group of women to help me put these bags together while I’m home so that I can have them ready for the mom’s when I get back in January. In each bag I want to include:
– two pieces of pre-cut fabric
– a needle
– a coin purse frame (which I found I can order in bulk off of Amazon)
After a mom gets done sewing her purse I will then place their name inside (so that I know who to pay) and I’m hoping to sell them for $10. While I’m first starting up $5 of that will go back into buying more supplies and then the other $5 will go to the mom.
I’m working on a set of rules as well as a Bible study so that we can dig into the Word first each time we meet and discuss their value and worth in the Lord’s eyes. I’m hoping to meet with them on Saturday mornings.
If you are interested in helping with this ministry in any way please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will let you know where to send the money to. If you think you will be interested in purchasing one of these coin purses please email me as well. And if you just have any other questions, advice, or wisdom for me I would love that to…I’m kinda walking by faith with this one.
Below are pictures of 23 of the moms that are interested in this ministry. I met with them last weekend and they all seemed very excited and anxious to get to sewing! Please take time to look through their pictures and read about some of their story…they are amazing women and I want you to know them by name and face so if anything you can be praying for them.
Nadia has one child, Louvinsky, which is in class with me. She is a 17 year old who has never been to school. She still lives at home with her parents and Louvinsky’s father isn’t in the picture. She hasn’t been able to find a job and is really excited about the coin purse ministry. She see’s this as an opportunity to provide (even if it is in a small way) for herself and most importantly Louvinsky.
Roselene is 38 and has 6 kids, one of which is in the nutrition program (Stoly). She is married, however it’s been very difficult for her and her husband to find work that pays enough to provide for 6 children as well as themselves. She stopped school at grade 3 and is currently unemployed. She would love to learn how to sew, but doesn’t have the money to do so. She is very excited about this opportunity not only to get the chance to do what she loves, but as another way to provide for her family.
Gislene is 21 years old and has 3 kids, one (Vielene) is in pre-school with me. She isn’t married, but the father does live with her. She said he doesn’t really help out financially. She was never able to go to school, but says she loves to sew. Therefore, she is really excited about being able to make something to sell and having another way to provide for her children.
Cedeline is 23 and has one child, Wedeline, who comes to pre-school with me. She is on her own taking care of Wedeline and can’t find a job. When she had Wedeline she had to stop going to school, she was is the 8th grade. While talking to her she expressed her desire to go back to school so that she could open up more opportunities for herself in being able to provide for her family. Until then she is really excited about this small opportunity of sewing the coin purses.
Guerda is such a sweet 24 year old who is the only provider and care-taker of her two girls. Both of her girls use to be in our baby-orphange ministry at NWHCM, however when we had to cut back on programs that was one of the first to go. Several of the babies we placed back in their homes if we knew it was a safe environment and her two girls were some of the few. Guerda loves these girls and I saw that through her frequent visits to the baby orphanage. Though it’s hard for her to provide for them without a job, being able to bring the girls to the nutrition program has been a huge help to her she said. She had to stop school at grade 7 once she had Katiana (her first daughter who is in pre-school with me), but she loves learning especially learning how to sew and speak English. She’s excited to have a way to provide for herself and her girls, even if it is in a small way.
Guerline is 24 and has one child, Samite, who comes to the nutrition program. She is the only one who takes care of Samite, the father isn’t in the picture. After having Samite she had to stop school at grade 9, however she really hopes she gets the chance to go back. She really wants to learn English and is excited about having a way to earn some money to help herself and her child.
Ifozie is 23 and has 4 children. She lives with her parents and the father of her children isn’t in the picture. She would love to go back to school to learn how to cook, but doesn’t have the means to. She is excited for this new opportunity so that she can have another way to help provide for her children and herself.
