Friday, March 30, 2012

I can only pray that one will read this and it will touch their heart to listen to the words from a broken heart for the impoverished, less fortunate, the afflicted and the lost and do something. My hope is that one may possibly be open to hearing the nudge on a heart to serve God’s people and His people of Haiti. In America, we are the wealthiest country in the world materially. I believe this because I see so many put their trust in material things, in their jobs, in their money, in the activities that they do in order to surpass the time, to suppress the pain of the emptiness they feel from seeking material things. What we so often do not comprehend is that we will be supplied with everything we need through our Heavenly Father….I know this because I was deeply there and periodically fall back to that empty place.

It is America’s addiction…STUFF. If you think about’s a temporary fix to an eternal situation. Your new house, new car, new outfit, new hair color and cut, new shoes, new purse, trip to a luxurious resort, etc. will never be able to fill the hole in your heart. It is only through Christ that one will be able to become whole hearted once and for all. Again, I know this because I have been there. Often I say…I have been through so much and many different and difficult experiences that I can only be here to hopefully help others learn what NOT to do because I know where it leads and if I can help someone steer clear of trial and learn from my mistakes…so be it. We are here to be used not to sit on the sidelines.

So as I am here in Haiti again, it is amazing to see what God is trying to reveal to me…but only here where I am away from all my stuff relying solely on God and completely centering my focus on Him. I cannot imagine how many people here in Haiti would take my life over theirs. But I wish I could take their life over mine in America. I would take walking 5 miles over a $30,000 car, I would take a tin shanty over a $500,000 let a lone a $100,000 house any day. It keeps me living the life God intended. It keeps me focused, centered, and saturated in Him. And in the end…it doesn’t matter what you have or had…it’s the condition of your heart and what you have done with the gifts you have been given.

Throughout my time in Haiti, God has shown me the many blessings I have here at my American home. I am a single mother who lives paycheck to paycheck. I struggle to put food on my daughter’s plate yet somehow God ALWAYS provides. I may not have a home I own nor a big house to host others or to look like I live better than everyone else but I have a house that I "get to" call home. I am privileged enough to have a roof over mine and my daughter's heads, the luxury of a car-nothing big or fancy, that I "get to" drive to my blessed job that I may live under the American standard but I am blessed to live a very abundant life compared to the rest of the world. I make over $20,000 a year so I am in the TOP 5% of the WORLD'S WEALTH. I have a job where I serve people who want to make the "outside look good” and the “inside feel good TEMPORARILY”. With what I have experienced in Haiti, I struggle with people spending money on "STUFF" that one really does not NEED to SURVIVE everyday. Yet I realize that God has placed me in this industry to be "THE VOICE OF THE POOR" to some of the world's wealthiest people yet some of the most lost people in the world. I say"lost" in means of searching for the significance of life, our God given purpose. I am sent by God to be the light in the darkness and I have been abundantly blessed by the God given opportunities to travel to Haiti and being able to bring my 13 yrs old daughter 3 times in one year. I may not have much but I have this calling on my heart from God and am choosing obedience. I have sacrificed my own personal pleasures to serve “the least of these” in Haiti. It is not about me…it is about serving others and loving others as Christ does.

I know that we all do not have this calling of "Haiti" but ask yourself through your life and everyday...What does God want from me today? What can I do in order to fulfill all His desires for me. Each person has been called to a purpose in life. Be still and allow the Lord to do His work in you and guide you where He has planned. You may not be equipped but God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. Trust me, I never thought that I could be a here but I am with my daughter in Haiti. I think she is more at home here than I am. She sure lets the Spirit move her. Kira has this way of picking out the ones that no one else sees. I thank God for her faith. She keeps me moving on days that I seem to slow down. Praising God for her today as always.

Kira and I were called to serve in Haiti, for one reason or another. I believe our journey does not stop when we return home, it only continues. America is OUR NEW MISSION FIELD. God gave us some of His children’s stories in Haiti to cherish and to share with others. I cannot help but ask myself…What have I done with the gifts that God have given me? The revelations, the stories, the pictures, the love? Have I shared them? I have met these people that God so perfectly placed in my path for a reason, He has given me a new lens, a new voice, a new opportunity to serve, and the many blessings I have received through going to Haiti. I come back home and have this firestorm in my hearts…now to figure out what to do with it, to keep it burning and from not burning out. I do not know where this week is going to lead me but I am praying that God will give me some revelations and to reveal the path that He has chosen for me...

All this I pray every one...Be Still and the Lord will fight for You...Let Him lead you, guide you and protect you. May we live in His name, in His ways, with His love...all for His Glory.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I had the privilege of meeting Alyn Shannon about 4 years ago.  My friend, Margie Schroeder, invited me to a party showcasing Alyn’s beautiful jewlery.  Alyn was an amazing lady.  She lit up the room. Her jewelry pointed right to the throne of Christ. Pictured is the necklace I bought the night I met her….”Trust in the Lord with all of your heart” Proverbs 3:5.

Alyn’s words, her heart, and everything about her was pure beauty.  Alyn and I talked that night about Healing Haiti and we made a plan to introduce the ministry to our Sunday School kids at St. Michaels.  That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the children at St. Michaels and the kids in Haiti.  They never met in person, but Alyn and Jeff somehow were able to bridge the miles and help the children connect and see each other as friends loving and praying for one another.

