On the way home from church a week ago today, I was driving and chatting with the kids about their evening, when out of nowhere, Jackson said, “if I add my first name and the second part of my middle name, my name would be Johnson.” Seemingly an innocent comment, however, it sent waves down my spine and memory.
You see, in the summer of 2011 I held a little boy that in the depths of my soul I wanted to call my own. His name? Johnson. We were in Haiti on our second mission trip near Port au Prince. We happened upon an orphanage called Thagami. While there, we met Johnson, and that is also where a piece of my heart has remained ever since. I had fallen in love with Haiti in the spring of 2003 on our first trip there, but I fell in love with it even more and more with each trip we’ve taken since.
“Haiti” is not a foreign word in our home. Often our children will pray for Haiti, for our sponsor child there, for food and shelter for the people. There isn’t a day that goes by that Jeff and I aren’t thinking, talking or praying about Haiti and it’s people. It seems our kids are watching and listening, and imitating... That is Faith Mission!!
Jackson, our oldest, who is eight, has, for quite some, time exhibited the gift of compassion. I know this is not a natural inherited thing, but most definitely a God-given spiritual gift. Although he can be rough and tough and loud (and just like his Daddy), he can also be quite sensitive to the leading of the Spirit and to the hearts and stories of others. I’ve known this for about two years, however, I had not understood the depths of which he grasps the hard things in life until last Wednesday on the way home.
We had certainly mentioned Johnson to the kids three summers ago and his image pops up on our pictures often. I don’t think Jackson had remembered his name or his story. We began talking about this sweet innocent little boy that was around five years old and his sister, who is about six, named Magda. I had reminded them that I loved Johnson and would really love to be able to adopt him someday. Of course, in their innocence, their probing questions of why, lets do it today, why not, why, why and why some more, only seemed to scrape the wound off my heart for him and open a new one in Jackson’s.
Not understanding how his mom and dad would just drop him off at an orphanage and never return for him, or their lack of food, water and even shelter at times, caused a deep stirring inside of Jackson. I believe in the depths of my soul, that in that moment (and certainly since) that Jackson could feel Johnson and Magda’s heartache for their mommy and daddy, for security, their loneliness, the hunger and thirst, their everyday agony. As he literally sobbed for over an hour for two precious souls he’s never laid eyes on, I cried. I cried sad tears because I too, want desperately to know that those precious faces are loved and cared for and that they know the LOVE of our Creator and that their needs are being met. I cried because it’s hard for this Mommy to see her son weep in such a real way. And I cried because I have joy. I love that God’s gotten a hold of my little man. I love that he’s gifted him with a gift that isn’t easy to have, but so worth it for the Kingdom. I love that Jackson, too, has a heart for Haiti, and for the suffering around the world.
|Market in Port Au Prince|
In just a little over eight months, Jackson and Creighton both will be joining us on our trip back to Haiti. In a selfish way I am nervous, but essentially only really because I know in my heart that the Lord will do unbelievable things in the heart of my son while we are there. And it might be that one-day my son will dare to live in a far away land serving others in his giftedness. That day will be a bittersweet moment if that is what God has truly called him to, but I will know that he is exactly where he was meant to be. For even at the young age of eight, his heart has been opened, his eyes have seen, and he cannot look away and pretend it doesn’t exist. And neither can I.
|Magda & Courtney|
Our kids, your kids, all kids, watch and learn. They see our passion; we can’t hide our hearts—good or bad. Jeff and I certainly (most definitely) don’t have it all figured out or even close (and please don’t hear that my son is a saint, because he’s most definitely going to need the next ten to twenty years to mature in every area…you know who his father is, right?) But I love that he’s seen our passion, taken the gifts that God has gifted him with, and is beginning to want to use them. We all have that “power” as parents.
The big question is which of our passions are they going to take away? Is it the love a sport, a team, an unreached people group, missions, church, scripture, reading, studying, hunting…the list could go on for fifty more pages. None of those things are in and of themselves bad things, but we must know that they watch, they mimic, they listen.
|Johnson & Courtney|
What are you passionate about? What are your spiritual gifts? Do you recognize in your children what spiritual gifts that they’ve been given? Have you realized that God made everyone with unique talents, gifts, experiences, and personalities in order that His word and Name can be spread to every nook and cranny of this whole earth? He doesn’t need another “someone else”; He just needs YOU to be WHO He created you to be. And your child(ren) to be who He created them to be. Nothing more, nothing less.
Could it be that God is calling you to serve in a way you’ve never served before? It doesn’t have to be Haiti, but it’s a great place to start if you and or your family want to serve overseas in a third world country. It may not be your passion, it definitely won’t be everyone’s. But I encourage you to find out what you are passionate about, where you are passionate, and go, do, be whatever it is He is calling you to. The time is now. There will never be a better time than right now.
|Jacob our sponsor son in Neply|
If you want more information about going with us to Neply, Haiti May 31-June 7, 2014, please contact me at email@example.com. We are going with an organization called MyLIFESpeaks for the forth time and currently have about half our spots full.
We would love to have you join us! You won’t be sorry you said “Yes!”
Two other blog posts about Haiti:
- Live from Haiti (Update from the middle of the week during our last trip)
- Jezi Renmen Ayiyi (Charleigh's prayer for Haiti)
To see pics from the last two New Beginnings trips to Haiti click on the year: