Friday, 14 December 2012


After church Sunday, where Mr. Frantz spoke about being ready for eternity and our responsibility to others to share the truth of eternity, I read a devotional from an advent reading plan. It's from an online group and I've decided, because I like traditions, to do an Advent focused plan for 4 weeks. In the introduction the other day the writer commented about the word advent, meaning the start of something, and how we use it at Christmas. The advent that we focus on is the arrival of Christ Jesus, the arrival of our Messiah as a baby. Every year this story - that is my heritage - becomes, as I think of it and on it, more and more both a ridiculous and a miraculous thing.

My Saviour, who always was and always is and always will be, was born. Birthed. A mess of humanness to change EVERYTHING.

Just let me sit with that for a minute.

So, as I said, I was reading today's advent devotional. It spoke of what the writer felt were blessings: an unexpected Starbuck's, a spouse arrives home early, etc - yes, I can see those things as blessings (being spouse-less the Pumpkin Spice Latte is higher on my list) but really, and I hope this doesn't sound...well, rude ..., but come on.

It's a blessing that I'm home for Christmas and can see friends and family.
It's a blessing that I can share in love and time  and even gifts with many loved ones as we celebrate this time of ridiculous miracles.

But wait. It's a blessing that we have more food than we need and heated houses and cars and choices about clothes and water from the tap that I can drink!
And we're reasonably healthy and safe in a world that is sick and dying...

So many blessings. But come on.

What is all that? It's straight-up my perspective. My perspective about the things and people that I cherish. And, truth be told, I expect to keep on cherishing those things.

But the Ridiculous Miracle says that God Blesses things this way:

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
 God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.  Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way." (Matthew 5:3-12)
Just let me sit with this for a while. Let's do that together. Let's sit with what our Blessings are and what God Blesses and how He Blesses.
Oh Jesus, thank you for reconciling all this for us... for perfectly redeeming it... this mess of humanness.

Thursday, 6 December 2012


Mom and Dad came to visit in November. It was so fantastic to have them here, to share with them and to share them with loved ones here in Haiti. The time went so fast but each moment was treasured. I kept them hopping - or maybe they did me - with projects, touring around, and meeting people. Here are a couple of photos from our 9 days together:
After church on Sunday at MOH

Touring the MOH North Campus

The Super Big loaf we found at Carribean Supermarket. That's a lotta slices!

Not sure about why they're standing behind me....
but this is outside the National History Museum in Port-au-Prince.

We spent a day and a night at the beach.

Mom and Dad worked on a number of projects around the house - including getting my hammock up!
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 Mom enlists the help of the toddlers in sorting some big bottles of finger paint!
She totally knows how to engage children - she speaks to them with such love it doesn't matter that they don't speak English and she doesn't have Creole.
This fall has been really very difficult and Mom and Dad's visit was such a sweet gift from Jesus.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

It's how we do.

This morning was a fun and different type of training session with our Haitian Staff. Getting out of the office/classroom setting for our Prayer Walk seemed to shake things up a bit.
We started with just 3 Mommies and Mr.Frantz, one of our orphanage supervisors. I introduced the idea of praying over the space and those who live and work in that space. They quickly caught the vision for this.
As we went room to room throughout the orphanage more Mommies and one of the Daddies joined us in praying over the rooms.
We prayed for the Mommy or Daddy in that room. We prayed for each child by name - over their beds, over their health, over their hearts - blanketing them with prayers of blessing and protection from the enemy.
We walked around together, unified, claiming the power of Christ for this place and in these specific spaces.
It was sweet and joyful and I'm so very glad we did it - together.

Mr. Frantz with one of our young men.
Mommy Edith and one of our toddlers.

Jean Remy (in the white shirt), one of our Daddies,
with some of the teenagers.

Lapè ak kè Kontan

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement!

