Monthly Archives: June 2011

Taking Time to Love as Jesus Loves

I am going to try not to be so long tonight. Those of you who know me well know that this is almost an impossible task. We worked in the church in Carrefour today and although I have a gazillion stories to choose from of how God has worked today, I wanted to focus tonight on what God is doing within our team. Our devotional today was led by a super great friend on our team named Andy. He led us to examine Ephesians 4, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Then it says later that we, as the body of Christ, are “joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” These verses perfectly describe what is going on here in Haiti right now. Some of you may wonder how we ended up with this team from Canada, and to make a long story short, God simply led our family to them through a Google search weeks ago because He has a divine plan. We have knitted ourselves together as servants of the Lord and He is using us each according to the gifts he has given us to accomplish great things. This group is not only made up of Americans and Canadians, but Haitians as well as we work every day with the translators, doctors, and nurses from here in Haiti. There is no way to explain the bond we have all formed without giving total glory to God. We ended this day tonight beside the pool at our hotel singing praises together and sharing stories of how God not only used each of us to meet physical needs of these broken and hurting people, but also spiritual needs among the people as well. We made very personal and intimate connections with people that we couldn’t even really communicate any other way other than through the power of the Holy Spirit as we loved them as JESUS would love them. I am so thankful that Jesus doesn’t see dirt or color but rather the heart and soul of every human being on this planet, and He calls us to love each other just as He has loved us…not as people of other countries or other races…not seeing ourselves as better than anyone else, but as children of the LIVING God, created in His image, and deeply loved by our Father. We have truly experienced this love with not only our Canadian friends on this trip, but our Haitian friends as well. Thank you Jesus for giving us the ability to love as YOU love. Amen!
…and good night our friends. Thank you again for your prayers. God is using you MIGHTILY!!!

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The Joy of Ministry

We have been in Carrefour two days now and I must say we hit the ground running! Yesterday we arrived at our hotel too early to check in so we waited for the GAIN team to get here and caught up on updates with friends and family back home. When the team arrived, we all made our introductions and immediately left out for our first mobile medical clinic. Not only were we with the GAIN team from Canada, but we also had 3 extra friends along. There were three college students here from Texas who have been here a week and plan to stay until around August 15th. They are just going from one orphanage to another helping with whatever work they can do. Great guys! They love the kids.

It was a very bumpy ride to the village of Laoganne. We went to an orphanage that was located right on the beach. We quickly set up for clinic and began inviting children to come. At first there were only a few children there from the orphanage so we went out into the community asking families to come. Before we knew it, we had a house full of children and adults. Around 7:45 the power shut off, so we were finishing up in the dark by flashlight. We packed up around
8:15 and headed back to the hotel. Over the course of the ride everyone seemed oblivious to the bumpy ride this time.
We were eating up all of the snacks we had packed. We were
passing around granola bars, chips, sandwiches, etc. Very
hungry people!…and extremely tired, but the Lord did some amazing things at the orphanage. I had an opportunity to pray with a little girl who said she wanted to know Jesus. I also talked to her father through an interpreter about how his children wanted him to be a man who loves Jesus. I pray that God will continue to use the words He gave me to speak to this man and do a work in his life. It was really cool to watch Tony and Jonathan working with the medical team and Jacob playing with the children. At one point I organized a sing off between the boys and girls to pass the long waiting
time. They loved it!

This morning we had our prayer and devotional time with the team and headed out to a local church/school in Carrefour. We worked from about 9 this morning until around 5:30 in the evening. We treated over 200 people! Jonathan worked in the pharmacy, Tony assessed patients, Jacob helped in MANY various ways, and I worked some in pharmacy then did an education lesson with people in the waiting area about clean water and how to use sanitary practices to avoid illness and disease. The people were very receptive and participated well. It was really fun. I can tell that the people here really do want to change how they do things to take better care of themselves. As we show them the love of Jesus by loving and caring for them, they want to know Jesus as well.

