Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kouri Deye

I have just added a new "Page" to our blog.  Click on Jewelry Project, at the top of this page to find out more.  This organization is quickly growing and I'm so excited to see all God has in store!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

LEARNING the Secret of Contenment

For the past several days I have been wondering how I could best write this blog.  There are so many things the Lord is personally taking me through right now.  I do not want my blogging to become a time of "airing my dirty laundry" or sharing personal moments that are truly just between the Lord and I.  However, I also know if there are certain issues I am struggling with, I can take confidence in the fact that I am not alone.

I desire to be transparent enough in my blogging that you can see my life is far from perfection and you can erase any "cookie cutter" images of what a young bride on the international mission field is supposed to look like.  It is for this reason I wanted to share with you one BIG stronghold I can clearly see the Lord chipping away...

The missionary ladies here at BHM are currently working through "Mercy Triumphs", a Bible study written by Beth Moore, on James.  I have just now begun the 4th week of this study.  I could go on and on about certain topics that have literally leaped off the page at me over these past 4 weeks of study.  For the sake of time I'll simply share one :)
James 1:22-25 "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
A doer of the word and not a hearer only.  A good description of this is a "forgetful listener."  The image of staring intently into a mirror and then walking away forgetting what I look like seems impossible.  I'm a girl, I pay attention, I remember what I see.  Why is it though, it is so easy for me to spend time in the Word, and walk away "unchanged" as though I have "forgotten" what I just saw?

Let me bring this together for you, for the past few years I have noticed that I continual struggle being content.  At times it may be small things: if I just got a hair cut, I see someone with a ponytail and all of a sudden dislike my hair (don't laugh, I realize that's a crazy example, but an example nevertheless).  I have struggled with being content in different seasons of life, if I was single I wished I had a boyfriend, if in a relationship I wondered if I should be single.  If I decided to stay home for the evening, I would wonder if I should've gone out.  I find I struggle with a constant back and forth if I am in the right spot...I am not practicing contentment.

While the struggle with contentment is not a surprise to me, I know it is not something I always have to be held in bondage by.  I am a new creation and FREE in Christ.  He has conquered this stronghold  of discontentment.  So...why do I still feel stuck?

Am I a "forgetful listener"?  How often do I look into the law of liberty and fail to act and miss the blessings that come from being a child of the King?  How am I not listening, where am I missing it?

These thoughts have been rolling through my head over and over and over again for the past several days.  After many deep conversations with my oh so patient husband and a variety of thoughts speeding through my mind, I knew I was not being a doer who acts.  I  have been spending time in the Word and walking away unchanged.

I know it is only through grace that I have been saved, nothing of my own doing, Ephesians 2:8-9.  However, as I grow in my Christ likeness, there are intentional ACTS that must take place.  I began to think through a variety of things in my head, concerning this stronghold of discontentment in my life.  Where am I missing it, God?  What is it that triggers these strong feelings of isolation and loneliness?  What are you trying to teach me through all of this?  How am I forgetting so many things you are showing me?

As I sat in our group session at Bible study on Monday afternoon my mind was rampant with these thoughts.  I knew there was an act of obedience on my part that needed to take place.  Before I knew it I began to think about FACEBOOK.

Stick with me here, I am a huge fan of social networking.  I love how I can be in another country and still feel connected with family and friends that I am away from.  However, too much of a good thing QUICKLY becomes a bad thing.  Shortly after Trey and I were married I deleted my personal Facebook account.  I was struggling with contentment and spending wayyy to many hours "zoneing out" in the world of Facebook.

Now Trey and I share a Facebook page.  This was incredibly helpful for me, in the beginning.  I would be lying to myself if I did not admit that the times I noticed that I was struggling with being content came immediately after spending some time on Facebook.  The "comparison bug" bites me hard and I find my perspective has been changed completely.  I wish I could say I was the only one who noticed this...

More times than I would like to admit, Trey has had to ask me about my time on Facebook as he has noticed a change of mood or a struggle to be satisfied.  As I sat in Bible study Monday afternoon the Lord twisted my heart to pieces.  I began to think about what it would be like to give up Facebook.  When the thought first crossed my mind, my brain jumped into overdrive with at least 15 reasons why I could not give up Facebook.

As clear as the freckles on my face, the Lord softened my heart and said..."See my child, don't hear my words and fail to act.  Let me give you this abundant walk.  ACT, and walk away from things for the sake of knowing me more..."

