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Stowaways to Haiti – the Adventure Begins

Last night as we were finishing up all of Julie’s packing for her trip to Haiti I looked over at her bag where there was the sound of rustling. I thought that was strange, as I didn’t remember her packing any living things into her bag – the airlines tend to frown on that sort of thing. I went over to her bag to investigate and would you believe it, out popped Tom and Tim the tiger twins who jumped in my bag to Costa Rica. They had heard all the talk about Haiti and decided that it would be too good an opportunity to miss.

As I approached the bag, Tom put his paw up to his mouth and quietly whispered “Shhhhhhhhhh. Don’t tell her we are here!” Obviously those two tiger twins had not lost any of their mischief since their last adventure. Who knows what they will get into this time, or if we will even find out until they all return home.

Julie is on a flight to Haiti right now with the rest of the team from Revolution Annapolis. If you remember, please take a moment or two and ask God to open doors for them to reach people with the love of Jesus. I would ask that you pray for open hearts and minds and for God’s supernatural power to flow through the team to those they minister to.

I will update this blog as much as possible with any pictures or information that I get back from Julie, or those two pesky tigers.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

T-minus 1 Day, and Counting and Packing and Getting Shots

Tomorrow, I’ll be off to Haiti with the team from Revolution Annapolis. I thought you’d like an update about the things that we’ll be doing while we are there. Please continue to pray for the whole team as we travel: especially for no issues at the airport,  for our health while in Haiti and for the people we are going to serve.

As you may remember, our original goal was to give the staff of Maison De Lumiere their first ever vacation and the team would take over their duties at the school/orphanage/meal service area. Well, now the staff, their families and the all 45 children of Maison De Lumiere are now going on their first ever vacation to a local resort and we are going to run a VBS!!!

Our theme is “Jesus is the Living Water”. We want to share with them the need for Living Water for a New Life, purity for spiritual health and not just physical health. The Haitian culture (even those who have heard of Jesus) is steeped in superstition, voodoo, and other mysticism, and the importance of sharing this Living Water with others so they may hear the Good News.

Kacie (a team member from Revolution) and I have the responsibility of looking after four little girls.

Daphne is 6 and a half. She was brought to the orphanage by her aunt who had been looking after her since both her parents had died. Unfortunately, the aunt could no longer look after her as she had 7 children of her own. When she came to Maison De Lumiere she was severely malnourished weighing barely 12 lbs. She was sad and withdrawn, but through the love of the staff member s and older girls she is beginning to blossom. Please pray that we can show her the love of Jesus and that we can see her smile and laugh. Pray that she would come to know Jesus as her Savior.

Jefflina is almost 8 yrs old.She has an older sister, Chedline at the orphanage and they are very close. She has a big personality, and loves to dance and perform. She enjoys playing “house” and with dolls. She likes to go to school and be with her friends. Please pray that Jefflina could dance with all her heart when we worship and she would know that Jesus loves her.

Cindy is almost 9yrs old. She is active and healthy and loves to play outside. She looks up to the older girls as big sisters. Please pray that while we are there we would get a chance to minister to her and that Jesus would begin to heal her heart. Pray that she would know the love of Jesus for herself.

Katrina is almost 11 yrs old. She has a sister Katiana at the orphanage. They both experienced some very hard times in their lives. She enjoys being around other children and she loves to laugh and smile and has lots of energy. She is animated and active, her curious and outspoken nature makes her a lively part of any gathering. Please pray that she would grow up to be a godly young woman and that as we interact with her she would be able to ask questions and God would give us the opportunity to pray with her.

Thank you so much for your support, financially and in prayer. This trip was God’s idea but He used you to help make it possible for me to go. I’m looking forward to sharing how God worked in me and through me when I get home. If you would still like to support our trip, we are taking donations through today. You can donate at http://www.razoo.com/story/Julie-Craig-Fundraising-For-Revolution-In-Haiti-2012

As I get a chance to update or post pictures I will. If I cannot do that while I am away, I will definitely do so when I get home.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Going in Circles

It is interesting what comes to mind when you think about those three simple words – Going In Circles. To some, this can conjure up the pointlessness or futility of a particular activity, where our ‘going in circles’ is a statement of the meaninglessness of our action. How many times have we found ourselves in intense discussion with someone who is not understanding our explanation of the facts as we see them and we repeat ourselves and repeat ourselves and repeat ourselves only to arrive exasperated at the exact same jumping off point where our journey began.

