Tag Archives: Haiti

30 Days of Thankful: Day 24

My friend Donna always makes me think.  She gives us a great strategy to take our thoughts captive through what she calls “spinning toward thankfulness.”

GUEST BLOG: Donna Elyea

I planned and prepared for months to return to Haiti – specifically to Minoterie, the village my church has adopted through our partnership with Mission of Hope, Haiti. It would be my third visit and I had been so looking forward to visiting with my Haitian friends, seeing the changes taking place, continuing to build relationships, and ministering there. Two days before departure, my precious team of women learned that we would not be able to go to Minoterie!

This was a mild shock and a severe disappointment. Yet, even as my heart felt the impact of this change of plans, my thoughts were changed by God’s Word as I prayed. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “In everything by prayer and supplication (asking), with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (emphasis mine)

Prior to departure, I tried to take my thoughts of disappointment captive by spinning them into thankfulness. For example, though we would not go to “our” village, we would be able to see another part of the country to broaden our understanding and perspective. We would not get to see all of our friends in the village but, thanks to social media, could reach out through social media and invite them to meet us at church.

As other fears or obstacles entered my thoughts, I “spun” those into thankfulness as well. Many of our team members were dealing with illnesses themselves or with family members just as we were to depart. How to be thankful? The Bible tells us that in our weakness, He is strong. I was thankful that we would be walking in God’s strength and not our own.

As I considered that our team was all women and any fears for our safety cropped up, I chose to be thankful for the opportunity to really see God for who the Bible says He is: Our Defender, our Rock, our Strength, our Peace. I thanked Him that He would be our Protector.

Now that our team has returned from the trip, I see that God certainly honored every prayer of thankfulness. He wrote a beautiful story for us that none of us could have expected or imagined. I think I will not wait until my next Haiti trip to “spin” my thoughts toward thankfulness!




Day Nine: Five Life-Changing Minutes

It’s Day Nine of our 21 Day Watch.   Many today wrestle with anxiety, a sign of the troubling times in which we live.  A good way to calm anxiety is to watch for signs of God at work.  We grow in our faith as we enlarge our view of God.  Sometimes it helps to look at God’s “big picture.” My friend Rebecca was pouring out God’s love to the hurting and broken in a small village in Haiti, when God surprised her with a glimpse into His larger purpose. As she was serving others, He brought healing to her own heart and renewed her hope.  As you read Rebecca’s words, I pray your hope is restored, too.

GUEST BLOG: By Rebecca Woodman

Over Thanksgiving 2014, my eight-year-old daughter and I traveled with a team from our church to serve the amazing people of Haiti. I experienced a life-changing five minutes on that trip. On day three, we ventured into the heart of a village to pray over the people and simply give away God’s love. We wandered through the dirt-clad streets filled with beautiful brown people with the biggest smiles you have ever seen. We happened to come upon one particularly special corner of the village.

A strikingly beautiful woman came out of her home. We sensed that she wanted to talk. She told us that she could not go to church because she did not have the right clothes to wear. Uninformed about the local customs, we were quick to reassure her that God was not concerned with clothing. But our translator began explaining that in the Haitian culture, it does matter that you have the appropriate garments to wear to church. So, the prayer then became that God would provide the necessary clothing. After more conversation, she told us that she wanted to know Jesus completely. This lady then got down on her knees and prayed the prayer to ask forgiveness of sins and for God to fully reign in her heart and life. Our hearts leapt with joy!


As if that mountaintop were not enough, I began to stand up, wiping the tears away just as three Haitian children started pulling on my skirt and leading me over to another woman.  We walked up to this dilapidated fence and she begins to hand her infant son to me. Of course I am utterly confused by this gesture, so I ask the translator, “What are these children trying to say to me?” He says, “She wants you to have her baby.”


She wants you to have her baby.” My husband and I have longed to adopt since first meeting in college. We have always believed that we would one day have an African-American son through adoption.  But our journey has been very confusing for us, filled with much loss and trauma. After three easy, healthy pregnancies with our daughters, we delivered our first stillborn son, Owen Charles, on February 21, 2012. Medical personnel had no explanations. Then, several months later I became pregnant with another child. It seemed that it could only be God when we learned that it was another boy and he was due one year later to the day of Owen’s due date.

We prayed fervently and had a community surrounding us who believed that this second pregnancy was part of God’s redemptive story. God had different plans that we still don’t necessarily understand or like, but that is what faith is all about. We delivered our second stillborn son, Levi Bradley, on February 7, 2013.

We now step back and continue to process what God may have desired for us to understand through those very powerful five minutes in Haiti. We believe He was pulling back the curtain to reveal that somewhere He does have a baby for us to adopt. Knowing that our dream/calling was to adopt a dark-skinned son, the gesture of this woman holding her son up for me symbolized God’s promise that He would provide a child one day who would be handed to us in love. And, if we are incredibly blessed, it will be a dark-skinned boy just as our hearts desire. We believe in faith that there will eventually be a son who shares our name and we are able to live out the gospel in our living room, all because of a life-changing five minutes in Haiti.

Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see {Hebrews 11:1}.

*To read more about Rebecca’s journey, click here.  Follow her on twitter @becwoodman

“Lord, even the demons obey us when we use Your Name!”

