If you ever visit my house, you’ll find a little wooden box sitting on my dresser. There’s nothing too unusual about the box… hand-carved, a few scratches here and there, and “Haiti” engraved on the top. There are hundreds like it, with street vendors on every corner of Port-au-Prince selling them. What makes mine so special? Christians sometimes look back over their lives and try to see how God brought them to the place they currently find themselves. For me, a constant reminder that God is intricately involved in even the smallest detail of my life is my little “Haiti box.”
About 30 years ago, an old missionary named Joe visited my church. He shared stories of a land where people didn’t know Jesus, where people worshipped spirits instead, and constantly struggled to survive from day to day. Poor Joe was later cornered by a wide-eyed, curly-haired little brunette who asked question after question about the place and people he served. I’m not sure if he did it out of desperation or if it was just Joe listening to the Holy Spirit’s leading (I’d like to think the latter), but he reached over on his display table and picked up this little wooden box. He handed it to me and said, “God told me to give this to you, little lady. I know God’s going to do amazing things through your life…” Little did Joe know (or maybe he did…) that God was planting a seed in my heart for the people of Haiti.
For years I kept the box on my dresser, not knowing what God had in store. As Michael (my hubby) and I were sitting in MAF’s conference room in Redlands, California and heard the words, “We feel like God is leading your family toward Latin America,” I broke down in tears. I’ll never forget Karlene Stehling looking at me and asking, “Is that a problem? Are you ok?” I laughed and tried to pull myself together, reassuring her and the others at headquarters that I was very happy with their decision. Later that week, in one of his last acts as the Latin America Regional Director, Dave Fyock told us MAF needed us in Haiti. And here we are, nearly six years later, passionately carrying on Joe’s legacy and sharing God’s love with those around us.
When I get discouraged, I simply take out my little box. It reminds me that God sees the big picture and that He is always at work in my life.