Updated: Aug 25, 2021
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away: may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21
These past several weeks have been a string of emotional experiences for Mike and I, along with our family, yet through it all we continue to see God’s Provision!
We expected Mike would be coming to the US on June 5th in order to be with his mom (Sherry) as she underwent valve replacement surgery on her heart. On Friday, June 4th, due to insecurities and rioting in Haiti, we came to the realization Mike would not be able to travel safely to the airport and he had to cancel his trip to the US. This was a difficult decision but one we knew was all in God’s Timing and plan. On Sunday, June 6th, myLIFEspeaks held our first ever Zoom Tour of Neply. This was a special moment for many reasons, but especially for Sherry. She had dreamed of the day she would be able to visit Neply and see everything we had described to her. She had only been able to picture in her mind what our passion was about. This day, she was able to be a part of the Zoom tour and the excitement we heard on the other end of the phone while talking with her that night was exhilarating. She was thrilled to be able to see so much of what she had prayed for daily. She was able to experience seeing with her own eyes something she never thought she would be able to and this filled her heart with so much JOY!
Monday morning, Sherry went into surgery with a full heart and confidence knowing her future was in the hand of her Creator. There was no fear, no doubts, just faith and trust that “Thy Will Be Done”. This day, HIS will was exactly what occurred. Sherry did not make it through the surgery and is now living in Eternity with Jesus. No more pain, no more suffering, with a full heart. I believe if given the opportunity to return, she would decline, because she is now experiencing with her own eyes her FOREVER! We grieve for her presence here but our hearts will continue to rejoice the fact that her LIFE was a reflection of her Savior and her last moments were filled with such JOY! God provided, not in the way we might have hoped but He provided none the less.
A few weeks later, Mike and I were able to exchange this grief and loss with a tremendous blessing, that engulfed our hearts like we never imagined. We experienced the birth of our first granddaughter, Noah Ivy Wilson. Oh, the emotions which carried us the next several days. Looking into the eyes of a precious LIFE perfectly formed by God and delivered by our incredible daughter in-law and son was captivating. Her beauty was breathtaking, that of a perfect angel who God had given at a time filled with grief to fill a void and give newness of LIFE! I would find myself holding her and looking deep into her soul wondering what she was thinking, what she was feeling. Did she have any idea the JOY she had brought to us? Did she have any idea that God had destined her with such a great purpose? Did she know her parents were hand chosen just for her, to guide her, nurture her and lead her into a LIFE of her creator? I don’t know if I will ever know the answers to these questions but I do know since the day I laid eyes on her I have experienced a level of love, I never knew existed. God provided; He filled our broken hearts with exactly what they needed to mend and heal.
As we began to prepare to return with our family to Haiti, The Holy Spirit began to stir in my heart. This was a feeling I had never experienced before, a feeling of discomfort in having all our “family” in Haiti at this moment.
You see, Haiti is HOME! It is where God has called us and even when it doesn’t make sense, even when others don’t understand, even when it seems scary, full of fear and doubts, even when it goes against the world, it’s where we are supposed to be! It isn’t something we question, it isn’t something we debate, it is something we KNOW and we live this out with FAITH and CONFIDENCE in HIM!
But this feeling on this day was unsettling. It was a vivid voice from the Spirit saying “now is not the time for the kids to return”. It wasn’t something I could shake; it was something I knew I had to follow. Mike and I together talked to several people we consider mentors, people who help guide us, and those who walk beside us in Godly Wisdom. We were able to confirm together that for whatever reason, only Eli and I would return to Haiti at this time. Haiti was battling continued insecurity, rioting, and a rise in COVID cases. We knew in our hearts God was protecting our children from something beyond what we could see. Eli and I had plans to return to Haiti on Friday, July 9th, 2021. We were to fly into the main airport in Port Au Prince and transfer to the smaller airport to take a small four-seat plan to Jacmel, where we would be picked up by our friends. It wouldn’t be safe to take the usual route from the main airport to Neply due to roads being blocked by gangs battling for territory. This was the time Hurricane Elsa had arrived on scene and we were elated we would be arriving before having to intersect with her force. All day during travel we were in constant prayer for peace, protection, and for God to go before us. As we landed in Port Au Prince, we noticed the winds were stronger than normal and we felt this was unusual since Elsa wasn’t due to arrive for over 24 hours.
