What's in Your Hand?

What's in Your Hand?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A proud mom

Very excited this morning to listen to this podcast where Stacey Gagne did an interview on WJTL talking about Jacmel Bay. The really exciting part was when she spoke of one of the Jacmel Bay artists showing up at the hotel to sell his necklaces!!! I could not be more proud of him and I have to tell the world!!!! (podcast Stacey, Oct 27, 8 AM)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Christmas Rubble

Christmas is still nearly three months off. But the Christmas story is timeless. It's true beauty coming from it's humility. A birth in a place that no woman would choose for her child. But to this lowly place we are drawn.
God's redemption stories remind us time and time again that God chooses that which is broken, abandoned and discarded to build His kingdom. To bring Him glory.
His word says He makes all things beautiful in His time.
So it is from broken and discarded rubble and glass He paints a story that draws people. I can not explain the popularity of the nativities that I make. It is not the rubble. It is not the glass. It is the story. The story of Christmas? Yes. But also a story of hope for Haiti . Remembering as we see these that there is a hope for the poverty. There is a hope for the pain. There is a hope for restoration. There is a hope for children discarded and abandoned. The hope for all of this brokenness was  born in  barn and slept in a manger. All so that we could see past all of the brokenness in our world, in our country, in our homes, in our hearts...past the rejection and misery..past the unfulfilled dreams and the shattered hopes. Past the sorrow and abuse and hidden unrealized desires..past even death..see past all of this to a manger bed and a simple baby who came to redeem us from all of our rubble and broken glass and to make something beautiful from all that we thought would destroy us.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The lesson Magdaline taught me...by Gwenn Mangine

The lesson Magdaline taught me-- by Gwenn

by Joy In Hope on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 5:08pm
One of the things we love to do with our kids is head out to search for sea glass.  It’s fun for us, and it helps my mom’s company, Jacmel Bay, which supports Joy in Hope and serves the deaf community in Jacmel, Haiti.

Having any kind of disability is very difficult in Haiti.  Very difficult.  There are situations we’ve heard about where parents simply stop feeding children who are disabled as there just aren’t resources available to help children with special needs. The same is true for deaf children.  It is so frustrating as many deaf children do not have other special needs and can learn and develop well—it’s just that they need a community around them who can help them communicate.  There is a large deaf population in Jacmel because there is a school for the deaf here.  Even with a significant population of deaf in Jacmel, there are still very few resources, however, strides are being made.  More parents/families of deaf children are learning sign language and there are several educators who are committed to seeing opportunities for the deaf.  Change is happening.

However, yesterday something happened at the beach, which I won’t soon forget.  We were at Jacmel Bay collecting sea glass.  It’s pretty normal that kids see us doing this and catch on to what our goal is…  They all come up to us and start helping.  I love it.  They never beg from us or ask for money—they just pick up on what we are doing and start helping.  It’s pretty cute.  The same thing happened yesterday.  Random kids started helping us and there was a girl that was in her mid-teens that started walking along with us, just holding hands and smiling.  I tried to talk to her but she wouldn’t respond—she’d just smile and laugh.  I assumed from looking at her that she had some sort of mental challenge and realized she couldn’t or didn’t want to talk back.  But she caught on quickly—finding and picking up pieces of sea glass and proudly giving them to me.  It was quite endearing.   The first time she did it I told her that she had done a perfect job and the kids around me said, “Oh, she can’t hear what you’re saying, she’s deaf.”  I asked her name and they told me that her name was Magdaline.  I asked if she signed and the kids told me she didn’t.

I looked Magdaline up and down.  In spite of having some teeth that had rotten, she looked like she’d not been totally neglected.  Sure, she was very thin, but her hair clean and was also braided in neat cornrows.

And I couldn’t help think about the irony of what was happening in front of my eyes.  Here was a young woman with incredible challenges.  Let’s just face it—she’s basically the low man on the totem pole in a society that’s the lowest on the totem pole in our hemisphere.  But she saw what we were doing and she wanted in.  She didn’t know that the point of our collection was to help people marginalized much in the same way she had been.  She worked along side of us asking nothing in return.  She was happy to walk alongside of us, hand in hand and offer us the “gems” we were searching for along the beach.

I was very convicted because this young woman who had nothing to “offer” was offering me what she did have.

It reminded me of the story Jesus tells of the rich young ruler, a man too tied to his earthly possessions that he was missing out on the kingdom of God.  It was a good reminder for me.  Being in a tough season from a financial standpoint, it’s tempting for me to focus on all that we do not have instead of the ways God has blessed us.    But yesterday Magdaline was such a good reminder to me that it’s not about what you have not been given—it’s about how you will live with what you do have.

Will we, despite the challenges we’ve given, wallow in self-pity?  Or will we focus on living in and serving community?   Yesterday while all this was transpiring, the thought crossed my mind that it frustrated me that I didn’t have more to offer her. (Because I am American like that and all.) But just as quickly as that thought crossed my mind, I was reminded that Magdaline hadn’t asked me for anything.  She just wanted to walk along with us, to smile and laugh, to hold my hand.

And so that’s what we did.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How can I help?

Often when we see photos of a place like Haiti it is overwhelming. There is so much that needs to be done it almost seems impossible to do anything! The truth is that if everyone gave that which he is able to give all the physical needs on earth would be met. But ...we can not worry about the other person doing his part to make it all work  out. The question is "What can I do?"
I really believe that people like to give. I also believe that it often helps to give them direction. If I say
"Can you give me a little money to help out in Haiti?" You will  be embarrassed to give me a dollar. But if I say "will you give me a dollar to help in Haiti?" most likely you will be happy to give a dollar.
So let me give you some suggestions how you might be able to help.
  • Give us a dollar. Or five or ten. If that is what you can give we would love to have it for our trip in October.
  • Give us $5,000. That would go a long way in building the driveway to the homes that will be build for the Joy in Hope Children's Home.
  • Buy a set of good quality white towels. We need ten more sets. One set cost about $40.00. Ten people donating one set each will have it covered.
  • Donate your time and sewing talent to embroider 10 sets of towels. Or volunteer to embroider one set.
  • Donate good quality white queen or twin size sheets. We need a lot. Donate one set..two sets or ten.
  • Donate beads or jewelry making items that can be donated to the deaf community in Jacmel.
  • Donate used t-shirts. 100% cotton. We will make diapers out of them to bring to Haiti.
  • Donate your time to help sew these t-shirt diaper's..
  • Donate powdered formula for the babies in the tent camps in Haiti.
  • Donate powdered SOY formula for baby Schneider in Haiti.
  • Donate disposable diapers for babies in tent communities in Haiti.
  • Sponsor a bag. For $100 we can carry an additional bag to Haiti.
  • When missionaries are on furlough lend them a car, a car seat, a house. Give them a gas card a gift card  a prepaid visa card. (any missionary not just mine  :)
  • Sponsor a job for an unemployed Haitian.(monthly)
  • Sponsor a child.
  • Sponsor a house. You don't have to go to Haiti to build a house. If you have the means pay for the materials for others to build a house. (roughly $6,000.)
I could go on all night. What I really want to say is "What's in your hand?" It's not about the gift. It is more about the giver. I used to not like to ask. Then I discovered people like to give. They just sometimes need a little direction. So give with an open hand and  a cheerful heart. It will make your heart happy.


Free Advertising from the grandchildren :)

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Story of my Haitian Family

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Every story has a back story.

