Zoom. Focus. Snap.

Image by Isaac Taleno  

Image by Isaac Taleno

 

Zoom, focus, snap. I can hear the mechanics of my DSLR camera opening its shutter and capturing the image that I see before my eyes. My finger patiently waits to fire the camera in an attempt to freeze a moment in time. I had the great opportunity, in addition to experiencing my first missions trip, to  film a documentary in the beautiful country of Haiti. My task was to capture a mere glimpse of Haiti’s culture. To document the hope that resides within ‘The House of Blessings’ orphanage. Unknown to me what I would see or experience, I came with few expectations. Just ready to soak in what my eyes would process. 

 

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

The rolling hills and endless paths that make up the beautiful country of Haiti made it almost too easy to capture stunning moments. At times, I would wake up around 4 a.m. to wait for the sun to slowly inch closer to the sky. Slowly casting a bright vibrance over the lush mountains that would start the day off, a rooster announces across the valley that day has begun. Only one loud obnoxious bird is all it took, the people of Haiti began to appear. 

I sat on the outside ledge of our two- story cabin cautiously placing my camera right on the edge. Letting my feet dangle while keeping safe... I sat, watched, and listened. An older gentleman pulling his prized cow down the rocky terrain. A mother getting her playful children ready for yet another day of school. A young man revving up his motorcycle to make his daily trip down to the city. For it being 4 a.m. and the sun just barely out, it was loud. I can hear an abundance of noise echoing through the hills. For those camera gear junkies out there, I had a 70-30mm lens attached to my Canon 5D Mark II. I can see things hundreds of feet away from me. It allowed me to see faces and the first stories of the day panning out in front of me. I watched and waited for what moments I could film for this documentary.

One consistency struck me as I started filming. Yes, life was different in our westernized world. Yes, I can see the poverty. Yes, children wearing only what was sufficient to clothe themselves. But being able to see so close, I can see joy in many faces. Hope in their eyes. Determination for pushing forward towards the day. People were content with where they were placed in this world. The mom dressing up her children was pleased. The young man revving up his motorcycle was ready for the trek. The old man dragged his cow along the path as he was thinking about the opportunities awaiting. I could see it in their smiles, their eyes. What was it? What made these specific people content with their situations? 

 

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

God is present everywhere. That phrase is exchanged constantly. The juxtaposition of those words have entered my ears numerous times. But have you ever really realized it? Have you ever experienced God where you least expected Him to be? Feel Him in the most unexpected moment? On a fine Sunday morning, our team had the opportunity to visit the local church in this small town within Haiti. I came in, camera in hand, ready to capture the sounds and visuals of the church. Yet, I barely captured anything that morning. My heart was moved. The moment my feet walked up the steps to this simple church, I experienced something I didn’t expect. 

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

The mother I saw just a few days before had her arms raised in worship. The older man face down surrendering his all before his Lord. The young man finding hope and filling his spirit. I started weeping. I didn’t expect to feel tears down my face. But they dripped down my left and right cheek. I put my camera down. I felt His presence. God was there. His spirit was evident in this place. Here I am, over 2,500 miles away from home. And there HE was. Just as loving, strong, and powerful. God was there. He is the same God for every human being on this planet. For the first time, I realized God truly is present EVERYWHERE. Even for the people of Haiti. As they poured themselves out, LOUDLY singing His praises, they received the JOY that I saw behind the lens days before. Those smiles and motivation they had for their daily routines was all because of the honest heart they poured out towards our God. In turn, it challenged me to be as passionate and as thirsty as them. My daily routines need to be shifted so that God is my top priority. 

Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

The Cause

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

I want to start out with one of the verses that stood out to me this week: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven. (Matthew5:14-16). 

We are called to be beacons of light. We are called to bring others closer to God, not ourselves. How do we bring others closer to God? Be a light, do good deeds and glorify God. Can we hide a city that is sitting on a hill? No, its lights at night can be seen for miles. If we live for Christ, we glow like lights, showing others what Christ is like. Here are some examples how we hide our light:

1. Being quiet, when we should speak 

2. Going along with a crowd

3. Denying the light

4. Letting sin dim our light 

5. Not explaining our light to others

6. Ignoring the needs of others

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

Be a beacon of truth, don't shut your light off from the rest of the world. 

