Meet Danni {Faces of Nations Series}

Faces of Nations

Faces of Nations is my new “ongoing” blog series. To know more about this series and the heart behind it all you can read that here: Introducing Faces to Nations. I’m excited to share with you this new series where I will be introducing you to important people around the world!

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This article of my “Faces of Nations” blog series is definitely my favorite. I’m excited to introduce you to someone who has utterly changed my life and heart. I adore this boy with everything inside of me. While I write this, I am currently preparing for a three week internship and missions trip back to the Dominican Republic where I will be able to see this sweet boys faces again! I can’t wait!

 

 

 

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Meet DANNI 

In the summer of 2010 I was doing a missions internship in the Dominican Republic. During my first day visiting the orphanage we were working with (Pan De Vida Orphanage and Feeding Center), Rick and Carrie (the missionaries) were introducing myself and some other new interns to the kids. They were filling them in on how long each of us were going to be staying, etc. I was standing beside one of the posts around the covered patio area with one child already on my hip. I could feel someone else to my left. Behind the post I was standing in front of was one of the most beautiful children I have ever seen in my life.

I peeked around to look at him. He was half hidden behind the post listening intently to Rick introducing us. The minute we locked eyes God showed me what I had asked for. God was showing me my WHY. I was there for him. I didn’t even know his name yet. One thing I did know was that he was the main reason why God brought me to this country. I knew I was going to spend the next four weeks discovering the depth of this why.

He giggled and went back to hiding behind the post. We peeked at each other a few more times. Eventually, I knelt down to say hello and ask him what his name was. His name is Danni. He then read my name from my name tag and finished it off with the biggest grin. I stood up and within seconds he had reached out to grab my hand. Which was the perfect confirmation to what the Lord had just shown me. I didn’t have to work it up and try to force a relationship. We both chose each other right from the start. After all, love is a choice. 

All this was for him.

From that moment on we spent as much time as possible together. All my favorite memories of my time in the DR revolve around him being in each one.

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One day he and I were walking hand-in-hand through the property at the orphanage. While we were walking through some trees we came across one of the little boys from the area named Esmerlin. He was sitting on the ground against a tree by himself. He looked a little “out of it”. I watched him for a few seconds from a distance, wanting to automatically scoop him up. Danni gently nudged me and pointed to him. I looked back at Danni and he just smiles and winks at me.

We sure communicated well even though we couldn’t speak each others languages. Danni stayed there as I walked over to Esmerlin. I asked him if he was okay, the best I could in Spanish. lol He could hardly talk. He just looked at me. I sat down and scooped him up. After holding him for a bit, I see Danni smiling and walking towards us. He sits down next to us and just waits. We noticed Esmerlin would reach up and clutch his head quite often. We walked him to the house and later discovered he had a concussion from the previous evening when his mom has beaten him. 

I’m so thankful for this sweet compassionate boy who notices when his friend isn’t his usual self, who notices when someone is hurting. Not only does he notice but he’s willing to sacrifice time with me so I can be there to comfort his friend. He just waits patiently by knowing I love him and no one could take his place. 

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Next to meeting Danni, my absolute favorite memory with him is this one I’m about to share with you! 

Towards the end of my first week in the DR I had talked with the missionaries about what it looks like to sponsor a child. We talked a lot about Danni and what an amazing boy he is. When you sponsor a child you commit to pray for them, love them, help financially support them to provide health care and education, you send them letters and gifts, etc. Your sponsored child refers to you as Madrina (god mother) and Padrina (god father). I had decided to sponsor him and I was trying to think of a special way to tell him and officially ask him if I could be his Madrina. I wanted to make is special.

So one afternoon, myself and two other interns, Tiffany and Delroy, were painting the inside of a two story playhouse that a missions team had just built for the girls at the orphanage. We were all sitting in the top story painting away. Danni was sitting on the top of the ladder leading up to the second story. He sat there giggling away and watch us, just wanting to BE with us. With my back towards the three of them as I painted the window sill, I overhear Danni whisper to Tiffany and ask: “Tiffanyyyy, Sarah es mi Madrina?”. She was shocked and started laughing. 