At that moment, in the quietness of my heart, I knew Facebook needed to go.  I know with all my heart I can find complete and total contentment through my relationship with Christ.  However, how can I search for  Him to find my contentment, when I spend more time with the thing that steals my contentment the most?  For lack of a better description, my struggle with Facebook & contentment is like a fat kid who so desperately wants to be healthy, but is unwilling to put down the chocolate cake.  It will not work!

I have made the decision to go 100 days without any Facebook access.  As I share this I realize some of you may be thinking, my goodness what's the big deal, that's no time.  However, 100 days seems like a LONG time to someone who is on Facebook multiple times a day...everyday.

After 2 days off, I am already reaping benefits of new free-time.  I spent last night honestly enjoying reading and relaxing at our house.  I did not have a computer screen in my peripheral vision looking for the latest update.  Over the past two days I have felt HERE, not desiring to be somewhere else.

I will miss seeing updates from my sisters and close girlfriends in the states.  However, I know I will now be much more intentional in calling them!  I plan to keep you up to date with the lessons the Lord teaches me throughout the next 100 days.  Who knows, maybe this next 100 days is the start of a permanent Facebook break?  At this point, that sounds CRAZY to me.  I am thankful the Lord allows me to walk in baby steps of obedience :)  Oh to learn the secret to contentment (Philippians 4:12).  I praise the Lord that I am LEARNING the secret to contentment by chasing hard after my Savior.

 Because I do not think any blog is complete without a picture :)

I am so thankful for a husband who loves the Lord and encourages me every day to seek hard after Him.  I ask for your prayers over these next SEVERAL days.  Oh to know my Savior more and experience true freedom that can only come from the Cross.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Dalice Ballou!!!!

Happy Birthday Dalice!!!
 The Birthday girl is on the left in the pretty red glasses :)

Today is my sisters 19th birthday!  It's crazy to think she is coming to the end of her freshman year of college.  This chicka is smart, and stinkin' hillarious.  I am so excited to see all the plans the Lord has in store for Dalice.

I hope you have an amazing birthday today Dali Llama :)  Eat some cake for us.  We love you and cannot wait for you to come down here to see us! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bright Lights

Some days things just simply feel brighter than others.  Often at the close of a good day we can reflect on certain events and name several reasons the day was "good."  Today was a "bright" and good day.  The day was good because of the time I was able to spend with the ladies at church this morning making jewelry.  The day was good because we had a great Creole lesson, and we were able to see some big improvements.  The day was good because we received sweet care packages from family in the states.

At the close of all these "things" that have happened today, I am overwhelmed by the Lord's grace.  If everything would have gone terribly wrong today, my head should still hit the pillow tonight thanking my Savior for a GOOD day.  There is an serious and very deep theological quote I would like to share with you that will help bring to a close my thoughts on "Good Days"...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I'm sure we have all found ourselves at one time or another in "stretching" moments.

Maybe it's the 24/7 job of being a mommy to precious little ones and going to bed one more night in a row, wondering who is going to wake up sick to their stomachs this time.

Perhaps, it's a changing of "roles" as you take care of parents, who used to be the one who always took care of you.

Possibly, you are pushing through yet another semester of school, wondering how many more late nights and early mornings can I pull, and who in the world your friends are?

For me, I am being stretched tremendously as I learn to be content in WHATEVER circumstance.  Including, the sad days when it seems all I want is a lunch date to Chick-fil-a with one of my closest girlfriends.  The trying days, where I butcher yet another Creole phrase and mess-up another detail in this new routine we call life.

Today, Trey and I were driving back to our house after visiting with some friends and making some other stops when we passed the lady on the motorcycle below:

I instantly grabbed for my camera and had to take a picture of this amazing position!  I have seen a lot of very interesting motorcycle riding positions in our time here in Haiti, but this one tops them all.  As soon as I saw this woman on the back of the motorcycle, I instantly thought, "Wow, and I thought I was being stretched!"

As we passed the motorcycle I expected to see white knuckles, a face of fear, and intense discomfort on the woman in this most unfortunate position.  To my surprise, the woman had her hands placed gently on top of her sack of food in front of her.  Instead of a face of discomfort, she looked rather somber and quite settled.  I was amazed!

Here the motorcycle was zooming down the road, the heat from the sun was shining directly on her, and one bump in the wrong direction and she would be off the backside of the bike!  Not to mention, how she was going to feel when she stepped off at the end of their journey.

