Monday, July 20, 2015

Heading Back to Haiti

“Through Jesus then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:15-16 ESV

Becky and Max 
As many of you already know, we just returned from our mission trip to Haiti. It was my second trip, John’s first. We ministered through a partnership with Haiti Outreach Ministries (HOM). Our focus this trip was on completing work for the new high school that is set to open in September. We also had the opportunity to minister to the girls at House of Hope, a local girls orphanage. One of the unexpected blessings of this trip was being able to minister to a 2-week old baby girl named Abigaèlle and her family. She was not nursing well and her mother was struggling to produce enough milk for her to survive. Her mother had been in labor for three days. She was given an episiotomy to help her deliver. She was discharged from the hospital 7 hours later. She walked home. It was heartbreaking, but out of that heartbreak, a new vision was born. 

Baby Abigaelle
Another team will be returning to Haiti, November 14-21. We are planning to offer 2 seminars to each of the 3 church campuses of HOM. The first will be to girls and women ages 14-20 and will offer Biblical discipleship on purity and the sanctity of marriage, as well as education on pregnancy prevention. The second will be for pregnant mothers and mothers of children 2 years old and younger. We plan to offer prenatal vitamins, postpartum pads, and cloth diapers. In addition, we will be educating mothers about lactation, nutrition, postpartum care, and newborn care.
John working at House of Hope
John will return to House of Hope. Over the years, teams have come in and done lots of work, but when the week is over sometimes there are loose ends or projects that just didn’t quite reach completion. John and the other men on our team plan to work on bringing completion to those projects. Once they do that the orphanage will be a more efficient and secure place for the girls to live.

Visiting Haiti has opened our eyes to the extreme poverty that is essentially, in our backyard. But it has also opened our eyes to the church globally and the beauty of joining with them to do God’s work. While there are plenty of times in Haiti that I am broken and burdened by what I see, there are equally times that I am overcome with joy and hope. The people are filled with a contagious joy that seems impossible in their circumstances. It is incredibly humbling.

There are several opportunities for you to support this mission, if the Lord has so burdened your heart.

  1. PRAY, with us and for us. I will be the first to admit that I am often guilty of planning and preparing away (Martha) and forget to pray. But what good am I if I am not drawing close to the Lord in prayer.

  1. Donations - we need prenatal vitamins, cloth pads, and cloth diapers. You can bring those items to Cornerstone Baptist Church at 8947 Albemarle Rd, Charlotte, NC or contact me and I will coordinate pick-up.

  1. Financial support. John and I will need a total of $2000 to cover airfare and lodging expenses. With this trip only 4 months away it gives us very little time to save that money ourselves. We are trusting that the Lord will provide all that we need. If you would like to donate to us, please consider using PayPal ( or email us and I will send you our mailing address. If you would prefer to support the ministry expenses or for your donations to be tax-deductible, please donate to Cornerstone Baptist Church (use the online giving button in the top right corner).

  1. Ask us to come speak to your church. As I’m certain you can tell, we feel pretty passionately about this ;). We would love to tell you more about the ministries that HOM provides to the Haitian people and how you can participate in the mission.

Finally, if you've read this far, thank you! Please let us know if you are interested in continuing to receive updates as we prepare to minister in Haiti! 

And may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your heartand your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Saturday, May 09, 2015

The Happy Idiot

"At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen." 2 Timothy 4:16-18

"The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; He utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah  Come, behold the works of the Lord, how He has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the chariots with fire. ‘Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah" Psalm 46:6-11