There I am in the corner, facing the opposite direction, painting the window sill and I over hear this exchange of words. No joke. Tears start streaming down my face. Not because he ruined his own surprise but because he perfected it! After wiping a way tears I turn around to look at him and we lock eyes. He puts his face in his hands and starts to bust up laughing. He realizes I know exactly what he just said. lol 

I would love to have this moment caught on video but in my heart is just as great of a record. Meeting this boy has been a highlight in my life. I look forward to loving him forever. I know without a doubt God asked me to go to the Dominican Republic back in 2010 so he and I could meet. Now, He’s taking me back again this June. I can’t wait to see my baby boy again and make new memories. 

This is what missions is all about. Missions is about loving well, cultivating community, it’s about gathering family, and demonstrating the Kingdom.  Thank you for joining me on this journey of exploring the different beautiful faces in the nations. I look forward to sharing with you all in the next article. 

Blessings!

Laid Down Mothers

THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE THAN TO LAY DOWN ONE’S LIFE FOR ONE’S FRIEND || JOHN 15:13

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I’m excited to introduce you all to a brand new blog that has launched! “Laid Down Mothers” is a blog started by an amazing mother who is full of wisdom, loves Jesus, works in the business world, has raised three incredible children, and is a great writer. She is also my Momma. That’s right. My beautiful mom who is also a beautiful writer just started a blog over this past Mother’s Day weekend. Her very first article is incredible – you can read it here. I’m so proud of her. I, along with others, have been encouraging her to share more of her writings and I’m so glad she is! She has a lot of beautiful things to share form her heart.

I encourage you all to head over to her blog, Laid Down Mothers, and subscribe/follow to receive all articles and updates. I know you will be encouraged and inspired to love well and be the best you you can be. This blog isn’t just for women or mothers – it’s for every one who enjoys real life, wisdom, and encouragement.

See you over there!

xoxo Sarah

Ask of Me and I Will Give You Nations

Ask of Me and I Will Give You Nations

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As many of you know, I am heading back to the Dominican Republic on a 3 week missions trip this June! I can’t wait to be back on my favorite island Hispaniola serving with some amazing people. So far, thanks to Jesus and generous supporters, I have raise about half of my total goal!

I have recently partnered with Fund The Nations. They provide incredible services to those looking to fundraiser for missions, adoptions, nonprofits, etc. Fund The Nations has helped designed this shirt with me and I will be selling these custom shirts to raise the rest of the funds for my 3 week mission to the DR.

Inside the globe reads: “Ask of Me and I will give you the nations – Psalms 2:8″

The script which outlines the globe reads: “Nations are my inheritance”

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If you would like to order a shirt, just let me know! You can support missions work all while shopping for clothes.

All you have to do is…. Head on over to gracecohandmade.etsy.com to purchase your shirt!

That’s all.

This is for a limited time only. I will be placing my first order for printing on May 15th. If you’d like to purchase shirts please do so as soon as possible, between now and May 14th. Shirts must be prepaid. Your order/shirt(s) will not be printed unless payment has been received. I will reply to your order with all the info for payments and shipping, etc.

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 Thank you for supporting me! ‪#‎sarahgracegoestotheDR‬

Are You Ready? {Guest Article}

Are You Ready?

