Thursday, March 30, 2017

New Beginnings

Change is never easy. Especially not for me. But it can be so good and so necessary.

Returning to Haiti, starting a new ministry, and welcoming a new missionary family at the same time is difficult.

Of course all of these things are an incredible blessing. What a gift it is to have another family here with us. An addition to our community. More people to share our mission and to love on the people we have spent the past 2 years growing to love. More people to spread the love of Christ that is so desperately needed here.

And being able to start the Ezekiel Home; this ministry that we have dreamed of. Seeing the smiling faces on the kids who we get to hug, play with, share the love of Christ with is indescribable.

So what makes it so difficult? Change takes everything that we know, everything that's is comfortable and "normal", and rattles it. It shakes everything up. It takes us out of our comfort zone. Most of the time its exactly what we need because really we can only be  doing 1 of two things. Either we are moving forward and changing. Or we are settling and staying the same old person. 

I hate change. I like to be comfortable. I like to know whats coming tomorrow; to know exactly what to expect. Who I'm going to see, what we're going to do etc. It's easy. It's nice. But Lord knows that I need the change. I need the Lord to tell me to wake up and actively decide to continue moving forward; toward Him. 

I need a new family to present new ideas and bring new gifts to the table. I need a new ministry that is difficult and crazy and beautiful and yet nothing like I thought it would be. I need change because the last thing I want is to be stuck where I am and not moving toward the one I love.

              The beginnings of the Ezekiel Home. I've never seen kids so excited to play!


Sunday, October 2, 2016

St. Mary's School Helps Students

Last fall a teacher, Jeff Gordon, contacted us about wanting to do a fund raiser with his 7th grade class at St. Mary's school in Greenville, South Carolina.  The goal was to have students in America helping students in Haiti.

The class did an amazing job and sent way more money than we expected!

We were able to help 31 students attend school this year!  We purchased, books, back packs, uniforms, and general supplies as well as paid for the tuition expenses.   With the remaining funds, we will also be helping the local parish school with some administration expenses and helping to fund the after school programs we hope to start in January.  Praise God for the generosity of Mr. Gordon's 7th grade class!  I pray that God will reward them for their hard work in raising these funds!

Check out all these smiling faces!!!

Abigail, Megnan C., Megnan G., Colas, Megnan L., Joana
David, Jivelord, Enock, Jide, Gerland, Ester, Jimmy, Mackenson
Kendy, Judith
Estafa, Woodson, Berlson

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thought Log 4: More Mary and Me

As I have pursued a relationship with our Blessed Mother over the past few years I have found myself patiently waiting for her to help me discover her true significance.  I remember at the beginning while I was in Mexico not understanding fully why so much emphasis seemed to be placed on Mary, and the temptation was to leave her on the side while I pursue Jesus.  What could be wrong with that?  I mean I would still be pursuing Jesus so what would the problem be?  I do not mean to discredit her at all, or push her out entirely, but to just leave her comfortably on the side and acknowledge her from time to time and I would be fine.

However, one day I had this thought: "if Mary is the Queen of heaven and earth, as we say in the 5th glorious mystery, would not a queen wield some form of authority?"  It was this thought which would put Mary back in the front right next to Jesus where she ultimately belongs.  I had no idea if this thought was correct or not, but I felt it bore some more thought and research.

I had a conversation with my dear friend, Jonathan, one day, in which he educated me about the history of the queen mother in Jewish history.  You can read all about this in the book of Kings.  You see, in there, they give a litany of the kings of Israel and with each king they list his mother as well.  The point of this was, since polygamy was accepted, it was impossible to decide who the queen was based on the kings spouse.  Therefore, it was settled that his mother would be the queen.  The image then foreshadowed in the old testament is that Jesus as the King would have his mother as the Queen.  This insight really blew me away!

I have heard a response many times by Catholic theologians in response to the question of, "why do Catholics pray to Mary?"  The answers given though always left me a little short handed, like there is more to the answer then is usually told.  I will not judge if this is the intention of the apologist, and will err on the side that it is not, but usually they boil the answer down to we don't pray to Mary, we ask Mary to pray for us to her Son, Jesus.  Much like we do to any of the other saints.  And because she is the mother of God, her petition bears more weight.  I am not denying any of that statement, but wondering if there isn't more to it.

St. Thomas explained that God alone do we adore.  And to man we give honor which he called dulia, but to Mary he said we give "hyper dulia."  She is honored more than any other creature made by God.  And precisely because God has honored her more than any other because she bore His Son, Jesus.  She faithfully followed the will of God everyday of her life as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states.  No other creature can make that same claim.

