Celebrate Good Times

They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.

2 Samuel 6:17-19

Who doesn’t like to celebrate? The foundation of the new church was complete, the Haitians ready to celebrate, and the memory was already special. Locals placed some rocks and mud around the outside by the locals (because the Americans had neither the muscle or the skill to do that!). The floor was level thanks to the buckets of dirt hauled by hand. That’s all to show for the days of work: a dirt floor and some rocks. Then the roof went up and my heart swelled with excitement and the rush of knowing we completed the first part.

Time to celebrate!

The following day, we gathered to have a dedication service in conjunction with a church service. Usually, the church met outside under a tree. Today, they could meet on the floor and away from the hot sun. Perhaps there weren’t walls, but everyone could envision what the church would look like when it was done. We prayed, exchanged words of encouragement through a translator, and sang a song or two with clapping and stomping creating the beat. Some sang in English, and some in Haitian Creole. A celebration doesn’t always happen at the end of the project.

It wasn’t the first time a temporary building was “good enough” for a celebration. The ark of the covenant hadn’t arrived in the temple yet—the temple had yet to be built! Still, David accomplished the first step and then stopped with the people to celebrate. Sharing food and giving gifts may have been like Christmas before Christmas!

Celebrations—the pauses—give life and energy for the next step. Celebrating is part of the journey, not just for the finish line. Stopping to pause and celebrate, even before going home at the end of a day, is important in nonprofit work.

In Haiti, perhaps it wasn’t possible for myself to lay the stones or carry the cement bags the three miles to the church. Maybe I couldn’t be there when the tin walls were installed. Perhaps I don’t know what it’s like to have that final celebration. But while I was there, I did what I could, and then I joined in the celebration.

What are you going to celebrate today? Encourage others below or by sharing on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photos by Mollie Bond, 2017

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Intentional

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

”…a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away…” (Ecclesiastes 3:6).

Intentional. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but at the beginning of 2013, I had a resolution. I wanted to live one word fully all year, and I chose the word “intentional.” This means many things, but mostly, for me the definition was to be present in the moment. Now, as 2013 closes, I can say I did live this year with the word reflecting in my actions.

I was intentional about making friends. I listened without thinking of a retort. I withheld from giving unsolicited advice. I laughed. I prayed. I loved.

I was intentional about my volunteering. I said no to good things, to say yes to better things. I grew in wisdom of when to give, and to withhold because giving became enabling. I learned how to let go.

I was intentional at work. I chose to work as hard as possible, giving my talents, when I was at the job. And then, at home, I was at home; Intentionally not at work, not thinking about work. I learned how to use my strengths, and how my strengths are my greatest weaknesses.

I was intentional about building margin. As a driving achiever, it’s hard to slow down and to keep a schedule open for “whatever.” I gave up the feeling of obligation, and chose to do things I wanted to do. Even at the cost of inconvenience.

Did I live well? Yes, but I didn’t always get it right. I didn’t have intentionality for every moment in 2013. However, I recognize that living this was has blossomed some seeds that had been in hiding for a long time. The season was right.

Along with living with intentionality, I ended up having to give up some other things. One of those was writing. For a season, my time and efforts were focused elsewhere. You might have noticed!

Note from 2020: You’ll notice a gap between 2013 and 2019 on this blog. I wrote with the intention of focusing my writing for Hope for Haiti. Feel free to check out older writings at www.emevi.blogspot.com. Or, find a broader repertoire at www.hopeforhaiti.ws.

There’s a season for everything, and the season of intentionality was valuable. What is your word for this year? Share it on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” If you use this link, I receive a small affiliate commission. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Whichelande

Thank you to Hope for Haiti to continuing to sponsor children, and my writing.
“‘And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me’” (Matthew 18:5).

Wichelande's Drawings

Wichelande’s Drawings

Wichelande lives in Colmini. It’s a church and school located in the desert. When you ask her to draw what makes her happy, she’ll draw her house, chickens, and cactus flowers. Wichelande doesn’t smile for the camera, but as soon as you turn around, she’s running and playing with her friends in the hot sun. It’s a different world than in America. If you ask a child to draw what makes them happy, most likely you’ll see pictures of family, clothes, and some video games.

Wichelande is one of many children in Colmini, and in Haiti, and in the world. Her immediate world is simple, trying to learn in a loud one-room school that houses three classrooms at one time. Since she has three brothers and five sisters, large feasts for dinner are rare.
Two disciples argued about who would be the greatest and asked Jesus for the final answer. In response, Jesus pulled a child close to him, and asked that we humble ourselves like a child. We should welcome children, he says.
God didn’t distinguish Wichelande from any other child in the world, or in your neighborhood. God knows Wichelande, and likes her. At this time, Wichelande is not sponsored. We trust God to find a person to welcome Wichelande. Will you join us in praying for Wichelande’s future sponsor?