by guest author Michelle Walsh

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As I stood in the hotel room, looking at my dad and getting ready to leave, I heard the Holy Spirit say ” He won’t be with you much longer”. My heart began to beat faster and tears began to well up in my eyes. The countenance on my face must have changed as well. My dad laughingly said ” Don’t look so sad I’m not dying today”. I smiled at him and then cried and without saying a word I hugged him hard and kissed him telling him how much I love him. If he only knew what I was thinking. God knew though. My heavenly Father knew how much I loved my dad. He knew what a hard season I would be walking through ahead and He was beginning to prepare my heart for the separation that would take place. When, I had no idea.
Over then next two years I intentionally called my dad more frequently just to hear his voice. I cherished every talk and every ounce of love we shared. My dad lived in another state so seeing him was not as much of an option as calling. My grown children even spent time getting to know their Grandpa hearing his testimonies and stories of all he had seen and lived through as a Spirit-filled believer. It was a precious time and I was so thankful God had let me in on what was transpiring so that I could prepare myself and my family and so that I wouldn’t miss or regret anything. We also planned a trip to see him but what we did not know is it would be our last Christmas together. My mom helped us surprise him and we showed up at their front door. He thought is was a solicitor knocking and the look on his face was priceless.
Only 3 months later my dad ended up in the hospital. My mom had called to say we needed to come. Our Tuesday night small group was gathered in my living room worshiping the Lord as we usually did before our study time started. I was praying and worshiping before God and suddenly I was frozen. I felt a warm electric presence press in near me. I knew it was the Lord or an Angel or some heavenly presence. In my spirit I began to hear the Holy Spirit speak to me. More preparing. Words to prepare me for what was about to happen. “Michelle all you need to do is lean back on Me”. Suddenly I was taken into a vision. I was in a raft going down rapids of water. I felt someone behind me and hands pull me backwards into this presence. “Just look up. As we go through this it’s going to get rough. It’s going to be bumpy. Just lean on Me and look up. Look and see. When you lean back on Me your eyes naturally shift your view upward. Don’t focus on the rapids around you just look up. The beauty is in the view above. I am going to do many beautiful things during this time and when you look up you’ll see them and they will bring you great joy. Remember to lean on Me and take in the view”. I came out of the vision feeling so loved by God. He was preparing me for the process of my dads passing and preparing me for the events that would take place during those next few weeks. Isn’t He so wonderful? Isn’t God such a good Father?
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I could write another article on all the beauty that we experienced during this difficult time of my dads passing but I just want you to know how Gods mercy and love prepared me. God loves us so much and He already knows everything that we will go through. Whether a death of a loved one, a job change, a move, an illness, a divorce, a marriage, a new birth, He knows! He doesn’t miss a thing!  And He prepares us. God prepares us so that we don’t miss Him through the process. He really desires for us to see His goodness in everything. I would venture to say that if you reflect back on situations and circumstances you’ve lived through you either already know how God prepared you too or you may see the signs once you look back.
A few definitions of prepare:
1. The action or process of making something ready for use or service or of getting ready for some occasion, test, or duty.
2. Something that is prepared such as a substance made ready for use; preparation of food to eat or medication to use.
3. To be established, be stable, be secure, fixed or securely determined.
4. To arrange or order, to direct towards. To set up or to erect.
Throughout the Bible God was always telling His people to prepare. God is a very strategic God. He has every detail of our lives planned out. God likes order and results. In the old Testament God asked the people to daily prepare their animal offerings. God would warn others to prepare to move out of one country and into another land often without a reason. When God came onto the scene in the book of Job He told Job to “prepare yourself like a man” as He got ready to answer Job regarding the trials he had battled through. God is gracious and patient. After all He created us. He knows our soft spots. He knows our hearts. He knows exactly what we can handle or what we can’t and what is precious to us. He even knows what we hate and what makes us angry. God knows how strong we really are and how powerful we can be even when we feel like quitting and crying our eyes out. It is His great, great love for us, His beloved children, that causes Him to come to us. To whisper to our spirits. To give us vision. To give us dreams. Anyway He can He will pursue us and speak to us. We need to simply listen and believe especially during the times when it makes no sense.
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Are you noticing now how God has prepared you in the past? Are you realizing how He is currently preparing you for your future? As I come upon the 4th anniversary of my dad’s passing into Heaven’s gates I not only see how God prepared me for that but how He has continued to prepare me year after year in situation after situation. What is God asking you to prepare for? Have you asked Him? I encourage you to ask. Sit, ask and wait. The answer may surprise you and it may be a confirmation of what you’ve already heard in your spirit. Whatever is it He is asking or showing you know that God loves you and it is His delight to show you all that He has prepared for you. Be strong, do what God says and trust Him. Lean back and look up. It’s a beautiful view!

Next Stop on the Globe: the Dominican Republic 2015

Next Stop on the GLOBE ||  San Cristobal, Dominican Republic

DR Missions  – Summer 2015

#sarahgracegoestotheDR

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I am currently preparing to embark on a journey to one of my favorite Caribbean islands – Hispaniola! This June I will be serving alongside of some of my favorite missionaries in the city of San Cristobal, DR near the nations capital, Santo Domingo. The island of Hispaniola is home to two nations that are very dear to my heart: the Dominican Republic and Haiti. As many of you know, God has opened up doors for me to serve in both of these nations. I recently returned from my second trip to Haiti where I had the privilege of leading my first missions team to Carrefour.

