My recent flood of activity has brought the million dollar question(s) front and center again.
“Are you back?”, “Are you better?”, “What ARE you doing now?”
All great questions… that I have tried hard to not answer over the last six months. I have struggled HARD with my health and with understanding that my life is just different now. For almost a year after getting so sick with Hep A, typhoid fever and all the other “fun” things that kicked my butt, I tried to do just that… get better. I fought through poor health while in Haiti and was sure that I just needed to be strong, patient and obedient.
It wasn’t until December of last year… after ten months of waiting to get “better” that I was finally diagnosed with Chrohn’s disease. Apparently kicked into action by the typhoid fever because I was already prone to it. Add in a bunch of very strange health symptoms and flaring fibromyalgia and arthritis and it’s been a rollercoaster of fun. I still truly believed that I could just “man up” and be stronger than what was happening to my body. I prayed and prayed that God would just HEAL me. A period of pretty nasty depression (that I am not proud of!) followed as I struggled with trying to understand WHY God would keep me from the people and place that have become my heart.
Fast forward. Through many medication changes and many more dietary restrictions I have come to a place of starting to understand how to live with my “new” body. I am starting to understand that God has been trying to tell me that I need to be home more for quite some time. I still have monthly doctors appointments and those are not negotiable… that means my traveling days are limited. Now don’t get me wrong… I am SO grateful for doctors who continue to be supportive of this crazy missionary girl wanting to be in Haiti even though it goes against EVERYTHING they believe to be right for me. That being said… it’s still frustrating, painful and hard much of the time.
I am blessed to work for an organization that loves me and supports me unconditionally. Yes… I am still a missionary. Yes… I still work to promote and support my ministries every day. Yes… I am still madly in love with NWHCM.
That just looks a little different now. My schedule has basically flip flopped. I am spending most of the year stateside and plan to travel into Haiti at least four times a year… the total opposite of the last several years when I would just come home four times a year. A huge adjustment for me… and for those I work with and for my Haiti loves. I am no longer working in the travel department of the mission. My time in Haiti (and at home!) can now be spent entirely on my ministries… outreach ministries, the brothels, the prison and Redeeming Gifts… one change that I really, really LOVE.
My sweet hubby is thrilled to have me home more. Of course, my being sick all of the time has been no fun, but just being together has been wonderful. Especially since, for the first time, we are empty nesters! With the kids all moved out and Katelyn off at college it is truly just us for the first time in our adult lives. Crazy! God’s timing…
As I’ve kept silent over the last six months of waiting for clearance to head back in, I lost a lot of followers and a huge amount of support. My support needs haven’t changed a bit so this has been a big blow. I am praying that as we are moving forward with Redeeming Gifts and things have been SO incredible with the brothel girls, that I will be able to pick some of that support back up. My travel costs are exactly the same as I will still be traveling in/out the same amount of times. I am still responsible for paying my monthly rent to the mission as I keep my home there. I am still fully supporting both the prison and the brothel ministries. Please. Please. Please. Don’t think that because I cannot actually LIVE in Haiti full time right now that I am not still fully invested and in need of your help and support.
I realize that is was my own silence, as I struggled with my “new reality” that put me in the position of losing support and excitement. I promise to do a better job of telling the stories… of sharing the victories and the struggles. Caitlin and Kelly are doing an AMAZING job juggling everything I have thrown at them on top of their own jobs and ministries. They have embraced the brothel girls with their whole hearts and I am beyond blessed to have such beautiful women of God in my corner. Those two girls are truly the only reason that I haven’t completely lost my mind at being home and away from the prison and my brothel girls.
God has blessed me with some amazing ministry opportunities stateside as well. He has had to remind me (because I am a spoiled baby who just wants what I want when I want it) that we are expected to be missionaries every single day of our lives. No matter where we are or who we are with. This might be shocking… but there are lost people right here in Florida that need to hear about Jesus too… Lol. PRAISE JESUS that He is still willing to use this silly, pig headed girl.
So hopefully that answers the million dollar question… for now.
We have so many things happening! With the launch of our Redeeming Gifts store getting closer and closer we are working hard to make contacts in the states of stores, organizations, groups and churches that would also like to carry our product. I am MOSTLY excited about getting to tell the stories… Over the next few weeks I will be highlighting one girl at a time… introducing you to her… allowing you to know her and fall in love with her. Stories of the other programs will follow… I want you to know them and love them ALL just as we do!
I am excited about the next step of this journey and am SO grateful that you are on this bumpy road with me!