501(c)3 Non-Profit | Empowering Haitian Families

To our Christian friends..

A note to our Christian audience:

A phone call rang in at the AP office USA like it does many times a day. It was a church secretary wanting to know our statement of faith. It was a pastor wanting to know our shipping company’s stance on Calvin. It would be important to donate boxes only to an organization that was solid in it’s stance on predestination. It was another call wondering why we don’t do ___________(insert one of the following: street evangelism, tract handouts, bible studies, orphan visits, VBS, worship dance, prophetic mime, or all of the above).

It’s easy to misunderstand what we are doing and why were are doing it when your concept of missions has always been one of “spoken word”, heaven/hell, and eternity. But as we have started down this journey of trying to help the poor, we have found that where our skills lie and what we are gifted at is in the realm of creativity and job creation- the NOW! (Which by the way, God is also quite interested in as well!). We do not believe that following our God given abilities in this way is any less spiritual of a practice and feel that by not doing what we are so obviously created to do and favoring a more “traditional” approach to ministry would be a terrible waste of a precious resource – the ability to free people from poverty. Not only that, but we have found that many of the traditional practices of missionaries abroad seem to just lead people into more dependency and teach them how to be “yes-men” so that they can get what they need. (Think about it- is it more authentic to tell an equal about your faith and have them come to see as you do or to tell a starving person about your faith and have them agree with you- the latter can be a bit suspect.. no? Especially when you are 30 pounds overweight and have a cheeseburger in your hand!)

We have had many people question supporting what we are doing (and by supporting I mean donating cereal boxes and buying jewelry) because we do not have a statement of faith listed on our website. We do this on purpose. We believe that the task at hand doesn’t need to be exclusive. Anyone can contribute. We have teams with specific skill sets come to teach. We do not believe it is necessary for them to believe exactly as we do in order to help the poor.
(Were all your professors in college or trade school of the same beliefs as you?)
We also sell our goods to people of different faiths and truly would hate to hinder our reach in terms of sales because we only wanted to sell to people who believe exactly as we do.
Also, could it not be that your faith calls you to do the right thing despite who the recipient is? (Samaritan story ring a bell?) If I were you, I would just ask yourself…”Do I believe in what they are doing? Is this something that my faith tells me that God wants for people?” If yes, then who cares if we believe exactly the same thing… we’re on the same TEAM! We both love God and love people!

On another note, I, Shelley, have been on an incredible poignant spiritual journey since the 2010 earthquake as I process how God works in the world, how he can be sovereign, good, loving, all-powerful and everything else that he is at the same time and still make sense in my head. It is an incredibly tender journey,(one far to personal to talk much about)  but has allowed me to take a step back from whatever pulpit I may have thought I should stand on, and has allowed me to simply serve- without all the answers. In some ways, the lowliness that I feel so much in terms of spirituality has given me new eyes.. made me realize how little I saw when I thought I knew it all. I have found that I have as much to gain from my Haitian friends as I have to give.

Today I am working. Tomorrow AP will be working. Creating jobs, teaching pottery, designing new bracelets, organizing the massage business that is unfolding. I am following my Father- who loves the poor. I make a lot of mistakes. I am not a missionary and I don’t have a mission. I am a person who is using what God has given her to the best of her ability. If I don’t measure up to what your expectations are of me, or of what AP should be, that is ok. There are so many great organizations to support. Find one that best suits you. But please try not to send lists of things that we lack our way. We know we are not the whole story. We are but a piece of the amazing puzzle of restoration in this world. Is it ok with you if we just do what we know we are supposed to be doing? Grace friends.. grace on us all.

  1. well said. and keep doing what you are doing.

  2. Yes yes yes… God is using you in big ways, I hope you are encouraged today!!

  3. You are a beautiful soul Shelley! Thank you for your ministry.

  4. Thank you Shelley – we are indeed on the same team!

  5. In this very creative way, you are being the hands and feet of Jesus. 'Nuff said. Blessings on you all!

  6. Amen, Shelley. What God has accomplished through you and Clay is absolutely mind boggling. It would seem today that a lot of "Christians" pride themselves in snobbery since they know exactly how God wants it all done. I don't, but I know one thing God said to help the poor, the let the man who steals get a job so that he has comething to share with anyone in need. He doesn't tell us to questions their doctrine first. We are to love our neighbors and that is exactly what He has led you to do. Please know I pray for you often….And thank God for you everyday and what you are doing there.

  7. Well done good and faithful servant!

  8. As someone who is somewhat new to Haiti – though certainly not new to this type of work – I could not agree more. We are all doing good work – and the motivations for it shouldn't matter. Same team, same mission. Thanks for the perspective!

  9. Wow, those were some powerful words. Do you mind if I share some of it on my blog?

  10. Well said. I couldn't agree with you more and have the same frustrations…a statement of faith does nothing to help lift people from poverty. The words you write need to be read & digested by many who merely stand on a written statement of "faith" alone. Keep up the great work you are truly helping many, directly and indirectly.

  11. AMEN! Well said. I once heard it said that if you really want to meet Jesus, then you must go to the poor, the maligned, those unjustly treated. That is where He is.

  12. Beautiful……

  13. Well said… we must focus on who we are in Christ, not our differences. It's time to leave the Jesus wars (as the secular press likes to call them) behind and be the body of Christ. You guys are doing a job that amazes me and you have my absolute full support. May the support you recieve from the body of Christ be full to overflowing!!!

  14. Love it! Shelly I hope I get to meet you some day soon.I've met your husband, in the PAP airport actually! Great post, i 100% agree. One of my favorite quotes I try to live by is from St Francis. I'll probably miss quote the exact exact words but it's basically ”share the gospel, use words when necessary.” And that sums up what you and AP are doing. What better way to show and teach Christ than to live it? I know you are not doing what you are for this… But i'm still giving you a pat in the back… Keep it up! Your jewelry (and story) are getting rave reviews from MN by the way:-) ~Joy

  15. So well put and something that the Church needs to hear and follow.

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