Thursday, December 10, 2015

What I Didn't Get To Say

Heavy heart.

Lump in my throat.

Tears falling.

Grief I didn't think would happen has need been brought to me and I'm not quite sure what to do. Earlier tonight I found out that our two boys who we have been caring for, for the past year has lost their mom. She has been fighting a sickness for quite some time and we thought things were looking up until Chris's recent visit where he was told she had taken ill again. To then find out only 2 days later she passed away.

My heart aches to know these two boys and their sister has lost the one parent they had. It hurts to know when will never remember his birth mother and the other two will only have vague memories of her. My heart hurts that I never got to tell some of the things I felt.

I didn't get to thank her for bringing three beautiful children into this world. Though it was hard and there was a lot of pain her love for them is got them this far.

I didn't get to thank her for trusting us to care for her boys when she felt she didn't have a chance to do it herself.

I didn't get to thank her for believing in us when baby boy was sick and needed immediate care that we would be the first one she would call for help.

I wanted to thank her for letting me love her children like they were my own.

I wanted to tell her that we would forever be bonded. Mother to mother.

I needed her to know that no matter what happens in the future she will always be their first mom. She will never be forgotten.

I thank God tonight for releasing this mama of her pain and suffering. I thank God He had a plan for these children and was working in ways we can now only see. I pray as time goes on for healing over the children. I pray they feel loved each and everyday. I pray that one day they can see this situation and praise God for the good that came from it, because it will be good.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Remember... We're Just Like You

So many thoughts going through my head this morning. So many things I want to write about, how do I choose when there is so much to say.

I guess I'll start with letting everyone that I am a human. So are Chris and the kids. We have no superpowers and we make mistakes. We like to do things that regular people do and we live a pretty "normal" life.

I'll be honest though I feel as though some have forgotten that. I feel as though we are looked like foreigners in our own home country. I feel like we have been put on list of what we can and cannot do because of the work we do. I feel as though some think God has given us this magical power because He sent us to Haiti.  I feel as though I live in a world between my home country and my host country and I'm not sure how to get out of the middle.

Would you take a minute to let me explain a few things to let you know we really aren't any different from you.

First, I am a human. I like doing regular things that people here in Canada also enjoy doing. I like reading books, watching t.v, spending time with family and friends, and yes I even love travelling and seeing new places in this world.

My kids love doing regular activities as well. They love playing outside, riding bikes, hanging out with friends and even go swimming. Lucky for us we have beaches all around us and can go all year round. So please remember that even though we live in Haiti, my kids still need to be kids.

Can I be your friend? I love meeting new people but please don't introduce me as Jo-Anne and she's a missionary in Haiti. Jo-Anne will do just fine. I love what God has called me to do but I don't always want that to be a starter when I meet new people and too be honest I don't always want to talk about it. Sometimes I just want to talk about that new movie coming out. I feel as though as soon as new people know what I do I am automatically labelled Weirdo or Hero of the World.

Which then leads me to my calling. Yes I am a Missionary. I am not a Weirdo for selling everything we had and could sell. I am also not a Hero. For those of you that say you are a Christ Follower you should understand that I am just a person obeying God's calling for my life. Some would still say I could never do that. You're right you may never be called to do what I do but remember I may say the same about you and what God has called you to do in your life.

Now about these magic powers God has given us. If being able to walk out your front gate each day and see the faces of poverty and not cry are a magic power then I've got it. But even with it there are days the tears still come. Listen, I do not have magic powers. I have Jesus!

But even with having Jesus, there are days I forget that and there are even days I choose to forget it. Did you know there are days I don't pick up my Bible and read it. There are days I doubt what is going and why it has to happen this way.

So imagine for a quick second me down on my knees begging and telling you " I am not a weirdo, I am not a hero, I am not a super Christian because of what I do, I am just a person who followed my calling and is trying to do my best. And with that I will make mistakes and I will do things you don't agree with."

But just remember, you and I we're both humans, the only difference might be who we're living this life for!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Letter To My Kids

I want to write a letter to my kids in Haiti for the future because I know one day our relationship will evolve from just seeing each other face to face but connecting on a thing called Facebook.

So here it goes:

First, I wish you could read this before you go any further. There are some things I need you to know. The most important of them all is that I need and hope you know how much I love you. We may have officially became Facebook friends which means you have access to my life in a way you didn't before. But that also means you may see things you never knew were there before, but I hope you'll understand why they are there.

So as you scroll through my pictures you may notice some pictures of yourself that I took and you didn't know. I'm sorry for not telling you, but as you sat and did your homework it was so real. I didn't want to stop and bother you just to smile for another picture. I wanted to share the real moments. Some of those moments are when you're working hard at homework, helping your friend do dishes, playing with your friends, or just laying down on the ground.

I have to admit though my biggest concern is what is said under those pictures. I hope when you read what I have said that you feel my love for you. That you can hear the hope. That you can sense the excitement. That you know you were never just a sad story to me. No dear one, not a sad story but the beginning of one only God could write.