Medilia is 25 and has 4 kids. Marcnes, one of her children, comes to my pre-school class. She isn’t married and the father of the kids isn’t in the picture. After having her kids she quit going to school. She likes to cook and wants to go to school to learn how to make flower arrangements. She’s excited about having an opportunity to help provide for herself and her kids since she doesn’t have any other help.
Janette has an amazing heart, her family is very familiar around the mission, therefore I know a lot about her story. She is 45 and has 10 kids. One of her children is actually her nephew and she became his guardian after his mom passed away. I adore all her children and she’s actually come a long way in taking care of them and seems to be a really amazing mom. She is married, but he just recently left her and was never really able to find a consistent job to provide for their family. She hasn’t been able to find work either and had to stop school at grade 5. They were living in a shack until the rain and storms knocked it down and are now living in temporary housing that’s been paid for until we can get them a new house built (one of our staff members raised money to have them a house built). She would love to go back to school and to learn English so “she can understand Americans”. Her son Richie is in pre-school with me. She said she is always excited about other opportunity to provide for her family in some way.
Lou-Loune is 22 and has 2 kids. She is married and the dad seems to be a huge help. She went to school until grade 7 and would really love to go back, especially to learn how to make flower arrangements. She is excited about other way to help her children, herself, and her husband through this ministry.
Morlande is 26 and has 4 children. She is married, but her husband hasn’t been able to find work. She went to school until grade 6 and would really love to go back. She wants to learn how to sew. She’s really excited about this opportunity to learn how to sew something as well as provide for her family in some way.
Fi-Fi has 4 children and is married. This is her second time being married, because the father of her first three children passed away. She did go to school, but stopped at grade 2. She would love to go back to school and learn how to read. She’s excited about this ministry so that she can have some help in providing for 3 of her children since they no longer have a father.
Moleque is 23 and has 3 kids. She is married, but he lives in the Dominican. However, the father does help in providing for their family. She went to school until grade 6. She would love to go back to a school where she can learn different trades. She is very excited about this ministry, not only as a way of helping herself and her children but for learning something new too.
Saint Therese is 42 and has 4 children. She was married, but he passed away. Her youngest, Natchcard, comes to pre-school with me. She was never able to go to school. She adores her children and loves doing anything that involves them. She is really excited about learning something new and having another way to help herself and her children.
Guerlie is 20 and has three kids. One of her children isn’t her own, but his mom is disable and unable to take care of him so she took him in. His name is Wensley and he comes to pre-school with me. She went to school until grade 6 and would love to go back to some type of trade school to learn how to sew. She is grateful for another way to help provide for herself and her children.
Rosette is 24 and has two children. Her youngest, Ki-Ki, is in pre-school with me. She is such an amazing lady and was put in charge over all the moms by one of our Haitian leaders. She went to school until grade 2 and then stopped going. She loves to sew and is really excited about this opportunity to learn more about sewing and to help provide for her family in some way.
Marita is 21 and has two children. Both her children are in the nutrition program and her youngest, Marline, is in pre-school with me. She isn’t married, however the dad does help her as well as lives with them. She went to school until grade 6 and is really excited about an opportunity to learn something new, especially sewing because she’s very interested in it. She is grateful to have another way to help provide for herself and her family.
Erlande is 25 and has 3 kids. Her youngest, Jeffly, is in pre-school with me. She isn’t married, but the father does help out. She went to school until grade 8 and would really love to go back to a trade school and learn how to sew. She is happy to have a way to help provide for herself and her family.
Alieta is 27 and has three kids, her youngest, Lyse, is in pre-school class with me. She is married and was able to go to school until grade 7. She enjoys sewing and making beautiful flower arrangements. She’s excited for an opportunity to help herself and her family, even if it is in a small way.
Icelia is 47 and has 5 kids. Salmon, her youngest, is in pre-school class with me. She isn’t married and the father isn’t in the picture. She has never been to go to school, but she is excited for this opportunity to learn something new as well as have a way to provide for her family in some way.