Since we are talking about cause, let's start out with the definition: 

Cause- A person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition.

When talking about not dimming your light, number six stands out to me ... ignoring the needs of others. So many times we wait for someone else to fill the need that God gave you the eyes to see. So many times God says to us, "Step out." On my trip to Haiti, I saw brokenness, I saw poverty, and I saw people losing hope. No matter where you go, no matter the country, no matter the city, no matter the town, we all desire a future. 

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

The second day in Haiti we were taken on a tour of the House of Blessings Sewing Center, where a man named Chris had a vision of helping create jobs for the Haitian community. God placed it on my heart to empower the women of Haiti by helping them with their dream for their future. Then God gave me a vision of placing a salon in Haiti, teaching the women how to run a business, as well as, me learning more of the Haitian hair culture. 

  I let the vision sit for a moment then quickly thought “How would this work, God?” All the questions started rising and I began thinking with the fleshly side. “Im not sure, God.” With a quick response I heard God say, "I gave this vision to you for a reason." In that moment, I knew! God was giving me the eyes to see what He sees and speaking to me about working through me to fill a need. All God needs is for someone to say "I can" ...even if your mind wants to say "I can't." My cause is to help others empower others. I cannot make these things happen... but I know God can. Will you stand with me and help build the Haitian community? Pray that God sends the resources we need to be able to empower the women of Haiti. 

  My dream is to be able to see the women of Haiti dream. On the last full day there, Mark and I took a walk around the building to see where we could place a salon within those walls. I envisioned women empowering other women and making them feel beautiful. I also saw a future generation rise up and help the next generation dream. I could see the women give back to their communities doing haircuts for the families in need. God gave me the vision but I know I cannot do this on my own.  But, God has placed me in a community of prayer, love and support, and together we believe the future is bright for Haiti!

Alicia Gonzalez 

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

Wow!

We are nearing the end of our trip and all I can say is “wow.” I am utterly amazed at the bigness of God. When we woke up the first morning and saw that we were surrounded by beautiful rolling green hills decked with low clouds, I knew this was going to be an epic week.

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

This week I’ve been a hand-holder, dish-washer, encourager, friend, jungle gym, hair model, secret keeper, confidante, spiritual leader, sister/mother, prayer warrior, hiker, and so much more.

I have never been good at sharing my experiences, especially my missions trips. Let’s be honest, my family is still waiting to see my photos from Cambodia and that was almost 4 years ago.

But, I will do my best. I don’t have a specific story or person to highlight, but I do want to share how my life and the teams has changed.

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

With tears in my eyes, I can share that walls were broken and lives were mended. Words of God were confirmed and new revelations were born. 

I have personally learned so much. This is my first trip as a leader and I came in so scared and nervous. I kept listing off dis-qualifications of why I wasn’t the best candidate for the job. Why would I be chosen for such an important task. But, this week has changed everything. 

I don’t know why we believe the lies of the enemy, but we do. Why don't we see ourselves like our King and Savior see us? Why are we so blinded by the thoughts of others? I wonder all the things we are missing out on. 

This has been one of the shortest, but most fulfilling trips I’ve been on. I came to lead and serve, I didn’t think I would learn and change so much. All I can think of is how great our God is and how much He loves us all. He loves everyone. He doesn’t pick and choose.

I want to tell you I made a lot of close connections with our fellow brothers and sisters in Haiti, but that would not be the truth. The closest connections I have made have been with our team. Being placed in a small contained space 24/7 you learn a lot about someone. Our team has connected on a deeper level, and I pray that doesn’t leave as we each go our own ways tomorrow.

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

I don’t want this trip to end because I fear for what is waiting for me back home. Complacency, procrastination, loneliness - none of these things I have felt in Haiti. It’s weird, we’ve been outside of our comfort zones, but I feel more comfortable here. The simplicity of everything is refreshing. 

This week I didn’t receive any new revelations, I didn’t see or hear God in a new way, but, I did hear Him. He was quite repetitive and loud. 

One of my goals on this trip was to focus on the present. Too many times I think about the next thing. As I have been focusing on here and now, the Lord has been speaking to me quite a lot about the future. This is one of the first times I didn’t want to think about the future, but it kept popping up. This trip has caused me to slow down and live in the moment. But, the Lord, has clearly been speaking to me about what is next. I just needed some time away from my life to see the path He has chosen for me.

