Wednesday, February 15, 2012

When are we going back to Haiti?

Its a question we are getting asked every day, and the truth is we don't know the answer.

When we came back to Brisbane for a break and to begin raising our support we didn't know how long we would be here. We guessed we would be back in Haiti by some time in January 2012. Yet here we are midway through Febuary and we still dont know what the timeline looks like.

The truth is our support raising has not gone the way we assumed it would. When we left Australia bound for Haiti in 2010 we paid our own way, we sold almost everything and used our savings to finance the mission. We knew clearly God had called us to Haiti but we had no clue why or what we were to do there, so we didnt feel comfortable asking people to support us when we had so few details.

We thought our money would last until around August 2011 but by the grace of God our savings lasted until November 2011. Having now spent all of our savings winning the lotto, robbing a bank or raising the support we need are the only ways to go back to where we know we are supposed to be.

Robbing a bank would be an unlikely and uncharacteristic choice, winning lotto an unlikely option seeing as we don't buy tickets, so support raising it is. 

 I am not sure what we where expecting. We must have had a rather romantic view of how the support raising would go. I guess we thought we would tell our story, tell the story of what God was doing in and through us and that would be it enough, everyone would climb over each other to want to be part of it. Ok maybe not climb over each other but at least jump at the chance of being part of something big, something different, something life changing.

To some degree that has happened some of our nearest and dearest have got behind us straight away, which is extremely encouraging. What has also been encouraging is the surprises, the people that supported us that we have never even met before. People that have heard our story from others and decided they wanted in on the action.

Although we are deeply greatful for the support we have recieved and so excited to see who is coming on this journey with us we are still very short of what we need to raise before we can get on the plane. Becasue we are constantly getting asked this question I felt I needed to let everyone know exactly where we are at.

A good friend who's currently a missionary in Haiti once said to me "Don't leave home without the support you need, Haiti is stressful enough without worrying about how you will pay for food." As much as I am more than happy to get on a plane and wait to see how God provides I can see the wisdom of what my friend and others back home are saying. Wait on God get the funds together and then get on a plane.

So how much do we still need before we can go?

We still need to raise around $40,000. I know that's sounds like a huge number but when you break it down it becomes so much more managable.

We have upfront costs like plane tickets and rent etc but we also have monthly expenses like food, electricity etc. So if you prefer to join with us on a monthly basis that's great or if you would prefer up front that is also totally fine. Please let me be clear we are not trying to put pressure on anyone we simply wanted to tell you all where we are up too and why we have not left Australia yet.

We are also on the look out for more prayer partners if you would like to be a committed prayer partner please click the link below and we will add you to the team.

So here we are stuck between two worlds, still loving and soaking up the time with family and friends banking memories, all the while longing to be where we know we are supposed to be working with and loving the Haitian people. As you finish reading this would you please pray for us that the support we need will come in and that as we wait we will have His peace knowing His timing is perfect.

If you would like to be a prayer partner please click here.

If you would like to be a financial partner please click here.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to call me on 0468 364 701 or email me here.

If you would like us to come and speak at your church or home group please email me here.

Thank-you for being on this journey with us.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hitting the wall

Blog By Barry

26th January 2012 2:55am Woken by the alarm and straight away the excitement level begins to rise knowing today means so much not just to Bec and I, but many who have journeyed with us over the last 5 years since our little boy Isaac went to be with the Lord.

Many months ago I was given a big vision. A vision to run 500km across Haiti. A vision to raise money to build the Heartline Maternity Centre. Maternal Care is obviously close to our hearts and the Heartline team are a shinning light providing care to women who otherwise would have no access to any care or support. Mid last year I remember running 3 km in village theodat where we lived in Haiti, thinking this is crazy I am so unfit how am I suppose to fulfill this vision.  I have not run a marathon in 11 years. Yet here I am getting ready to run the first of many more marathons.

The weather man had predicted that 80mm of rain would be dump before 9am. Praise God, no rain. It's very dark, but there is no rain this morning. Into the pre-run routine I begin. Get dressed check, Banana check, Water, Gels, Gatarade check, check, check, Apply many layers of non chaffing cream in unmentionable places, check. Wake Bec up without waking the rest of the house and finalize preparations for running 4 hours today on Australia day, Check. Prepared for the start of a 'new story', check.

3:50 am Bec drives out the driveway of the house where our friends and 2 boys are still sleeping peacefully.

4:10am We drive into the gates of the small garden cemetery at Mogill. We make a joke about driving into a cementary in the dark and hope none of the neighbors see the lights and call the police. This is where Isaacs ashes lie, but not where his spirit is. We know his spirit is secured in Heaven with his heavenly father but this new story needed a start so this is the best place to motivate such a challenge. 42.2 km run what was I thinking seriously!!!!.

We left the car lights on so we could see the plaques of Isaac and my dad who rests beside his ashes. After we prayed and Bec took some photos it was time to kick this short jog off. I wondered if this is the the first marathon that has started in a cemetery.

4:22 am and off we go at a record shuffle out of the cemetery and into the dark, Bec in tow with the lights on to illuminate the road like a lamp unto my feet. 1 km in there is an echidna crawling across the road in front of me. The things you see at 4:30 am. The first 6 km Bec continued to follow with lights ablaze until the sun rose enough to make it safe although there was some flashes of light from behind which turned out to be Bec taking photo's of the slow progress being made sweat dripping from the dark figure in front of her.

Running in the dark

5:05am ahead of schedule I reach the 9 km mark at our church where my friend Bruce joins the jog for the next 8 km of bike paths towards the city, Bruce is a great encouragement being early to the check point and topping up the water bottles which allowed for a smooth transition into the next phase of the run this was a good reminder we are never alone when we are in community. Praise God. Everything continues pretty smoothly for the next 8 km into Anzac park Toowong we ran along the concrete bike path, hmmm not so smart when running longer distances to include 8 km of concrete.  Note taken for next time minimize running on concrete.

6:00am shuffling along at 5:30 minute k pace my old school friend Matty Bourke appears. He is the mate who is responsible for introducing me to running at 21 years of age, he can run a 2 hr:45 minute time for the marathon which I guess qualifies him as coach for the day. Everything is looking great a top guy to help drag me home for the last 25 km's, we said goodbye to Bruce. Thank you Bruce for the support very much appreciated.

We are also joined at this stage by Carl who can also run really quick. He recently won the 10.5km Mo Dash up Mt Cootha in 36 minutes, so I felt confident with two quality runners by my side and 25 km of paths ahead.

Friendly banter unfolded over the next 5 km as we hit the Brisbane river and continue into the city, 5:10 pace I see on the gps watch. Hang on that's too quick so the guy's let me set the pace and try to keep my mind off the time and the pain that was setting in to the legs that have covered 21 km in 1:54 on schedule but cracks appearing.

We continue across the story bridge in the city at snails pace people pass us like we are stuck to the bridge and one of the boys yells 'come on Baz that guy's taking you, let's lift', the problem is there was nothing to lift. The humidity had drained me more than I expected. The training was a little under done. But too much was riding on finishing this marathon today so stopping was never an option.

Onward we pushed. My running companions are used to running sub 4 minute km's but they continues to shuffle next to my train wreck at 6:50 min pace and still they play there role making comments to make me laugh. I had no energy  to laugh on the outside only inside dialogue and re assessing where things are at how long people at the park who were gathering would have to wait while this run/ shuffle continued to loop the river and head back to the finish line some 13.6 km away.

We past the retirement home where my dad spent his last 5 years of life, regular walk breaks now as breathing becomes difficult and I remember dads journey trapped in a deteriorating body and how he would have loved to of walked again. Must push on through.

7:09 am I feel the wall coming. The wall that you hit when your whole body says "STOP, STOP, STOP NOW or I WILL, this is your Final Warning, no really I mean it" I thought to myself "there is too much riding on this run, you will simply continue to put one foot in front of the other and repeat until otherwise informed thank you."

This is where you learn from all the past times you may have hit the wall physically, emotionally, spiritually and your body says 'stop please' but you know there is something else at play a battle for the story that is being written through your life by the author of life and when you realize you have one simple choice, do I surrender my life and let God write the story?

But we try to write our own stories to protect what we know we don't want to be broken, our Hearts. When your heart has been shattered it's too easy to take control back and try with all your strength to protect it so we live a life that's safer right? We only let those in who we can trust, do things we know we can achieve in our strength with our abilities/ giftings but that's not what God designed us for.

I am still figuring this out too, but I know beyond knowing beyond knowing that I know God's script is way better than anything I could produce in 'safeville' even when it means your heart will be broken over and over because thats where we learn to surrender and to live lives that serve others and glorify His name, take risks for the one who knows all things how we begin and how we will end and when we realize and trust in Him we can live more freely indeed.