One cool thing that happened today was when I saw a man come in who was clearly very ill. His eyes were weak and he was holding onto his wife to help him walk. He looked very tired and afraid. When he sat down in the waiting area in pharmacy after seeing the doctor, he sat next to a young girl who had been talking with me about how she loves Jesus and she talks with Him every day. She said Jesus is the reason she has to smile each day. (She spoke pretty good English.) When the man sat down I looked at him, and my heart just broke for him. I took his hand and asked him if I could pray with him. He said yes and began to cry. The young girl also took my hand and said she would like to pray for him too. As I prayed, the man began to sob. He clenched my hand hard and shook. I prayed that God would give him strength and healing and that He would remove the fear this man felt in his heart. After I prayed, the girl prayed in creole. I could feel the man’s hand begin to relax as we prayed. Afterwards I went to get him some water and by the time he finished the water, he was sitting up and no longer crying…even smiling! I could tell that God had answered our prayers and this man would walk away from the clinic a different man.

I could tell many, many stories like this one, but this post is already long, and I need to get on to bed. I just ask you to please continue to pray for the Haitian people that they would find hope and healing from their brokenness.
Blessings to you all.

Mickie

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Leaving Ganchier

It is Sunday and we are now preparing to leave Ganthier and move on to Carrefour. Yesterday was amazing. We went to see the development and all the work that is being done. It is BEAUTIFUL up there.  God is already providing in miraculous ways. There is a brand new power line that the city put in that goes right along the property. It doesn’t go much farther than the border of it. This line will provide electricity to the house and clinic! No one really knows why they put in the line, but we do! God led them to do it to provide for the needs of those living there! Thank you Lord!

We met the man who guards the property, Estimie, and he loved on us. These are precious people. He explained that his wife died 7 years ago but God has recently blessed him with a new wife and soon a new home with this new development. When Tony said that he was a nurse and may come run the clinic, the man began to cry and thanked him with a big bear hug.

We also met a lady named Da-Da who runs an orphanage. We sang with the children and they sang for us. They also performed for us a skit of the Good Samaritan. I fell in love with her newest baby, Denushka. Denushka’s mother died when she was 2 months old. Her father took her to Da-Da because he could not care for her. The baby was near death. Now she is 8 months old and very healthy. Da-da has a wonderful ministry in Ganthier. Children fill her place every Saturday to sing and learn about Jesus. She has a wonderful ministry.

Yesterday afternoon our tap-tap drivers took us to see the lake in Ganthier. It was about a 20 minute drive over rough roads. The water was beautiful blue and rough. It isn’t completely fresh water. It is a little bit salty. It felt good to get our feet wet and have some relax time.

When we got back to the dorm we prepared for dinner. Jacob and I decided to go look around the school while we waited for dinner. We saw the chalkboard that had algebra lessons on it and some English study. Around the corner we found a group of boys playing soccer. They moved their game to the concrete play area near our dorm and Jacob and Vladimir joined in. The town boys were impressed with Jacobs skills when he got a hat trick. Ha. He and Vladimir played until time for dinner. They were very tired and sweaty. They got cleaned up and we had a wonderful dinner of jambalaya, corn, and fruit.

After dinner Vladimir talked to Coach Duchene who is the soccer coach in Port au Prince. He has arranged for a car to pick us up tomorrow to take Jacob to soccer practice in Crois de Bouquette (SP?). This is actually not far from Ganchier so I guess we will be traveling back that way tomorrow. I’m sure Jacob is excited about meeting the coach and playing some soccer. I think Vladimir is going to go with us to practice. We have become quite attached to our new friend. We wish we could just bring him back to the states with us! Ha! Maybe one day he can visit the states and meet all of our family and friends.  He said he would love that. You all would love him!

We are now in Carrefour at the hotel. I started this post before we left Ganthier. The drive here was interesting. We rode a tap-tap to the airport, then a driver in a truck picked us up for the rest of the trip to Carrefour. We saw the palace that was destroyed by the earthquake as well as many other destroyed buildings. Everywhere you look there are people moving about, trash on the ground, and exhaust in the air. It made me miss the countryside of Ganthier already. The hotel we are in is very nice however. It is tucked away on a hill with a fence around it and security. There is a pool and Internet! The boys and I are soaking up the opportunity to communicate with home! Ha!

I will go for now. I don’t want to make my post too terribly long. I just want everyone to know how blessed we feel that so many of you are praying for us. God is good and He is hearing your prayers.

Blessings to you all from Carrefour, Haiti.

Mickie West —-

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We made it!