Last week's session on Peace and Joy went really well.
The Mommies and Daddies started out as they usually do: expressionless and non-responsive. I'm trying to see this a cultural norm and a challenge to engage rather than from the (my) point of view as a person who is hungry for feedback!
After a few minutes the Haitian staff began to engage again. We looked at scriptures about Joy and about Peace and talked about the world's understanding of joy and peace, what happens in the absence of joy and peace, and God's provision for us in His Joy and His Peace - the supernatural kind that we hunger for, that our children and youth hunger for!
We talked about the Kingdom Life of Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit found in Romans 14.
We found out that Psalm 62:5 in my NIV is 62:6-7 in the Creole Bible (that was an amusing distraction!).
We also looked at 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 which shows us how the work - ministry - of reconciliation is not only the work of Jesus Christ, but also OUR work. We have been blessed by Christ reconciling us to the Father and now we are called to do that same thing for others: Rekonsilyasyon! Following the Spirit's leading, supporting and modeling and sharing the truth of Jesus - reconnecting us with Father God so that we have life and have it abundantly!
We encouraged and challenged the staff with this as part of their job description in parenting our kids.
We spent some time coming up with concrete ways we can access and teach how to access the Joy and Peace of God. With some encouragement they came up with great examples:
Know God's Word (spend time in the Bible),
Worship Him,
Time in Prayer,
Obey God,
Work as unto God,
Forgiveness (this got me excited for future work because forgiveness has such huge power to release chains of bondage - I can't wait to see God work here through forgiveness... but that will come...!),
and Salvation!

Their homework assignment was to make peace in their own lives where it is missing and to get involved in leading the children and youth in making peace and experiencing joy. It seems pretty broad, but when we ask God for opportunities do these things He is excited and ready to give us a chance to share Peace and Joy - what a great privilege and responsibility to know and live and multiply Love and Joy and Peace! Even just to SPEAK in Love and Joy and Peace... what a difference it makes!

Today we are going to do a Prayer Walk. We will enter into each of the bedrooms and pray over the space and those that live and sleep there. I believe this is a powerful thing to do and have experienced great blessing by doing that in my home (immediate and powerful results praying over my apartment here!), and am hoping that our Haitian staff will appreciate today's session.
I treasure your prayers as we claim these spaces for Christ this morning.

I'll leave you with 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (CEV)
God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others.
What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

St.Marc and More!

I almost forgot to post pictures from our trip to St.Marc to view the rice farms!
These pics are borrowed from a co-worker, Katie Anderson.
Rice Drying in the Sun

Farmers preparing some land.

Haiti is really beautiful. It has been fun to share some of the sights and beauty with our children and youth this summer.

Joy and Peace

Our focus in teaching with the Mommies and Daddies today are the Fruits Joy and Peace of the Spirit of God in our lives.
Within the orphanage setting we often struggle to find evidence of Joy and Peace in a consistent way - so many of the children experience internal chaos which battles against their Joy and Peace.
We are talking and praying about this today and expecting the Lord to keep working and performing Miracles in all of our lives.
Thanks for your prayers this morning, and I pray that the Father of Lights reminds you today of the Joy and Peace He has for you!
Love in Christ,

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

So, how did it go?


Last Friday's training time with our Village of Hope Mommies and Daddies went really well!

We began with a bunch of non-expressive faces. Rachel called the looks on their faces "I-Hate-You" expressions. I took them more for completely uninterested and basically just putting up with me faces (I see those looks a lot and have decided to accept that explanation over the hate one) - but really they were blank and staring and no one was responsive...

... until about 10 minutes in when things started changing quickly! I am confident that it was your prayers that changed their attitudes and attention!  and thanks so much for those words of encouragement some of you were able to send!
The group began responding, interacting, relating, discussing... it was the brilliant hand of God in that meeting in my office that stirred those Haitian Mommies and Daddies!

We talked about Love as the base for everything in our lives, as we have Jesus Christ as Saviour, and of the importance of that in the orphanage. We talked through some questions and ideas they had and encouraged each other. It was great.

We will have another teaching time this Friday morning at 10:30 again (and for the next few weeks) and will be checking in with homework assignments and discussing more Fruit of the Spirit in our work and lives here together. In the end they will have an exam and will receive a certificate upon completion (which is a bigger deal than you may think - certificates are highly valued here as evidence of completed work and/or participation).