As we landed, I received a message from our small airplane contact saying we would be unable to fly to Jacmel on this day due to the pilot not being comfortable flying with the wind sheers over the mountains. I quickly called our friends to keep them from driving all the way to Jacmel and they informed me they had already spoken to our contact and knew we would not be able to fly. They were driving to PAP in order to try to pick us up at the big airport. We didn’t know how this would ever be possible but after completing customs and immigration, we were met outside by our friends. They (very literally) risked their lives to come and get us. An overwhelming sense of gratitude washed over Eli and I both to know these people loved us so much they would be willing to do what they did to get us. They assured us they had no issues getting through the insecure areas, said the streets were empty, and we should be able to get home safely.
The journey home began and about 10 minutes into the drive, right in front of one of the abandoned police stations, we were met with the sound of gun shots. We abruptly stopped, with only two cars between us and a large police tank. Shots continued to ring out and our friend whipped the car around to return to the direction we had come from. The bullet sounds grew stronger and more frequent until we had travelled far enough away from the danger that they could only be heard in the far distance. We were all safe and a little shaken but able to come together and make a plan we felt was best at this time. We determined we would go stay at a hotel close to the airport and attempt to pass earlier in the next morning. Our Head of Security would drive the route on his motorcycle and let us know if it was clear. If it was, we would pass at that time.
As we arrived at the hotel where we would be staying, emotions were heightened, stress was occurring in real time and the unknown was trying to creep in with more fear. As we tried settling in to get some rest, I received a call from a friend who lives in Jacmel, Haiti. As soon as he heard my voice he said, “Oh Missy, Thank God you are okay.” I did not understand why he was saying this until he explained there had been a small plane crash coming from the PAP airport to Jacmel. He knew my family was supposed to be flying on this day, he feared we were on the plane which had gone down and killed six people. At this moment it became crystal clear to me why God had the winds blowing that afternoon when we landed. God protected us from getting in the small plane. I still don’t understand why the lives of those six others had to be taken that day and I continue to pray for their families. But on this day God provided! He provided protection for Eli and I. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8
Saturday morning, we rose early and started off to meet David, our Head of Security. He was able to safely get us past the troubled route and we made our way to Neply, we were finally HOME! When we arrived, I received a message from Mike. I thought it would be a message of praise and excitement due to our safe arrival to Neply. Instead, it was something completely different. His message was letting me know Lane had been throwing up all night, he could not get him to stop and he was getting worse. We felt he needed to take Lane to the hospital since he had thrown up so much and was complaining, to the best of his nonverbal ability, that his head was hurting. Being so far away and knowing Mike was on his way to the hospital with Lane was gut wrenching. I had no control, I had only the ability to TRUST and have FAITH in HIM. A feeling I had felt many times over, especially in the last few weeks. I prayed, I asked for others to pray, I cried out to God on Lane’s behalf and I waited, which is something I have never been very good at. In the waiting, I had a revelation, which I am sure Mike and others had already had, Lane wasn’t supposed to be back in Haiti at this time because God KNEW what Lane needed. He knew before we did that Lane would need to be close to Vanderbilt University Medical Center so they could help protect and care for him properly. GOD PROVIDED…The voice I had heard from The Holy Spirit earlier this week was for Lane. He had Lane exactly where he needed to be at the exact time he needed to be there. Why do I doubt his provisions when I see them over and over again?
Lane ended up being in the hospital a little over two days and after a series of tests they determined he had picked up a stomach virus and would recover just fine. Our emotions remained high but we continue to praise God for His Provision of watching over our family. We felt we were seeing light at the end of this dim tunnel only to realize a train was heading straight for us.