To others, ‘going in circles’ is a description of their beloved motor racing sport of choice. In this instance, ‘going in circles’ is essential and the faster that translation can occur then the better it is for the driver and his team. For some reason, this form of ‘going in circles’ is not meaningless, but meaningful – as long as you are talking to the right person.

But what about going in circles around a specific object – or mentally circling  specific idea? In this scenarios, there is limited physical activity, however the exertional stresses can far surpass the longest of Nascar races. It is this method of ‘going in circles’ that I find most fascinating, and yet most frustrating – even more frustrating than the constant left hand turns of a car race. When I find myself ‘going in circles’ around a subject I find myself losing sight of everything else and becoming transfixed on the object of my concentration. It is as if I fail to look at where I am actually going and in stead affix my gaze on the center of the circle I am drawing around this mental exercise. I find myself circling and circling until an answer becomes apparent, at which point an exit ramp magically appears and I have the freedom to leave that circle and to pursue other interests.

Do you ever find yourself going in circles? Is it more often a good thing or a bad thing? How do you break the arc and return to linear motion once more?

 

Shots in the Arm are a Pain in the Rear

In 49 days my wife and the mission team she is travelling with will be setting foot in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. The team will be travelling to an orphanage there to allow the staff to have a much needed retreat while the team cares for the children who live there. Travel to any foreign country has its risks. but travel to a country that is in the midst of rebuilding after the tragedy of an earthquake requires some special medical preventative care. With the departure date looming, it was time for the visit to the doctor for the dreaded vaccinations.

Julie needed to get 4 shots, two in each arm which she braved on her own like an absolute trooper with little to no discomfort coming the evening of the shots, but lets say that was sadly not the case for the next couple of days. The bottom line is that shots hurt, and no-one likes them. When we told the girls that mommy had to get shots they were most concerned. It reminded me of the time I took Cara and Emma to the doctor for their annual check-ups.

We arrived in plenty of time for their annual check-up and after completing all the necessary paperwork I was informed that both the girls could get their flu shots and Cara had a couple of other shots to get. Now in the past, both our girls have been real troopers about going to the doctors and we rarely have any issues. Ho hard can this be?

The time came for the injections and Emma was up first.  The nurse was relatively young and not as skilled as some of the nurses in our doctors office. There are some of those ladies who are like injection ninjas, They have the syringe filled and medicine delivered to the target tissues before the kids even realize they are getting an injection. The nurse that day was much more methodical and much less stealth-like. I sat Emma on the little bed and held her arms while the nurse took aim and fired a direct hit into her thigh. There was that look of, “What the flip was that???”, a solitary tear and that was all the drama from Emma. I kissed her on the head and sat her in the chair in the corner turning to victim number 2 and hoping for a similar successful outcome.

Cara took the first shot in her leg well. There were a few tears, but no explosion. By the time the second needle hit the mark in the other leg she was getting past the fun of this particular game. It was time for the third and final injection, which had to go in her arm. Cara was done with the whole pin cushion experience and began to put up a fight. I laid Cara down on the little bed and put my mouth down close to her ear to whisper soothing words to calm her before the final insult.

As I held her arms by her side to stop her wriggling, I nodded to the nurse that it was time to get this over with. My head stayed close to Cara’s ear, soothing her softly as I watched the needle come closer and closer to the arm that rested just inches from my face. Could this nurse go any slower? Come on sister, stick the kid!

As the moment of impact was just about to take place, I saw a flash of skin move past my head as a tiny arm was thrust past me at speed. The end of the tiny arm contained a tiny hand which wrapped around the syringe stopping its advance towards Cara’s arm. “Leave my sister alone!!” came the yell from Emma as she began to wrestle with the nurse for control of the syringe and hyperdermic needle that was now swinging back and forth just inches from my eyes.