Not much time or opportunity to post so I will make this short.
Praise the Lord we made it here and after a long day we are getting ready for bed. The first challenge was finding out our initial flight out of Jackson was overbooked and they put us on standby. But God reminded me that we are in His hands and he has a plan. We did not panic. We  trusted Him and did not lean on our own understanding. We got on the plan without incident. The next challenge was when we arrived in Haiti and met Barbara (PTL!) and we were headed out on a bus. A policeman stopped us and wanted to challenge the busses license. What he wanted was money. However, our precious leaders were not about to give in. We all started praying on the bus and suddenly the officer gave up and let us go without incident. Our God is a mighty God. We are staying in a fairly nice dorm especially for Haitian standards. We cooked red beans and rice and ate mixed fruit out on the steps in the cool Haitian breeze. Jonathan played his guitar and we visited with our new friends. Tomorrow we are heading over to the property. Hopefully I can post again tomorrow. Thanks be to God for His provision and protection. And thank you for your prayers!!
Good night!

Mickie West —-

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Departure approaching

Today it hit me that a week from today we will have been in Haiti as a family for two days and we will have already had an opportunity to see the new community that may possibly become our home soon. As I try to picture us standing on that country side, looking out over the land and the construction, looking into the faces of children, men, and women who may one day become our neighbors and extended family, I am reminded of a verse in Psalms that says, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Ps 16:3). As this day grows closer and closer, I find myself trying to imagine what it will be like to be there. No matter how hard I try, I know that there is no way to possibly imagine what it is going to be like. I have so many questions floating around in my head. But my heart yearns to be where God wants us to be. Wherever that place may be, I want nothing more than to be THERE and TOTALLY COMMITTED to bringing about HIS plan for our lives and the lives of everyone who shares our lives. I pray that each one of us in our family will continue to constantly seek God’s will for our lives individually and as a family. And as we seek His will, each one of us, whether in Haiti, in the US, or anywhere else, will live our lives in such a way that we  “let our light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise our Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Please pray for each of us as we prepare. Thank you.

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update

Well, it’s been a few days since my last post because we have been out of town and there have been several changes in our plans for our upcoming family visit to Haiti. All of these changes have reminded me that God is in control, and no matter what plans we make ourselves, ultimately God has a plan, and He brings it about in His timing. The plan now is to first go to the FBCJ development for a couple of days and see what all God has going on there. Then we will take our friend Barbara to the airport after which we will be transported to Carrefour where we will connect with a mission organization out of Canada called GAIN. This organization has been doing some wonderful things for the people of Haiti. On this particular trip, we will be working in some medical clinics and doing some construction work in a local orphanage. We will be with the GAIN team the whole time we are there.

As far as the plans to meet up with the soccer coach are concerned, we probably will not get to see him this time. The only way to get down to Cap Haitien would be by way of a commuter flight which would cost about $750. We decided that this kind of trip is not in the budget right now. Jacob is fine with it though because he is really looking forward to working with GAIN in the clinics and orphanage. We still might get a chance to meet up with Tony’s friend with Samaritan’s Purse, but we aren’t counting on that either. Jonathan will indeed get to do some medical shadowing and work though, so that is exciting.

I’m making this post short…compared to others, ha! We are out of town right now at Jacob’s regional soccer tournament. We will be home Sunday evening. Wednesday night we will get to pray with our church family at Crossgates and the next day we leave for our first trip as a family to Haiti. Until next time, we appreciate so much your thoughts and prayers. This time next week we will be finishing up our mission in Haiti and preparing for our last day before returning home.

 

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God uses us each uniquely

Once again I am amazed by how God has designed each one of us uniquely and how He begins from before we are even born to lay out a plan that includes opportunities and experiences that will guide us to the path that He desires for us. Today yet another exciting thing happened in our journey to Haiti. Remember in the first post I told the story of how the Haitian soccer coach called my cell phone and assured us that Jacob would have many opportunities to continue his training in soccer while we are in Haiti? Then in the last post, I mentioned that I hoped that Jacob would be able to meet Coach Peterson while we are visiting in a few weeks. Well…..

