Monday, February 24, 2014


I've noticed that in the last months I've been hesitant to posting spiritual content on my facebook.
I usually end up posting my thoughts anyway, but I find it interesting that every time I go to make my prayers, my thoughts, my discoveries of God's word public, I'm encountered with real resistance. (my mind begins to battle with my spirit on whether or not it is correct to post, how to post, who will see it ect.)

I've never struggled with this in the past and I think it is important to examine why it is that I'm experiencing this now.  There are three possible explanations that I've come up with.

1) I'm the problem, my spiritual state could be weak, I could be doubting the truths I want to post or fear may be trying to cripple me.

2) Where I am is the problem. Haiti is a country where spirit worship predominates and my struggle may just be a manifestation of the spiritual decay of this country.

3) The problem comes from the times we are in. This could be the "beginning of labor pangs" when the love of many grows cold and many will become faithless (2 Timothy 3:5). The spirit of the anti-christ is rampid and is working overtime to make sure that he cancels out all truth that is spoken.

I'm leaning more towards explanation number 3. I don't want to boast and say that my spiritual state is at its best, but even when I struggle,  I'm confident that the truth I am wanting to post is the truth and that it is essential for the life of our souls. I can write spiritual truths and declare them when I'm talking to people one on one and even when I write on this blog. The struggle and the questioning only comes up when I'm posting on a widely viewed outlet, like facebook. 

Explanation # 2 is not the case, because I'm actually more encouraged by the reality of a spiritual world here in Haiti where spiritual dynamics are obvious. So this reality actually makes me even more confident on the spiritual truths gained from the Bible. (Demoniacs, spiritual oppression, and tormenting spirits are common here, so wouldn't this fuel my desire to speak life?)

Explanation # 3 makes the most sense. There is a real spiritual force that is at war against my spirit man. When I want to declare truth to an audience that needs to hear it, I am faced with strong opposition.  I wonder how many other believers find themselves also struggling to proclaim truth boldly? The spirit of the anti-christ comes on mission to replace the truth of the gospel. He comes to cancel out all the work of Christ Jesus. This spirit will seek to reject God's word as truth and will try to convince everyone of his false kingdom of peace. Peace that is not based on truth, peace that is based on relativism and tolerance. Where the truth is suppressed and a band-aid is placed over a gaping wound.  

If you've experienced this in increasing measure these days know that you are not alone. Let's pray for the brethren, just as Paul prayed:  "Pray that words may be given to me in opening my mouth BOLDLY to proclaim the mystery of the gospel." Ephesians 6:19

We are living in a time where the spiritual battle between good and evil is heating up, I believe this is true because of the impending return of Jesus Christ. The church will be tempted in many ways and many will fall away or give into false doctrine that teaches that Jesus Christ is not the promised Son of God. It will become difficult for many in the church to declare in confidence their faith in Jesus Christ as our atoning sacrifice. Many will begin to accept other ways of reaching God in their desire to bring peace and be tolerant. Jesus told us to be on the alert, to keep watch, and that only those who persevere till the end will be called faithful. When the questioning comes and you begin to pull back from declaring your faith and who Christ is to you, pray and mute the voice of the spirit of the anti-christ that is trying to mute you. Let us speak for the nations what the truth of the Gospel is, let us not shy away from proclaiming God's word and his love for all.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

When old feelings creep up again

There are times when all of your insides muster up the courage to end an unhealthy relationship.

You think you've made a wise decision because you are moving away from the very person who has too much power over your emotions. When you talk with, hang out with this person you can't help but to desire to be something for him or her; you step into a certain role for them; your demeanor changes when he or she is around. You aren't yourself, or at least you aren't the self that you are used to having under control. So for all of these reasons you begrudgingly have to let him or her "go". You said, "I need time." "I can't take this anymore" " I feel sick every time we talk" So you hit an all time  low and you realize that what you were aiming for with this relationship is not panning out, so you indeed let this person go. You force yourself to be angry with, bitter towards, and unresponsive towards him/her. This is difficult, you are not this type of person.