Your prayers are coveted as we walk with our Haitian staff through this season of training. I plan to update the blog about what we are covering together so that you can join with us in prayers of blessing and thanks and requests for the Lord's favour on this journey.

(Friday) Morning Prayer Request

Good Morning!

It's Friday!
I've been prepping to do some teaching with our Mommies and Daddies here at the orphanage this week. Today is our first seminar - at 10:30am - and we will be doing teaching and encouragement seminars for the next few Fridays (starting today, ending... not sure!)

The intent is for me to support them in their work parenting and also to challenge them to improve and hold each other accountable in this super-important role. We are going to be using the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) as a foundation and will include lots more scripture coupled with Attachment Theory.

I covet your prayers this morning for wisdom in teaching and for receptive open hearts and a growing desire in all of us to love on and minister to our children and youth. With 65 kids you can imagine it is often exhausting!

I'm just doing last-minute prep and it struck me (or, rather, God prodded me) to send out this invite for you to join with us this morning.

With gratitude and awe at His work here,
Love in Christ,

ps. the scripture I'm praying over them is Eph. 3:16-21 - praying the Word of God is so powerful! and such a perfect place to start!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

NYTimes visit

For those wondering about re-construction and development in Haiti,
Below is an article from the NYTimes covering people in a variety of living situations and experiences in Haiti. My attention was drawn to it as reporter Deborah Sontag came to Mission of Hope this summer as part of the research for the article.
Sontag expressed, at seeing our MOH500 project (particularly in collaboration with The 410 Bridge work in the deaf community), that this was the only work she had seen that had made her smile. Her experience researching and interviewing these folks must have been sobering at least. Thank God Almighty she saw MOH500 in Leveque.
Believe me on this too: if you ever have the pleasure of coming to see what God is doing in this place you too will be both broken and blessed.


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

National Children's Day in Haiti

Our younger girls and boys singing at church this Sunday.
The song they sang was about being a child of Haiti. They were excited and nervous and it was GREAT!

Children of Haiti: Widler, Christopher, Mackenlove, Roberto, Steevenson, Steeve, Iverson, Rose Berline, Kethia, Christella J, Michelove, Clara, Esther, Dounie, Emmanuella, Christella A, Sophonie!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Cham 16 (Biwo Mwen!)

The landscape on the large wall - so pretty! 
A floral vine around one of the windows.
Since I came back from Canada at the end of April I have had an office. So wonderful to have a place to meet with  all the precious ones who need a little boost or a little squeeze or a little love... and, while I was on retreat last week, a visiting family, daughter fresh and full of artistic generosity, painted a mural in the room. I think it is just beautiful. I am so thankful they took the time to plan, be creative and execute the wall's new beautiful dress. It is room sixteen in the orphanage and it is sweet and peaceful and a good place for good work.
The 2 and 3 yr olds kept running back and forth saying "wowww" "WOW!" "wowww" and touching the walls.

Impromptu Toddler Group (Diapers Allowed... welcomed, actually)

Hannah climbing up to touch the flowers.
Doing work!

More work: This is serious.

Monday, 14 May 2012


There are times when I really struggle to find something to say that's worth saying. Sometimes I go to breakfast and sit with strangers or friends and say about 12 words in total. Sometimes I wonder what people think as I'm there beside them but not saying much. It's not that I'm not thinking about something or that I don't have questions for them so much as I enjoy listening and quietness more and more with each passing year.
But it's also that I want to say things that are worth being said. I think that is magnified on a blog post in that it isn't just the mumbo jumbo that escapes my mouth but actual words are chosen and written become part of the text of the online world. When we write or create we are adding to the collective story-telling of humankind.
Does the thing I make/write/express mean something in itself or does it have meaning just because it was created? Today I'm choosing 'it means something to me'. Here's a story about gifts:

