First of all, we just had an amazing couple of days of fundraising in LaGrange and we will be updating you and writing a blog about that soon. We have wonderful supporters in LaGrange and it was great getting to see everyone and updating everyone on what has been going on at All Things New over the past few months. As you know, Jess and I are in the states for a couple of months of fundraising for ATN and the first 2 weeks of us being home have included our sponsorship celebration picnic, a Spirit Night at Jim Bob’s in LaGrange, and our LaGrange fundraiser. We have a few more events planned over the next month, but we also still have some availability. Click here to see some ideas and help us get the word out about All Things New to as many people as possible over the next month!
I want to talk a little bit about what it is like to be in America right now rather than Haiti and how we are dealing with it. First of all, it is very necessary that we be here right now. After moving the kids to Hope Rising and then again to our new place, fundraising has become an even more significant part of our job as we work to ensure our kids are taken care of and that we can continue to provide jobs to our wonderful employees. At the same time, there are many people in Haiti who have lost everything after the hurricane and our country is hurting! We are watching here from the comfortable, air conditioned, nice roads, drive-down-to-Target-when-you-need-something United States of America and it can be so difficult to comprehend why. Why is it ok that I have everything at my fingertips and people are dying (literally) of hunger? The truth is, for the first few nights I had real trouble getting to sleep because of my circumstances in America and that seemed about right. At least it kept me up at night. But, fast forward just 2 short weeks, and I sometimes completely forget about what is going on down there. In fact, I actually wrote that last sentence after having eaten a pot roast, potatoes, onions, Berry Punch, and clean water for dinner and it was really delicious. Even to have the luxury to eat for pleasure rather than survival is something that I have known for my entire life.
I wrote a blog a little while ago called “Where was GOD” that helped me work through my thoughts and beliefs about GOD during Hurricane Matthew. The truth is I cannot fully answer that question for the very reason that I am not GOD, but I can know that GOD was with all of us (Americans and Haitians, affected and unaffected) throughout everything that we went through. The problem with that response is that it is easy to stand back from a distance and logically describe and systematically lay out my beliefs about something. The harder thing to do is to hold onto those beliefs when things fall apart and the logic that you hold onto seems to be insufficient to cover the actual events that are happening. That’s where I find myself from time to time and I know that many of you are reading this do as well. As a logical thinker it can be really hard to define and understand the emotions that come into play when something like this happens, but it really does throw you for a loop. As I write this there are thousands of people still struggling to survive, trying to figure out where their next meal will come from, facing a potential cholera outbreak, mourning over the loss of loved ones, homeless, and just in general finding themselves in desperate situations that we (myself and the readers of this blog) have never and will never experience and cannot even begin to comprehend. My questions and the emotions of this are simple:
are so many people suffering?
have so many people died?
am I where I am?
do I have what I have?
It just does not make sense. I say this all of the time when Jess and I are talking. I always use the phrase “it just doesn’t make any sense” because in my mind everything should follow rules, be in some type of order, and should be easily explained. We all know, however, that is not the world in which we live. We live in a messy, sin-filled, difficult, crazy, and extremely unexplainable world where logic oftentimes takes the backseat to emotions and not everything can be explained no matter how intelligent we think we are. The bottom line is this:
Faith succeeds where everything else fails.
This does not mean we are to be intellectually lazy, quite the opposite. Because the truth is, when the really crazy, really difficult, really mind blowing things happen we have to fall back on our logically and systematically developed beliefs even in the midst of disaster because that is where our faith is. Our faith is in a GOD who never changes, who loves us no matter what, and is with us in everything that we go through. If we decided to turn our back on Him when bad things happened, then we never really knew Him to start with. When we have the chance to pour our lives out in prayer, consume the Bible like it is our connection to GOD, and to contemplate on the greatness of GOD, those are the things that get us ready for the difficult moments. Those are the things that lead us into this deep unchanging faith that leads us to the throne of GOD no matter what else is happening.
As you can probably tell, I wrote this for me as much as for anyone else, but let me close with a challenge to all of us. Our faith is in an unchanging GOD who is love and focuses His essence on each of us perfectly and completely. Because of that, no matter what else is going on and no matter how emotionally and logically challenging things get, our faith is in that same GOD who has always, does always, and will always love us completely. So, the bottom line, it is hard being in America when there are so many people struggling in Haiti. But we know GOD has us here for a reason, we know we are in the right place, and we know that GOD will continue to be with us just like He is with them. We don’t know this because things are easy, but we know this because our GOD promises this and no matter what else we believe His promises.