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.