Image by Isaac Taleeno

Image by Isaac Taleeno

I didn’t just get reminded of the plans He has for me (and that it’s not too late). But, I also got to see Haiti’s future. Represented by every little one in the orphanage we’ve been serving. They are the future, and they need our help! Through prayer, missions trips, and tangible needs. 

I am blessed to be born in America. I am blessed to visit this beautiful country. But, most of all I am blessed to serve a God who loves us all, equally! May Haiti feel that love and may you feel this love.

I want to leave you with the truth that Jesus loves you. No matter where you have come from or done, or will do. Romans 8:38 let’s us know that nothing can separate us from the love of God. 

Whatever you’re going through, He loves you. Through the heartache, pain, and disappointment, He loves you.

He loves you so much, my friends. Be encouraged and strong in faith. 

Lauren Williams

Image by Isaac Taleeno

Image by Isaac Taleeno

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

"Aqua - what?"

I love beginnings. The excitement. The possibilities.  And that is just what we are experiencing this week as we begin building the first ever Aquaponics farm at the House of Blessings in Haiti!

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

Have you ever heard the term Aquaponics? Until 2 years ago,  I can honestly say I had only heard that word a handful of times.  Aquaponics is a farming system that uses waste from fish to feed vegetation that grows solely in water. There is zero dirt and using this system allows people to harvest vegetables 5 to 10 times more than traditional farming would produce. It is a simple system that will work if you work it.

Two years ago, when NOMORE brought our first Missions Team here, we had no idea what God had planned.  Our experiences that summer planted in our hearts a desire to walk alongside the local peopleto bring a sustainable solution to alleviate poverty, one village at a time.  So, we began to pray about what that would look like. 

For me it is a personal quest as well. One moment here I can share is one I observed more than participated in. I was playing with one of the boys who had recently just come to the orphanage with his sister. He was holding onto my arms and using me as a jungle gym as he climbed up my body to flip over. His sister, Cassandra, approached him and while he held onto my arms she placed a pill in his mouth and then gave him a drink of water to wash it down. All of this happened while he still was holding onto my arms. It was a simple gesture but in that moment I witnessed through a simple moment the power of love. Cassandra probably thought nothing of it but for me it was a moment and an expression of how Christ has poured out his love on us. 

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

In Isaiah 58 it says "to spend yourself on behalf of the oppressed". When I think of oppression the greatest form of it is the oppression of love. To know I am loved is ultimately my strength. Aquaponics, for me, is a simple thing I can do to let the people of this community know they are loved.

After returning from Haiti, one of our team members, Mike Petit, approached us about Aquaponics and we felt God directing us to begin to focus our efforts in this direction.  Obedience is an amazing thing.  One moment of saying "yes" to God has led to this new beginning and we are excited to see what God will do as we continue to walk through these doors that only He could have opened. 

This week, there are some dedicated people who have come with the sole purpose of turning this dream into a reality and I want to take a moment to recognize them. Mike Pettit, from that first trip 2 summers ago, has been the mastermind behind this project. And this week he is working alongside Dave Covic and his son Daryl who bring with them a wealth of knowledge in both construction and Aquaponics. 

In addition, I feel compelled to mention each and every person who has given financially, and many sacrificially, to make this project possible.  Their resources are providing opportunity for the people of Haiti, and together, alongside the locals, we are bringing hope and a future to this community. 

Ultimately this is about so much more than just Aquaponics. It's about making it possible for the Haitian people to provide food for the orphanage and local community.  It's about job creation. It's about raising up a generation of young people who will lead their country into a new era with God's help.  We are inspired by our Haitian brothers and sisters and their joy and tenacity for life.  They have captured our hearts and we are honored to serve alongside them.  

The Aquaponic System being built... Image by Isaac Taleno

The Aquaponic System being built...

Image by Isaac Taleno

Join us as we pray...

-for favor and success 

-for God to bless the work of our hands

-that this community would be transformed by the love of Jesus! 

 

"I have come that you may have life, and life to the full." John 10:10

Jaime Kent

No More Founder/Big Supporter of 29:11church

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

Every Room...

