Just have to share this recent post by Tara Livesay...
Livesay [Haiti] Weblog: They are Haiti
One of the many things I am looking forward to in Haiti, is getting to know it's women, love the snapshot that she shares!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Where do you draw the line when God asks something of you?
What would you say yes to?
To what would you give Him the answer:
"Are you crazy? Absolutely NOT happenin'!"
I was thinking about my own answers to those questions today & probably will be for some time.
This weekend I saw the facebook post of an old college friend (thanks, Sheila!). Now I'm on Day 2 of a new devotional series by Kay Warren (Saddleback Church).
It seemed like a good fit since:
1) The lessons are 5 minute video devotions.
2) She calls it a 30-day "ADVENTURE", &
3) It's about learning to say YES to God.
Why after saying "yes" to MOVING to HAITI...would I still need to work on that???
In my personal experience, deciding to obey & actually moving forward & doing it are sometimes two very different things. Have you ever asked one of your amazing children to do something for you? You know something they know they need to do for you, but just isn't all that enticing?
Has it ever played out like this in your home?
"Could you....., for me, please?"
"Great thanks, love"
"Oh and could you make sure that you take care of .... while you're at it too?"
"Yep, no problem, I got it."
"Well, don't forget, it's really, really important...."
"Nope, I won't."
"Great, thank you so much!"
Some time later...you check back in w/ amazing kid, only to find out that the good intentions of obeying you that were "verbalized", have not actually "materialized"?
Yes, well, that is a "nice" version of me obeying God most days.
So, go to Haiti? Wow, that IS a tough one!
He's been at work for YEARS preparing me for that...to not only be willing, but wholeheartedly agree to answer His call.
But what I've agreed to is still MY version of going to Haiti -- the scenario that I can picture in my head. In all reality it has probably been "edited" to my own tastes just a bit. It is possible, that His ideas may be a little different than mine & that the process of getting there, as well as life in Haiti, may have a few surprises.
In that light - YES - I am going to participate in Kay's loving "boot camp", just to make sure that I am ready to respond positively on a daily basis & (hopefully) even when those unexpected events come.
Since going back to work the past couple of years, I haven't been able to participate in any women's Bible studies. This one is finally simple enough to manage, but I'd love to have some company!! If you'd like to join me on this particular adventure, you can sign up to receive short daily video devotions here (www.kaywarren.com).
Let me know what "saying yes to God" looks like for you...
Anyone who has time for some online fellowship, please message me on facebook & let's set up time to "chat"!
ps: IPhone users - there is even an app for you!
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 11:19 PM
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I've shared some intial impressions while we were in Haiti, but thought I'd give more of an overview of the work being done there, what was accomplished on this particular trip and where we go from here...
T & I arrived on Saturday afternoon (7/24) w/ Scott Vair, VP of projects for World Orphans. We did some basic preparation @ the guesthouse, for the full team to arrive the next day.
|( Me w/ Scott, Kate, & Erin - the WO crew!)|
|Holding little "Lorena" on my lap, as we visit her home.|
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 6:27 PM
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
...been so sweaty in my entire life!
...been kissed on the cheek by each & every one of a crowd of curious children.
...had a little girl climb boldly onto my lap during church in order to scrutinized my white skin right down to the freckles!
...met a little boy before that didn't know how old he was.
...seen the face of a 10 yr old Haitian girl light up with sheer delight at the opportunity to brush my hair into a ponytail.
...witnessed a cloud of balloons filled with paper notes being released on the wind over Port au Prince by local pastors & church leaders signifying the start of their own healing process in preparing to help the orphans deal with theirs.
...dreamed of praying with a vivacious young Haitian-American woman while she fully accepted Christ as Lord of her life, in the midst of a mighty work that He has begun in bringing her back to her homeland.
...shared ministry with such a humble, but tour-de-force woman, as Phyllis Killborn who has done mission work with children in over 50 countries in her lifetime.
...ever calculated the long-term affect of a widespread lack of childhood trauma counseling on a country devastated by natural disaster & severe poverty.
...seen such servanthood and gratitude in "brothers & sisters" for receiving the tools they need to deal with psychological trauma.
...felt so at a loss as to the magnitude of healing needed in a country, or as sure that God alone could provide it...
until I came to Haiti.
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 10:41 PM
Sunday, July 25, 2010
at the close of our first full day here in Haiti...
-It's HOT...no surprise there
-New best friend - the fan in our room!
-Our neighbors sleep in a tent on the second story of the remains of their home. My window looks out on their bedroom & theirs on mine
-Woke to the smell of charcoal smoke & roosters crowing @ dawn (4am).
-Went to church @ 6 am (to beat the heat). Amazing service & a glimpse of the multicutural heaven we will live in one day.
-Intrigued with the fact that Haiti is east of the US, but still in central time zone.
-Grocery prices are higher than @ home, yet most people live on $2/day
-The Haitian's are beautiful and so joyful despite the circumstances.
