Saturday, May 24, 2014

Blessed by these College Friends

College in Florida! Something I would often lead with...but really going to Pensacola Christian was a quick decision but also a really great one! I met some of my best friends in College and learned so many lessons.

Today one of those friends just had a baby girl! I am so proud of her and husband Tommy....for waiting for this baby and for the gift that she is.

Some really awesome memories took place in college but really I am so honored to be able to know some of these amazing girls and where God is leading them...

Engaged! So proud of Angie and Drew

Mutia-The graduate nurse and her new wheels

Mama and baby!

Beauties at the Beach

Beautiful baby girl Makenna Kate 

Reminiscing about college years (Caroline is about to start her last year at Liberty..) and just talking about what a great time/lots of lessons learned. Its funny how sometimes situations with friends can seem so crazy but really these girls that I met at Pensacola are some of the best....

Paj~ I'm so proud of you for following your heart and listening to the call God has put in your spirit. I'm so proud of you for finishing your Masters, and without missing a beat starting a second one! I know your heart is to reach others for the gospel and man how humbled I am to hear you speak about loving others for Christ.

Giordana~ Thank you for coming to Haiti! For sharing my love and for serving alongside. You have a big heart Gee and I know that God continues to work good things in your favor. Your smile and laughter are contagious. You will move mountains, you are a great girl and God will continue to bless you as you seek to honor him.

Jess Jess~ Eskimo Jess! You beautiful.. are a blessing. A blessing to those you meet and interact with but especially a blessing to a little baby girl :) I am so proud of you and thankful for you. In college as we try to figure out who we are you were so instrumental as I tried to navigate that process, thank you.

Mutia~ Budi man who knew that 4809 would end up like this? God knew exactly what He was doing when He brought the four of us together and He continues to bless and honor. I am thrilled that you will be staying at PCC to get your Masters and am so proud of all your accomplishments. Mut I knew you were capable of great things and I know you will continue to amaze. So proud!

Franki~ Oh man I know whenever I see you it will be a good time! I loved all the fun girls nights...what a treat to be with you on your wedding day! To see you and Chad committ your life to each other! Girl I am so blessed to know you and know that I can't wait to see you again soon. 

Angie~ You amaze me pal..God has such an amazing testimony in you. Your passion is so real and honest and I am so grateful that you and Drew have found that same passion in Jesus. Since I first met you I knew God had great plans for you. I am looking forward to your wedding and to the new adventure that God has laid out for you. Girl you are amazing and through everything you are, you!

Denice~Denice Moore for President! Girl one year that's it! One year at Pensacola and life has not been the same. God truly has brought you into this world to be one amazing woman. You are a great wife and will be an amazing mama! 

Girls on the 3rd floor~ Truly I had such an incredible Senior year because of you girls. My love for other people and cultures came from late nights in 3rd hall. What a blessing to be able to be with each of you. To know you, study with you, and to pray with you. Such a joy I found everytime I walked onto your floor

These are only a few. A few of the woman that have been influential in my life. There are so many many more in Haiti, Pensacola, Minnesota and honestly all over the world. 

I am blessed to know each of you and am blessed to work alongside each of you as we serve this world for Christ and His kingdom.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace
1 Peter 4:8-10

Saturday, May 10, 2014

What is Haiti's Greatest Need?

I asked our drivers/translators this question and some of their answers were...


Haiti's greatest need is for the Savior! No matter where you were born, what kind of house you live in, who your parents are, everyone's greatest need is for the Savior of the World to grant them access into the kingdom of Heaven. As Christians, we have accepted this free gift of grace, now we are asked in Matthew 28 to Go into the world and tell others of this Great News! Our job is not just to "pay the bills," to socialize with friends, or work on self-improvement but rather we have a greater calling to tell others about the love and benefits that come with a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Christian life is not an easy life but a fulfilling life. Personally I know that I would rather be exhausted by the end of the day doing God's will than relaxed pursuing my own pleasures. 

Acknowleding Haiti's need for a Savior and that as one works to be the hands and feet of Christ in Haiti we also know that Haiti is in need of more opportunities. 

Education is taken for granted by so many that some look at it as a right and not a privilege. However I have witnessed enough mama's beg for money to pay for their children's school, children willing to wash car windows to help supplement school costs, and young kids that grow up in a tent cite that already as a toddler and elementary aged kid understand they will never be apart of the 50% of kids in Haiti that actually do go to school.1*

True orphans is a phrase I learned while living in Haiti. True orphans? aren't all orphans..true orphans? This name has been placed on children that are living while both their father and their mother have passed away. Often times in Haiti orphanages are filled with kids that have parents but the parents are not able to financially support their child, these kids are sent to an orphanage. 

