Aug 2, 2011


out of the depths i cry to you, O Lord!

O Lord, hear my voice!

let your ears be attentive

to the voice of my please for mercy!

if you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,

O Lord, who could stand?

but with you there is forgiveness,

that you may be feared.

i wait for the Lord, my soul waits,

and in his word i hope;

my soul waits for the Lord

more than watchmen for the morning

more than watchmen for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!

for with the Lord there is steadfast love,

and with him is plentiful redemption.
-psalm 130

It isn't "God will do what you want when you want."

It isn't "You are in control."

It isn't "Hope in what you or anyone else can do."

It's "Wait for God and hope in His word."

Because His love does not change or go away or demand anything in exchange.

Because He is aboundingly generous in redeeming things broken.

Maybe not always how I want Him to.

But when we get to the end of this road, I know I will turn and say "Oh - I see it now."

A few nights ago I asked God why.

Same as the day Pierre was rushed to the hospital barely clinging to life.

Same as the day cholera claimed an unknown baby boy.

Same as the day I found Marie dying on the floor.

I don't ask why because I doubt him.

I ask why because I don't understand how He redeems things so awful.

And somedays we just won't understand the way we selfishly want to.

Tomorrow Zion will have a VP shunt placed to drain the fluid that is putting too much pressure on his brain.

Tomorrow we ask for your prayers. The support and encouragement to this point is dumbfounding.

Tomorrow we will be reminded, no matter the outcome, that these words in Colossians are true.

all things were created through him and for him.

and he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

and through him to reconcile to himself all things,

whether on earth or in heaven,

making peace by the blood of his cross.

-colossians 1

Tomorrow, just like every day, God will be quieting us with His love. He will be drawing us near. He will be working all things together for the good of His child Zion. He loves us so lavishly; may we wait and hope in Him.

Jul 12, 2011


in the arms of the good Father
you can go to the deep water
where the questions we have left unspoken
come out in the open

we will find shelter here

so i lay down what i cannot hold in my hands
every sorrow and hope spinning out of control
and here i find sweet resolution comes in letting go

and we will find shelter here

when i look back i can see
and when i am old i'll remember these things
like a mountain of stone
and the longing that makes me believe

there is a tree by the blue river
where the shade stretches wide over
in this breaking we are hand and glove

we will find shelter here
- sandra mccracken

Jul 1, 2011

start again

I tend to spend too much money on music. Thank goodness for Noisetrade and Daytrotter, or I would surely be broke. How behind am I on The Head and The Heart? Just found their CD for $7 on iTunes. Totally worth it. If you haven't listened, go! If you have, humor me!

For those of you who know me a little better, I booked my first counseling session today. It's been a long time coming - I'm ready.

I have a job interview next week - it's encouraging to feel like I may actually have a shot at being employed. Seeing as how I took over my student loans for good, I need to be making money soon.

I met the newest addition to the Parsons/McElroy clan yesterday - Zion. I can't get over him. He has the most perfect mouth. In Charlie Brown O shape 80% of the time. Eeeeeee!

Today is the first day in my new old home. It's good to be back.

Jun 27, 2011


When I moved to Kansas City in 2003, I was just turning 15. It took me 5 years to soften to the city. I remember walking down on the Plaza as a 15 year old and being told it was far too dangerous to be there after dark. [Insert comical chuckle here]

In the 7 years of Kansas City living, I moved back and forth from Colorado, Washington, and Haiti. Two graduations later, I was packing all things to go to Colorado for a final stop. I packed two bags and got on a plane to Haiti.

Now I'm back. I can't for the life of me figure out what just happened in 2010-2011. I've found myself shutting down, pulling back, and just wanting to give the majority of the world a figurative (or literal?) F you. Pretty, eh?

When I went to Kansas City last week I met up with friends from years ago. I found myself surrounded with hugs and love and smiles and laughs. At the end of every day I sat on a couch in a silent house with two sleeping brothers upstairs. In that silence I tried to numb myself with television and internet browsing to keep out the fear and the images that just won't go away.

I've had to decide what to do next. In some ways, it was paralyzing. But driving the streets of Kansas City helped. Hearing a familiar voice from a pulpit that had carried me through a year of confusion and exhaustion helped. Snuggles and giggles from aforementioned brothers helped.

As I drove through Colorado the next few days, I found my answer. Go. Get over the need to be independent and brave. Go back and be broken and silent and transparent. Go, heal, process, heal, break, heal.

Two days are all that separate me. 8 years after my first move, I'm doing it again. This time without the neurotic cat and puffy eyes. This time around, crossing that state line will be more sweet than bitter.

Jun 25, 2011


Today I started going through all of my belongings and doing the annual life transition sort and discard. I found my chemistry test from college I will never throw away because I got 104%. I found my test scores from Adult Health which I did throw away because, really, who wants to remember that? I found my New Member Bunny clock from my first sorority formal. Sorry ZTA - it's on its way to Goodwill.

