Hallie and I took Margalitha swimming last weekend. It definitely took her some time before she was willing to jump in, but she didn't just sit on the side of the pool like I thought she would. The girl stands on the edge, looks at me like, "you know you gotta save me, right?" and jumps in towards me. She then clung to me like a koala bear until we found a little float for her. All while standing in 3 feet of water. But she loved swimming, and wants to go swim all the time now. Here's a little bit of our adventure:
Ice cream & crepes & crepes. Last week, Hallie and I took the 3 oldest boys to Epidor. We bought them chicken crepes and ice cream. Spending time with these boys is always an adventure. At one point on the way home, I had to do a 5 point turn in the middle of 4 lanes of traffic. I say 5 point turn, because our beloved SUV is so well-used that it leaks power steering fluid. All 3 boys slumped down to the floor as I'm waving, laughing, and apologizing to everyone yelling at me. (If anyone would like to donate a car to the orphanage that holds power steering fluid, please let me know). Epidor is always an adventure, as we also went there on Sunday with adoptive families on their bonding trip and their children, most of whom are hardly ever out of the orphanage. Interesting to say the least. Here are pics of our date with the boys:
On a more serious note, one things that we've been facing recently is the reality of spiritual warfare. For those of you who just raised your eyebrows, as a Christian, I firmly believe that there is always a battle going on between good and evil. Ultimately, God has the power, but Satan uses anything he can to grab our attention away from anything that gives God glory. In Haiti, this fight is much more tangible- everything is much more black and white. You're either with Jesus, or you're not. Here, voodoo is very common- and voodoo worshippers call down the physical form of Satan to give them power. As a Christian here, you better have your armor on or you're gonna be a little bit freaked out. We as Christians are attacked daily by temptations and distractions of sin. Sometimes Satan chooses to use more tangible means to get our attention. Anything that scares us or causes us to live in fear is distracting us from what we are here to do. But it doesn't have to be that way. Sometimes it pushes us closer to the Comforter and One who ultimately has the power. Christians in Haiti know this very well.
I have been so encouraged the past few weeks, that amid spiritual attacks, the people we are surrounded by are not fearful. Our orphanage director, Pierre, and I had this conversation recently:
"Lauren, do you trust that God protects you?" yes. "Then you know that He wins the battle, right?" yes. "And you know that to fight this evil that you encounter you pray and read the Word to give you strength and wisdom, and that there is power in the name and blood of Jesus that is greater than anything you can face?" yes. "Then that is all you need." And I'm over here like, "yeah, noo, right now all I need is YOU to pray with me, and stay with us, and do whatever the heck you need to do so that this fight is over."
But Pierre is right- there is nothing to fear. Being aware that there is good and evil, and being able to recognize it is not wrong. Knowing that as Christians we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us so that evil flees because we have acknowledged Whose we are is awesome. But this fight is real, and if I said it was never scary, I'd be lying. But I don't walk in fear. I may have moments of doubt or uneasiness, but I don't dwell on the things that are here to test me. I focus on Who I am in Christ, that as His child, and that because of that, no harm can come to me. That I was called here, to this place and to these children, and I am going to be all here, not in fear. Pierre said, just remember, "read your Bible...and don't freak out." To hear a Haitian say that in English is really funny, and we're like, "alright Pierre, thanks man..." But really- if you're gonna say you believe something, you better really believe it. I'm praying for faith- right now it's a little bigger than a mustard seed. But it's there, and God uses it for His glory and to display His power and protection.
I'm praying for others in my house, that they will be protected, knowing that I can't do that, but trusting that He will keep them close to Him. Haitian believers and our entire house have come together as a community, to encourage each other daily, and live this life together. Not in fear, but in trusting that "He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it." He keeps his promises of the Psalms- that He is here as our refuge and strength, and His promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13- "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
God is good. We are surrounded by people who love us, and I know that in the States, countless people are praying for our protection. But pray also that we will come to a greater knowledge of just how big and how great our God is. That through all of these things, that Margalitha's faith will grow. That she will walk in the knowledge of the One who protects her daily, as His child. This fight is real, wherever we are. The battle of good and evil in constantly going on, in decisions we make, in actions we take, and in the way we love one another. As for us, we know who we're living for. I pray that we can live out what we claim to believe.
**photos courtesy of Hallie Warren, my lovely roomie & fabulous photographer.