# Odd or Even Numbers…it is really that simple!

Jordan and Ava are officially in 2nd Grade.

I knew it was coming, the day that they would bring home the ODD and EVEN number worksheet.  As I slowly opened their folder, I looked over their math sheet and then it happened…

My heart began to race…

My hands began to sweat…

My brain confirmed what I saw…

ODD and EVEN numbers.

Yes go ahead and judge me but I dread teaching new concepts to my two 2nd graders!

As I sat and prepared a worksheet for them to complete as they came home, I began to remember…ODD and EVEN numbers are not that difficult.  Truly, all you need to know is the 0, 2, 4, 6 , 8.  That is it.  No matter how large the number is…

1,456,098,123,345,3456,348 all you need to do is to look at the last number.  EVEN!

Spiritual connection…

Maybe that is what we do with the teachings of Jesus.  We make them more complicated than they really are.  We try to over-spiritualize it with our knowledge only to confuse people in our teachings.

Remember what our Jesus said…The two greatest commandments;

“Love God with everything…Love your neighbor as yourself.”

May we not make it so difficult.

Now I get back to more difficult things in my life, subtracting double digit numbers…AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

Jb

# Today…Oh Wow…What a Day!

Today, God allowed us to begin a pretty cool work in our journey in Haiti.

For several years we have now been walking beside men and women separately in discipleship.  Today was a huge turning point.  We were fortunate enough to begin marriage counseling with a dear brother and sister of ours.  We are so thankful that God has given us this opportunity for His greatness.

Our hopes is to see this couple to become a couple that is paying it forwardsharing that which they have been given; touching other marriages in Haiti with the powerful purpose of God’s plan for our marriages.

Today as we sat before this couple that was exactly what we were doing…but I want to use the phrase “GRACE it FORWARD” not Pay It Forward.  Paying it forward brings with it a heaviness that we have to which at times can yield a forward motion of action with no heart.  “GRACING it FORWARD” is just the opposite…you do not do it because you have to, or to be better than someone else, it is just the thing you do.

Over the years…

Friends, pastors, family, professional counselors, etc. have poured into us and today we were able to “Grace it forward!”

“Grace it forward”today in your life my friends.

Jb

# So much to share…

As we are coming up on our fourth year at the House of Moses, we are so overwhelmed by the way God has provided in wisdom throughout this journey.

I recently read the following quote:

“When comparing institutional care to family-based care, studies show that in institutional care children are four times more likely to experience sexual violence and six times as likely to experience physical violence…For every year in institutional care i.e. orphan type settings, a child will lose four months in development.” (UNICEF)

When reading this article, there is so much proof of the great work God has done in the House of Moses in the last four years. Consider this: most of the students that came to live at HoM were between the ages of 17 and 22. With the above applied, that would mean the students had lost anywhere between 5 to 7 years of development — not to mention the many heartaches and sufferings they experienced from people that they at one time trusted very much. Because of HoM, they have now been able to experience life in a physical family as well as a spiritual family, and that has made all the difference.

Has it been easy? Absolutely not. But truly is the journey as a Christ-follower supposed to be that of ease?

We have recently learned other statics that are extremely difficult to digest.

According to www.summits.org of an approximately 1,080,000 students…
– Only 20% attend high school.
– Less than 1% attend university.

In September the House of Moses will have 6 students in high school, 8 students in university and in April of 2016 we will have our first graduate from Tarrant County College of Aviation. HoM’s numbers are 100-100-100.

During the upcoming month our college students will be beginning their university experience. This will be a new challenge to HoM as we support these 8 students in Port Au Prince and America, financially and spiritually.

We are so thankful for each one of you and give great PRAISE to our Jesus that is guiding this journey we are on.

Sincerely,

John and Christi Barnes
www.houseofmoses.tv

# A look at the House of Moses through Mattie’s eyes

Hello HoM supporters, family, and friends!

I am still so awed/overwhelmed/excited to be in Port de Paix this summer. Blessings abound this week through grace filled language barrier struggles and humbling mistakes. It is nothing short of amazing how every student has welcomed me into this home. They have truly embraced a kind and welcoming spirit and for that I am so glad. The “transition week,” I’m calling it, came with its share of struggles where God was tired of waiting for me to move along so instead decided to jerk me from my comfort zone.

After arriving in Port de Paix on Wednesday we learned it would be Thursday before I would have access to any internet. Besides not having the ability to get in touch with my family, I was also unable to reach John and Christi to get the information for a Western Union wire transfer. No wire transfer=no household money. Needless to say, the next few days consisted primarily of me reminding myself not to panic. It was amazing how God used this time to humble me and beginning forming relationships with the students. Because I was unable to ask John and Christi questions on the day to day activities of the house, I had ask the students and HoM staff questions, try and fail, and then ask again. It was not easy or something I would otherwise do willingly but it was spirit led and now I am thankful.

So with the internet situation, Thursday became Saturday, Saturday became Monday and Monday became Tuesday. After a full week of very limited to no communication with anyone from home I began to see my time with God and my time in Haiti in a different way. When I followed God’s calling to be here I thought that was me saying yes to Him. What I learned, however, was that when Jesus said in Luke that to follow him you must deny yourself and lose your life he didn’t not just mean be willing to die for the Christian cause. I thought just being here was following him and just coming was saying yes. But after a few days I realized that while I did follow him I never gave up my life for him. I just put everything that really mattered to me where it was easily accessible via wifi. This was not as easy lesson to learn as I spend four years as an undergraduate and half of graduate school defining my life by my GPA, extracurriculars, internships, and bible study groups. I began to realize that while establishing my earthly identity as a sister, student, employee, girlfriend, roommate, and friend, I had completely let go of my identity in Christ. It took a week of seclusion for God to show me what it really meant to take up my cross and let go of everything behind to follow Him.

I am so excited to keep adventuring with the HoM family this summer. Hannah and Erich will be here soon and I am sure there will be no shortage of stories to share! Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers.

Love from Port de Paix!

Mattie

# I need thee oh, I need thee

This is the wife & Mom this time- Christi here…

As our whole family wraps up another school year- we keep encouraging everyone to finish strong! Study hard, keep focused on the Lord, trust/faith, relationships… All 1 Cor.10:31

I need the greatest reminder of that as I look at the path of these 5 Seniors and their dreams & goals. When I look at statistics of secondary education advancement In Haiti, I feel the miracle. When I look at the bank account I feel the stress. It’s like Peter walking on water and then looking at the wind and waves and sinking BUT he calls out to God who graciously takes his hand and sets him back to walking incredible things with HIM. Will you cry out with me so that we might continue to walk with Christ by faith on water?!

We are truly so blessed -and yet even as we prepare for America I feel anxiety of the costs, pressure, THEN their government exams, getting back home to Haiti to see our kids graduate, visa appointments, college registration and gathering all supplies needed for another year in Haiti. I am battling FEAR, of what I’m not exactly sure because God continually blows us away without a doubt. HE HAS gone on before us- please join us in laying these burdens at the foot of the cross and asking God to open the flood gates of Heaven and move mountains for HIS glory!

This mama needs HIM alone every hour…truth is – we all do!

I need thee Oh I need thee. Every hour I need thee- My one defense My Righteousness. Oh God, How I need thee!!!

# Ava and her bag of chocolates.

The other day our sweet Ava made a decision that was not the best of decisions. In this she was punished What made it even worse for Christi and I, it was her birthday. We believe in discipline but on the day of her birthday it made it difficult. But if we have learned anything in doing what God has called us to do, follow through is very important in the context of discipline, especially with our sweet little Ava.

Later that same day, her friend brought her over a present which included a bag of chocolates. Our Ava loves chocolate and it is so very sweet when a friend knows your likes and dislikes.

As we were getting ready for bed, Ava pops in our room with the bag of chocolates in her hand saying, “Mom, I want you to have these chocolates.”

Quickly we recognized what she was doing, Ava wanted to make things right, it was her peace offering. Christi and I looked at each other, and then I spoke for the both of us.