Today I was working in my classroom while Jacob took the ACT downstairs. I had called and left a message with Coach Peterson earlier in the morning because I wanted to make sure he was even going to be in Haiti while we are there. He called me back within 30 minutes. I explained to him that we have two days that are open between going to the FBCJ development site and the Samaritan’s Purse compound. He said that he could either meet us in Port au Prince at that time and meet Jacob, or we could go to where he lives in Cap Haitien and stay with him there for those two days and Jacob would be able to train with his players while we are there. If he met us in Port au Prince, we would have to get a hotel room and he would only get to meet Jacob, but Jacob couldn’t meet the team. He said that if we can get ourselves up to Cap Haitien, he can get us back to Port au Prince to meet Samaritan’s Purse at the airport. Of course, there are still quite a few details to work out, but the point I want to make is that God has uniquely designed each of us with our own talents, gifts, interests, etc. He also provides ways for us to be used in those areas. God has obviously given Jacob a unique athletic ability that He plans to use one day for His glory. Just as God is molding and growing Jonathan into a physician and has now provided a unique opportunity to allow Jonathan to be used in Haiti in the mobile clinics, he is providing opportunities for Jacob in the areas in which he is gifted as well.

This is so exciting to me…..to know that as we step out in faith as a family, we are not only being blessed as a whole, but individually as well. God is good. Here is what I wish you would pray for…Pray that God will open doors and provide a way for us to get from Port au Prince on the 26th to Cap Haitien and that our travels to and from will be under His divine protection. Amen!  and thank you!

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God will provide….

This was indeed an exciting day in the unfolding of God’s plan for our family and the people we will minister to in Haiti. If you have not read the earlier post about our upcoming trip to Haiti, be sure to click over there and read it! You will be amazed!! 🙂

One point I recall Stan Buckley making when we met with him about the community FBC Jackson is building was that his vision for this community is that they will eventually come to a place where they are not only growing their own food but making a living on their own. Well, as I have told many people about our plans, four different people have asked me this week if I have ever met the Huff family. Yesterday, as I was sharing our story with a young man at Cups, he too asked me if I knew the Huff’s because not only do they homeschool, but they also raise goats and produce their own goat’s milk and cheese and make goat’s milk lotion and goat’s milk soap. This was the fifth person to mention this family to me! Obviously, I felt like God was leading me to meet this family if for nothing else advice on how to homeschool. Later in the day, I had lunch with a friend at Fernando’s. After lunch, I realized that the store right next to Fernando’s is the place where they sell these candles that I have been wanting to buy. I went into the store, found the candles, and began smelling each one. The lady who worked there came to me and began to make conversation. She asked me if I have ever seen or used any of the goat’s milk soap or lotion from Hidden Arrows Farm made by the Huff family. Yes, she said the Huff family. She handed me a bar of their soap and it smelled fabulous!! Of course, I added the bar of soap to my purchase and headed out the door. As I was approaching my car, God revealed to me the reason why He wanted me to meet the Huff family. In Haiti, the most popular meats eaten by the Haitians are chicken and goat. They already know how to raise goats, but do they know how to make lotion and soap? Well, I realized that God wanted me to learn how to do this in order to show the people in this community how to make it, market it, and sell it to make money! I searched for information about Hidden Arrows Farm online and found the Huff’s phone number. I called Debbie Huff and immediately found a common soul and friend on the other end of the line. Debbie assured me that learning how to homeschool was going to be quite easy for us, and learning how to make products from goat’s milk was going to become a very rewarding experience.

I have decided that once we return from Haiti, Jacob and I are going to go spend a day or two with the Huff family and see what their farm is all about. Debbie said that they would take us through the entire process of making soap from goat’s milk. I am so excited about this!  It is just so amazing how God continues to guide our every step and provide each piece of the picture as we need to see it. Praise God for his guidance and revelation!!

More news later! I think this is about all the excitement I can handle in one day! Ha!

Blessings!!

Mickie

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More Amazing Steps

We are going to Haiti!! Today was yet another amazing day in the West journey to Haiti.

First of all, we ordered our tickets for our first visit as a family. We are leaving on June 24th to go to Haiti, and we will return on July 2nd. What’s even more exciting is that ALL of us are going! At first we didn’t think our oldest son, Jonathan, was going to be able to go. He will have just started his summer pre-med internship, and we were concerned that he would not be able to take a full week away. However, as it turns out, he is required to shadow for a certain number of hours with a physician as well as volunteer in some type of medical community service. Well, wait until you hear what God is working out….talk about community service! Ha!

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8.