You struggle... At first. You are used to responding to calls automatically. So you go through the cycle. Again and again. Until once again you convince yourself that this is the healthiest option for you. So you step away.  You struggle; until somehow he/she gets it! He doesn't call anymore. She replies but it's short. You've now, unwittingly,  become that friend who never kept in touch. If she only knew how hard it was to stay away. You see.... You were never away. The fact that you stopped talking doesn't mean he wasn't on your mind. He still had a grip on you. Your heart, your thoughts were intrically interwoven with this other person who..... Hmmmm..... Had no idea you had the slightest care for him. Now that she's no longer trying to hold on to you, you wonder what if? But then you stop yourself. You tell yourself that you were miserable, you weren't yourself. You remind yourself of the cyclical pattern of your relationship and your feelings when this person was around. 

You silence the creeping thoughts. Sure enough, after doing this for so long and forcing your mind to think on new things,  you're Free! Free! No longer tied, no longer burdened. Not wondering what if, not dreaming about how things happened. You are finally and completely free. At least from this one.

Then, out of nowhere, you scroll through your messages and you see that persons name and you click and realize that the last message that was sent was not from you, it was her message. A message that in those days you deliberately chose not to respond to. So you wonder.... Why was I so insistent in having my way or no way. Then you wonder if it's ok to just pick up the conversation where you last dropped it. 

The feelings are creeping back in. Beware. Do you risk it? Do you rekindle this friendship. After all, that person has no idea of the drama that went on at the other side of the curtain.

When feelings creep in....inspired by every woman's true story. 

Get a hold of your heart, for from it flows the wellspring of life.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Renewal of Contract

Two weeks ago, January 19th I decided to embark on a lifestyle change. I and my best friend listened to a message by Pastor Mike Hayes, Daniel's Fast for the Future.  My walk with the Lord had become sloppy, my health was at it's worst. I felt lethargic physically and spiritually. I was in a downward spiral, I didn't really know it, until now. I felt that if things didn't begin to change I would end up dead inside. Jasmine as you knew her would be dead. I've been complimented for my smile, and for my ability to bring peace and wisdom to situations. These days however I felt tired and dry. This was due to a lot of things, some of this was doubt, fear, and the fact that I was in a new country whose spiritual climate is one of helplessness, despair, and compromise. The verse that became very clear to me here was that the Kingdom of God suffers violence, but the violent take it by force. (Mt. 11:12) This place was not a sit back and see what happens kind of place or a go with the flow type of environment. Haiti is a place where you have to PUSH, you have to inquire of the Lord, you have to call for Heaven's will to be done here. Well, you can't do this, you can't fight the good fight if you are feeling faint. So it became clear to me that it was time to make a change and this would have to be intentional. After listening to the message by Pastor Mike Hayes I realized that this was a life or death type of change that was needed. You see if Daniel would have gone with the flow of the environment he was in, he would have perished. His calling would have never been fulfilled. He would have assimilated to the Babylonian culture and he would have never heard from God on the interpretation of the King's dream and he would have never had favor to raise up King Cyrus––the one that would release Daniel's people back to their land from exile. Daniel would've missed it, all because he didn't resist, because he didn't resolve not to eat from the King's food.

When I was 17, ten years ago, the Lord gave me a vision and he called me to serve Him. There was a passion in my heart to complete this mission that was now implanted on my heart, my mind, and my desire. I've worked towards it, everyplace I go to I discover more and more about how to fulfill this mission, but I was beginning to grow weary. I'm now working on my masters––a prerequisite to fulfilling this promise, and I've had a struggle. There are questions that I have to think about, of which I do not have an answer for. Fear creeps in sometimes, I wonder How? Why? Me? Why can't I just have a normal life... so much dreaming, so much sacrifice, for what? I don't have anything to show for it now. My life doesn't make sense to many around me. She wanders is what I hear people say. She's not grounded. Yet in the deepest parts of me there is a knowing that God will not lead me into despair, He will not cause my feet to stumble. He will not punish me for going or doing what I hear Him say to me. No matter how foolish, no matter how different it is from what everyone else is doing. My deepest place says I trust God. But this voice was becoming faint, it was drowning with the thoughts of my mind. I needed to hear from God again.

I began this food and veggie diet for ten days, just as Daniel did. Mostly because of one statement: When you are not eating right, there is a haze that can fog your vision. At that moment I knew exactly what Pastor Mike Hayes was saying. I felt this way. I needed to defrost the windshield of my eyes. After 6 days I began to see the change in my body. I was able to fit into a dress that fit me like a shirt only a week ago. I was no longer having headaches or chest pain. I got on a regular sleeping and waking up schedule. My days were more productive, and my time with the Lord was more fruitful. I learned about Water and how it has memory, the power of our words. I learned that what I speak and think actually does affect what happens. The link I just provided proves how this is even evident through nature. It's deep! Truth is that I had been speaking doubt and negative things about myself, my future, and it was time to stop.

It is now the 15th day, and I got news today that my security clearance which I have been waiting for since I arrived to this country (and before) was finally cleared. :) I also met with someone yesterday who asked for me to send him my resume because there are possible employment opportunities in the area that I actually want and need to be prepared in. I don't know if I'll actually get that job, but I don't care! There's  movement..finally.... I feel confident that God honored my 14 day commitment to restore order in my life through my eating habits, and so He is moving things that have been on hold. I trust his timing is perfect. I don't disdain the time I've waited, I am just thankful for what he did today. I'm thankful for how I'm feeling now. The fact that I'm writing says a lot. (I had been having a real hard time with writing it was like brain freeze). I'm thankful for this lesson.

I also heard a message tonight, which is the reason I titled this post the way I did. Heidi Baker  (forward to about 2:00:00 in the video) spoke of Mary and the promise that God gave her––she was to carry His son for 9 months, and she would give birth to the Savior of the world: Jesus. This "favor" was costly. Her parents would surely look at her as a liar and as crazy; her husband wanted to divorce her; people all around her would fail to understand. They would accuse her of fornication and many other things. Heidi asked, who will hold onto God's promise in their life full-term? Just last week I was sharing with a friend that I felt that maybe I was burnt out, and Heidi talked about this in her message. She said we are to be burning and never burnt out. God is looking for sustainability. Even as the development world is coming up with ways for sustainable development, God calls us into sustainability. He asks, will you carry the promise I gave you until it's time to give birth to it? Will you take care of it, will you eat the proper foods, will you prepare in the proper way in order to have a healthy delivery? Mary asked, How will this be Lord? I too have asked HOW God, how can I? how will I? How..... but she couldn't do anything to get pregnant could she? She couldn't make it happen, she had no clue when it would happen, there was no way to make it happen earlier or later. She just had to say YES and allow God to do what He said He would do.  I was growing weary, but tonight I was reminded that I don't have to know How I just have to say Yes. Everyday Yes. Every night, Yes. Every trimester, every contraction, every pain, YES. I must keep going, I must never burn out. Our passion, our fire, burns out without intimacy. Unless we sit before the Lord and receive of his word over our lives, we will die. Our computers lose charge after some time away from their power source. We too die, our battery dies, if we don't plug in daily.

This mission that has been implanted into my heart, mind, and soul is the Lord's. There is no one else who is capable of fulfilling the unique and special calling that is on my life. Just as no one can do what God has called YOU to do. He creates us each different, with a special skill set to do what only we can do. This brings me peace, it brings me joy, and it brings me responsibility. Let me be all that I was created to be, let me not strive to be something that I'm not. May God be my center, be my guide.

Today I lay down my heart, just as it is, I ask of the Lord to renew within me this passion that I once had to believe and move towards fulfilling the work set before me. I lay down my will, that His will be done. I give it all to him, along with my failures, that He would save me, that He would direct me, that He would look upon me and call me blessed.

Friday, January 17, 2014

If I removed myself from social media would you still know me?

Sometimes I wonder how "in-touch" I'd be with friends/family if I removed myself from facebook.
Would they email me, call, or wonder how I'm doing? Would I do the same for them?

Facebook makes it really easy to check up on people, and in your mind you know you are checking up on them and you feel connected with them, except they don't even know it and so don't even know you care.

Instead of actually speaking to each other, now a "like" is a way to show that I'm being listened to.
Comments... comments now those are special. Messages.. these are the people I think you are actually in friendship with.

