It never fails to amaze me how God sends a Word to us at just the right time when we cry out to Him and ask for His perfect peace. As you can imagine, the struggle and turmoil I have dealt with in my spirit as we have made this move back to the states has been excruciating. I have fought it in my spirit every step of the way.
First of all, I did not want to leave my husband in Haiti. Although the place where we live is not a dangerous place, and we have most of the comforts of home, it is still not easy to live there. The hardest part I think is the language barrier. For Tony, having to depend on a translator day in and day out in order to diagnose and treat the hundreds of people he sees each week is exhausting both mentally and physically. There seem to be constant misunderstandings and confusion around every corner just because of the lack of the ability to communicate freely. That is actually getting better as he is learning the language more and more, but I just wish I could be there by his side to help him through it. Secondly, I have argued and argued with God over this because I can’t understand why He would call us all to Haiti, then have me and Jacob return to the states after just 3 months! When we committed to go, we committed to GO AND STAY! So why bring me and Jacob back here when we had worked so hard to build a good relationship with the families on the hill and the families in the village? I just couldn’t understand. I cried out to God asking for the soccer opportunities to happen there in Haiti, but all I got was silence. I was getting so very frustrated because I wanted to be able to continue the ministry I had begun, but I knew I needed to make the right decision for Jacob’s future as well. I needed reassurance that going back to the US was indeed what GOD wanted us to do and not just us giving in and not being patient. Well, today I received my confirmation that we are indeed where he wants us to be.
I don’t know if you remember or not, but in my story about how we were called into this ministry, I spoke about how God led me into a study of the book of Nehemiah right after Tony was called to go to Haiti for the first time. This was two years ago. God showed me through this study that He was going to involve us in a HUGE rebuilding of an area of Haiti that would involve the efforts of many people and a great deal of organization. I took notes as I studied and then shared them with Tony. All Tony could say was, “Well, that’s big!” We had no idea what BIG thing God was going to do with us, but He eventually led us to But God Ministries, and He led us to surrender to full time missions to go to Haiti as a part of a HUGE plan that was just as He had shown us through my study of Nehemiah.
Well today, God led me back into the book of Nehemiah. In Nehemiah 11, verses 1-2, it says, “Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten remained in the other towns. and the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem.” When I read this, I immediately began to apply it to our situation and thought about the fact that right now, our family has decided that what is best for all of us is to let Tony remain in Haiti, and the rest of us live in the US for school for a season. (I still have a hard time even typing this, but I know now that God is definitely behind this plan.) As I usually do, I began looking at some commentary on these verses and this is what I found: “Being a true leader isn’t always glamorous. There are not always hundreds of people lining up, wanting to be just like you. This can be witnessed in the book of Nehemiah. We read that the leaders lived in Jerusalem and the rest drew lots. Nehemiah is the account of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. During the restoration, enemies threatened to attack it as the wall and gates were rebuilt; it wasn’t necessarily the safest place. That is one reason the average Joe didn’t immediately sign up to live there. Jerusalem living also meant leaving a previous place of residence, which had one’s farm and livelihood. At this point, Jerusalem was not yet finished and life there would have been difficult. These leaders made a sacrifice. Someone had to live there and start the process of creating a once again bustling city. Could this be what leadership is often about? Not asking people to take a risk for you, but rather taking one for them? Jesus even said that He came to serve and to not be served (Matthew 20:28). That is what leading is. We learn how to do this in its purest of forms through Jesus and his substitutionary death on the cross. He calls us to lay down our lives for others, because He has laid down His for us (John 15:13).”
Oh my! As I read this, my heart began to beat faster and I began to cry as I realized that God was indeed confirming that the sacrifice that my family is making to live separately for a little while is exactly what God wants us to do! It was His plan all along! When I wrote my last blog post to explain to everyone what we had decided to do, I entitled it “Making Sacrifices.” I have come to realize now that this sacrifice we are making is part of what God has called us to do! As with every other trial we walk through, Jesus has gone before us. He knows how it feels! He sacrificed His place with the Father to come here and make a way for us! He knows what it’s like to leave a place where He felt He was supposed to be in order to provide for His children and do what was best for them….us! In showing me this scripture today, and leading me to this commentary, God was telling me that He DOES go before us, and He IS in this! We ARE doing what He wants us to do, and He WILL bless our sacrifice. That’s all I needed to know. Today I have a refreshed vision and a clear purpose. Whatever He wants to accomplish in this move and separation period, He WILL accomplish, and we HONOR Him when we obey – even when that obedience is very difficult.
I don’t know what God has in store for our family in the coming days and months, but I do know that we are still in His hands. Jacob and I have started having a Bible study together over breakfast every day, and today I was able to share with him this amazing confirmation from God that we are doing the right thing. He too was relieved to hear it. We talked yesterday about how strange it felt to register for school and know that he will be back in the classroom and playing soccer this week. We talked about how we wish we knew for sure that we had made the right decision. Today God answered that plea to know. We have a peace now, and we are growing closer to our Father as we cling to Him for guidance and strength.
Thank you all so much for the encouragement and prayers you send our way. Your obedience to share that encouragement is a constant reminder to us of God’s love and protection. God is good…..ALL THE TIME!
Walking in HIS steps….