|You never know what God has planned...|
In 2016, Naomi took her first mission trip to Haiti, unprepared for what God had in store. Yet, on her second mission trip in 2017, God had another important lesson that He did not want her to miss...
Back in January 2016, I was grateful for the opportunity to go on my first mission trip to Haiti. After our arrival, I found my two church friends, Samantha and Felicia, excitedly looking over a board filled with pictures.
Curious about what they were doing, they shared that these were pictures of children who were available for sponsorship.
Immediately, I pulled down the picture of a a little girl whom I thought was the only infant on the board. I became so excited! I asked one of my friends to take a picture of me with the baby's picture so I could text it to my adult son back in Illinois. I thought he would be excited as well, since he has no siblings and has always wanted a sister.
After a brief disappointment from several failed attempts to text or email the picture, I inquired about the process of becoming a sponsor. Audra (Lifeline's Sponsorship Development Director) excitedly explained the process to me; I could not wait to be this little girl's sponsor!.
And what did Audra discover? Today was this little girl's birthday along with the anniversary of the horrible earthquake that struck Haiti! I had not paid attention to the information written on the picture; all I saw was a little girl. This brought tears to my eyes because I felt that selecting this child on her birthday and on the earthquake anniversary was significant. I immediately began to refer to Bience as "My baby."
Later that evening during devotion, I shared with the group how excited I was to be a sponsor mom. I also shared that, before traveling to Haiti, I had not read any of the emails, had not visited the website, or had any idea of the extensive services provided by Lifeline!
What I had done was pray for our mission trip and asked God to allow me to share in meeting a specific need. I had no clue of what it would be. I thought I would be used in terms of my professional nursing or catering skills. But in no way did I expect God to use me in a lifelong commitment to being a sponsor mom!
After evening devotion, there was an unexpected visit from Audra. She came into our dorm with a picture in her hand, "Naomi your baby has a brother. They are twins and we cannot separate them between different sponsors." As I listened to her explain the situation, my inner joy doubled. "I will sponsor both children!"
And then I shared my story with Audra.
I am one of twins.
My mother died after we were born in Liberia, West Africa. My twin brother died
I thought how awesome God is, in the way He operates! And how He graciously manifests Himself in my life.
I learned that my babies' family may come during gift distribution and I could get a pantry gift from Lifeline storage so they would not be without. I was given a couple of beautiful dresses and a couple of toys. I became so excited as I awaited their arrival!
When I met Bience, Benson and Mom, we bonded. I was even more excited! I asked their mom, through the translator, if I could make a home visit; she gladly agreed. With approval and transportation provided from Lifeline, we went to their home.
From my assessment of the home, I decided that my first step should be to build a home for my babies so I could purchase needed beds for them. I prayed that God would provide the means for me to make a real difference in their lives.
Well, God answers prayers!
Once our mission trip was over and we had returned back home, I received detailed information on what I needed to do build a home for my babies. Then I invited a couple of my friends from church to go back to Haiti with me on the 2017 women's mission trip when the new home would be dedicated.
I thought that the home would be built by the time we arrived.
When we arrived in January 2017, Christi (Lifeline's Missionary Development Director) shared that the home location was a bit of a challenge to carry supplies up to the building site. She also said that the home will be built...but not yet.
I was disappointed because I thought, "but they will not be able to get their beds!"
l prayed, "Lord please help me to focus because I do not want to look sad on this trip."
I felt the whole purpose of my attending this trip would be defeated if my babies could not get beds. In my finite thinking, I did not realize that our Sovereign God is always in control. He has a way of turning sadness into joy.
Thankfully, our building days were scheduled during our mission trip. My friends, Georgette, Carolyn, and I were able to work with others on our mission team to assist the Haitian builders.
Words are inadequate to express the joy I felt, having the opportunity to participate in the building process. The gratification I experienced was priceless, in spending time with my babies and with the entire family, who also participated in the work.
To top off this experience is the actual location of the home. God strategically placed this family in the midst of His awesome beauty: surrounded by the mountains, valleys, oceans, beautiful trees and blue skies. One of our young building team members said "If I had to choose to live in poverty, this is where I would want to be."
On the day of dedication, we were amazed to see the home at roof level. We all celebrated by singing praises and worshiping Almighty God.
In hindsight, I believe I was unable to text Bience's pictures to my son because God knew that it would have been incomplete without Bienson's picture. God also knew that the joy of participating in the building process would be much greater than just participating in the dedication.
In Isaiah 55:8 (NLT), the Bible says, "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine."
That was the lesson for me.
To God be the glory for the things He has done!!!
He blesses us to be a blessing to others. How grateful I am for the privilege to share in the lives of my sponsored children's family!
In His service