Time is flying by as we prepare to leave for Haiti. It really is going so fast...
Just an update on what we have raised thus far:
We have managed to raise $4,000 total toward our Haiti fund from sponsors and from a weekend of selling a few of our belongings.
The first $5,000 we raise will go to renting our home for the next year.
We are excited to let you all know we have had SO MANY MEETINGS! We have had budgeting meetings, fundraiser planning meetings, safety meetings, and sponsorship meetings. This is on top of our already full time jobs and getting our house ready to sell (we have more projects than we realized!!!)
So if I take a minute to just be real (because we all need to hear truth every now and again, am I right?) this all might sound like it is overwhelming... well that is because IT IS!! ;)
So God is really working with me (Kristen) right now on trusting Him. He has me digging deep in His word researching, what else, JOY. I had a hard time accepting this- that God could possibly want to teach me about JOY at a time like this! For instance- doesn't He want me to learn about something else, something more important like trust, grace, missions, or anything else?!
The thing is, choosing to be JOYFUL is a form of trust. God tells us in James 1:2 "Count it all JOY when trials and tribulations come your way". When I am JOY-filled I am able to operate in the gift of grace all the more and go into the world and love His people (whether it be at home, at work, or in the mission field.) This is simply because my JOY comes from the Lord.
I have many days where I am exhausted and a little overwhelmed but I have a choice to make: choose JOY or choose panic.
"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me great JOY." Psalm 94:19
Even though things are a little chaotic around me, I am choosing to rest in His JOY. Nehemiah 8:10 tells me "...the JOY of the Lord is my strength." God is JOYFUL with us- we can draw from that and have strength. He is made perfect in my weakness and I take solace in Him.
God cares so much about JOY that in a time of my life when I am preparing for ministry He has set aside time for me to learn about what this means. JOY is such a crucial part of being a believer. It is what attracts the world to Jesus. I should not be JOYFUL right now, I should be stressed and overburdened. I should not be JOY-filled because my situation is more than I can handle-- but God is giving me His JOY as my strength. He cares that I am setting aside time to enJOY the process. I know it is beyond busy now but I can imagine in a couple months we will look back and be blown away by God's hand on this journey.
And when I am not sure about how God is going to pull us through this time... in those small, quiet moments where the chaos takes over... Alex reminds me of why God called us to Haiti in the first place. To be parents to 12 of the most wonderful kids we could have ever imagined.
God reminds me, "You love me though you have never seen me. Though you do not see me you trust me; and even now you are happy with a glorious, inexpressible JOY." 1 Peter 1:8. And I am...
I cannot explain to you how much JOY is in my heart when I think about loving the 12 Haitian children God is entrusting to us as we manage an orphanage.
So I will count it all JOY in this process. All of it is worth it to get to hold this little guy again (and the rest of our kids!)
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw