Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Water, Water, and More Water!

Today's diet consisted mostly of water.  Wonderful, fresh, ice cold water.  I drank it for breakfast.  I drank it for lunch.  I drank water with a slice of lemon for my afternoon snack.  And, I just finished another tall glass of water with lots of ice.

I've always been a water drinker -- even as a small kid I can remember going out to the hand pump and cranking out the water.  Oh, it was so cold and seemed to hit the spot perfectly, especially on those muggy, hot days in New Jersey!  Even better was when there was an outside spigot to turn on and stick your head under to cool off and lap up that refreshing, cold water.

Why did I drink only water today?  You guessed it!  Haiti is always on my mind these days.  I've been told that fresh, clean water is something that is not readily available to everyone.  In fact, most of the water where we will be staying is contaminated.  We will have to purchase our water and be ever so careful not to even allow the "regular water" to touch our lips. 

This disturbs me so much!  In this day and age of super technology, the finest machinery and drilling equipment, and advances being made daily in the fields of science, how in the world are there people who still don't have clean drinking water readily available to them?

I don't have the answer to that question, but I do know how much I love and appreciate thirst-quenching, clean, clear, cold water!  And, I know that I am acutely aware of the struggles many people go through just trying to get a little bit of drinking water for their daily hydration.  I also know it pains me to think of living a life without fresh, clean drinking water. 

Forty five days until my feet stand on Haitian soil.  Forty five days until I will be wondering where I will get my daily supply of water.  Forty five days until I will not have any icy, cold water to drink on those steamy, hot days.  Forty five days until I will experience first hand what it truly means to be in need of one of the most basic things in life -- clean drinking water.

Forty five days until I see with my eyes what it's like not to have a pump in the front yard, a spigot on the side of the house, at least 5 or 6 faucets inside of the house pouring out clean, clear water.

Forty five days until my heart will forever be broken.........


Monday, January 30, 2012

It Only Hurts a Little Bit!

It only hurt a little bit!! 

Today was the day that the trip to Haiti began to really feel like it was  going to take place!  An hour long drive to go get my shots gave me lots and lots of time to think.  "So, you're really doing this.  You're going through with the trip.  If you get the shots, you're committed to go. There's no backing out now." 

And, so my conversation went on and on like that through the entire drive to Pittsburgh.  Oh, I wasn't afraid of the shot.  I'm a toughie when it comes to things like that.  My fear is facing the unknown.  Going into a land that is foreign to me is not what I would call an "exiting trip."  It's an adventure, but not a pleasure trip.  I sound terribly selfish, don't I?  Like I said many times before, God has a lot of work to do with me.  I love the comforts of home so much, and I'll be the first to admit it.  I miss my comfy bed and I didn't even leave yet! 

The nurse at Passport Health greeted me with a smile.  "So, you're a little nervous about this trip?"  How in the world did she know?  "Your face looks pale.  Here...have some water.  Let's get you good and hydrated before you get your shots." 

This sounded like a plot of some sort.  I was in deep trouble.  Out came the notebook she had prepared for the trip.  It even had my name on it!  Yikes!  Too, too real!!!  The nurse took her time and went over every possible detail of the trip she could think of along with explaining every shot that was needed for this trip to Haiti.

One thing seemed to pop off of the page as we were going through the booklet, and I couldn't seem to get past it.  The entire land of Haiti was colored in brown.  "What's that mean?"  I knew it had to mean something important!  "If you don't take your malaria medication, you most certainly will get malaria." 

It hit me like a ton of bricks.  Here I was fussing and asking a ton of questions trying to avoid as many vaccines and prevention medications as possible.  Why? Because I just didn't want to take the medication.  No other reason.  And, that's when it all hit me.  Those children -- the ones we're going to visit.  Those precious children are hoping upon all hope that we will bring them the vaccines they need to prevent whooping cough, malaria, measles, mumps, worms, meningitis, and flu.  They are praying for the same medications that I was tossing aside simply because I didn't want to take them. 

 "Okay, God.  You've done it again.  You're really digging into my heart, aren't you?"
With tears of shame streaming down my face, I gladly received my shots.  I said prayers of thanks for the availability of the medication.  I thanked God for such a special nurse.  I thanked God for the car that got me to the facility where I could receive the medication.  I thanked God for the financial means to pay for the vaccines. 

I humbly and gratefully thanked God for my many, many blessings.

And, so it is now forty six days until departure for Haiti. Today was a good day......a very good day.   

PS  I might be a toughie when it comes to shots, but I'm not kidding when I tell you that both of my arms are sore!!!  Where, oh where, is that bottle of Tylenol? 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Those Eyes Are Melting My Heart!

Sitting on my comfortable pew in church today, thoughts of Haiti kept overriding anything the preacher said.  All I kept thinking was, "Only forty six more days until entering a foreign land.  Forty six days to prepare for this life-changing experience!" 

