“ Live Simply so others may Simply Live “
This quote had long impacted my life as a believer seeking to serve faithfully in my family, my church, and my career. I thought it meant sacrificing luxury, material comforts, extras, and time so I could contribute to the needs of others. When God granted me the opportunity to serve as a homeschool teacher for missionary families in Haiti, I came to realize that living simply didn’t mean doing without; but making do with what God provided for others to heal and thrive even in their need. Now, anticipating the beginning of my ninth school year in Haiti, I see not sacrifice but privilege and one that has offered me great Joy.
My first encounter with Haiti- the country, culture, and people assaulted my senses. The sights, smells, and heaviness of abject poverty, malnourishment, and need we’re almost overwhelming. The harsh realities of life in Haiti have not changed or improved for most but rather worsened due to political corruption and increasing gang violence. What has changed is me - the way I see the people culture and country - through the eyes of my heart and spirit.
My very understanding of joy has grown and deepened with time on the field. I moved from the expectation of a big emotional experience to the recognition of a peaceful, secure awareness of His Presence in so many experiences. Let me share a few Joy moments from Haiti:
- The rich laughter of children in rags running alongside a bucket lid they’re rolling with a bent wire or the excitement of those playing soccer with a ball made from breadfruit wrapped in plastic bags.
- The confidence of my students growing and learning in a context that challenges yet builds resilience and deep trust in their God.
- The sweet tentative smiles of precious little ones in our inpatient ICU and Rescue Center whose bodies are healing and whose hearts are learning to trust and hope.
- The humble sincere praise of a caregiver offering thanks to God for allowing our mission to help their child.
- The genuine worship of people recently displaced - fleeing their homes due to encroaching gang activity yet choosing to honor and thank God for his protection and provision.
- The incredible faith of a mission team and Haitian staff persevering in their work, trusting God moment by moment for the wisdom, strength, and resources to meet the needs of those God brings to us.
Those experiences and so many more have birthed a true, deep joy that's found in recognizing His presence with, in, and through us as we live life together - filling our mission statement: "Hope for this life and the life to come". As believers, we are all called to carry His light and hope to the world. We all have something to offer. Simply be open and God can use your time, your talent, and your treasures in profound ways. Discover what feeds your soul, what animates your conversation, and what excites you with possibilities. Then serve wherever God is calling and together we will experience and bring Great Joy to our world.