At this point in the life of this blog there are very, very few people reading. Thank goodness... takes the pressure off. However, I realize that there may be a day when a few more people join in and may not know the road that has brought us to this point. So, I'll back way up and try to keep it simple. This is not a short story though, so grab a cup of coffee before you start. I promise my other posts will not be this long.
Everything started with a trip that our home church took in December of 2003. We (the church) had received a letter from Pastor Nicolas Louis Juste along with a picture of several children with big beautiful eyes. The thing about this letter was that it was not only a plea for funds, but also an invitation to come and see the need. I believe I heard that someone said "if we don't do something, I'm not sure we can call ourselves believers." I may be paraphrasing, it was a long time ago. Anyway, Brian was feeling the pull to go and I was excited for him and terrified at the same time. We had just found out we were pregnant with our third child and these were totally unchartered waters for us. But it was a week, that's all, just a week. Ha, ha.
So, Brian went to Haiti and came home completely changed and broken. He measured everything we bought in bags of rice. I remember so many conversations about how many families could eat and for how long for what we spent on a week's worth of groceries. I had not experienced what he had and it was very hard to understand the change in him and the effect it was having on our family. We struggled, but eventually I thought we had readjusted and, after a few months, were getting back to normal. I was wrong. One night several months later as I, in my very pregnant waddle, was going to bed after a long day with 2 toddlers, he informed me he thought we were supposed to adopt a baby from Haiti. I'm pretty sure I said things that shouldn't be repeated. Use your imagination and it probably doesn't come close I thought he had just completely lost his mind. He needed professional help. I was about to pop with baby #3. Nuts.
I should go ahead and mention that the way things usually work in our family is that God sets Brian on a path and Brian tells me about it and then I stomp along with him as God works on my heart. Truth be told, I believe Brian is, and has always been, much more open to God's unconventional ways than I am. I so desire to be different. It's a work in progress.
As lots of you now know, Brian was right... God was not finished with our family. It took many years, lots of tears over how I was ever going to learn to do little black girl hair, and lots of prayer to get Brian and I on the same page at the same time.
While this drama was unfolding, and it was at times serious drama, Brian took his second trip to Haiti in December of 2005. I was not ready for what happened when he came home. He was becoming more and more uncomfortable in our little life we had carved out. His discontent with his job was growing and the ache God had placed on his heart for Haiti was increasing. He tried to tell me over and over again that God was calling him to something and if I'm being honest I'll just say I was having none of it. I believe the words "put your big girl panties on and go to work" actually came out of my mouth... maybe more than once. We had this life to sustain and maintain. I can look back now and see, for us, one of the major lessons God wanted to teach us is that it is Him that sustains our family, not us, not the plans we make. This lesson is one I have to relearn often. We went back and forth for 2 years, Brian's feelings of being pulled to Haiti and my feelings of fear.
Finally, in December of 2007 I got on a plane to go and see what Brian had seen that had gotten us (in my mind) so off track. Understand, I fought this too. Why would God give me three young children to care for and then put me on a plane to a place I didn't know with people I didn't understand. I know now, and really knew then, that's what He does. God calls us all to the broken and out of our comfort zone. It was a rough trip down that ended with Brian hugging me while I cried outside at Camatin and asked him to please take me back to Port au Prince and put me on the first plane home. I was trying to stand in my own strength. I was weak.
Brian refused to put me on a plane and during that week, God opened my eyes. I finally saw what Brian had seen, a beautiful people that had joy in their faces despite their circumstances. I saw how God had set my sweet husband apart for a journey down an unknown road. I realized that God doesn't just call a man, but He calls a family. I heard Brian speaking creole to Haitians as we walked. Where did he learn that and when did he have time? And why the heck didn't I notice?? All that was holding him back from following hard and fast after God was me.
When we returned home, we didn't return to life as usual. Brian and I knew that full-time ministry to the people of Haiti was coming. We didn't have a clue how, but started walking forward anyway. Through 2008 Brian took 3 or 4 trips to Haiti, can't remember for sure. Harvest Field Ministries was born in Brian's heart and mind. Brian's desire to see people in Haiti come to know God and become self-sustaining was strong. God put people in our path, while helping our friend, Pastor Menes from Haiti with some health issues, that would speed up the course we were on. We were offered a start-up grant to turn Harvest Field Ministries into a real live 501c3 ministry. Wow... God is big. Brian quite his job of 12 years in October of 2008 and dove in head first. I should probably mention that I couldn't breathe for a few weeks. I have a very bad habit of questioning the One who tells the sun when to shine and the rains when to fall. Silly, really...
In the past 2 years we have been blessed and we have been rocked. We have walked through a massive earthquake, mourned the tremendous loss of a friend and leader of our partners in Haiti, Pastor Ronnigue, and started the adoption of our daughter, Merline. It's sometimes been a blur. There is no infrastructure in Haiti, the roads are rough, literally and figuratively. You have to learn to roll with the flow, because you can plan all you want to, there will always be flat tires or broken axles to deal with or a need will pop up when you least expect it. You're eyes have be open or you'll miss the chance to watch God move. Haiti is hot and there's diesel in the air and it can literally beat you up, just look into the eyes of a 40 year old woman who looks at least 65. Even with all of that, it's worth it. It's worth it to have the chance to be a part, as tiny as we are, of God advancing His kingdom.
This life is not easy. The expectations are high. People expect us to have it "together" because we're in "ministry." It doesn't work that way. We fall, we're sinful, I whine... I'm thankful that God is not finished with us yet. I pray that we let go of the stress we have about people seeing the real Brian and Rachel, warts and all. I pray that we allow God to mold us to be what He wants. I pray that we allow our lives to be a demonstration of what God can accomplish in people who are selfish by nature, regardless of how bumpy the road may be. I pray that we give until it hurts, and that I not complain about it. I pray our children experience ministry and being obedient to God's call as a good thing and not just something that causes Daddy to be gone.
Finally, I am thankful. I am thankful that He promises us in his Word that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Thank you God, because if left to me it would surely be a mess.
I'm excited to see where the path God has set us on leads. I would invite anybody out there reading this take this journey with us.