Finally, what seems like a lifetime (two and a half years same difference) I’m getting to go to Haiti once again! After two garage sales, a very opinionated letter, a fundraiser here a there, and multiple tears I’m going to the place my heart longs for.
Last Wednesday, was a usual H2o kids routine: kids arrive, I scream and jump and shout and dance, we all scream and jump and shout and dance, and it’s like a college party minus the alcohol and it’s like 10x better. These children are the true highlight of my week over any football game or Saturday night sleepover. I can be myself around them, which is apparently a 2nd grade girl that just consumed her body mass in soda. And I love it. I love every minute of it. This week, the children (after being told by multiple people to do so) gathered in a circle with linked hands, standing around me. Jessica, then began praying over me, as those 55 or so kids stood each praying over me. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness for God and these children and my mom and everyone who has supported me even when I felt my lowest of low. When I felt this whole garage sale or letter was useless, they were my backbone and they were the one’s who made me happy again and helped me believe. Ally then asked for a young girl and boy to come pray over me in the middle. Of course, lots of children would love to hold a mic and be in the middle of a circle everyone staring at you, so multiple hands shot up. But one by one, after each time Ally called on someone, they would change their mind. Five people later, a precious girl named Ava prayed over me. Amen’s were said, and everyone was headed to their seats, when little Jackson insisted a boy needed to pray over her, and so he did. He prayed protection over me, and that I would become bold and shine Christ’s light in all that I do. I thought to myself this sweet young boy would come pray such a mature prayer over someone in front of all his peers and I couldn’t even say Grace at the dinner table. I truly needed the boldness he prayed for me to have. Amen’s were said once again, and a little boy suddenly from the circle pointed at me and shouted, “You’re a missionary!” It was so humbling and overwhelming seeing all the kids and staff supporting me as I go on this journey.
October 29th, 2011, I was asked to speak a poem on behalf of all the orphans around the World. By that time, I had just turned 12 that June, and was still trying to understand the concept of what being an orphan meant. I looked up the definition of orphan, and this is what was found;
Orphan: A child who’s parents are dead
That, is not entirely true. Their parents don’t have to be dead for them to become an orphan. But, I’ve come to the realization that we we’re all once orphans; lost. Sure, we had our parents, but what we really needed was God. Now, that we have received God’s grace, it is our duty to show God’s love to others.”Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” -Matthew 28:19
Just go. Go and make disciples to fulfill God’s purpose for us.
Orphan: A person who has not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Here’s the poem I was asked to read:
I am the relinquished, I am the abandoned, I am the fatherless.
I didn’t ask for this!!
This was the hand I was dealt by the Grand Dealer himself.
Remember it was He that knit me in the womb.
I didn’t ask for this!
I get to ask why, but You don’t!
For I was dealt this hand.
But You, You are over there and I am over here.
Do you see me?
Do you see me?
It’s me under this bridge.
It’s me feasting from this trash pile.
It’s me in another home and another home and another home.
Do you see me?
It’s me the child caring for the child for she has no one either.
Do you see me?
It’s me in this cold.
It’s me in this heat.
Do you see me?
It’s me with these sores on my feet!
Can they POSSIBLY carry me for water tomorrow??
OH, but they must.
Do you see me?
It’s me eating from this community soup bowl.
It’s me with these flies on my face.
Do you see me?
It’s me sleeping on this dirt floor.
It’s me who is sick with NO HOPE for a cure.
Do you see me?
Oh you say you see me!
But I look so happy kicking the ball!
The Converted One speaks of me, for I have learned to be content in all circumstances.
Oh you say you see!
BUT you’re not called.
I know you heard the brother of Life say to care for me, its true religion.
You even remember the Profit say, DEFEND ME because I have no father.
You can picture the Savior calling me to his knee and it is we that shall enter the Kingdom.
The Book speaks of me from the parting of the waters, to raising of the cross!!