Every Sunday our morning worship is full of unknowns for me. Will I get a seat where I can see the words of the songs projected or will I have to go from memory and flub most of the words of certain songs we sing? Will the kids behave in service? Will I understand the sermon? Will one of my friends get up on stage and do a solo for the Lord? How many people will accept Jesus this week? Will that old lady two rows up fall asleep again in service? And when she does will her friend be her pillow or her alarm clock?
Those are just a few of the questions. But there's another wild-card. A man named Zo. He is incredibly tall and so very thin. I am sure he is essentially homeless and on some occasions arrives at church looking as if he hasn't had a bath in 3 weeks. It is said he struggles with an addiction. He has a big toothy grin and large calloused hands. He usually situates himself near the head of the mission's family. He often keeps a watchful eye on newcomers and welcomes them warmly, bending down to greet them. He keeps tabs on the children too and if they act up he will correct them (which sometimes scares them to tears if we're honest here). Zo also has a habit of bringing gifts of fruit to church to give to North American staff. I have seen him give fruit to the heads of the mission repeatedly. I find it interesting and wonder what his thought process is - I wonder if it is a conscious tithe for him. I wonder how he buys these gifts and what the cost is for a man who looks as if he eats only once in a while. I really don't know his story but I do see on his face the care he takes in presenting a gift each Sunday to the honoured recipient.
I was away recently (at home for Grampa's funeral and to have some time with family) and when I returned it was with very mixed feelings. I found leaving Canada at the end of April to be more difficult than ever. Two days later I walked down to church at the mission with hopes for some good worship and determination to focus on the message from the pastor. During our time of greeting each other (Happy Sunday, God Bless You) part of the service someone touched my elbow. Turning around I was presented with a small pineapple wrapped in a plastic bag. I was shocked. Zo had chosen me that morning for his gift. Even now I am humbled and speechless. At the time I thanked him and shook his hand. At the time I didn't know what to say except 'I got Zo's pineapple'.
To me this meant so many things. Most importantly it means that I am known. Not by Zo, he doesn't know me except for Sunday morning worship service. No, I am known by my Heavenly Father. It is He who gives every good and perfect gift. That was His pineapple. That was His child who gave it to me - me His other child in need of encouragement.
Some things that I write are just written things. This is truth: He does not forget, forsake, overlook or ignore us. He showers us with gifts like life and love and sun and rain and precious precious little pineapples.

Saturday, 14 April 2012


I'm flying home Monday the 16th. I was going to be coming home the 17th but I've changed the flight in order to be at my Grampa Ferguson's funeral.
I'd like to say that I will see dozens of people and do a million things, but I won't. I haven't even planned to do very much. It will be a fast week, I'm sure, and I really want to soak in my family.
I'll fly back to Haiti on the 24th of April.
Thanks for prayers for travel and family time and for comfort especially for my Gramma Ferguson. Thanks too for sharing in this journey and for being part of the story of reconciliation of relationships - us to God through Christ - because that's what we're doing here. Paul talks about it in one of the Corinthians. I should memorize that bit... I find this comforting and I find myself reminded of the hugeness of God (Hebrews 11:3 says that we serve a God who just COMMANDED things to BE out of what was not even visible) and of the closeness of Jesus (Psalm 25 says we can have friendship with God and Col 2 says we can be rooted in Christ actually drawing NOURISHMENT from him).
What a lovely picture. That Psalm 1 tree rooted by streams of living water...
I pray that if you read this you are driven to send your own roots down, get nourished, and then multiply that life-giving water in you to those around you in the name and in the power of the Risen Christ.

Friday, 6 April 2012


The first time (and the second and third) that I came to Mission of Hope everything was brown. It happened to be January the first three times I set foot on the mission and January, being winter, has distinct dry and dusty characteristics in this part of Haiti.
Brown, dry and dusty equals desolate in my mind. January 2011 I had a friend (Michel) visit from Port-Au-Prince and he seemed thoroughly unimpressed by the area's desert qualities. 'There are no trees for shade and cool. You're kind of on the edge of the desert ' he pointed out. It was exhausting to think about as I mulled over the idea of not having relief in a dry and desolate land. In my Ontario mind it was strange to be hot and see only browns and grays... no greens.
But we have a sweet and merciful God who created weather changes to take care of us - to take care of me - and my mind is so very limited and my thoughts so narrow that days like today are comical, really.
It is Good Friday. We are mid-rainy season. The flowers on the mission are blooming. The nights are cooled with rain. The trees are growing daily. Fruit ripening. Life is springing up and the greens and pinks and purples are so very green and pink and purple that you can SMELL the life in them.

