Back to Haiti!

We head back to Haiti tomorrow. It's LQVE's 8th trip in less than two years.

It's incredibly unnatural. Expensive. Uncomfortable. Time-consuming. Draining. The hardest thing I do.

It's also super natural. Priceless. Comforting. An investment of time. Rewarding. The best thing I do.

(photo cred: Vulgamores/LQVE HAITI INSTAGRAM)

New Book Out

The long gestation period from idea to actual book happened this week. "DEATH HOPE & THE LAUGHTER OF GOD' is finally out and in online stores everywhere. It's not about LQVE, per se, but Haiti is mentioned. Check it out on Amazon! 

Meanwhile, we're getting ready for our next trip to Haiti. The week of March 13, a group is heading down from MidAmerica Nazarene University and a group from Mission Church. We'll be working on adding classroom space to the school in Cascade Pichon, and rebuilding a Cholera Treatment Unit in Gran Gosier. Your prayers are appreciated. Hey, you should go with us when we go back in July! We're taking deposits now. It's July 17-24. The emphasis will be on soccer, but even if you're not a soccer player, there will be plenty to do. Email me at jonathanfoster72@yahoo.com for more info. 

Nurse Maryse

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This is Nurse Maryse. Born, raised, educated in Haiti. LQVE is honored to be partnering with the federation of Cascade Pichon, Haiti, in helping Maryse work full time in S/E Haiti. LQVE started by working on soccer fields, but it didn't take long before we became aware of other needs. After several trips where we served, met with leaders asking questions, and listening, we were presented with the opportunity to play a part in helping solve local healthcare needs. In Sept, 2016, Maryse became the first nurse to work full-time in this remote area of the world. How great is that?

Healthcare in Haiti

Five nurses from Mission Church (and Shay Foster) spent a week in S/E Haiti last week. Here they are with some Haitian friends, including Nurse Maryse (front row to the right). Your LQVE dollars goes to support Maryse. Don't stop. We're all helping make a difference in this remote part of the world. (Added bonus: Taylor and Arianna are rocking the LQVE FUTBOL shirts. You should get one.) 

One Big, Huge Gift for Us

One of my favorite humans, Shanggo. Principal of the school in Cascade Pichon, Haiti. Photo cred: Dylan Aebersold, from Rhythm. 

When asked about what is going on in with LQVE in Haiti, I always say, "Words fail me." But, then I use words anyhow! Here, at the end of 2016, on Christmas Eve, just a few days before the anniversary of Quincy's death, once again I'll try and use some words to convey my gratitude, but I know they'll fail me. 

When I'm in Haiti, in particular, Cascade Pichon, I always sense Quincy is with us, as if in her short time there, she left her mark. It's probably my over worked imagination, or the mountains, or the ocean, or the sun, or the combination of all of the above, but whatever it is it just feels like it's all lit up with Quincy. I'm quick to add, though, that if her mark is all over Cascade Pichon, then its because Cascade Pichon first left it's mark on her. Haiti loved her and welcomed her with open arms. Her big, long SUV drive deep into the remoteness of its mountains was really just like one big, long hug. That embrace marked her. 

When Quincy left Haiti, something like a hole was left in her heart. When Quincy left us, something like a hole was left in our heart. When we go back to Haiti it feels like we're bringing the two "holes" together... and in the union, they're being filled with something. And this is why I say words fail me. How do you describe this? Many would read this and say, "What are you even talking about? Hugs and holes and unions?" Oh well, it's a blog, and words are all I have. So, yes, it feels like the two "holes" coming together are being filled up in some way. I know what it is, I just can't explain it. 

It's love. 

Not in the cheesy, overused, cliched way we use the word, love. Not as in, "Man, I love chalupas from Taco Bell." No, something much more substantive than that. Love, as in the fabric of the world. That thing that holds it all together, but more than that, 'cuz it's more than a thing! It's the essence of all things! It's with all of us. Yes, it's true, love is what makes you hurt so bad over that relationship, because love is what motivated you to invest so much into the relationship in the first place. But, love is also what mends the hurt. It turns out that it is much stronger, deeper and more expansive than you could have ever imagined. At the end of yourself, you find love. And I think at the end of everything; you'll find love. I doubt, at the end of all that we know, there will be a theological quiz or a request for us to explain the atonement. I guess, in the end, there will simply be an evaluation of love. I speculate, at that moment, you're going to be thinking to yourself, "Oh man, I'm so glad I followed love, and my greatest wish is that I had followed it more!" And when the Bible says that, "every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord," I don't think it'll be because one of the disciples in military garb will be standing over us with a sword demanding our allegiance. I think we will all just fall to our knees in complete and utter joy under the weight of God's love.

