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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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23

Tuesday 5th July 2016

What We All Have In Common – #TellHisStory

About 30 minutes before this photo was taken on Sunday, I was sitting in the second pew, head down and tears streaming. I was begging God to help me find the words to deliver to a crowd of 200 Haitian women who had gathered inside this village church.  SPEAKINGINHAITI

I had no manuscript. I have never given a talk without a manuscript. I am a planner. I prepare. I want to give my very best when I’m speaking to a group of women. It’s both a privilege and a great responsibility of a speaker to bring a clear message. Never had I felt the weight of that responsibility before stepping before these women in Haiti. 

But, this time, I had no manuscript. I had no humorous opening story to engage and entertain. I had no three-point message, no specific call-to-action, no anecdotes that would amuse. I had to “go weak,” and rely on God as my entire strength. I had only the Gospel. Which, in the end, was everything.

I am home now, with Haiti still under my fingernails. And I have to say — I have learned so much about myself, about God, and about other women during the last week. While I was there, I was reminded of the importance of what we’re doing on a daily basis on our social media accounts, on our blogs, in our workplaces, in our churches, in our regular walking-around lives. We are building a real Kingdom TOGETHER, worldwide.

While in Haiti, I spoke with several groups of women, including at the revival in the picture. (The revival was hosted by the Haitian artisans of ViBella Jewelry.) As I was speaking, I watched how the message was actually connecting. I could see it on their faces, as the Gospel met real hearts.

I don’t know why this surprised me, because the truth is, the Gospel has a power all its own. In that moment, it occurred to me that after basic needs are met (food, water, shelter, basic health care), we have so much in common as women, wherever we live.

We have common struggles — wayward kids, aging parents, sickness, miscarriages, broken relationships, regrets, and more.

We have a common enemy: Satan.

But because of Christ, we have a common identity. God is unifying His church, and we get to be a part of it.

In Haitian Creole, this means "Beloved Daughter."

The words on this rock, written in Haitian Creole, mean “Beloved Daughter.”

I hope this post encourages you today. Maybe God is calling you to do something outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you feel like you have nothing to offer. Maybe you are scared to the point of tears. Maybe you have no choice but to “go weak.” In the end, may you find that the Gospel is all that you really need.

And may you lift your hands to the heavens, and thank the One who is your All in All.

A few photos from our trip. More news from this trip coming soon! We are creating something special to share with YOU!

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Each morning, our team from ViBella Jewelry gathered on the beach for morning devotions.

 

The Vi Bella artisans from Simonette, pictured here with me and my daughters, are preparing something beautiful for readers of The Happiness Dare. Stay tuned!

The Vi Bella artisans from Simonette, pictured here with me and my daughters, are preparing something beautiful for readers of The Happiness Dare. Stay tuned!

Adeline and Anna post after an afternoon spiritual retreat. You may remember Adeline? Many of you contributed to a fund to help build a new house for her after her mud house began to disintegrate.

Adeline and Anna pose after an afternoon spiritual retreat. You may remember Adeline? Many of you contributed to a fund to help build a new house for her after her mud house began to disintegrate.

We really had so much fun with our friends of Vi Bella. In many ways, they live out the message of The Happiness Dare.

We really had so much fun with our friends of Vi Bella. In many ways, they live out the message of The Happiness Dare.

Marie-Rose teaches my daughter Lydia how to make a pair of earrings.

Marie-Rose teaches my daughter Lydia how to make a pair of earrings.

At a spiritual retreat with the artisans, I asked them to write their burdens on stones I had collected from the beach. Then, we walked together to the shore and cast them into the sea. Here, we bid our burdens goodbye.

At a spiritual retreat with the artisans, I asked them to write their burdens on stones I had collected from the beach. Then, we walked together to the shore and cast them into the sea. Here, we bid our burdens goodbye.

Passing On Savings To You

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Looking for a summer read? My first book, Love Idol, is only $2.99 for your Kindle! I wanted to be sure to pass along this great deal to you. Find it here. FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS with your friends. This is a terrific deal, but I don’t know how long it will last.

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#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Our featured writer this week is Crystal Twaddell. I particularly loved this sentence from her post: “Faith conquers fear in every form and from every direction.” Find Crystal here. To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. 🙂 xo Jennifer


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  • Pam Ecrement

    Love this! What an encouragement indeed! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • Karlene Arthur

    Oh, Jennifer, because I’ve been there this touched me so deeply and brought my Haiti memories flooding back. Such beautiful women there.

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  • Alisa Nicaud

    How beautiful your words are today, Jennifer! I have yet to go on a missions trip outside the US. Haiti may be my first. Praying for God to lead me in this. It would definitely be outside my comfort zone!!

  • Liz

    I adore this story in so many ways! Artisans. Revivals. Casting Stones into the sea (which I also wrote about this week)! Yes to it ALL!! Finding our common ground it the key to building community! Many blessings to you and this ministry for the ways you are making connections and spreading the gospel!

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Praise God for the ways he used you and your family in Haiti, including that noteless message to the women of ViBella! I’m also praising God for the encouragement you are to us, Jennifer, to step out of our comfort zones and experience God in new and exciting ways. Your experience proves once again: He always augments our efforts to share and serve when we avail ourselves of his strength!

  • I’m so encouraged by your brave stepping-up-to-the-plate with your no-manuscript message. I’m feeling a bit off-manuscript myself during this season of life, and want to trust for grace to follow — minute by minute, thought by thought, word by word. Thanks for the weekly sharing that draws us together around a Savior who makes us braver.

  • Beautifully courageous. I’m a planner and mostly prepared speaker so I was feeling the nerves for you! I love those words, choosing to “go weak”, because sometimes that is the only way to go. And thankfully, He shows up in amazing ways.

  • Tara Ulrich

    So much THIS: “Maybe God is calling you to do something outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you feel like you have nothing to offer. Maybe you are scared to the point of tears. Maybe you have no choice but to “go weak.” In the end, may you find that the Gospel is all that you really need.”

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  • Anna Smit

    Such a beautiful, encouraging post, Jennifer, especially this: “I had to “go weak,” and rely on God as my entire strength. I had only the Gospel. Which, in the end, was everything.” Yes! Praise be to God.

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Jennifer,
    So true that we (I) forget that the Gospel has a power all it’s own. I often feel like I have to present my message in a witty or engaging way. That’s most often the time I’m reminded that I have to let the power of the Gospel speak. The Gospel is what gets translated into different languages and brings people to Christ (not our words, but His). When I reached out to a culture so different than mine, I discovered it was the Gospel that we had in common…truly a tie that binds. Thanks for a post that builds bridges!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  • Meghan Weyerbacher

    I just love the photos and smiles that tell such a beautiful story. I think a rock-tossing event may be in the works for me and my friends in the near future!

  • JosephPote

    “…because of Christ, we have a common identity…”
    Yes! Praise God! 🙂 We have a point of common connection to God’s children, everywhere.
    Thank you for sharing your trip to Haiti with us, Jennifer!

  • Susan

    I would have loved to hear the message Holy Spirit spoke through you, Jennifer, I know it was good!!! Thanks for the linkup.

  • wow! so great! God showed up (as He does in our prep, etc. too) but I love this story and it gives me courage. thanks, jennifer.

  • Kathy

    this is so beautiful Jennifer, so rich and true! we are all one..the heart of the Gospel brings us all together into God’s Kingdom on earth! I’ve missed you all..will try to visit more often! In fact, I’m taking a summer writing break, yet doing a Summer Blog Tour and would like to include one of your posts next week on our tour! I’ve always been enriched by your beautiful writing! Blessings Jennifer!

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  • I love ViBella jewelry! How fun that you get to be a part of what they’re doing! Can’t wait to see what your surprise is all about! Have a blessed week, Jennifer!

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What a catch (and a keeper). 21 years today. 💍❤️🎣 ift.tt/2s1ljmK pic.twitter.com/3a62JW7wNu