Rosie’s Boutique

Kayla Raymond is the founder of Rosie’s Boutique. During my most recent trip to Haiti over Thanksgiving 2014, I visited Rosie’s Boutique in Haiti. It is a colorful and unique shop in Cabaret, Haiti. I loved all the goods and- even better- the stories behind the goods for sale at Rosie’s. Beneath their beautiful, handcrafted surfaces, they tell the tales of employment and change for the better. Continue reading

Love Idol

Something BIG is happening today. Something amazing and something very close to my heart.

My mom, Jennifer Lee, is releasing her very first book, Love Idol!

I am so proud of her and excited for what is going to happen next!

Her book is about seeking approval from others, even though we are already approved by God. We think we are not enough- we aren’t smart enough, we aren’t pretty enough, we aren’t witty enough- but we are enough, even though we make mistakes!

You can also read more about her book at her blog here.

Lisa-Jo’s Project: Laundry in Africa

You all probably know the story of how I raised over $6,000 last year for a playground at a school in Haiti.

But in case you don’t know the story, here it is: Last year, I felt as if God was calling me to do something for the country of Haiti, something big. I kept searching and searching for something to do, and finally, it came to me. My mom suggested I raise money to build a playground at a school in the village of Simonette, Haiti by selling Vi Bella Jewelry, which is made by Haitian women. My goal was to raise $5,000, but God really came through, and I raised a grand total of $6,000 for the school!

I’m amazed that God has used me to do this, even though I’m just a child!

But right now, I want to tell you about another story that has touched my heart. A story that will take place in Africa. Led by my friend, Lisa-Jo Baker. She wants to raise $5,000 to build a laundry facility for mothers who don’t have access to water.

I remember when I first got to Haiti. As we neared the house where we were staying, we passed through a shallow stream. One that was polluted and dirty. I saw people washing their clothes in the water. I wondered if the water made the clothes dirtier than before, but they have no choice.

This is a common sight in Haiti:

Lisa-Jo is going to banish the option of washing clothes in polluted water (or just not washing clothes at all) in a community in Africa.

I highly suggest you check out her blog and make a donation to her fundraising effort.

I have already made a commitment of $40 to her fundraiser.

(And by the way… You know how my motto for my playground project was “every kid deserves to play”? Well I think hers should be “every woman deserves to wash laundry”. ūüėČ )

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I found the photo shown on Flickr. It was taken by “kretyen.”

We Are The Esthers

Why are we here for “such a time as this”?

I think it is because God made us for a purpose, and wants us to fulfill that purpose in this time. He made us for “such a time as this.”

I’ve been pondering this question lately, because my friend Lisa has asked me to guest post on her blog, We Are The Esthers. She e-mailed me her questions, and I answered them.

I have just recently learned the story of Esther, and it is an amazing one. Esther was a Jew who lived with her cousin Malacai. One day, the king decided he wanted a new queen, so he instructed scouts to go out and find beautiful women who would make a good new queen. The ladies received beauty treatments for a year before the king chose his queen. Esther was one of the ladies who received the beauty treatments, and in the end, the king chose Esther as his new wife.

While Esther was queen, her cousin Mordecai discovered a plot to kill all the Jews!! Esther knew that all her Jewish friends could be killed, so she knew what she had to do. She had to go before the king and tell him about the plot. But there was only one problem… Esther could be killed if she went before the king without permission!! Esther told all her friends to pray and to fast for 3 days. After the three days, Esther would go before the king. Mordecai told Esther that maybe that she was made queen for “such a time as this”,¬†right when the plot to kill all the Jews had been discovered.¬†So Esther went before the king, and she told him about the plot and the fact that she was a Jew. And guess what? He didn’t kill her!! He listened to her and stopped the plot!!

Esther saved her friends with her courage and trust in God. I hope that if I was Esther, I would be brave enough to do something like that.

You can see my guest post here.