SO…maybe this WAS NOT the hand I was dealt!!
it was dealt…
Do you see me?
This journey was and is overwhelming, and I’m thankful for the people who help me become who I am today. This is the story of how I found out what I was passionate about.
In 2011, I decided to give my 12th birthday up. I had everything thing a 12 year old could ask for, silly bands up to my elbows, I really saw no point in getting presents I would never use. So I decided instead of asking for gifts, I asked for everyone to donate $12.00 to an organization called Charity Water. I thought it would be a great opportunity to raise money for people who didn’t have clean water. The day I turned 12, I raised 2,304 dollars, and now, 115 people have fresh water. The joy I felt knowing that these 115 people would go to bed hydrated with fresh water instead of disease infested pond water was overwhelming. My church and the loving people around me desired the same; to help these people just as Jesus helped us.
Fast forward a year to 7th grade, when I led a 3-5th grade small group. We decided we wanted to help a child out that Christmas. I stumbled upon a facebook post about an orphanage in need of gifts for the children that Christmas. We picked out a young girl name Chinalove from the orphanage in Haiti, called Cap Haitian Children’s Home (CHCH). At the time, my older friend Ally was currently living there at the orphanage for 3 months. The girls all bought something that we sent off to Haiti for Chinalove, and it felt so good knowing that she would have a present this Christmas. Ally shared her experience with me when she got back a couple weeks before Christmas. I was fascinated; hearing all here great stories and life changing memories, made me want to go. Christmas eases its way in, and my parents asked what I wanted for Christmas. There were baffled by answer to go to Haiti. Christmas day rolls around, and I expect to find a passport in my stocking, I don’t. Disappointed, I go to my grandma’s for lunch like we do every Christmas year. All my cousins and aunts and uncles are opening gifts, as well as me, and still no passport. Finally, it was my turn to open my gift from the whole family, it was a c.d. and a little wrapped gift. Confused, I slide it in the DVD player. There on the screen, are these beautiful Haitian children, and I knew at that moment, I was getting to go to Haiti. Tears streaking down my face, I open up the gift that came along with the c.d. Inside were two passports, one for me, and one for my aunt Kim (Kiki). We packed our bags and went a couple months after, February 2012.
When the plane landed, so did my heart. We rode in the back of a truck from the airport to the orphanage. I looked in awe; trash piled on the road, kids bathing outside in buckets, people begging us for money, it broke my heart. I was welcomed into the orphanage with weird glances, and mumbles from the older ones about a “ti fi blan” (petite white girl). The younger ones, ran up to me with hugs, and held my hand, leading me to my new room for the next 4 days. Those next days were the greatest days of my life; I painted nails, colored, danced until my feet hurt, and attempted to learn some Creole. I learned so much from the experience, learning to be thankful for what I have. Just like living in the orphanage was the greatest, leaving was one of the hardest things I had to do too. I cried and cried on the flight home until I was sure my tear ducts were dried up like raisins. All I could think about for the rest of the school year, I wanted to go back so badly. Finally, my parents said, “Avery, if you really want to back to Haiti that badly, you need to raise the money yourself.” So I did.