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

At the beginning of this week the team went around and talked about a goal for this week, and all of ours related around the idea of focusing and finding God in every situation.  This has been a good challenge because seeking God results in finding peace and joy as well. Too often I let distractions get in the way of opportunities because of the question of what is next, or simply fear and insecurity. This morning specifically, a few of us wanted to see the sunrise and Sara and I were running late. She and I had to rush out the door and run so that we wouldn't miss it. As we did, we slipped in mud. Fortunately, we made it and we were able to engage in God’s pure beauty and consistent promises. It was a reminder that in the same way, I should be running towards God all the time even though I may slip sometimes. No, not only when I have the desire to or when I am feeling confident but every moment, embracing His love and trust, knowing that God has already overcome all and His love will guide me through. 

Today, we had a moment to reflect over what God has been doing in our hearts so far this week. This overall overwhelmed me with emotion from hearing everyone else share their story along with thinking about what God has been doing in my own. My mind went straight to the growth that has been happening from learning how to find God in every moment. I used to have the mindset that the presence of God showed up only when I would read the Word or be listening to worship music and praying, but He has completely wrecked that idea. Throughout this week, He would whisper in random places... recognize me. The one that challenged me the most was when the whole team was worn out from doing manual labor, and we had to continue the work. I was shoveling sand when He whispered, “recognize me.” I was confused but began to search. Of course, it was having the opportunity to work right next to one of the kids at the House of Blessings, Matthew. He works with so much intention to do it just right that I found God. His joy was vibrant all because he was able to shovel sand and in that moment was when I found peace and joy to be able to be working by his side. 

The next thing my mind went to was the growth in sacrificing emotions to serve and glorify God wholeheartedly. Thinking about school and home, I realized I missed opportunities because I wouldn't feel like loving or serving. Being around people and kids that need your love provides numerous opportunities to grow in sacrificing emotions. Louden and Matthew love to climb all over me and get in my space; and even though I may be tired by the end of the night, God continues to remind me to engage and love more than I ever would. This is where the bonds have been created and the joy has been exchanged. Their laughs are my favorite because they try and hide it but, when they laugh, it is so genuine and pure, warming every heart in the room.

The most overwhelming thought was the fact that I am even here in Haiti with the team and these kids. Being obedient to what God is calling me to do is something I have struggled with from the beginning of my relationship with God. However, I have always desired the natural, bold and adventurous spirit. A goal I have always had is to walk off the shore line and out of my comfort zone in confidence and trust. This made me weep because if I was only given one opportunity to be here, I would have missed it. But because it was moved several times, and because God continuously called me like he called Joseph after 40 years, I finally obeyed and pursued Haiti. This has made me fall in love with Jesus more as I understand his grace a little more. This makes me walk in confidence because I know that God looks at the way I serve, not how good I am at everything. It is always humbling that God still calls and pursues me even when I chase insecurity rather than his love. 

Image by Jaime Kent

Image by Jaime Kent

Throughout this week there has been so much love and encouragement in every room that is walked into. The house moms here are the ones that love the most on everyone. Marie has been someone that I have looked up to while being here. She does everything with a smile and a heart of love; Jesus is so present in her at all times. She has been an example of the way to serve because she doesn't only work hard but she encourages and loves on everyone around her. Every time she sees me, she makes sure to call me beautiful and tell me she loves me most, and although it is so simple, it has such a large effect on me and those around me. She inspires me to serve wholeheartedly all the time. Haiti and the people in Haiti have been stealing my heart.

 

Janea Giovanetto

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

Further Than I've Been Before...

Further Than I've Been Before… 

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

 

Stepping into an unknown area of the world has been one of the scariest things I've ever done. Leaving my comfy queen-sized bed for a cramped window seat on three different planes to make a total of a 13 hour journey to the beautiful hills of Haiti brings me face-to-face with the real world. Honestly, it has been so worth it, every cramped second I wouldn't have changed. Being so unconnected to the outside world has allowed me to open my eyes to what God has pushed me to do this week and where I know I need to improve. The last three days have been filled with amazing devotional times and it’s these times where there have been many things that have stuck out and been heavy on my heart. 

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

 

The first thing - Stepping out. 

Putting comfort zones behind me and seeing a new person or experience in my horizon. I don’t know about you, but it’s comfy in my comfort zone, I don't like to leave it. I like to be somewhere I have full control and capability over anything and everything that happens. So, why do I need to step out? Surely, someone else will? That’s what I was thinking four weeks ago sitting at a cafeteria bench watching a boy no older than me sit alone in a crowd of people. His eyes were focused on the pages of a book resting before him with only an occasional glance around. From afar you could see his tired and scared eyes; I knew that I wanted to go step out from my friends and my comfort zone and sit with him. I went back and forth with going and reaching out; it came down to me being too scared of what my friends might think of me and what the people around him would say about me. Then one day his eyes seemed more tired and scared than usual. I made my way across the long cafeteria to a seat across from his. When I sat down his brown eyes were even more tired than seen from a distance. I started the conversation and we grew from there. Another day at lunch we were talking and I asked, “How's life at home?” just trying to move the conversation forward. He grew quiet and shy. He suddenly became the boy I saw all the way on the other side of the room. I was about to change the subject when, in a quiet shy voice, he replied, “Not good.” He later explained to me that his dad had taken his life around the start of school and that in the weeks after that his mom hadn't been home everyday. He added that she was gone more than she was home with her three kids. He told me that he was trying to take care of his two younger brothers who didn't know what was going on. That day in school it hit me hard, the entire time I was afraid to step out because of what people would think. This kid was living my fears. On top of all the bullying he had at school, he had to go home to deal with an even more undesirable situation. I learned that it only takes one person to step out and give someone an outlet to talk and to feel cared for. We cannot wait for someone else to step out. 

 

The second thing - Forgiveness.

It didn't hit me till tonight how much work I need to do in that department. Sitting on the balcony of our guest building on the orphanage grounds on a cool rainy night, I realized that I was holding onto every mean and hurtful thing that someone has done to me. In the midst of this mind- opening experience, I was walked through the process of asking forgiveness for myself and the strength to forgive those who had hurt me. There was a song that had been playing when this happened - Prince of Peace, by United. This song showed me that God will meet me where I'm at with my struggle to forgive. With help, I bowed my head and prayed forgiveness for all my trespasses, then for the strength to forgive others of their trespasses.  The verse that stands out is… “for if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others of their trespasses, your heavenly Father will not forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15. Forgiveness isn't one-sided. I had to forgive those in my past for my past to be forgiven. Only then did total peace wash over me as if the stress and anger had been revoked.    

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

 

HAITI! The kids at the orphanage are so genuine in love - they love to their fullest ability. This interaction made me think how I could love like that. Then it became clear on that balcony. Once again, I needed to forgive people and let go of the anger I was holding onto. This week has been a week for stepping further than I've been before, all because of a group of children whose hearts are so pure and genuine that it's impossible not to fall in love with them. All the smiles. All the laughter…

 

 Lucas Moore.  

 

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

Hello, Haiti...

Saying Hello to Haiti...

Image by Lucas Moore

Image by Lucas Moore

 

The moment that I said goodbye to everything, everyone and my family in Arizona, I said hello to Haiti. I said hello to a new adventure with my Heavenly Father and a honest desire to know God even more. I said hello to trusting God with everything out of my comfort zone and trusting Him going into the frontier. Before leaving, discouragement and fear ran through my mind debating if I was even worthy enough. I had fear over the unknown, but saying hello to Haiti, I have realized that it is the unknown where my faith is the most evident. It’s the unknown where I hear the whispers of “I am right by your side. I haven’t left, never will and My grace is for you too.” I am beyond thankful that when I am struggling in stress, anxiety, discouragement and fear… I can remind myself that I serve a God that is above all, sees all, knows all… and He is for me. I can walk into the unknown knowing that He is going to guide my steps and have that genuine childlike faith for our Almighty Deliverer. 

 

My team and I were sitting on the plane in Fort Lauderdale on our way to Haiti and that was the moment that I had realized I was leaving. Sitting in my plane seat, I was overcome with an honest moment of pure fear, but also a dependent trust in my enthralling Fortress, for which I am secure beneath. So many different emotions and thoughts ran through my mind and I couldn’t help but let out everything that was built up.This is exactly where God wants me to be and knowing that I was leaving to experience His glorious presence in a whole different and unique setting made me abundantly cheerful. I was leaving to make connections and build deeper relationships with the people that I will come in contact with. 

