A few months ago, God called Tim and I away from the church where we had been serving. We were not sure exactly why, just that He was being very clear that He had somewhere else for us to minister to others and be ministered to. We stepped out in faith, taking the hits that came with our decision, and have been learning a lot about trusting God. We have visited quite a few churches in the area and have been amazed that each Sunday we have gone to a new church, the message has been exactly on point for what God had been bringing us through that week. To have that type of confirmation as we have been on this journey has been invaluable.
Though we have experienced God in new and exciting ways these last few months, we have also had to deal with the struggle of feeling unattached to a local body of believers. We have missed the bond of believers that comes from seeing each other at small group during the week and then worshiping together on Sunday morning. Although we have made some incredible new friends and have received an enormous amount of encouragement from those new relationships, we have longed for the close camaraderie we once knew.
As we began the first conversations of our upcoming Haiti trip, we would often mention what a bummer it was that we didn't have a home church to support us. We weren't talking about financial support. We wished for the spiritual and emotional support we had experienced from past trips and had participated in when others went out on the mission field. To have a church family physically surround you and pray over you before you leave, is a unique and beautiful spiritual experience that we would not have for this trip.
Thankfully God is much bigger than us!!
We began telling people about our trip mid-march. Support letters went out via email, facebook, and snail mail. At first we didn't get much of a response but we kept talking to people and praying for provision. The funding for our trip began to trickle in and along with the money came notes of encouragement and the promise of prayers. We received donations from people we haven't seen or spoken to in over 10 years. Old work colleagues, one of Tim's Fresno State professors, ladies from my Bible Study group, even non-Christian friends were sending us funding for our trip. We even received $40 from a woman in San Diego who we've never met!
As of today, I am thrilled to report that we have received $3815 towards our $3500 goal and we know of a least $400 of donations that are in the mail. With the extra money we've been given, Tim will be able to purchase tools and prosthetic supplies needed to help stock the new prosthetic clinic where the first patient was seen and given a new leg this week.
To experience this level of emotional and spiritual support from people all over the country, some who know us well, some who we barely know, has been incredible. Though we don't have a local church supporting us, we have felt the prayers of our brothers and sisters around California and throughout the states in a powerful way and we will leave for Haiti knowing they are praying on our behalf.
As we continue to prepare for our trip to the Mission of Hope Project we have been blessed through the testimonies of others who have recently traveled to Haiti. Their stories and photos show the life changing effect their time in the country has had on them as well as the impact they have been able to make in the lives of the Haitians.
One of Tim's main contacts for the MOH prosthetic clinic, Chase, recently adopted a young boy whose leg was amputated at age 2. MSNBC has been posting stories of recent Haitian amputees and encouraging correspondence between these new prosthetic patients and US amputees. Chase's son, Elias, wanted to write a young Haitian boy about to endure an amputation due to injury sustained in the Jan. 12 earthquake. Here is Elias letter:
"Dear Schneily," Elias wrote, "My leg got amputated when I was 2 years old. And then I got my first prosthetic leg a little bit after that. It's hard to have your leg amputated. Don't be scared because God is with you.
When you first get your prosthetic leg you'll be kind of scared because you don't really know how to use it. But if you practice walking a little bit everyday you'll get better and better. And then one day you'll be able to run again!
Sometimes you might be sad that you have a prosthetic leg. But you are just like me! And there are lots of other kids that have prosthetics too. I'll be your friend forever.
When you get your prosthetic leg we can play together and run. I really hope that I can come to Haiti sometime and we can run and play together. Love, Elias."
We are adjusting to life as a family of five. I am a work-at-home mom and my husband is a Prosthetist/Orthotist (builds artificial arms and legs for amputees). We recently went to China to adopt our son, Oliver, who is missing his right hand. With a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and a 12 month old, it is going to be a messy, risky, costly, hilarious, and unpredictable ride as we navigate our "new normal!"