My very first experience with missions, in any capacity, was interning in the DR when I was 16 years old. In the summer of 2010 I lived and served in the DR for four weeks with a beautiful group of people whose main agenda was to love and serve – no matter the cost and no matter what that looked like. God completely turned my world upside down in the most extravagant way and I’ve never been the same. During that month while living in the Dominican Republic God birthed inside of me a passion for the nations and for souls. I have loved missions ever since. I couldn’t be more grateful for the door the Lord opened for me there, all that we experienced, the family that was cultivated, and the seeds that were planted in my heart. Thanks to that experience I’ve now also been able to serve two consecutive years in Haiti. In Haiti God has, once again, brought me to an incredible group of people who have taken me in as family and have shown me what it truly looks like to serve and love the Father. I’m excited to return to Haiti again in the future and to continue to serve the mission of Heaven there.

Now that I’m back from Haiti, God and I have been dreaming about where to go next. What always comes to mind is this beautiful island that is home to many people who I love and two of my favorite nations. So here I am… Planning my next adventure in missions with the Lord.

I am going back to the Dominican republic after five long years! I’m excited to see my friends and family in the DR again. I’m especially ecstatic to see my three BEAUTIFUL god-children: Danni, Leonidas, and Danielle who are the sweetest and most caring children I’ve met. I am eager and ready to rejoin my friends and missionaries there, to serve that nation and simply demonstrate the heart of the Father through love. I will be going to serve alongside of the missionaries there as we partner with local churches and pastors, ministering in refugee camps, and spend time at one of my favorite places on the earth: the Pan De Vida Orphanage and Feeding Center!

The Pan De Vida (Bread of Life) Orphanage is run by a local pastor and his family and is home to a group of young girls. Daily the Feeding Center provides a safe and loving Christian environment, love, attention and care, hot meals and so much more to an average of 100 children from the surrounding community.

I could go on for hours and hours with stories and testimonies about all I experienced in the DR back in 2010, telling you of all the beautiful people I met and love. If you’re interested in knowing more please let me know or feel free to follow my blog (you can subscribe over here on the right side) and search for past articles from my previous missions trips to the DR and Haiti.

I’ve been overwhelmed by all the support I’ve seen pour in the past few missions trips I’ve been on and am constantly blown away by Gods faithfulness to provide when He calls. If you’re interested in partnering with me through prayer, finances, supplies, donations, etc., you can do so by visiting youcaring.com/sarahgracemissions or contacting me personally. I’m thankful for a believing community of friends and family who are standing with me!

Blessings,
Sarah

Surley you shall call upon nations you do not, and nations who do not know you shall run to you, because the Lord your God, and the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you. || Isaiah 55:5

Meet Schneider & Lavinski {Faces of Nations Series}

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Faces of Nations is my new “ongoing” blog series. To know more about this series and the heart behind it all you can read that here: Introducing Faces to Nations. I’m excited to share with you this new series where I will be introducing you to important people around the world!

silvana-di-franco

Faces of Nations

Meet Schneider and Lavinski

Just before heading back to Carrefour this last January I posted a photo of two adorable little boys on my Facebook. I found this photo on the Facebook page of the orphanage I get to visit and stay with when I go to Haiti. I had never seen or met these boys in the photo. I assumed they were either children from the community or two new boys who had joined the orphanage. I posted the photo (below) and wrote a blurb about my excitement in returning to Haiti. I didn’t think much about it. For whatever reason I hadn’t even entertained the thought that I might actually see or meet these two boys.
 
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Upon arriving to Carrefour and getting settled into our room at Good Shepherd Orphanage we found our way down to where the children were playing. It was a blast to reconnect with all the beautiful familiar faces I had met in 2013. Instantly I was greeted by two of the cutest little boys I had ever seen, Schneider and Lavinski. These boys made a home in my arms just minutes after meeting me and I was completely okay with that.
 
