Sunday, March 29

Work in progress

To the few faithful readers:

My life has been/will be insane until Thursday which is why the Haiti posts have been put on hold. I still have much to share, so don't give up on me. This is my last week of classes as an undergraduate nursing student. WOOOOHOOOO!!!!! I have thought at times I wouldn't make it here, and it's going to be a struggle to Thursday, but I can do anything for 4 more days right? Right. Until then....

Tuesday, March 24

Haiti Day 3

Sunday was one of the better days I had on the trip. We started the day off by going to church at Port-Au-Prince Fellowship, an English speaking church that sort of started as a place for missionaries to worship. Ironically, there were a lot more Haitians than white people crammed in the tiny church, yearning to worship with the body of Christ and hear His word. Some may have just been there to learn English. ha. It was one of those days when you are like okay God, could this sermon have been more directed at me? This is what I wrote in my journal....

The worship this morning was so refreshing and I am thankful that they have this place here. What a blessing! I usually hate singing cheesy 80's Christian songs but "Lord, I life Your Name on high" does not suck when over 300 people are crowded in a tiny church in the middle of Haiti screaming it at the top of their lungs like it truly is water to their soul!

The pastor spoke on obedience to Your call on our lives and the importance of being led by the Spirit. He told the story of all the people who had told him they wanted to visit Haiti and asked "Is it safe there?" He said he answers the same everytime, "Did God tell you to come? Because if He did, then it is the safest place you could be" Like a brick upside the head, it hit me so hard today. I realized that the most dangerous place I could ever be is walking outside of Your will for my life. God, I fear the day that I am walking away from Your calling. Holy Spirit, please keep me in check. You know my every need Lord, and You work everything together for the good of those who love you. I love you, Lord.

Here are some pictures from church

After church we went up to Petionville (may sound familiar because that is where the school collapsed killing hundreds of children a few months ago). Up there, we visited the Baptist Mission that has been serving the people for over 60 years. That is where, by random chance, we got to meet the great Wallace and Eleanor Turnbull. They have lived in Haiti and worked for the mission for over 50 years, and in the few minutes we got to talk with them they were incredibly inspiring and shared their deep passion to see God's Kingdom come in Haiti. (fun fact: she was the person who translated the prayers that I have been sharing from God is No Stranger, and her son took all the photos!) God, I pray that I would be that on fire for you when I am this woman's age!

I got this picture from the Livesay's blog

This was the chapel at the mission.

Just down the road from the BM is Wings of Hope, an orphanage who rescues and takes care of children with disabilities. In Haiti, people with disabilities are seen as demon-possessed and therefore serve no purpose in society. A popular phrase has come to be; "face them to the wall" and most are literally left to die. The people of Wings of Hope see things differently, from the eye of the Jesus who created us all in His own image. The are committed to raising these children and focusing rather, on their abilities. They even offer speech, physical, and occupational therapy to help these children reach their full potential. What a picture of the hands and feet of Jesus these people were. Most of the children suffer from variations of Cerebral Palsy or Autism.

We spent several hours loving on these kids and just holding them to give them a chance to play outside of their wheelchairs. This precious girl Josephine (she has CP) was so full of joy and was definitely the ham of the group. Click here to watch a sweet video of me and her singing!

Here is the whole group on the balcony at Wings of Hope. Isn't that a gorgeous view of the mountains?

All my life I have been
just a weed;
but the other day
You pulled me up,
planted me in Your garden, and I
became a flower.
I am young and I want to grow
and be cultivated so I can become beautiful.

Lord, our skin is black,
but our sins were blacker.
You have delivered us from sin,
and made us white.

Monday, March 23

Haiti Day 2

On Saturday, we woke up to the gorgeous sunshine and the roosters. But not at the same time. Let's just say the roosters' biological clocks were a bit off and they decided to sound off about 3 a.m. Welcome to Haiti.

We then headed out to visit Three Angels Orphanage in PAP. This was actually my first experience visiting an orphanage. The children were precious if you can imagine and they are doing great things to help take care of them while most are in the process of being adopted. We had the chance to hug and love on the babies and have a ton of fun playing with the older kids. We even got to bring out a blow up pool and play in the water. They were such a joy to watch and it is so amazing that kids are the same everywhere (only in Haiti, they are a little tougher than us sissy Americans). They entertain themselves so easily and their joy does not come from stuff. God is definitely working on my heart and opening my mind to the idea of adoption.

