It has been almost a year since Michelle, Eden and Selah were last in Haiti. After deciding not to return to Haiti for the time being, I wasn’t sure what to do. We were able to find a 6-month housing lease, which gave us some breathing room to figure things out. I wasn’t ready to leave Haiti and I felt discouraged, confused, and lost. I was sure the God had led us to Haiti, so why were we back in Loma Linda? I felt like we were just getting started and momentum had been building – I loved being in Haiti despite the challenges. I wasn’t ready to let go. I wanted to go back. But because of the rising insecurity, Michelle and I did not believe that this was the right time for our family to return – so what should we do in the meantime? Should we stay in the US or serve at another mission hospital? Our fellow missionaries encouraged us to serve at another site overseas and as we started discussions about the potential options, the possibilities that kept popping up seemed endless: Trinidad, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, England, Guam, Rwanda, Belize, Guyana, Chad – some options were more realistic than others, but I was getting overwhelmed by the number of choices that seemed to increase every week. Then it was proposed that we stay in the same Division as Haiti (the Inter-American Division – see map below), which would facilitate a quicker transfer and keep open the possibility of potentially transferring back to Haiti once the instability improved.
Staying in the IAD narrowed down the possibilities, but there were still several options on the table: Mexico, Curacao, Aruba, as well as Trinidad, Belize, and Guyana mentioned before. Should we just stay in the US and go back to Haiti? After several weeks of discussion, La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital, a 9-bed hospital in Belize, rose to the top of the list and we decided to visit at the end of February to check it out. The first few days of our 5-day trip to Belize, I found myself missing Haiti even more. Our experience in Belize was really nice – was it too nice? In Haiti, the needs were obvious – less so in Belize. Belize is a popular tourist destination and for good reason – the people are warm and friendly, the landscape is lush and beautiful, the opportunities for adventure and exploring are endless – was this the place that the Lord was leading us to serve? 4 days into our trip, Michelle and I weren’t sure. The day before we left, we had to get our COVID tests. The CEO of the hospital had been the one taking us everywhere during our trip, but since it was a Monday, he was very busy, so the maintenance manager offered to take us instead. We ended up spending the entire afternoon and evening together, checking out local stores, visiting his house and garden in the beautiful countryside, crossing a river on a hand crank ferry and we were able to learn more about the history of the hospital from someone who had been there for ~30 years and served under 7 different administrators. It was during this conversation that Michelle and I both felt that there was a mission here at La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital that God was calling us to be a part of.
The next morning, I asked the Lord for a sign confirming that this was the direction he was leading. I wanted confirmation from His Word that He wanted us to be at La Loma Luz, (“Light on the Hill” in Spanish). I was reading through Ellen White’s book, Patriarchs and Prophets, which is an incredible commentary of the Old Testament from Genesis to the end of King David’s reign. I was on chapter 32, entitled, “The Law and the Covenants”, which didn’t seem like a very promising chapter in terms of providing guidance for our present situation. But as I read, I came across the following paragraph:
La Loma Luz! It was clear enough for us. We let the hospital and our church know that we believed that the Lord was telling us to move forward and over the next few months, the transfer process took place.
But it was not a smooth road. One of the major issues we ran into was the lack of a budget. In order for us to serve at La Loma Luz, the hospital needed to be able to support my local salary, but unfortunately, this was not possible. The lack of a budget is usually a hard stop. But to my amazement, within a month, I was informed that the local salary was going to be taken care of, so that barrier evaporated before us.
Then in mid-May, 2 weeks before our 6-month housing lease was supposed to end, we were told that we were not able to go to La Loma Luz because of some administrative details that made it impossible to allocate a budget to the hospital. The following week, we were told that the administrative details were being taken care of by the Inter-American Division leadership – thank you Jesus! Then 2 weeks later, we were told that we couldn’t go after all despite their efforts. And the day after that, we were told that the door was not completely closed and that we should wait to hear back after the General Conference session June 6-11. So that’s where we are now. Waiting. I know God is trying to teach us something. I hope we learn it soon.
Through it all, we have had ample evidence of God’s loving care. Our lease was supposed to end May 31st. But our landlord graciously found a tenant that was willing to move in mid-July, which allowed us to extend our lease for an additional 6 weeks. And beyond that, we have had a couple of dear friends offer their places for us to stay while they are traveling. SACHS clinic has been very flexible in terms of my work schedule and has been able to accommodate me despite my constantly shifting end date. And of course, we are thankful to have this extra time to spend with our loved ones.
In the book, The Thrill of Living Within God’s Will, Carl Coffman discusses three ways in which the Lord reveals His will to us based on a passage in Ellen White’s Testimonies for the Churches Volume 5 512.1-2. The three ways are:
1. His Word as found in the Bible
2. Appeals of His Holy Spirit making impressions upon the heart
3. Providential workings
God can use any or all of these methods. So far, God has given us numbers 1 and 2. If we are approved to go to La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital despite the seemingly impossible barriers, then we will move forward with full assurance of God’s leading. But if the door closes, then we must seek God’s will for our family even more intently. We do not want to be where God does not want us to be. One of the conditions for ascertaining God’s will is to be 100% committed to doing His revealed will, whatever it may be. We must surrender our will to Him. Being in this place of uncertainty is not comfortable, but we are being well taken care of. Nevertheless, it does cause me some anxiety, which is why I need to remind myself that He has our best interest in mind and He is in control:
God has a purpose in sending trial to His children. He never leads them otherwise than they would choose to be led if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose that they are fulfilling. All that He brings upon them in test and trial comes that they may be strong to do and to suffer for Him.Prophets and Kings 578.1
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
With this in mind, I am trying to pray this prayer day by day as we wait for His leading:
Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.”Steps to Christ 70.1