We sat at the bottom of the staircase that first afternoon, watching the other kids play a game with some of the ladies on my team. Schneider and Lavinski took turns being held by me. Neither of them wanted to grasp the concept that I can hold both of them at the same time. Lol One of them would sit next to me while the other was sitting in my lap and the minute he would shift or stand the other would swoop in and take his place in my arms. It’s definitely not the worst kind of conflict to have if you ask me.
 
I quickly grew in love with these boys. Lavinski is Schneider’s older brother. They have been at Good Shepherd for just a short period of time up to this point.  These two boys have one of the sweetest sibling bonds I have ever seen or experienced. The way they love each other is astounding, especially for a 7 and 8 year old. They’re hardly ever apart. Although they are “typical” little boys and brothers there is something uniquely special about the bond God has cultivated in them.
 
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One minute they’re both sitting with me all curled up in my arms, laughing, smiling, joking with each other, kissing me on the cheek and telling me they love me. Then the next moment they’re arm wrestling each other (or me) and punching each other in the arm while laughing. The perfect picture of the relationship my brother Jared and I always had growing up. One minute my brother and I would be arguing and an hour later we’re apologizing and watching our favorite movie. This is the beauty of genuine family! One minute Schneider and Lavinski are fighting over who should be picked up and held by me and the next they are holding hands and skipping off to go play soccer with the other boys. It’s the funniest and sweetest thing you’ll ever see. They love and interact with each other as if they’ve been friends and brothers for a lifetime. I imagine this is a result of being the only one each other has truly been able to depend on.
 
It wasn’t until our second or third day there that it dawned on my why these two boys look so familiar. In case you haven’t already caught my drift, these are the two boys form the photo I posted! Schneider is pictured on the left and Lavinski is on the right.  I couldn’t believe it! When it finally dawned on my I was so excited. Something so simple totally blew me away. God is so funny like that. I’m convinced that the moment I posted the above photo of the boys God was probably laughing in Heaven saying: “Wait till she meets them! She is going to love them so so much! If only she knew.” Hahaha
 
A few days into our stay at Good Shepherd the ladies on my team and I were sitting down with Sister Mona who has worked with the GSO for many many years now. She was telling us some of the children’s stories and bragging about how they’re all geniuses. She began to tell us about the young brothers who she had seen me make a quick connection with. My boys! My beautiful Schnerider and Lavinski!
 
At just five years old Lavinski had witnessed his father kill himself, leaving their family to fend for themselves. The boys’ mother was very physically abusive. Sister Mona said she beat them often. Schneider and Lavinski would roam the streets to keep busy and look for or steal things that would be worth reselling for money. At the time the brothers arrived to GSO Schneider told Mona he had stole 30+ phones. While searching for things to make enough money to eat the boys would often go through a local garbage dump. One day while scavenging through the garbage dump Schneider saw a pig eating a baby. Yes, you read that right.
 
Eventually their mother gave up and decided she could no longer afford to care for them nor did she really have a desire to. She chose to leave them at her mothers house to be looked after and provided for. Normally, being adopted and cared for by your grandma wouldn’t be so bad. Unfortunately for Schneider and Lavinski their grandmother was very elderly as well as completely blind. She has enough to worry about trying to take care of herself. Although she wanted to she could not care for her two very young grandsons.  Eventually she was forced to give the kids away to the government for them to find a suitable living situation. As sad as that is, the government was able to bring them to GSO where they have finally found a safe home and a loving and godly family!
 

Lets back up though.
 
 
First of all, no one should ever have to witness someone else killing them self. Especially a five year old! To make matters extremely worse it was his own father. Lavinski was forced to see his father make this horrific choice…his father who is supposed to be there for him, teach him how to throw a ball and play soccer (like all true Haitians). His father was supposed to be the one who exemplifies how a man lives and loves. I can’t imagine the heartache involved when having to witness the one person who should always be there for you make the decision to leave you behind and alone in such a horrific manner.
 
Then after all of that to have a mother who abuses you and your little brother. When she finally decided to give you up…she leaves you at the doorstep of your grandmothers home who isn’t able to care for you in the slightest. The thought of anyone experiencing that much rejection in just the first few years of your life is incomprehensible. On top of all that they’re forced to roam the streets begging and stealing to make sure each other doesn’t starve. Remember, neither of the boys were even old enough to start the first grade while this was all going on.
 
