Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Speak Life

SPEAK LIFE!!!!
Men and women vary in the amount of words that use per day. Women use on average 20,000 words per day and men use about 7000 words per day.
Regardless if you are male or female, you have the power to use words that God would use- to SPEAK LIFE!
The Bible says the tongue is a powerful weapon. You have the power of life and death using ONLY your words. It is hard to think about your words causing death. Your words can ruin a friendship, start a fight, end your career or start a war.
Words cause death, hurt, and pain! Ex: Adolf Hitler
Words give life! Ex: Winston Churchhill
Do you know of a time when you caused harm with your words?
You probably still remember them. Luke 6:45 The mouth speaks what the heart is about!
If you are a critical heart, you will speak criticalness. If you have a grateful heart, you will speak thankfulness.
Remember a time where someone spoke good things about you? I bet you remember those words too. You have the power of encouragement. Has someone spoke words of encouragement in your life?
What will come out of your mouth today? Will you be a person that is speaking life into other people? Will you help build people up? Hebrews
If you say something nice about me, I MIGHT remember you.... but if you encourage me, I WILL never forget it!! Be that encourager today!! Speak LIFE!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

STEPHANIE

I got to know this beautiful girl about a year ago. She had been attending our youth group for quite some time, but she became best friends with my niece last year. I didn't know much about her except that she seemed to be a good role model and represented our teenagers well within the youth group. She and my niece went on a weekend youth retreat and became fast friends.
Around about October, she posted on FB that she was having some family troubles and needed a place to stay. Kevin and I talked about it and since we had an extra empty bedroom and full bath, agreed to offer her to come here. I didn't know her much at all, but after praying about it, felt that God was saying we should. She moved in the following day and we didn't see much of her. She was a senior in high school and worked full time. We didn't even really have any rules, except some common courtsey kind of things, be respectful of our family, get along with our 13-yr-old daughter, and the normal "teen" things, like no boys allowed and come in at a decent hour. After all, she was 18 and a senior already. Thankfully, she was and is a great girl!
About a month after she moved in, she was in a pageant. She invited us to come and got a us a front row seat to the show. I felt like a proud "mom" and cheered her on. When asked during the interview portion of the pageant who she looked up to, I beamed with pride when she said our youth minister. She was gorgeous on stage and she won the interview portion- 1st. place!!
Around about January, I asked her to go along on our mission trip to Haiti. She had been telling me that she wanted to going into youth ministry and I thought it would be good for her to go "see the world". She agreed to go and was really excited about it. I had a rather large team going (15 people in all) so I assigned her to do music for our nightly devotion and for our daily bible school with the orphanage kids. She and my niece both have been studying guitar and both sing in our praise band on Sunday mornings so they happily agreed. They worked really hard at preparing music, songs, practicing, and playing guitar for our upcoming trip. And, they did a fabulous job! Every day, they were teaching the kids some new songs and were overjoyed when the kids already knew some of the songs that they had prepared for.
Stephanie hadn't really felt "connected" with my family prior to us leaving. We get along great, she is an awesome role model to my very impressionable teenage daughter, and she is always respectful, but she was distant. She didn't share much with my husband and I although we tried everything to help her find her place in our home. I told her repeatedly that she is just like my daughter and she has the same status in this family as my two birth daughters do, but she just wasn't as connected with us. Everything changed in Haiti! She fell in love with the Haitian children and I believe got to see Kevin and I in a very different light while we were there. She also found her "place" in not only our home, but in her calling on her life (I think anyway). She discovered that she really does want to be in youth ministry (possibly on the foreign mission field) and she has been a different girl since we returned home. I can see her setting some new goals for herself and discovering God on a more intimate level.
She is graduating high school in 2 weeks! I am very proud of her and I just wanted her to know that from day 1, we have loved her as our daughter and we will continue to support her in whatever she decides to do. I am happy that she joined our family back in October, but even happier that she knows now that she "REALLY" joined our family. On May 15th, Stephanie- Kevin, Victoria, and I will be cheering you on and we can't wait to see where God leads you. I am so proud of you!
 
Mama Wendy

Sunday, April 27, 2014

BIG PAPA "P"

Planning for this trip started in January. Little did I know that I could be capable of leading a team to Haiti! Looking back now I can see that God started preparing my heart to do this a couple of years ago. That was about the same time I started praying about my distant friend Perez going with me.

My first trip to Haiti, I was scared out of my mind. I had never been on a mission trip before and I surely had never been to a third world country.
That very first trip, I fell in love. The day we left, it felt like I had left a piece of my heart in Haiti. The connections we made were unbelievable! Our team grew so close together and we had formed a very unique bond.
Fast forward three years...... I barely knew most of the people going on this trip. All but four of us had never been to Haiti before. It was exciting to experience all the "firsts" with them. Several people on the team kept thanking me for this opportunity, but it wasn't me at ALL. I just agreed to lead the team so that's what I did. Now let me tell you some of the God-stories that had formed these team members together.

