"Rough Seas Ahead"

Matthew 14: 21-31
Jenny Sheffield
July 6, 2014
I am grateful and humbled by the support of my Peace family who made it possible for me to experience the best and most challenging week of my life so far. Some things you need to see to believe it; like the rivers of sewage and the piles of garbage. Children standing in the street, emaciated with bloated bellies from malnutrition. The locals lined up at Univers Medical Center, praying to receive care. The need is so great and the laborers are few, so most are turned away, but they don’t complain. I had the opportunity to experience a glimpse of life in Ouanaminthe, Haiti at Institution Univers. I also experienced the juxtaposition of the depth of poverty and the joy and gratitude of my new friends.

Rosemica is a seventeen-year-old young lady. She loves candy, reading and Jesus. She is kind and sassy. She hopes to come to the US to study Business Administration and to work at Univers when she’s older. She was supposed to be my translator for the week but she and Grace, my teammate, have become sisters for life.

Tessicka is a five year old little girl with the sweetest smile I’ve ever seen and the cutest dimples that I must have kissed five hundred times. She loves to play “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” She was one of my students and my little Sunshine. One day after class she tripped and fell; I just scooped her up, held her and rocked her. After plenty of kisses and a few lines of Jesus Loves Me, she stopped crying. As I held this little girl, I thought, what if this is how God sees us? Our feet have failed us, we’ve tripped, fallen down, we’re covered in boo-boos and need to be cared for.

My name is Jenny I had Chickungunya. I am not making up that word. Although our team did call it Chimichanga when we needed a laugh. I had joint pain and fever. I also had ibuprofen for the pain, Motrin for the fever, and fans to keep me cool when we had electricity. I slept under the safety of a mosquito net reading letters from home every night and being encouraged that my Peace family was praying for me. Being sick away from home was frightening and I felt a little like Peter. Jesus had called me to walk on the water with Him but my feet failed me and I began to sink in my fear. Jesus reached down and pulled me out and He asked “Why did you doubt Me?” He pulled me out when I saw a two-month-old infant whose tiny body was hot with fever. His mother can’t afford food, let alone medication; but the God we worship doesn’t sit back and watch us trip and fall, or watch us sink and drown. He is bigger than that.

The God we worship, who did the unthinkable for us, whose love is so deep and complex, we’ll never understand this side of Heaven is bigger than that. The God we love and serve is bigger than a season of poverty that won’t seem to end, He is bigger than a corrupt government that considers improvement to be paving a couple of roads here and there… and that’s about it. He is bigger than Chickungunya, AIDS or Malaria. He is bigger than the rough seas ahead. Our feet may fail us when the waves are too big and the wind is too strong. But let’s take a lesson from Peter; let’s be courageous, step out of the safety of the boat when Jesus calls us. Trust without borders, despite our fears, and walk on the water with Jesus.