Not that any of this is bearable.. But knowing that Schneider has seen a pig consume an infant right before his eyes is completely devastating. That’s something you wouldn’t even see in a horror movie – even as joke! I have images in my head that from past scary movies I’ve seen that, although they don’t haunt me, I would love to have erased. I would love the chance to rewind and make the choice to not see those ridiculous movies. Unfortunately I can’t. I wish I could do the same for Schneider and Lavinski. The twisted things we’ve all seen in movies pale in comparison to what some have seen in real life.
 
Hearing these things wrecked me. My heart and head were spinning. In one sense I was heartbroken and in another I was completely proud and humbled. These two boys have been through more in their few years of life than most adults I know. What I’ve shared with you above, I’m sure, is but a portion of their stories. I’m proud of my two beautiful boys for many reasons. One, I grew in love (a better term rather than “falling”) with Schneider and Lavinski from the moment I met them and experienced their love. The way they give and receive love at their young age is incredible. I’m proud of them that they’ve not allowed their past circumstances to dictate how they will live and love. I’m proud knowing that through all that these two have been through they have stuck together. Two boys who have been wildly abandoned by the majority of their blood family have held on to hope and loved each other through the most difficult of times.
 
I knew I loved them from the moment I met them. I could easily bring them home with me and adopt these two in a heartbeat if I were able to. And I’m sure you can imagine how much that increased after hearing their story. My heart was heavy listening to their story and having a million thoughts racing through my head. I wish I could have been there. I wish I could have been the one to step in and rescue them from that place called “home”. I wish I could make up for all the hurt, lose, and pain they’ve experienced. I wish I could adopt them as my own and show them what a home really looks like.
 
While feeling all these things running through my heart and mind Jesus spoke softly to me and showed ME what a home and family really look like. These two boys are more of a family than most have ever seen or experienced themselves. If anyone knows what family looks like it’s them. What a beautiful thing it is when two brothers stick closer than brothers! These two (as well as GSO as a whole and everyone I’ve met there) have taught me so much about what family and genuine community looks like. Saying “yes” to family and saying “yes” to community is being ALL in. No matter what it looks like, how long it takes, and how messy it might get – you’re THERE. Unfortunately not everyone choose this way of living. But the beauty that dwells in those who have made the choice is ever present and shines through the thickets darkness.
 
I will forever be grateful for getting the opportunity to meet, know, and love these two boys. I can’t wait to go back and hold them for hours on end, never wanting to let them go. Until then I will think of all the beautiful defining moments we experienced together. The one moments that others may not see as profound or monumental but they’re the ones that made my entire stay. I love all the times that Schneider would see me from a far and come running with the swiftest force just about knocking me over with his hugs, or all the times he would climb into my arms and kiss me on the cheek and say “I love you”. This is what missions is all about – that moment when Lavinski was lying in my lap while watching a soccer match and decided to look up at me and giggle while saying “manman” which is Haitian Creole for Mom or momma.. This is why I GO. Love.
 
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I love praying for people. I love the church services. I love getting to speak into peoples lives. I love the miracles. I love the testimonies. All these things are beautiful and so fun! But there’s something about just BEING with people, hearing their stories, and learning what love looks like. Jesus didn’t organize meetings, He ate meals. He listened and He loved. The meetings are important but not if relationship gets overlooked in the process. It’s the moments where you get to love someone agenda-free and regardless of their past or present circumstances where the Father is beautifully revealed.
 
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So this is Schneider and Lavinski. Two of the many beautiful faces of Haiti and two of the loves of my life!
 
 Faces of Nations,Sarah Grace

Meet Ashley {Faces of Nations Series}

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Faces of Nations is my new “ongoing” blog series. To know more about this series and the heart behind it all you can read that here: Introducing Faces to Nations. I’m excited to share with you this new series where I will be introducing you to important people around the world! This right here is my first article in this series. I’m excited for you to meet a special friend of mine and share with you all how she and I first met. Enjoy!

silvana-di-franco

Faces of Nations

Meet Ashley

I met Ashley for the first time while interning in the Dominican Republic when I was 16 years old. Ashley walks to the Pan De Vida (Bread of Life) Orphanage and Feeding Center every week day in the DR. There she receives a hot meal, love and attention, a safe environment to play in, prayer, the beauty of the Gospel, and a chance to embrace childhood. When we met in 2010 I sat with her as she ate and giggled through lunch. After she played for a few minutes, she decided to retire in my arms for the rest of the afternoon. I held her as she fell asleep. With her wrapped around me and held tight…I walked the property of the orphanage watching all my kids play. She was out like a light. A while later it was officially time to go. I waited until all of the kids had left to go home to finally wake her up. Trying to soak up every moment possible!