St. Maximilian Kolbe said that the union between the Holy Spirit was so close that we can't understand it.  The only thing that comes close to an equivalent union is the hypostatic union itself (the mystery that Jesus was both fully God and fully man at the same time).  They are of course two entirely different things, but sheds light on the closeness of the Mary to the Holy Spirit.  It's an incredible statement to be sure!

I picked up this quote the other day while reading the encyclical letter "Ad Caeli Reginam" by Pope Pius XII, "Let all Christians, therefore, rejoice in being subjects of the Virgin Mother of God, who, while wielding royal power, is on fire with a mother's love."  There it was in the letter: "wielding royal power."  She must carry some authority granted to her by God.  Her place is not just a mere petitioner, not meant to be on the sidelines of our faith life, but right up there with Jesus side by side!

Today we celebrate the Blessed Virgin's birthday, and I have never been so joyful to celebrate it as I have been today.  This morning in the liturgy of the hours, during morning prayer, the second antiphon really blew me away. "When the most holy Virgin was born, the whole world was made radiant; blessed is the branch and blessed is the stem that bore such holy fruit."  Again such a strong statement that the whole world was made radiant at Mary's birth!

And finally, when I read the reading today in morning prayer, I read it as if the prophet Isaiah was prophesying the words of Mary herself and found it very profound:

Isaiah 61:10;
"I rejoice heartily in the Lord,
in my God is the joy of my soul.
For He has clothed me with a robe of salvation,
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
like a bride bedecked with her jewels."

Happy Birthday to our Blessed Mother Mary!  May she ever guide us to her Son and protect us from all harm.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tinom's Chair

Last week I went to visit my Godson, Tinom. I have written about him before, but for those who don't know, he is an elderly man who we met last year. He is blind and unable to walk and spends all of his days lying on a mat in a dark room. Just seeing his living conditions alone are enough to break your heart. 

During our visit, I decided that I really wanted to get him sitting up in a chair. Praise God, my friend Sarah and I were able to lift him with ease.

Words cannot express the joy that came across his face as he sat up in that chair. Let me repeat that. This man was filled with joy because he was able to SIT IN A CHAIR.  

He sat in that chair as we sang and prayed together. He smiled and reminded me how happy he was to see me. In that moment my heart filled to the brim with joy.  It broke at the same time as I thought about how long it could have been since he had been up out of that bed. What a bittersweet moment. 

Everyday I complain about something. The bread for breakfast is stale. Lucy is making her 1 millionth mess of the day that I'm going to have to clean up. The shower water is too cold. 2 1/2 hrs of Mass is too long. I'm hot. I'm tired. The list goes on and on. How ashamed I felt when I thought of my laundry list of daily complaints as I looked at Tinom. As I thought about the life he lives and the misery he must feel spending every single moment of every day lying on that mat in darkness. Yet, he has joy. He still finds joy in what should be complete misery. 

It's so easy to get caught up in our own misery. In our own discomforts. Yet, in these times, the Lord presents to us a choice. We can chose to complain; to be upset and angry. Or we can choose joy. The choice is ours. Today, I choose Joy!

I LIVE for moments with this man and for all the incredible things he has taught me through his example of Joy and Love for the Lord.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Return to Haiti and Thought Log 3: "5 Loaves and 2 Fish"

The Lord has called us back to Haiti to serve for another year!  We are excited to be back, and feeling very blessed!  Since we can work our way around in Creole now and have and now know how things are done in this country it is exciting to see what God will do with us!

We started off our time here on a 3 day retreat at a monastery that is about 2 hours from here right on top of a mountain.  We spent time in prayer asking the Lord what He desires from us this year. It was so beautiful and peaceful there!  There is also an orphanage attached to the monastery where we found a large AT-AT Star Wars toy that Eliza could play with with the children.

While at the retreat I really felt like the Lord spoke to me and was richly blessed by the presence of God there.  I had one reflection that was very profound for me that I would like to share with you all, if you would bear with me for a few moments:

I was reading John chapter 6 which starts with the story "The feeding of the 5000."  As I was reading, I began to think of us as the 5 loaves and the 2 fish that the boy brought and offered to the disciples to feed the people.  The loaves and fish are minuscule in comparison to the crowd, and no reasonable mind would ever think this could ever feed so many.  So when we look at Haiti, and see how massive the predicament the people here are in, both in poverty of faith and poverty of material goods, it isn't too much of a stretch to feel like the smallness of the loaves and the fish.  We ask, "what can we do amongst all these problems?"  Then reading on in the story, Jesus gives thanks for the gifts and then goes to work.  He multiplies the loaves and the fish to feed all the people and then when all is done they still pick up 12 baskets worth of bread.  So, continuing with the analogy God was showing me, He will use us, break us apart, stretch us thin, multiply our efforts, and so on and so forth.  And better yet, when all the work is done, we will be so much more than the 5 loaves we started with.  Even though all the resources are spent, we are left with an abundance of life we never knew we could have!  