PEREZ, aka "Big Papa P", WATSON

I met a man named Perez several years ago. Perez and I grew up in the same small town and he ended up being a teacher at my daughter's middle school. I had seen him around at the school last year. He was always outside in the mornings for car riders, always with a big smile on his face and waving to every car that passed. He was also a mentor of some sort at our local YMCA and I was friends with him on Facebook.
One day somewhere along the way, I heard him say, "you go to Haiti on missions trips. I want to do that sometime". I said okay but didn't really put a lot of thought into it. Then in January I posted on FB that I was planning a trip for April. He contacted me and said that he was interested. I again said "okay", but again didn't put a lot more thought into it.
I had an informational meeting at my house one Sunday afternoon and he said he would come. He didn't so I thought he wasn't really serious. Then, about a week later, he contacted me again to say, "don't forget about me". I had! We made plans to meet us at Zaxby's one day for lunch and I told him all about the trip.
I knew Perez was a minister and in my head, I had known him as a "big teddy bear". He was a gentle giant in my mind. I was ecstatic that he was interested in going on this trip. I had secretly been praying for him to go all along. I knew I needed someone like him on my team and I also knew how much he loved kids and that they would love him! He would fit in with them so well.
See...... here's the thing! I knew from his ministry that he loved children. He had "adopted" a premature baby from a woman he didn't even know. He was a middle school teacher and a mentor at the Boys and Girls Club. What was amazing was that he wasn't working! He had the time to go but he wasn't sure how he could raise the funds needed to go. He told me this on a couple of occasions. I always responded that if God had him on this trip, the funds would come! I already knew he WAS supposed to be on this trip because I had been talking to God about it for a long time. We talked about a few ways to raise the money. A week or so later, he texts me that he had mentioned his desire to go on the trip to his church. Several people said that they would help him, but nobody did at first. The cost of the trip was $1075! The next week someone gave him $500! Then the next week a family member gave him $1000! Just like that he had more than enough!

THAT'S WHAT GOD DOES FOR HIS CHILDREN! He says in his Word, "Go into all the world proclaiming the gospel". Perez was willing to go and God provided the money for him to preach that message to more than 100 kids in an orphanage in a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY!

God provided many opportunities for us to share about him on this trip. Perez led bible study to about 40 teenagers on Wednesday night! He rocked, held, and fed several babies. He prayed with a young teenage boy in the community. He even stopped to shovel gravel into a wheelbarrow. That's a good story..... A couple of us were walking along the road from the orphanage back to the team house one very hot afternoon and we came upon 2 young kids shoveling gravel into a wheelbarrow while their father watched. These kids were maybe 6-8 years old. Two of them. Without saying a word, Perez stops, takes their shovel and starts filling up their wheelbarrow. They just smiled ear to ear watching him, probably thinking who is this guy! Haha! He filled the wheelbarrow, told them goodbye and walked away! It was one of the single most memorable acts of service I've ever witnessed. SERIOUSLY! 

I love how God puts two extremely different people (a 100-lb. very white woman and a big black man) together like Perez and myself to preach the gospel in Haiti! Perez fell in love with the Haitian people.  I knew God was using him in a mighty way and I am honored that I got to witness it. I can't wait to see what God has in store for him next!!
I love you Perez and so glad that you are my new family member.



THAT'S WHAT GOD DOES FOR HIS CHILDREN!
"Go into all the world proclaiming the gospel"

Sunday, February 23, 2014

BIG PLANS

I've not written a blog post in almost a month! I claimed I was doing great and getting my thoughts written down, but then I realized the last post was Jan. 25th. Time sure does fly!

Big time plans are coming to fruition. Last post, I wrote about what your calling is. Mostly, what I believe my calling is and how that calling came to be.

I have so many thoughts swirling in my head that it's hard for me to form them into a blog post. I absolutely love writing and this blog is selfishly for me and later on, my child. I want my daughter to be able to go back long after I am gone and see the words on paper. 

Most of my readers, friends, and family know that I am leading a team of 17 to Haiti in 49 days. I can hardly believe it myself. I never in a million years thought that God would call me to serve in a third world country such as Haiti and definitely never imagined leading a team on my own there. 

Lil 'ol me!!