-The "tent cities" are heart wrenching, collapsed homes at every turn...no words to describe.
-Spoken Kreyol, it's musical, we're both enjoying it. The Haitians however, are greatly entertained by OUR attempts!
We didn't get a chance to respond to all of the notes of encouragement & support many of you sent us off with last week. What a blessing we have in the love & prayers of family & friends...
off to bed - long day tomorrow - children's trauma counseling training with the OVC church leaders. Outdoor church. Forcast 101.
Unable to post photos yet...more to come.
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 10:56 PM
Monday, July 12, 2010
Hospitality happens to be one of our spiritual gifts. Yep, each & every one of our Barlow crew has it running deep in their souls. It is one of our favorite "common bonds", bridging age, gender & bloodline in our woven family tree, and providing some of our most cherished memories.
While hospitality is one of my personal gifts, prophecy is not. So it surprised me when the two came hand in hand in writing this post. I was updating my blogsite earlier today which required editing a couple of old posts to adjust the text for a new format. One of them happened to be from May 21st. As I read through the first paragraph of the old one and considered the fresh topic at hand, a chuckle rose...in sharing that day, the news of my pending surgery and the risk of finding cancer, this is what I wrote:
"I wish I could announce that we're beginning a new adoption journey, or heading off to do orphan work in Haiti, but that's not what God has in mind this week."
...this week?? This WEEK? LOL God's timing and sense of humor just cracks me up!
THIS week, T & I are trembling as we announce that not only are we in the process of renewing our homestudy for the possibility of adoption, we are indeed leaving for Haiti in less than two weeks!!!
If you are new to this blog site, then it may be that particular announcement that has led you here. As some of you may know already, this trip to Haiti is actually part of discerning a larger call that God has on our family. It began as early as the process for our first adoptions over 12 years ago, was refined through years of "bonding & attachment", renewed each time we encountered children without forever homes, and made clear this past year as we took on an orphan care leadership role.
Bill Hybels came and ministered to us this weekend at church, and I'm pretty sure that it was meant just for us! He spoke of the "Power of a Whisper", the whisper of God, of course. Well, in our case God is pretty "with the times", because His whisper actually came to us in the form of a Facebook post! On June 3rd, World Orphans posted a postion seeking managers for their new "guest house" in Haiti. It is part of the OVC (Orphaned & Vulnerable Children) initiative developed by HORT (Haiti Orphan Relief Team). It is a program to address the substantial increase of orphans and children at risk since the earthquake in January.
Though God had been directing us to open ourselves to more full time ministry lately, we were blown away as the five of us here at home responded in unison, to the post - "wow, that's totally for us!" A whisper? More like a "shout"!! So, while the kids are away on their summer mission trips T & I have been pouring ourselves out before God and seeking more deeply whether that is where He leads us.
Until we have a more "official" family website, I will continue to post the latest on our "Journey to Haiti" here.
Knowing it is nothing we could ever do on our own, we cherish your prayers and support. If this is one step toward a longer term ministry there, we will need our family, our friends & others with a heart for God's children, to partner with us in seeing it through.
May you be deeply blessed-
Rebecca, for us all
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 1:32 AM
Saturday, June 26, 2010
I recently posted the comment below on LifeSong's blog site. (Yes, in order to try to win a "free t-shirt"!!)
Oh the waiting...
Our adoptions (4 from Russia) began over 12 years ago. They were amazing -- God opened doors, provided funding in His glorious way, and even increased our income so that I could stay at home & care for our new girls. The wait was blessed, because He showed His clear intentions & provision for our family, but looking back that wasn't really the waiting that was so hard.
The time that was really difficult to "wait" through was the 10 years following the adoption of our youngest - twins! You see they came from "hard places". They were preemies and then lived in an orphanage, no one rocked them when they were scared or cried. People seemed untrustworthy and frightening. They only knew how to watch out for themselves. It was understandable, but made for a really difficult life in our family that wanted to be loving & "close".
So there were years of holding & tantrums, therapy, new parenting styles, prayer, crying, begging, and even probably some bargaining with God! He had his own time though. Finally we laid ourselves aside completely & just gave HIm time to do His work in them. That is when the real healing began! We watched and WAITED & waited & waited....
Our baby girls are 16 now & WELL WORTH the the time it took for God to redeem them from their past. They are sweet & beautiful creatures that are learning to know & serve God. Now it's time for "round two" and this time they will join the rest of the us as we begin our new adoption "wait"!!
This is in reference to adoption obviously, but there are so many things we wait on in life. What are some of yours and how have they changed you?
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 1:35 AM
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Go to his chip in page for an easy way to give, or to www.wol.org/giving to give online directly. Use his name & the following code: 0L0777
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 12:40 AM
Sunday, June 6, 2010
The computer has been my bedside friend this past week, since my mind has been way more active than my body! So that has been a help. T & I have been able to spend some good time working on orphan care details and planning while I've been lounging around. Our social worker called this past week as well, and we are going to start the homestudy update process...just to be ready wherever God leads next with adoption. However, to top it all off, from my recovery bed we have begun applying for a new overseas opportunity in full time ministry that has come up!