Papayas gettin' ripe.
Outside our gate, steps from the playground, the gardener - Mr. Joseph - rakes up the fallen bougainnvillea flowers.
Our front yard area
This bloom hit me in the head on the way to breakfast this morning.
And life is here.
And so is shade and cool.
And relief.
And things are washed afresh each morning.
And we know that He is Risen!

Monday, 19 March 2012


Last week the Village of Hope completed the paperwork, met with the relatives, and bought new beds for twins - they arrived a few days ago.
A boy, Soudnel, and a girl, Soudline, just 4 months old. There's a buzz in the air with their new brothers and sisters - the children who live here. And everyone is sharing about the interactions they are having with these new little ones.
It is so exciting to have them here! And it is a reminder of yet another family who just couldn't care for the children they brought into the world.
Which is so heavy on our hearts.
BUT Praise God for providing for His children!
The Father, for reasons we don't know, chose Soudnel and Soudline to be Haitian, to be born in a town nearby, to arrive now, to bless us with their smiles and giant cheeks, to compel us with their cries, to help us to focus on the present and to pray, more and more, for God's leading us towards the incredible possibilities in the future.

Rachel suggested this as the "Welcome to the Orphanage" photo.

Soudnel's very laid back...unless he's hungry. So funny.

With Soudline and Kethia.
And Soudline's spit-up on my shoulder.

Friday, 9 March 2012

He Knows Our Name

This past Wednesday I was considering what to blog about and found myself on a rabbit-trail of sorts through blogs connected to MOH.
I'm going to straight up pilfer one written almost 2 years ago by a fellow who used to live here. To see the original go here:

It's from May, 2010. He writes this:

"A Girl With No Name
A guy came into the hospital the other day with his infant daughter, sat down and then asked a woman to watch his daughter while he used the restroom. He never returned. No one knows who he was. So now we have an abandoned baby girl we are keeping at the patient dome until we can figure out what exactly to do next because we have no records of anything in regards to this baby girl.

Pray for her. Shes not eating much."

I scroll down to see this picture:

And it hits me between the eyes. I know her name.

And as I am overcome with tears and the miraculous thought of what 2 years can bring I begin to laugh. Because they prayed she would eat.

Meet Angelie. Our biggest, feisty-est, arguably best eater in the toddler room. Yesterday afternoon she was practicing 'braiding' my hair, running around, playing (and bossing) the other toddlers, yelling, singing, laughing and loving life. This girl is a power-house. God has big things for her and He always knew her name.

Photo cred: Abby Lynch - who takes amazing photos
which you can see and even purchase here:

Sunday, 4 March 2012

A gift this morning:

Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Measuring by Wednesdays

This is my third Wednesday in Haiti.
A place that is, I'm told, considered a fourth world country.
My second year working at Mission of Hope.
Today is not the first time that I've considered just what exactly I am here to do. I guess you might say reconsidered. Is that okay?
I've made lists of fives, tens and twenties of boxes to check off, mark with a little 'x'.
I've 'x'd' ones, threes and fives of those boxes on those lists.
I've spent numbers of dollars on things to hang in my room (a mirror, a flock of seagulls) and on food from the market, the museum, the (deli)mart.
I've entered more eight-digit numbers into my phone's memory - eight because there are too many out there to accommodate with just seven numbers, I suppose.
This very moment I can recall my social insurance number, my passport number, my phone number from growing up in Bramalea and my apartment number from Church Street in Toronto... 389--404B.
Sixty-one. That's how many precious ones live in the Village of Hope Orphanage. Sixty-one beds will soon be filled by their big and little selves. Sixty-one of them finishing this special day of the twenty-ninth of February. Special because this is a leap year but also because we have all gotten through another day.
We measured today with hours and minutes and light and dark.
Tomorrow, a new month (!), will be divided the same way.
Next Wednesday is a mystery. Will I be different? Will my Creole be better? Will the fruit of my time invested in others, in babies, in mothers, in brothers - will it be evident? Will this nail polish last or get chipped off fast? Will my faith change, be challenged, be the same? Will I learn a new way to love? Will I meet a new person to give love to? Will be able to receive love back better than this Wednesday?