I awoke Wednesday morning at 5:50am to my cell phone ringing. I didn’t catch the call in enough time and realized I had two missed calls from one friend in the US and one from one of our security guards here in Haiti. Still groggy from trying to wake up and figure out what was occurring, my phone began to ring again. Answering the phone, I was told the President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, had been assassinated in the early hours of the morning, and I did not need to plan on going anywhere.
We had a trip planned to Port Au Prince that morning to meet with Haitian Family Services about Nash’s paperwork for his adoption. Once I heard of the news of the assassination, nothing else mattered except making sure all of our staff and the people of Neply were safe and informed. That day felt like weeks. It consisted of confusion, fear, rumors, conspiracies, mistrust and misinformation. In that moment we were no longer living day by day but minute by minute. All we could do was PRAY, PRAY, and PRAY even more. I found myself feeling as if I my brain was on a Tilt-A-Whirl at a County Fair with so many emotions spinning out of control and no way to make them stop.
I knew it was important to acknowledge all the feelings I was experiencing but I wanted to be there for my Haitian Family. I wanted them to know I cared about their feelings at that moment and my feelings could be placed on the shelf at this time because at the end of the day I am a visitor in this country. Yes, my heart is here, my home is here but I was placed here by God and regardless to how much I feel Haitian most of the time, I am still American. I grew up with different opportunities, different dreams, different goals, a completely different culture. I wanted them to know my desire was to hear their voice, I wanted to hear how they were feeling, what I could do for them and how we could walk through and process this tragic event TOGETHER!
Days have unfolded and I have had opportunities to be part of so many powerful moments and conversations. I have been able to listen to my friends’ hearts, hear their thoughts on Haiti, and stand together with them arm and arm. I have had the privilege to gain more perspective on what their desires are for their future, not what America or any other country thinks would be best for them. Not what the United Nations can provide for them, but what they want.
They want to see God work in mighty ways, see God hold them close, and NEVER let go. Here are a few of the things they have shared during this week. I would ask that you take time to read their words, hear their voices, and pray alongside them daily. We can walk this road with them but they don’t need us to try to take the weight from them at this time, because, they are all more than capable to walk this road with their heads held high and come out stronger on the other side. We can truly learn so much if we would just STOP talking and LISTEN to their voice!
“God needs to take control of the country and all the demons who oppress it.”
“Pray for not only the people in the country, but pray that God will flood his Holy Spirit in every corner of darkness here.”
“I pray that Haiti realizes there is only One Creator we must fix our gaze on.”
“Pray for us to not complain but to see that God can use any situation to manifest HIS Glory.”
“I would like the whole world to know that Haiti is a country with good people, unlike the images they are always selling, we only have a bunch of corrupt politicians who cause us to remain in poverty. I would like to thank all the other nations who always come to our aid, even when the country is insecure. The Bible says at the end of time the situation will get tougher and the hearts of man will get tougher, this is what we are seeing.”
“Pray for God to take control of everything that may happen in the days to come and for peace and security to reign in this land.”
“We have to be the ones to take this country back to God and allow Him to control it.”
“I can continue to do my part of what God has called me to at this time, trusting that He will lead us where we need to go.”
“We can continue to live better as children of God, taking full responsibility for our country to move forward.”
-Haitian Department Heads of myLIFEspeaks
I have cried and we have cried together. I have prayed and we have prayed together. I have begged God and we have begged God together yet we are still unsure of what the future holds. One thing I do know for certain is God provides and will continue to provide! HE has provided me with a family here; a group of friends, co-workers, and family who seek Him above ALL else.
He has provided me with something I have never been able to experience anywhere else or at any other time in my LIFE. He has provided me with a community of believers who STAND strong during the storms, HOLD each other up and accountable during the difficulties, BELIEVE we will see God move mountains in His Timing, and TRUST that we can see God change Haiti ONE LIFE at a time!
God is a God of Provision. If you aren’t pressed into Him minute by minute you might miss what He is providing, but living the LIFE I have been privileged to live over these last several weeks, I will NEVER stop believing GOD PROVIDES!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. “I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you.” Declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
- Jeremiah 29:11-14