 

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

Coming off the plane in Haiti has so far been the most nerve wracking experience I have ever faced. The biggest culture shock for me was walking through Haiti’s airport and I still have no words to describe what I felt. After getting on our bus, my team and I had an hour long ride into the mountains right outside Port-au-Prince. Seeing the brokenness and the hurt right outside my bus window, I thought about America and how both cultures are both beautiful and broken in some way. Our countries are beautifully afflicted and my prayer is that we recognize the beautiful within all the brokenness. That is how Jesus sees us when we are afflicted in sin and defeat… He calls us whole, makes us clean again and loves us despite everything we may do to cover our mistakes up. 

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

 

Saying Hello to Haiti has been the best yes. I believe that God has wholeheartedly given every single person on this team a purpose for the here and now as well as a vision for the future. My prayer and pursuit every day is that I experience God’s presence in all that I do. I am beyond excited for what He has in store for the rest of the week. 

 

In Christ,
Sara Blokdijk

Image by Lucas Moore

Image by Lucas Moore

Image by Isaac Taleno

Image by Isaac Taleno

Global Love...

Going Global. 

 

Photos by Lucas Moore

Photos by Lucas Moore

One thing that makes church planting special is the opportunity to experience so many “firsts.” The first service. The first year. The first baby born. The first wedding. And, the first global missions experience. Like a professional parachuter, Brenda and I tend to jump out of planes fairly quickly when it comes to life experiences. Sending out a team was on our list from the very beginning of launching 29:11 but then felt the need to wait. Establishing a culture to love and reach out locally was something we wanted to make active before we started sending people out across the globe. What I love about our community was immediately they also wanted to see those dreams come to life right in valley of Phoenix as well. From pizza slices to the homeless to haircuts for single moms, we fed the passion to be Jesus’ hands and feet wherever we are... wherever we go. As our local ministries grew, I was praying our first cross cultural experience would be something that would fit the heart and soul of who we are. When Jaime Kent from No More (fornomore.org) shared an opportunity we could be a part of in a country that was bleeding need and with kids that were deemed “non-adoptive”… I was hooked. 

 

The House of Blessing Orphanage stands like a beacon of light in the community of Callebasse, Haiti located nearly a mile up in elevation outside of Port-au-Prince. There, a handful of orphans live, school and allow the love of houseparents to weave a tapestry of hope for these children. Nestled into towering green mountain ranges, the beauty itself wraps around your soul like the arms of God. A non-adoptive orphanage according to the Haitian government, the House of Blessing puts a roof over the lives of children who have no parents to account for or who can’t afford to keep them at their own home. So, the hands and feet of awesome people like the individuals on our team become the fathers, mothers, big sisters and brothers to each of them. This will be a week where we just continue what is already done on the home ground in Tempe…love, love, love. Learning to really love outside of yourself is a turning point for all of us in our faith as we open our arms unconditionally to those in need. Especially for those in need.

 

Driving through the cracked and broken streets of Port-au-Prince reminded me that this country has so many similarities to the place I come from. There are shattered lives trying to make it work day by day on the streets of Callebasse just like there are on the streets of Tempe. So, our first global trip as a church is a reflection of what we really believe in…that every human being no matter where you find them on this planet deserves to know about the PLAN God has for their life, the HOPE that is promised through a relationship with Jesus Christ and a FUTURE in which we can face any struggle or hardship knowing His Word is for us. 

 

My daughter Azsia is currently on a three month program studying abroad as a nursing student in South Africa. Her cross culture view now is changing her heart day by day (you can read some of her thoughts through her writing at azsiaolive.wordpress.com). She recently wrote about what God is teaching her about not just bringing relief to those around us that are flooding our world with need but giving them the power to release the potential to become what God has already put into them through Christ’s genuine love. 

 

“I think the root of the problem is the lack of real life investment… the lack of first trying to understand the community you are serving. The lack of loving first.” 

 

Loving first. We are here to love, first. Why? Because Christ came to love us first. So come on this journey with us and let’s LOVE these children in Callebasse and the children scattered across our own community. Every human being on the planet deserves this love…no matter where they come from. 

 

Pastor Mark

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*Come back for a daily post from one of our team members.