Alyn went to be with the Lord about a year and a half ago after a battle with breast cancer.  I didn’t get to know Alyn well enough or long enough, but even the little I knew her, I was totally amazed by her LOVE.  Her love for the Lord, her love for Jeff, her love for the people of Haiti, really her love for us all.

And now, in 3 months, I have a chance to go to Haiti and see her dream and see the people she loved so dearly.  I am amazed at how God works so intimately in our lives.  Even though I know I won’t see Alyn there, I know I will feel her there.  When I look at pictures from Haiti, her spirit is in every smile I see.   Her beauty is in every inch of Grace Village and her warmth can just be felt by the Joy brought to Haiti through the ministry of Healing Haiti.  I feel so blessed to go on this mission trip.  I will be with my 2 oldest sons, 3 dear friends and their wonderful sons, and our trip leaders are my dear friend Margie Schroeder and the one and only Jeff Gacek.  I can’t wait to see what God has in store and I can’t wait to see all that Alyn loved so dearly.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding.  In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5,6.  My prayer for the next 3 months is that our team will trust in the Lord and rely on Him and have our eyes open to the path He will take us on.

Marijo Ose
Healing Haiti Team Member

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It is a place that has shaped who I am...

Haiti is home to the largest slum in the Western hemisphere, Cite Soliel. This poverty stricken country can be reached by a short 90 minute flight from Miami; however, while Americans lay out on the sandy beaches in Miami, beaches located on the same body of water are avoided by Haitians due to the excessive pollution. These are two separate worlds entirely, and yet they are separated by a mere 90 minutes. I wonder how is there a country in such proximity to the United States with unimaginable unemployment rates, an extremely low life expectancy, an unstable government, and undreamed of living conditions. Large amounts of the population of Haiti are without running water, something almost unheard of in most parts of the United States.

My interest in service and in others brought me to Haiti for Spring Break where I worked with a team of volunteers to assist with the delivery of fresh water, to give love and attention to children and to spread God’s word. On my second evening in Haiti on a visit to a tent city, I met a boy who had a great deal to teach me. 

Passing through the gates of the tent city, I was hit by the stench of urine and crowdedness.  I wanted to look away and yet I could not turn my eyes from the display of uneven rows of crowded homes made of tarps and sheets strung together over sticks. Timidly, I began walking, leaving the comfort of the gate, edging closer in a trance-like state. Weaving my way between rows of makeshift homes, I struggled to avoid the stream of unknown fluid cutting a path inches from my feet. Walking past the open tents, I was greeted with an astounding amount of joyfulness, never less than a smile.  I continued to walk through the tents saying hello, and then I saw him. 

A few tents from where I stood a boy sat in his wheelchair. His twisted legs dangled from the well-worn chair while he ate a tiny portion of rice. He shyly glanced up and our eyes met as an enormous smile spread across his face, and in that moment I became so dispirited. I dropped my gaze and turned my back as my face flushed and tears began to stream down my cheeks.  What, I wondered, did this crippled, poverty-stricken boy have to smile about?  His family’s home was half the size of my bedroom back home.  Where I had lush carpet he had cracked earth, where I had air conditioning he had sweltering heat, and yet where he wore his smile I wore nothing. I could not remember the last time I smiled with such a full body smile as he had just given me.  Slowly, I dried my tears and walked towards him. Once I reached him, I bent down to look him in the eye, and with an unsteady voice, I asked, “Ki jan ou rele? “ In the gentlest voice, as if sensing my uneasiness, he responded, “Ronaldo.” Though we could not communicate with words, I felt completely at ease just sitting by his side in the dirt, enjoying his company.

After nearly 15 minutes of communicating through simple gestures, and a brief introduction to his family, it was time for me to leave. As I got up, I turned to the boy and with increased confidence said, “Ke Bondye Beni’ou “(May God bless you).  His smile, which had been so painful minutes before, now filled me up.  I returned the smile from a deep place in my soul and reluctantly returned to my night’s lodgings.  

Once more I passed through the gates of the tent city and ventured onto the uneven road. As I walked home my mind was a whirlpool of thoughts. Sleep did not come easily that night.  I despaired about how incredibly materialistic our society had become, how incredibly materialistic I had become. Ronaldo, with his bright smile amid squalor, reminded me, in an intense way, that living fully has little to do with having the biggest house or the latest gadget.  Initially, I was torn apart by the boy’s smile because of how guilty it had made me feel, but over our time together, I came to see that we could share a beautiful human connection.  I was more open in all of my interactions with others after meeting Ronaldo.  I realized that I had a gift for making others feel comfortable. Furthermore, upon returning people praise me for spending time in Haiti.  This praise, which is something I would have gladly taken before my encounter with Ronaldo, embarrasses me as it is undeserved.  I have learned that each of us should be expected to do what we can to enhance the lives of others and to learn about ourselves and one another. Haiti is a place that has had an incredible inspiration to me, it is a place I have come to love, and it is a place that has shaped who I am.

Sammie Maixner