On Tony’s first visit to Haiti with Samaritan’s Purse, he met a physician from West Virginia named Allen Holmes. Allen was not just his bunk mate at SP, he became a very dear friend. Like Tony, Allen  has returned numerous times to Haiti to work in the cholera clinics and love on the people there. Today, after we booked our flights to Haiti, Tony decided to call his friend Allen to get his opinion on how we should go about getting Jonathan an opportunity to shadow in the field with SP. Are you ready to hear how amazing our God is? Allen arrives in Haiti for another week of medical ministry on June 25th and leaves on July 2nd like us. We will probably be on the same flight as him from Haiti to Miami as we return home. Yes, God already knew we would be going during this very week, He already knew Jonathan would be going with us, and He already knew Jonathan would need someone to shadow. As Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” God knew all of this all along. Oh my, how He amazes me!! Wow. Okay, now that I have gathered myself back together, let’s continue.

We will arrive in Haiti on June 24th, and we will meet our dear friend Barbara Gladney there. She will have already been in Haiti with another missions team, but she has agreed to stay a few more days to be there with us when we arrive. Barbara will take us to the FBC Jackson project where we will stay for a few days and see what all is going on there. On the 29th, we will go with Barbara to the airport and she will return home. We will go on over to Samaritan’s Purse and join up with Allen there. For the next three days, Jonathan and Tony are hoping to get to join in on some medical mission work, and Jacob and I are hoping to meet Coach Peterson with the Haitian National Soccer League and maybe even get a chance to kick around with one of the teams there. We’ll let you know if he gets that opportunity! 😉

I cannot tell you how excited I am to have confirmation in hand that we are indeed making a trip to Haiti THIS MONTH!!

Since I have promised not to make my posts too long, I am going to close on this one now, but if you want to hear what else God did today, click on the next one! YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE  IT! Oh my goodness, our God is amazing!

May the Lord Bless You and Keep You,

Mickie

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From the beginning – This one is long…

It is amazing to me how God moves in a family. With our family, He began to move my heart toward missions about six years ago. I was at church one night, and the rest of my family was not there. I don’t remember where they were, but I do remember I was by myself. All through the service, God was speaking to my heart, pressing in on me, beckoning me to surrender my life to the mission field. I thought of all of the excuses throughout the service….my family isn’t here, we haven’t discussed this, where are you leading me, is this just me being emotional? At the invitation, I found myself immediately stepping forward. I went to talk to the missions pastor at the time and he prayed with me. He said he would continue to pray with me about it. After that night, I found myself thinking about it all the time. I did not tell my family about it, but I did talk to my mother. I told her that I KNEW God was calling me to the mission field, but I didn’t feel the liberty to tell my family how I felt yet because I did not sense that they were getting the same message. She pointed out that God is not going to call one spouse into the mission field without calling the other spouse as well. She said that if God was indeed calling me, I did right by saying “yes,” but I must be willing to wait on God’s timing. We both agreed to start praying for God to move Tony’s heart towards missions as well if it is indeed God’s will that we move in that direction. As months and then three years passed, I continued to pray. I had decided that if now was not the time to go to another place, I would make my present location my mission field. I began to reach out to my students in my classes at school (I’m a high school English teacher). I was determined that every one of my students would see the love of Jesus in me. About three years later, my family and I decided to spend Christmas vacation at a ski resort in Panorama, Canada.  It was just the four of us there, and we had the most beautiful time together. We went out and found a Christmas tree, decorated it with lights and popcorn, and we spent our days skiing and evenings playing games, watching movies, and just enjoying each other’s company. On Christmas day, I cooked a BIG Christmas dinner and the boys came in from skiing and after blessing the food, we shared one of the most special Christmas dinners we have ever had together. God was using this time to bring us all closer together and prepare us for the first movement as a family towards his plan. After eating, God prompted me to share a little bit of what was on my heart. I told the boys that I felt like this was going to be our last big family vacation together for a while. I told them that I believed that God wanted us to start going on mission trips instead of vacations for the next season of our lives. Tony and I had already discussed this and he agreed, so I felt pretty good about sharing it with the boys. I was so relieved when they both agreed as well. It was as if God had already begun preparing their hearts for it!