Sometimes I miss things, really incredibly (should be obvious) kinds of things - and then when I see it, I feel like an idiot. Like a really happy idiot though, because now I see and now I’m not an idiot, at least about this one thing. In today’s readings, I had one of those moments. I must have read that “be still and know that I am God” passage hundreds of times. I’m a control freak (please try to contain your shock). People often quote this verse to me to help me gain perspective, and I try, really I do. But it has always felt so passive to me and I struggle with that. I want to be in charge, I want to handle things, I want to do, not to be, especially in the thick of things. I can handle being still and quiet when things are calm and life is being compliant with my plan (yeah, I know). But when life is hard and messy, I want to fight! And anyone that knows me, knows that I love a good fight. But as I read the scripture from Psalms again, in its full context, I was blown away! That “be still” passage is right in the middle of the battle! He speaks and the earth melts, He snaps our weapons like twigs, He burns our defenses with fire, because HE is the Lord of Hosts! He is the VICTOR! He is our SAVIOR! It’s not a meek exhortation to be still and sit quietly, it’s a command from the THE COMMANDER to sit down and shut up while Daddy goes to war! But don’t run and hide, stay right here, by my side and watch how the Lord of Hosts wins a fight. I think that is how Paul was able to forgive his deserters, he didn’t need them. Now, I know that I’m hard-pressed to forgive people when I feel like they should have been by my side, but really, do I need anyone else? Paul was able to see that. He knew the forgiveness that the Lord had afforded him. The sins committed against him paled in comparison! Forgiveness is easier for me when I remember my own sin, when I force myself to remember the cost of my own redemption. Paul saw it so clearly, the Lord of Hosts fighting, the God of all grace and mercy pouring out forgiveness. Lord, help me to see clearly!!
#shereadstruth #SRT #happyidiot

Friday, August 03, 2012

Was It Enough?

This is not coherent or eloquent, but they are my current thoughts on the matter.  Was it enough? - the question that keeps rattling around in my brain.  The short answer is, of course, no.  Of course, 5 weeks wasn’t enough time.  Of course, we couldn’t love him enough to fill all the holes in his heart.  But I promise we tried!  I hope it’s enough to last him until he comes home.  I’ve been oscillating between anger and sadness since I saw him that last time at the airport.  He was so brave to come all this way by himself, knowing no English.  And yet as we said goodbye and hugged our last I saw a boy who had been hardened by the system for years, begin to silently cry.  He tried so hard to wave and smile and tell us he loved us, but he had to look away when it was too much.  The sadness is crushing.  The kind of sadness that makes you wonder how the world can continue to move while you stand there total immobilized by your own grief.  But then comes the anger and the frustration – why did I let so many little things bother me?  I should have stayed up later, I should have been more patient!  When packing his bags to go I found one of L.J.’s toys.  I asked him if L.J. had given it to him, he said, “no, but he has 4.”  I told him we would ask L.J. in the morning, but it is not okay to steal.  I knew L.J. would probably give it to him, so no worries.  But I forgot to ask!  I forgot!!  Why didn’t I just give him the stupid toy!?!  What kind of person am I?!?  I am so angry with myself for not doing more!  And now I’m sad again.  I know we said all along, this is just a hosting program, and it is.  I know we said that our goals were to love him and show him what family is, and we did.  I know we said that this would be painful in the end, but we would be obedient anyway, and it is.  But, is so much more than I could have ever imagined.  I just want to hold him again, to see him, to hear his laugh, to protect him, to love him.  Please pray for him – pray for his safety, pray for his health, pray for God to guard his heart and pray for him to come HOME!  My brother spoke some of the most comforting words to me this morning, he said, “Becky, I will stop at nothing to bring him home!”  Lord, please work quickly, this Momma’s heart is begging You!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Less than a Week

We have less than a week before we put our host son on a plane back to Ukraine.  I really don't want to talk about it, but I must prepare for it.  Many of you have asked if there is anything else we need, so I made an updated list.  I left the full list and just struck through the items already donated because I wanted you all to see how blessed we've been.  There were a total of 4 items that we purchased ourselves.  My sincerest gratitude to all of you who helped us along in this!  I was telling the cashier at the grocery store this week, that we have spent more on groceries this month than we did on our mortgage!  But thanks to the many kind souls that donated gift cards and money, we didn't break the bank ;) 