I met eyes with the woman as we passed and we exchanged greetings with a smile.  As I looked into her eyes as we drove past, I could not stop thinking about her calm and content face in a rather unfortunate position.  I began to think about Philippians 4:5, which says, "Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.  The Lord is at hand..."

I can promise you, if that would have been me straddling the back of the motorcycle, there would have been no sign of reasonableness or calm on my face!  Philippians 4 is not instruction on how we are to look when riding a motorcycle, but it is guidance for our lives as believers.  I so often find myself in "stretching" situations, with panic and uncertainty ALL OVER my face.

The Lord quickly reminded me today..."My sweet daughter, do not just say you love me and trust in my plans...let others see it on your face and in your behavior.  Be reasonable in your thoughts and your words, show others I am with you!"  

After passing the woman on the motorcycle I was no longer amazed by her intense splits on the back of the bike.  I was consumed by her response to the stretching.  As we are stretched, twisted, and pulled...may the guidance and comfort of our Savior shine brighter than our circumstances.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Happenings

Today has been a glorious Sunday!  Yesterday, we traveled to the airport to pick up Sarah Temple, one of our best friends from college.  Perhaps due to a full week of activities, as well as the excitement of a friend traveling to see us, I woke up this morning with quite a lovely migrane.

Trey & Sarah, and some of the other missionaries traveled to church this morning and I slept until 11:30.  I truly took today as a day of rest, and enjoyed every minute of it.  

Over the past several weeks we have been discussing the purpose and importance of prayer at church.  This morning, Dr. Bernard challenged the congregation to commit to pray for 30 minutes every day this upcoming month.  More than half the church accepted the challenge!  It is an encouragement to be a part of a church that values prayer.

The afternoon consisted of a fantastic lunch prepared by Trey, relaxation on the couch watching The Gilmore Girls with Sarah, while Trey got to work outside doing "man stuff", and then when my medicine kicked in we enjoyed some crafting.
 We then had an encouraging time at Bible Study with the missionary staff.  Here's to seeing what tomorrow may hold!

Monday, April 9, 2012


We meet new people on a regular basis here in Haiti.  It may be team members who come from all over to serve alongside us here at BHM for a week at a time, or new Haitian brothers and sisters, or we even meet new people that are simply visiting the mission property for the day.

I am a HUGE people watcher and love learning everyone's stories.  We are so encouraged by the many new friends and people the Lord has brought on our path since moving to Haiti.  However, in the midst of a sea of new faces, there is nothing quite like being reunited with some familiar faces.

Last week some of the guys Trey worked with at Crossings Ministries brought a large group of students down to work with BHM.  Patrick, Trey, and T spent a LARGE amount of time together over the past 3 years while Trey worked with Crossings.  These men love the Lord and have strong hearts that desire to lead their families well.  We loved getting to know them and their precious families.  Although the time we spent together was hardly long enough, it was a huge encouragement to see them and know we are all still working together.

Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the afternoon hours with two lovely ladies that I grew up going to church with in good 'ol Corbin KY!  Julie & Karen had been in Haiti this past week serving with a medical team and made the time to stop by and see us at the mission today!  I made Sloppy Joe's for their team and enjoyed getting to show them around the property this afternoon.  These women love the Lord and have known me and my family for a VERY long time (we're talking Chelsea in diaper days).  They even hand delivered cereal boxes to me for our jewelry project from my Mamaw Peggy :)
I love seeing the hand of the Lord at work in our lives here in Haiti.  In the midst of quite a large season of "different" He is quick to let us see that we can still enjoy the "familiar" too.  He is quite the AMAZING author of this thing we call life.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Joyas Pak! Happy Easter!

True confession, I woke up this morning far too excited about putting on my cute spring colors and taking pictures outside in the sunshine to share with friends and family on facebook and the blog this afternoon.  After all, it's Easter, awkward poses and spring colors make up a large portion of this day!

After returning from church I had Trey pose with me outside for several "candid" shots.  They look terrible.  We're squinting, sleepy looking, and just all around kind of bleh.  I was very quickly reminded that even in a simple task like wanting to share with you, a family picture, my mind was distracted and I was quickly forgetting the point of today.  Oh how narrow minded I can become.

We had a great first Easter Sunday in Haiti church service this morning.  Every song we sang focused on Christ and the cross.  Croix (French) or Kwa (Creole).  It was beautiful to be so vividly reminded that the Redemptive Story is a story for the whole world to know.  Pastor Edrice spoke on the power of the resurrection.  He gave a variety of reasons as to how the resurrection makes everything we know complete!