Wichelande

Wichelande

Waiting

Thank you to EMEVI and Hope for Haiti for supporting these quick devos. Enjoy!

Waiting

Waiting in Haiti

Waiting in Haiti

Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” And the LORD said, “I will wait until you return.”
Judges 6:17-18
Haitians live by Haitian Time. When you say that church starts at 9 a.m., Haitians will show up any time within the 9 o’clock hour. They can be there at 9:50 a.m., and say, “I am here at 9. It is not 10 o’clock yet.” Few options for electricity exist in Haiti, so the lack of clocks and alarm clocks also accentuates their timing. An American can learn patience, rest, and how to wait while in Haiti.
As our example, God waits too. Gideon just learned God chose him to lead his people against the Midianites who have mistreated Israel. He’s given his excuses, and God remains firm that Gideon is a mighty warrior. Gideon’s reaction is in line with his culture. He hopes to prepare a sacrifice in acceptance of the charge given to him.
And God waits for his return.
Even though God is outside of time, he waits for us to return to him. He allows Haitian time to exist. What in your life do you think God needs to put a deadline on? What feels like it has to fit within your schedule? Is it worth living out God’s example of Haitian time and waiting for it to be ready? Commit to give God an offering. He’ll wait for you.

© 2013, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Strength

Thank you to Hope for Haiti and the EMEVI blog for posting these quick devotions.

The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
Judges 6:14
DSCN0400Haitians take what is available, and use it, even when it seems not useable. A truck had an accident, and broken watermelon littered the highway. What does an American do? Call for a tow truck, call the boss, and start to calculate the lost product. What does a Haitian do? Pick up the watermelon and start eating.
A house starts to fall. There’s nothing but sticks around the barren land. A Haitian gathers the longest sticks they can find, and puts them around the house to hold up the roof. Just one stick wouldn’t do, but putting many sticks around the house seems to do the trick.
Gideon didn’t have much when the angel of the LORD appeared to him. He’s hiding in a hole, just trying to get some substance for the day by thrashing wheat. When Gideon reports his lacking skills to the angel, the response is to “go in the strength you have.”
The body of Christ can be powerful if we use what we are given today. Even if it doesn’t seem like much, God will use it combined with others. Maybe you feel like a stick, a forgotten piece in the land of plenty. God says to “go in the strength you have,” and contribute.
–Lè sa a, Senyè a bay Jedeyon lòd sa a, li di l:
— Ale non. Avèk fòs koura you genyen an, w’a deliver pèp Izrayèl la anba men moun peyi Madyan yo. Se mwen menm menm ki voye ou!
Jij 6:14

© 2013, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Mighty Warriors Have Fear Too

As seen at the EMEVI blog.

“The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.’” (Judges 6:11-12)
I sat at the table and saw a flash a fear cross her eyes. Over lunch I asked if a friend wanted to come to Haiti with me, and her response was,  “My initial reaction was I can’t afford it, even though I would want to go with you. Finances are just too tight.”

July August 2012 Group

July August 2012 Group

I thought of Gideon. When he first appears in the Bible, he’s working, but he’s doing it in secret. The Israelites were taken over by the Midianites for seven years, and they ransacked anything the Israelites might grow, produce, or create. So Gideon, full of fear, threshes the wheat in a giant hole where he can’t be seen. An angel stops by and calls him a mighty warrior. The guy hiding in a hole, a mighty warrior.
Sometimes our fear of those that can take our livelihoods keep us from being the mighty warriors God intended. The Haitians say, “Si se Bondye ki voye. Li peya fre ou.” It means, “If it is God who sends you, he’ll pay your expenses.” Going to Haiti will change lives, both yours and those you’ll meet.
Having confidence in God means accepting the task at hand. Gideon doesn’t loose his fear (you can read all about him in Judges 6-7). He does let God pay for his way, though, and in the end is known as a mighty warrior. Will my friend come? I’m not sure, but I hope she resolves to be a mighty warrior. Let that be true of all of us.