At the end of the story when the people saw this great work, they say, "This indeed is the prophet who is to come into the world!"  What the Lord spoke to me through this is that, it is because we are small, it is because we are few, it is because it doesn't make sense to send so little into such a great problem, that people will come to believe.  They believe because they have no choice but to see the hand of God work in and through us and multiply our efforts.  All this can happen provided we allow the Lord to break us apart and use us, mold us as He sees fit.  And in the end, give Him all the glory, as is His due!  Thank you Lord for teaching me through this story I have read and heard so many times, but you continue to speak through it in new ways! 

Please pray for us as we begin this new year!

As an added bonus I have attached a few interesting pictures for you enjoyment!
Lucy can fall asleep anywhere!

The view from Marakwaf, a village that is two hours up a mountain by foot.  I have started visiting there with a fellow missionary to pray with the people.


Monday, November 2, 2015

A taste of the old life: Medical Missions

This past week, we hosted our first ever mission trip to Haiti and it just so happened to be a Medical Mission trip. It was extremely exhausting but totally blessed! With the help of 3 Doctors, 2 Dentists and a group of about 15 other medical and non medical personnel, we were able to hold 5 days of medical clinics and saw around 650 people all together! Sharing the love of Jesus with the poorest of the poor is a truly rewarding experience!

It was a blessing to be able to spend my days as a nurse again; but, it was also very difficult. It made me remember my past nursing career and co-workers. It made me long for my "old life". In the midst of this, I was talking with my sister one evening and she shared a story with me. She had just been to confession and the priest said something very profound. He spoke of his "past life" as a doctor and how his favorite thing to do was to remove cancerous tumors. But, he said, that was nothing compared to what he could do now, removing spiritual "tumors" in confession. How true and how beautiful! Even though there are times I long for the life I lived before, for a "normal" life, it was NOTHING compared to the life I live now. Even in all the difficult moments, and the times I miss everything I once knew, I praise God that He has called me here and thank Him for the opportunity to live among and serve my brothers and sisters in Haiti!
The "waiting area"
Loved being back in action! 
Nothing like Mission Dentistry! Dental needs here are HUGE and Dr. Ogas worked so hard to see as many patients as possible each day.
Dr. Ernie

Dr. Glass and Dr. Kroeger hard at work
It always helps when the priest is also a nurse!
Matthew doing the most important job at the clinic-Praying with the people!
Busy Place!
Pharmacy hard at work

One of the chapels we were going to have a clinic in did not have a concrete floor yet, so a couple missionaries put forward the money to purchase the materials to install one.  We were able to help with the work on Tuesday so we could have a clinic there on Friday.  It was amazing to see!  The whole community came together to provide extra hands to mix and then bucket the concrete inside.  I mean everyone, from the men to the women and from the young to the aged!

Greg Glass helping scoop concrete into buckets.

Even Lucy pitched in!

Fun at the beach on the day of rest and prayer!
Bonus shot: Haitians be crazy pickin' coconuts!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Bondye Bon: Baptism and Blessings in Haiti

Life has been full and blessed here. We have been busy with new ministries and preparing for the Medical Mission trip which will be coming on October 16th. Here is a little update of what we've been up to.

Last Saturday, Thomas (one of the single missionaries here) went to visit a sick man in his home named Tinom. After talking with him and hearing that he was raised Catholic(but never baptized) Thomas asked if he would like to be baptized, and he said yes! We returned with our priest, and Tinom was baptized. The best part is, Thomas and I (Andrea) are the Godparents! Please pray for this dear, sweet man. He is unable to see or walk and cannot leave his bed. Pray that through his suffering he may be more deeply united with Christ!

Dave and I, along with our mission partner Joanna, have been running a youth group in a local village. We meet once a week to pray, sing, and play games, visit the sick, do crafts etc. It has been a tremendous blessing to us.

Me and the Youth Group with the cards we made for the sick
Eliza is going to school and LOVES IT! She cannot wait to go every day. What a blessing to hear her speaking so much Creole!

Also just want to share this picture. Everyday Dave, like a bus driver, brings home a truck full(20-30 total) of kids home from school. There is hardly enough room. In fact, the other day, we had our entire team to take home, plus the kids, and 2 of the guys had to sit on the front. Haha. We could never get away with that in the states.

Pray for us and the people here! Especially for our preparations for the Medical Mission trip where we will be providing Medical Clinics for 6 small villages, along with evangelization in the evenings.

Love and prayers from Haiti!
The Quinns