Love, like gravity, will flatten all of us.

So, yes, words fail me because we're talking about love. The stuff that's happening in Haiti, for us, is about love. I mean the fact that we get to resource people like Shanggo pictured above is amazing. And we got to hire a full-time nurse this year. Hey, that's what Quincy wanted to do! And building soccer fields? And sending nurses? And sending portable solar power? And partnering with them for a better future? C'mon. That's all just love. It's inexhaustible and indescribable. 

What's happening with LQVE in Haiti? We're just swimming in the wake of love that Quinc left behind while she was swimming in the wake that Jesus left behind. Everyone should be so lucky. It is all one big, huge gift to us. 

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. Thank God for love and new beginnings and thank you to everyone who's prayed for us and joined in with us. May you be lost in love! 

Give a LQVE HAITI Trip Deposit for Christmas!

You know someone who plays or used to play soccer. You know they'd like to use their skills to help someone. You know Haitians love soccer and that LQVE wants to empower Haitian females through soccer. You know LQVE is making a trip July 17-24, 2017 to host soccer clinics with former coaches and players from MidAmerica Nazarene University. If you didn't know all of this, you do now! And so now you can give a Christmas gift that will NEVER be forgotten. $500 nonrefundable deposit is due on Feb 1, 2017. Email us at lqveinfo@gmail.com for more info. 

Super Easy New Way to Support LQVE!

Hey, I am excited to announce that LQVE is benefiting from a new online shopping and entertainment platform put together by our friends at Inspire World. Access it HERE. It’s practical and simple. You get access to thousands of every day, competitively priced retail products that ship for FREE, and LQVE earns 15-20% of every purchase. This isn't about me. I'm not receiving anything from the partnership. It's about LQVE and Haiti. All money LQVE receives will support teachers and healthcare workers in Cascade Pichon, Haiti. Did you know we’re supporting the first full-time nurse in the history of this remote community? How great is that? Haitian families who in generations past have had access to health care only after a two-day hike now have a nurse living in their community and a monthly doctor visit! Thank you for considering this easy way to support LQVE and for sharing it with friends. And thank you Inspire World for helping us support the beautiful families of S/E Haiti! 

Jonathan

Our Hope is in a Different Kind of Politics

This blog is where my head is right now. It has huge implications in dealing with the powers of this world... the powers that would want us to only think of ourselves (the powerful) and not others (the poor). It also has huge implications in dealing with the powers inside of each of us for we all have little candidates campaigning for our heart, but I vote Jesus for President. 

Seed Money

Hurricane Matthew created devastation throughout the country of Haiti. LQVE is giving 5K immediately to help replant crops devastated by the storm in the commune of Pichon. Because of Haiti's temperate climate, crops can be planted and harvested three times a year, so it's crucial we help them get seed back into the ground soon. We plan to give more, but we'll need your help. Donate here. Buy a book, or shirt or cap here. Spread the word. LQVE is honored to be working with Heart to Heart International. There are many NGO's in Haiti. Do your research. Do your best to find an organization that works with instead of doing things for the Haitians. 

image courtesy of H2HI

All Saints Day

Hebrews 12:1 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…

I do not pray to those who have gone into the heavenly dimension before me. Nor do I ask those who’ve gone before me to approach Father God on my behalf, putting a word in for me as it were, but I do pray with them, and I say this carefully, I do even pray for them.

Yes, the following is a long sentence… so read it slowly, sorry! Though I cannot say with certainty what their environment is exactly like it seems to me that the saints, that is believers in Christ who are no longer physically with us, are occupying, serving, worshiping, or resting within some kind of“space”, the portal of which is created by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. One day that "space" will open up more fully with the second coming of Jesus and the bodily resurrection. 

Meanwhile, this “space” may rightly be called paradise. Or it rightly may be called heaven. I don't really know. If it is heaven, it’s important to note that it is not the final heaven. The final (so to speak) heaven takes place after the second coming of Jesus and the physical bodily resurrection of those who have previously died. Our great and ultimate hope is this final (again, so to speak) heaven, but I cannot help but be intrigued and fascinated with whatever we call the current heaven or paradise. Why? Because I have loved ones there, and as such, a part of my heart is there! And since today is All Saints Day it’s more than appropriate to contemplate the subject. One of the questions I’ve thought a lot about is whether or not those in the current heaven are aware of what is happening in current earth. I don’t really know for sure, however, here are four thoughts that would lead me to think it is likely…

•    There is prayer going on in heaven about injustice being done on earth. Read about it in Rev 6:10. If prayer about injustice is going on right now, it seems legitimate to suggest that those in the current heaven know about what is happening with us and to us in the earthly dimension.

•    Hebrews 12:1 says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us.

