This is My Story

I’ve written a lot. I adore writing.  I’ve written about practically anything and everything. However, I dislike I talking about myself.  It is the one topic I avoid  at all costs. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve filled journal on top of journal filled with life. But wait, sharing this knowledge? That’s a totally different story. God has been convicting me of something lately (as He always is); God turns our messy lives into messages.  I can make Him famous by sharing my story. We all have stories. They started the day we took our very first breath.  Our lives are a book written by God. Each day is a page. Every decade a chapter.  We were created to be read. We were written to put God on the Bestseller list!

 God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive–a living soul!

Genesis 2: 7

If that’s not crazy, astonishing and thrilling, I don’t know what is.

Apparently, I am really good at putting on a poker face.  I don’t try to look like I have it all together. In fact, oftentimes I feel like screaming “I’m not strong, but He is! Every waking minute Jesus is holding me!” It is because of His strength that I am capable of being strong in my weaknesses.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the LIFE of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

2 Corinthians 4: 7-10

Before I begin sharing my story, I want to exhort you to share yours. Your story may not sound exciting to you, but you never know whose life you can touch without sharing it! If it means anything, your story matters to me.  If God, the one who created us to be full of purpose, shouldn’t we have faith that He is using it for something epic?

I’m going to share with you mine . I would start with day one, but I’m 6,791 days old.

Eleven years ago, at the age of seven. I had my first epileptic seizure. I conked out on the floor of the Olive Garden Restaurant on 196th St. in Lynnwood, WA. Here’s the catch: I was perfectly healthy, and nobody knew it was a seizure. We didn’t even call an ambulance.  I took a sip of water and finished eating dinner with my family. I felt fine after gracefully smashing my head on their then-brick floor. (OK, I make that sound much more exciting than it actually was). Nothing showed up on my post-fall MRI. Not even a minor concussion! Clearly, angels do exist.

My mom scheduled an emergency appointment of course. She figured the whole thing was just a fluke. It wasn’t. You may be thinking “wow, that is unfortunate.” Well, you are wrong. That day changed my life forever. OK, now you’re thinking “well duh.” It was a good life changing experience. I’m still not sure exactly how it has changed my life for the better, but everything takes some figuring out. Can I get an amen?

In the beginning I saw three different doctors. These three doctors proposed three different diagnoses:

– Most likely Vasodepressor Syncope

-Colloid on 3rd ventricle

-Small chance the episode was a seizure

I went through so many tests it’s CRAZY. EEG’s, MRI’s, blood tests, the tilt-table test, cat scans. The whole bit. I even wore a heart monitor for about one month. God was there. Holding my hand. He was upside down with me when I was strapped on that table.

My mom, being the awesome woman that as she is, finally pull out her handy dandy Taber’s Medical Dictionary from the bookshelf, performed her own research and she basically said, “Let’s take the focus off the heart and look at what is going on in her brain.”

Since my diagnosis of absence seizures has been confirmed, life has been a whirlwind. I’ve been tossed hither and thither. Since that time I’ve tried two alternative treatments to medication: 1) The Modified Atkins Diet and 2) a Vegas Nerve Stimulator. Concerning the MAD, let me just say this. After six months of eating fifteen and 10 carbohydrates per day, I obtained a whole new appreciation for bread and an extreme dislike for milk and peanuts which I practically thrived off of.

The Vegas Nerve Stimulator brings me to where I am today! Contrary to popular belief, the Vegas Nerve Stimulator is NOT brain surgery. Think of it more as a pacemaker for the brain. Well, I remember the day of my implant. I was supposed to have a history exam that day and all I could remember was that April 9th. The date of my surgery was ironically a date in history I needed to memorize. What a strange coincidence! Fast forward to today, 9/13/ 2013. Today I am recovering from the surgery  I underwent yesterday  to have the device removed. Why, you ask? I was given two choices: 1) replace the battery or 2) remove the battery. As of today I am fifty-one days seizure free! It’s these little victories we must embrace.

IMG00011-20090409-0939
VNS Implant. April 9th, 2009. This is my non-poker-face.  Seattle Children’s Hospital.

A few days ago I received my OUTPATIENT NOTE in the mail. One sentence written by my physician stuck out to me: “She has been approximately 40 days seizure free. It is not clear to us the reason for the increased efficacy…”  To doctors, these instances are just medical mysteries. I read this and thought to myself, Clearly, Jesus is at work in my life right now. I realize that while he is always at work in my life, I tend to only recognize this truth when I am having either a really bad day or an extraordinarily good day. Something about that needs to change. Whether or not I’m having a particular high or low day, I need to  start off each day saying these words:

This is the day which the Lord has made;Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118: 24 (NASB)

God is consistent. That being said, I shouldn’t “shelve” God. I ALWAYS need Him. I should never take Him down when I think I need Him and marginalize Him when I am under the impression that I can do things myself. So how is your storybook going to look? On the cover of my current journal, I wrote “The story of how Jesus wrecked my life and put me back together again.” He knows exactly what is wrong in our lives and puts us back together the way he sees fit! So why do we worry? We’re still human. God recognizes that. We are extremely blessed because He looks at us the way He looks at His Son. Incredible!

Your story matters.  How will you use it to change the world?

Kayla

Let’s Make Jesus Famous

God turns our messy lives into messages. We all have a story. Our story began on the day we took our very first breath.  Our lives are a book written by God. Each day is a page. Every decade a chapter.  We were created to be read. We were written to put God on the Bestseller list!

Child of the One True King, saved by His incredible grace

Stay tuned for more on making Him famous…….

Me and Mom

Me and Mom I’ve been trying to think of the perfect gift for my mother. I am quite aware I missed the Mother’s Day boat. Every Mother’s day I wonder, how any gift could ever match up to  anything my mom has lovingly sacrificed for me? Well, that would be one hard gift to find.This is not to say you shouldn’t give your mom something for Mother’s Day. Rather, just remember that mothers are something to be celebrated every single day! They’re not babysitters who go home after their hours are completed–lucky you!

It is crazy to think that in just a few crazy weeks, I’ll be graduated from High School with 30 college credits. I’m convinced I couldn’t have made it through without my mother.  I bore the near impossible task of writing 100 words about both my parents in a tribute for graduation day. I could write a thousand about them both.  I know I’m going to bawl my eyes out. Waterproof mascara is still on my graduation day shopping list. 

My mom has been there for the roughly 1,600 days of school I’ve made it through thus far. And no not just to pick me up from the bus stop.  In fact, I rode on a school bus for the first time just this past weekend and it was nothing special. From day one, she has been my teacher. Kindergarten through twelfth grade, she’s been my favorite. Without  my mom, I wouldn’t be having an awesome graduation party. There are twenty-five days and counting until graduation. My graduation party is this weekend. I told my mom way back when that I had no idea what I wanted I just didn’t want it to be an expensive extravaganza. Based off of my vague suggestions she’s been planning menus, ordering floral arrangements, and making Costco runs. She says ‘Oh Kayla I hope it’s what you wanted and you’re not disappointed.’  She ordered my graduation announcements and has been collecting items and pictures for my ‘senior shrine’ to be displayed at the senior dessert and after the graduation ceremony. I swear the only thing I’ve done so far is stuff envelopes. She reminded me of every yearbook deadline, although she knew I received every reminder e-mail. She is quite aware I have been putting too many things on my ‘will do tomorrow’ list.

My mom has been at my side through every health crisis and surgery–well OK so it was just one surgery. I’ve had multiple MRI’s, EEG’s, CT scans, heart monitors, you name it I’ve had it etc. She packed my lunches for summer camp when I was on a 15 carbohydrates a day diet in hopes that it would hamper my absence epilepsy episodes. She has also been there for every celebration and birthday party. She attended  every choir performance and every piano recital. She’s gone with me to pick out every spring formal dress. She attended nearly every t-ball, basketball, softball, and soccer game. She washes my sheets and cleans my room before I arrive home from every camp and mission’s trips–trust me, it’s the best thing ever. She even made my first Barbie cake.

My mom has been my listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.  She’s the greatest girlfriend ever. I can borrow her clothes, share secrets and only with her can I laugh until I cry while watching Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock in the Proposal.

She’s proofread nearly every report, essay, and analysis I’ve ever written, starting with my first book reports and simple five paragraph Academic essays. To this day, nearly every paper I write, she still reads— consequently, every single essay she hasn’t proofread has had the most grammatical errors.  She let me stay up until midnight reading chapter books, but thankfully, she also made sure  I survived every math lesson. She explained every problem  in every way she knew how. She tells me all the time, “your best is different from everyone else’s best. If your best is a C then so be it.” Believe me, it’s not always what I want to hear, but it’s always exactly what I need to hear.

Somebody told me the other day that I am very patient and tolerant, and that it must be because I have six brothers and one sister. I first took it as a compliment, and then I thought “Who am I kidding?! Clearly, this guy has never met my mom before!”

There’s a joke in our house, especially between me and mom, that ‘nothing is ever lost until your mom can’t find it.’ If I complained about my brain being elsewhere, I’m pretty sure she could redirect my focus.

 

Proverbs 31 Woman

 My mom is a Proverbs 31 woman. She spends her rare moments of solitude reading the Bible. She has her priorities straight. She has hair that would make Marilyn Monroe jealous and can rock red lipstick more than any other forty-two year-old woman I know. I sure hope I inherited those great genes!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; 

but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Honor her for all that her hands have done,

and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 30: 30-31

Me and Mom
Me and Mom

Mothers, we take advantage of them all the time. They do our laundry, cook our meals, remind us to scrub behind our ears, and pick-up our rooms. Even more importantly, they hold our hand as we crawl, walk, and run this crazy race called life. Whoever the mother is in your life, don’t forget to tell them how much they mean to you.

I love you mom!

When Everything Is Crashing Down

dumbledore

Part 1

I’ve been thinking. A lot. As I watch our country fall apart, I look around and search for the faith our country was built on. A few favorite quotes come to mind.

“If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under”- Ronald Reagan 

“God allows in his wisdom what he could prevent by his power” – Graham Cooke

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on”- Thomas Jefferson

There is so much truth in these words.

These days, I cannot say anything on social media about God without getting a bunch of feedback. Mostly negative. From both my Christian and non-Christian friends. For a long while, I sat back, shut my mouth, and ignored things I felt were ‘controversial.’ Over time, I learned that just because I shut up no one else would. You’re either for something or against it. Christians shouldn’t be silent, but no one should be hateful.

99.999999% the few debates I either indirectly or directly become involved in, don’t go so hot. 99.9999999% what I am trying to say doesn’t exactly come out how I intended. By the time it comes out my readers or listeners are crawling all over me. The latest accusation from an ‘acquaintance’ who is a self-proclaimed atheist  was in regards to all that happened over the country last week. . He wanted a factual response. Some believers I know are great at proving things with bits and pieces of science and whatnot. I on the other hand am not.In this particular case I was commenting on another friend’s status-who by the way ended up deleting his status AND comment thread. Christianity is a relationship with God. God created us to be with him.

Let me just make this clear. AGAIN. I’m writing this because I care. I have such a huge treasure. One that I can share over and over and over again! We’re not all that we knock ourselves to be. Our sins separate us from God.That SHOULD be obvious by now. But When thousands of years later, lets face it, we aren’t doing so well at learning from our mistakes.  When I say ‘we’ I mean ‘me’ and ‘you’. I’m not trying to exclude myself.God wiped out sin, but he ALLOWED it back into the world after he gave us a glorious second chance. God forgives all sins “70 X 7” times. He gave us what we wanted. Free will. Sin was our choice. Of course God didn’t leave us destined for hell as we deserved. On the contrary he provided the ultimate sacrifice. More is never enough for us. Those who choose the gift of life he gives us are saved from judgement forever.. Or we can shove it back in God’s face. At this point in the convo I’m typically cut off, so thanks for reading on.  I don’t have to sit home with a checklist of things to do because I’m not going to get it all right. Without Jesus, I would never be able to live up to standards outlined in the Bible. Sins cannot be removed by good deeds.

“But what about the old testament? It says there… We don’t stone people, We don’t eat crawfish, people made animal sacrifices”……..the list goes on and on and on. My small group discussed this whole OT ‘So what?’ question. So “what about it?”. In the old testament these ‘rules and regulations’ were made because believers didn’t have any other choice. Let me elaborate. Jesus hadn’t come yet. Jesus is the Ultimate Sacrifice who paid the price of our sins. Mine, yours multiplied by everyone on this planet. He bore the weight of it all. Paying the price for sin Jesus died and rose again.  All those things were their SECOND CHANCE which, in the New Testament is Jesus. If you’re still with me, can we just revel in the fact that we, as undeserving as we are, can have what nobody else has. Everyone who trusts in him has eternal life. The gift that supersedes all riches (:

I’m not going to ‘act’ smart and pretend I know why everything happened in Boston, MA and Waco, TX. I’m not in anyway trying to justify anything. I’m saying God does whatever it takes to be near us. Is Jesus dying on the cross not enough evidence or proof that he loves us? Rest in the knowledge that no matter how bad we screw up, he will keep on forgiving us. Again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again……I think you get the picture.

In my college bible study ‘Ignite’ today-it was my first time- a fellow believer from Egypt, said something quite profound. Something that believers have to constantly remind themselves. He said with a strong accent, “I have three citizen-ships. Egypt, America, and Heaven.” How cool is that?!

Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever.

G.O.S.P.E.L- The Greatest Story Ever Told

Kayla

Jar of Happiness

This blog is so awesome. Hipsters are overrated. Happsters are “like hipsters but happier.”

Happster Brenda let us know about this jar of happiness idea & we think it’s awesome!

Here’s the concept behind it: Write something that makes you happy on a piece of paper every day and put it into the jar. Whenever you need a pick-me-up, dig into your jar and read your happy thoughts!

What do you think? Will you make a jar of happiness? Share it on Twitter or Instagram with #imahappster so we can check it out!

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P is for Purple

Today is “Purple For Epilepsy Day.” I love purple. My favorite childhood classic book-Little Women by Louisa May Alcott- is bound with a purple cover. I have a purple raincoat, purple bible, purple water-bottle, purple toothbrush, purple, purple, purple, purple….. I think understand the picture. Only recently,within the past couple of years, did I actually connect the color purple with epilepsy. At this point I can imagine you are thinking, “So what?” So, I have epilepsy. I’ve thought about writing a post-or a few pages in my journal- for some time, but I didn’t want to come off as someone looking for attention or be labeled ‘epileptic.’ Is it obvious yet I have a severe pride issue? OK, I thought so. (I’m so glad God blessed me with the gift of sarcasm, otherwise I’d be a mess.) Anyways, I put off writing about my epilepsy for purely selfish reasons. Then, I realized that there is easily a gazillion other people, NOT sharing their stories-whether health related or not- for exactly the same reasons. This is why I’m asking YOU to share your stories.

OK, hold the phone right there. A story or testimony doesn’t have to be something heart-wrenching. I’ve seen to many people demean their own stories simply because they thought it wasn’t “moving” or “shocking.”Heck, the most relatable stories are in the form of “little” everyday problems.I.e.

Person 1: You received a D on you Spanish test?

Person 2: Dude me too. 

If you have struggled with serious issues in the past or are struggling currently, here is my message to you: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. That thought is a lie. Only you can make the choice to believe it.  Keeping your fears and feelings bottled up is the worst decision you could possibly make. If you don’t believe me, believe Dumbledore when he says “Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” Trust me, Albus Dumbledore doesn’t lie.

I’ve had epilepsy for over ten years. It’s definitely a reality, but it doesn’t define who I am. What defines me is how I respond to the ups and downs. The hospital visits, the sick days, and the days when I ask “Why me?” And then I look around me. I could be so much worse off. I have so many things to be thankful for. Best of all I love knowing that no matter what kind of situation God puts me in, it’s only to refine me! We should bear these challenges-even something as insignificant as a Spanish test- knowing that there is definitely a to be learned so that next time, you can do better. If you think you can fight this battle on your own, good luck with that. I’ve tried and failed. It’s easy to look strong on the outside and inwardly destroy yourself. When people tell you “Wow you are so strong!” Things begin going to your head. Society tells us it’s not okay to be weak. I’d like you to consider otherwise.