Today my son in law Nick and I talked about Jacmel Bay and sea glass necklaces. Each necklace has a life of it's own. At some point it could have been ballast from a long ago and far away time when Haiti was known as "The pearl of the Antilles". Cargo ships sailed into harbors and off loaded glass bottles and dishes and pottery into the sea to make room for the riches of Haiti to be stored in their bellies. Or perhaps it was not such a glamorous story and simply was a discarded item that was tossed over the river bank that make it's way to the sea and churned for a hundred years and then on the day of the sea glass hunt it was tossed onto the rocks on the shore of Jacmel Bay to be rescued and redeemed.
Then there is the back story of the person who found the glass and the person who fashioned it into a necklace. That is the story that Jacmel Bay tries to tell. When a necklace is worn it gets noticed. I am delighted that people like the necklaces because of their beauty. But that is not it's story. Simply being pretty is not a story. What happens every time someone comments on  necklace the story gets told..The wearer does not simply say "thank you". The wearer tells the admirer the story of Jacmel Bay artists and Joy in Hope. The story is compelling and worth repeating. It helps us to remember the pains of yesterday but offers hope for tomorrow. Jacmel Bay is not a business. It is a story.
I have shared how it all started. The scripture in Exodus chapter four when God asks Moses " What's in your hand?" The power Moses possessed was not it the staff. It was in his obedience when he threw it to the ground at God's command. That phrase "What's in your hand? has been the foundation Jacmel Bay has been founded on. Being willing to offer what ever pitiful thing that I might possess in obedience to God is very humbling. How could God use what I have in my hand? Like Moses I do not possess the confidence to speak or to lead and like Moses I question God wondering if I am really the one to walk this path.
Today while looking a facebook a sidebar on my page revealed photos from my daughter Gwenn's page. Knowing that these were photos of a sea glass hunt I clicked on it.  I saw the photo Gwenn send me last year of a young boy's hand outstretched with his sea glass offering. Just a small child of the streets with a dirty hand outstretched to give his gift to my daughter. The picture spoke volumes to me "What's in your hand??" In fact that photo has become my logo. And this is a back story. But not far enough back. Tonight as I looked at Gwenn's photos I saw HIM! Not a body less hand with white and green sea glass. Yes that but so much more! This picture was the boy himself. And I could see his eyes and face and smile. This was the back back story. A child. A boy. A dirty little boy, unsupervised, unschooled and very possibly on his own. A child offering what was in his hand. Delighting in his ability to give I want to be able to give like him. And now seeing his face I want to know his story.His back story may never be known by me.But his story is now part of the Jacmel Bay story. A story that must be told.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Unless the Lord build a house the laborers work in vain.

In three months from now I will travel with a nine person team to Jacmel, Haiti. We will come from 4 states and all different backgrounds. I am the only one on the team that has met all of the others on the team and stilll...we are a family. When our week is complete we will have laughed and cried, shared meals and living quarters. We will bond together in unity. The work of our hands will teach us the strengths and weaknesses of our family and we will learn to work within that reality. We range in age from about 30-60 yrs old. We all have jobs and lives and families in the US but for 7 days we will be living a seperate reality. And..we will never be the same
But this stroy is not about us. It is about another family. A family whom we have not yet met who has been living in inhuman conditions for nearly 2 years. A family who lost their home and possibly family members on Jan 12, 2010 when the 7.1 earthquake rocked their world. But by the grace of God and the sweat of their brow they have survived
The word of God tells us : "To him that has two give to him than has none." This adventure we are planning is an act of obedience. So we set out obey.
When I first started planning this trip I was talking at my job to a customer who inquired about how things were going in Haiti. I told her that we were going to build a house. She asked "How much does that cost?" I I said well the house is about $6,000. and then the team must raise about $1,500/ea for their fees and air. On the spot she wrote out a check for $6,000.00!! So each of our nine team members is now raising their own fees. When you all live in the same town it's easy to pull together fund raisers. But nine people from four states and seven different towns don't have that option. So we are all doing what we can to raise the necessary funds. We are selling Haitian sea glass necklaces which also help support the deaf community in Jacmel, Haiti and you can contact any one of us if you are interested in buying one.
If you would like to donate via paypal to this trip please use the paypal donate button on this blog. If each of our face book friends donated $2-$5 we would most likely be all but covered. If you want to donate to one person in particular here are the team members names :Stacey Gange, Denise Goodale, Tim and Jenna Phillips, RJ Hutchinson, Chris Boone, Cece Disharoon, Bonnie Strawser.and Doris Frame. And thank you for building with us. If you would like more info you can visit Joy in Hope on Facebook or go to joyinhope.org
If you need a tax receipt please let me know so I can make the donation accordingly.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Getting to Haiti