And, then the adrenalin rush that comes with fear made my body shake.  Tomorrow I will travel to Pittsburgh to get the first series of traveler's shots.  I've never had any of these vaccines before, so that nagging fear kept creeping into my thoughts. "What if you get a bad reaction to the shots?  What if the nurse messes up and gives you too much of the serum?  What if, what if, what if......"  You know how Satan loves to play with your mind.  I thought of every "what if" possible, and then something snapped me back to reality.

As Pastor Ray kept speaking words of assurance from God's word, I realized once again how small my faith really is.  My faith is wee small.  Baby small.  Tiny, squeaky faith.  I was sitting next to my oldest daughter, and I wanted to cry in shame.  She's shown some amazing faith in her life!  And, here's her mom.  Her mom that is supposed to be this strong woman of God.  Instead----baby faith. 

And, then I prayed this prayer, "God, help me to trust you.  I mean really, really trust you.  I know you're trying to dig deep into my life.  I know you're knocking at the door of my heart.  I can hear you.  But, I'm so afraid to let you all the way in." 

True confessions, friends.  I hate change.  I absolutely, positively hate any kind of life changes.  And, I already know that this trip is going to kindle the fires of change within me, and I'm still trying to buck the sytem.  God sure has His work cut out with this ole gal!

When I came home from church, I decided to look at Steph's Haiti pictures again, and one picture seemed to speak to me more than any other today.  This little girl's eyes seemed to be looking right at me.  They dug right into my heart and seemed to say, "What are you afraid of, lady?  You have everything you could ever need or want. Most of all you have Jesus walking right by your side.  Think of me when you're getting those shots tomorrow.  I wish that somebody -- maybe even you -- would bring shots to my orphanage so I wouldn't get sick anymore.  Don't be afraid, lady.  Just think of me and think of how happy you should be because you have Jesus."

And, on day forty six, I'm thinking.  I'm thinking constantly of this little sweet soul in the pink dress with those beautiful, big brown eyes.  Tomorrow when I get my shots, I will cling to this picture, and I won't be afraid.  I know I won't be afraid.  I will think of Jesus and the little girl in Haiti with the pink dress calling out to me.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

God, I'm Running Out of Excuses!

Today I attended the second meeting about the trip to Haiti -- the trip that "I" will be going on this March.  God and I have had many, many conversations about this trip, and so far He seems to be getting His way -- even though I've been trying out every excuse in the book NOT to go!   

My daily conversations with God for the past few months have been blunt and to the point.  "God, I don't want to go.  Send somebody else.  My job is to stay here -- home -- right where I want to be."  I've thought of excuse after excuse as to why I'm not the right person to be going on this trip.  And, I thought my excuses were pretty good, too!   

"God, you know for a fact that I don't have the money."  His reply to this was simple and quick.  "Here you go....a friend has just donated the money for you to go!"  All I could think was, "Why?  Now why did he do that?!?!?  Why did he have to give that money for me?" 

"I'm way too old for this trip and I won't be able to climb up into the truck while traveling to villages or spend long days in the sweltering heat."  My doctor, after examining me said, "You must be doing something right.  Your health checks out better than it has in years. Keep up the great work!"  Another excuse went down the drain.  I can't believe this!  God thinks I can survive the steaming heat while packed together like sardines on a rickety truck in a foreign land.  Are you kidding me?  "God, this is a joke, right?" 

"My kids will miss me and I'm needed right here at home. You know how much they need me, God. Besides, there are birthdays in March and a new grandbaby is due to be born."  Well, God must have laughed at that one!  Five of my kids are going on this trip to Haiti -- that's half of my family.  In fact, they are the ones planning this trip!  And, so God wins out on this one, too.  "Listen to me child.  You're going to be with your family!  This is going to be great!"  I had no answer for God on this one. 

"I'm not in a strong enough place emotionally to see any kind of human suffering."  Oh, God showed me how wrong I was on this excuse, too!  My children have had a year of unbelievable pain.  Never in a million years would I have ever imagined the trials our family would be asked to endure.  And, you guessed it.  God made sure I stayed strong so that I could be "mom" and "gram" to my hurting children. 

"God, I give up!  You win!  I'm going on this trip, but I'm afraid.....I'm afraid you've called on the wrong person." 

It is now forty seven days until a team of thirteen, myself included, will depart for Haiti to spend time with precious souls.  I'm trying to pump myself up for this, but I've got to tell you that I really am afraid.  I'm not even sure of what.  Everything, I guess.  And, so I'm going to write my thoughts each day and have you, my friends, join me for what will no doubt be the most life-changing event of my life! 

I'm feeling pretty wimpy right now, but God seems to think I can do this.  He and I are still debating, and so far He's winning.  Stick with me and let's see what all He has in store for this old granny! 

PS  The picture posted here is my daughter, Stephanie, on one of her trips to Haiti.  She absolutely, positively radiates God's love.  Maybe, just maybe, God wants me to do a little radiating, too!