My goal when I share your photo is to bring encouragement to this world. I want to bring love. I want people to know that you are just like them. We all face struggles in this world and just because of where we live should not define who we are. I want people to know how much I believe in you, because I believe God has such an awesome plan for your life. I don't ever want to use your story to my advantage, I want to use your story for God's glory. So I hope that when you see your picture that my words don't disappoint you.

Your Friend,

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Imagine to Belief

Imagining is almost like dreaming so big you don't even believe it could possibly happen.

We all have those thoughts where these ideas come into our heads and for a minute we believe we have the strength, the ability, the courage to do it. Then that minute is gone and we allow our imagination to stop because we don't actually believe we have any of those things to make it come true. 

I look around at the things of this world and sometimes I imagine...

I imagine if I didn't just spend that $30 to feed my family one meal and instead gave that money to help feed a children in a different country a few meals.

Imagine if instead of trying to attract a group of people we took the time with that one person that God led us too.

Imagine if we stopped thinking we couldn't do something or aren't called to it, we just went and did it anyway? (God may surprise you!)

Imagine if we just put everything down and raised our hands to our Father.

Imagine if we believed that this world is not about us but instead about Him.

Imagine we believed we could make a difference in this world.

Isaiah 55:8 says "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

You see imagining isn't the problem because we will never comprehend what God has planned for us until those times comes and even then we still may not comprehend it. We should imagine these great plans we see but we should also believe that these imagining thoughts we have are so little compared to what God has planned for our lives and the people of this world. 

Friday, October 16, 2015


Yesterday God sent me a reminder that Haiti is not only my mission field, and that just because my current location is Canada it does not give me exempt me from ministry. The reality is we are all on a mission field no matter where we live, what our jobs are or who we are. 

Like I said before a part of me just wants to sleep until it's time to return to Haiti but I know I would be hiding so much of Christ's love that needs to be shown. I want God to use me, I want Him to let me be an example of what love is and how to show it.

Looking back to Wednesday morning I knew it had started. As I loaded the shuttle bus for the airport I watched as our driver lugged all our heavy luggage onto the bus and in the midst he had dropped his phone charger and instead of the person in front of me picking it up he just went and took a seat. What a simple task to accomplish but what a inconvenience for others. I wasn't doing it for a thank you when I picked it up, I did it because it was the right thing to do. If I struggle to do that, only imagine how much harder it will be when I need to show love to those I really don't want to show love to. 

Though I've only been back for 3 days I seem to look around with such a different sense. I keep thinking am I showing love or am I making it worse. When you're in a country like Haiti for 8 months straight you come back to a place like Canada and wonder what could I possibly be upset about? Sure those inconveniences will pop up like say needing new brakes in your vehicle and you wondering where the money will come from or noticing that your child's room is missing their closet storage space. But those things are really just minor problems. I'll get over it. 

One thing I might not get over though is the way I treat people. I use to think the only place God was using me was in Haiti. And there is no doubt that He isn't finished with me there yet, but yesterday He reminded me that He once and will use me again here in Canada. 

There was a note on our counter yesterday from a little girl who I watched 2 years ago welcoming us home and saying how happy she was to know we were back and in the note, she stated we were the best people in the world. And though I know that's a bit of an exaggeration it was a reminder to me that He has used me here before and I never even stopped to think or maybe even acknowledge it. 

It was a reminder to me that I am a constant example of who Christ is. And the question is do I want to represent Him well or do I want people to doubt Him and His love for us.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


You never really think 8 months away from your home land could make a difference. I mean how much can life really change? I knew what I was coming back to. A house I never thought I would step foot into again. Power, hot water, lots of people the same color as me and that speak the same language. I now had to go into actual buildings to buy things I needed. Everything was at my fingertip and if I wanted it was there waiting for me. 

Yesterday after my flight I returned to the house that I use to call home and as I walked around I felt this instinct need to get out of it. I felt suffocated, dizzy, almost like it was a dream to be back in this place. I returned back to Canada with only the clothes I had wearing and we headed to the store to get some clothes for myself and just like that you look around at all this stuff wondering why do we need so much stuff. I went about the rest of the day just doing what needed to be done but completely exhausted and completely overwhelmed. 

It wasn't until last night as I laid in bed and realized what had just happened. I just left my "home" in Haiti to come "home" to Canada. Two very different worlds. I realized that when I said my see you later's to our 28 kids whom we work with and love like our own, I put up a wall to feel anything else. The day we left before going to the airport we stopped to say goodbye to our two little men and it was too easy. No tears were shed and it was like I was saying goodbye to just anyone. I saw the sadness in our older boy's eyes when I told it was the day for me to go Canada but I felt nothing. I hugged and kissed him and almost couldn't get away fast enough. But last night as I go to bed, the feelings came out and it was like those unexpected rain showers. I felt like I just left a part of my life in Haiti and was left unsure on how I was going to handle it. 

