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.