March 17, 2011

Down from the Mountain

Wow! It’s been a busy week and a half since coming home from Haiti. My bags are finally unpacked, my blisters are healed and my tan is fading. But, my heart is still bubbling over with love and joy from our trip. What God did in and through us during those ten days is incredible.

I can’t stop thinking about Haiti. Or Jude. Or my other Haitian friends. Or our team. I miss them all so much and have spent a lot of time on Facebook looking at pictures—remembering and reliving.

Last night I shared the message in prison on Haiti. (This is a major step of faith because I’ve never done this before.) It was such a blessing to share even though I had to leave out so much because of time limits. The men seemed truly engaged in my stories. I loved that I could tie my experiences in Haiti, to our experiences worshipping together in the prison chapel…and how connected we are as brothers and sisters in Christ, members of the same family…and how the God I experienced in Haiti is the same God we can experience here at home. Readily available to all who seek Him.

This touches on a fear I have…that my (and our teams’) stories make it seem like unless you travel to a place like Haiti…or Africa…or some remote village that you can’t experience God in profound and powerful ways. Without a doubt, our time in Haiti was remarkable and special, but the Spirit of God is freely available to all people, in all places at all times. No matter where we are, Jesus invites us to follow Him. I think that our intimate experience with God is more about being willing to “go there” with the Lord, to step out of our comfort zones on faith—and to be open to receiving what He has to offer.

As much as Haiti was a mountaintop experience that I want to stay on/in forever, I know that’s not the Lord’s desire. Even after the disciples had their own mountaintop experience with Jesus during the transfiguration, Jesus quickly led them back down the mountain into the valley—even though they wanted to pitch tents and stay awhile.

The mountaintop is for spiritual refueling. Refocusing. Renewing. The valley is for living. So I am learning to live in the valley. Looking to see how God wants to use me, redirect me and change me from Haiti.

I said that I planned to do a series on Haiti and I will. This week I spent so much time putting together my message for the prison that I didn’t have any time for “recreational” writing. I planned to start today but since this post is already getting long I think I’ll wait until the beginning of next week to start. I know you’ll be waiting expectantly until then!

In the meantime, can I ask you to pray for everyone from our team that they continue to follow the call God placed in their hearts in Haiti. For some He’s wooing them back to Him. For others He is calling to a new phase on their walk with the Lord. For others He’s healing and restoring and repurposing.

On a side note…please pray for me! My sweet little girl turned 16 on Tuesday. And the day brought with it the thing that many a 16-year-old dreams about—a driving permit. While I am so happy for her to take this next big step in growing up, I am scared to death.

Dan and I are teaching how to drive my stick shift VW bug, which no doubt makes learning to drive MUCH harder. Yesterday, during our training session, I think I pulled the emergency brake four times! I’m not sure who is more nervous…my daughter or I. At this rate she should be ready for the open road by the time she’s 18!

Bondye beni ou! (God bless you)
and toujou lave men ou avan manje ou (always wash your hands before you eat.)

A woman walking on the "main road" up the mountain to her village
A family we met on the hike up to Balizaj.
The gorgeous beach we went to for some well-deserved rest. 
My sweet, crazy, singing, dancing, Jesus-loving roommate. I miss you CC!
Pastor Valentin and our awesome group from Woodside!


Carmen said...

Such a wonderful post! I love how you keep it real by mentioning that we live in the valley. You did my heart good and gave me hope.

It sounds like you had an incredible time! The photo of the family with the home--well--I'll never complain about my home again. :)

I don't always comment, but I love to stop by every now and again to catch up. Have a good day!

Cheryl Barker said...

Like Carmen, I too loved how you said the valley is for living. So true. We need to hold the mountaintop experiences close and precious to our hear and let them help carry us through our day-to-day in the valleys.

Good luck with the driving lessons :) I didn't learn to drive in a stick-shift VW bug, but I learned to drive a standard in Don's (back in our college days). Ah, memories... :)

wendy patchin said...

I love your postings and can relate to this one especially. Our spiritual life is not mission trip to mission trip, but day to day. I thank God for those mission trips where it is easier to see His Hand at work because I have left my everyday concerns behind. I am trying in each moment to keep my eyes open to His movements, no matter where I am, but I often find it much harder to really "see" when I am looking at the scenes I see every day. So I appreciate your encouragement and reminder to do so!

Sue J. said...

I learned to drive with automatic transmission, but my first car was a standard, and I didn't know how to drive it when I got it! Dad was on the emergency brake, too--since I couldn't shift on hills for beans. My boyfriend, now husband, who also had a stick shift, was a more patient teacher. There are still days when I think the Volvo is a standard! The church parking lot is always a good place to practice ;-)


I remember so well the first day my oldest daughter asked if she could use the car. It was her first solo. My husband was out of the country and I felt God saying, "Glenda, you need to say YES." So I smiled and said yes, and the minute she left . . . I threw myself on my bed, begging God to keep her safe:). We both survived.

Praying for your tranisition and all you are learning as you process Haiti.


Señorita said...

That is so amazing that you were in Haiti. My friend was just there last week with our church on a medical outreach there. She said is was amazing and I really loved hearing about her stories... Thanks for sharing!!

Denise said...

Just had to add an Oswald Chambers quote after reading your comment about living in the valley:

"The test of our spiritual life is the power to descend . . . We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle."

Dwelling in the valley is the tough part, but it's the part that requires the most faith! I think you do both well, Kelli, as your posts continually prove.

Sassy Granny ... said...

"The valley is for living." Isn't that the truth!

I am reminded (again) that those mountain top experiences don't happen until & unless He's made us ready to leap about on them. I think of Hannah Hunard's book: "Hind's Feet for High Places".

It is apparent He gave you love to share in Haiti, and love to share at home, AND hind's feet! What a ministry.


Anonymous said...

OK, guys - in case you blew past it in the beginning of this post, she said, "Last night I shared the message in prison on Haiti."

Partipating in a mission trip. Going into a maximum security men's prison. Speaking in public.

Three things only Jesus could have brought out in my amazing wife. Look're still on the mountaintop, kid!


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

How well I remember...

Mountaintop moments with God and driving with a 16 year old. To this day I refuse to ride with my sons. But the mountaintops? Always willing to make that trek!

I know the men at the prison were blessed by your story. Looking forward to hearing more.