Two months later, we all gathered together for lunch at our house after church one Sunday. Our youngest son, Jacob, asked us if we had seen the announcement in the church bulletin about the mission trip coming up to Brazil. As soon as he said it, I said, “Yes! I saw that!” Jacob said, “I think that is the mission trip we are supposed to go on.” I said that I felt like God was telling me the same thing. Our oldest son, Jonathan, agreed and said that he had seen it too and that he believed the same. Then Tony said, “Well, maybe I should have read the bulletin today!” We all laughed and agreed that we would go to the interest meeting. At the meeting, we found out that it was going to be extremely expensive for all four of us to go, but we had also decided that we were going to commit to the Lord to go.  A few days later, as we gathered together at the table again and agreed that God was calling us to go on this mission trip to Brazil and we were not going to let anything get in the way of our committment. We followed all the instructions given and sent out letters asking for support to help us go on the trip. In no time, our trip was funded and we were set to go. In the meantime, God had prompted Jacob to plan to take soccer balls with him to Brazil to give away, so he asked the leader of our team if he could do that. Dr. Jett said he could and so we ordered 30 soccer balls and stuffed them in a suitcase. He ended up giving them to a boys orphanage, a men’s prison, a local youth soccer organization, and a few individuals. While in Brazil, it was such a blessing to me to see both of my boys ministering to people they didn’t know, sharing the gospel with children and adults from another country, washing the feet of children and giving them a new pair of shoes, going to houses and loving on families who desperately needed the love of Jesus. God used all of us mightily that week.

Jonathan shares his testimony at the boys orphanage

Jacob washing a Brazilian boy’s feet before giving him new shoes
 
 Since that trip to Brazil, Jonathan has gone to Peru and Nicaragua on mission trips, Jacob has gone on some local mission trips, and Tony has been to Haiti four times – two of which were two-week trips. Obviously, God had begun to move in our family and was softening all of our hearts towards missions. My mom and I kept praying. When the earthquake hit Haiti, God began to do a huge work in my husband’s heart. As he drove to work, listening to the radio reports of the earthquake, his heart broke and he found himself in tears over a country that we knew nothing about. He called me and told me about how he felt and said, “I’m going to Haiti.” As soon as I hung up the phone, I broke down in tears of thanksgiving. God had moved our family slowly but steadily to the place where He wanted us, and now things were about to move more quickly. The first trip Tony took to Haiti was with our church. Just before he left, God prompted me to begin studying the book of Nehemiah. I poured my heart into the book, took notes, prayed asking God to speak to me and give me HIS vision for how he wanted to use us. When I finished my study, I wrote it all down and emailed my notes to Tony. After reading it, all he could say was, “Well that’s pretty big!” Indeed it was big. I didn’t understand it, but God was giving me a glimpse of a vision that was HUGE.  Tony went on to Haiti with BIG aspirations. On this trip, he thought he was going to be ministering medically to the Haitian people, but found out they were going to be doing construction and food distribution. At first he wanted to be disappointed, but God worked in his heart and made him realize that this was not about what Tony wanted, but what God wanted. God led my husband to seek GOD’s will instead of his own. After Tony returned, he was contacted by Samaritan’s Purse, and he began going on medical missions with SP. Each time he went, God miraculously provided a way for him to go, and every time he returned, he had fallen in love with the Haitian people a little bit more. After Tony’s second trip, God led us to begin a vitamin ministry. We named it First Fruits Vitamins. Our Sunday School teacher found a vendor who would sell us vitamins very cheaply and we began having packing parties. We would package a month’s supply of vitamins in a zipper snack bag and pack the bags in boxes. We shipped these to SP and they began sending them over with missionaries to their clinics who would distribute them to Haitian families in their mobile clinics. We began to think that this vitamin ministry would be the big plan God was revealing, but it wasn’t. Well, it may continue to be part of it, but it certainly was not the WHOLE plan. 🙂

