I’ll start with the beginning of my journey away from life as I know it. I was living in Birmingham, Alabama with two of my dearest friends, working in a hospital, and loving my job. I went on my fifth trip to Haiti in March 2013 with my church and found myself laying under the stars one night talking to God.
I asked Him for adventure and for more of Him.
Two months later, adventure came in the form of leaving my full-time job (which I loved), to go work at JH Ranch. A Christian adventure camp I had gone to in high school and worked at 2 summers in college. The decision to leave my job and spend the summer living with 18 years old (I was 25) in a bunk room and making coffee (which I didn’t even drink at the time) made NO sense.
Anyone who knows my personality, knows I like things in control and logical. This was neither, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it is what the Lord wanted me to do. My summer quickly changed with the premature birth of a friend’s child, leaving the role of Women’s Staff Dean open. I was asked to take this role on and dreamed of doing it since 2009. It was a wonderful summer trusting God and needing Him everyday in all my insufficiencies.
Three weeks before the summer was finished, I was faced with more decisions to make. What to do next? Go to a ministry school I was accepted to, return to Birmingham and work at a hospital, or something else? In my obedience, God made a way for me to not lose my job, but rather switch to an as needed position.
One evening I sat and cried out to the Lord not knowing what to do next. I had options, but didn’t feel clear direction about any of them. Twenty minutes after that time with the Lord, I received a message from some missionary friends in Haiti that I had spent time with during my March trip.
They had heard Dorothy, a missionary in Haiti, was needing some help for part of her furlough. They knew I loved Haiti and special needs kids, and felt that it would be a great fit. After a few Facebook messages with Dorothy, the Lord lead me to a time of processing my fears and idols for all of the options for the Fall.
At the beginning of this time I went to read Psalm 139:23-24: “23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” In my faulty scripture reference memory, I thought this passage was in Psalm 82. Thus I opened my bible and read the following: “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4).
I immediately knew. This is who I’m made to be. This is what I’m made to do. I knew at this point Haiti was what He had next for me.
On October 7th, I flew to Port Au Prince and expected to see Dorothy at the airport. Her car had broken down so she sent a Haitian pastor. So here I found myself in a 3rd world country with a Haitian man I’ve never met, with my name written on a sheet of paper. NOT SAFE AT ALL. My parents would have died, but I didn’t even bat my eyes. I knew 10 words of creole when Dorothy left on Oct 10th. I found myself with 25 Haitian children with special needs or chronic medical conditions, a staff of 17 people, myself, and the need for SO MUCH of Jesus to care for these kids.
Those 7 weeks were some of the best in my life. Every talent and skill I had was used and I came alive. I fell in love with the kids. I truly feel like they are my own. When it was time for Dorothy to retire and she asked me to take over the orphanage I prayed about it, but the Lord was clear and He said no.
I wanted to accept so bad. It made perfect sense. I had already done it, I loved doing it, and there was a need; BUT he had more for the kids. Originally, I was VERY resistant to the idea of them moving from Port Au Prince to Gonaives. In God’s great mercy however, a quick trip to Gonaives left me with 14 reasons why this was EXACTLY what God had for the kids.
I had to surrender their well-being and lives to Him. Knowing that He cared for them FAR more than I ever could. That being said I knew I would likely never live and care for them in the way I previously had. This was so hard for me. BUT in time and the Lord’s good grace he has made a way for me to still be involved in another way. In 2016, Coreluv contacted me about being a Medical Coordinator.
In praying about it, I felt the Lord saying He’s expanding my tent. Coreluv is an international organization. In this role, I might have the opportunity to reach more of God’s children than just my kids in Haiti. What He has in store for this role and my life, I don’t know, but I know a few things: His loving kindness never ends, He is good, and His way is PERFECT. I’ll finish with the words of truth that confirmed to me in April 2013 to leave life as I knew it and do something that seemed insane.
Psalm 16:5-11English Standard Version (ESV)
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.[a]
8 I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being[b] rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.[c]
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Posted on Sun, January 8, 2017
by Matt Avery filed under