Berlande had to become a mom at the very young age of 14. Her mother died and her father isn’t in the picture. She does live with her aunt and basically takes care of her three siblings. She went to school last year and was in grade 6, but didn’t have the funds to continue going this year. She really wants to go back to school and to be able to help her siblings in some way, so she is really excited about this opportunity.
Please be in prayer for these moms, their children, and the Lord’s guidance with this ministry.
As many of you may recall, at the end of the ’90s classic Forrest Gump, the film’s eponymous main character invests some of his hard-earned money in a “fruit company” by the name of Apple Computer Inc. A British site has done the math on what his investment might be worth today, and the results are staggering. If Forrest invested his Bubba Gump Shrimp Company profits in Apple to the tune of $100,000, he would have an estimated seven billion dollars today.
Since none of us had that kind of fortune, it is easy to think we can’t really invest in something that has incredible value. But is is simply not true. We can invest in a cause so much greater, that lasts so much longer, and that profits so much more than money. The scriptures put it this way:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
The $25.00 in the picture may not seem like much of a treasure. Until you know where it came from and what it is for. A young girl at LifeQuest Church has been hearing for a long time about the orphans at Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. She wanted to do something to help and she heard that Mr. John and Mrs. Alana were going to see the orphans. She did extra chores around her house and earned $25.00. She gave it back to her mom and told her to give it to the orphans at Northwest Haiti.
This precious second grader knows nothing of investments, interest, or the stock market. What she knows is that there are children who don’t have very much and she wants to help.
So next week, while we are in Haiti, the Miriam Center kids are going to be treated to an awesome blessing because one girl invested for the long haul.
What are you investing in?
I spoke a few weeks ago at LifeQuest Church about the life of Solomon. Quoting from the book of Ecclesiastes I mentioned the following:
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
The point of the passage is sin, while unique and exciting for a season, is not new. In fact, all sin comes from the same source of pride and rebellion as every other sin; the human heart. Life on the other hand teaches us we need to see in new ways, with fresh eyes and changing perspectives.
Beloit College in Wisconsin publishes an annual “Mindset List” of how the incoming freshman class of that year sees the world. The list for the Class of 2016 came out this week with some amazing ways in which their lives have been shaped and how it has shaped their views of the world. Here are some examples:
1) They have always lived in “cyberspace” addicted to “electronic narcotics.”(He said as he typed his post to attach to his blog on the web!!!)
2.)Robert De Niro has always been Greg Fockers father-in-law, not Vito Corleone.
3.) They have never seen an airline”ticket.”
4.)For most of their lives, the Secretary of State of the United States has been a woman
5.) Bill Clinton is a senior statesman whose presidency they know little about.
6.) They can’t imagine that people “carry” luggage instead of roll it.
7.) There has always been a football team in Jacksonville, but never in Los Angeles. (Not a good team, but a team nonetheless.)
8.) Having grown up with iPods and Mp3 players they have almost no use for the radio.
9.) They have no recollection of when Arianna Huffington was a conservative.
10.)Little Caesar has always been proclaiming “Pizza Pizza.”
- For the complete list, check out “The Mindset List” at www.themindsetlist.com.
My point is this, times do change. People change, culture changes and the world changes. What doesn’t change in the course of natural history is man’s need for God. Man always has and always will need to know God loves and God cares.
We, as followers of Christ, are God’s instruments to fulfill this need. We are missionaries. We are servants. We are pastors. All of us. Not by training or by vocation, but by God’s design and God’s purpose all those who claim Jesus as Lord are by necessity servants of Him.
Times change. The need does not. How are we, the ones who have been changed at the heart level, going to impact this world with the message of Christ?
One Life Adventures because Every Life Matters!
One of the ideas behind One Life Adventures was to connect churches and ministries together to serve missions and missionaries. We didn’t really have a blueprint for what that would look like, but we knew God had laid it on our hearts.
When Sent Life Church and LifeQuest Church partnered for our first trip into Haiti in June 2012, we knew we were on to a good way to bring local bodies of the church together to serve. What we didn’t know was that God would expand our vision and our opportunities while we were on the mission field.
While we were at Northwest Haiti Christian Mission several important items came to our attention. One that struck a chord in my heart was the need for some spiritual care for the missionaries serving at the mission. Haiti is an incredibly hard place to live. The electricity put out by a generator means you have a limited time to get accomplished what many of us take for granted daily. There is no mail service to speak of so letters and packages from home are not easily attainable. Most of the missionaries are separated from their families for months at a time and there is little in the way of “comfort food” to make life a little more relaxing.
In my conversations with the staff I also realized these people spend most of their time pouring out with very little being poured into them. This sparked a crazy idea for Paul and me; “what if we could pastor the missionaries?” I don’t mean move to Haiti and plant a church full of missionaries, but what could we do to make sure they were encouraged and blessed spiritually?
“Operation Barnabas” was birthed out of this question. If you are not familiar with it, you can read the details on the blog. The idea is simply to partner missionaries with people to pray for and encourage them on a regular basis. So far, we have about half the missionaries partnered with people. If you would like to join up, let me know and we will get you partnered.
The second step is a return trip to the mission in October 2012 to lead a staff retreat for the mission. I (John) and my wife Alana will be going October 8-13 to serve the mission staff. Paul is still trying to see if he can work all the details out to join us. Here is the thing: we need help.
The cost for the trip is about $950 per person. We need to have this paid off by September 8 in order to make this trip work. I am asking if you feel led to support us at any level, that you make a check out to LifeQuest Church and mail it to 3998 SW Leighton Farms Ave. Palm City, FL 34990.
Any amount of money will help and all of the money will be used to serve the mission staff and to breathe spiritual joy and health into their lives. I believe God wants this to happen and He will provide.
Please pray for us and the staff at NWHCM as we seek to model spiritual health and refreshment into one another’s lives.
I have been making my way through the book of Jeremiah recently in my devotions. I am always fascinated how God takes humans who are flawed, frail and apt to faint and uses them to communicate his eternal truths. Jeremiah was a man who struggled to understand exactly what was happening and why, but he trusted in the sovereignty of God and spoke the eternal words of god to the nation of Israel. The words were often difficult and not very encouraging, but he spoke the truth clearly and without apology.
In Jeremiah 13, God tells Jeremiah to buy a belt and to bury it in the desert under a rock. Many days later God tells him to go and dig it up. Jeremiah describes the condition of the belt as follows: “it was ruined and completely useless.”
God then tells Jeremiah the condition of the belt represents his plan to “ruin the pride of Judah and Jerusalem.” Why would God ruin his people? Why would he allow them to suffer disgrace in front of the other nations? God allows this for one simple reason: they follow the stubbornness of their own hearts (Jeremiah 13:10).
When we begin to pursue our own agendas, follow our own desires, and seek our own glory, we walk away from the humble state required of us to live in right relationship with God. Pride and submission are mutually exclusive in the kingdom of God. Instead of seeking the desire of our own hearts, God has called us to have renewed minds to seek after him and to be conformed to his good and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2).
The lie of our culture is to follow our own heart. The problem is the heart of humanity is deceitful and wicked. We seek our own desires, our own pleasures and our own glory when left to our own heart. It is only in submission to God that we begin to live beyond ourselves and into the world and kingdom to which we are called.
Paul notes the humility of Christ in Philippians 2 as the model the Christian is to pursue. We are to set aside our agenda, our pride and our glory for the eternal glory of God. In doing so, our lives will impact other lives and eternity. Our calling is not to be a useless garment, but to be a living and loving organism impacting our world with the love and grace of Jesus.
Whose glory are you seeking? Whose heart are you following? What things do you need to change to become useful in the Kingdom of God?
