Friday, February 22, 2013


I have been wrecked!  Yes, that is the best word to describe it.

My baby girl was sound asleep in my arms and my other little one was watching a video, so I took advantage of the peaceful and quiet moment.  I grabbed my laptop and clicked over to one of my favorite blogs called
 A Holy Experience

 This blog is written by Ann Voskamp, who is a gifted writer, farmer's wife, mommy of six, and passionate lover of Jesus. Have you ever read her blog or books?  Her writing challenges me, encourages me, and presses me into the Lord in deep ways.

So this morning, as I clicked around to read one of Ann's posts, tears began to flow fast down my face.  My heart ached and my spirit so resonated with every single word written on the screen before me. 

Ann was recounting her time on a missions trip to Haiti and the many things God stirred in her heart while she was there.  She told stories of the reality, asked hard questions, and shared about her hatred for sin, for poverty, and for injustice.  She so beautifully put into words things I have struggled with and thought about as I have lived in a slum in Brazil for the past 5 years.
 Here are two snapshots Ann took while in Haiti. If you like, you can also read Ann's thought provoking post yourself by clicking here.  It is quite a long post, but totally worth the read.

Photo by Ann Voskamp

Photo by Ann Voskamp

As I said before, after reading this post and seeing these beautiful images, I was a mess!  A complete wreck!  Red faced, ugly crying, stirred deeply and feeling a strong conviction and confirmation of our life direction as a family.

The part that most struck my heart was when Ann herself asks a question to her translator.
Here is a portion of the text from the post...


... when our Haitian Compassion translator, Johnny, stands in The Alpha Hotel with its rats running down the hallways, he tells us how, after getting his BA in Florida, he’d got his MDiv in North Carolina.

How he’d come back to Haiti to work for Compassion, and took in 5 starving Haitian orphans to raise with his own 3 and saved to send all 8 of them to university.

How he’d walked out of the Hotel Montana not 30 seconds before it collapsed in the earthquake and how after the quake, how he’d climbed from one tree to the next, all down the mountain from the Montana, all the roads blocked with rubble and death, wild to find his kids and wife somewhere in Port Au Prince that is home.

And that’s when I couldn’t stop it – when it came out of me, a whisper, but still too loud.

Like an angry fool, I had asked him, laid my hand on his arm and quietly begged him, “Johnny, I know you were born here – but someday — couldn’t you take your family and move to a land like the States?

Just step over the rubble and beggars and latrines and garbage and gangs and just get your family out of this place where you were born and come find the land of the free? It’s ugly, but it’s what I thought for our friend:  
You only get one life here and who really wants to spend it in the slums?

And he looked me in the eyes and he waited, searching mine.  Searching for a way to get the truth right into me, me born into the lap of ease of the West and homesick for the farm and wanting everyone to have the relative ease of the middle class.

“But I am Moses.” Johnny speaks it deep, his eyes never leaving mine, his fatherly hand gently squeezing mine, soothing out my roaring wail.

I am Moses. I do not leave my kindred.

And the whole planet and all my heart reverberates.  I am Moses. I do not leave my kindred. 

You don’t leave your kin to save your own skin.
You don’t stay in the palace if you want anybody to find deliveranceespecially yourself.
You don’t forget who your brother is — when you know Who your Father is.


As I read these words, my heart was struck... I first was reminded of my husband, who (in a way) is a Moses...  God has given Him a huge heart for his kindred, specifically the poor and the children of his own land, Brazil. 

I was also reminded of a word the Lord gave to me when I moved to Brazil back in 2007.   My best friend Jessica actually sent this scripture to me in an encouraging letter during my first days in Brazil.

"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God."  
~Ruth 1:16~

When I married my Brazilian husband, this scripture also rang true.  I was commiting myself not only to another person, but also to another people.  Now, after years of living in Brazil, marrying into a Brazilian family, and giving birth to my two precious daughters in Brazil, I feel the truth of this scripture so strongly.  The people in Brazil are "my people. They have become "my kindred" too.
When I read Ann's question:
 You only get one life here and who really wants to spend it in the slums?

 I instantly thought, "WE DO!!!"

Yes, like this dear Haitian translator, we too want to stay in the slums.
It may seem crazy, but that's okay.
We want to be among the poor sharing the love and hope of Christ to the needy ones.

We long to see kids and teens meeting Christ at a young age, walking in light and in love, rather than down a dark path of gang involvement, violence, prostitution, drug addiction, depression - ultimately death.

Reading Ann's post was a confirmation of our calling.
I am reminded and encouraged yet again of His path for us as a family in missions.  

We are called to reach out in faith, to remain in the land, and not to forget our brothers and sisters in great need living in the thousands of slums in Brazil.

I was wrecked today, yes, but in a good way;
broken and available,
 undone in the center of the Lord's hands,
ready to do His will as He leads us each step of the way,
and longing, more than ever before, to be His hands and feet
 to "our kindred" in the slums of Brazil... 


  1. Very moved by your word. It's very easy to leave the slums and get used to the US. But you, my friend, did the opposite. You left your comfy home land and went to the slums to serve and share the love of our God.
    I admire you deeply! I pray for you daily and just like I said back in 2007,God is with you and will always give you peace no matter the circumstances.

    1. Thanks so much Rachel! :-) Appreciate so much your prayers and encouragement.