Wednesday, June 13, 2012

pressing on

I didn't help start Leve Project because it seemed like a cool idea. Leve Project was founded after prayer, first-hand experience, research and a lot of hard work. Leve Project was founded because it's something we, the founders, believed in and felt called to do. Since I first started full-time ministry, moving to Haiti to be the house manager at an orphanage, I have always felt that people look down to me. Like I'm too young. I don't have a college degree. I'm single. I'm female. Apparently, those are all negative qualities. I rarely feel like someone has confidence in me, in what I'm doing. When we first started Leve, people might not have said it in direct words, but they expected us to fail. In Acts, a man named Gamaliel says, "For is this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them." 

I'm not going to lie, the thought of quitting has crossed my mind. We don't have the financial support we need. At least, we don't have the security of financial commitments that would make me more comfortable. But, God has always provided. Sometimes, I look over finances and think to myself, "We can't keep going like this". And yet, we've always been able to keep going. Besides financial support, I sometimes feel we don't have support in the form of encouragement and partners. Just the other day, I was thinking to myself, "If no one else supports this, why am I still doing it? Why shouldn't I quit?". But I know why I can't quit. Because it wasn't man that called me to this, it was God. And even if I feel alone, even if I feel like no one else supports what I'm doing, I know that God called me to it and He is in it with me. And so I will press on. Straining towards the goal. 

I will admit though, that I don't know what that will look like. Pressing on. I'm at the point where I have to consider returning to the states. I have no personal income and my savings is just enough for a plane ticket. Leve Project struggles every month. Our house rent was due last month and we still don't have the money to pay it. At first, I thought this was all just another reason for me to quit. But then I looked at it again. And I cannot quit. 

I really feel we're making an impact here. Last month, we had a our first community meeting. We got the people of the village together to talk about what they want and what they feel they need. We've had several more meetings and a leadership committee was formed. We met with the committee last week to discuss and make plans for micro-loans. I feel like the people are encouraged and excited about the meetings we have had and it's given them a hope. These people have hopes and dreams for their lives... no human being wants to live in the conditions they do. They have learned to be content in their poverty...but they have hopes for a better life.  And in our meetings, they are seeing a little shred of light... a possibility that maybe their future can change. I can't walk away from that. The thought of quitting makes me literally sick. These are people I know. While they might just be a photograph to you, they are real, living, breathing people. Beautifully and wonderfully made by the Creator. And until I have absolutely nothing left in me, nothing left to give, I will continue to fight for them. I will fight for their dreams and hopes of a better life. 

I am asking for partners that will step out in faith with me. Faith that this is an undertaking of God. Faith that God is faithful and just. Faith that God will provide and that we can make a difference here, not because of ourselves, but because of Him. 

I feel like God has brought me, and this ministry, to a place of desperation. But not because He wants me to be desperate for more money and more partners and more support; He brought me here because He wants me to be desperate for Him. So I lay it at His feet. And whether in Haiti or in the states, I will continue to do the work that Leve Project has started here. I will press on.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"I can't stand your religious meetings"

I used to make fun of the Message paraphrase Bible. Okay, well, I didn't make fun of it... but there was a passage that I thought was funny.

Psalm 6:1-3 ESV

"O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord- how long?

Psalm 6:1-3 The Message

"Please, God, no more yelling, no more trips to the woodshed. Treat me nice for a change; I'm so starved for affection. Can't you see I'm black and blue, beat up badly in bones and soul? God, how long will it take for you to let up?"

Now, that, I simply found funny.

But I was also "against" The Message. I've changed my mind now. Though it's important to view it as what it is. A paraphrase. It's one man's, Eugene Peterson, thoughts and interpretations of the scripture. Most translations have nearly or more than 100 different translators working together. The Message would never be my sole version of the scripture... but reading it along side a more accurate translation can be beneficial.

I still think The Message wording in Psalm 6 is funny. However, a lot less funny, in fact, it seems to step on my toes til it hurts, is a passage in Amos.

Amos 5:21-24 The Message

"I can't stand your religious meetings. I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice- oceans of it. I want fairness- rivers of it. That's what I want. That's all I want."

Yeah. Ouch.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

i'm not a survivor

I don't think of myself as a Haiti earthquake survivor. Yes, I was there. Yes, I lived through it. The dictionary says a survivor is "a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died". So I guess that would make me a survivor. But, I think of a survivor as someone who fought to live. Who struggled through and made it out. As horrific of an experience as the earthquake was for me... my story does not even compare to others. I wasn't not in a building that collapsed. I was not injured. I was not buried alive or stuck somewhere for days. I didn't lose any family members. I didn't lose my house or my possessions. I didn't go without food or water. Those are the survivors.