Hmmm.. this social media thing is dangerous. Dangerous for communication, relationships, and self-esteem. Lol. I guess I'm just a bit far away from everyone I have on facebook.... being in a different nation... my facebook friends end up being just that... facebook friends.

It would be nice for them to cross over from just liking... to commenting.. to asking how are you.. to messaging... and hey maybe even facetiming? or how about imessaging or skyping. I have them all....

Sometimes I just feel like I'm a victim of the out of sight out of mind rule.


Friday, November 8, 2013

From Haiti, with Love.

In a couple of days I'll be heading out from Haiti and into Latin America...
So before I leave for a long break, I want to write my initial thoughts after about 3 months living in Haiti. Some of these thoughts you may not agree with, but I am really trying to be honest and I'm mostly journaling so I can follow my progression of thoughts and ideas on Haiti and development. I realize we often say things that we see as matter of fact, when we are really just speaking out of ignorance or  frustration. So, if you find yourself disagreeing with my thoughts, feel free to post your reply or just take them as my venting.

What do I know about Haiti now:
I know that it was hit by a large earthquake and from the looks of it now, it very well could deserve to be named the worst earthquake in the history of the Americas. It's a small country, with lots of mountains, lots of people.... at least in Port-au-Prince, they swarm the streets. The roads are aching with pits and potholes everywhere. Huge pieces of rocks and stones are all over the place... where did these come from? There is no such thing as a smooth, nice, relaxing drive in Haiti. My stomach sinks-in every time I drive and the huge speed bumps hit the bottom of my SUV so hard that I can literally feel them under my feet. Every time I drive I think about how awful these roads are, and how I should've not listened to my dad about the no need for new tires, and then I fight with the thought that these roads really should've been fixed by now. Then I wish I had the freedom to just walk in the streets, and not have to sit in the snail-like traffic. I get upset with the government... what are they doing with the billions that is given to this country? This is basic... fundamental to the infrastructure of a country.... Fix the roads and maybe commerce would be less costly, transportation would be easier.... I don't know.. it just makes sense to me. Fix the roads! If anything, people would be in a much nicer mood throughout the day.... Fix the will run smoother, your economy will get better. If a businessman comes and visits the nations capital... I'm sorry but he WILL judge a book by its cover... and your cover Port-au-Prince is decaying and not solid at all..... streets with huge I'm talking about 3 feet deep, 4 feet wide potholes on a major road!

Unacceptable. Forget about business at night... You can count the number of light posts on your way home from the city- center! What about power? Why is there not a reliable power source? Our home has a generator, which has to run the entire day pretty much because there is no power!

Haiti govt. owes the electric company money, it never pays its bills, so the company cuts the power daily!... Really?? Come on... and then you go to these restaurants and see the uppity people, a lot of them Haitian with their new cars, gucci, versace, and whatever other brand name accessories and clothes they wear. There is a large enough elite to at least provide some money to fix the countries roads....or pay the electric bill. But you know what they decide to do instead? Mess up the roads leading to their Miami Vice houses so that there is less traffic going by their houses and their neighborhoods.... Pay a police man instead why don't you!

A lot has been rebuilt since the earthquake but I still pass by about two "tent-cities" daily to go to work. People are still living in tents and I'm coaching/equipping two women who do not have jobs. One of them has never worked and the other only worked in a factory. Unemployment is at a 80% high. People are just trying to make it by selling what they can afford... there are tons of roadside merchants.... bread is a hot item (young Haitian boys will buy bread from the bakery and sell it to get 10G in profit... which is pretty much like a quarter..and no you can't buy food with 10G.)

Oh, most people don't have running water. There are these water pipes where I see people go and bathe themselves (their faces, arms, and legs) You always see girls carrying buckets of water to their homes and these guys selling little plastic bags of water. I think they sell 2 for 10G. It's like a quarter of a bottled water.... but its filtered so thats good. On major roads... tons of boys are wiping the dust off your car for work. I found out most people give them about 5G per car..... again.. not enough to buy a meal. They work until they can get enough to buy food that day. Yea this is true in other countries also, but I'm sure it's not at the magnitude that it is here....