Financially Supporting a family anywhere in the world is a difficult task. One that seems even more difficult when the jobs are so scarce. In 2010 the unemployment rate was 40.6%. With 10.41 million people living in Haiti that means over 4 million people are without jobs on this small island of Haiti.*2 Personally I think these numbers are lower than reality and I believe the unemployment rate is really quite higher. Now if those that can't find a job actually do find a job, is that a game changer for the whole family? Not necessarily. Unfortunately in Haiti there are quite a few issues regarding paying a fair wage. Factory workers are often part of those that work long hours with little pay.*3 I want to mention this is not one side is right and one side is wrong type of issue; I think there are many factors but one thing I always want to be aware of is my own personal responsibility.

Am I doing my job in the best way? Am I glorifying God? Colossians 3:23 says that whatever we do (our job, hobbies, recreation, family/friends, house...) we are to work at it with all of our heart as working for the Lord and not for man.

"the single biggest challenge we’re facing right now is finding people who are willing to retool, retrain, reboot and learn a truly useful skill from the ground up — and work, show up early, stay late and work."*4 Mike Rowe is speaking to America but I believe also this applies to those in Haiti. From an employer's perspective I know that when quality work happens day in and day out it does not go unnoticed, rather it puts employees in the running for rewards and advancement.

I believe if we are able to provide more jobs and create a better education learning experience for children then issues related to lack of food will no longer be such a need. Once we walk along side others to pick themselves up we can empower people to make wise decisions and to own the consequences of their decisions. Living in Haiti in many ways is very different than the states but I am learning that it is also very similar. Daily God continues to show me what his expectations are of me. One of my favorite verses is Micah 6:8 "And what does the Lord require of you? To Act Justly, To Love Mercy and To walk humbly before your God." That is what He wants from me, to be fair and just with those I come into contact with, to love and thrive on mercy with others and overall humbly allow God to work and mold me into the woman He's creating me to be. 

My Greatest need is Jesus and I am reminded daily that without him I can do nothing. However, because of the Holy Spirit that lives within me He is able to do more than I can immeasurably imagine. To know that the Creator of the universe hears the prayers from my heart, the prayers of a mama wanting to send her children to school, for a father that wants to work with dignity or even the prayer of a young child that yearns for food to fill his belly--the fact that all of these prayers are answered by a Justful, Merciful and Soverign Savior that gives me hope for the future and peace for today. 



Sunday, April 27, 2014

How often do I say, "I'll pray for you?"

This blog post has been on my mind for quite awhile and really has been heavy on my heart. This honesty and rawness is something that isn't easy for me as I often want to know all the right answers and the do all the right things but I need to be honest and open so that God can truly work on my heart. The thought is; how often do I tell people, "I'll pray for you?" I will say a quick prayer in the moment but unless I'm reminded again I often find myself just making that one prayer. How is it that others can be so open and honest with me about the depths of their prayers?

Naturally I am not one to ask for prayer requests. I remember in college we had prayer group and I found it easy to ask for prayers for friends, family, or maybe even an upcoming test--but REAL NEEDS? PERSONAL STRUGGLES? That seemed like something that was only between me and God. However God has called each of us to pray for each other. I read an article in the Christian Post that answers the question about hesitating to ask others for prayer. Such good insight into even the apostle Paul asking for prayers. God has designed each of us in a unique way but we are made to create relationships and bonds with others, prayer--honest heartfelt prayers--are a way that we are able to connect spiritually with those around us.

In high school for a brief time I put a bunch of notes on my wall trying to remember to pray for the things/people around me. As I often find myself forgetting this was a great way to remind myself of others needs and prayers. I think sometimes God ignites in us thoughts and ideas as kids that we really don't understand until later. Maybe this is my later? :)

Luke 12:48 is a verse that reminds me about the wealth that God has given me as an American, is something that I will be accountable for. I want to be a good steward of the prayers that others have entrusted me with. To take these prayers and requests to heart and to pray over those I come into contact with. So often I am blessed with the ability to meet some of the most generous people and I feel humbled to be near them, to witness staff give everyday while on the field with the teams--see team members coming back to Haiti and creating real bonds with the people they meet--donors that are financially making projects in Haiti exist--and for prayers...mountains and mountains of prayers that have been said all over Haiti and the US for those with abundance and those in poverty--prayers that lost souls would be found.

Those old notes that I wrote as a young girl living at 1801 is something that I want to continue. To write notes in a journal and be reminded to pray for those around me, not just in the moment but continue to pray over the needs of others.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Weekend in Haiti

This blog post is a little late but it really is to show the variety of changes in one weekend. Also getting help from the kids at GV.

Current Status While Typing this blog:
Landen is picking out the photos from this blog. Sierra is amazed by my typing I feel so cool! Poor Austin isn't allowed to play video games and so he has to arrange the icons on his new ipod instead of actually playing the games.

Here are some of Landen's top picks!
                                                    Claudia holding Beethoven

Jeff's Pizza Party for his birthday
Andre helping Meliciane with Jeff's birthday cake
The dogs at the guesthouse were fixed 
Not everyone was happy but it will be much better for us.

Princess post surgery
Landen our photo guru
Sierra and her beautiful hair
Austin organizes his icons
Andy wanted to make sure Michael's picture was in
FYI he did not consume the whole bottle :)
Pastor Fanfan was in Haiti! We miss him

Working Hard
Enjoy the photos! 
Love, Elisa and the Grace kids

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Hello All! It has been a bit and so here are some fun updates...

February 10th I headed to Minnesota for a surprise trip to the 3rd Annual Healing Haiti Sweetheart ball.  :) Man, such a fun trip I was able to meet up with some friends, hold baby Louie :), taught Grandma (82) how to facetime on her new ipad and was able to talk with so many at the sweetheart ball--my poor family so patient!
Me and Hannie Cheesing it before my camera died

This boy is ready for any kind of flash floods


Dave..great to see you man!

Annelisa.Mich.Me.Hannah mah date

Even dede made it out with his beautiful wife Christine

Baby Louie..heart breaker

Salsa Practice with the dental team before the ball

Before I left for Minnesota we had a going away party for Wilson at the end of January. The translators/drivers and I went out for pizza at pizza amoire. While we waited for the food we each went around telling some of our favorite memories of Wilson and our hopes and prayers for his future. Wilson has been a blessing to many and we pray that God would lead him as He becomes the spiritual leader to his new bride and son and that God would be the cornerstone in every situation. It was a great time to be reminded of the blessings of friendship and of how grateful I am for these men of God that serve the teams each week. Lots of laughter, singing and also some tears as this was one of our last nights together.

Me and the Man of the night

Newlyweds~Meliciane and Brunet~

Lookie Lookie

The Crew

These next photos of Brunet just crack me up


Sweat rag comes out

When I got back to Haiti on February 17th I wasn't feeling great. Talking through symptoms and this past week just feeling yucky I took a blood test for Malaria, so thankful that it was NEGATIVE! No worries :) So most likely just a yucky virus and getting use to the temperture difference between MN and Haiti. Man though the scare has now made me put my mosquito net up (purchased in December of 2012) and start taking the chloroquine meds again. 

Haiti is snow free this time of year! Come visit the guesthouse I'd love to see you.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

1 year already?!

January 2014! Woo Hoo :)

Last year at this time I was just starting at the guesthouse. The second house was coming along and we were all anxious about it being ready for two teams the following week. What a blessing to have friends and fellow missionaries together as we opened guesthouse 2.

Erika, Wilson and I prayed before it opened that God would use guesthouse 2 to bring more people to a closer relationship with Him--that God would dwell in the house and that transformation would take place within the walls. God has more than delivered :) The transformation that occurs between Mondays to me is still my favorite part of living in Haiti.

2014...many things to look forward to. One is trying to see what to do next; graduate school? online? Haiti? States?

All I know is that I am called to be faithful and right now Haiti is where I am suppose to be and so Haiti is where I want to be :) I am still pursusing the possibility of going to grad school for Marriage and Family therapy.

As Healing Haiti continues to grow and expand I am so grateful for the many volunteers that sacrifice their time, talents and treasures to bless the least of these. I will never be able to meet each volunteer but if you come on a trip I hope to thank you in person. ;) Truly the difference that God is doing through Healing Haiti, through relationships that are strengthen--I am in awe of His mighty plan. Lives are changing everyday and here we are witnessing that change.

Missionary Kathy scrubbing the floors
preparing for our Jan. 2013 opening

Skye's Final trip home :(

We stayed at the beach for a night 
during Long-term missionary week

Went to Holidazzle and Macy's Santaland
with friends 

Poor Baby Jesus...MN was too cold
MN is getting pretty nasty at Winter time
I think it must be time to head back to Haiti

All better :)

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

Blessings to all in 2014 and hope to see you at the Healing Haiti guesthouse soon!

Elisa Laura