I awoke in the middle of night not knowing where I was and who was laying beside me. I was in fog for atleast 10 minutes before I remembered where and with whom I was with. I was scared. I felt like I was in the unknown. 

Even today as we drove around this familiar place it feels so different and new. I thought it would be easy to just come back and live the way I use to, but that's the thing, it's how I use to live. It's overwhelming to say the least and maybe it'll take a few more days to adjust but a part of me wants to go to sleep and say wake me when it's time to go back to the place I know. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Eyes Wide Open

A storm came rolling in today.
Not a weather storm, but a life storm. It came at a time that was meant where the enemy was wanting me to feel defeated and for a moment he won but only for that brief moment before God swooped in and prevailed and brought me back to life. 

Just last night our ladies Bible study talked about the storms that come and how sometimes someone else's storm leaves effects on your life. And today we were left affected by someone else's storm. Today my eyes were opened in ways the enemy probably didn't want them to be opened. 

We woke up bright and early this morning to arrange bringing our foster boys back home. We had a day ahead of us. Registering to school, buying shoes, books and material. Maybe head for an ice cream at the new ice cream place in the city. We were being optimistic about bringing them back home, in my heart it's not what I wanted but for right now it's what had to be done. My heart was already on edge. 

It was going good and it was time for shoe shopping. I stay in the truck with the kids while hubby and our staff go buy the shoes. Sitting in the truck in Haiti can make for getting really thirsty, so naturally I buy some water from the street guys selling it. So as I sit distracted it happens in a blink of eye. A grown man jumps in the back of our truck and rob my children. They are now in complete meltdown mode and honestly the next 5-10 to minutes are a complete blur. I would like say what they took had no importance but here's the reality. When we moved to Haiti my children were troopers about them not being able to bring all their belongings. A lot of it was sold, donated or packed away for undetermined amount of time. Then they came to a place where they had no yard to play in, they aren't allowed to leave the yard alone and they had no friends. But what they did have was this tablet that allowed them escape to it when they just wanted to feel "normal". 

I can't say I am angry because I'm not. I cannot express that gratitude I have for God today for keeping my children safe. I tear up every time I think of the situation and how much worse it could have been. I tear up thinking that for a brief moment I allowed Satan to enter my mind and tell me I didn't protect my children good enough. Not only could I no longer protect the boys that went back home but I couldn't even protect the ones who were right beside me. But just that God opened my eyes and said "You cannot protect them forever because I am their PROTECTOR!" Wow, imagine the weight lifted when you hear those words. 

So yes today we lost a fun toy that now the kids will have to go without, yes our privacy was invaded, yes my children and you could say us too are shaken up and chances are going out will be very stressful for them but what an opportunity we were given to share God's love, grace and compassion today to our children and to the people who stood by and watched the incident. 

We want to thank everyone who prayed for us today, we ask that you continue to pray for us over the next couple of days. 

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble". - Psalm 46:1 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Tale of Two Boys

Today I want to tell you about of two young men. They have so much in common yet at the same time their worlds are completely different. I won't mention names because one it's not necessary and two this is not their story but what I see in my eyes of their lives and then maybe one day I'll have the opportunity to share their stories but it won't be words from my mouth, it'll be from theirs.

So let's begin...

To make things easier I am going to name these two boys Haiti and Canada, for the reasons of where each of them live. They are both 19 years, work hard, like sports and they are both two very loving young men that I have the honor of knowing personally. But other than that's where the similarities end.

Canada grew up with two parents who took care of him, they fed him, they clothed him, they put him in activities and overall he got the chance and opportunity to be a child.

Haiti grew up with parents for a while, but he didn't always have food table, he wasn't always taken care of and he most certainly did not attend activities much alone did he attend school.

Canada is a 19 year old young man who has graduated highschool and is now working hard at preparing for his future. Maybe he is saving up for a house, maybe a brand new car, maybe even to take a trip. None of these are wrong in fact I think these are great goals to work towards especially when you are that young and there could be other things in life that he could be doing instead of thinking ahead. But you see, Haiti just isn't there and the reality is he may never finish school because of the lack of resources that have been available to him.

This year Haiti will attending grade 3. Imagine being that 19 year old walking into a classroom that could be possibly be filled with 8 year olds. My heart goes out to him and I wish and hope and pray that we can do more to help him. These are the moments that I need to step back and think what is the best way we can help him and what does his future look like. I believe with all my heart that Haiti can have just as much as an opportunity to a good life that Canada does.

God has designed our lives all to be different and being able to know two boys the same age but live in different countries has been an eye opener for me. I can see both their lives filled with joy and sadness and know that in the end God didn't bless one of them more than the other. He has a plan for each of their lives and He wants them to each live a life for Him.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

More Digging...

Today was just like any other Wednesday, just with a few changes. Instead of making breakfast today we visited a Cafe that's on our way to the community we work in. We didn't drive today because both vehicles are broken again so instead we walked and got see some new faces. We arrived at the tutoring house and watched our Haitian leader teach the boys about life. We fed them lunch like we do every Wednesday and then our oldest boy in the sponsorship program expressed to me that it was necessary I go see his house.