Here are the kiddos playing in the pool

Look at those rolls! I loved this little chunk. He doesn't have a family yet.

Outside the orphanage

Tanya, Julie and me riding in the back of the truck.

After eating lunch at The Livesays, we had a really cool opportunity to visit a Compassion International project. If you don't know about Compassion you really should. You have the chance to sponsor a child in tons of countries around the world so that they can be released from "spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and they are enabled to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults." There are currently 62,900 children in Haiti who are part of the program.

We got to visit one of their Saturday extracurricular programs where each child can choose a class where they will receive skill training and eventually be able to provide for themselves and their families. Ever heard that if you teach a man to fish, he'll eat for the rest of his life?

Here are some guys in the art class

These guys have chosen pottery.

Saturday night was just us girls (Aarron spent the night at the Livesays) and we had so much fun hanging out and talking.

Tonight, I continue to meditate on the prayers from God is No Stranger.

Father, we are all
hungry baby birds this morning
Our heart-mouths are gaping wide,
waiting for You to fill us.

Lord, how glad we are
that we don't hold You,
but that You hold us.

Tonight, I am really glad that He holds me.

Saturday, March 21

Haiti Day 1

I am spending the day resting up, and I even got to use a gift certificate I had for a massage from Mrs. Fontenot! I am definitely still adjusting to being back, and imagine it will take several weeks to truly process all that I experienced, good and bad. As much as I would love to grab coffee for a few hours with each of you and spill my guts about the trip, I realize that it isn't exactly possible. Therefore, I am going to use this blog to share as much as I can. I tried to journal a little bit everyday while I was there, so I am going to give sort of a day-by-day recap with some stuff I wrote that day, and things I have thought about since then. I forgot my camera so I have to give credit to others on the trip for most of the pictures I will share. The iphone did provide some decent pictures too. It is sort of ironic that I forgot my camera, because I have very mixed emotions about photography when I'm on these trips. I love photography and always have, but for me there is a fuzzy line between white man walking around exploiting people's devastated lives, and wanting to capture all the beauty there is in life and sharing with those who can't see for themselves. But that's for another day....moving on to the what you really want to hear....

Day 1

We left Austin at 5:30 a.m. and got to Port-Au-Prince, the capitol of Haiti, around 3:30 p.m.

Here are some thoughts I had while traveling:

- I hate the word rubbish. The stuardist on one of my flights walked up in down the aisle asking if anyone had any rubbish. Good thing I don't live in England.

- Why do Airlines feel the need to simulate Arctic breezes to blow through the cabin? Good thing I brought an extra pair of socks in my pack.

-There is no longer a need to mention "compact disc players" when instructing passengers to turn off all electronic devices such as.... It's 2009 people

- I never want to be on a mission trip where the entire group has to wear matching t-shirts while traveling. Ok, that's mean, but seriously, not a fan of the matching t-shirts.

- Miami is an entire country in itself. How did it get voted "Best Airport of 2008"??? I think I'll be okay if I never have to venture outside of it's doors.

Tanya, Carra, Julie, Aarron and I on the plane

Here we are with all of our luggage!

Troy and Tara Livesay picked us up from the airport and drove us to the Methodist Guest House where we stayed during our time in the city. The Livesays are an awesome family from Minnesota who moved with their 7 kids to Haiti 3 years ago. They are friends of Aaron and Jamie Ivey (who led our trip) and were a joy to be around. They took very good care of us, and drove us all around in the lovely PAP traffic. Check out their blog to see what they are doing in to change lives in Haiti.

We stayed at the Methodist Guest House which is pretty much a hostel for Missionaries. The accommodations were great, I would definitely stay there again. The first night we got there, I found this old worn book entitled God is no Stranger. It is a beautiful collection of Haitian prayers and photography. Little did I know, I would meet one of the authors, who is pretty much Haiti missionary royalty, a few days later. I copied down things I loved from the book. Here are random excerpts.

Haiti is a land of contrasts, beauty and poverty live side by side. The greatest contrast is spiritual, the one between the life a born again Haitian Christian, freed from guilt and the power of Satan, who finds love and joy in Christ, and the life of a Haitian bound by the slavery of Voodoo. Voodooism, the people's religion in Haiti, originated in Africa. It is a form of ancestor worship in which witch doctors use weird fetishes and ceremonies to keep the people in constant fear of attack by the dead and evil spirits because of imagines slight or neglect.

