Where are you serving and what led you there?
My husband and I are the full time Administrators at the Cap Haitien Children’s Home in Haiti, which is currently home to 60 children ranging from 2-22. At 16, I was the typical teenage girl and my parents slowly started to see my desire for God slipping. Instead of preaching, they sent me to Haiti on a mission trip. So I went and my life has never been the same. In college, Hunter (my now husband) and I led college students to Haiti each summer for four years. We always knew that at some point God would call us to live in Haiti full time. The summer of 2010 we were in Haiti at the orphanage where we now work. At the time there was no director and the children were not being properly cared for. Although we knew we should go, for a long time we made excuses as to why we couldn’t do it yet. Fortunately, God’s Spirit was persistent in our hearts and eventually all of our previous excuses and fears were no longer important because we knew that if we were obedient, God would provide. So in January 2011 we moved to Haiti and into the orphanage. Simply put, we are here because God chose us.
My husband F.H. and I are serving in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. My husband was an exchange student here when he was sixteen and not a Christian at the time. After having spent a year here, he decided that he wanted to come back here to live someday. So, after he became a Christian he decided to come here as a missionary.
Our team got the opportunity to tag along on a missionary research trip in 2006 with some college students and a missions professor from Harding named Bill Richardson. Before the trip, Bill told us his opinion that two of the cities with the greatest need that would be the most receptive to missionaries currently were Cusco, Peru, and La Paz, Bolivia. We were able to visit both on that trip, along with several other cities in Peru and Bolivia. After the trip, most of the group was really leaning towards La Paz. I felt a strong connection to Cusco and I was also worried about the political situation in Bolivia due to the anti-American president, so I pushed hard for Cusco. After a strange turn of events, the group ended up deciding on Cusco. In general, the Andean countries of Peru and Bolivia have not received as much missionary help as the other countries in South America, so I am glad we met Bill and he led us in this direction.
What does your daily work consist of?
It changes every day, but some of my consistent daily tasks are: Answering at least 10-15 emails a day, keeping track of our budget, writing on our blog, making sure our staffs’ needs are met, making sure our kids’ needs are met, playing with the kids and providing them with activities, daily devotionals with the teenagers, making sure kids pick up their trash and clean up after themselves, more playing, and hosting and assisting teams when they are here.
I see my first mission here being helping my husband as needed in his work which consists of: being the executive director of the Children’s Home, recording and helping to produce the 30-minute a week TV program that the church has, serving as an elder, teaching in the Leadership Training School, counseling couples (prenuptial and marital), etc. I also teach a personal home Bible study and counsel women and teach ladies’ classes as needed.
I have a very energetic two-year-old son so much of my day consists of chasing after him and cleaning up after him. Most of the food preparation here has to be done from scratch, so that consumes a good portion of my day as well. I also take my son on frequent errands to the neighborhood bakery, dairy store, and grocery store to pick up groceries and other household items. I also do laundry almost every day since we have chosen to use cloth diapers for our son. Often during his naptime, I do graphic design work/marketing for our congregation and prepare my Bible class lessons and activities for Sunday morning.
What the best/hardest part of your work?
The best part is seeing the kids happy and seeing their faith grow. I love spending time with them just playing and laughing. I love the relationships I have with them and I love that I get to live with some of the best kids in the world. The hardest part is maintaining Christ-like patience with the staff, the kids, and the culture. It is something I have to pray for each day.
The best part of the work is seeing people’s lives being changed as they give themselves wholly to God. The hardest part is trying to achieve a balance in caring for others, my family and myself.
The hardest part of the work is trying to establish solid relationships with our visitors and members so they will continue to seek a deeper relationship with God. The culture here makes it is difficult to get people to commit to attending something on a regular basis. The best part of the work is seeing the excitement in the new Christians and also the excitement and genuine interest of our visitors to the church. Cusco is a very receptive city, and because of that we have a regular influx of new visitors to work with.
Who is one person you’ve met as a missionary who has inspired you in your Christian walk?
There is this woman named Cleomene St. Petrevil. She is the mother of some close friends of ours. She is one of the most remarkable women of God that I have ever met. She is one of those women that all you have to do is look at her and you can see the Spirit of God within her. She is so full of joy and passion for life. She has raised some of the most amazing, mature, and faithful teenagers I know. She is always smiling, always praising God, and always rejoicing. She has inspired me to be a better woman of God. I pray that people can look at me and see the joy of Christ within my heart just like I can with her. I pray that despite my circumstances, my joy and hope will be rooted in Christ just as hers is.
Maria Elza. Her husband was in a bus wreck years ago and is blind, lost a leg, and has slurred speach. He spends most of his time in bed, although he is able to sit in a wheelchair and go to church services. She is the most hospitable person I’ve ever met and is always smiling, laughing, and serving!! If you go to her house she won’t be happy unless she fixes something for you to eat. Serving for her is a joy, not a burden, even with all the work she has in caring for her husband.
During our training with Continent of Great Cities in Dallas we were introduced to many inspiring men and women who are working or have worked on the mission field. Each left their own special impression on me, but I would say a common factor was the encouragement to develop a personal relationship with God. An important quote we heard was, “Being a missionary won’t make you into a stronger Christian.” In fact, it is easy to let your Christianity weaken while on the mission field because of so many unusual stressors that can come into play. That thought has been very inspiring to me and I am constantly trying to work on deepening my relationship with God. No matter where you are, it’s easy to lose focus on that relationship if you don’t keep up a constant guard.
What conveniences of home do you miss most?
I really, really, REALLY miss the food. I miss the luxury of having to decide not only what type of food I want to eat but where I want to eat it. I miss choices in general. I miss air conditioning and clean air. I miss grocery stories and Target! I miss cable TV and pizza delivered to my front door. I miss driving on roads with rules and I really just miss the life of being able to do what I want when I want it.
Affordable prices and a variety of health food products.
Probably central heating. We don’t really have a need for central air here so I don’t miss that, but the mornings and evenings get pretty chilly, especially during the winter. I do enjoy the warm sunny afternoons that we have for most of the year here.
What’s the best new food you’ve tried?
There is this appetizer I LOVE to get whenever eat out. It is called Accra which is made of the vegetable manyok (it is like spicy potato). They mix it with a little peppers, cover it in a breading, and then deep fry it. Before you eat it, however, you need to top it off with Pickles (a spicy vinegar based coleslaw). Bon Apetite!