Megan here, the middle child in the Grooters clan. I’m the one who lives in Sioux City, Iowa and I work at Sunnybrook Community Church.
When talking about Haiti to others, I usually get asked “So do you think you’ll ever move there like your sister, Kayla?” And my answer is always a kind “No, I don’t believe so.” You see, I’m very confident in where God has me right now and how He is using me to do His kingdom work right here in Iowa.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Haiti. The people, the beautiful landscape, the sun & heat, and even the smells. I love that I can call Haiti my second home and that its home to my cute nephews and niece. It’s always hard to leave after short stays and I find myself homesick for that place far too often. But my deep love for Haiti doesn’t change the calling God has for me in Sioux City at this time in my life.
In fact, God is SO GOOD that He has uniquely aligned my “real world” job at Sunnybrook to work alongside Touch of Hope and my family’s work in Haiti. Prior to me working at Sunnybrook, they began supporting Touch of Hope and committed to help raise funds for a church there. Now at Sunnybrook, part of my job is being the Missions Assistant, which means I help coordinate and plan our mission’s trips and events.
So just two short weeks ago I found myself leading my first team from Sunnybrook to Haiti to help Webert and my sister tackle school registration for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year. A very different trip for me, indeed. Rather than going to get away and spend time with family, it was a mission trip packed full of work and projects, and more importantly leading a team of 11 people throughout the week. And this is my job?! It’s almost too good to be true!
Tuesday through Friday, the ladies of the group spent the majority of our day on the mountaintop registering students for school, which included health physicals and a fun photo booth for sponsored students (pictures to come for all Sponsors!).
The men were hard at work, too, building bunk beds to later be distributed to homes in the village, pouring a cement floor, fixing bikes, and finishing other odd jobs around the Tytoo grounds. Briefly put, we had an awesome week and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to lead!
For the sake of this blog (& since I’m not as good of a writer as KaylaJ), I just want to highlight two special moments from the trip. First, one of my very good college friends, Amber Patzlaff, was part of this awesome team. I enjoy sharing my love for Haiti with others, but even more so when it is a good friend! Amber had always told me she wanted to go to Haiti with me someday, so after just graduating with her nursing degree, it was the perfect opportunity for her to come and help with the physicals at the school.
Amber just began sponsoring a young girl in the school a couple months prior, so was excited to meet her on the trip! I assured Amber we would visit the little girl’s house so she could meet her and give her a gift. Little did I know, sweet Daleene would be one of the first students to register on Tuesday morning! And without me or my sister pointing her out, Amber immediately recognized it was her.
To me this isn’t just another sponsorship story, it’s a unique one because Amber is a recent college graduate. As a poor college student with a just a couple months left before getting a job in the real world, she agreed to sponsor a child. With loan payments ahead and a real paycheck still a couple months away, Amber committed to the $35 a month to provide an education for Daleene. Amber explains, “It’s such a privilege to be able to help her get an education she deserves!”
The second moment I want to highlight takes place on the mountaintop as well, but just on the other side of the rocky road. The college ministry here at Sunnybrook began fundraising efforts for a church in Haiti almost 4 years ago. On this trip, we were able to see the dirt be moved for the construction of the church to begin. Thursday afternoon the big truck began moving dirt and that Sunday morning, together as a church, we prayed over the land and all that God will continue to do on that special mountaintop.
In these four years, I had grown impatient thinking the church would never happen and our fundraising efforts were worthless, but then was able to witness how perfect God’s timing and His plans are! Sunnybrook has partnered to help this church in a variety of ways and now construction has begun! By the next time I return, the church should be completed and we’ll be able to worship on the mountaintop with one beautiful view!
I praise God for these special moments, for another great week in Haiti, and for a great team.
I praise God for Haiti and all that place and those people have to offer.
I praise God for how He called my parents to serve in Haiti.
I praise God for calling my sister to live there and raise a family there.
I praise God for my brother-in-law, Webert, and my two nephews and niece.
I praise God for the servant’s heart He’s given us all to be His hands and feet in Haiti.
And, I praise God for NOT calling me to Haiti, placing me in Sioux City, yet still uniquely allowing me to work alongside my family and Touch of Hope.