Jacmel Bay has been evolving over the last year. It is exciting to see how things are developing!
From the beginning I knew that this business had to do more than just be a little business to give me part time employment. I desired to see  lives touched and jobs created.
When I sell my work a percentage of the proceeds goes back to Haiti. I love creating sea glass jewelry and find it a really satisfying way to spend my time. That is just one element of Jacmel Bay.
Working to create work for eight members of the deaf community in Jacmel, Haiti is another part. Here is how that works.
Jacmel Bay supplies artist with materials that are not readily available to them in Haiti. I work with them training and overseeing the project. Some necklaces are sold directly to customers by the artists to visitors in Jacmel. Other necklaces are purchased directly from the artists and I check them and package them. (This step will later be taken care of by others in Haiti.) These necklaces are used in two different ways. Joy in Hope missionaries have these necklaces available for personal fund raising when they are in the states on furlough. They only pay the cost of the necklaces and are not charged a handling fee. The processing and handling is a donation by the company. (As was the initial start up costs for this project.)
Another way these necklaces are being used is for fundraising for individuals or groups who desire to travel to Haiti on short term mission trips. I am really excited about this program because it is such a win/win/win/win situation. My artists win because of the quantity of necklaces we will be buying will in a short time will be able to give them a very decent wage. This is great for any workers in Haiti but especially great in the deaf community. Jacmel Bay wins because even though there is not a big profit per necklace selling larger quantities make it possible to offer huge discounts. The short term missionary wins because the necklaces sell easily and in a short time can raise the necessary funds for their trip. Then Haiti wins because those short term missionaries go to Haiti and help rebuild the country. It's a big circle. I love it~
Here is how it works:
You decide you want to go.
Jacmel Bay sends out 20 necklaces packaged to each team member. (At no cost at the front side of the sale.)
Necklaces can sell for up to $25/per necklace. At the end of an eight week period  $8/per sold necklace is due to Jacmel Bay. Unsold necklaces are returned. More necklaces can be ordered at any time during the sale but each order of 20 must be paid for first.
OR  you can get an even bigger discount if you purchase the necklaces outright. All necklaces paid for at the beginning of the sale will cost only $6.00 per/necklace!
Shipping fees will also be chagred as well as NC sales tax for NC orders. (on the amount paid to Jacmel Bay).
Contact me at dgoodale@ymail.com if I can answer any questions or if you are ready to get started! If you will be traveling with a team I will need some advance notice to be able to well supplies with sea glass necklaces from Haiti.

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Baby's Baby

How blessed I am to be sitting here. For the third time in four years I am with Melody as she awaits the birth of her baby. Seeing a contraction register on the monitor as she talks to her daughter Evie on the phone she doesn't miss a breath.
It has been a long week. When I first arrived here in PA I was sure there would be a birth within the first day. Sometimes Castor oil and long walks, mowing the lawn and scrubbing the floors, acupressure and progressive relaxation or weeding the garden don't achieve the desired results. God ordained this child's birth and in the end He is in control of all of her days. So we waited and we wait.
But what a blessing this wait has been in some ways for me. For the first time in maybe 35 years I know what my natural sleep cycle is. I actually have gotten eight hours of sleep a night every night. I love going out to get the chicken eggs. I love the abundance of fresh berries and the long walking trails. Mostly I love spending some really good time with my grandchildren. I love when they call for me to ask for my help. I love when it just seems normal to be with them and it's not such an 'event' that Nana is there. I love the gentleness of my daughter's lifestyle. I love that Melody cloth diapers and carries her babies in a sling. And uses cloth napkins.
So we wait. We slow down and we wait. We allow God to usher in this little one and thank God that we can't choose and we thank Him that he really does know best. And we wait and we rest. In Him.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What's in YOUR hand?"