•    Jesus once spoke of a story in Luke 16, about a rich man and a poor man (Lazarus) who were interacting in the dimension beyond earth about people they knew at that present time to be alive on earth.

•    The current heaven is a place where The Lamb is worshiped, but think about it, if you are looking at someone you adore and that someone is looking somewhere else, it’s likely that your gaze will turn that way as well. In 2 Chronicles 16:9, and other passages, we learn that God is watching us. It seems likely to me that those in current heaven watching God watch us… will at some point turn and watch us as well.

If that logic seems accurate, and I think that is probably is, it seems we are more linked than I ever previously imagined to those in the current heaven.  If we are linked, and my daughter (and others) have some awareness of me and the situations I am in, it encourages me all the more to live a life pleasing to God. Not because I want to impress them necessarily (although given a choice I would rather impress them than not) but so that I can continue to walk through and in that portal that Christ created. It’s through that portal that I gain life with Christ. And it’s through Christ that I will have a relationship once again with my loved ones. So, why wouldn’t I be encouraged to have a stronger connection with God by considering that my loved ones are still linked up with me? And why wouldn't I be encouraged to pray with and for them? 

Sidenote: Of course, it’s also entirely possible that any talk of the current heaven within the context of space and time (which is what I’ve been doing here) has no bearing on the matter. If there is a God who’s created time and space, then he must be bigger than time and space. If heaven exists beyond time and space, then it’s also possible that my loved ones are already stepping into that “final” heaven. For them, to pass from death into life would just seem to be instantaneous. They would have gone to sleep and then awakened at the celebration of the wedding supper of The Lamb! And one day, it will be for me as well. In fact, looking at it this way may lead me to think that I will join up, hand in hand with my loved ones and experience that celebration with them, all at the same time. We would all, in that scenario, wake up together! That would be really cool if that were true… and maybe it is… but now my brain hurts.

Suffice it to say that the risen Christ is the hope of the world. It is the hope for those who’ve died and entered into whatever that heavenly dimension is… and it is the hope for those of us who will die… because you realize, you will die, right? One day you will be a “saint” that others will think about and consider on All Saints Day. Until then, be thankful for the "space" God has created for us!

Want to do more reading about this? Check out…

NT Wright, Randy Alcorn, or James Bruckner to name a few.

Quick Update

LQVE is supporting Heart to Heart International's efforts to come alongside the people of Haiti. The South East portion of the country, in particular. Though it was impacted less by Hurricane Matthew than other parts of the island, that is the area where we have been and continue to be heavily invested. We will have opportunity to serve these folks in the coming days. Meanwhile, be praying for them and consider what you might give financially to support them. As difficult as this time has been, it also might serve as a time to introduce new and more sustainable long-term ways to help these people. In short, we're not interested in doing things for them. We're interested in doing things with them. Pray that this outlook would permeate all the "outside" people helping Haiti. 

Pray for Cascade Pichon

Please pray for our friends in Cascade Pichon, Haiti. Our partners at Heart to Heart International will be working closely with Haiti's government for the Southeast portion of Haiti (where Cascade Pichon is), and we will be working with them. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the worst hit areas are not in the Southeast, but in the SouthWEST, which means most of H2H's initial resources are going there. Meanwhile, while we haven't got a direct report yet, because the roads are impassable in places like Cascade Pichon, as far as we know, there hasn't been a lot of loss of life. However, damage to crops and homes have been catastrophic. Shay Foster is currently in Haiti assessing needs along with others and It's likely that we (LQVE with the help of Mission Church and MidAmerica Nazarene University) will be organizing a shipment of seeds, tools and more portable chargers to Cascade and the Southeast very soon. This, of course, could change because disasters are unpredictable, but this looks to be what will happen within a month. Please stay tuned and please pray. 

We are not the people who shrink from serving. And, just as important, we are not the people who shrink from praying for and with these beautiful people. We have questions. We struggle. We cannot fathom a world that allows for this kind of tragedy to happen, but it is the reality. It is appropriate to wrestle with the questions and grieve over the circumstances. We are freed and yes, even encouraged to wrestle and grieve because there is a greater reality at work. It's the reality that God, in our love, is wrestling with this too. It is the reality that God grieves right along side of us and with us over these kinds of tragedies. And it's the reality that placed within the middle of this storm is an anti-storm virus... it's a virus of love, compassion, intelligence, patience, grace and commitment. The storm doesn't blow our commitment away. It only drives it's root further into our soil. We are the people who are committed to follow the way of Jesus. This commitment will bear fruit in Cascade Pichon. The storm is winning right now, but the final chapter has yet to be written.  

Somewhere in Southern Haiti after Hurricane Matthew 

Somewhere in Southern Haiti after Hurricane Matthew