Of course I agreed to this since he was quite persistent and I was a bit worried at that point as well with his need to show me home. He led the way to a place that I had no idea was his home. Any other time I had found him he was at a different house and today we were going somewhere new. We arrived at a cute little tin house that was held up very well, the yard cleared of any garbage there was a fenced yard made of barb wire. I being the curious one asked if we could see the inside. I have had a love of seeing inside houses every since I was a kid. He obliged and happily showed me the inside of his house. There laid two beds that looked really quite comfortable and covered with mosquito nets and with a very clean ground.

This is when my questioning mind starts to ask questions out loud. Do you live with mom? No Do you live with Dad? No Who do you live with? Answers in words I don't quite understand. I ask our staff to ask so I can get the answer. He currently lives with a family that he knows from his church. Thank you Lord for these people, who took him in and provide a roof over head. His older sister lives right across from him but she kicked him out because he was too old to live with her and he was old enough to find his own place to live. He is 15.

My heart hurt to think that at 15 they think he is old enough to care for himself. I remember when I was 15 I ran away from home...for a day... and was sucked into a world where I didn't belong in. Those were my choices. Him having to take care of himself is not his choice, it was a choice made by someone else for him.

The more I build relationships with these teens and the more I learn about Haiti and the way things are done here, the more I see how much these teens need help, love, and encouragement. They are no longer the cute little kids that everyone wants to carry or take home. They are the kids who were slowly being forgotten about as they grew older, they are ones who if they weren't found early enough are losing out on a future that can forever change their lives and the lives of their families now and later.

I think about the land on the hill that is waiting for houses to be built to give these kids a real home and the chance at a real future. It's a place that can learn what love is. It's a place where they know each day they wake they have not been forgotten.

We have children in our sponsorship program who are going to greatly benefit from being able to live in these home, we have teens walking the streets right now trying to sell whatever they can just to earn enough to live another that will benefit from these homes. These homes will also provide opportunities for families to earn money and have parents know that they can keep their children at home with them, where many truly belong.

I have to say I love what I do here in Haiti. It brings great joy and even sometimes great sorrow. But I know I have a God stronger than this all, who in the end with conquer all. Until then though we have been called to be apart of his kingdom work. If you would like more information on how you can help Boaz email me at

Friday, June 26, 2015

It's Why I Keep Going

I have 27 beautiful kids between the age of 5-16 who I work with every day and sometimes I find it hard to think of working with them as my job. It's hard for me to take the weekends "off" and get in some rest and family time even though I know I need it and my family needs it.

But it's because of these 30 kids that I do what I do and keep going even when I want to stop. You may have noticed I changed my number of kids, but the fact is I have three children of my own that also keep reminding me of why I am here and why I do what I do.

Here are some reasons I keep going:

1) I want these three little mini-me's to grow up in a world full of love and not hatred. I want them to know that though we may look different, act different and live different, we are all still God's children and He loves us equally which means we too need to love and care for those who we may or may not know.

2) When you meet a shy little 5 year old girl, who will not make eye contact with you until you just be there and let her know you love and care and then one day you hear the word "Blanc" as she calls you and even though that word drives you crazy, you realize barriers have been broken and change is happening.

3) That child you once thought was so full of hatred is actually full of so much love and can never give you enough hugs in one day.

4) The boy you use to have to chase down every time he had tutoring because he didn't want to be there is now the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. And by leave I mean, we have to tell to get off our truck and go home because he has way passed his drop off spot for home.

5) That for even those brief times when we have opportunities for kids to be kids they can put aside their worries of the day and have fun, and if they can't put their problems aside they know they have loving people who they are comfortable enough to share their troubles with.

I could go on about the reasons I keep going but in the process of it all I am learning that my keep on going is in constant change. How I am going today will not be how I keep going in a few months and it most certainly not be how I keep going on in a few years. But I know that I can put my trust in God to guide me along they way and be in full confidence that these kids will always be taken care of. I love that I get to be here in the right now and reflect each day as it comes. These are the moments that keep me going and help show me the path to take.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

His Visions- Part 2

I love that anytime during the day I can go lay in my bed. I can stretch out and roll around and know that when I am tired I can close my eyes and be comfortable. So naturally when I saw beds as part of God's Vision I couldn't fully grasp it I just knew that kids having beds would be a part of it.

When we first started out in the community we wouldn't go any further than the area where the Saturday feeding program was being held. I mean that was far enough out of our comfort zone already, we couldn't imagine going in the actual community and meeting families. But as time went on we were taught to effectively help these kids we had to go to their homes and meet their families and know where they came from.

It was very overwhelming walking around the community for the first time. There were so many types of houses, ones made of cement, some made from sticks and tarps and others made from sticks and mud. I remember visiting one house and touching the wall only to see the dirt crumble off of it. As we entered these houses we also noticed the lack of bedding these families had. Some had leaves on the floor of their house with clothing and others had bed frames but very few with an actual mattress to sleep on.

