Amy to Africa

Amy is eight years younger than me.

Amy is a high school senior and was voted “Best All-Around Girl.”

Amy is athletic and smart and beautiful.

Amy has a tender and gentle, compassionate and loving heart.

Amy is shy but hilarious, quiet but confident.

 

This is a post about my youngest sister.

This is a post about Amy.

 

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I have loved watching my youngest sister’s heart grow more and more fond of Jesus.  She has fallen in love with the Gospel and with our Savior; it has been a beautiful thing to watch over the years.  These have been things she’s made for me as Christmas, birthday, and wedding gifts:

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I love looking at this wall because it reminds me of how her heart has grown towards the Lord over the years.  She’s been making the burlap wall art with custom verses to raise money for our future adoption.  You can check out more about that here:  http://amy4orphans.webs.com

More recently the dream of spreading the Gospel in Africa has grown in her heart.  And the more the Word has nourished that dream, the more she has talked about it and looked into how to make it a reality.  She’s reached out for help and advice, and she’s anticipated the day when she could tell everyone she would get to go overseas.

Well, last week she contacted our old church back in Orlando.  Turns out they are going to Burundi, Africa (a nation they have been connected with for several years now) in March.  Amy excitedly asked if she could join them on the trip and after sweet conversation that can only be arranged by God, she will be headed to Burundi in less than two months!

She cannot contain her excitement to live out this dream, experience the Church abroad, and share the Gospel.  Her heart is overflowing.  I am so proud of her and am excited to see what the Lord has in store for her.  I know He will use her, but I also know He will teach her more than she can imagine while she is there.

She would be so honored and grateful if you would join her in this journey.  Prayers are essential, especially as she travels on a trip like this for the first time.  And she is in need of financial support.  If you have something to give, it would bless her abundantly.  To hear from Amy and donate, go to: http://www.gofundme.com/sendamytoAFRICA  She would appreciate any amount.  And she most definitely appreciates your prayers.  Thank you for considering supporting her!

I am beyond proud of my little sis.  It will be a joy to see where to Lord takes her (spiritually and physically) over the coming months and years.  May the Kingdom grow because of Amy’s faithfulness to the great commission!

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Three Years Ago…

Three years ago when my life forever changed.

Three years ago I was in Israel.

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Three years ago I was standing on rooftops in old Jerusalem watching the sunrise.  I was surrounded by a few fellow believers who traveled from Union with me to share the gospel in a place that desperately needs to hear about Jesus.

It was one of the best weeks of my life.  Yet it was one of the hardest places to deliver the gospel.

I will have to save sharing about that trip for another time.  I could talk about it for days.

While on that trip, three years ago, we watched the news coverage of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

 

Three years ago today the earthquake happened.

Three years ago God grew in me a heart for the Jewish people and Israel; three years ago God grew in me a heart for Haiti.

 

As I watched the news and learned more about the earthquake after returning home, I knew I had to go.

I longed to be amongst the rubble and ruins, dust and ash.

I so desired to hold children in my arms, bandage wounds, pass out food and water, and rebuild houses.

I yearned to offer hope amongst the despair, peace amongst the chaos, joy amongst the grief.

I needed to be with the poor and helpless.

So I spent hour upon hour figuring out how I could go.  I knew spring break would arrive in just two months, allowing me a week off from school.  It took some time to figure it all out.  But just three short weeks before spring break I had found a ministry to go with (Adventures in Missions http://www.adventures.org), booked my flight, and even convinced my mom and two friends at Union to join me.  Unfortunately, my grandmother became very sick, and so my mom stayed behind to be able to spend time with her in California before the Lord called her home.  We trusted the Lord and knew he had a purpose and plan behind the timing of everything.  He was in charge of our family and He was in charge of Haiti.

There is no way to accurately put into words what we saw and experienced.  It was one of the best weeks of my life, yet it was one of the hardest.  (That seems to be a recurring theme.)

Sleep was a luxury amongst the heat and noise.

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My heart was constantly grieving, yet constantly giving…a strange paradox to persevere through.

These people had nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  They used whatever they could find to concoct some sort of shelter.

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So much devastation.  So much grief.  So much death.

What could we possibly do?  How could we help?  What words would be adequate?

I quickly learned that we didn’t have to heal the nation.  All I had to do was share Jesus.  My Strength, my Rock, my Refuge, my Healer, my Joy, my Help, my Provider, my Provision.  Share Him.  My mission in Haiti was not to rebuild the whole nation, but simply help the few that I could.

What did that simple help look like?

Some days it was teaching English to a small community since they were still out of school.

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Some afternoons we helped rebuild a church.

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And some in the community quickly joined in to help.

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We packed bags of rice and beans for pastors to hand out to their communities.

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We spent time visiting churches and hearing their stories.  The testimony that “my life was spared from the earthquake, so I know that there must be a God and so I will follow Him” was heard often and struck me hard.  What peace and hope we encouraged them with was tiny in comparison to the way their just months old and yet solid and seasoned faith impacted us.

There were times when letting them love us, in their own unique way, was the best thing we could do for them.

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Most importantly, the name of Jesus was on our lips.  The gospel was shared.  Men, women, and children were prayed for.

 

Each face we looked into told a powerful story.  They will never be forgotten.

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Three years ago, those faces changed my life.

 

Three years ago, a part of me was left in Haiti.

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Three years ago, God literally shook the Haitian grounds out of spiritual darkness and into revival.  He is moving in mighty ways in Haiti.  His church is growing there like never before.  Light now shines in a place that was covered in darkness.

Praise be to God who can use any chaos, catastrophe, tempest, and trial for His name’s sake!