A Prayer Request

I have some great news! My oration (see Webert Raymond: Living Out of the Ordinary) has passed 3 rounds in my school so far! The first round was said by every kid to their class. The teachers picked about 5 kids from there. I passed this, so then, I went to a fourth-grade classroom, where the teacher of that class chose two kids– including me!! The most recent round was an official one. Judges came into the school, where 12 kids, two from every fifth- and sixth-grade classroom, gave their speech. And guess what? I got first place!!

My next round is tomorrow. I will be competing with two other kids from my school and some older kids– some even 8th graders– from around the county. It doesn’t matter to me whether I win or lose, and I know I am doing this to share Webert’s amazing story, and how God has used him to do some awesome things. So I am just asking for your prayers tomorrow, at 4:00. I would really appreciate them. ūüôā Thank you and God bless you!!

DSC_1094My sister and I at Webert’s awesome school in Haiti.

Reflecting God

I stood front and center, a place I never thought I would be. The blinding multi-color lights flashed around me. Mike Donehey, the lead singer of Tenth Avenue North, stepped out and began to sing:

¬† ¬†Why are you striving these days? Why are you trying to earn grace? Why are you crying? Let me lift up your face. Just don’t turn away… Because I’ll be by your side wherever you fall in the dead of night whenever you call. Please don’t fight these hands that are holding you. My hands are holding you…

And I was there at the concert, singing along with Kendra Michael by my side. Our arms were both raised, glorifying God during this beautiful¬†“God¬†moment,” a¬†moment when I didn’t care who was watching. A moment where I could sense God by my side, with his arm ¬†beside mine outstretched towards the sky.

And Mike said to the thousand-people crowd, “We, up here, are just here to be a mirror, reflecting the image of God. Whatever we do in life, we do it not for own own glory, but to reflect God. ”

I ask myself and you this: Are we doing what we do in our lives to reflect God… or is it for our own glory?

I don’t want my playground project to be where people look and say, “Look what Lydia did.” But here’s the truth: God did it all. I was just His hands and feet, serving Him.

I’ve learned from Tenth Avenue North. I’ve learned not to reflect myself, but God because truly, he does it ALL.

And that is how to live Out of the Ordinary.

“For I Know The Plans I Have For You”

Wow. Sometimes God just really amazes me with his plans. Take last week for example. Throughout the week, I was trying to talk with my friends about the poverty and beauty of Haiti, but they didn’t understand. They can’t imagine such a world, only 2,000 miles from their Iowa doorsteps, could possibly be so impoverished.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my friends, but they haven’t seen what I have seen. They can’t realize what it is like to go to bed hungry, without a mother kissing them goodnight. They can’t realize what is like to live in a tin hut with dirt floors, where you live taking care of your five younger siblings and your sick grandmother.

It’s just unimaginable.

¬† ¬†And that’s where God put Kendra Michael into my life. I was lying in bed under my down comforter one night, talking to my mother about how I felt because none of my friends understood me. She rolled over to face me and said, “Kendra knows what it is like.”

So we made plans for Kendra to come over that coming Friday. At first, I was nervous because Kendra is older than me. She is in 7th grade, and I am only in 5th. But when she came over, I knew God had planned this all. As it turns out, Kendra understood exactly what I was feeling. We talked a lot about Haiti, egzamen (quizzed) each other in Creole, and altogether had a great time.

Kendra had gone to Haiti last summer and had stayed in the same village I had. She has an amazing heart for Haiti and owns her own duct-tape pen business. The duct-tape pen profits go to Haiti, and this summer, Kendra has begun to employ 15 Haitian girls to make these pens. The girls earn Haitian gourdes and use the money to support their families.

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(PHOTO: This is one of Kendra’s two sponsored Haitian girls. She sponsors them with the extra money raised from pen sales. You can order her pens from her Facebook page by clicking right here. )

God did have a plan for me, it just came differently than I imagined. So if you are experiencing something that is hard for you, know that God has a plan, and He is watching out for you.

¬† ¬†“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 a hope and a future.” ¬†¬† ~Jeremiah 29:11