The child-like faith of the mountain people is a beautiful paradox. The prayers of the Haitian Christian are simple and direct, and reflect the genuineness that is refreshing and heartwarming. As Christ commanded, they enter His Kingdom as little children. Their faith is as deep as the ocean surrounding their land and as high as the mountains on which they live. For as you read the prayers of the Haitian people, we hope that you too will see this beautiful light, understand the paradox, and realize that God is no stranger.

Here are a few of the beautiful prayers, and I will continue to share more with each update.

They say we are the poorest country
in the world.
Thank you, Father.
May we also be poor in spirit,
That we may inherit the Kingdom of God.

Lord, If we are here today
in spite of hurricanes, hunger and sickness,
we should say
"Thank you Lord.
We must be here for a purpose"

Lord, I want to pray like that.

Friday, March 20


I need Hope tonight. I woke up this morning in Haiti, and as I crawl in bed at home after a long day of traveling, my heart aches. I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually worn out. Tears are falling on my keyboard as I am weeping from the deepest places in my soul. I can't get the faces of the lost, the sick and the lame of Haiti out of my head. I need Hope that God loves them more than I ever could. I need Hope that there is a time when we will all walk free from the struggles and the pain we have here on Earth. I need Hope beyond anything this world can offer me. His name is Jesus, He is my Hope.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, for I have overcome the world." - Jesus, John 16:33

Sunday, March 15

Quick Haiti update

Just wanted to give a quick update and let y'all know that we made it safely! We have had two great days visiting orphanages, compassion international and other ministries here. We are all healthy and excited for the rest of our time here. Haiti is crazy. Awesome, sad, beautiful, desolate and hopeful all at the same time. Thanks for your prayers, and please keep praying! Can't wait to share more, God is definitely working on my heart. Love y'all!

Thursday, March 12

Haiti Prayers

"There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men.
There is no greater contribution than to help the weak.
There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well."
- Walter Reuther

Tomorrow is the day!!! We will be leaving Austin at 5:15 a.m. on our way down to Haiti. We will stop in Houston, then Miami and will arrive in Port au Prince around 3 p.m. I am so excited for this trip and can NOT wait to see what God has in store for me and the rest of the team. Here are a few things I would love for you to pray about while we are there:

- Safety during travel and protection from illness
- That our hearts and minds would be open to what God has to teach us
- We would be protected from evil, and the ways that Satan will attempt to distract
- That lives would be changed, ours and lives in Haiti
- That I would not be the same as I am before this trip
- That lives would be changed here in the States because of what we experience there

We will be updating the Austin Stone Make Disciples blog while we are there so be sure and check it out.

Also, if I get a chance I will be updating my personal blog, but if not while I am there, I will when we get back so be sure and check back!

We will be returning next Friday the 20th around 9:30 p.m. Thanks so much for your prayers! I can't wait to share how my life is changed!

Love y'all,

Monday, March 9

Birthday Weekend

I had a fantastic 22nd Birthday, filled with the most dessert I have ever consumed in my life! It was on Friday, but let's be honest, it stretched out over the whole weekend. It started Thursday night when my friend Priscilla had a party called "When I dip, you dip, we dip." Everyone brought different kinds of dips and yes we listened to that song multiple times. My sweet nursing friends (not friends who are breast feeding, but friends who are in nursing school with me) surprised me with a yummy red velvet cake!

On Friday, I had a lazy morning and caught up on the American Idol wildcard round (love me some Anoop dawg). Then my mom came in town and we went to lunch. It was a beautiful day, and since we had the dogs we went to Freddie's so we could sit outside. The pups behaved themselves so well! Have I ever told you that I think my dogs are the cutest things I have ever seen???

My mom also brought me a cake from a NW Houston favorite, RJ Goodies. A little slice of heaven. No joke. I believe there will be RJ Goodies in heaven. Like when you take a bite, everything in you is praising Jesus. Seriously.

The Fontenots sent me a hilarious cookie cake, that can't exactly be pictured here, but much thanks to Christina for being the one to pick it up. Friday night we went to Guero's on South Congress for some good ol' TEX-MEX and ritas. It was so fun and I am glad I got to spend time with some sweet friends that I usually don't get to see.