Dear Author and Perfector,
Please give us what we need for tonight.
Including acceptance of unknown things.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Settling in ... Sort of

In the past week and a half I have been greatly blessed.
I had safe travel through airspace, the Dominican Republic, Port-Au-Prince and up and down this rocky hill here at Mission of Hope. Talk about zooming in...
I was able to see two friends in DR, connect with the Haiti team and Pastor Richard at his house in the capital, visit with friends from last year (who came to MOH for Rachel's wedding) and get my arms around the 60+ kids I've been missing.
I rode a horse, had a beautiful day at the beach, witnessed a wonderful friend's wedding, deepened relationships with friends, found my office totally looted and then was blessed by two of the younger girls cleaning and organizing the whole thing on their own... I've had some great food, great company, great worship, great play... I wish I could show you all the photos I've taken and share all the moments I've been having... but you're not here.
Which brings me to some prayer requests. It is difficult to be here. It just has hard aspects that are totally out of one's power to change. There's so much good but a lot of loss too. And homesickness is an issue for me.
Also, there is a great spiritual battle going on around us. Of course that part of our world is always active, but here it sometimes is magnified. I had the worst nightmare of my life last week. Others have had some bad dreams as well.
Please pray as you are led for this place and the ministry here - the protection of those who work and live here - the wisdom and discipline we need to move forward in healthy ways - our integrity - and worship of the One who is our Reason.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

From La Capital to La Other Capital

Today's bus ride was reasonably uneventful...only some minor interesting conversations at the Haitian side of the border regarding some boxes being brought in with medical supplies.
No one cared at all about the four car doors, the hood and the trunk lid also stowed in the Capital Coach lines under-bus compartment.
I left Santo Domingo at about 8am and arrived in Port-Au-Prince 7 hours later. Pastor Richard picked me up at the station just a few minutes after I arrived which was so lovely. It has always been hours of waiting in the past so today's prompt pick up was a special blessing at the end of my path to Haiti.
Tomorrow I will be at Mission of Hope before lunch, if all goes well, and will be so pleased to not be carrying around these suitcases any more! Also, I can't wait to see everyone there!!
Thank you so much for your prayers for safety and for strength. To be honest the last week or two has been quite exhausting and I think it will be a few days of taking things easy - and enjoying the celebrations around Rachel and Kenol's wedding - before I start to feel like myself again.
It has been an emotional few months and I am trying to rest in God's leading, trying to tap into His peace through this transitional time and trying to keep focus on the potential beauty of what we are attempting.
Thank you for your help and love and prayers.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Speedy Update with some Details:

It's Thursday evening.
I just spent a few enjoyable hours with my Ferguson Grandparents and am now at my brother's place for the night so that first thing (Okay, 9:30) in the morning I will be able to go with my nephew to his weekly "Little Gym" class. I'm really pumped about it. Brought my fancy new camera and everything!
Saturday I fly out of YYZ to D.R. to make my way by bus across Hispaniola, visiting a couple of friends along the way, to PAP.
I'll be there by Tuesday afternoon, stay with Pastor Richard in Port-au-Prince and then get a ride (with one of the MOH drivers) to Mission of Hope in the morning.
This time next week I'll be looking forward to my second night's sleep at the mission.
I have been so encouraged all week by family and friends and God.
I feel tired but peaceful (despite needing to finish packing tomorrow eve).
I am not 100% subscribed in my funding but I am pretty close with all the donations and promises that came in during January. I'm pretty much speechless about that.
The weekend of visitors was wonderful. I felt so incredibly loved by all these beautiful gifts of people in my life (some who drove through storms they nicknamed "what heaven looks like").
Also speechless.
Except to say Thank You.
And I love you.
And God bless you.
And XO.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

February 4th

It is officially booked - my ticket to fly out on the 4th of February.
I'm flying to the Dominican, visiting a couple of friends, taking a couple of busses and should arrive in Port-Au-Prince on the afternoon of the 7th.

I also wanted to share that I am up in numbers of financial supporters! Only 30 more monthly supporters (at $20/month) will cover the whole year!

This has been an amazing few weeks.
I am so grateful for each of you.

A dear friend sent me a cheque this week with a note commenting on the cheque number: "091"
She said she couldn't have planned it better - the reference to Psalm 91 - what an encouragement to me when it arrived in the mail today.

Psalm 91

The LORD Is My Fortress

1Live under the protection of God Most High 

and stay in the shadow of God All-Powerful.

2Then you will say to the LORD, "You are my fortress,

my place of safety; you are my God, and I trust you."

3The Lord will keep you safe from secret traps and deadly diseases.

4He will spread his wings over you and keep you secure.

His faithfulness is like a shield or a city wall.

5You won't need to worry about dangers at night or arrows during the day.

6And you won't fear diseases that strike in the dark or sudden disaster at noon.

7You will not be harmed, though thousands fall all around you.

8And with your own eyes you will see the punishment of the wicked.

9The LORD Most High is your fortress.

Run to him for safety,

10and no terrible disasters will strike you or your home.

11God will command his angels to protect you wherever you go.

12They will carry you in their arms,

and you won't hurt your feet on the stones.

13You will overpower the strongest lions

and the most deadly snakes.

14The Lord says, "If you love me and truly know who I am,

I will rescue you and keep you safe.

15When you are in trouble, call out to me.

I will answer and be there to protect and honor you.

16You will live a long life

and see my saving power."

Sunday, 15 January 2012

In Recent News ...

Hi Loved Ones,

I just wanted to let you know that we may not be doing all receipting through my church (Parkwood Gardens). I will let you know as soon as possible how/if that will change.

If you've already sent something to Parkwood for this work at Mission of Hope - don't worry, but DO let me know so we make sure to handle it properly.

I am so encouraged by some recent commitments to support this work on a monthly basis - what a blessing to me!

I am still looking for 40 people interested in supporting my work at Mission of Hope on a monthly basis at $20.00/month. Other styles of financial donations are also welcome of course! Please pray and consider partnering with me in this way. (As a side note: I think putting it in terms of smaller monthly donations is a little more interesting and personal - over the past years my cups of Tim Horton's and Starbucks and Second Cup coffees often hit the $20/month mark... and some of them didn't even taste good. I'm not asking anyone to give up coffee (or tea or diet coke) - I enjoy it myself whenever possible - they've got good stuff in Haiti! I just wanted to highlight that comparison which I found, as I said, interesting and personal.)

I also am looking for as many prayer partners as possible!

I hope your Sunday is shaping up wonderfully!

ps. Living in another country sometimes exposes a person to unexpected opportunities...Guess what I was able to make while in Haiti last year?

Saturday, 7 January 2012

It's a New Year

We have almost completed our first week of 2012.
I hope and pray that your 2011 was one in which you saw the hand of the Lord at work and that 2012 will be a year of new joy and beauty amid the expected and unexpected challenges to come.

I look back at the last 12 months and am a little surprised that it has been a whole year since I first wrote about going to Haiti to work at the Mission of Hope Orphanage. I wrote this in one of my first letters last year:

This opportunity is a gift to me. It is an answer to prayers, spoken and specific, but also undetermined and open-ended prayers of my heart - sometimes unidentifiable aches at best - from these past years. I believe that this vision has been growing in me since I started doing short-term mission trips over four years ago.

My six months at Mission of Hope were eye-opening and challenging and beautiful and exhausting – like all the good things in life – and I gratefully believe my prayers have been answered.

So what now? I’m excited to share that the seed that was planted in me has grown into a vision of a bit of a bigger work. I was invited to create a proposal for this vision of therapeutic work at Mission of Hope and the result is that they have invited me to return to continue with the next steps. I am planning and praying to be there the first week of February – just a month from now!

