Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Update #2 :)

April 19, 2011

Hello, family and friends! Let me just start by saying, “WOW!” Our God is amazing… but we knew that already ;) The past few months have been pretty long. For those of you that keep in touch with me personally and closely you know, or have heard, about my student’s passing this past February. While we all know that the passing of loved ones is a part of life and something we will all go through, there is something about losing a child that forces you to trust in God and His plans. There is nothing natural about it. The rollercoaster of this healing process continues each day that I wake up; however, this trip and the Lord, through all of you, have shown me more than I could have ever imagined in such a short period of time.

I have had absolutely no choice but to trust in the Lord and that His plans and timing are perfect. I am only human… which means I’m not perfect… in fact… I’m a pretty broken individual. Without my trust in the Lord I am nothing, so while this has turned into a very difficult season in my life, for the first difficult season ever I am absolutely positive that: I am so blessed! I am blessed to have faith and trust in a loving, forgiving Lord; I am blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to even know the heart and smile of my dear student who passed; I am blessed to have the opportunity each day to work with kids; I am blessed to have the family I have… though we aren’t perfect… there’s a lot of heart in all of us; and I am blessed to have ALL of you! You have each played an impactful role in my life, whether obvious or not, and for that I will be forever grateful for you.

As of today my personal fundraising goal has been met and I have felt all of your love and prayers everyday. THANK YOU, thank you, thank you to everyone who has not only donated their resources, but their prayer time for our team. I will never be able to express just how thankful I am for your generosity and kind hearts. Our team has spent time getting to know one another through sharing testimonies, dinners, and “speed dating,” and we can’t wait to go on our retreat and continue getting to know one another. God has really chosen a phenomenal group of individuals to serve Him and the people in Haiti. As a team we work to continue raising funds, so even though my personal goal has been met, if you still feel led to give, please do, as the funds over my goal will go towards other team members’ goals so they will also have the opportunity to work with us. If you still feel led to give you can visit my fundraising page at: http://my410bridge.org/simmel .

Thank you all again so much for your love and prayers. Please continue to pray for myself, our team, and the people of Haiti as we continue working together to prepare for our trip. I’m so excited to see what the Lord has in store next J



Love you all and I’ll be in touch!

Stephanie

“’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.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Update #1 :)

April 3, 2011

Hey, everyone!! Last night was an incredible night! We had our first Haiti team meeting and spent a little time getting to know one another, discussing the purpose of our trip, and filling out some fun paperwork J At the end of the meeting I was talking to a friend and we were both in agreement… we were walking away from that meeting so excited about what’s to come that we weren’t sure how we were going to fall asleep last night! Sadly for him he had to work this morning and I’m on spring break ;)

Before the meeting last night, there were many emotions dwelling inside of me regarding this trip. There was a bit of anxiety, apprehension, excitement, and definitely a little bit of fear. After last night I’m so excited to get out there and be the hands of feet of Christ that the rest of it seems to have taken a back seat. We will be leaving Atlanta around 6am on Friday, June 10th to fly to Miami. From there we will fly to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. At this time we are unsure of whether we will be leaving immediately to go to the community we will be working in, or whether we will be leaving the next morning. As well, the community assignment at this time, as well as many other details, could change as we get closer to our trip. It’s the purpose of our mission to ensure we are working in the areas of greatest need. Fortunately, we have teams out in Haiti right now and another team going in May. Our final mission will depend on the work they have completed.

For now, we will be working in a community about 5 hours outside of Port-au-Prince called Bohoc. This is a community that has a population of about 5,500 – 6,500 people. The community is made up of farmers and craftsman who work very hard for the little they have. Their leadership council is made up of 10-12 Christian leaders who live in the community and their main focus is building up a community that will allow their children to grow up educated with opportunities for work with good pay within their community. Currently their children are leaving the community for work in Port-au-Prince only to find themselves not succeeding. Finding clean water is a challenge in this community, and the education system is broken with little to no access of education for the children. I am overwhelmed by the perfection of the placement God has chosen to allow me to work in… a community that strives to provide good education and jobs for their children?! Thank you, God… this is what my daily life is already focused on! It’s so amazing to me how He uses our gifts even in other countries around the world!

Our team mission there is simple, to continue growing and fostering relationships within the community. Right now it looks like we will be digging and expanding roads and digging latrines, though we have been strongly encouraged that if an opportunity arises to connect with the Haitians, our tools become the words and ministry God has instilled in us, not those we are using to dig.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all of you for the support, kindness, and strong faith you have already shown me on this journey. The prayers and financial support you have already shared with me is beyond anything I could have ever expected. Please continue to pray for our team as we prepare to work with the people of Haiti. Prayers for our safety, our team leads, that God will open our hearts to the work we have in Haiti, and that our focus will remain on Him. We are still in need of both prayer and financial support. If you still feel led to give, please visit my donation page at: http://my410bridge.org/simmel. More instructions are included on this page.

I am already humbled by this experience and can’t wait to see what more God has in store. I am carrying each one of you with me on this trip and can’t wait to share more information and stories as they come!

Love you all!

Stephanie

“Each one should use whatever gift he has been given to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” ~ 1 Peter 4:10