When I begin to look back at this year the big thing that stands out to me is God's faithfulness. This year has been difficult for me, maybe even to be honest the hardest year of my life and it started right from the beginning. I left home on 9th January to go to Greenwood Indianda and on 12th January I heard news that my granny had died and also Haiti had suffered from a huge earthquake. I wanted to be in either of those places and instead I was in the states. When I think about the situations I have been in this year, if you had have told me before that I would be able to cope with them, I would have said no way I could never do that. Situations like listening to stories and praying with people who lived through the earthquake and lost everything they had including their family, going on trips to Port to work in tent villages, sharing the gospel boldly, working with patients with Cholera to simple things like driving a 15 seater van (with 15 people in it), being brave enough to kill cockroaches and sleeping in the same room as a rat (one of my least enjoyable experiences). YET God was faithful and give me the strength for all these situations and many many more.
I like to think I am tough but I am not really, watching the film My Girl or ER makes me cry and this past year I have spent each and every day with people who are suffering, suffering because of the earthquake, because of cholera, because of poverty, because of illness, because of death YET again God had given me the strength to build relationships with these people, to help them physically and spiritually and to help carry some of their burden. Before this year I have never really experienced death in my life and this year I have experienced to much death that I care to even remember........I have even watched a 4 year old child and a 23 year old girl die of cholera right in front of my eyes, YET again God remained faithful and unchanging giving me the strength I needed to cope with those situations.
To be honest there are many things about Haiti which I will not miss, the pothole covered roads, wearing skirts, bean sauce, the smell of cholera, flip flops, sweating, the sound of car horns, motorbikes, wheelbarrows, chickens, goats, pigs (basically all those things which are on the road which should not be there!!), mosquitios and hearing Celine Dion's my heart will go on at full volume!!
Saying all that there are many things I will miss, Haiti is so very close to my heart and God has given me a love for the people rather than the actual country. I find it hard to love a place where people are suffering so much everyday but I love the people, I love speaking and listening to Creole and usually if I am not feeling very good walking down the street and someone saying 'Bonswa Cherie' to me usually brings a smile to my face. The thing I will miss the most are my good friends Dr Rodney and Vedane and their beautiful kids. I probably spent time with them everyday, Vedane has become one of my very best friends. I will miss going down to their wee house and Oly greeting me with ' Hello missionary.', Alisha's huge smile as soon as I walk in the door and Wood jumping on top of me as if he hasn't seen me for months. Dr Rodney is a very special man clearly chosen by God to help his people. He has taught me a lot about Haiti and its culture. He has also made us laugh so many times with his Dr Love consultations!!!
Even though the next wee while is going to be difficult I know God will remain faithful as he has been in 2010 and will give me the strength I need for each day. God promises he will never give us more than we can handle and I know that to be true. Here are some of God's promises I have had to depend on over and over again this year.
Psalm 46 v 1
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.
Isaiah 40 v 28-31
Hvae you not known, Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth
He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable
He give power to the faint and to him who has no might increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted
but they who wait on the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary they shall walk and not be faint.
1 Peter 5 v7
Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.
Psalm 46 v 10
Be still and know that I am God.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not:
As thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
- Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness, Morning by morning new mercies I see: All I have needed Thy hand hath provided Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!