Then we started to notice that some of these kids had marks on the their legs and I couldn't figure out what they were from. We learned that many of these marks were due to them sleeping on the ground.

Initially our reaction was these kids need beds, but we knew this couldn't be the right way to go about doing things. First we can't just go and buy beds for every child that needs one and second am I really helping? Of course they could benefit from a bed but is there a way we can make sure that these beds will last for quite possible a few if not more than a few years. I mean a lot of these beds will placed in dirt or on placed on top of items that may not be very secure.

So again we are left at a spot of having to help the parents know how to care for the beds so they don't get infested with bugs or eaten by rodents or being protected from rain that may seep through their house. Maybe there isn't a way but what if there is? What if there is way to show these parents that may not know how to help care for these gifts from God where they, along with their children can be a little more comfortable while they sleep.

Connections. This vision of beds was just a little glimpse of what He was preparing for me to do. Connect with those we are working with and knowing that it isn't just as simple as giving them beds. And maybe in the long run it's not about me being the one giving them beds, but them being able to get the beds themselves.

Monday, June 1, 2015

His Visions Pt 1

For most of you reading this you are already know I along with  my husband and 3 kids are missionaries in Haiti. I came here with a very clear vision of where God wanted me to work and what it was He wanted to see in this specific place. I could barely contain my excitement to know that this season of my life was going to be in Haiti. What I failed to realize was that during this time while we worked on His vision was how much pain, suffering and frustration I would also be apart of.

Yes I saw a vision and yes I see the start of it, but the longer the I am here the more I realize the longer it may take for it to unfold.

Tonight I would like to start by sharing one of those visions He gave me with others being also talked about in the next few days.

I remember very clearly sitting on the plane waiting to head back to Canada after a week in Haiti when the Lord showed me where and what it was that I was suppose to do. The first thing he showed me was kids in the community we visited going to school. Ok, easy enough we can help send these kids to school. We can proudly say we have 24 kids in the sponsorship program who now attend school.

What I didn't know about part of this plan was the parent/school aspect of it. Yes great these kids are enrolled in school but that does that mean they get to go to school everyday? No! I have never heard of more ridiculous reasons why some of our kids were not allowed to attend school. Some reasons are:
- You're hair is too long
- You're backpack is ripped
- You're shoes aren't in good enough shape
- You don't have ribbon for your hair
- You lost a school book

Those are just to name a few. Then we have the parent part of it. So many parents just do not get how important an education is. And it now has become our job to press into these parents are much as we do the kids the importance of the kids going to school. We are trying to make sure these parents understand how important it is that the kids go to school EVERYDAY, that they do their homework they are sent home, that they attend their regular tutoring class each week and what we really want them to know is how we have people who have never met their children and are investing in them because they believe that just like any other child in this world they should have the opportunity to learn. We want this to be an equal relationship. We want them to invest in their child's education just as equally and if not more than the organization and the people investing in their child.

What I also have been learning through this is that we cannot measure a child's success by their education level. We know that some of our children will probably not finish school because of their age and the level they are at now.

For example: We have a 14 year old who is in grade 1. This is his first year of attending school and if he does really well on his final exams he may pass the grade but if not he will return to grade 1 in the fall. He has improved significantly since he started the year even to the point that I saw his report card and quite possibly scared him when I expressed my excitement and joy of how proud of him I was. But he's the reality if decides he wants to graduates from school he will be 26 years old. If he goes this route we will be behind him along the way, but if he decides to go another route we also want him to know that we will help him in whatever we can.

He has a love for farming and it is quite possible that he may decide in time that he wants to make a career out of it. So yes right now we want to stress how important him attending school is and learning. Those math skills will come in handy. But there will come a time where maybe our focus with him is not him attending school but him learning to run a business in farming.

What I have learned from this is that yes it is so easy to put kids in school but God wants so much more from us than just that. He is asking us to go deeper and the more deeper I become the more I realize how much more of God I need.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

I Have A Neighbor

This morning I was inspired to share with you about one of our neighbors. It's not his story since we don't know the depth of it, but it's more about what we see. I wanted to use the word "know" but again I don't know.

Let me introduce you to "S" He is somewhere between the age of 22-30, he'll give you a different number every time you ask him. He lives down our quiet little street in a house compound but his house is a wooden structure that was build by an organization. The house he use to live in was crumbled in the earthquake. He was the caretaker of the yard and he just hasn't left since then even though the owners no longer reside there. He speaks terrible English and refuses to speak Creole to us.

I remember when we first moved to Haiti, he would come over and try to make conversation with us in which we couldn't understand but he tried and that was all that matter. Then one day he yelled at one of my boys for not listening to their dad and I remember clear as day thinking how much I dislike this man for thinking he could speak to my child in that way.