Education in Haiti is a privilege. Most people will only obtain 4 years of primary education. Most teachers barely finished 9 years of education.... The government promises free universal primary education, but that hasn't happened and people are beginning to show their anger. Yesterday there were manifestations and protests in the city against the government. I don't blame them... I don't know what I would do if I lived in a country like this with no out, little opportunity, little access. I guess these places really test your endurance and your faith.

Haiti's shops are colorful, their public transportation called Tap Taps and motorcycle taxis are colorful and always jammed pack. They drive so slow... you don't want to get stuck behind one of these.. they stop like every 5 minutes. They should have their own lane. On their shops and transportation, there is always some type of statement about Bondye... God, or Jezi... Jesus. The blood of Jesus, Patience, glory to God... always something religious... Which leads me to wonder what made them write these? How do they continue to have faith regardless of their circumstance? Is it fear, is it like a talisman to ward off evil or a lucky charm to bring in good?

I taught about 25 boys, off the streets, from ages 8-19 (maybe 22.. they don't really know their age), they all come from broken homes. From the ones I have heard from, not one has a solid relationship with his father. Most of them only know him as their father and they see him around in the city from time to time. They have been abandoned, kicked-out, treated unfairly, and pretty much forgotten. But they come to this make-shift school each day really early knowing this as their one opportunity.... free education, we give them food each day, breakfast and lunch... this is probably the first time they've had two meals in a day for a very long time....

The boys  demand to be given things... clothes, shoes, candy, water. When they ask me, they demand it from me. Not one of these boys has asked "Could you... or would you..." it's always been "give me" or simply ... "water" "shoes" "shirt" "dollar" Could it be the language barrier... could it be what they are used to. Why me? Are they asking the other Haitian teachers, or Korean staff? I haven't heard them ask them...  What makes them think I can provide for them? What do they see in me that I don't yet see... Does the fact that I am a different color, from a different place, make me suitable for providing their requests. If they only knew I really don't have a lot. Or do I? I have clothes, in comparison to them its lots of clothes, in comparison to people in the states, I really don't have a lot. I do drive a car, and have money to put gas in it.  I also know people who have money..... I guess they are right... I should have enough  to give to them. But why demand... is it a language barrier? I honestly don't think so... even in your eyes you can see when the tone is one of demand or request. Is this entitlement? What is it that makes us embarrassed to ask for help. Why aren't they?

Religion.... It's a mixture of things here.... They are trying to figure it out themselves. I heard being a Pastor was a good job... because you get money from the foreigners. A Haitian boy told me Pastors have their church "zombifiye"..... get it? How sad. Voudoo.... I see people wearing their white clothes and I think voudou.... and on Fet Gede we saw a man without a shirt who had white mud on his body. Later I saw pictures of the same thing as part of a voudou ceremony. Sundays you see people in their best clothes... kids with suits, little girls in pink little dresses and heels, with bibles in hand to go to church. I wonder what they teach them, I wonder what they are learning. If the gospel is transformation... what is going on here....?

The water here is from a cistern beneath our house... it is not filtered... who knows what kind of sanitation it goes through or where it comes from. Thank the Lord I'm not sick or anything. We have to brush our teeth with filtered water because the water will make our breath stink really badly if we use it to brush our teeth. Every time I take showers my skin itches afterwards.. and my hands feel very dry now.. I am always tempted not to wash my hands and not to take showers. I end up feeling more dirty after I take showers.. :-(  I regret the day I heard that antibacterial is not good for you because you decrease your immunity or whatever. Every time I wear antibacterial I wonder if this will make me more susceptible to bacteria and getting sick.....

I asked a lady if she had submitted her life to God and answered to his calling and she said... 50/50.... this is what I think the state of the church is here.... 50/50... .

too bad there is no such thing...

Bye ugly roads,  Bye nasty water, Bye heat, bye potholes, bye mosquitoes, bye Salamanca's in our house and random bugs everywhere.... I won't miss you.

Can you tell I need a break.... I also have a lot to learn I'm sure.

Tired and on sensory overload.