7:45am Wall still firmly in front of me. Tim Roberts joins us for the final 9 km, for a fit guy this 9 km would have been the slowest of his life but muchly appreciated for helping bring this thing home Tim. At this point the boys have tried humor, encouragement and even flat coca cola to pep things up but the wall continues step after step after step, can someone build me a door so I can get through this wall pleeaassee.

9 km that's nothing, I ran that easily in training 45 minutes hmmm something's changed since training maybe the other 33kms already covered.  On we go shuffle shuffle, then the thought of maybe the legs will give in then what, maybe this last 3 hrs and 20 minutes has taken too much out of the tank at this point I yell "oh please Holy spirit help"! Don't quite know what all the other runners thought on the path but I was desperate. I had read that you can train for the first 32 km of a marathon and the last 10 is what you have inside that gets you home. Similar to my first marathon in Sydney 2000 at the 32km mark I hit the wall at 2 hrs mark on track for sub 3 hours and spent the next 1 hour 20 walking to the home bush stadium before jogging the last lap of the stadium and finishing in 3:26 what a lesson that day, fast forward 12 years and realizing this is going to go overtime I surrender all I had left which wasn't much, breathing was shallow, legs cramping sun and humidity high it is such an uncomfortable feeling right now.

I flash back to 5 years earlier when at the similar time we found out our son Isaac was not coming home, not going to open his little eyes and take his first breath, the chaos in the room as the medical specialist had done all they could to revive his little body, I remember looking at Bec who had endured hours of labour and done an incredible job in trying to deliver Isaac naturally. I realized she did not know yet what had happened and what this meant, physically exhausted, emotionally drained things had changed forever, Isaac lay lifeless on the resuscitation table and I did not realize it then but this moment would change everything in our lives. It was the wall you don't see coming. Bec's cries as she realized what had happened will be etched into my soul for the rest of my life, the pain of loosing a child, the brokeness of a heart only God can heal.

9am not far to go we hit the 40 km mark shuffle 400 meters walk 50 meters this is what the marathon has been reduced too, still three guy's shuffle alongside with encouraging words and talk of what's for breakfast at the end of this run. Australia day Pancakes cooked on a BBQ in a beautiful park with family and friends.

2.2 km till this pain stops, this first chapter of our new story is coming to a close. We head for Anzac park a couple of sets of traffic lights to negotiate, past the Regatta hotel, past the Toowong roundabout car dealerships, gee would have been much easier to drive the 42 km today that's for sure. 

We hit the path and Tim pulls out his iPhone for a photo finish nothing like a photo to tell the story of what happened on this day a moment in time.

4:18 on the Gps and 42.3 km covered, Its over you can stop now, it's over time to celebrate with the guy's as I call them in for a thank you huddle, it's over breath easy again my friends, its over 6 months training and things had not gone to plan but it's over, time to go a meet up with everyone at the park.

Baz at the end of the 42km's

When we arrive at the park to meet our friends they are gathered together and clap us in. The slow calm clap that gains in momentum and becomes very loud. All the emotion of the day all welled up and I couldn't hold back my emotion. Their love washed over me and I knew I wasn't alone in this.

We enjoyed pancakes, cricket, egg and spoon races, egg tossing and a new game destined for greatness 'lammington skirmish'. We celebrated this new redemptive story one He is writing through us and in us, a story where you all have played a part, from then to now and going forward but it's not over, the story is just beginning there is a much bigger challenge ahead this year it involves the beautiful Haitian people and 500 km of Haitian roads to run. We can share their story and how His story is being written as a small part of the redemptive plan for Haiti.

I thank you for all your support over the years as family and friends, for making this Australia day a new story but more importantly helping in making a new story for the people in Haiti who face more than a marathon each day in their lives, I invite you to be part of the next chapter in our lives and celebrating what can happen when we surrender our lives to the author of life.

Pancakes anyone?

The pancake kitchen

Jo B showing how a good pancake is made.
Egg and Spoon race for the little kids

Raw egg throwing for the big kids.
Us and  Jo B

Matty and Baz

Bit of Cricket

Bec braving the sweat.

Some of the boys, Paul, Grant and Pommy Dan

Katie and Neen

Kel and Bec

Some of the girls (from back left) Kami, Kathryn, Rach (front row left) Anna and Kylie

Kami and Andrew relaxing

Thanks to Jo B and Tim Roberts for some of the photo's