At that very moment I was conflicted. Am I the proud father who is just in awe of how this pint sized ball of fire is sticking up for her sister. or am I the concerned dad who doesnt want their kid playing with needles – especially ones that are so close to my face?

I think, at that moment I was a bit of both. I called time out and sent the nurse to one corner of the room, Emma to the other and pinned Cara down to bring the madness to an end.

I guess this is why Julie didn’t take the girls with her when she got her shots. The nurse might not have made it out of that room alive.

This adventure is becoming more and more real every day and we value your support at this time. We would love to have more people commit to pray for Julie over the next 49 days and we would be honored with any financial gift that you feel led to offer. If you want to pick a day of the week to pray for Julie, please let us know and we will pass on prayer requests. If you would like to support Julie then scroll up to the SUPPORT JULIE button and follow the link.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2012 in causes

 

You Wanted to Help?

So a few weeks ago my sweet wife took over the pages of my blog to share the exciting news about her upcoming trip to Haiti. We were overwhelmed by the well wishes and support and had some people even wanting to help financially. Our church uses an online donation service to allow people to give to causes like this one easily and I have added a button on the side-bar of this blog where you can track Julie’s fundraising progress and where you can click a button or two and join in the support team that is making this mission trip possible.

It turns out that Oprah visited the same orphanage that Julie will be going to, and of course she didn’t visit alone. Here is a video of Oprah’s visit so you can see where Julie will be going.

Even though the mighty Oprah was there, a much more exciting group visited the same location last year from Revolution Annapolis and the following video tells their exciting adventures, before they even got off the ground here in the US.

We value your prayers and are thankful for your pennies. We will keep you posted on this adventure in the lead up to departure, and while Julie is away.

Remember, click the DONATE button over there ======>> to help support Julie.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in causes, Make Everyday Count

 

The Next Steps

 

So we come to the end of an interesting week. We started the week by announcing an exciting new opportunity that Julie is taking this summer as she plans and prepares for a week of mission in an orphanage in Haiti.

Thank you so much to so many who have taken the time to read this blog and comment back your support for the steps we are taking. We really are excited.

I am sure that there are some folks who are wondering what the next steps are for us in the journey, and some have even asked how they can help out. We are truly thankful for the encouragement and the prayers we have already received. For us, the next steps are simple and will be changing as we approach the departure date. At present we wanted to give just a couple of things for people to consider and over the next few weeks we will be sure to update these and add any more requests as they arise. Our first ‘next steps’ are these:

Please commit to pray for Julie one day per week until she returns.

We would like to set up a prayer network to cover this trip in prayer. This may sound very fancy, but really what we are hoping to do is to have  few people who commit to spending just a couple of minutes one day per week praying for Julie, the team and our family. Would you consider picking one day per week, say every Monday, from now until July when you will just take a few minutes and pray for us? It would be great if we had each day covered in prayer by a few of our friends. We will be sending out specific prayer requests as they arise. At present please just pray for our family as we prepare for this trip.

Please consider supporting Julie financially

The total cost of this trip will be around $1600 and we have been asking the Lord to provide. God has been good to us and has provided an opportunity for Jason to do some additional hours of clinical work to raise some money but we would be most appreciative of any donations that you felt led to offer. We are in the process of setting up an online facility to allow people to donate and will pass out that information as soon as we get it.

We really do feel blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family members who love us, support us and are willing to walk through our adventures with us. God has been good to us.

God bless

Jason and Julie

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The First Step is Always the Hardest – Really?

Thank you to those of you who have taken time from your busy schedules to read my story over the past couple of days. It really means a lot to know that people love and support us as we take this step.

Have you ever heard people say that the first step is always the hardest? Sometimes I don’t know if that is completely accurate. The second one can also be pretty tough too. My second step was to tell our girls that mommy was going to be away for a week and that she was going to Haiti. You never really know how a 5 and 7 year old will react. I saw how the girls were, especially Emma, when Jason went to Costa Rica. She loves the family all being together and she found it tough that her daddy was away. Now she was about to hear that mommy was going to be gone for a week.