Rocks

From the EMEVI blog:

Rocks in Haiti

Rocks in Haiti

Rocks 

 “They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:3-4

Currently, the church in Bataille is built from rocks held together with mud. Each hard rain forces the people to rebuild the church because the mud washes away. The community in the mountains are close to finishing their first cement building, which happens to be the church and school built by EMEVI.
Rocks signify many things for Haitians. As means of income, smash rocks with a hammer to create gravel. Or mix crushed gravel with cement to build bricks. Rocks inhibit farmland, change the flow of water, and litter footpaths. Rocks show up in Haitian proverbs too: Woch nan dlo pa konnen doule woch nan soley. (“The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.”)
Rocks signify many things in Biblical history as well. Moses struck a rock to get water for the people (see Exodus 17:6). Jesus called Peter “the Rock” because Jesus chose him as the rock to build the church. (see Matthew 16:18). Rocks build foundations, and God is our foundation (Psalm 19:14).

A church built of rock and mud.

A church built of rock and mud.

Join us. Whether you are physically capable to build a church in Haiti, or spiritually capable to pray for the church in Haiti, be a rock.

Submitted by Mollie Bond

Are You In or Out?

Author Note: Thank you to my friends at Hope for Haiti. Also to my folks who trained me in the way I should go. Their baptism is the basis of this story.
 
Boat
“’Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said.”
Matthew 14:28-29a
 
See the boat in the background? Sometimes the background subtly reminds us of our priorities or passions. It’s like when a tragic accident happens. We’re reminded of the importance of life, or basic physical abilities, or something that was floating in the background, unseen in daily life.
 
The focus of this picture is a baptism service. While at the baptism, no one noticed the boat. After seeing the pictures, it became a reminder. The background, now the focus, taught each person in the picture a lesson.
 
The boat is empty.
 
Someone got out of the boat.
 
Just as in baptism, getting out of the boat requires courage and opportunity.
 
What is your boat? What do you need to get out of? Perhaps it’s complacency, or maybe it’s fear. John Ortberg notes in his book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat that “Peter didn’t as for a guarantee, just an opportunity.” Hope for Haiti provides opportunities that best match your skills, priorities, and passions. We’re reminded of the things we take for granted, always running in the background. Who doesn’t have the guarantee of another opportunity for life? Who doesn’t have the basic physical ability to function? What is unseen in your daily life that can remind you to be courageous? It’s time to take a step. It’s time to get out of the boat.
 

What is your boat? Share it on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” If you use this link, I receive a small affiliate commission. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Respecting Culture

Why hang this bag?

Why hang this bag?

But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: ‘Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.’ Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them” (Acts 14:14-18).

If you look in the center of the picture, a woven bag hangs from a tree. In that bag is food. Why hang it from a tree?
Barnabas and Paul ran into confusion during a trip. They had healed a lame man. The people, who based their reactions on their culture, decided that these two were gods. But Barnabas and Paul responded by using the culture to explain who God is. The people understood humanity, harsh gods, and nature’s seasons. So rather than let the communication gap divide them more, they explained how a loving God, much stronger than any god or human, provided for them. Was it instant change in the people or their culture? No. Yet Barnabas and Paul respected the culture they visited, and tried to communicate in terms the people would understand.
It’s possible we don’t understand other cultures. Why do Haitians hang food from trees? In Colorado, backpackers will hang their food from trees, but that’s because the bears might find a tasty treat, and bears don’t leave leftovers. However, bears are not found in Haiti. Haitians hang their food so that the rats do not get to the drying corn.
When there’s a chance for pride in your own culture, be aware. Sometimes the way we do things isn’t the best for the people visited. Perhaps the best way is to find out the why behind the reaction, and then introduce God, right where they are at.

Submitted by Mollie Bond

Generations

Generations

Generations

“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” Psalm 100:5.

Kids in Haiti love the camera. In earlier generations, Haitian adults did not like their photo being taken. They would hide, or scowl, or be sure to let you know how it wasn’t appropriate. Slowly, that attitude is changing.
The kids are magnets to a camera. And now with digital cameras, it’s a game to have their photo taken, and to see the results instantaneously. They desire to be the center of attention.
God sees the children of Haiti. He knows them on a much deeper level, and longs to be the center of their attention. He has hope for the children of Haiti: the same faithful hope for each generation.
Hope for Haiti partners with families who have hope for their children, but not the financial means for them to attend school, or have a regular meal, or drink clean water. By sponsoring a child, you increase the likelihood that they’ll grow into an adult, and maybe one that likes their photo to be taken.
For more information on sponsoring a child through Hope for Haiti, visit the Sponsor a Child page. Would you consider this easy step? Maybe sponsor a child close to your own children’s age, or your grandchildren’s age. Leave an impression on a child that is longer than a snapshot. Leave an eternal impression.
By Mollie Bond, Photo by Dr. Susan