It has been more than a year since I could bring myself to sit and write a blog.
The thoughts swirling inside of me not ready to depart and honestly with the pandemic and all the other things happening in our lives, it felt impossible to formulate anything "legible".
SO much has transpired over the last year and it is time to share. Are you ready?! (As always I promise this will be encouraging to you too, Dear Reader).
March 19th, 2020- Haiti had it's first confirmed case of coronavirus leading the country to shut down. The country had already been shut down much of 2019 due to political instability. We watched as the world shut down little by little. I remember looking around our Haiti home and just being enveloped in unknown- what would this look like here? Much of the states was experiencing scarcity as people bought up everything at the grocers (remember the toilet paper shortage of 2020?!)
But here, stocking up and social distancing would be extremely difficult for most. It was so hard to imagine Haiti suffering anymore than was already happening. When the evacuation flights were being offered to get Americans stateside, we began asking God what He wanted for us to do. The safer and better known option would have been to pack up but every time we prayed God would tell us to stay. Alex had complete peace and was prepared. I wish I could say the same for myself but I would just keep re-asking, "God, you sure?" and then praying again the next day. I am continuously grateful we followed God's voice and not my own as it is that constant reminder that anything we accomplish here is by His strength and not my own.
This shut down led to us not launching the community center which was set to open the next day. The rent was pushed back a couple months not only because of the pandemic but upon inspection, the house was not fully ready for us. (God works all things for our good!)
May 1st- We are finally able to begin renting the space we have dreamed of for the God-sized vision filling our hearts.
We wrapped up food distributions as Haiti proceeded back to a very normal life during the pandemic and began changing ALL of the big fun plans we had. This process of refining was HARD! Letting go of the ideas and plans we had for large groups of kids to join us was difficult; however, Father God's plans were better anyway. We started out small- our fundraising efforts, our community reach, our plans had all crumbled due to COVID but God continued to show up in mighty ways.
**Are you currently dreaming? Are you planning and scheming to achieve some goals or visions laid on your heart? Please take my advice and LAY it down at the feet of Jesus. We had prayed over our plans but the act of surrendering was so hard, trusting God to do what only He can do was the best thing for the dreams He planted within us BUT the act of giving Him the control probably only happened because we launched in a worldwide pandemic. God had plans for us and our "small beginning" far beyond what we imagined, maybe not in numbers but in depth. It is ok to trust Him with those things.**
"Do not despise the day of small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin." Zechariah 4:10
Through this small beginning, God ensured He was the standard for our "plumb line" ensuring our structure was straight. Just like He wanted Zerubbabel's hand to be the one holding the plumb line to finish the temple in Zechariah 4:10. Not to glorify Zerrubbabel but so that others would know the Lord of Heaven's armies was the One doing the sending. Just like this passage we began our work and let God do the orchestrating.
One by one, the kids came into the gates. We started with two groups of less than ten kids.
One by one, the dollars to fund our programs and staff came in as well.
God in all His infinite wonder provided a way for ten kids to come be a part of the beginning of something beautiful being done in our hearts.
God in all His almighty power began to sprout life from the seeds inlaid deep within our hearts.
God in all His glory cared about a very small community tucked into a neighborhood in Croix Des Bouquets, Haiti. Cared about the kids coming and cared about the two crazy older kids (twenty-nine year olds to be exact) who desired to see this community center come into being.
I am always blown away by how small I am, my life is, in comparison to the rest of the world. But I'm learning what we consider insignificant God considers valuable. Let me say that a little louder for the people in the back: YOU MATTER TO GOD! Your dreams and visions matter to the God of the universe. The smallest detail of your life matters to God. He knows the very number of hairs on your head and He cares about them, God does not overlook any detail of your life because He is in every detail.
So here we are, almost a year in operation, reflecting on the beautiful way God molded our small beginning and how His hands have formed the way we do our day to day here. His fingerprints are evident wherever we look- the smiles of the kids, the goofy goat wandering the property, the many community outreach events we have hosted, He is prominent in every aspect of the dream we are living.
"Taste and See that the Lord is GOOD!" psalm 34:8
We are almost one year into the mix and the growth God has done is incredible! We went from two employees to TEN!
Less than ten kids to EIGHTY enrolled!
Stay tuned next week for Part II of this jubilee journey.
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw