By Bailey Kalvelage | Director of Mobilization
We must go, live to feed the hungry Stand beside the broken We must go Stepping forward, keep us from just singing Move us into action We must go…*
Singing in church, these words began to resound in Jayne’s heart like never before. As her voice rang out, she realized that the Lord was speaking to her, calling her to Haiti. Long in the making was her desire to serve and love on children, to go on a trip just like this. And now as a young believer and 61 years old, right when she wasn’t expecting it, God spoke these words into action and Jayne knew, she “must go.”
As part of World Orphans Mobilization Team, teams from the US continue traveling to Haiti, Uganda, Kenya, and more, and I never get tired of hearing about God’s work. It’s truly amazing to watch our Father, who knows each of us intricately, choose specific people “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). It was such a joy for me to sit and visit with Jayne as she relayed her recent trip to Haiti as part of a church partnership team, and I’d like to share it with you. I hope that as you read you will see God’s mighty hand, and that when He calls you, you too will go.
Jesus, You have called us Freely we've received Now freely we will give…*
One of 12 women, Jayne’s team spent the first three days of their trip assisting the women of Eglise de la Bonne Nouvelle in holding their very first women’s conference! A rock-star team of Haitian women planned the entire event, including speakers and small group discussions on “Being a Woman of God” -- in the church, in ministry, and at home. With the hope of helping the church start and build their women’s ministry, Jayne excitedly told me that her team sought to, “Let them know that as women we’re equal; we share the same kinds of hardships,” regardless of our culture. Ladies from all walks of life were open to discussion, sharing stories and testimonies, talking about ideas of how to handle this or that, and just loving on each other. She saw God’s beautiful family at work: “God is so good and there’s so much we can do for each other if we just look and listen and pay attention to what’s around us.”
Her trip was not without it’s challenges. As many of you may have heard in the news, the Chikungunya Virus, which causes a fever and debilitating joint pain, headaches, joint swelling, and often a rash is currently prevalent in Haiti. This spread to a few team members, including Jayne. As Jayne shared her story, I anticipated an explanation of how painful this was, complaining about the pain she felt because she chose to go… but it never came. Instead I heard joy upon joy. Recently I’ve been thinking, “How is it that the joy of the Lord can be our strength” (Neh. 8:10)? I smile now as I realize how Jayne has given me a glimpse…
The remainder of the trip was spent visiting with kids and families in the church and orphan-vulnerable child (OVC) program. As Jayne depicted walking hand-in-hand with two smiling and vibrant new friends of hers, Lauren and Kinzie (two of the 20 children in the OVC program), she could see evidence of the 2010 earthquake everywhere, including hills and streets of tent homes and rubble. Devastation was evident. However, this isn’t what Jayne found herself noticing most. Instead it was the polite, laughing, happy children by her side. “Looking past the rubble and seeing the joy on the children’s faces and the beauty…” Jayne just kept thinking, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.”
As they continued to visit homes and give hygiene packages to families on behalf of Eglise de la Bonne Nouvelle, the moment that changed Jayne forever took place. She began to walk through what her team coined as “catacombs”, or narrow passageways of cinder block and cement. Jayne became extremely claustrophobic. Immediately, her small friend Lauren put her arm around the small of her back and guided her through the rest of the passageway. In this instant, Jayne realized, “Who’s saving whom? Who’s rescuing whom?” With tears in her eyes she told me, “It wasn’t about what good work we did, it’s about what I learned; look what I saw and felt! We’re all human and all need something. The body working together. Look at how much we can do!?”
I couldn’t help but think, “Yes! This team got it!” We’re no one’s heroes and we never will be. We don’t go to save or rescue anyone. As humans, our deepest need is for Christ and this is a hole that all the money, physical fitness, and even our most treasured relationships cannot fill. Jesus is the one that saves us from depravity, no matter the form it takes, and He is the one who makes us new, transforming us to live abundantly. Teams that travel from one culture to another must go in light of the Gospel, and as they do they recognize we are all equally helpless and finite before our loving Creator and in need of an all-powerful, all-knowing Savior. Oh yes! And equally loved!!
God of Justice, Savior to all Came to rescue the weak and the poor Chose to serve and not be served…*
I know first-hand that the Northridge team went well equipped with extremely talented, loving, humble women. And as they put down their own needs and desires throughout the trip, God used them in powerful ways to help empower His loved ones in Haiti to be the extending arms of the Haitian church to families in the community. And in turn, they too were loved, changed, empowered, and helped.
What a privilege to share in Jayne’s very first short-term mission trip! As we talked together, prayed together, and laughed together, Jayne left me with this: “I don’t want to feel sorry for them. I want to be part of what can I do to help the Haitians build [their country] back up and get them going again. Our church isn’t just saying here’s money go do something, but we’re bringing a team, working with their team, working together to build their own church to feel productive, proud, get back into growth, and now they know that there are other people that care and want to help.”
In her time there, Jayne didn’t just engage her hands and feet, but her heart. Since returning she’s been learning and diving into anything she can get her hands on about Haiti. She is brainstorming about how relationships formed throughout the trip can be built through letters and future visits. The two churches know that they are family. Praise the Lord!
To act justly everyday Loving mercy in every way Walking humbly before You God…*
Maybe you’re being called to knock on the door of your next-door neighbor’s home; maybe you’re being called to pray for the hurting and displaced in Iraq; maybe you wake up everyday and are called to love your family well. Whatever God calls you to, now and in the future, I pray you will always go in light of the Gospel with arms of love and humility.
Thank you for journeying with Jayne and me to Haiti and back by reading this blog! I trust you enjoyed the ride as much as I did. What about you: To what is the Lord calling you? How have you seen Him work when you’ve been willing to act on his calling, big or small?
“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39).