Remember, there are always consequences for going against the grain. Humbleness isn’t a trait valued by most. I don’t know about you, but when people ask me how I’m doing, I enjoy testing their sincerity by telling them the flat out truth. I may say “Well actually this week kinda sucked.” I know people who I know are going through hell and still respond with “oh I’m doing just dandy.” Sorry to break it to you, but nobody’s perfect.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions,in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

Wear purple and share your story! I want to hear it and I’m sure others do too!

S is for Seattleite, Sleet, Snow, Sunshine, Spring Break, and Other Such Things

Snow and Sunshine
Kaylab Photography

When I first rolled out of bed at 8:00 am this morning, snow was  falling. Washington’s seasons seemed to have been mixed up.  I wasn’t all that surprised. the past few days we’ve had everything from sun to sleet. Once I drank my morning mocha and ate my Nutella toast, I tried not to let the weather get the best of me. How could one possible be upset with such a well-balanced meal?!

Snow and all, the beginning of a bluebird day was on the horizon.

Right now my feelings regarding this type of weather is neutral  Not one day of school was cancelled during the winter quarter. Now that I have a nice long spring break, it is 38 degrees outside with a chance of snow, rain and thunderstorms. Funny how that works

This picture was taken around 8:30 am or 9:00 am and now-pushing 3:00 in the afternoon- everything is exactly as it was yesterday.  Wet and Cold. This combination seems to be the perfect excuse to not be productive. However if every seattleite chose that easy way out it would not be a pretty picture.

 You Know You Are A Seattleite When:

  • It’s February and fifty degrees outside and everyone orders their beverage of choice at the coffee shop iced. 
  • In March your Facebook news feed is filled with instagram pictures, phone pictures, tweets, and statuses complaining about classes not cancelled, pictures  of snow either present in your yard or absent, and road-trippers on their way to Disneyland or some other warm sunny place.
  • Residents wear flip-flops beginning in February at the first glance of sun.
  • Within the same day of snowfall,the phrases “spray tan” and “yay it’s snowing are used interchangeably.
  • You take Zertec and Vick’s because your allergies are awful and you think you might be coming down with a cold as well.
  • Your vitamin D level is thirty, which would be normal if you lived anywhere BUT Seattle. The “new norm” is fifty. (Not even joking, my doctor put me on a daily supplement.)
  • Breaking of the “normal” weather cycle is actually normal.
  • On a near daily basis you comment to your friend,
  • “Aw man, it’s raining outside.” They reply, “What’s new?”
  • If you live in the suburbs, umbrellas are reserved for tourists and foreigners only, except on rare occasions.
  • Groundhog’s Day means nothing to most people. It merely remains a great excuse to watch the movie.
  • Being snowed in on spring break is very easily a potential problem.

Living> Surviving Part 2: In This Moment

blimeycow
From Left: Jordan, Kelli (Josh’s wife), and Josh Taylor.

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Josh Taylor from YouTube’s one and only Blimey Cow.  I have been so excited for this post! Here were his thoughts on “Living>Surviving “:

Me: Josh, tell us a little bit about Blimey Cow’s history, for those who aren’t familiar with your popular YouTube channel.

Josh: Blimey Cow is a YouTube channel started by myself and my brother Jordan in 2005. We produce a new video every Monday and Friday.

Me: Have you ever met someone ( or multiple people) who you could relate too, but also look up to as a role model and be inspired by? Who is that person ( or group of people) and in what way did they inspire you?

Josh: My family inspires me. We are all best friends. I’ve really had only one other best friend that wasn’t a part of my family, so I married her. I am seriously so blessed with the family in which I was placed. I am inspired by how they love me, by how they relate to others, by how they relate to God- and how all of those things are somehow interconnected.

Me: In light of 1st Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” What are some little things young people could do in their everyday school and work lives that could potentially make a difference in their own lives and/or someone else’s?

Josh: There is an optimism and idealism that the youth have that is invariable lost as time goes by. I think a lot of times when Scripture makes these kinds of references to “youth,” this is the idea. So, I guess I would say… dream big, ask uncomfortable questions, and don’t let mistakes slow you down.

Me:  In your own personal life, what is the importance of making obtainable goals, as well as big ones? (As opposed to cliché bucket list items?)

Josh: In my experience, “big goals” I set for myself change by the time I’m in a position to fulfill them. I think there is a difference between dreams and goals. All of the things I’ve always dreamed of doing, I’m getting to do. But usually when I decide on a“goal for the year” or some such thing, my priorities change. I would say… do the best with what is in front of you. The only thing predictable about the future is that it will take care of itself.

Me: To you, what is the difference between living and just simply surviving?

Josh: I am reminded of the quote by Soren Kierkegaard: “To be loved, is to be helped by another person to love God.” To me, that is living.

On that note, check out Blimey Cow’s hilarious take on YOLO here:

 

The Feeling of Impending Doom

Charlie BrownHmmm have I ever experienced the feeling of impending doom? Yes, yes Linus indeed I have. I would certainly say that during the two – three weeks leading  up to finals contain a certain feeling of impending doom. No matter how well or how awful I’ve done in a class there is still that lingering fear  that makes me question whether your current grades in the class are high enough to leave you room if you are not in fact entirely successful. In other words, I have not neglected this blog for no reason at all. In fact everyday it has been in the back of my mind and it has been tricky to prioritize.

I have found that the keys to surviving finals is  to 1) stop studying when you have reached the point where you are no longer studying, but just staring at a page. It’s OK really. I promise.2) Make yourself some coffee, tea, or other beverage of your choice and then 3) turn on your favorite Pandora station and/or 4) watch one, two, or three episodes of Psych. (However many it takes.) Laughter is the best medication. “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down” Mary Poppins rightfully tells us.

Anyhow, stay tuned because “Living>Surviving” will be returning next week on Friday, March 16!  Josh Taylor from Blimey Cow will be sharing with us who inspires him and why he thinks you should choose to live and not just survive!

P.S Please do survive finals. If I can you certainly will!

Windy Sauver616163_10151104691072348_223404987_o

“I don’t want to survive, I want to live!”

The Captain from Disney Pixar’s Wall-E (2008)

So much of our lives our spent talking about the kind of life that someday, we will achieve. These schemes or fantasies range from typical far-fetched bucket list items to the typical American dream. However, the amount of time we spend in the here and now actually working towards these THINGS  that we want is shockingly small. We fail over and over again to realize that

“The best THINGS in life, aren’t THINGS after all.”~Art Buchwald

Sometimes in order for us to see and understand that clearly, a change of perspective is needed. See what I mean…..

Last summer, I traveled to Port-Au-Prince Haiti on a mission’s trip with Northshore Baptist Church’s first youth team. For those of you who read the paper, watch the news, and have even the slightest geographical knowledge, you are easily able to imagine the type of place I was stepping into. Or at least you think you know. What you probably don’t know is that even before the tumultuous earthquake in 2010, its economy was in shambles, its president a drunkard and according to PBS news an estimated  500,000 people are still living in tents. Even two years after the earthquake.  Cite Soleil is known for its highest (gang related) crime rate in Western Hemisphere, if not the world. Because I was a minor, I was not allowed into the heart of the city for the sake of my own safety, but I know people who have witnessed firsthand the sights and sounds of its core. In fact, it is from the core of this city that our trip was born.

 You are probably wondering at this point “what in the world does this have to do with Living Versus Surviving?” It has all the world to do with one amazing Haitian man named Windy Suaver.  Our main man, friend, translator and tour guide was what I like to call the epitome of YOLO. He lived in more ways than one. Not only was his heart still beating, but he lived with purpose. Windy had never been asked the question “What would you do if you knew you were going to die tomorrow?” He didn’t need that prompting to truly live. Most people would consider him just another poor man trying to survive .   While technically that is correct, he ignored that seemingly huge detail.Not only was he trying to survive, but at the time I met him  he was fighting a disease unknown to him. However, he chose to live on purpose long before this sickness invaded his bright future. 

I suppose it would be helpful if I recalled to you Windy’s background. I’ve tried, but it is nearly impossible to summarize. When people ask me how was Haiti I respond “Well, how much time do you having?” However, I promise you it will not bore, Windy was born in the heart of Port-Au-Prince. Every night he went to bed with the sound of gunshots ringing in his ears. His father left  his mother and siblings when he was a pre-teen, a vital time for a father in every young person’s life. He was quite aware of the dangers that he and his family must face every day. When he was just a teen he rescued his mother from the city to live in the countryside. Once they were out, his future began to brighten. He excelled in school and graduated with highest honors in his class. From there, things were on a steady climb uphill. In the fall of 2011, Windy graduated from Medic One, Port-Au-Prince’s EMT training program. Not long after graduating, Windy took a terrible turn for the worse. The healthy and strong twenty-seven year old man who was always the first one to take care of someone else’s needs, became terribly sick. He bounced back and forth between hospitals, but Haiti’s most medically proficient hospital’s could not diagnose his illness.  He was unofficially diagnosed with a bad parasite, Tuberculosis, and finally Lymphoma.

He went downhill. He had his bad and good days physically, but  there is one thing he said  and always stayed true to, every day of his life:

“My friend, lets me tell you something, when you already say God has control, your situation gets worse, or even you saw you are in front of death, you must say you are very good in Jesus’ name. and God will say you have faith in him. so my friend, I am very good in Jesus Christ.” ~Windy Sauver

Before going to Haiti, I already felt as if I knew him. Meeting him was absolutely life-changing. The first thing he asked us as a group, while we were waiting for our rental car at the airport was what languages we all spoke. At the time he spoke his Haitian Creole, his native language, English, Spanish, French, and  was currently teaching himself Portuguese. Oh, and did I mention he was writing a book? Instead of using his being sick as an excuse to be lazy, he was doing and learning as much as he could! Windy had one goal in life, and the way he accomplished it is even more amazing than the goal itself. He told someone about his dream. He didn’t pin it to his “bucket list” board on Pinterest. His dream? To build a school in the heart of Cite Soleil. To give kids  a second chance who didn’t have one.  Word spread like wildfire about Windy’s dream. Our team leaders gave Windy the means to fulfill his dream. His dream seemed impossible for multiple reasons. He was only earning $100 per month from the hospital. He used this money to take care of his mother and at times himself. Even though he was “in front of death” he was thinking about everybody except himself.  To everyone EXCEPT those who knew Windy, his dream seemed impossible. Especially given the circumstances. Windy inspired others to help him and because of that his dream came true. In October of 2011 the kids of Jehova Nessi School had their first school session.  Those same kids were the ones we had the pleasure of meeting in the summer of 2012.

Our trip leaders had been trying for quite a while to give Windy’s records to a Medical Teams International Agent from the Dominican Republic. The day before we flew home, those records were finally passed onto an expert. Windy’s options were very limited. The nearest place he could fly for better medical care was Cuba. If he went, he would have to go alone. The choice was up to him. Windy had never the country. He had also never been told by any doctor that Lymphoma was a form of cancer.When this reality hit him, he broke. We all broke. In the end he chose to stay in Haiti. He knew his time was short and he could not bear the thought of being far from his family.

 To be honest, I had doubts about going on that trip.My original dream for that summer was filled with THINGS. I thought “I’ll get a job and make money”- and there is nothing wrong with wanting a job or “I’ll be a camp counselor.” And now when I look back, I realize that skipping  that trip probably would have been the worst decision I could ever. I have the rest of my life to work, but moments slip out of our finger tips far too quickly. Windy passed away on December 8th, 2012.  I know building a school in a third world country isn’t our idea of a dream and only certain people, in a certain place, and at the right time can achieve things like that. Windy also achieved a lot of little thing on our trip. He faced some fears and tried new things. The reason why I will never stop sharing this story is because the only reason why Windy’s legacy lives on is because of people who believe that dreams do come true. 

Dèyè mòn gen mòn~ Haitian Proverb saying “Beyond the mountains, there are mountains.”

Ask me  or go to http://affhope.org/current-projects/haitian-school/ for more information

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