The last time Tony went to Haiti, he worked in the cholera clinics with SP. He also was excited to see a box of bagged vitamins in one of the supply cabinets and find out that the vitamins we had sent were indeed going out. It was cool to see the vitamins actually IN Haiti and not in a box in his office. Ha!  As he was preparing to leave Haiti, a young couple tried to give him their 8 month old baby.  He explained through an interpreter that he could not take their child with him because that was illegal. One of the other missionaries took a picture of Tony holding this beautiful Haitian baby, and this one picture speaks volumes about how God was moving Tony’s heart. After he returned home, his heart was heavily burdened about this child. He called me at work one day and asked me if we were too old to adopt a baby. I said, “Of course not! But we will need to pray about it.” Tony agreed and that night we both began praying about what God wanted us to do and ask Him why He had broken Tony’s heart so over this child. That night, God spoke to Tony’s heart and asked him, “What good would it do the children of Haiti for you to adopt one child?” Of course, Tony couldn’t sleep after that, so he just lay attentive as God began to pour a vision into his heart. This vision was for an orphanage and school where Haitian children are raised to love Jesus, learn English, and prepare to enter colleges in the U.S. so that they could eventually return to Haiti with their education. He also envisioned a health clinic where we could teach Haitians about proper hygiene and nutrition. The vision kept growing and growing…. Tony was realizing that God did have BIG plans, and it was going to mean some BIG changes and committments.

This is the baby who God used to inspire the vision of the journey we are now on

As soon as he told me about his vision, I cried out to God in praise for answering my prayer of six years. God was calling my husband into the mission field, the time was now right, and I was more than happy to be in agreement. He went to talk to our missions pastor about it, and he was amazed! He told Tony that he needed to talk to a couple he knew at FBC Jackson. Tony called my brother, who goes to FBCJ, and he said that he indeed knows the Gladney’s and would see if they could get together for luch. They met for lunch the next day! Tony shared his whole vision with Barbara and she listened attentively. Once Tony finished, she pulled out two sheets of paper. They were architectural renderings of his EXACT vision! They were not located in the area of Haiti that Tony was thinking, but the plans were exactly what God was leading him to do! She explained everything they had done so far with the project, and said that they had been praying for God to send them the man or family that He had ordained to continue to carry this plan out in Haiti. Tony said, “I think that might be me.”  She said that God was prompting her spirit to agree.

A few weeks went by and Tony and I still had not told the boys. I was beginning to become anxious to share the news with them. Since our youngest son is a soccer player and hopes to have a future in college soccer, I was a bit concerned about how he would take the idea. I decided one day to do a Google search for Haitian Youth Soccer. I found a website and clicked Contact Us. I entered all of my contact information with a brief description of what we were doing. Three weeks went by and I was very anxious to tell the boys. Tony said we needed to continue to pray for the right time. On a Monday night, around 8:30, my cell phone rang. The voice on the other end was a foreign voice. All I understood were the words Haiti, soccer, Coach Peterson, and email. I said, “Let me let you speak to my husband.” Tony took the phone and spoke with the caller. When he got off the phone he seemed a bit shocked. The Head Coach of the Haitian National Youth Soccer Organization had called about Jacob! He explained to Tony that Jacob would have plenty of opportunities to continue to grow in his sport in Haiti. He is located not far from where we would be living, and he takes his teams all over the world to tournaments. Most of his players are heavily recruited by colleges in the U.S. and he encourages his players to get their education and return to Haiti….similar to Tony’s vision!! Ha! We were both blown away, and we knew it was now time to tell the boys. God had taken my one main concern and said, “I got this!” That following Wednesday night we shared the whole story with the boys and their response was simply, “Cool. When are we going?”  Of course, we explained to Jonathan that we have no doubt that God is going to continue to guide him through his education here at home while we are in Haiti. God has led Jonathan so clearly to Belhaven and to the medical field, and He continues to lead him on the path He has for Jonathan. We know that as God provides for us to go, he will also provide for Jonathan to get his degree and maybe even one day come work as a physician in Haiti. Whether that happens or not, we won’t know for quite a while, but one thing is for sure, God is in control, and He knows the paths that EACH of us will take over the course of our lives. Proverbs 16:9 says, ” The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” He is indeed establishing our steps.

Since that night, God has continued to reveal more and more of His plan. We are not sure WHEN we will be leaving, but one thing is for sure, whenever He is ready, WE ARE MOVING TO HAITI. We have said YES, and we are excited to see what else God has planned. For the first time in my life, I have surrendered complete control to God, and it feels so good to be totally dependent on HIM! As God continues to reveal His plan, I will continue to post updates on the project. All I can say for now is, “Wow. God is so good….and He is calling the West family to Haiti!!”

Please pray for God to begin to prepare the family He would have to buy our house. Pray that God will continue to show us when, how, and where He wants to use us. And pray that God will continue to prepare the hearts of the Haitian people that he will place in our paths. Thank you.

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