“Ava, that is very sweet of you to want to give your birthday chocolates to Mom, but please understand sweetie, just because you made a mistake today, doesn’t mean you have to try to make mom and dad happy by giving us something. We love you sweetie and when you make mistakes we may be disappointed but that does not mean we love you any less. You are our girl.”

You should have seen the relief on her face. Some would say that it was from her getting to keep her chocolates, but I believe it was the realization that her mom and dad love her deeply through the ups and downs in life.

As I thought about this later that night, I realized I do the same thing with God. When I sin or fall short in some way, I try to make a “peace offering” by making empty promises to make myself feel better or reinstate myself in His hand. When in reality, He cannot love me any more or LESS than the day I became His child.

Live in His love, eternal love.

# Satisfied??

I am not for sure about you, but I have a problem with eating and drinking the best things sometimes.

I mean I know coconuts and bananas are good for you but many times I choose to skip these delicious snacks and head straight for the candy and junk food!

What is the end result?  My body has intake but not satisfied.

Many times this seeps over into my spiritual journey took.  I find or try to find satisfaction through the lens of acceptance of others only to be left empty.

Although I know I need to “seek Him first and all Hos righteousness” I find it in other things, that leave me empty.

# Strange Prayer Requests

Okay…this is a me blog.  Had to get it out.  Hopefully it will help you as well.

For the last few months I have been struggling with some pretty severe GERD.  I have been taking different OTC drugs, read some articles about GERD, and talked to a few doctors.

Through the websites and advice from doctors, the summation of all the “expert opinion” was to…hang on…wait for it…

CHANGE MY DIET.

Well for the last few months, I have done everything but changed my diet.

Today at our HOM Leadership Meeting, we were going through prayer requests and guess what my prayer requests was?  You guessed it…

But as soon as the words came out of my mouth I realized how crazy of a prayer it was.  For the last few months everyone has been telling me to change my diet and that is the only thing that I haven’t tried.

Sooooo

I changed my request to this;

“Please pray that I have discipline to maintain the new diet I have started…without coffee, aaaaahhhhhhh!”

Seriously, pray with me…I live in the land of “ALL NATURAL.”  So it will not be hard to find good foods to eat.

Oh, and maybe rethink the way you are asking people to pray with you about the struggles in your life.  Are you just covering the symptoms or the root of the symptom?

# Reactions to the robbery…visible fruit.

The last few days have been such an unique challenge for the House of Moses.  But I have to share the beauty that came from the ugliness…

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

I have always had a love-hate relationship with these verses for the reason of knowing that trials do refine and reveal but they are also DIFFICULT.   But for the House of Moses, this specific trial has been an opportunity to reveal how much work God has has done in all of our lives.

Let me explain one.

When we awoke on Thursday morning to find that are house was ravaged through, one of the HoM girls (our daughter) came up to me giving me a hug and said, “I’m sorry dad.”  In the chaos of the moment I quickly took in her words, responding only with a silent hug.

As the moments passed, God began to speak to me about the words of our girl.  At times when things such as these happen on the mission field, the result ends up with the missionaries leaving and going “back.”  For this girl, growing up in an orphanage, she had seen this before.

So, after devotions…

I walked over to her and said,

“This hasn’t changed our love for Haiti or the Haitian people.  Besides, there is as much evil in America as there is in Haiti.”

I will never ever forget her next words, as I was the one who was about to receive words of wisdom.

She responded;

“Yes, dad but there are also as many GOOD people in Haiti as in America.”

Even in the darkest moment the one who had her things stolen and purse rummaged through was focusing in on the good of others.

Praise God for the fruit at the House of Moses.  We are humbled.

# Taking my own advice…an ultimate fail.

I love discipleship…walking beside others in their journey whether it be in a relationship with Jesus, others, or like today their spouse.  But one of the things that irritates me the most about walking beside others is when I give some great advice to a husband only to turn around and do the exact opposite within 30 minutes of giving the advice.

Ultimate fail.

Remember the words of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” there is a lot of wisdom within the song.  Here are a few of the lyrics:

“I’m Starting With The Man In
The Mirror