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Unfortunately, it was time for her to go home as well. I called her name, asking her to wake up in Spanish. She wouldn’t budge. Ryan and I both tried whatever we could to gently wake her. She whispered no and clung to me even tighter. She refused to open her eyes, let go, or even officially wake up. My heart was breaking – fast. I held her tighter and longer. But even still, it was time.

My mind was racing with questions and thoughts like; 

“When was the last time she was held?”

“The last time she fell asleep in her moms arms…?

“Slept safely in peace..?”

“Does she even have a mom?”

“What about a loving Father who will rock her to sleep?”

“Anyone.”

My face was streaming with tears as her own eyes weld up. I took advantage of every second she hugged and held onto me. Not knowing what she was going home to. I could have stayed there holding her in my arms for a lifetime. Our circumstances said otherwise. I kissed her and asked Ryan to please take her. We peeled her off of me (which was one of the hardest things I’ve done in life) and walked her to the gate. I watched her walk down the dirt road looking back every so often.

It was a heart-wrenching and defining moment for me. This was one of many moments during my time in the DR where I knew that I was exactly where God wanted me to be. His timing is a beautiful thing. And as painful as it was I’d do it all over again. Cause even though mine and Ashley’s time together and me holding her had come to an end… It still happened. It’s one of my favorite memories from my DR experience.  

Needless to say, I headed straight for our bus and had a good cry until it was time for us interns to go back to our apartment. 

ASHLEY

I adore this girl. She is pure beauty. I could never forget her. 

Gracias Señor por esta hermosa niña! Ella es un regalo para mí y para el mundo.

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Faces of Nations,

Sarah Grace

Introducing the NEW “Faces of Nations” Blog Series

Faces of Nations

My new “ongoing” blog series.

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If you know me at all you will know that I have a genuine love for nations. Which nations? All of them. Every single one…even the ones I have yet to meet. Of course, there are a few specific nations that I hold especially dear to my heart, being that they are a “home” to not only me but many that I love. I recently returned from a 9 day missions trip to Haiti where I led my first missions team. Having been my second missions trip to Haiti God continued to pour into me and speak to me about this beautiful country and my call to people/nations while staying there.

If you follow me on social media then you have probably seen my countless posts lately that have to do with missions and my family around the world. I can’t help it. This is a big part of me, a part of who I am. Ever since I returned from my most recent trip to Haiti I just can’t help but share about all of these friends, moments, memories, and encounters with the world. Trying to put into words all that God did during our time there seems impossible. When a memory or a face comes to my mind and the words start flowing, I go for it. So if you’re into that sort of thing you would probably love all of my recent Instagram posts! Haha Feel free to come join me.

With each internship and missions trips that I’ve been part of I always have the same resounding thought, “I wish I could bring everyone with me”. Every where I go in these countries, everyone I meet, the things I see, what God is doing…I can’t help but want to take you all with me so you can experience it for yourself. It’s an indescribable beauty.

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While in Haiti this last January, God and I talked a lot about my heart for nations and missions…why I go on these missions trips, why I wanted to lead a team, why I want to return, and so on. If you asked me what my number one reason was for taking part in missions and going to serve in other nations, (aside from the somewhat obvious fact that this is a part of my calling and God has placed it in my heart) my answer is: PEOPLE. This is all about people. That’s why I GO. I go because of people. This whole thing, life, is about two things: Jesus and souls.

That leads me to this new blog series I’m starting. I want to introduce you all to people I’ve had the privilege of meeting while being involved with missions. During this ongoing blog series you will have the chance to meet ones who I love and adore. You will see their face, hear their stories, and be invited into the experience. The family. This is an invitation into what God is doing in other nations and what beauty resides in His people across the globe. Some stories will be funny and others you might need a box of tissues nearby just in case.

