When I was a little girl, I'd often dream of the life I'd one day live, as I've always been a dreamer.
A good portion of my childhood involved daydreams of marine biology and a ranch with lots and lots of beautiful horses.
But then one day - I discovered the world of missions.
I read stories of Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliot and Hudson Taylor, and suddenly I discovered the people who were my true heroes.
I stopped fantasizing about dolphin training and palomino horses, and began to imagine my life amidst distance lands and cultures foreign from my own.
I made lists of the places I had to see before I died, while my friends drew up pretend wedding invitations.
I knew my life would not take the conventional route. I knew I was to go the way of the road less traveled.
When I left for Haiti last November, the typical questions from my friends and family in Oklahoma were something along the lines of , "How long will you be gone?", "When will you be back?"
I didn't know exactly how long I would live and work in Haiti, but one thing I knew for sure, I wasn't going on a mission's trip.
I wasn't taking a semester to study abroad.
This was my life now and I was most likely never returning to how things used to be.
Amidst mud huts, dirty water, bare feet, and rice and beans - I have found my calling.
Yes, every day we see poverty at unfathomable levels. We watch mothers bury their young children, and hold babies who barely have the strength to lift their head. But despite all the pain, suffering, lack of amenities and challenges, a beauty has surfaced unlike anything I have ever known.
For the past week, I have been in Oklahoma City visiting friends and family and enjoy the pleasures of the First World. Iced lattes, Whole Foods and air conditioning have been among my daily activities, but not a second goes by that my thoughts aren't flooded with Haiti.
People see and greet me with surprised reactions of, "You're back?" "I didn't know you were coming home."
It is almost immediately assumed that my "trip" is over. That I have had my fun sloshing around in mud puddles, hiking dirt roads, and playing with adorable children, yet little do they know, my journey has only just begun.
The things we see and deal with living in one of the poorest regions of the poorest country of the Western Hemisphere, are extremely difficult and even heart wrenching and tragic.
There are some moments when the reality of the harshness of life here hits me like a ton of bricks and all I can do is cry.
But more often than not, there are so many moments when I have the incredible privilege of documenting sheer victories. Victory over the plague of malnutrition. Victory over the spirit of despair and desolation. Victory in witnessing an individual gain a sense of self and take ownership in his/her trade or craft.
There are brutal realities that come with living in Haiti. Yet, despite how difficult these issues may be to face, they are the truth and we must see them.
And sometimes - through the pain, incredible beauty shines forth.
I have gone forth. I have taken up my crux and accepted that this may be my forever. I love Haiti with all of my heart and have no intention of leaving or reverting back to "normal" life anytime soon.
I have extended my commitment with Reimagine Haiti and will be serving alongside of them until at least May of 2015.
This is my reality. This is my destiny. This is my dream being fulfilled.
In order to continue my work and service to Reimagine Haiti, I cannot do it without the support and provision of amazing people such as yourself.
If you would like to become a monthly sponsor to help me be able to live and eat and do what I have been called to do, please select the button below.
This is the the truth and we must pay attention to it.
Thank you to each of you who are senders, so I might be a goer and tell the stories, which so desperately need to be told.
A light in the darkness.
A voice for the voiceless, - as charged in my mission verse Proverbs 31:8-9,
"Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor."