The Road: Looking back on 2 years

I got to the end of a road and looked back
I looked back on the journey
the new, fresh, naive person I was two years prior
I thought about the missionaries I idolized then
Their calm confidence
ease of speaking Creole
their ideas, faith, their lives in action

I realized I, while far from 'perfect' or 'arrived,'
(both myths)
had come towards the end of my road
and am so much more of the person I wanted to be
the person I'm meant to be

The girl that is able to laugh at the insanely frustrating aspects of life in Haiti
The girl that is more spontaneous and flexible, the only way to live here, sanely
The girl that can go for a jog in the neighborhood without fear,
can hold a brief conversation with women walking down the street with their goods for sale
The girl that can laugh in a very appropriate Haitian-culture sort of way

The woman that looks back on the road fraught with abuse, pain, and trauma
and see the depths of courage and strength that she has found inside h…

Wanted: Brave People

I've decided one of the most needed attributes in cross-cultural work or 'on the mission field' is bravery, courage.
To step up, to show up, each and every day. Whether that's showing up to lead a medical clinic, to deliver a baby, to go get groceries, to leave your home takes courage.
Because living in a foreign country as a foreigner, there are many assumptions that are made based on the color of my skin.
In Haiti, there are a few things assumed of me:

1. I'm rich
2. I am educated
3. I haven't worked very hard for anything in my life
(These are generalizations for a reason and do not apply to each individual Haitian's thinking)
4. I want to help and am able to help...or give a handout
(DISCLAIMER: some of the above is true. I am rich in the world's standards. I am educated. I do want to help. I have worked for things in my life but I have been afforded incredible opportunities based on where I was born, into what socioeconomic class, and the color of …

God's Economy

I've been learning about God's economy lately. It's really so different than mine and I think it's really different from America's economy in many ways.

It's easier for me to accept gifts and donations when I feel like I am working very hard and showing progress and outcomes in the clinic in Haiti.

It is much more difficult for me to accept gifts, donations, blessings, a free dental appointment, free dinners, love, acceptance, and affection when I am a compassion-fatigued, less-than-normal functioning version of Rachel.

But I'm pretty sure (~ 100%) that's not how God works.

He loved us far before we loved Him. He sent His son to die on the cross far before I submitted my life to Him. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us and this is how God demonstrates His love for us (Romans 5:8 paraphrased).

My friends still love me whether I'm a weepy grieving missionary or not. My friends love me if I'm staying on the mission field or not. My God lo…

The Journey

My mom has always told me to enjoy the journey.

That's been the theme of her advice to me throughout my short 29 (almost) years of life.

Gosh I love that woman.

But it's not just about rainbows and roses and my mom would certainly not tell me to smile or fake it when life is beating me down. But I think there is a way to enjoy the journey... to learn from the journey, even when it's really, really hard.

I look through the pictures on my Facebook and am filled with gratitude. I have a beautiful life, incredible friends, adventures, opportunities, success, family. It's wonderful.
But in between those pictures are seasons of pain... part of the journey.

It's been a painful few months in Haiti and it's part of the journey. You get betrayed and betrayed again. But there are really beautiful parts too. All part of the journey. I want to enjoy the journey like my mom taught me.

I want to embrace the journey.
I want to accept the journey even at the lowest and most pai…

Dear North American Director

.... this is what every missionary on the field wants to tell you (or maybe it's just me).

We. are. working. our. butts. off.

Please recognize this. Please don't pretend you understand, because you don't. Until you live here for more than a week, 2 weeks, or a month at a time, don't pretend like you know what it's like here.

When starting a conversation, start with encouragement! We likely don't live in encouraging cultures, cultures that understand our culture and give us a pat on the back. In fact, it can be pretty thankless work. We may never know if we're doing enough or how we should handle the new situation that's cropping up every day. It's hard to find the support needed because people back home don't get it and it's often just exhausting to try to explain it (this is not always the case, and good listeners are miracles in our lives).
Start off by praising something.... anything!

Please try to remember that likely in the culture we l…

The worst epidemic in Haiti

“There’s an epidemic in a small port town in Haiti called White Savior-itis and it’s killing all the families in a 3 mile radius.” - a friend working in said community
I had the opportunity to talk at the Global Health and Innovation conference at Yale last month about the greatest health crisis in Haiti- hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. High blood pressure is killing more people in Haiti than HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria, and Cholera combined. (High blood pressure won't actually kill you but stroke, heart disease, renal failure, and peripartum cardiomyopathy will).

Today I want to talk to you about what the real and often unknown epidemic is. it's killing the family, it's raising up less capable and whole children, and I hope in 10 or 20 years (or tomorrow would be better) Haitians will say "Why did we do this?!"

This topic is in my face every day but if you live in America where we don't have orphanages, it might not be in yours, so please all…

What if $600 could save a life?

When $600 can save a child's life.
What to do with that information?
How do we reconcile that with the wealth of our Western world.

A few weeks ago we met Nordina, a 9 year old, precious, beautiful girl with one very swollen and painful leg. She was not able to walk and her face was so pale you just knew something was wrong.
With a father who cared about her enough to bring her into our clinic in Onaville, she quietly fought for survival, knowing her family was without a penny of income.  Nordina's father followed instruction to take her to St. Damien's pediatric hospital (the more affordable of the pediatric hospitals in Port au Prince) and St. Damien's told him that surgery would be necessary. He took her back home and cared for her the best he could, knowing he could afford surgery for his beautiful girl.

Our Haitian medical director took a special trip to Nordina's house in Onaville 22 to check on her and speak with her father. Her father reported God told him …