When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” (Luke 10:17). 

We learn in Isaiah 58 that God loves it when our fasting helps people break free from bondage. “This is the kind of fasting I want,” God explains. “Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.”  Jesus sent out the seventy two with instructions to heal people suffering from diseases and demons.  “Look,” He told them,  “I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy.” (Luke 10:19 NLT).   But I wonder. Does Jesus still give us that same kind of authority?  Read what happened when my friend Kris found herself way out of her comfort zone with nothing to depend on but the name of Jesus.

GUEST BLOG: By Kris McBride

When I went to Haiti on a missions trip, I knew prayer would play a crucial role in seeing God work.  I asked God for unity for our team, for His mighty power, and for protection.  But I could never have imagined how He would answer those prayers.

One day we went into a village.  Our group of five had stopped to pray for one of the villagers, when a woman rushed over to us with an urgent message.  Our Haitian interpreter told our team to quickly follow him, for we had important business to attend to.

We arrived at a nearby home and saw a man stumbling around the courtyard with a blood soaked bandage around his head.  Our interpreter placed a chair on the porch and motioned for the man to sit down.  The man’s eyes were cloudy and his movements jerky. He couldn’t keep his arms and legs still.  As he told his story, our team silently prayed.

The man explained that the local witch doctor had put a curse on him.  Since then, he seemed to be tortured by some kind of evil spirit.  Our interpreter  instructed us to begin praying.  All we knew to do was to pray Scriptures affirming the power of the name of Jesus.  We claimed His authority over all things.

After praying for ten or fifteen minutes, we commanded the spirit to leave the man in the name of Jesus Christ.  Suddenly, he was thrown out of his chair and hit the door!  After he sat up, he started repeating these words:  “Victory in Jesus.  Victory in Jesus!”

We were in awe, sensing the power and presence of God.  As I looked into the man’s eyes I noticed they were no longer cloudy.  He was able to sit calmly without jerking his legs and arms.  Everyone broke into singing and praising God.  His family was in tears and gave thanks to God.   The man couldn’t stop praising the name of Jesus. None of us had ever experienced anything like it before! We were humbled that God allowed us to witness His great power and authority in healing this man from his affliction.


The Power of Touch

Help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon (Isaiah 58:10 NLT).

I’m camping out in Chapter 58 of the book of Isaiah for a few more days.  This chapter gives the longest set of instructions I could find on fasting from God, Himself.  As I study Isaiah 58, I’m struck by how much it matters to God that fasting should include interceding for those unjustly oppressed.  Maybe that’s why our fasting and prayer for Saeed’s release from imprisonment felt so right.  Sometimes, we experience God most profoundly when we pour out our lives for the broken of this world.  This truth came alive for my friend Bekah in the most unlikely of places.

GUEST BLOG:  THE POWER OF TOUCH       By Bekah Brinkley

I was recently on a mission trip to Haiti when the Lord graciously showed me how powerful touch can be. Touch can bring hope and healing or it can degrade and destroy.  I was struck by this contrast while ministering to prostitutes in a brothel in the middle of a seaside Haitian village.

As I held the hand of each woman, looked into her eyes and smiled, tenderly massaged lotion into her skin, and carefully painted her fingernails, I felt Him. Emmanuel, God with us.  One by one, each new friend received a tap on the shoulder for her next “appointment” where sadly, she would encounter a very different type of touch.

These women are accustomed to a touch that degrades, uses, and devalues. I was able to touch these women and bring hope, love, tenderness, and joy…but only through Jesus. I cannot bring any of those things in my own strength, for I, too, am broken and in need of healing touch. After all, the ground is level at the foot of the Cross.

We are each His beloved. His touch binds our broken hearts and makes us whole. His touch brings life, hope, and dignity. His touch says, “You are loved. You are beautiful. Not because of what you can give Me or do for Me, but because you are Mine. I know you and I love you. I bought you in love to set you free. Now go and live in the freedom of My love for you.”  In this context, these words come alive: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1).

While I painted their fingernails, my new friends shared openly how they long for another way to provide for their families, but they don’t feel they have a choice. There is already a limited job market in Haiti and many of these women are illiterate. It broke my heart to watch them wrestle with the desire to live differently, but not have the opportunity to do so. Their children are hungry, and rice and beans are often payment for sex. What’s a mom to do?

Lord, this can’t be right. Please restore their dignity. Make another way for these women to use their minds, their hands, and their voices. They are beautiful. They are Yours. I know You have greater plans for each one of them. Make a way, I beg You.

My mind began racing with ideas.  But my prideful heart began to explode and He brought me to my knees when these women asked if they could paint my fingernails in return. Oh, what tenderness. Oh, what a gift. I am a woman undone.

God doesn’t need me, but He loves me and chooses to use me in His story of hope and redemption. He works in me. He works through me. He is relentless in His pursuit of my full affection. He used women working as prostitutes to minister to my soul with simple strokes of a beautiful maroon nail polish as I sat in the center of a brothel in a seaside village in Haiti. That’s my God. That’s how far He will go to pursue my undivided affection.

 Click here to check out more of Bekah’s writing.  Follow her on twitter.