As time went on we had our ups and our downs with him. One day we could be the best of friends, the next day he was being kicked out of our yard. Here in Haiti it's hard. Privacy doesn't exist. So here we are, a Canadian family wanting to just have family time and then there is S just wanting to have interaction with someone. There were days he would show up at 6am and be banging on our gate, for what reason? To make sure we were alive. These days we get till 8am before he comes over. You see S has no family around and for him to visit them he has to take a taptap but S doesn't have a job so he can't pay for the ride.

This leads me into our next struggle with S. S has no job. With no job he has no money to buy food. After time he would start asking us food and sometimes we would help him and sometimes we wouldn't. For us it is very frustrating because everyday we leave the gate we see him just sit outside his house and do nothing but just sit. For us we saw laziness. Why would we want to help someone if they don't want to help themselves? But here's the thing, is it laziness or is it that he has lost all hope of having a future where he doesn't have to live like he does now?

We hired him a few times to do odd things for us, one of them being our yard cleaner. We don't have a big yard but we have a yard that gets dirty fast and it drives me crazy. The first time he did it, you could him shine. He was so proud of his work and he made sure to show you around the whole outside to make sure it was okay. He even went as far as to yell as he was cleaning for me to keep looking outside just to make sure he was doing a good job.

This leaves me in confusion. We have a neighbor who is clearly hard-working and will do just about anything to help our family, even go buy me bananas in another town over. But why then isn't he out there showing others just hard working he can be?

Maybe one day I'll know his story and understand why, what I do know though is that I Have A Neighbor... I have a protector... and I have a friend and maybe right now that's all I need to know about him.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Head Held High!

Part of my job as a missionary is to learn and experiment and to make mistakes which then leads me back to learning.  For those of you who are on my social media may wonder at times if I know what I'm doing and the reality is I don't most days.

Life in Haiti is the never the same. Like for the past few days all I felt I was seeing and hearing was pain and suffering.  It sometimes makes you wonder if anything will change. Then you have days like today where you see a breakthrough and know God is at work.

Today I saw a mom in our community walk with so much pride that I couldn't help but take a minute and smile. As some may know we provide meals for our tutoring kids and other kids in the community twice a week. Our goal is to move this up to 4 times a week but with that comes extra work. Up until last week we have been cooking the food from our house and driving it over. This was taking up time from our staff members when they could be better using it in other ways. We also knew that employment in our community is very low. We have been praying and looking for a mom in our community who we could employ to help us with meals.  We all agreed that Mrs.Charles would be a good choice. Mrs.Charles is a mom of 5 boys, 2 who are in our sponsorship program.  She has a husband who is involved in the kids life and they both love the Lord. There kids are polite, well behaved and work hard in school. We felt from the first time meeting her that this family could really help change their community.

For the past two weeks Mrs.Charles has cooked our kids meals and has worked so hard to provide a good meal for them. Today before leaving for the day I saw a mom walk with her head held high almost knowing that today was the day she had value and instead of taking a hand out she got provide for her family.

For many people,  they want to see change and see it now. But for me I know that change may take months or even years. If we want to help these families we have to start thinking long term. Yes,  sometimes a short term solution may work for that moment and yes at times they are absolutely needed. But after that, we need to start thinking how we can help so when we are gone that we haven't left them where they started.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.  - Philippians 4:8

Last night I really just wanted to take some time and vent. I wanted to share about the pain and suffering I've been seeing and hearing these last few days. I wanted to just be mad and share it with you in hopes that maybe someone out there would feel anger too. But I had no power last night so I kept it to myself and said I'll do it tomorrow.  And I was about to do it again until I read the verse above and it completely changed my attitude towards what I've been feeling.

Yes, I'll share those moments with you, but I hope to share them in a way that doesn't come across negative but in a way that I and you can thank God for.

On Tuesdays I tutor our younger kids in our sponsorship program. Our tutor class is right in the community where our kids live and as I stood in the class waiting for our students I could hear screaming and my only thought was "Someone is not a happy camper." As norm for our younger kids we need to get them so off I went on a walk until I came to an abrupt stop from witnessing a child being disciplined.  My heart dropped as I realized where the screaming came from. Instantly my North American mind set kicked in and all I could do was walk away before I made a wrong choice. You see in Haiti,  physical discipline is completely normal. Yes,  I could have stopped it. But the thing is I wouldn't have just stopped it, I probably would have made it worse. I can't just show up and start telling these parents what is right and wrong. This was a teaching moment for me. I cannot educate these parents on other ways to discipline until I educate myself first on why they feel they need to do it that way. I am not going to accept it but I will not be that person who walks in and thinks I know all because I come from a different land. I took this as a teaching moment.

Tuesday is also a day for some of our older kids to get tutored. One of boys couldn't concentrate and was complaining of a headache until he just couldn't handle it anymore and tears flowed down his face. This was so unusual for him I thought.  I rubbed his back,  gave him some water and excused him from class.  He just sat outside and it hit me. He's hungry! We asked what he ate that day... nothing. It was already 3pm. What about Monday. ..nothing. Last meal he ate was on Sunday. Here I have a 11 year old who hasn't ate in two days. What was I to do? Obviously, get him food. I just happened to have uncooked rice in my truck.  So we filled a bowl and set him off home. I'm so thankful that these children are so honest with us. I'm thankful that in those moments God already has a plan set in place for when these times arrive.

