Friday, July 27, 2012

Healing Hearts in Haiti.

This is me, happy.

"I find it funny that I was absolutely miserable while living in 
Scottsdale, AZ, one of the wealthiest cities in the US, 
but was completely filled with joy in Haiti,
The poorest country in our hemisphere."

In the mist of a long and rough time away at school down in Arizona, one late night I called my dad and felt convicted to say "Dad, I am not happy here, I want to do something where I am not living my life for me but for others. I want to go abroad and give hope to the hopeless." And he wasted no time making arrangements.

This is my story of my life changing experience in Haiti. I hope it blesses you as it did me.


It is Tuesday morning, my first morning waking up in my own bed after 13 days of being away from home. Instantly my heart is sore. I look around my bedroom. A mud hut in Haiti that houses a family of 7 is about 1/4 the size of my bedroom. I tip toe through my comfortably air conditioned home to the kitchen. I open the pantry to not one but several options for me to pick from for breakfast. None of the food is expired. 

That's when it hit me.  Anger.  Why did I let myself go to Haiti and be exposed to the things I saw. If I would have just stayed home this summer I would not be staring at my pantry right now with a stomach hurting from guilt. 

I get frustrated with the fact that I am now held responsible. Everyday for the rest of my life I will be given the option to look poverty in the eye or to turn my head.  I went and saw and now I am aware. I am no longer living in the ignorance of not knowing what is happening everyday in Haiti. Is it selfish of me to be having this conflict or does this simply make me human? 

My heart begins to ache with pain. I don't understand. We do not get to pick what life we are born into and where we are placed on this earth. I see mothers walking through the streets of Port Au Prince with bellies growing of life within them. That innocent life is about to be born into a corrupt world of chaos. And thats when questions begin to race through my mind...

Why me? Why was I born in America, into a beautiful life? What did I do to be so blessed? Absolutely nothing..

Especially when there is a single mother of seven living in a one bedroom home with no running water, no electricity, and barely scrapping by to keep her children nourished.

But then I hear, quietly, a whisper in my ear...

"You are blessed to be a blessing"

And it hits me, like cold water to a warm face. If I had not been given the life that I have, I would not have been able to go to Haiti this summer with helping hands. This is why I have been given what I have. Because God has a plan for me. He is using me to help others. He doest not want me to feel shame or guilt. He knows what he is doing and he loves the people in Haiti just as much as he loves you and I. 

We live in a world that is constantly focused on "self-help." Commercial after commercial trying to sell you on what you can do to make YOU better. I've always felt that if the world would just focus on each others happiness instead of our own then we would truly be happier and the world would be a better place. If only it were that simple, right?

"You can turn a blind eye to the poor all you want but would you have turned it if you were the one with nothing?"

July 9th, 2012 - Fonds Parisian, Quest, Haiti 
Note to self: 
"The less we have, the bigger our God is & God sure is big here in Haiti. I thought I came here to help, but here they are saving me from myself."

Here are some pictures from my trip, I hope they warm your heart like they did mine. 

Day 1

Haitian Christian Mission

Fond Parisian, Quest, Haiti

First day of VBS camp.

Quickly making friends.

VBS Camp

Lots of S M I L E S. 

The kids chasing our van as we leave.

Fulfilled with J O Y.

City streets of Port Au Prince,

Capital of Haiti

Capital building still untouched after the earthquake hit. 
Haiti's government is beyond corrupt and the earthquake 
hit almost all the government buildings.
 Ironic? I think not...

Some action shots of me being the

"Fearless Leader" that I was.


Some Fun In The Sun at the Caribbean Sea

& 1 out of 5 natural made salt lakes.

Doing a little interior decorating.

Accidentally got paint on that little girls top.



The rain was a blast!

At the Whole Hearted Home Orphanage.

The girls loved playing with our hair.

This is Baby GiGi.

She was adopted 2 years ago &

is still waiting for the government to let her go.

Keep her in your prayers that she may

join her new family soon.

This is David.

One of the happiest boys I've ever met.

His laugh was the most joyful sound

I have ever heard.

This picture of the baby I am holding above had touched my heart deeply.

She was sitting off by herself crying, I watched and waited 

for someone to claim her but I could not wait any longer.

I walked over and swooped her in my arms 

and we bonded instantly.

When it came time to leave that day I gave the baby girl back to her mother.

Within seconds of her leaving my arms I instantly lost control of my emotions.

Hysterically crying, I was filled with hurt and fear for this precious little girls future.

Edwens came out of nowhere and wrapped his arms around me.

I cried into his chest for a good couple minutes and just let it all out.

He explained to me that this little girl has a mother that loves her.

He pointed out to me that as soon as the little girl left my arms into

her mothers arms, she gave her child a big squeeze and kiss on the forehead.

He helped me understand that although they may not have a lot,

they have a lot of love.

Thank you Edwens for being there when I needed someone.

This is a letter from my friend Woodson

that I got to get to know at HCM.

It is amazing that he wrote this in perfect English.

And it is even more amazing the scripture he gave me on this letter.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 

plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11 

This was so special to me because I am at a point in my life

where I am feeling very lost.

God bless this little boy and all the hearts that touched ME during my time in Haiti.

And God bless you,

whoever is taking the time to read my story.

xo, ashlee

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dear Diary,

Lately, everyone has had an opinion.
Voiced their thoughts on what move I should make next.
And what is my response you may ask, simply nod my head and listen.
Lately, I haven't been the one to express myself, voice my own opinion, or simply stand up for myself.
I just observe the present while it turns into the past.

I'm not entirely sure when I became the quite one.
If you know me at all, you've probably told me to shut up a time or two.

Truth be told, when I jumped into this big pond, I became timid out of hope for acception.
But at the end of the day, who wants to be accepted for something they are not?

You see.. the problem is in search for acceptation, I left myself behind.
I started to let my brain be believe some pretty unjust things.

Someone telling me,
your thighs are too thick,
your skin is too pale,
your belly is too plump,
your overbite is too noticeable,
your height is too short,
your feet are too square,
your hair is too boring,
you knowledge is too little,
your fingers are too stubby,
your face has too many spots.

Why is it that these words are LOUDER then the ones that are important?
The words that tell you,
you are beautiful,
you are intelligent,
you are healthy,
you are blessed,
you are unique,
you are loved,
you are cherished,
you are talented,
you are YOU!

The last six months I've been on a hunt to REdiscover myself & it hasn't been easy..

Digging deep to find out who I really am has brought some ugly traits to the surface.
I have come to realization that I can be proud, judgmental, and selfish. These qualities have left me with broken friendships and relationships. However, what I have learned; is that being aware and incompetent leads to being aware & competent. If you repent that is. Now I can focus on becoming a better me.

I am finding confidence in myself again. And no, not cocky or arrogant but confident.
I'm working on the me I want to be. Im ready to stand up for what I believe in and know when to bite my tongue. Taking this walk with Christ, I am learning to love myself so that I can love others.

This year hasn't exactly been the most comfortable for me. But stepping out of my comfort zone has been the best thing for me.

Im ready to follow MY heart and be MYself.

End of story.
xo, ao

Honestly, I wish my heart was a little more aggressive. I wish it was a little louder because I can't quite hear what it's trying to tell me.

but I am listening now.