BUT, I serve a Big God who has Big Plans for me. All 100 lbs. of me and 16 others will travel to Despinos, Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti on April 12th. This will be my 7th. trip and besides my own family and one other college aged girl a first trip for everyone else.  I love taking a new group of people to the country I love. 
On my first trip to Haiti, I almost reluctantly agreed to go. I knew that God had called me to do a mission trip, but truly thought I would hate it. I. REALLY. DID! I had full intentions of going and serving my 10 days there and coming home to never return. Little did I know I would fall in love with some big brown eyed, dark skinned children. Not only the children, but adults too. I got on the plane crying like a baby. Missing them and I hadn't even left Port-au-Prince yet, yearning to schedule my next trip, and planning to take my own blonde-haired, blue eyed girl back with me. I had no clue, I'd be returning less than 6 months later, 5 months after that, and again and again! Praise God! 

I say this b/c taking a whole new group of people to the country I love is exciting. It is amazing to see the wonder and awe (and shocking!) view from their eyes. I want everyone to experience the love that these kids have. I want them to feel the same passion I feel for them. The more people that know about our ministry the better we can help them. Our kids already have Jesus, they need our affection, spiritual growth, physical growth, and knowledge that the God of the universe that loves me, loves them too! 

Big plans are coming! In just a few short weeks, I could amaze you at the miracles God has been performing just to make this trip happen. Donations are pouring in, food, money, clothes, etc. It's not just my story, but the story of 17 people whose lives are about to be changed and I believe for the better. I can't wait to see it unfold. Stay tuned and I'll share the testimonies of these missionaries!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

WHAT'S YOUR CALLING?

What's your calling?

Do you know?

I believe our mission in life is to find out our calling as soon as possible and get to work on that calling!

Sorry to say that it took me well into my 30's to find my calling. I have known since 9 years old that I would be a nurse. I am a planner and have literally had my entire life planned out since I was very young. I knew I would marry and have only one child. Don't know why I never wanted more children, but my husband and I had a ready made family when we finally married after 7 years of dating. He had a daughter in high school and if I'm being honest.... I loved being a mom at an early age. It was just something that came natural to me. I was very responsible and while I was in nursing school, I was paying all the bills at my house (mom was basically living with me) and helping to raise a child on the weekends with my then boyfriend. We've been together since she was 5 months in utero. I've always had a mostly great relationship with her mom. Gratefully!

When I graduated nursing school I wanted to go on a medical mission trip, but didn't know how or when I could make that happen. I was already raising a family! 
Then, I went to Haiti in May 2011. Just before I left, I had been caring for my mom, along with my sister. I was her power of attorney and had all the medical responsibilities and her financial responsibilities. However, mom got very sick and died that year on March 1st. I was 36! I spent the next two months wallering in sadness. I have never been one that was what some called "depressed", but I was deeply sad. Mom was my best friend. She was the one person I could tell literally everything to. 
When I got to Haiti in May, I met an 18-year-old girl named Woodland. Maybe I've written about her before. Woodland couldn't speak a lick of English except to say hello and I love you. She could also sing every word to "Blessed Be Your Name". Melissa, our American missionary had taught her this song and she had a beautiful voice. One Sunday, I found her sobbing! Turns out she was crying b/c it was Mother's Day in Haiti and she was sad b/c her mother had passed away. Her father had too. She was only 18!! Here I was feeling so alone b/c my mom had died at age 36. 
God spoke to me that day! He called me to help the orphans of Haiti! I felt the tug on my heart to do whatever I could to make this my calling. I never wanted to live there or adopt, but I was called to serve Him there. I have given up my vacation time (2 weeks) since to spend it in Haiti. Thankfully, my family also feels called to serve there.

I have a young friend, Amelia, that is 19 years old and in college. I'm 20 years older than her, but she is like my daughter, friend, and mentee wrapped in one. She is a great girl and also has a heart for Haiti. She's been with me several times and last year we were able to spend the entire week of Christmas in Haiti. Amelia has found her calling at such a young age. She is planning to spend an entire month in Haiti this summer. She doesn't really know how God is going to use her there or even what her future plans are for her ministry, but I am so thankful that she has obeyed the call on her life.  Wish I had known earlier what my calling was, but I know God reveals everything to us in His time. 

What's your calling? Do you know what your mission is in life? It doesn't really matter if God calls you to serve locally, internationally, in your church, or even in your own home! Every Christian's mission is to spread the gospel and take as many people to Heaven with us that we possibly can. If you don't know your calling yet, ask God to reveal it to you!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

IN MY DAUGHTERS EYES


In my daughter's eyes, I am a hero.
I am strong and wise and I know no fear.
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes, everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me
gives me strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe in my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

It's hangin' on when your heart
has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes

I love having a "mini me". Everyone tells me that Tori-bug looks just like me. But, you know what? She acts like me too. Sometimes I think that is a good thing. I like to think that I am always setting a good example for her, but I know that isn't true. She is the one that teaches me. She has taught me so much about how to love and she never sees color or disability. When she was young, I worked at a nursing home on Saturdays. I would have her daddy bring her to see me and sometimes they would bring me lunch. The elderly can be very scary to a small child, especially the ones in a nursing home. They sometimes scream, shake, drool, or would try to reach out to her. She was never afraid of them and I think that helped her when she got into school to always include everyone. I love her heart. When I took her to Haiti for the first time she was 11-years-old. She jumped right in and loved on those orphans like it was her job. She never said a word that they were dirty, didn't have shoes on their feet, or invaded her personal space. They were her friends from the moment she met them. I am so proud to be her mom and I hope one day when you want to know me..... all you have to do is look in my daughter's eyes!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pastor NeNe

PASTOR NENE On my first trip to Haiti, I had the priviledge of meeting a Haitian gentleman named "Pastor NeNe". He is a big old teddy bear of a man. Not too tall, but a big guy with a big heart. In fact, the biggest heart! Pastor NeNe has a story to tell. Much like many Haitians, Pastor NeNe has a lot of life experiences. At the time I met him in 2011 his wife was pregnant with what I believe was his 6th. child. His baby should be like 2 years old now. Pastor Nene is a very dramatic, enthusiastic speaker. He talks loudly with a lot of vigor. He waves his hands in the air like he is unable to control them. He is a preacher to every one he meets. You can't meet him without hearing how God has influenced his life and provided for him. He speaks English fairly well. Sometimes he gets the words mixed up but he makes up for it with his enthusiasm. You can definitely understand him. He is a very funny guy the way he explains everything. He sat, well, stood actually and talked to our first large mission team to come to Haiti. MY TEAM!! He walked in with the biggest smile on his face proclaiming his blessings from God and pure joy just bubbles out of the man. A little history now...... Pastor NeNe and his wife took a large group of kids in immediately after the earthquake. Kids that had been abandoned, kids that their parents died in the quake, kids that literally nobody else wanted. He spent several days digging out some of his family members from the rubble. He was only slightly injured in the earthquake but he never worried about himself. Several months after the earthquake after he and his wife took in 14 children, he was injured in a "moto" accident. He was riding on a motorcycle (very common in Haiti with no helmet- DON"T EVEN GET ME STARTED ABOUT THAT!) and was in a wreck. It nearly killed him and injured him very badly. It took him several months, but he recovered and continued to preach and provide for his family and the new children he had taken in. This is when I met him. In January I believe, 2012, an American man came to Haiti to help construct a building for his orphanage. This man, from what I hear was a great guy and had started several hospitals/clinics in Haiti. All around good guy that had a heart for Haitians. One day while he was there he went to the bank to withdraw some money. Around $4000 I heard to start this project for Pastor NeNe's orphanage. Going to the bank in Haiti is very risky. Especially if you are withdrawing a lot of money. To go to the bank, you go stand in line outside the bank, sometimes for hours. They only let 2-3 ppl in the bank at one time and it is highly guarded by Haitians. Like I safe, it isn't exactly safe. Pastor NeNe was not with this man at the time. He went in and withdrew the money and when he came out of the bank he was shot. He somehow managed to get himself to one of the hospitals that he helped start. He was very critically injured and actually ended up passing away from his injuries. My team heard about this man and had been praying for him for several weeks. Pastor NeNe was devastated because the gentleman was there to help him. He had a really hard time accepting the first few weeks. Turns out, the would be robbers didn't end up robbing him. He was found with the money in his front pocket. Haiti is corrupt. Sorry, but it is. We felt that this was an inside bank job. Like someone on the inside knew he withdrew that amount of money then was going to shoot and rob him. They only succeeded in the shooting and killing of this dear guy. Several months later, it came about that some of the man's family (mainly his wife) thought that Pastor NeNe had this done to him and knew about the shooting. He didn't! She hired an attorney and Pastor NeNe was put in prison for the crime although he has never had a trial. He is still there 1-1/2 years later. Prison in Haiti is not the place you want to go. You are in general population which means you are in a one small room with 75 men. You don't get fed three meals a day like here. You don't eat unless your family brings you food. Pastor NeNe had 14 children and a wife counting on him to provide their needs. She never had a paying job. Our directors were able eventually to write a letter and asked that he at least be put into a semi private room and thankfully they moved him, but he is still in prison. Never once, he has questioned, "Why me?" He continues to believe that Christians are still persicuted all the time. He continues to be faithful even behind bars and still shares his testimony. His wife has tried the best she can to move forward with her life all the while struggling to provide for them. Our orphanage tried to help the best we could, but our funds are so very tight. God continues to provide for us and his children. They wouldn't be eating at all if we weren't. They now actually are going to our school. Pastor NeNe is near and dear to my heart and I truly believe God will get him out of that prison some day. I am not sure why he is still there, but God has a purpose. I will continue to be faithful and asking God to allow him freedom soon. Would you pray that too? Let's storm Heaven with intention. Intention on his freedom. Intention on his famuly being provided for! Please?