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Little Brag

We've been working with Roman on his anger management skills.  We talked with a translator about how all families fight and everyone gets angry, but how we choose to handle it makes a big difference.  We tried to give him some healthy options for managing his anger and frustration.  He has done so well!!  He put all of our suggestions to use and will come tell me when he needs some space.  He has also learned to forgive more quickly.  I am so proud of him!  This week we are working on sportsmanship.  He is so competitive!  Bless his heart.  But it's really hard on L.J.  I almost just let it go, but decided while on the phone with a Russian-speaking friend to address it.  He said he would try, but he really likes to win ;)  Welcome to the club, buddy!  But, I've already noticed a difference.  And I am so proud of how hard he is working.
I need to brag a little on my crew as well.  L.J. has been so generous, sharing practically everything he has.  Roman wanted one of his stuffed animals, but I told him that we would need to ask L.J. first.  L.J. took several days to decide and I made sure he understood that he would not be "loaning" it.  Finally today he decided that Roman could take it back to Ukraine with him.  I am so proud of him.
Finally, I need your prayers during this last week.  He's pointed to the calendar several times and made a sad face and said, "bye-bye".  Y'all this is killing me.  I am trying to keep it together, for his sake, but more often than not I suck at that.  He starts patting my back saying, "it's okay, it's okay".  Yup, I'm awful.  So, like I said, please pray.  Pray for the time we have left, pray for our departure day (next Thursday), and pray for my kids.  It tears me up that poor Gabe is going to lose one of favorite people in the world and I have no way of preparing him for it.  Sad Mommy time :(  Thanks everyone!

Musician in the Making?

I knew that Roman wanted to learn how to play guitar and even had a friend let us borrow one, but it somehow just never made it onto our agenda.  Until today.  He is so tickled with himself and I think he demonstrates an amazing amount of potential.  For someone who has never had a lesson in his life, I think it sounds beautiful!  But maybe that's just because of the way he smiles when he plays and all I hear is my own little love song. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Have Some Good News to Share!!!

So excited to share this with you!  Thank you all so much for praying with us!  Please remember that you MUST NOT mention this to Roman.  But please continue to pray for all of us!!

Read the story here: Giving a Child a Place to Call Home

Friday, July 20, 2012

Some Days It's a Struggle

I think it's been over a week since I last blogged.  Part of the reason is because I've been so completely worn out by the end of day, which lately has been later and later.  The other reason is because I'm really not sure what to say.  I don't want to sound like I am complaining or that Roman is a "bad" kid, but some days are just really hard!  Most of Roman's social skills are counter-productive and self-serving.  I find it difficult to remain patient and gracious when he is so demanding and selfish.  We are working hard on manners and forgiveness, but it is work and we are not always successful.  I try to remember that he just does not know any better.  I know God has called us to this mission and I know He will work in us and through us, but it is hard not to get discouraged some days.  On a more hopeful note, he does really well with sharing.  There are very few things that he won't offer to share, even without being asked.  He is also a little homesick, he misses his friends and his country.  I think that is all very reasonable and understandable.  We did have a friend come over and translate for us so he would understand that all families fight and have problems, but we also love and forgive.  We explained that he would probably be upset again, but if he lost his temper, there would be consequences.  We explained the consequences and that he should apologize.  He understood and explained a few feelings he was having, which is definite progress.  Please pray with us!

Prayer Requests:
  • that he would learn to trust us
  • that he would learn mercy and kindness
  • that we would have love abundantly

Lake Day

Last Sunday we went to the Grack's for a day at the Lake with some other host families.  We all had a great time.  We ate, played ball, swam, and went out on the speed boat.  Items of note: we went all the way to Salisbury to get my parents boat, only to find that it wouldn't run :(  Turns out when my Mom took it to the shop, one of the pontoons was almost full of water.  Such a blessing that it wouldn't run that day!  Also, I have never been on a speedboat and in all likelihood will never be on one again.  I haven't screamed that much since I gave birth!  Actually that's an exaggeration, I didn't scream that much giving birth.  But, Roman and the chaperones, Olga & Ivita, thought it was hysterical!  It was nice to be able to talk with them also.  Ivita's English is pretty good, but Olga probably knows as much English as I know Russian.  But she did give me an "A" for effort, while trying to communicate with her and Roman.  It was very nice to be able to spend some time with the other host families as well, to share stories and strategies, to encourage one another.  So a big "Thank You" to the Grack's for hosting and to all the other host families for making it such a wonderful day!  By the time we got the boat back to my Mom's and then made it home it was almost midnight (OUCH!).  Made for a bumpy Monday, but we'd do it all over again if we could!


 If there is one thing I've learned about Roman, its that he LOVES fast cars.  My brother had the wonderful idea to take him to The Pit in Mooresville.  He had a blast!  We hope to make it back one more time before he has to go back to Ukraine.