Can you say "New Frontiers"??? I had no idea one little "side trip" would be preparing me for so much more, but it may very well be that God expedited my need for surgery in order to be ready for something else He has in mind.
Please pray with us for His guidance and continued healing.
Also keep our kiddos in mind & in your prayers...
Tania Grace is still working hard to complete her college degree
Ana is living in Germany for the next year
Tynan is trying to finish raising/earning support for a 6 wk mission trip to France
Emma & Olivia are leaving Weds to work at Word of Life for the summer in upstate NY
Blessings as you all begin the busy summer season!! I pray you'll each find a time of rest as well.
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 10:29 AM
Friday, May 21, 2010
In the midst of a whole lot going on in the Barlow household, a new adventure has claimed the limelight this past couple of weeks. I wish I could announce that we're beginning a new adoption journey, or heading off to do orphan work in Haiti, but that's not what God has in mind this week.
Instead, a long time issue with endometriosis has recently highlighted a more acute situation. Two weeks ago I had flank pain. The MD thought maybe a small kidney stone? Since abdominal pain is a part of my life so many days of the year already, I thought it might be related to that. A couple of ultrasounds and a little over a week later I found myself sitting in a surgeon's office discussing the inevitable.
The kidney is fine, but the rest is not. It's clear, it's time to end the condition. I'm a little "over-the-moon" at the prospect of an end to chronic pain, but the "rub" here is going to take a little more faith than we thought. I'm never a very big fan of surgery. My system doesn't like many of the drugs. It always takes faith & usually a whole lot of grace (on the medical team's part) to get me through! This venture, I'm afraid, requires the dauntless variety though. The faith that says "anything goes" and relishes it!
See, the ultrasound showed more than endometriosis this time. There is actually a gnarly-looking cyst that is covering my ovary, not an issue I've had before, and alot of other "gunk" going on. There is a risk of malignancy, and it's not the good kind.
So what to do? I feel like Sharon Hincke's ill-prepared character in the Restorer series, a "mom" transported to an unknown land and time, disoriented but alert, trembling, curious, with no idea what lies ahead or why I'm here. Yikes, Adventure!!
Tuesday's surgery will reveal a little more the course we're on. Quick side trip? or a whole new "galaxy"? I'm beholden to a Father that transcends them all and shares every journey with me. But let's face it - I'm a nurse, a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend...& a really terrible patient, so I'm a little bit scared!
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 6:10 AM
Monday, May 17, 2010
It would have been nice to be able to chronicle the deep journey that I, no, that WE have been on. However, despite the fact that I am tapping in patient documentation that rivals my old writing goals of 500-1000 words for my "day job", viewing the transformation from what was printed here has been worth the leave.
It's refreshing sometimes to see yourself change, grow, truly become the heroine in your own "life" story - yes that character wth interesting potential, but OH so far to go..... It strikes me as awesome that God is the writer of our lives.... of MY life! Ok, so that means that He get's to choose the tension and the obstacles to throw in my way. But it's all in order to best develop my ability to glorify Him in the story - that is so WAY much better than any book!!
I'm not sure what this blog will contain from here on out, but I pray it does glorify Him in everyway as the Master Character Craftsman and Writer of Life Stories that He is.
So, that pondering aside...what quite a few have been asking lately is "What are the Barlow's up too??" Well, that's a good question, it might be easier to answer what we aren't up to lately.
Ted is still not employed after 2.5 years. Rebecca is not writing, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping or chauffering kids as her daily adventure. Tania Grace is not sure what her future holds. Ana is no longer attending college. Tynan is NOT planning to be a homebody all of his life. The twins have stopped wreaking havoc, rarely argue and no longer hate school.
Why? Because that is where God has faithfully brought each of us over the past few years.
In fact, Ted has no plans for a career back in IT security! He's now a full-time entreprenuer - working through the start up process to roll out the first product for FiveTwo Ventures, our new company. I'm working full time in nursing, but from my home office as a maternity RN-case manager. We are both investing almost every minute of our spare time in our new role as orphan care leaders at church and orphan care advocates in general. We're also currently praying for God's guidance on future family additions. ????
With so many different roles & directions, God has amazingly brought us together & laid the same ministry passions on each of our hearts at this time - caring for orphans and vulnerable children. I'm sure you can't imagine why that might seem like a surpise to anyone, since we do have 4 children that are internationally adopted. It has certainly risen to the surface in a steady manner the past few years, but we have been taken aback by how clearly His fresh call has fit into so much of the change and the trials in our lives recently. The root might have begun with wanting to grow our family initially, but at this stage God has turned our heads 180 degrees to see what is at the center of His heart, and we are radically different having had that view.
To quote a new acquaintance this past year...we are "recklessly abandoned & gloriously ruined"!
Posted by Rebecca Barlow at 6:51 AM