Wednesday comes and off we go to our community.  We are visiting one of the families when these two little girls show up. Their hair is so yellow and hard and broken. We meet Leina Jules and her sister.We see the malnutrition.  We know that they need help. Mom and Dad are together and have three little girls but no jobs to provide for their family. Leina Jules should be in school, but she's not. We agreed that our organization would not take on any other sponsor children unless absolutely necessary. She is now a part of our program. We can't always help every need but we are so thankful that with the help of people like you, we can send these kids to school, feed them and help lift burdens from families.

Next we have one of our teenage sponsored girls with sores all over legs.  It painful just looking at them. I could just sit and be upset and sad that she has to deal with that while I lay in a bed right now. Yes it upsets me but I also am thankful that I can look for help from other people here in Haiti and hopefully get rid of the sores and have her legs healed.  Remember God is our healer, he can do this with or without me.  I'm okay with either.

And last and the most painful one for me where I'm still left confused and honestly still trying to find something praiseworthy of it. Our boys Ricarduo and Richard. We received a call saying Mom has been in the hospital for the last few days and they are not sure whether she is going to live. The hospital has made her leave because she has no money and now she is laying in a church right now waiting to see if her time has come while her boys stay at home with their auntie and have no food to eat. Ricarduo who still needs to gain weight has no food to eat. My emotions are so involved that it scares me to become more involved. The pain of seeing them come and go is too hard to bear, but to know they are hungry is so much more. Is it wrong of me that I didn't rush to be the "rescuer"? I'm asking God why? What? When? Who? Where? I hear nothing.  I need to know that the choices I make in this situation is the one God is telling me to make for myself, for our family, for those boys.

Yes, God is always praiseworthy. And I know in the end I'll understand. So even though I don't understand right now, I'll understand that God is good all the time.

Be in prayer for all these children and so many.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

In the Midst

I wish there was an easy way to start this post but I just keep deleting and retrying. I am not sure I can even get the words out clear enough to make you understand. Yesterday was a day of experiencing joy, anxiety, sadness and pain. Yet in all of it came comfort.

I believe for you to even try to understand what it was like yesterday I must be real and share even the parts you may not want to read, but for me it was a reality. It was not hidden from me, it was not hidden from kids and it shouldn't be hidden for you. 

We started our day preparing to bring the boys we care for back home. We were so excited to know that Ricarduo is on the road to recovery and that we can hopefully help educate his mom on how to care for them to assure this won't happen again. Of course this will be a much longer process but it was a start. We had arranged for them to go home for one week and see how things go. We equipped her with things that the boys needed for the week in hopes that over the next week Ricarduo will gain more weight or atleast maintain his week. Our goal is for him not to lose any weight this next week. 

Our first stop of the day was the clinic to have his weekly check in which of course was a success. The kid loves food which means he is gaining back the much needed weight he needs. Yahhhh, everyone is excited and now next stop is bringing them home. 

It's pretty common here in Haiti to see police officers doing some sort of check stop. You really never know what they are looking for and to be completely honest sometimes they are just looking for an easy way to earn some side money. Today was our day for our check stop. I was thinking no problem, you aren't going to get me this time. Chris has his license and our truck has proper up to date license plates. Then came the question. Who's two little boys are these? Our translator explains that we are on our way back to drop the boys off to mom. Then comes the idea... the idea that we kidnapped the children. Wait? What? This is a joke right? Surely you don't think I am kidnapping children while I have my own three children with me with a chance of getting us all in trouble. But Jo-Anne your tattoo is showing which leads them to believe that you are not a good person, because anyone with a tattoo is not good. As this is going on the anxiety starts to kick in and all I know I can do at this point is ask for prayers. And in that moment I ask everyone on my Facebook to pray for us at that moment. It's moments like those where you know you have no control over the situation and the only one who can help is God. It's in the midst that that I know I must control my tongue and watch what comes out of my mouth. 

You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19
As we wait to see what is going to happen we are sure that they are waiting for us to offer them money and let us go. Sorry, but not really, these children will not be used as pawns just so you can earn a few extra dollars. In my head, I say book 'em! I wish I could tell you I was joking but I am really not. I was preparing to see my husband and our translator go to jail because I knew if I was to pay them off I wouldn't have been any better than them for using the kids. We eventually are led to the police station and speak to the man in charge. All I hear is Creole Creole Creole, then out of no where he starts speaking the clearest English I have heard a Haitian speak. I wanted to cry in that moment to know that I directly had the opportunity to speak in my language about the situation. It was in that moment that God was at work. After some discussions and lessons learned even if I still question them now we were let go. We learned after leaving that the guy in charge is a Christian and was so clearly in the presence of the Lord to have such grace and understanding for what was happening. 

