New Home, Bright Future

Soraya is one of the very special women in Finding Hope’s Beading Program.

She joined in July 2014 and has been an essential part of our team ever since. Her beads are gorgeous, thoughtfully and painstakingly made, and show so much potential for being some of the best we have!

Today I sat down with Soraya and had a little conversation with her about money and how she has financially benefited from the program.

She started by excitedly telling me about the house she and her husband are building in a small lot across the street from where they are currently living.
Where they live right now is a tiny little shack made out of sticks and tin roofing with a dirt floor. They are squatters, although the term is used a lot more loosely here. She says she hates the feeling of being unsure whether the owner of the land is going to come one day and tell them to leave.

Soraya and her husband Osman have 3 sweet children who come to our Sunday School – Aymar, Astrid, and Osman Jr. Their little family is so important to them and they want to have a place to raise their kids while feeling safe and secure.
The Beading Program is a great fit for Soraya as she can work on her bracelets while taking care of the home, her kids, and the small pulperia (convenience store) they run out of their house.
As she’s received money for her bracelets, Soraya has been putting aside a small amount every payment to put towards the costs of building the new house. Every time her husband brings home his pay and gives her money to buy food and necessities, she buys what she needs and puts another small amount aside towards the house.
It’s hard to explain the rarity of this to people back at home. We’re used to our savings accounts, 401Ks, budgets, and investments. Most people here are living from check to check, using whatever they’ve earned that month to pay back the debts they’ve accumulated while waiting for the money. There’s no real conception of saving, of budgeting your money, or even of making worthwhile investments.

It was so refreshing to talk with Soraya and see her using the money she makes from the bracelets to invest in her and her family’s future. From what she shared with me, it is apparent that she truly appreciates the value of the money she and her husband work so very hard to earn. Soraya makes smart choices and has sound judgment.
Her husband brought up the idea of taking a loan out at the bank to help with the building costs so they could finish the house sooner. This is a trap so many people fall into here, banks and businesses and retailers all offering such low monthly payments you can’t help but believe you’re getting an amazing deal. Then, when you don’t budget your money right, or you lose your job, or you use the money to take your child to the hospital, the bills started getting higher, the payments pile up, and you lose what you’ve been working so hard to get.
Soraya told her husband that as much as she wanted the house finished as soon as possible, she just couldn’t let the bank own her new house before she got a chance to make a life in it.

“Day by day we’re struggling to build this house, but it’s all worth it. Once it’s finished it will be completely ours…that’s a feeling we haven’t had yet but we can’t wait to experience!”

I hope this is an inspiration to you as you support me, my ministry…when you buy a bracelet and see the picture of the woman who lovingly crafted your piece…
Lives are being changed! The future is becoming brighter for so many of the women and their beautiful, growing families.

I am so grateful to every single kind heart who has shown interest in Finding Hope’s ministry and believes in the work we are doing here in El Porvenir.

Please consider contributing to the last $600 we need to finish a campaign to build a roof over the Beading Workshop in the Women and Children’s Center. If you support financially, please share the campaign with your friends and family! Thanks in advance!

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Falling into the Depths, into Infinity

The thing about love, or any other feeling really…

If you’ve never experienced it, you don’t understand it.

There are complexities that you can’t even begin to know to include in your expectations.

There are depths,
OH THE DEPTHS.

There are layers….so many layers.

The changes of the heart,
The countless emotions.

***

My understanding of God started so simply, as all great loves do.

He was righteous, powerful, mighty, just, loving…

There were ways to include Him in my life, to let Him be a part of my human experience.

There was my everyday God, the knowledge of something greater above me, around me, inside me. Something looking out for my good and holding my life in His hands.
I was aware of His presence.

I also had a God who touched me at times, squeezed my heart a little tighter than I was used to. This brought tears sometimes, an emotional tearing down of self-built walls.
Spiritual highs…as they like to say at Bible camp.

There were the two experiences.
The two sides of God.
The two levels I could feel.

But there had to be more to be felt.

As I spent time intentionally inviting the Spirit to come and show me the Father’s heart, the undoing began.

I thought He was a finite God…I thought He could be contained in the walls of my understanding.

I never knew I could be loved in so many ways, forms, and fashions.
I never knew I could be so excited to see what new way the Lord was going to show me His heart.

The experiences that I have been opening myself up to lately have been absolutely rocking my world. Shaking the very earth beneath my feet.

I’m almost a little ashamed to say I’m just now realizing how much I don’t understand the infiniteness of God’s love.
How very simple.
How very quaint.

The deepness of ABBA is immense.
I feel like I could drown in it.
And I think that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

I’m working on taking down the barriers of my expectations of God, the things holding me back from letting Him be infinite, and letting Him in His timing show me each layer.

He is vast, and large, and impossible to contain.

My union with Him is the greatest, most marvelous treasure I’ve ever wanted and had as my own.

***

The dream of my heart that I’ve been praying over these past few months is to become a person Pure of Heart.
I want to naturally want things of the Lord.
I want it to be easy to want to be a genuinely good person.

And I think,
the way that God is transforming me, little piece by little piece,
is by covering me in His bigness.
Overcoming me with His presence.
Opening my mind to the infinite.
Guiding me into a place of losing myself for all that He is.

Oh, the Wonder of it all.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

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Heading into month 3 of living here in El Porvenir, I am getting a more of a feel for this town and starting to look for ways that God wants to use Finding Hope here in this community. Since Katlyn has been here for so long, she has lots of great relationships and friendships that I get to be a part of and share in. Our focus is mostly with women, so we get to hear many stories of their lives and individual situations.

I love them. I love each and every one of their precious hearts and beautiful faces. They are full of life and love, beauty and pain, light and darkness, and so many unique character qualities and traits. Having an opportunity to provide for their families by making and selling bracelets through Finding Hope is giving them power and control over their lives to make choices and decisions, and this gives them a small sense of freedom. It’s an amazing thing to see, and I attribute most of it to the dream the Lord placed on Katlyn’s heart to help these women in a real and effective way.

Since I moved here, Katlyn and I have been discussing and dreaming up ways to make a positive impact on this community once the Women and Children’s Center is built. We are so blessed that God has given us very similar hearts for Central America and desires and hopes that line up almost exactly. As I’ve mentioned before, once the Center is built, we will have facilities for teaching the beading and bracelet-making, sewing classes, women’s bible studies, a feeding center, a daycare, and whatever else the Lord puts on our hearts. We believe this will be a great outreach to the community, a place to connect and do life together, somewhere safe and trustworthy.

We’re making some serious headway with construction, having just finished the bathrooms and getting ready to pour floors in, and hopefully having 3 rooms built by November. Even though it’s not finished, we’ve been praying for something bigger.

See, a lot of conversations we have with women here about their lives are very similar – they got pregnant at an early age, if the guy didn’t run away they moved in with him, he started abusing them, they can’t leave because they don’t have work and can’t find it without skills, and that’s what life is. It’s accepted and women settle for being under-valued, under-appreciated, lonely, and abused.
We were talking to one woman this past week who was telling us her story, which was very much like ones we’ve heard before, and she summed it up for all the women we’ve listened to with this phrase:
“So, this is how my life is now. It’s complicated.”

It broke my heart. She is unhappy with the man she’s living with right now, for valid reasons, but she couldn’t leave him even if she wanted to. She has 2 young children – 2 years and 1 month old – and doesn’t live anywhere near to her immediate family. She can’t get work anywhere to provide for her kids if she wanted to move out, and she wouldn’t be able to leave with such a small children at home anyway.
We can spend all day talking to her about how she should just press on, that things will work out eventually, that we’re praying for her, that we’ll come visit as often as we can…but the truth is, I’m not completely sure that her situation will change. We can disciple her and give her the hope of Jesus and his grace and forgiveness, but her husband might continue to abuse her.

We want to be able to do something bigger and more meaningful than just talk.

Our dream for Finding Hope is to be able to build a second floor onto the Center for women and children in abusive and dangerous situations. We want to make a safe place for them to feel secure and loved, a place where they can get on their feet and figure out the next steps.

It’s a big dream! We’re not even finished with the first floor, but we want to start praying about how powerfully God can use this building. There are so many logistics to think about and money to raise, and we realize it’s probably a ways into the future.
But we want to ask every person who reads this blog, thinks about Finding Hope, prays for our lives and this town, and is involved in any way to join us in dreaming more HOPE into El Porvenir.

And during the process of building everything, making new connections, and raising funds, please be thinking about and praying for these women who don’t have any other option but to settle.
They are real women with real stories and real lives. Mothers, sisters, wives, aunts, and daughters who are strong, powerful, influential, who love fiercely and live with passion.

“Speak out on behalf of those who have no voice,
and defend all those who have been passed over.
Open your mouth, judge fairly,
and stand up for the rights of the 
afflicted and poor.”

Proverbs 31:8-9

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Thank you for your continued support of the journey God’s put me on! If you would like to see pictures, feel free to add me on FaceBook. They upload faster on there. If you feel led to make a donation, there are a few ways you can go about that:

1. Write a check and send to Life Church. Make check out to Life Church, put Haille Krieg in the memo line, and send to 7001 Haggerty Rd, Canton MI 48187

2. Send money electronically through Life Church’s PayPal account. You can find that here: http://www.lifechurchcanton.org/#/about-life/financial-contributions. Make sure you specify that it’s for Haille Krieg.

3. Set up an Elexio account to have an amount taken out of your bank account each month. Log into Elexio Pulse https://lifechurch.elexiopulse.com and click on the “My Giving” link to the far right, you’ll see not only your history in giving, you’ll see a large link in the upper left that says “click here to Give Online”.  If you don’t have an Elexio account you will go to the above link and click on “need an account?” and follow the prompts.