August of 2012 comes along and I decide to have a garage sale. I put all my old clothes, books I’ve already read, old jewelry, anything I could get my hands on. I wake up bright and early that hot August morning, set up my table right outside my garage, and waited. By the end of the whole thing, I had raised over 1,000 dollars. Stoked, I put all my money into the bank, titling it “Haiti Money.” Then I waited for an opportunity to rise, and multiple did, but they were all canceled, or I wasn’t able to go. Finally, a chance to go to Haiti came up, Spring Break of 2013. This one I thought for sure I was going. The dates were set, as well as the people who were going. We emailed the people at the orphanage making sure everything was set and ready to go. The reply we got back stopped us all in our tracks; “The owners of the orphanage are putting a hold on us letting anyone visit the orphanage.” They wouldn’t let us visit, because we had different denominations. I didn’t know what to do, at that time, I just gave up. All throughout the rest of that summer, I was terribly sad. I didn’t know what to do anymore. My aunt with a group that July, but they weren’t able to see the kids at CHCH. I couldn’t go, because I was camp. I was depressed. She went again, later in November and I wanted to go desperately. But sadly, the car seated 7, and I would make the 8th member, meaning I couldn’t go. But, she went with her daughter Carly, and her heart broke just the same as ours. I eventually decided I would write a letter to the church in Ada who owned the orphanage. Lots of others who loved the orphanage just as much as me wrote letters too. I gave them the gist of my story of how I came to know CHCH, and asked them to please enlighten me why I wasn’t able to visit the orphanage. The reply wasn’t what I wanted, but I expected it coming. I was not going to be able to visit CHCH again, as long as they were in charge of it. I coped with the response, and bottled up all my anger and sadness inside a bottle deep in my heart.
Now, being able to be apart with the creation of the Amata Village has helped me tremendously. Created by Ally and Carly, the Amata Village will hopefully become a place for children to stay in Haiti as a safe place in the near future. Helping with this has really brightened my horizons realizing I don’t need to be in Haiti to help. I don’t agree with what the owners of the orphanage say, not being able to visit the orphanage because of my denominations, but just because I can’t help those kids, doesn’t mean I can’t help with the 1,000’s of others in Haiti. Denominations are just organized brokenness. We are all of Jesus disciples and are called to serve for the same reason. This is our purpose here on Earth, and we are called to be his hands and feet in this broken world.
Okay so lately this verse has really shown itself, literally. It’s 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline.” It has been crazy because I feel like everywhere I turn there is that verse. When I went to K-West, one of the verses we memorized was 2 Timothy 1:7. That was the first time I have ever heard it too. Then when I came back to my hometown I came to find out that my four year sister had memorized it at her daycare. At church I was helping set up a painting booth where the kids could paint a picture, Bible verses, song lyrics etc. I was handed some Bible verses to lay around the canvass. I looked down and the one on top was 2 Timothy 1:7. Then I was just scrolling through my word press feed and one of the bloggers I follow was writing about the verse! Lastly, I went to family camp, one night we were talking about stuff we felt convicted about. I said I felt convicted because I never talk to the kids who I don’t know at youth and just cling to my friends. And I am just so annoyed with my siblings sometimes and just want yell at them. And that I don’t stay committed to a devotional. And my counselor told my 2 Timothy 1:7.
I feel like God brought that verse to my attention for a reason. And It’s crazy the way God does this stuff. I love it
A couple days ago at lifegroup we were discussing gifts and our purpose from that morning at church. For me personally, I am finding it really hard to find my gift/purpose. I see my friends who are extremely gifted, whether that be singing or dancing or playing an instrument, whatever. Honestly, I get really REALLY jealous. (When I sing I sound like a tone deaf walrus. I have two left feet, dancing is not my forte, and I kind of know how to play the guitar, but not as well as my friends, and I am not determined as they are.) But that night at lifegroup, really opened my eyes.
We are all uniquely gifted for God’s kingdom. Each and everyone of us has a gift that is used to benefit the Kindom. In 1 Peter 4:10 it says “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spirtual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” We all have a gift that was sent from God and that excites me. “I have given you an example to follow, Do as I have done to you.” We are his disciples and we need to show others the love of Christ. Each of our different gifts are important. Not one of us is better than the other. Ultimately we all have the same desire. We still all stumble and fall, but in my weakness he is stronger. He has shown me that I can’t do it on my own. (2 Corinthians 3:4-5) We have to really learn to love others. If we don’t we aren’t living like Christ has called us to live. He came so we could make a difference in this generation. You are chosen.
This summer, I am decided I wanted to write a short story before school starts back up. Here is 9 steps on how to make it easier:
1. Collect ideas for your story.
-Inspiration can strike at any time, so carry a notepad with you wherever you go so that you can write down story ideas as they come to you
2. Begin with basics of a short story. After you’ve chosen an idea, you need to remember the basics of a short story before writing one.
