On Wednesday night I sat in Bible study at my beloved Bethel's Rock in Minneapolis (check it out at http://www.bethelsrock.org/). Pastor James was talking about having faith in God for Him to do miracles in your own life. God has a very specific plan and purpose for each of his children. Exciting, right? I mean how many people are walking around trying to crack the code about what their purpose in this life might be. Hm, we don't even need to have anxiety about it... actually it's quite peaceful to have the responsibility of my purpose in life resting on the Lord rather on myself.
The last few years of my life have been big ones, life-changing ones, future-determining ones. As a freshman student with no major.. money-making as the goal for whatever career, and a student at the U of MN, I never would've seen myself where I am in life now, just a few years later. I actually would've probably been revolted at the idea of it all..volunteering being my passion, living with my mom my first year outta college, and finding myself still in this frigid state of Minnesota. I guess it doesn't sound that great in words, even writing it now. Good thing is- it's just my piece of pie.
Since my first trip to Haiti in March 2008, with my nursing school Crown College, I was hooked. I was determined, called, appointed... to a life in Haiti. I prayed, waited, waited,visited Haiti, waited, cried, visited Haiti, waited, dreamed, waited and waited for an opportunity to go there full-time. My constant prayer to God was, "I promise if you give me the opportunity, I will go. But I don't see an opportunity yet, so help me to live my life here to the fullest until you send me to Haiti." This wasn't always easy. It was really hard for me to focus on my life here in Minneapolis when I felt such a strong need to be in Haiti. It felt a little like I was putting my life on hold. Slowly, I surrendered. I realized I had to appreciate my blessings... because I was really blessed with family, friends, and a great job. I had a 92 year-old grandpa, my neighbor kids, friends from high school, my new church .. and it wasn't fair to be giving only half of me. I had to surrender my obsession with planning. None of my plans for the future ever turned out close to the way I had planned it. I wasted hours of worrying and scribbling down plans. I fed into my need for control and created in myself, a very anxious person. Yet there was nothing to be anxious about.. my life was stable, and I had everything I needed. It's much easier to see in hindsight. Isn't that how it always works? How horrible would it be to spend every single day of my life worrying and planning and therefore never taking the time to just live and enjoy? Scary thought.
As I surrendered fears and anxieties to the Lord, I found purpose in my life in Minnesota. I became so much happier. I stopped planning, but continued praying for Haiti. Just when I was convinced that I would probably spend years here paying off my loans before I could go to Haiti, a door swung open for me. And so I walked through it. I was apprehensive at first, because every other "open door" I had seen in Haiti had turned out to be a broken door, a closed door, a door that was being slowly built, a door that was too small for me to fit through. Finally, I found a door that opened when I wasn't even looking for one. I walked on in life in Minnesota... until the Lord showed me a new path, one for Haiti. I was wanted, in fact, needed for a position in Haiti. It utilized all of my past experiences in Haiti, including nursing, teaching English to Haitain nurses, and orienting visitors to Haiti.
On December 13, 2011 I will be moving to Haiti for one year. I will spend the first few weeks in Leogane at Operation Love the Children of Haiti and at FSIL nursing school. I will spend Christmas with my Haitian family :) On January 1, 2012 I will drive with my friend Shirley to Milot Haiti, about 8 hours North of the capital city of Port au Prince. I will be dropped off and will greet with open arms, this new opportunity for me. I will be at Hopital Sacre Coeur volunteering as the assistant to the nurse leader in the ICU and will also take on a side-role of coordinating visitors to the hospital. My ticket is bought... I gave my notice at work.. and I have started packing my many bags!
I have never been this far North in the country and I have never been to this hospital. Despite this, I feel a deep peace that this is the best fit for me. I have heard great things about the hospital. My friend Evens who works in administration at FSIL nursing school in Leogane said, "Ask any student what their favorite hospital in Haiti is and they will tell you Hopital Sacre Coeur." I have been extremely impressed by the administration of the hospital and how they have worked with me and prepared me for the position by thoroughly answering my thousands of questions and concerns. Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) will be my sending organization.
I will raise $5000 through them and this will cover my ticket, health insurance, malpractice insurance, and a small monthly living stipend. On top of this, I need to raise an additional $9,500 to cover loan payments, supplies I will need to buy in the US for my year in Haiti ( camping supplies, etc), cell phone costs, one ticket to visit home, and transportation costs while I am in Haiti.
This is my request. Will you help me? You read my blog, right? I don't know if it's my stories, my writing, my information about Haiti, my transparency... or what it is.. but there is something that grabs your attention and keeps you reading. I write for free, I always raise my own funds or pay for my trips to Haiti on my own, and I do this with joy and passion. But this time is different. This decision to go for a year means I'm giving up my job as an RN in the worst economy our country has seen in a long time. It means I'm going to work for free, it means I'm not going to have "days off" "weekends" or "vacations" the same way I could have them in the USA. It means that I'm going to leave my 92 year-old grandpa in what might be some of his last days. It means that I'm going to miss seeing one of my best friends have her first baby. It means that I'm going to miss weddings, holidays, and other important events with friends and families. It means that I'm going to come back to the USA, with no extra money in my pocket.. and unemployed. I just want to put it into perspective a little bit and to ask you, yes YOU, to help me, to support me in this year. Give a dollar, give 5, give 100, or give more. No gift is too small, no excuse for not helping is a good one. With that, I love you. I love you for caring, for reading, for knowing Haiti.
Donations can be sent to: Bethel's Rock 10 West 57th St. Minneapolis, MN 55419 On the memo of the check, write "Haiti mission trip" You can also email me to ask for ways you can help. Richardslm07@gmail.com Thanks! I will be updating frequently on the status of the trip and my fundraising.
Proverbs 20:24 " A man's steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?"