On the road again we go. I can always tell when we are in Port Au Prince. We go through this busy section of the city where you never know what you are going to see. I like to look out at this part, see what people are selling, what people are wearing or just to see what they are doing in general. We see this group of people standing around this one area, not really doing anything, just standing. I look at the ground where two police are standing and I see a man laying on the ground and i think he looks so peaceful, while I am completely oblivious until I look more clearly and see blood streaming down the road from his head and knowing at the moment I just a dead body. At the moment, the only thought that came to my head was "I wonder if he knew Jesus?" And then it made me sad, to think that this young man was laying out in the open with everyone to see as they past by. It was like he was a nobody, but he is so far from a nobody, we are all so far from being a nobody. 

And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:18

Our day continues and we have finally have met with mom and drive her to as close as we can go to her house, which I might add is not close considering she still had a 30 minute walk up a mountain with the boys as there is no motos or vehicles that can go up there. We give all the stuff she needs, we hug and kiss the boys and tell them we will see them next and then we get in the vehicle to leave and all of a sudden my heart is broken. This wasn't suppose to happen, we knew this was going to happen a week prior. I was ready for this, I was excited for this,  I wanted this... I was completely doing this on my own. It took me until just now as I write this and hold back the tears that I did not ask God to be a part of this day. I did not ask him to prepare my heart, I did not ask him to prepare my children who later sobbed that night, I did not ask him to prepare the little boy who watched us drive away and looked completely confused by the whole situation and had a lost look on his face. He brings me to the bible verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

I have to trust that in the midst of all these emotions that the Lord is with me. I have lean into Him in this times of confusion. I will never be able to understand this life in Haiti or this life in general and the experiences we have on my own. I must seek Him, seek in everything I do. I need to know that in the midst of everything that goes on no matter the situation that He is right beside me and I can call upon his name. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Revolving Door

This week at Bible Study we will digging into Galatians 6 and I know without a doubt that the beginning part is exactly what God is helping me fix in my life. Take a read:

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1

After reading it, I read it over and over and over again. Especially those last few words... or you may also be tempted.

This rings true so much in my life. I sit and watch people in life sin right before my eyes and I do nothing. Why? Because I am guilty of the same sin. How can one possibly help restore that person from sin when you are doing the exact same thing in your life?

Satan never wastes a fiery dart by aiming at a spot covered by armor. The bullseye is located dead center in our inconsistency. That's where the enemy plans to bring us down.- Beth Moore

Well ain't that the truth! Why would the enemy waste his time trying to destroy you with a sin that he knows he won't succeed at when he knows exactly what your weakness is. And he doesn't just show up with random people to tempt you, he brings those closest to you with him.

This morning my devotions first line was:

This is the time in your life when you must learn to let go. - Jesus Calling

When I think about it, I see a revolving door. It keeps going in a circle of sin, the past, sin, the past. I'll have days and even months when I feel like the door has stopped moving and then out of nowhere I feel it circulating again.

But when does this revolving door close and remain unopened?

I pray that God helps me find the right fitting armor where those darts just drop and that I stand firm. I pray that I also remember that the battle has already been won and that no one can beat my God.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

When Problems Are Good!

Normally when people have problems usually causes us to stress. We can't imagine a problem being a good thing. How could having a problem possibly be a good thing? But sometimes  having a problem means we are doing something right.

Currently we have a problem, but we know it's a good problem. As part of our sponsorship program through Boaz Ministries we have additional tutoring for our students. We want them to be able to have that one on one time with a tutor to work on homework and better understand what they are learning in school. For the last couple of months we have being holding our tutoring class in the back house behind where we live. It has been great for us and has worked well. Over the last couple of months we have gone from 1 student to 15 students. With the house being about 15 minutes away from where the students live our transportation is becoming more difficult to transport the students to and from class. We needed a new place. Somewhere closer to home for the students where they can walk to and from class.

Here we have a house that has been offered to us to use for the year. It is right in the community where our students come from so no more worries on how to get our students to class. For us to have access to this house we need raise $1000 to pay for rent and be able to buy new desks and chairs for students. We are praying to have this house ready for next week and we need your help. If you can make a donation today to help us cover the cost please visit
Do small things with great love -Mother Teresa

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I have a voice.

I can use it.

You have a voice.

You can use it.

He has a voice.

He can use it.... but for him the chances are no one will hear it.


We give him that chance.

I live in Haiti and so does he. You reading this might live in Canada and it is my job to use my voice so he can be heard and you have to be that person that listens.

I work with so many teens and even young children who are unable to attend school for many different reasons. Their chance to go to school is taken away from them all because they don't have the money to attend. I listen to their dreams for life but soon those dreams will fade.

I have to use my voice for him, you have to use your voice for him, we have to use our voices so he can use his and knows it is just as important.

Here are two brothers that need sponsoring. They need it so they can go to school, they need it so they can receive a hot meal that just might be their only meal today, they need it so they know they are not forgotten. For $39/mth you are keeping dreams alive. Visit us today at