In April and May Jacmel Bay posted necklace give-away challanges on face book. I would love to make this more meaningful while still keeping it fun. I need some input from my blog friends as well as my facebook friends. Maybe an essay contest. Or an ideas for new products that Jacmel Bay could start producing with the artists in Haiti. Or maybe who can raise the most pennies to donate Joy in Hope in a months time.
When God got me started on this path it was with the question "What's in your hand?" So now I ask you..."What's in YOUR hand?" I would love to hear your ideas on how we can have fun, promote the cause of rebuilding Haiti and win a necklace in the month of June.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sea treasures. His treasures.

Today was an unusual Sunday. Steve had gone to an early church service and was then going out in the kayak. I worked at the Post Office for a few hours then went to church. After church Gretchen and Jon did not need me to babysit.The sun was shining and I had nothing pressing to do.
According to books and websites Nags Head, NC has some of the best seaglass hunting on the east coast. I live just ten miles from these beaches but I have never been very successful in the hunt here. I think maybe Jacmel Bay in southern Haiti has spoiled me for any other beach.But I wanted to find something and I knew it was there. So I searched. I found lots of pretty shells and a few stones that I picked up thinking "I may be able to make something with this. It's pretty. It's worth keeping." And I slipped them into my canvas shopping bag. Living in Dare County, NC we all carry these bags in the trunks of our cars..No plastic bags to gag our fish. These bags come in handy for lots of things. Today the bag was used to collect ocean treasures.
The water was clear and blue today. When I dipped my toes in the surf I was surprised that there was no sting of cold. My rolled up jeans came unrolled and I just let them. Tourists were there. How did I know they were tourists? People who live here do not wear bathing suits on the beach on May 1st and shiver. We wear sweatshirts and rolled up jeans. As I walked, and walked, I talked and talked, in my head, to God. I asked Him for treasures. I told Him I would not be greedy. I asked Him what He wanted me to know about the search this day. And this is what He told me:
I search because I know the treasure is there. How do I know? I have found it before and others have too. He told me that sometimes in life we find other treasures that are not really the ones we are looking for. These treasures are worth finding and picking up and keeping but they are not totally satisfying. So when I found a pretty shell or stone it was like an inspirational story that gives me some understanding or helps me to see the world around me. Like a Chicken Soup for the Soul kind of treasure. Nice but not enough. I also understood that because I am a Christ follower it does not mean that there is no value in the teachings of non-Christians. Some things are worth picking up. Other things are better left on the shoreline. But I know what I am looking for and I continue my search.
Finally nearly ready to give up the search for today it catches my eye. A tiny hint of green in the shallow surf.I have to keep my eye on it as the wave gently laps over my treasure and threatens to steal it back to the sea. Jeans wet to the knees I go after it. A tiny perfect nugget! Success!! And God tells me sometimes you must go further, look harder and not be afraid to get wet.
For a moment I thought..."Time to go." But I didn't want to! Having a little success while exciting and satisfying called me to keep on searching..there was more treasure waiting for me. And I found more..two browns, a clear and then I FOUND IT! the largest piece I have ever found this side of Haiti. There it was! Perfect, beautiful, smooth, finished green sea glass half buried in the sand a few feet into the surf.
And God showed me that finding a nugget of truth makes one hungry for more and more. A hunger that won't be satisfied until we find "IT".
And when I climbed into the car, wet and sandy, wind blown but satisfied I knew that my treasures in my canvas bag could not compare to the treasure in my heart.Walking on the beach with my Abba Daddy picking up sea treasures, picking up His treasures.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Calling

