I’m leaving for Haiti on September 24th, and I’d like to ask you to pray for our team. Since this is my second visit to the country, getting ready feels a little different this time around. I know what to expect logistically so I’m not as nervous about the practical side of the journey. I’m looking back on the April experience as I pray and get organized for this trip which is just around the corner.

Initially, I had resisted the idea of teaching Haitian women, wondering what I could possibly share. Did I have enough understanding of the culture and even the “right” to speak into the lives of people who struggled with a kind of poverty and limitations I would never understand? I asked God for direction. What should I say? What kind of message should I bring?

As I prepared I had the gradual realization. Although on the surface it appeared that my Haitian sisters and I have little in common, down deep we struggle with the same kinds of questions.

 Am I loved? Do I matter? What can I contribute? Will my past decisions limit my future? What about all the circumstances and people in my life I can’t control?

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I realized that God was sending me to offer neither platitudes nor practical assistance, but rather a declaration of hope. This is what I shared:

You were created in the image of God. You are able to think and make decisions. You have been given talents and abilities to use creatively in relationships and in improving the world around you.

 Introducing small group leaders at church

You were created for relationship with God. God sees you as an individual and actually likes the things about you that set you apart from other people. You will begin to understand your significance as you internalize the depth of God’s love for you. Experience God in routine living as well as the extraordinary times of life. When you open yourself to God, he will reveal his love and his truth to you.

You are rescued by the grace of God. Our own sin separates us from God and not one of us deserves the beautiful relationship we can have with him. It is only because of Jesus, his life, death on the cross, and resurrection, that we can participate in the life God wants us to experience. You can’t work your way into God’s way of living. It happens when you open your life to Jesus and God transforms you from the inside out.

You are empowered by the Spirit of God. You are unique and designed to advance the Kingdom in ways that fit your own life and circumstances. It is possible to reach your full potential as an individual, because of the work of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit teaches and directs and convicts and comforts. You will find the significance you desire as you allow the Spirit of God to work in and through you.

 

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What our team saw and felt last April in Haiti was a movement of the Spirit of God. Our experience transcended language barriers and cultural differences. Each of us was changed as we opened our hearts and shared our lives with one another. We were reminded that we mattered to God and that this fact had nothing to do with our nationality, our race, our accomplishments, our appearance, or what we did or did not posses.

No matter who we are or where we live, we face the future with hope because we belong to God and he has chosen to lavish us with his love.

 

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