-Introduction: introduces characters, setting, time,weather, etc.
-Initiating action: the point of a story that starts the rising action.
-Rising action: events leading up to the climax or turning point.
-Climax: the most intense point or turning point of the story.
-Falling action: your story begins to conclude.
-Resolution: a satisfying ending to the story in which the central conflict is resolved.
3. Find inspiration from real people.
– If you have trouble understanding or finding attributes of a character, turn to your life. You can easily borrow attributes of people you know or even strangers you notice.
4. Know your characters.
-For a story to be believable, the characters have to be believable and realistic. It can be a difficult task to create real characters that are interesting and realistic. But here are a few strategies to create “real people” to populate your story:
-Write a list, titled with the character’s name, and write all the attributes you can think of, from their position in the orchestra to their favorite color. Know as much as possible about your characters, from what their central motivations are to what their favorite foods are. Do they talk with an accent? Do they have any quirky mannerisms? You won’t include all this information in your story, but the more you know, the more your characters will come to life, both for you and for the reader.
-Make sure your characters’ personalities are not perfect. Every character needs to have some flaws, some problems, some imperfections, some insecurities. You might assume that people wouldn’t like to read about a character with a lot of flaws, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Batman wouldn’t be The Dark Knight if he weren’t a borderline sociopath!
-People can relate to characters with problems, as that’s realistic. When trying to come up with flaws, you don’t need to give your character some huge, bizarre issue (although you definitely can). For most characters, try to stick with things you know about. For example, the character could have anger issues, be afraid of water, be lonely, dislike being around other people, smoke too much, etc. All of these could be taken further in development.
5. Decide who will tell the story.
-There are three main points of view from which to tell a story: first-person (“I”), second-person (“you”), and third-person (“he” or “she”). In a first-person story, a character in the story tells the story; in the second-person the reader is made a character in the story; and in the third-person, an outside narrator tells the story.
6. Organize your thoughts.
-After you’ve prepared the basic elements of your story, it can be helpful to do out a time-line in some way to help you decide what should happen when.
-Your story should consist at least of an introduction, initiating incident, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. You can draw or write a visual with very simple descriptions of what should happen in each of these stages. Having this done will help you keep focused when writing the story, and you can easily make changes to it, so that you are able to keep a steady flow as you write the full story.
7. Start writing.
Depending on how thoroughly you’ve sketched out your plot and characters, the actual writing process may simply be one of choosing the right words.
8. Keep writing.
-You’re almost certain to hit some bumps in the road to finishing your story. You’ve got to work through them, though. Set aside a time to write each and every day, and make it a goal to finish, say, a page each day. Even if you end up throwing away what you wrote on that day, you’ve been writing and thinking about the story, and that will keep you going in the long run.
9. Let the story “write itself”.
-As you develop your story, you may want to turn your plot in a different direction than you had planned, or you may want to substantially change or remove a character. Listen to your characters if they tell you to do something different, and don’t worry about scrapping your plans altogether if you can make a better story as you go.
1. Know yourself
2. Understand what makes you feel great
3. Recognize things that get you down
4. Set goals to achieve what you want
5. Develop trusting friendships that make you feel good
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
7. Stand up for your beliefs and values
8. Help someone else
9. Take responsibility for your own actions
10. Take good care of yourself
One of my favorite sayings from my online church pastor, Craig Groeschel;
“You cannot please everyone, but you can please God.”
I am honestly a people pleaser. I hate when people are mad at me or frustrated with me. I feel like I need to please everyone. But I can’t. But there is someone I can try my hardest to please, God. I know I will fail Him sometimes, but he always forgives me. But my number one priority needs to not be pleasing people before God, but the exact opposite. I need to try my hardest to please God, whether that be praying, or reading the Bible or serving, anything. But I always need to please Him first before others.