Sometimes when I set out to teach or share on a certain subject I learn more than I teach. So i was last night. I was invited to share about my connection to Haiti and about Jacmel Bay. I asked God "What should I be talking about?". Honestly, given a platform I am not at a loss for words. My problem is narrowing down so I don't have too much material. I heard God say in my spirit "Talk about what you know." Where this led was to talk about the subject of being called. I shared about Gwenn first being called to Haiti and how unlikely it was. What occurred to me that a calling is totally different than a gift or a talent. In fact, a calling I think more likely is something one thinks they are totally unsuited for. For me once again it comes back to the story of Moses in Exodus 4. He augured with God that he really could not do the thing that God was calling him to do. He feel totally inadequate. And when in obedience he threw down his staff and saw the miracles follow he began at least a little bit to understand that this "calling" was as act of obedience and had nothing to do with talent or natural ability. When God called Gwen and Nick to Haiti it was not a 'reasonable' thing for them to do. Nick was a computer whiz and Gwenn then a stay at home mom was educated in Ag science and had written articles for NC Sweet Potato website. They were not prepared to live in a third world culture and raise a bunch of kids! Nor am I a business person. FAR from it! The great thing about it is that in knowing I am not adequate I can better trust a God who is "more than enough". In/ fact in knowing that I CAN'T do this makes me less likely to lean on my own abilities and personal strengths. Most people would say I am a good mother. Why? Because I have great kids. And because being a mother came easy to me. I enjoyed it, I was capable and confident most of the time. For my adult life I have believed that being a mother and now a grandmother was my 'calling'. Only now...like this week do I understand that that is not entirely true. Now I still think that is was/is the most important thing I have ever done and would not want it any other way. I now believe that by God's grace and hand I was fashioned by the circumstances in my life to be the mother/grandmother that I became. My mother's creativity and passionate involvement in my youth, the longing for a father and a stable home, caring for my nieces and nephews when I was not more than a child myself..all of these things made me well fit for my parenting role. So in a way I suppose I could take credit sometimes for the "well dones" that I have received along the road. I was involved with and available to my children. That is why I now feel that being a parent is not my "calling". My passion, yes. My joy, forever. My honor, always. My calling?? I don't think so. As all of this is just now unfolding to me I think I get it. The reason that I can't shake off this thing that I am so unsuited for.... God asked me "What's in your hand?" And as I in obedience release that which I hold so tightly (my fear and my inability) I am beginning to understand that this is my 'calling' and as I obey I will continue to see the miracles unfold. Like Moses I will look for the cloud by day and the fire by night for I know that I need to be led and I am not able to know the path or go the path on my own ability.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Was it a morning like this?

This is a link to a blog I wrote on my first trip to Jacmel, Haiti 2 years ago this week. (link here)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Protect and guide me throught the night and keep me safe til morining light.

To read about this little girl go here and here
A little girl is touching the hearts of so many tonight. A little girl whose hopes were dashed as the judge released her to her parents. Her hope crushed when her parents released her to her abuser. Pray with me for the life and future of this beautiful child.
"Jesus, your word tells us that you go before your Father and make intercession for us. We ask you know to go to your Daddy and make intercession for Marie-Marte.We ask that you would minister to her in the night in her sleeping and in her waking. Lord we pray that you would not allow the evil one to come anywhere near her. Lord I we ask that your judgement would fall on the woman who is hurting this child and you would do what ever is necessary for her to be out of Marie's life.
Jesus I can't even imagine how you can fix this but I trust you and thank you that you can and ask that you will. Protect Marie from the scars that are on the inside. Do not allow her heart to become hard. Jesus deal with her parents. Do not allow them to continue to neglect this precious girl.
I pray for Gwenn and Nick and their children. Espically Nia.Comfort them and give them strength. Also make them weak enough to fall into your arms. I thank you that we can trust you even when we do not hear or see what you are doing.We ask that very soon you will come to the rescue this child from a life of slavery and painGive to her a hope and a future. Help Gwenn and Nick to sleep tonight and give them wisom and courage to face tomorrow."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Impossible Dream??