 My absolute favorite thing about missions is the people I encounter, the ones I meet and get to know. I refer to these ones as my family. I call the children my babies. I mean this with all of my heart and I don’t take it lightly. I absolutely love them. I couldn’t be more grateful for the privilege and honor God has given me in being able to be a part of their lives and have them in mine. The connections, the friendships, the family that God connects you with when you’re involved in missions is a community like no other. This is it. This community is what I want to invite you into. I pray that God moves upon your heart as you hear these stories and you see these faces. And that you too would find your place among this family as a child of God.

Are you ready?

Lets GO.

Haiti – The Loudest Place on Earth

Haiti – The Loudest Place on Earth

I just got back from Haiti on Monday afternoon. I spent 9 glorious days in the beautiful city of Carrefour. This city is another one of my “second homes”. This year I lead a team of five ladies from my church Harvest Christian Center. I fell in love with Haiti in the fall 2013 after joining a team from my church on our first venture to Carrefour. I can’t explain the pure joy it was to be back in this beautiful nation and city, seeing all of my Haitian family again and holding all of my Haitian babies. Man, I really missed this place. God is so good. I woke up this morning to something strange. I woke up to sheer silence. Nothing but the sound of my alarm. It felt strange.

So, naturally, I grabbed my phone and opened up my notes to a little something I had written my first morning back in Haiti. I’m glad I was able to capture this moment. I wrote this on Sunday, January 4th early in the morning. I laughed as I read it this morning because it couldn’t be more true.

I hope you enjoy reading this and that you find yourself caught up in the experience. I have a lot more to say about Haiti. Be sure to check back soon.

P.S. It’s good to be home.

xoxo Sarah Grace

Sunday, January 4th

Carrefour, Haiti

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“This is my first day waking up to Haiti again. It’s been fourteen long months. I’m sitting outside on our patio, before anyone else wakes up, just listening to the sounds of Carrefour.

Haiti is loud. Very loud.

Part of me is trying not to tear up and the other part is trying not to laugh too loud and wake anyone..
I knew I had missed Haiti deeply..especially the people! It just never occurred to me how much I also missed this constant noise.

The noises of Haiti are a myriad of sounds like; people singing as they walk down the streets, radios blaring as loud as can be, rooster crowing every five minutes, the church down the street singing “Just Because He Lives” in Creole, kids giggling endlessly, conversations, trucks, cars, tap-taps, and the honking!

Ohh the honking!

I didn’t know that I could miss these noises so much. It wasn’t until just now that I realized I DID.

America is loud as well. Depending on where you are, really loud. Yet, this is a different kind of loud. America is loud with busyness. Haiti is loud with life and community.

Two nations that I adore.

Here I am at 4:30am sitting outside after having been woken up at 3:20 by the neighbors rooster and I am overwhelmed at the fact that I am once again back in this beautiful place hearing these kinds of sounds.

I absolutely love that you can experience so much of the Haitian culture just through one of your five senses. It pays to be a good listener.

I’m so thankful I didn’t miss this moment.”

Please, Get Your Hopes Up {Scarlet Heart Co}

Please, Get Your Hopes Up

I recently wrote a two piece article on hope for the ever so lovely Scarlet Heart Co. Has any one ever told you, “don’t get your hopes up”? I had a feeling so. Do you want to know why they’re wrong? Read “Please, Get Your Hopes Up – Part 1 & 2″  and be encouraged to let your hope arise. 

 “But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.” – Psalms 71:14

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23

Click each photo for part 1 and 2 of the article.

 

 

“The phrase “don’t get your hopes up” has been stirring in my heart and mind for a while now. I just find it interesting that a single phrase can influence whether a person will choose to have high expectations in life or possibly none at all. I’ve begun to realize how powerful hope can be and that somewhere down the road we’ve allowed great things like hope, joy, peace, happiness, faith, love, etc., to become mere words in our vocabulary.”

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“Life isn’t always fair. Life doesn’t always turn out like we plan. Life can be scary and embarrassing.  But placing your hope in God is nothing like tossing a coin in a wishing well.”

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