I spoke with them both and talked about the orphanage the team was going to serve at and the boys and girls who didn’t have a mommy or daddy because of the earthquake, needed some extra hugs and wasn’t it great that our church was going to send people to love these little children. On one level I could see that both Cara and Emma understood what I was telling them. They both have tremendous capacity for caring and loving and even when Jason went on his trip, they both wanted to go with him so they could teach the boys and girls to swim. There were the usual questions, but everything went pretty well.

At the dinner table later that day, Emma snuggled up beside me and softly said, “I don’t want you to go to Haiti, mommy” It was one of those sad, heart wrenching moments where you are so overwhelmed with her care and concern, yet feel the tension to help her understand that in the blessing that we enjoy, we are called by God to give to those who are less fortunate. “I dont want you to go where the earthquake is mommy” Emma continued softly. Another heart wrenching moment, which was lightened somewhat by Emma then going on to describe that an earthquake occurs when, what sounded like a giant wrecking ball is swung around under the earth making lots of noise.

It was a bitter sweet moment, and I am sure it will not be the last of them between now and our departure date, but there is one thing that God has taught me over the past few months and that is that He holds our family in the palm of His hand and He wants our family to succeed even more than we do. He never promised that things would be easy, but He always promises that He will be there.

So if you have continued to follow this little adventure of mine, could I be selfish and thank you for your support and ask that you pray for Cara and Emma? Would you pray that God would be close to them and bring them peace in their hearts and their minds and that He would take away any fear that they may have as they think about mommy going to where the earthquake was.

Julie

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Why Haiti?

So I’m going to Haiti…want to know more? I wanted to give you some background to where we will be going and what we will be doing, though I must confess at this point in time,  I am not absolutely sure of all the details!  I do know when we are going and the organization that we are serving.

The organization we are going to be working with is called Child Hope International which was started in 2001 by two missionaries from California. The home page of their website opens with this statement:

“Child Hope International is a charitable, Christian organization, dedicated to rescuing suffering and abandoned children in Port Au Prince, Haiti.”

I don’t really know a lot about Haiti, except that it is a poor country that was destroyed by an earthquake two years ago. As I have begun to investigate this little country I have been shocked by the statistics. Here are just a few:

  • Haiti’s population is over 8 million
  • In Haiti there are 450,000 orphans and 300,000 children in slavery (that is more than the total amount of people that commute daily in the DC Metro area. Next time you are in traffic, think about every person in every car you can see being an orphan – you will get a sense of the scale of the problem)
  • Haiti’s infant mortality rate is 76 out of 1000
  • Haiti’s literacy rate is 52%
  • Voodoo is widely practiced.

Child Hope International has built one orphanage in Port Au Prince and currently cares for 47 boys and girls in a safe, Christ filled environment. Every day though, there are more and more children that appear at the gates to the orphanage. The need is huge and sometimes small efforts can seem like such a drop in the bucket, but to each of the children being cared for in The Lighthouse (Maison de Lumiere), to each child the presence of a loving smile, freshly prepared food and a safe place to sleep, is priceless.

Our team will be going to Maison de Lumiere for a week to hopefully give the full time care givers a much needed rest and vacation.  This is plan A. Plans B,C and D may follow!!!

I would like to encourage you to check out Child Hope International  for yourself and see the work that they are doing. Who knows, you might even hear the Lord whisper in your heart that maybe you could help. Maybe you could talk with your pastor, or your friends, or your missions coordinator at your church about offering support and maybe, just maybe, you could join a team that goes to serve and show love to those in great need.

You can find Child Hope International HERE.

Please begin to pray for Child Hope International and our team as we begin our preparations.

Thanks for reading. God bless,

Julie

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in causes, Make Everyday Count, Purpose

 

A New Step, At Least An Old Step Being Taken Again

Today is a special day. Today I have a special guest blogger taking over this site. My sweet wife Julie is stepping out into the blogosphere for the first time.

Ok, so here we go.

I guess this story goes back to August/September of 2011. As many of you may know, Jason and I were in a transition period at church and we were just beginning our journey  at our current church, Revolution Annapolis. I was feeling unsettled and so I started praying for a new opportunity to get involved and get connected.  When you have lost something, the best thing to do is to go back to where you started and remember the important things.

