Saturday, 27 August 2011

Lights me up...

Found this and began to float a little. It's from John Piper and if you have 4 minutes I highly recommend:
God is not boring.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Filling in the blanks... this one's long, look out.

I've been back 3 weeks now and have been avoiding writing an update quite successfully by filling my time with family and friends and foods I've missed.
Today is the day to write something.
It's funny how you know there are lots of things to say but you really don't know what to say or where to start. It seems like many want to hear a synopsis of sorts. How was it? Was it good? Did things work out? These are good questions but the answers, I'm finding, tend to cause my face to contort into 12 expressions before I settle on "good and hard", "yes and no", or "not exactly..." I struggle, as do most (I'm told), to know if the listener really wants a quick and succinct answer to something that is difficult to explain quickly and causes my brain to wobble.
I have to be honest, sometimes I just give the answer I think people want in order to see if they notice that I've just said what they wanted to hear. I'll also be honest that I've been on the other side of that... with people I don't know well, but do have care for, it's easier to let them give an easy answer.
Understand, none of this is complaining. I can appreciate how these things work and need to work. What exactly to share, how to do it, for how long... decisions made in an instant between partners in a conversation who both have their own perspectives and goals for the conversation. That's how communication is I think.
So why write all this preamble? Especially since I've, in the past, gotten feedback that my updates are too long? Maybe avoidance of trying to describe the last six months. Maybe avoidance of cleaning the house. Maybe something else I'm not conscious of.... but my point stands: However I 'update', it will answer too many or not enough questions. So I guess you'll just have to skip the rest and avoid asking in person... or hunt me down for a face to face (with questions in hand on colour coded 3x5's).

My time in Haiti ended in a beautiful sad way with celebrations and goodbyes. Dance parties with kids, lunches out with friends, kickboxing til my final morning there, well-wishes, questions of when I'll be back again, a million hugs, my initials carved into haircuts, giving stuff away... all the regular things...
I would say that my goals before going to Haiti were not met in terms of therapeutic work. I would also say that my goals were narrow, culturally ignorant and/or misinformed, and made huge assumptions. What did I accomplish professionally and therapeutically? A relational foundation with many of the children at the orphanage as well as a number of North American staff and volunteers - a foundation that translated into a good deal of emotional/psychological/relational support for those I was in relationship with. I also began to understand this new culture and people and language (began). And then there was the vision God planted in me to see greater and more appropriate work in the future... but wait, I'll get to that.
Coming home has been difficult. I was ready for a break and really wanted to see my family and friends and maybe even be cold sometimes (mission accomplished there!). But leaving ones you love so very dearly is difficult. And coming home to a place that just doesn't feel like home in the same way... it leaves you wondering where home actually is and what it actually looks like. And when you will be there -- or at least feel like it. How's that for a description?
At the moment I'm taking it pretty easy. Not doing any counselling at all. Getting back into baking and cooking a bit. Looking for ways to make some spending money. (Anyone want to order baked goods?) Enjoying friends and family and my home church again (missed them so much!). And trying to pray about the future.
Ok you've waited a whole 13 sentences. The future is unknown. I'm so (tongue-in-cheek) philosophical. The gist of it is that I can do whatever I believe the Lord is leading me towards. Return to my previous work (God bless By Peaceful Waters), start something new, go somewhere else, or return to Haiti and MOH.
The vision I mentioned has to do with a greater long-term work at the mission. I believe God's hand is on that place and these times are so exciting to be witnessing what is happening there in every area of the ministry. In my work and time and relationship with the children it became clear to me that, in Haiti, these kids have extreme advantages. They have more clothes and toys and food than most of their national peers. They are protected in a community that values them and has security guards. They have sports facilities at their doorstep. They have Spiritual leadership and instruction. They have medical attention available almost 24/7. They are being educated in a top-notch school (check out the School of Hope ratings sometime). They have opportunity to socialize and work with people from other countries. They are involved in volunteering and ministry opportunities at such an early age... so many advantages (for updates on the mission from dental work to home building to their ace school program, check out the MOH blog to which all of the in-Haiti staff contribute)!
MOH back in March/April, their response was: Well, write us a proposal on how to do that.
So I did. I finished it and gave it to them thinking they would point out what needed changed, what didn't make sense, brainstorm who could do it, maybe ask me to be involved...
Nope. All the honchos gave it 'two-thumbs-up' and then asked me to do it.
I was torn. Actually still am. The thing is that I've never done anything like this before... well, the thing really is that it's another 1 to 2 year commitment... well, the thing really really is that I want God to ring my doorbell and say, as I open the door, "Kara-Lynn! Gosh, I love you so much! Here's what I'd like you to do next:...!" (obviously He needs to fill in the blank).
I met with my Art Therapy Supervisor last week and she gave me advice which I really value: "Listen to what your head, your heart and your gut are saying and not saying.  All three need to be in alignment regarding the response or decision." She also said (along with my family, mentor, friends and own heart) to take time with this decision.
I don't believe that any of my options are wrong or dishonouring to God. I believe I need to choose and take action. I would so appreciate your prayers about this. In a sense, this six-month commitment is not over and your support is important and valuable to me right now... perhaps more than ever... but that may be the 'now' talking.
I'm going to pray the same for you too: that your head, heart and gut are in alignment - that we're all lined up under the Father, aiming to be more like Christ, and filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.

with love and blanks...,

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


The last few months at MOH were interesting. As the temperatures rose a small group of women became more and more committed to getting up for an hour of kickboxing at 5:30 a.m. Interesting.
I'm finding it quite difficult to have the same consistency and level of sweat that was experienced in Haiti. I find if I go outside on our deck here late morning and work really hard... I'll sweat a bit. It actually seems strange to me how my muscles can be so sore and tired but my clothes are barely damp.
Also, and this surprises me, I really miss the bag. Punching the air is fine, but punching (and kicking) the bag is so satisfying.