So, here is the next phase project for One Life Adventures. Operation Barnabas is a prayer and encouragement ministry in support of the mission staff of Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. For those of you who may not know, Barnabas was a supporter and encourager of Paul in the New Testament. In fact his name literally means “Son of Encouragement.” (Acts 4:36)
Here is how it works:
- You will be given the name and e-mail address of a missionary with Northwest Haiti Christian Mission.
- You will agree to pray for that missionary on a regular basis and to contact that missionary weekly through e-mail, Facebook or other contact and encourage them. You can send Bible verse, encouraging articles or quotes and find out special needs that they may have that you can pray for.
- You will become a regular part of feeding their souls as we support and encourage them in their ministry.
To sign-up for Operation Barnabas, contact John Harvey at John@lifequestchurch.com and you will be assigned a missionary. We will have more than one person assigned to each missionary. Thanks for your support.
“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:10-11
One of the most amazing aspects of having a heart and desire for missions and missionaries is how God shapes and challenges our hearts and minds in the task of going, serving, and sharing. But what happens after we return home? How does the investment of our life for a week in a Third World country really impact us in the First World? How do we keep a fire stoked for the people, the work, the full-time missionaries who impacted our lives so deeply while we were there? Is it possible for our “mission trip” to become a mission mindset?
Here are three very practical and powerful ways God has shown me to stoke the fire to serve the mission and missionaries I work with in Northwest Haiti now that we have been home for a few weeks.
REFLECT– “The beautiful thing about obedience is seeing what God had in mind.” Henri Nowen
We spent six months preparing for our trip and making sure we understood what it was we were heading into as we ventured to Haiti. Now that we are home, it is important to reflect at a deeper level to see what it was that God did in us and through us as we were serving.
To reflect is not to simply look at pictures or tell stories; although those things certainly help in the reflection process. To reflect is to dig into the deeper elements of our experience and to see what it was that God showed us. We answered the call to obedience to go to Haiti, now is the time we reflect back and see what it was that God wanted to show us about ourselves, our faith, our pride and Himself.
Now that we are home, reflect back and see what it was God wanted to show you in your obedience to serve him and others.
PRAY- “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18
In Haiti we were driven to our knees to pray because we were helpless in our own power. Now that we are home, don’t lose the passion and desire to pray for what God opened our eyes to see and our hearts to feel. The need has not changed. The kids in the Miriam Center still have serious needs. The missionaries you got to know and love still are tired and weary; especially as the last groups of summer are coming and going this time of year. The mission still needs funds to carry on the ministry. The people we met going hut to hut are still hungry; spiritually and physically. The “Bracelet Bandits” still need Jesus.
By praying we can impact the eternal realm from our home and can partner with our Haitian family to be a part of the God work taking place in Haiti. Pray for one child, one missionary, one need, one bandit.
PREPARE– The habits of today will develop your foundations for the tomorrow.
If you begin now to prepare for how you are going to leverage your experience overseas to last more than one week, you will see an impact that is eternal and fruitful. Was your journey to Haiti a “one off” event in your life? What I mean is you can see your trip as simply an event that is now over or the beginning of a lifelong journey. Maybe you won’t return to Haiti or anywhere overseas, but God still wants you to be connected with his mission to the nations.
There are needs you can meet. You can raise funds for special projects. You can support a child in the Miriam Center. You can help fund the mission staff. You can raise awareness of the need and desperation of people you met. In short, you can continue to care and serve in the midst of life in the States.
God’s calling is not for the short-term. We may not serve overseas longterm and we may never see people we interacted with again, but God has given you a unique insight and perspective in the world of missions. Don’t waste what God has begun in your heart.
In the next few days I will be sharing some prayer needs. I am looking for people willing to commit to lift up God’s work in powerful, committed prayer. If you want to be part, keep an eye out for the updates or contact me directly.
One Life is not over!! In many ways, the journey has just begun!!!