All donations are tax deductible, which is one of the reasons for me going through my church. Life Church does send out donation statements for your tax purposes

2014 – Finding Where I’m Supposed To Be

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At this point in my life, at just 20 years, I am tired of building deep relationships and then getting called to move somewhere else. Or having those people move on.

Now, I realize that’s a really beautiful part of life, that we’re all constantly moving and meeting new people, making connections, letting them change you, passing on their memories to others, building and shaping each other, loving many parts of the world.

But I’m not going to say it’s easy.

In this world of constant change and movement, I want something sure and constant in my life.

Jesus fills that void so perfectly, but sometimes (OK, all the time), I need someone physical to talk to about my thoughts about God, the things He’s teaching me, the ways He’s moving…I need to share life with someone.

There hasn’t really been a person for me like that this past year, and so it’s been a little lonely. But the way that God has built me stronger through that, and the way He’s drawn me deeper into our relationship, our romance…it’s made every moment worth it.

It’s been the hardest, but best year of my life so far.
I can only hope and pray that this next year goes beyond everything I’ve experienced and takes me farther into understanding and wisdom and love with my Savior.

Which brings me to my plans…

I realize I have been saying pretty much all this year that I’m planning on being in Nicaragua with New Song indefinitely.

Well, things have changed a little bit.

Over these last few months, I began to feel a restlessness in my heart.

I was in such denial about it because I truly love the Nicaraguan people with all of my heart and could never imagine leaving them.

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They have affected me in more ways than explain. They have shown me a genuine unconditional love that I’ve never felt before. I finally fit in someplace and felt settled.

After feeling the first touches of this restlessness, I had thoughts of,
“What if I acted on this? How crazy would it be if I just left without having a plan? How much faith and trust would that be? But I couldn’t do it…I’m not able to leave without knowing what I’m doing next. That would be way too stressful…”

God is funny like that.

Every day I felt more and more pressure to figure out what I was going to do with these thoughts.
Eventually, it all came to a head, and in one tearful, anxious, stressful night of fighting against my own will and fearful nature, I made the decision.

And the peace I experienced afterwards confirmed everything I had decided.

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I committed to spending a year at New Song, helping out in whatever ways I could, becoming part of the community, loving on the people, and being part of the team of people who make things happen.

Although I thought I would be there indefinitely, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is calling me to move on and trust Him to provide for me in a time of uncertainty.

I honestly don’t know where that is right now. I have no idea of what country I want to be in, other than I don’t want it to be the States.

I do know, however, what kind of ministry I want to be doing.

Working at New Song was such a good experience of being able to be in training – watching other experienced missionaries in action, learning from them, seeing how an organization works, being part of a team.

I worked mostly in worship, which I love…it’s my heart. It’s what I was created to do. But I’m finding that leading is just not my gifting, and I’m way better at supporting someone who has really great ideas and motivation. I will always love music, and it will always be a huge part of my life and ministry, but I’m not a leader.

After a lot of prayer, contemplation, and listening to the Lord, I have found the ministry that really brings me the most life, that makes me feel like I am living out what I was created for, is caring for babies/small children.

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I have a nurturing heart.

I love to love.

My heart aches for the children who will grow up with nobody stable in their lives whose sole commitment is to raising them in a Holy Spirit filled, nurturing, loving environment.

I want to be that.

I want to raise children in a spirit of continual thankfulness and awareness of the majesty and greatness of God.

I want to impress on them that staying true to who you were created to be is so important, and that the creativity of God has made them such special and precious individuals they should be proud of.

I want to introduce the lifestyle of finding Jesus’ blessings, his little gems and treasures, in every moment so that we are constantly in awe of how GOOD God is and how much He cares for us. In that, for me personally, when I begin to understand how much He loves me and every detail is important to Him, I want to live a life worth His sacrifice.

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So…I kind of have that figured out a little bit…

But where?

I am still trying to figure that out.

If you have any contacts that you know are searching for someone like me, would you let me know?

I am willing to travel anywhere.

I’m ready for a new adventure!

Until I find where God is calling me to next, it looks like I’ll be hanging out Michigan for awhile, working and just listening to where I’m supposed to be.
Grow where you’re planted, right?
If this is where God wants me for a little break, this is where I’ll be.

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I do, however, have plans to go back to Nicaragua for about a month, just to say my final goodbyes and tie up all my loose ends.
I definitely am going to need some support financially to make this last trip happen, which I believe is really important. After all the time I’ve spent there, I need to tell these beautiful people how much they really mattered in my life, and leave blessings with them.

If you are interested in supporting, here are some specifics that you would be a DOLL to help me out with:

  • Buy my plane ticket ($400 round trip)
  • Ship the rest of my belongings that I left in Nicaragua back home ($150)
  • Food/Lodging/Additional Expenses (about $300)

I cannot thank you all enough for the support I’ve received this past year.
Nicaragua wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for your prayers, finances, encouragement, and belief in my hopes and dreams.

I hope we can continue to be partners in this ministry God has called me to. It is far from over and I can’t wait to share at the end of 2014 what adventures I’ve been on and what huge new things I’ve experienced.

And now, on to the important things:

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