When I traveled to Jacmel, Haiti in January it was for the purpose of being the "house grandmother" to 11 children while my daughter and her husband were out of the country. That was a very rewarding, exciting and empowering time. Stretching and growing far beyond my imagination. A short year ago I thought I had reached my limit of courage when I traveled to Haiti...alone! But now...well here I was going far beyond my obviously limited imagination..in Haiti without the cushion or comfort of my safety net. (Nick and Gwenn) Ok..so it really wasn't scary..it was great. Riding on a moto..taking language lessons..playing with and doctoring boo-boos for 11 children. It is fun to reach high and then find you can go higher still. And that is really what I want to blog about..reaching and allowing yourself to imagine that you can actually go to places tha tyou thought were beyond your reach. That same week I worked with my students making sea glass necklaces. I spent some one on one time with each of them to get to know them and to hear about their stories and dreams. All but one of the eight students is deaf. Being deaf in the US is hard. Being deaf in Haiti is far harder. Deaf are often shunned by society. Most are unable to communicate eailsley with family. Education is limited at best. Work is largely unavailable. At first it seemed hard to even communicate clearly my question. "What are your dreams for the future?" "If there were no limits what would you like to do?" At first the responses were shy. "I would like a cleaning job." Any job in Haiti is a good job and I encouraged this young woman in that. Most of the answers were similar. Good and noble goals but not limitless dreams. As the week progressed I began to witness a stirring..an awakening of sorts. And then the damn broke wide open. " I want to drive a car! I want to own my own car!" (My daughter seems to be the only woman in Haiti who drives so this coming from a deaf woman is a huge goal!) The others followed. "I want to own a house. No, two houses. One for me and one for my grandmother!" This from a young girl who was orphaned at an early age who was raised by her grandmother. Then there was " I want to work in a restaurant. No!! I want to own a restaurant." The dreams evolved with excitement. Finally, an my personal favorite " I want to be a teacher. I want to open a trade school for the deaf so I can help them to get work." The day before I left PP came to me to tell me that my deaf friends have a plan to meet once a week. First they will make sea glass necklaces and then they will take time each week to talk about their dreams. And to find ways to make these dreams a reality. As the roof came off the dreams had room to grow and now I find myself with bigger dreams and I am excited that God is making Jacmel Bay a reality for me. This that will move my dreams from my heart to my head and then to the sky.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"What's in Your Hand?"

In April of 2009 I traveled with a team to Jacmel, Haiti to prepare a home for a young family who were soon to be full time missionaries there. That family was my daughter Gwenn, her husband Nick and my grandchildren Nia, Nico and Josiah. They would be establishing a home for orphaned and abandoned children.
I was at once captured by Jacmel and her people and I knew that God would purpose for me to do more than support and encourage my daughter and her family. That in itself was not hard for me once I had been to their new home. For many parents of missionaries this is a hard task and I so appreciate the pain that they experience when their children and especially grandchildren are on the field.
After the 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12 th of last year I was left saying to God "I must do something! What can I do??" He replied in my spirit "What's in your hand?" and while I knew He was referring to the words he had spoken to Moses in the book of Exodus I also knew I did not have much to offer.
As I read and reread that story I realized that what God wanted was my commitment to obey and to use what He would/could provide. The staff in the hand of Moses was a staff. The staff in the hand of God was a miracle. A miracle that would deliver His people. Had Moses not released what was in his hand I do not believe that the miracles would have followed.
God asks us each the same question. For me the answer came when my daughter told me about walking on the dirty shores of Jacmel Bay and finding sea glass treasures with her children. I said I would like her to bring me some back to the US. She did. In fact it was about 30 pounds worth! I knew this was what was in my hand. I just did not know how it would become of worth for God's purpose. Two weeks later a two inch article appeared in my local newspaper. "Local Arts Council to offer workshop in wrapping sea glass." In the heart of God my ministry and my business ,Jacmel Bay, were born.
I took the three hour workshop and began selling two weeks later. Two months later I went to Haiti and began working with students in the deaf community teaching them what I had learned. Now, ten months later, Jacmel Bay is moving ahead with big plans and big dreams. Not because I am a wonderful sea glass artist but because I serve a wonderful creative God. Like Moses I feel shy about the honor of this position. I do not feel adequate to run a business or teach or lead. That is the truly wonderful and frightening thing for me. I am not adequate..but He is more than adequate. So I choose to release that which is in my hand and wait and see what will happen knowing that if I obey Him miracles will follow!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The first step...

Soon I will be sharing stories of Jacmel Bay. And my thoughts and hopes and dreams....