Sunday, November 22, 2015

This is Grace

Wednesday night we gathered to process one more time and to figure out what we wanted to focus on as we shared our stories with our congregations.  This was not an easy task!  This team had just been to Haiti where our lives were changed and challenged by our Haitian friends.  Out of all we had seen, heard, felt, touched, smelled; what was rising in our hearts that we just had to share?

We reviewed our pictures, remembered, celebrated the stories, and talked about how our lives would never be the same again.  And we finally narrowed down our focus on what we could share.

In the process Kim said, "Do we have a picture of TiCarme in the back seat of the van?  "I don't think so."  We continued to talk.  Kim, "Are you sure we don't have a picture of TiCarme in the back of the van?"  "No, Kim, I don't see one."  Kim, "I wish we had a picture of that."

The rest of us were confused.  "Kim, what is the big deal about TiCarme in the van?"  Kim, "It is a picture of the grace of God."  We were still confused.  "How do you see that?"

Kim, "She is so calm.  How can she live with all this need every day and be so calm?  She has joy in the work she does, but she has to say, 'No' to people every day. That has to be the grace of God."

He is right, you know.  I have never seen faith, persistence, patience, hope, love, joy, mercy, like I see in TiCarme.  This is a picture of the grace of God.  As director of Help the Youth she knows the needs, because she knows the families, her village, and her country.  But she also knows God, and God has called her to the mission of helping educate, encourage and empower the youth in her realm of influence.  She can't say yes to everyone, and sometimes that breaks her heart, but she also knows she is an agent of hope and a future for many young people who were hopeless.

Since she launched her mission, "Help the Youth," 18 months ago 100 students who were not able to go to school are now back in school.  And everyday at least 3 people come to her pleading for their children to be in the program.  Everyday she has to say, "No, not this year.  You can apply for next year, but we do not know how many studnets we will be able to take."  Then she and her board have to figure out which students can be in the program and which ones will once again hear, "No, not this year."

She is that picture we need, to remember that God calls us to be faithful and diligent, but also to trust in Him for provision and guidance.  The joy comes in the awareness that we are called to be agents of HOPE and a FUTURE for some incredible young people.  Again we invite you to come down and meet these young people and watch the grace of God in action.

For more information call 920-539-3238 or email to check out our organization, or to contribute financially go to and click Haiti when you give.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Connecting the dots

In 2008 I sensed God calling me to a ministry focused on the boomer generation.  I had even done my Doctor of Ministry work on spiritual formation for those in midlife and beyond.  I have been doing retreats and workshops, as well as life coaching for those in the midst of life transitions.  My mission statement is Motivating and Mobilizing the Boomer Generation for Greater Impact on the Kingdom of God.

Then in 2014 Haiti reappeared in our lives.  In 2001 we lived in Haiti for 9 months.  As we have reconnected with our friends there and become fundraisers for Help the Youth it has taken more and more of my time and energy and passion.  There was some conflict in my spirit about how this all fit with what I knew God had called me to do with the boomers and beyond.  Was I being diverted from my calling?  Was this really where I was supposed to invest?  Had I completed that season of my life?

Sometimes I realize I am a little slow on the uptake.  Not the brightest crayon in the box.  This week I finally connected the dots.  Last week we took our third group of people down to Haiti; all of them boomers.  Everyone of them said, "I will never be the same."  Lives were challenged and changed.  Jeff said, "This opens your heart to compassion. You can throw away the brochures in the mail, but when you look in their eyes your heart is opened up and the compassion comes."  It is a very dangerous thing to allow yourself to be this vulnerable.  It takes couage, because it will transform your life if you let it.

This transformation is not just a matter of giving more money, but of sharing more love, being more like Jesus.  It is seeing your brothers and sisters all around you, and in places you have never been.  It is feeling their pain and being willing to walk and work together.  It is becoming aware of our unity in the deepest parts of our being.  It is realizing there is so much we can learn from each other. It is recognizing Jesus all over the place!  It is opening up your world.

I still love to do retreats and workshops.  I still see incredible value in having a life coach.  But, I also celebrate that introducing friends to what God is up to in Haiti is another tool for motivating and mobilizing the boomer generation for greater impact on the Kingdom of God.

When Joshua was about to lead the people of God into the Promised Land  God spoke to him in these words, "Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous,  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9      

I talk with so many people who are looking for something more.  There is a stirring in their souls, a longing for more purpose, more connection with the things of God, but it takes courage to confront that stirring, to see what God is calling us to.  It means taking a first step.

If you are ready for a first step give me a call.  It might be engaging in coaching.  It might be gathering friends or church groups for a retreat or workshop, or it might be signing up for a future trip to Haiti.  We plan on going Feb. possible May and in July and November.

Be strong and courageous!!!  Your God will walk with you!
Call me at 920-539-3238