Saturday, September 17, 2011

EXCITING NEWS...

I hope this message finds you all both happy and hope-filled. I am going to try and keep this short, but you know how I get when I write...
As most of you know, I am BURSTING at the seams with excitement to get back to Haiti. God made it very clear when I left last March that I would be going back there soon. When I heard that our church was taking a crew back in January, I was convinced that I would be going with them. Most of you also know that I am a senior at the University of Northern Iowa, and this spring I student teach. A few weeks ago, reality set in when I got an email saying I would be required to start student teaching in early January, my first mandatory date being January 6th.(I'm sure I don't have to tell you all that student teaching is the culminating part of my 5 years at college and my last step before graduation. Not something I can just skip out on!) As luck would have it, the dates for the Haiti trip were January 5-12th. At this point, I was crushed, shedding a few tears and spending a lot of time in prayer. It was so hard for me to understand why God would shut the door of this opportunity when he had made it so clear that I would be returning. After more prayer and some council from my sister, I realized that I had to let go. I was trying so hard to make this all work in my power, and it was clearly NOT working. Finally, I released myself and stopped spending so much time and energy trying to make the trip work. Quite obviously, I had been wrong and God had different plans for me. It took some time, but I was able to let it go without being bitter or feeling betrayed. God works in mysterious ways, and it is not my job to tell him what I should do. After a month of writing the trip off, I had an interview on Friday for student teaching. I met a lady who would be overseeing my teaching, and we had a great time chatting about the semester to come. At the end of the interview, she showed me a calendar of all the important dates that I needed to know, including the mandatory meeting I mentioned earlier as well as a the start date of the program. Just like I had previously been told, I was to start on the 6th of January. There was a part of my that still had a bit of hope that the dates would have mysteriously changed, so when they hadn't, I was again heartbroken. Before I got up to leave the interview, God spoke to me. He simply told me to "ask." I'm proud to say that I did what God instructed, and I told the lady I had one burning question. I told her of my first trip to Haiti last February and of the amazing people I met there. I told her about my sponsor child Dormine and how I wanted so badly to see him, now that he is back in school at ODH. I told her of the opportunity I had to go back in January and how the dates conflicted with the start of student teaching. I then asked her my burning question, "Is there any way to make this trip work?" She sat and pondered for what seemed like hours, but she finally took a big breath and started with her own story. She told me of how she had just got back from a trip to Africa where she served in a similar fashion. She talked about how powerful the trip was for her and her family, and how they had made similar trips over the last several years. "I guess you have talked to precisely the right person" she said. "I have a heart for this type of thing too!" She told me in a whisper that she would allow me to go to Haiti. She said there is an extra week built into that first few weeks of teaching, so I could use that week for my trip. She instructed me not to talk openly about it, as she doesn't want others asking to skip out on the first week, but she said she would meet privately with me to get me up to speed upon my return. I thanked her and tried to explain how incredibly much this meant to me. As I left, I was completely in awe of God's power. He did have Haiti in His plans for me, but I was trying too hard to do it all in my own power. I learned how important it is to let God have the reigns in your life. After all, nothing can be done without Him. When I finally let go and surrendered my heart, God used it to bring glory to His name. There is much more to the story that makes it even more mind-boggling. I'd love to share at some point, but for now I wanted to share the exciting news. I'm hoping my story can give you all some encouragement to reflect on your life and the things that you may be trying to do in your own power. Trust me, the true glory will come when you learn to let go. I would love it if you would continue pray for me and my trip. It will be hard coming home from Haiti and having to be thrown straight into a teaching situation. I won't have the "think time" that I did last time when returning to try and let the experience sink in.
Anyway, thank you all so much for your time and the chance to share a bit about what God is showing me through my love for Haiti. Love you all!

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