As we are approaching the end of this amazing year of adventure here in Haiti, we are feeling truly blessed by God. The last year or so has had its ups and downs, but as many Haitians say, “Se la vi” from the French saying that means “That’s life”. And isn’t that the way life is and has been from the beginning? No matter who you are, where you are from, or your financial status, there will be good days and bad days. However, as Christians, we have the hope of eternal life that we believe has come to us by the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ that raises us above the highs and lows of life.
Looking forward to celebrating another of many Christmases that help us focus on the sacrificial coming of the King of Kings in the humble form of a baby boy in a lowly manger. Thank God He came to us, because there was no way we could ever work, or scheme, or connive our way to Him!! In John 5:24, Jesus himself says, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has passed over from death to life.” What a perfectly powerful, but simple promise!!
Another promise that I love, is “And we know all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV). Notice that it doesn’t say “all things will be good”, but this promise has a good ending. It is what we look forward to and it is why we can continue to work even when things are not going as we planned or hoped!!!
We both love where we are in the village of Simon with all the crazy Haitian life going on around us; but, honestly, some days it is too much. We know, however, as we go from day to day learning more about the people with their culture and language, we will appreciate this time even more when we are able to communicate well and interact naturally. The “old timers” keep telling us to “Hang in there. It will come and it will be so much fun when it does!” I truly believe God has called us to live here; I also believe the promises of the “old timers”; and, I realize that if we keep our focus on what God wants us to do, taking it one day at a time, we will find our way here in Haiti.
Amidst all this pondering thought about how blessed we are to be here, we have the strong realization that a huge portion of that blessing comes by way of so many of our family, friends, and coworkers for the Kingdom of God in the US and around the world. We are so thankful for all the consistent prayers offered in our behalf before the Throne of God!!
We know we could not survive here without that! We are also amazed and thankful for the financial support that has grown by God’s urging folks to see our needs (almost without our asking), and that is, in and of itself, a huge blessing! Please continue to be as faithful as we finish 2015 and look forward to the opportunities and challenges of the coming new-year.
Speaking of opportunities, God has given us the time to travel back to the States the last two weeks of this year. We will spend a few days in Gainesville, Florida to take care of some routine medical appointments, and to catch up with some of our friends and supporters there. Then, we will go north to the D.C. area and to Pennsylvania to spend the Christmas with family and check on Laura’s mom and dad. They have been struggling with many health issues over recent months. We will return to Haiti in early January and hit the ground running. Joel will go out with the first church team that will come shortly after we get back, and Laura will jump right back in there too. In fact, there will only be a couple of weeks in the time up to early July that will not be devoted to church teams coming to relate to their sister churches. Then, we will be on “home assignment” during the months of July and August. This will give us some time to recharge our spiritual and physical “batteries”. We are looking ahead to more time for reconnecting with family, friends, and churches that have been so instrumental in helping us to serve our Lord here in Haiti.
Once again, we say “thank you so much” to all of you who are supporting us in prayer and financially! We also want to wish everyone a very “Blessed Christmas, and a Spirit-filled New Year”! In the words of Tiny Tim from the classic, A Christmas Carol, “God bless us everyone”.
Bon Fèt Nwèl ak Bondye beni nou! (Merry Christmas and God bless you!)
Joel and Laura Sutton