Before I was born, I was prayed for by my great-grandmother. She prayed that someone in her family would become a missionary. She didn't know me then and never got to see it happen while she was on this earth, but she prayed and it happened.
People ask me often how my parents and family reacted when I told them I was moving to Haiti. I clearly remember my brother saying, "It's about time!" No one was surprised when I felt called to go and serve. My parents knew long before I did that I was going to be a missionary with my interest in the missionaries who came to share in our church and my desire--even as a child--to share with people God's love. I think the only thing they were relieved to find out is that I was only going to Haiti. It's just not that far away from Minnesota, I guess.
I studied Ministry with and emphasis in Intercultural Studies at Northwestern Bible College (Northwestern University) in Saint Paul, Minnesota, so I planned to be involved in missions somehow in my future. With my loans for college hovering over me, I decided I should probably work super hard to pay off that debt. I had already been working at Walmart for several years, so I figured that going into the management program would get me out of debt more quickly and give me some experience in working with a variety of people.
Long story short, I am grateful for the time I had at Walmart and how God used that time in my life to teach me many things and grow me in many ways. In April 2007, I told my boss that I was leaving. When she asked me what my plan was going forward, I said, "I don't know, but God told me it was time to step out in faith and trust Him." I told my landlord that I was vacating my apartment as well. So, there I was, soon to be homeless and jobless and still in debt but trusting that God had it under control
Not long after I committed to this step of faith, I received an email from a friend telling me about Praying Pelican Missions. I looked them up and filled out an application for a Trip leading position with them for the summer. They accepted my application and the day after I finished at Walmart, I was in Belize meeting up with a team for an orientation week.
After a couple of amazing weeks in Belize, I was sent home still unsure of the future. I decided to apply to be a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines. God used this season in my life to boost my confidence in myself and in Him. In March, 2008, I received a call from Praying Pelican Missions again. This time they were opening an office in Minneapolis and they wanted me to be their office manager. I accepted this position and served within that role for the next 2.5 years.
While I enjoyed serving in the office setting, my heart still longed for something else. I was able to serve as an assistant trip leader on many mission trips in Belize and Jamaica, but knew that I wasn't called to either one of those places long term. In the spring of 2010, I started to explore other options. I started digging for answers in God's Word and seeking His will with a renewed heart.
I felt God leading me to leave my office position at the end of the year. I let the leadership of PPM know that and started to pursue something else--what I thought was right. As I started seeking support and prayers and help in my next endeavor, things seemed challenging, but I kept on working toward the goal. Then I went to Haiti in August.
Everything changed. A resounding "Go and Stay" message from the Lord. I thought for sure that the Lord didn't mean for me to go and stay in Haiti. I was going to do this other thing--only for a year--then I would maybe go back to Haiti. Maybe. That wasn't His plan. He told me that over and over and over. I didn't listen very well, but doors started closing on this other opportunity. And then they slammed shut.
Only six weeks after returning from Haiti, God had not only revealed to me that I was supposed to be going there to serve Him, but He provided me with so many people who were encouraging me, praying for me, creating opportunities for me, supporting me. This was the right thing. Obviously.
Through my pursuit for the other opportunity, I was introduced to a wonderful woman with a heart for Haiti as well. She needed help at a school and orphanage she was serving with. An open door. I committed to serving with her from February 2011 through the end of the school year. I am still amazed at how God brought all of this together.
I moved to Haiti. I started serving, learning the culture, learning the language, and continued seeking the Lord and His will. This was a transition time for me, as God had even more planned. Back in August, I met Almando and we spent some time worshiping our God and praying together. By February, we had become great friends who loved the Lord and wanted to serve Him well. We realized by March that there was something special about our friendship and started praying about what was next for us. God knew what was next.
After less than a year of "being in a relationship," we got married. At that point, both of us had been called by Praying Pelican Missions to be their full time missionaries in Haiti. That was a lot of responsibility and something new for the organization as we were the first missionaries they had on the ground. You can find more about that under the "Our Ministry" tab.
God has done and continues to do amazing things. Just looking back at all He brought me through and taught me makes me shake my head in wonder. That's only the basics of my story, but I hope you can see that this story isn't about me at all. None of these things I did on my own. Only God could have written this story.
My story is His.