I started to pray for an opportunity serve on a mission team, something that I have been doing since I was a teenager. But since moving to America and becoming a mother, other responsibilities had taken priority. Now I felt like I had caught hold of God’s heart and was praying it into being.

But it wasn’t until the early part of 2012 when I first spoke it out loud. It is one thing to believe that God has said something to you about what you should do, but it takes on a different meaning when you tell someone else. I talked to Jason about it and he was supportive and together we agreed that we would be open to the possibility, if it arose.

At the end of February, Jason spent two weeks in Costa Rica with a group of his physical therapy students and when he came back we talked again about the possibility of me looking for a mission trip. To be honest, I didn’t think one was likely this year, mainly because we were planning to be in the United Kingdom for three weeks this summer for my sister’s wedding.

It’s funny how God often has plans that are different to ours.

We went to Revolution that next Sunday and at the end of the service, during the announcements, one of the leaders got up to announce an upcoming opportunity. Yes, you guessed it, the church was planning to send a team to Haiti THIS SUMMER, for a week, to work at an orphanage they worked with last year. I couldn’t believe it. When we got back to the car, Jason and I looked at each other and he said, “Well, do you want to go to Haiti?”

I didn’t know what to think. It is one thing to say, or even believe, that you should do something. It is completely different when the opportunity presents itself and you have to step up. I wanted to go, but if I am truly honest, I didn’t. This trip would be two weeks before we leave to go to the wedding, and what would happen if I went to Haiti and caught some weird disease or something? Aaaarrrrggggghhhhhh!

This was a new step, well, it was a step that I had taken many times before, but it felt like it was a long time ago. One thing is true, I couldn’t deny this was what I had been praying for.

So, to bring a long story to a close, on Friday July 6th 2012, I will be boarding a plane along with a team of people from Revolution church and heading to Haiti – on my own, without my family. I am both excited and terrified at the same time, but most of all I am ready. Ready to go, ready to serve, ready to demonstrate to my girls that mommies do this stuff too, and ready to be used in whatever way I can be of most use on the team.

Over the next couple of days I will share what I know about what we will be doing when we are there, and I will also ask for your help. Jason and I have taken this as a step of faith and are believing that God will take care of all of those needs. You never know, God might want to use you to help meet the needs.

So its out there. I am going to Haiti on a mission trip.

God is good.

Julie

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in causes, Make Everyday Count, Purpose

 

Steps of Faith

Recently USA tv has been airing the classic Indiana Jones movies. It is a walk down memory lane for anyone in their 40’s and a curiosity for anyone in their teens. Yes, they really did make movies with little models and yes the train car sequence in the mine shaft is a little rough around the edges, but there is one memorable moment in the Indy trilogy that has always stuck with me. That scene was in the Last Crusade where Indy walks along through a narrow passageway and almost steps off the edge into a deep seemingly bottomless chasm. As he stands on the edge (I never understood why he had to get so close and couldn’t back up a step) he checks his guidebook and it is clear that this is the way to go – he has to walk across the chasm when there is no bridge.

Each time I see this part of the movie I think about the way that God often gives us what seem to be crazy instructions, and yet He simply asks that we follow them. In the movie, Indiana takes a deep breath, musters all his courage, raises a leg high in the air (as if that would help) and steps forward – falling to his death!

No, just kidding. As you can see from the video clip. as Indiana steps forward, his foot doesn’t fall into nothingness, but instead he finds the sure footing of a previously invisible bridge. The bridge was there all the time, he just could not see it. His lack of vision was the things that made this so potentially dangerous. The bridge was always there so there really was no risk.

Well, throughout history God asked people to take steps out into the unknown. To take steps that in their mind could end in them falling to their death in a bottomless abyss. Yet, when God asks us to step out, we need to remember that He already knows there is a bridge there to catch us. All it requires is a step of faith.

Tomorrow, I have the great privilege of introducing to you a guest blogger to my site. Yes, that’s right, tomorrow my dear sweet wife, Julie will be taking over the pages of the blog and letting you all know of a new step of faith that we are taking.

You might not want to miss this.