After church the staff here at BHM gathered for some ham, green bean casserole, and Kenscoff salad (a Haitian staple for Easter).

After the realization that a super cute Easter picture is totally NOT necessary for today,  I managed to talk Trey into snapping one more shot after changing into perfect comfy Sunday clothes...
 Joyas Pak, tout moun!  Sonje, ak Jezi tout bagay byen.

Happy Easter, everyone!  Remember, with Jesus everything is well.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

In Christ Alone

Throughout this Easter weekend it is my prayer that I do not miss the power of the cross!  It is so easy for me to become distracted with daily life that I fail to honestly reflect and remember.  I love love love music!  I cannot sing to save my life, but shew child.... I enjoy lifting my voice in praise to my Savior.

In an effort to not miss the power of the cross during this Easter weekend I have been listening to several worship songs that focus on the Christ.  I have attached a video for the song, "In Christ Alone," to this post.  Take a minute right now to intentionally listen to the powerful words in this song...

 Till on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied, for every sin on Him was laid, here in the death of Christ I LIVE!

What does it mean to live in the death of Christ?  The sacrifice of Christ and His power to conquer the grave has changed our lives forever!

No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me!  From life's first cry, to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.  No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand.  Till He returns, or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I'll stand!

Through the Cross, this is where we receive the ABUNDANT life.  He has come that we may have life and have it to the fullest!  As the song concludes, we are reminded we do not have to have guilt in our life, the cross covered it!  There is no need to fear death, the cross conquered it!

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how WIDE and LONG and HIGH and DEEP is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God..."  Ephesians 3:17-19

This is my prayer for myself, as well as for you, as we attend a variety of church services tomorrow to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  May we take time to reflect tonight and in the days ahead on the power of the cross and its impact on our lives EVERYDAY.  Oh, how far I am from ever fully understanding the love of my Savior.



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Road Trip, Yipee!

We packed our backpacks Sunday after church and prepared to hit the road for our first official, "Road Trip."  Baptist Haiti Mission is working alongside Crossings Ministries (the ministry Trey worked with in the states.)  This week about 80 students and adults from the KY area have come down to Haiti to do a mission trip/camp experience.  They are doing a variety of work projects to prepare BHM's camp property for camp over the summer for Haitian students and also working with the churches doing VBS.

We have been pretty stoked about having people we knew from the good 'ol state of Kentucky come and serve with BHM.  Speaking of Kentucky, how about them Wildcats!  

Now, back to Sunday...the two of us loaded up in the Land Rover below (one of the mission's vehicles) and took off to camp.

 I think we both were a little apprehensive about the first time driving a good distance just the two of us.  However, our excitement outweighed the apprehension.  The drive was a little more than two hours as we left our home in the mountains and headed down to the ocean.  The Lord was gracious and the drive down was relatively calm, for Haiti driving that is.

Trey did an amazing job driving.  Mom, I think you will like riding in an enclosed vehicle far better than "Big Red."  I am always amazed by Trey's directional abilities, and I'm pleased to say they still remain in Haiti too.

We made it down to camp late Sunday afternoon and enjoyed getting to catch up with some great friends, enjoy a meal in the dining hall, and see a little bit of the evening worship service.
Worship was led by the Haitian staff, they did a great job teaching some well known Worship songs to the students in Creole.
Both of us grew up loving camp.  I must say, camp in Haiti is sweeet!  Pray for the students as they carry out all the work that is in store for them throughout the week.  We pray the Lord uses this opportunity to touch the hearts of many on the trip.  It was through short-term international mission trips that the Lord placed a passion for the nations on our hearts.

 Some of the girls preparing the ground for a volleyball court

We spent the night with our dear friends the Byxbe's.  We enjoy any chance we get to see this great couple.  They were generous to let us stay with them in their NEW HOUSE!  The night was full of fun chit chat around the kitchen table long into the evening.

Monday morning we were back on the road again.  It was a tad different with it being Market Day in a couple of towns we had to drive through to get home.  At one point while slowly driving throw a crowded market street I asked Trey if he ever thought he would be doing this?  His response, "Sure, isn't it great?!"

We are beyond thankful for a successful first trip, God is so good!  I will admit, I think we were both very alert throughout the entire drive which caused us to sleep deep last night.  I wonder where the next "Road Trip" will take us?