My whole house was empty so I slept so well, and was actually able to sleep in Saturday morning for the first time in a long time. That afternoon Christina, my cousins Lar Lar and Dede, Lar Lar's bf Damon and I went to Mandola's Winery for dinner and it was fabulous! It is out in the beautiful Hill Country and is a gorgeous setting for a yummy Italian dinner.

Sunday morning my parents drove in from the lake and came to church for a send-off prayer service for the Haiti trip, along with my cousins and other friends. It was so great to have y'all pray for us! We went to brunch downtown at Taverna, a place I have been wanting to try for a long time. It is in the 2nd street district and we got to sit outside so I almost felt like I was in Europe. I will definitely be going back to say the least.

Church was phenomenal last night. I am so thankful to go to a church where I am challenged beyond belief each week. I never walk out the doors the same as I walked in.

Ok this is getting long, so I'll stop here. This week is going to be crazy because I have lots going on with school and I leave for Haiti in 4 days!!!!!!

Love y'all

Wednesday, March 4

The Beach is Back!

March 1 is a glorious day. It is glorious because it is the day that Sno Beach opens for the season. Sno Beach is hands down the best snow cone stand I have ever been to. It is a local favorite, and if you have never been, remind me to take you!

Today was a gorgeous 75 degree day in Austin, Texas so I did two of my favorite things: walked Town Lake and went to Sno Beach with Christina. I got my usual strawberry daquiri/banana and she got her usual strawberry/wedding cake with cream. In the words of Christina "there are just some things worth waiting for."

It was really windy, but here we are enjoying our treats :)

Your Kingdom Come

I went to First Tuesday tonight for the first time, and it was phenomenal. First Tuesday is a prayer and worship service held at the beginning of each month by my church, ASCC. God is seriously doing great things in the body, and in the city of Austin. I am so grateful to be a part of it. If I leave Austin, church is going to be a HUGE adjustment for me.

Tonight we sang Let Your Kingdom come. I love these lyrics...

Your Kingdom here and now
to the least of these
distribute what we have
that all may taste and see

Let Your Kingdom come
Let Your will be done
and all the earth will say
and echo angels' praise
that You are God

I want give away all that God has given me so that all may taste and see the hope I know in Jesus. One day, all the earth will sing His praises along with the angels. God gave me a tiny, sweet glimpse of that tonight...

Sunday, March 1

Long time no blog

It's been way too long friends. I have been insanely busy with life, and this blog has fallen by the wayside. But don't worry, I'm back! and I commit to do better than this. Where do I begin?

Haiti. I am leaving in 13 days!!! So crazy. I am so incredibly excited and anxious at the same time. I feel like I haven't spent enough time letting God prepare my heart, but I am thankful that He so often calls the unequipped. I will be faithful and show up where He calls. Haven't got an exact update, but I believe my family and friends have met the financial needs to send me on this trip, and for that I am so very thankful! I posted earlier about some needs they have at the Rescue Center, and we have gathered a lot of this things, but if you still want to help out, we would love to take more.

Job search. Still knee deep in the process, and in some ways feel like I am starting over. I went for the interview I mentioned before, it went really well, but not sure it is going to work out the way I had hoped. I am sorely disappointed but on the other hand feel so much peace about it. I am constantly being reminded that when I am walking in God's will, the only reason my plans would not work out is because God has more for me than I could plan for myself. Isn't that pretty cool? I have sensed God whispering Caroline, just wait until you see what I have in store for you. Sometimes, the path is the best part. Praying for guidance and wisdom.

"The heart of a man plans his way; but the Lord establishes his steps."
Prov 16:9

Escuela. I have 4 weeks of class left. What??? Yes, I am still trying to convince myself. This semester has absolutely flown by! I am not loving school right now, and it's definitely taking a toll. But I can do anything for 4 more weeks right? Then my internship will start. I don't know where I'll be working (possibly out of town) or in what clinical area so that is for sure another prayer need. Again, I am sensing God's peace, and that He knows better than me what I need.

Summer. It looks like I am going to be taking the NCLEX (nursing boards) the first week of June. Don't feel bad for me because a week after, you can find me here with a great book and fruity drink in hand.

We'll see what the rest of the summer holds...

I am going to stop for now, though I have much more to share. It's going to be a good week (I turn 22!) so check back friends.

Love y'all