'shine your eyes’ is a phrase that I picked up in liberia, west africa. it means to open your eyes and see the Truth. this is my hope for people everywhere, myself included, that we will continually be transformed to see and be the ideals God has set forth as the Kingdom. the book of isaiah says it this way:
'see, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. the mind of the rash will understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.’ isaiah 32:1-4
currently this is taking shape in my life working with bahamas habitat. we are working to provide aviation support to bahamas methodist habitat, a hurricane relief/sub-standard housing repair organization based in the bahamas. know that we would love for you to come spend some time with us as we take part in all the beautiful ways that God is loving His creation.
in the words of mother teresa, “pray for me that i not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor.” and i pray that in all that you do, whether coming to the bahamas, serving in haiti or celebrating life in your part of the world that you will simply love and come and see all that God has for us. let this place be a place of celebration and conversation for us to greater understand life with one another.
‘and because of our faith, He has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand. and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has in mind for us to be.’ –romans 5:2
may (to catch up)
(i'm wearing a new favorite tshirt, just to give a visual: it has so much iron-on plastic that it crinkles when i sit, stand, walk, move in general. it's a picture of earth as a basketball with 'hoops for haiti' arched over the top of the worldball. on the back, there is a warrior on horseback of some kind with words: 'we're all in this together' slapped as the warrior's aurora.)
florida was a conference to gather about 60 transporters in one place to create an operation to supply haiti's needs. the room was absolutely not big enough to fit all the egos in one place. it was confirming though that the heavy hitters in the developing world arena mostly shoot from the hip. there is a ton of room for movements and ideas. stayed at the w hotel in fort lauderdale. kinky. the shower's wall facing the bedroom and balcony (and sequentially the rest of the world) was a window. i bathed bravely once, and then the next morning felt clean enough to people watch at the race for the cure and fly to nashville via auburn. auburn to pay homage, and nashville to surprise everyone like gene parmesan of arrested development.
mother's day, dad's birthday, jordan's graduation from ut, all the following week. loved being there for all of it. my dad was so surprised he didn't even recognize me. flew back to the bahamas the following weekend, scooting out just in time to avoid a macho thunderstorm passing over downtown island home airport in kn0xville, tn. turning out of the traffic pattern we navigated right around thunder, lightning and pillars of rain. it continued like that until we were out of the mountains and the rest of the trip to the bahamas was smooth. i had never flown over the kennedy space center and that flight was my first. there's a skinny corridor to take just next to it that you get a good glimpse at the shuttle and station. cool.
jumped into a week with auburn wesley foundation who came to volunteer with us for a week. anna bellamy took care of my grandmother for about a year and a half until nan passed away this past march. she continues to take care of my grandfather by taking care of the house and getting him out of the house keeping his mind going. she came down on the flight with me from knoxville and spent the week too. it was really great having her here.
the following weekend, i left for haiti to be there for four days. the purpose for our time in haiti again is to see if there are long term opportunities for bahamas habitat to meet needs sustainably with general aviation. the week was packed! got to visit 5 airports in haiti, 4 in the bahamas during the week including grass, gravel, paved, busy and empty alike. so much to write about there, but the gist is that our vision is to partner with existing medical personnel and supply them with volunteer pilots.
'what is it like in haiti now?' many people ask me this. i tell them that i can tell you what haiti looks like since the earthquake in january, not knowing exactly what it looked like before then but have a good hint that it wasn't strong, and now i imagine that it is back to where it was before the earthquake with many resources and great potential. what's the hold up? sustainability, long-term solution mentalities. i'm thankful that this is a problem in one sense. but, the most heartbreaking thing is seeing containers stacked full of food and relief items locked next to tent cities with literally thousands of people starving and desperate. what i saw a few weeks ago is consistent with what i saw 3 days after the earthquake. literally tons of relief items and resources, need pounding on the walls of terminal buildings and emptiness in between. so, what's the need? before the earthquake there were 1000 n.g.o.s. post-earthquake, 8000 applications are in line to receive n.g.o. status which grants duty-free imports. many of these are logistics organizations. there are about 9 million people who live in haiti, with about 7.5/8 million living right in port au prince. my heart is continually broken with those i meet in haiti, i'm thankful that there are ways to be in touch with one another's physical, spiritual, emotional needs. i echo mother teresa's prayer again, 'pray for me that i not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus, even when ministering to the poor.' the mindset of discernment is a constant battle.
came back to the bahamas and was here through the rest of the month hosting teams and sorting the information and resources that i found during the previous weeks. also in the midst of being in haiti, jordan and allie, my brother and sister-in-law had a baby girl, named isabelle lee, or izzy. i cannot wait to see her in august!