I went to Mission of Hope last year with a desire to take whatever came my way without expectations tempered by my own ideas and culture. After about 8 weeks I realized I was doing pretty well with that – except in the area of the Art Therapy. That was the seed. Well, probably more like the bee in my bonnet.
Anyhow, at that point I wasn’t sure how the next four months would play out or if I would have any impact there at all. Understanding our impact is difficult enough to do in retrospect. In real time it is pretty unrealistic to think we can grasp much of it at all. Looking back now I see a few examples of positive impact with the children in the orphanage - examples that can’t be overlooked.

I will share very briefly about one girl, 10 years old, who has a great deal of difficulty connecting with adults. Since coming to the orphanage at Mission of Hope, she has been closed, often cold, and definitely not trusting. She seems to get along well with peers but will often be found playing alone or involved in some type of play that is not uplifting to the other children. I spent many hours with her making art or playing or cleaning my office or just walking around. After some months passed and my Creole began to make sense it was evident that she had started to bond with me. She then began to test boundaries, showing me some pretty ugly stuff some days, always watching for my reaction. There were days when her tantrums (remember she’s 10) brought me to tears. But we carried on, working out how to be in relationship: child and adult. For her this was a significant process that resulted in a real and SAFE attachment to an adult.
Now, and I pray for this desperately, if she has learned that she has a capacity for attachment to adults in a safe and healthy way, well, this has the potential of changing all of her current and future relationships: with herself, with God and with others - including her own children one day.

I learned through this and other experiences that God can sustain me to do this work to make some kind of impact. And I pray that this impact has potential for God’s freedom to come more and more fully to the children and youth at Mission of Hope.

What are the next steps? First of all I need to have a team of prayer supporters. This is so important. I can’t be doing this work without an army of praying people walking with me. Please consider praying with me for this work.
The vision I proposed, and that Mission of Hope is endorsing, is a program that may take about two years to complete. The commitment, however, that I am making is for one year. We will assess along the way how things are going and I may be looking at an additional six months to a year in 2013. The end goal of the project is to find, train and support Haitians who are gifted to do emotional work with the children at Mission of Hope.

For the year I am required to raise $1500.00 per month, totalling $18000.00 for the year. Out of this I will pay room and board to the mission and then will have some money for personal expenses (travel, insurance, medical, liability insurance, professional supervision, etc). This is the largest amount of money I’ve ever needed to raise and I am really depending on the Lord to manage the funds. Please pray and consider if you will partner with me in this area. I have about a third of the year’s required funds raised already, praise God, but still require about $12000.00. Some supporters have made one time donations and others have committed to monthly amounts.

I did a little bit of math and if 50 supporters committed to an average of $20.00/month the money would be there! Please consider being one of my team financially.

I look forward to hearing from you and would love to hear what God is doing in your life - how he's leading you and answering your desire to please him, even if it there are no words for it as of yet!

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. ~ Philippians 1:6

Blessings and Love,
Prayer Items:
-          Prayer Partners
-          Financial Partners
-          Time management and planning during these next weeks
-          Provision of a private personal space at Mission of Hope (space is sometimes an issue there. I do have an office space designated in the orphanage area, but for my own mental health and longevity a private personal space is important – I’m relying on God to provide this)
-          God’s preparation of the future emotional care-givers for the orphanage – as yet unknown Haitians with gifts of counselling and compassion and wisdom

Financial support:
 I have arranged to receive charitable donations through:
Parkwood Gardens Community Church
501 Whitelaw Road
Guelph, Ontario
N1K 1E7

Cheques can be made out to Parkwood Gardens Church with a note that the donation is for the Art Therapy program at MoH/Kara-Lynn Ferguson.

If you are interested in automatic monthly contributions please let me know. We can set that up through the church.

Friday, 6 January 2012

The Merton Prayer

Our Lord God, we have no idea where we are going.

We do not see the road ahead of us.

We cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do we really know ourselves, and the fact that we think we are following your will does not mean that we are actually doing so.

But we believe that our desire to please you does in fact please you.

And we hope that we have that desire in all that we are doing.

We hope that we will never do anything apart from that desire.

And we know that if we do this, you will lead us by the right road though we may know nothing about it.

Therefore we will trust in you always, though we may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

We will not fear, for you are ever with us, and you will never leave us to face our perils alone.