I'm always in trouble when I come across the toys. My parents wouldn't let me watch Toy Story II when they give away the toys and they feel abandoned because they knew I would take that as reality. I remember the Jungle Animals on Christmas morning. I remember waiting in line at Toys For The Fun Of It for Beanie Babies (cats only, of course). And the countless hours Becca and I spent with Littlest Pet Shop animals, each with specific names. My mom marveled at how we could know every name for every animal and not know more than 5 president names. I still don't see the problem.

I am amazed by how I can live out of two suitcases for a year and come back to so much stuff. I hope I can get rid of a lot of this, but my sentimentality seems to be getting in the way.

Something to work on. Acknowledgement is the first step in changing, right. Right?

May 21, 2011

More is More

Every time I fly out of Haiti, I look forward to two things in flight: free mini Toblerone and in-flight entertainment. Call me extravagant - I love free episodes of Park and Rec and The Office and 30 Rock and Community. Thursday was no different - I gobbled up my delicious Swiss chocolate and almonds and settled in.

What a rude awakening to have the entertainment peppered with this man and his commercials. As I flew out over people living on one meal a day if lucky, under tarps that are battered by rain and wind and sun and dust, eating chocolate and going back to the place I will always be able to return.

I've now seen the commercial on three flights and heard it between news programs. Welcome back to America, Sarah. Enjoy your stay. And have another chocolate.

May 20, 2011


This morning I woke up to mountains outside my window. I woke up under quilts and down comforters, wrapped in warm clothes. I drank a cup of coffee and tried to wrap my mind around leaving mosquitos and warmth and waves and wake up calls of goats and roosters just a day ago. In the coming weeks I expect I will be decompressing and reflecting here. I am ready to withdraw for a while, but I need somewhere to write and wrestle with a lot of this.

I will be the first one to tell you that I have the best friends in the entire world. Growing up I shared best friends with my older sister Becca. The four of us would spend our days playing in dental offices, having hands and knees races, watching the same 3 movies, walking to Texaco for Nerds and Kwenchers, and eventually seeing each other maybe once or twice a year.

When I went to college I found myself surrounded, only by the goodness of God, by friends that lived life so transparently, so vulnerably, with me. They are the kind of friends that drop anything to see you. They are the kind of friends who share their beds and their food and their cars. They are generous and full of love and life.

When I went to Haiti, I had no idea what I was in for. I had no idea the friends I would make in a year. I had no idea what God had in store for me.

But I knew that I would have a best friend in Diana. She is, and always will be, my cheri. She is a friend unlike any I have or will ever have. We bonded over failed cookies, broken Creole, Step Up, sharing music, and dancing. And when I moved to Haiti full time a year ago, I sat down with her two hours after landing and wept. After 9 months apart, it only took 2 hours to be ready to break over my circumstances in front of her.

We rarely spent time apart in the last year. It felt weird to go 12 hours without seeing her. And now I am going on 30 hours away from Diana. I'm not sure how to adjust.

Diana is impressive. In our year living together, I have seen how much people around her are drawn to her, especially in times of weariness or pain. Diana's home is for many people an escape. She is welcoming with her couches, good music, and cold water (or ji, if you're lucky). She is a continuous stream of positive energy. Her personality matches the bright colors she loves and uses in her house. She is sentimental, keeping small trinkets to remind her of particular moments. She knows how to live life, how to pull every single moment out and savor it. She will tell you she can't cook - she lies. Diana is like the sun, warm and inviting. She's a wise sage and a young spirit. She's someone you have to meet to really "get".

I am incredibly blessed by all of my friends. The Lord has so faithfully and intentionally put good people on my path. God knew what He was doing when He ordered my steps in Haiti and prepared a place for me there. He knew how desperately I would need a safe community, and He provided me with Diana. I know that if we were in the US or Canada, we would still be friends. But Haiti is now so tangled within our friendship, I can't untie the two. Leaving Haiti is as hard as leaving Diana, but that's because they go hand in hand.

I have left Haiti full time, and with that I have transitioned back to limited face time with Diana. And while that tempts me to tears and grief, I am going to try and instead thank the Lord for giving us our time together.

Cheri - I miss you a million already. Way more than the king bed. And only you know that's saying something.

May 10, 2011

tears and mercy

i know, o Lord, that Your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
let your mercy come to me, that i may live;
for your law is my delight.
- psalm 119:77

by thy birth, thy cross, and passion;
by thy tears of deep compassion,
by thy mighty intercession,
Lord and Savior, help us.
- Henry Alford

And the only way you can rejoice in sufferings
is if you find your hope in the sufferings of Jesus
over anything anybody can take away from you here.
- Kevin Cawley

Apr 17, 2011

other views of haiti

This weekend we took a trip to Jacmel, on the southern coast of Haiti. It was an entirely new set of sites.

ti moulliage beach, cayes-jacmel


bay of jacmel

Apr 1, 2011

ten months

Ten months ago I put myself on a plane to Haiti for the third time. I remember what I ate that morning in the Miami airport, what I was wearing, how I was feeling. And I was ready to be there. There were so many things I was ready to be away from.

I had an afternoon to get settled in and I started working the next day. Two days after that, my training time was over and we've been running ever since. [With some breaks in between!]

After the busyness of surgical weeks ended and we transitioned into solely outpatient clinic weeks again, we took some breaths. I got to know more about the clinic staff, about their families. They got to know me. We had our disagreements. Sometimes being the only consistent North American helping with patient care felt like nails on a chalk board.

Today I was told by our supply man and chaplain that our administrator needed to see me urgently. I hurried into his office and he looked at me like I was crazy. Then everyone burst out laughing and explained that it was April Fools.

I love these people. I love them all so much. They have embraced me in as a member of the clinic family.

So today when I sat with the administrator and told him I was leaving next month I had to hold back my tears. When I sit in the ER and speak in Creole with a patient explaining why we're making him stay all day, when I listen to pranks and jokes being thrown around by staff members, when Dr Jennifer calls me crazy and then asks me for Wheat Thins or gum, I'm reminded of just how much I love where I have worked these past ten months.

I don't know the where and when yet. But I am leaving in May sometime, and it is right. But it will be so very, very hard to do. But as I have explained time and time again in the last week, there's no getting rid of me in these parts.

I'll be back.

Mar 16, 2011

florida can't handle me

Once again. On my way to Haiti. This time I am spending the night in Ft. the airport. So worth the saved 60 dollars.

I've actually had a lot of fun. I have gotten multiple phone calls from friends around the time zones. I've tried to learn all the words to "Club Can't Handle Me". Each time I listen to it I am ready to break out a flash mob with the three other people in the airport. I watched an episode of Detroit something, something. I downloaded a free hour trial of Bejeweled 3 - but it stressed me out to try and beat the times.

Why do they abbreviate Fort to Ft.?

I have only met one creepy person. He has tended to follow me fairly closely, so I am choosing to stay awake and sit in an open area with other people. And keep my headphones in. And avoid eye contact. He has the same shoes as me which doesn't help for avoiding conversations as no one else seems to have them.

In other news, I was featured in Samaritan's Purse's annual send out to people about Operation Christmas Child. I mean, it was just a picture. But I was surprised as I didn't have SP scrubs on, and most all their media only shows people in their clothes. But I'll take it. I'm right next to Franklin Graham. Moving up in the world. I also haven't actually seen it, just a pixelated version on my phone courtesy of Christi Florida (shout out!).

The occupancy in the airport has tripled in ten minutes. Guess it's time to get up and moving. I'm thankful for this little corner of the airport with a plug and lots of open floor. I did wind up on the floor all night. No sleeps, just all out solo entertainment. Haiti here I come - leave the king bed open for me.

Mar 3, 2011

Faces of Bercy

This has been a busy week. Mission of Hope was recently donated a Clinic in a Can to run mobile clinics out of at our Bercy property - and Annie came to visit!!!

We must support 3 Cords!

Timid little conductor man!

Sweetest Lucien!

...and chunkiest little man!

I think I'll be advocating for Bercy clinics as often as possible!

Feb 26, 2011


Some most recent moments captured that remind me why I love where I live.

Feb 21, 2011

a hard rain's gonna fall

the rumble is low and the heat is high
got a feeling that there's rain out in the oil black sky
feels her sweat in the ground and the burn in her nose
and the knowing in her gut something's still gonna grow
she ain't leaving til it does

It's the dry season here. The rain slowly tapers off, the humidity dies down. The weather gets more comfortable. Everything turns brown. The colors fade. The dust is worse.

We've gotten into a pattern. We don't put the buckets out all day in case the rain comes and we aren't home. We don't think about walking to dinner in the rain. We can go into the mountains and not worry about beating storms down or getting stuck as an alternative.

Things have ceased to grow. I have ceased to grow. My heart is dry and faded and worn.

Tonight, a change is beginning to come. I, in my stubborn nature, am resistant. I am complacent and don't want to move away from this rusty cage.

Two hard rains have fallen this week. And another one is brewing. Rain to wake me and shake me.

and after the storm,
i run and run as the rains come
and i look up.
on my knees and out of luck,
i look up.
you must know life to see decay.

Feb 1, 2011

one foot down

everybody had one good year,
everybody let their long hair down,
everybody had one bad dream,
everybody saw the bright sun shine.
everybody had one hard year,
everybody had a real good time,
everybody pulled one sock up,
everybody put one foot down.
- peter bradley adams