A Renewed Strength.

I recently spent 4 and a half months serving in Haiti. This was easily the hardest, but most rewarding time of my entire life. I fully believe that I went through every season possible with the Lord:  joy, depression, frustration, happy, sad, fear, mourning, etc. Those 125 days that I was living in Haiti, was 125 days of sweet, genuine time with my Jesus. I saw Jesus in ways that I thought wasn’t even possible. I could write a book on the things that I learned and experienced, but there is one thing specifically that hit me hard when I was on Week 17. I got the incredible opportunity to live on a 110 foot, fishing vessel (named True North) converted into a floating campus to reach areas in Haiti that are only accessible by boat or are easier to access by boat. This specific trip was a 15-hour boat ride around the entire southern arm of Haiti to an area called Les Anglais. Our sleeping quarters were extremely tight, and we all ate Dramamine like it was candy. On our trek there and back, we had 5-foot swells, which resulted in many sleepless nights and falling all over the boat. We anchored roughly 300 yards from shore, and did small boat transfers every morning to go to and from shore. You might think that this sounded absolutely miserable, but I loved every second of it and I am about to tell you why. Jesus spoke to me so clear one morning. It was day three on the boat, and we were loading our medical supplies and construction tools onto the small boats. I was absolutely exhausted, and if I am being totally honest, was ready to be back home. I got sick a few moments later and threw up.  After this, I began praying. I specifically remember my prayer, “Jesus, I can’t make it through today. My strength and energy is completely wiped away, and I have nothing left. I need you. I need to see you in a new way. Renew my strength.” In this moment, Jesus spoke. “D’Anna, this is exactly where I want you. You’re right, your strength and energy is limited and when you rely on your strength instead of mine, you won’t last. But I am giving you supernatural strength and energy.” Friends, I never thought that I would have a front row seat to experience the power of Jesus in this way. I selfishly never thought that Jesu would truly give me the strength and energy I so desperately needed. I was spiritually weak in thinking that it could not happen, until that very moment. He showed up for me. Out of all of the people in the entire universe, He made it known that MY soul was cared for. Wow.  I was granted energy and strength that couldn’t have come from anything or anyone but Jesus. After all, I didn’t have a Red Bull handy while on the boat. Cool, right? Yeah, well the story isn’t over just yet. Jesus really showed up, and what happened next will forever be in my heart. As long as I live, I will never forget this sweet encounter with Jesus. We loaded up onto 3 separate small boats that would take us to shore. It always was a challenge trying to get from True North onto the small boat, because the moment you tried to step onto the small boat, a wave would come and push the small boat away. It was always a fun game, and luckily, no one ever fell in. I remember getting into the small boat with other Haitians and Americans, and I had my head down in prayer. I was thanking Jesus for what he had given me. I was renewed in my strength. He answered my prayer, and I was overwhelmed with the greatness of my Savior. All of a sudden, everyone around me is saying with excitement, “Guys! Oh my gosh, look! Look! That is unreal, this is amazing!” I look up in confusion, and in the sky is a huge, colorful rainbow. The start of the rainbow was on True North, and it ended at the shore line. I was literally directly underneath a rainbow that had just appeared within seconds. I had also never been that close to a rainbow in my entire life. For a little while, I felt as if I was on a different planet. The rainbow was THAT close. Talk about being in awe of Jesus! Friends, my knees went weak and tears filled my eyes. I said to myself, whenever I doubt the realness of Jesus, this moment proves that invalid every single time. I look ahead of me, and hundreds of Haitians are cheering at the shore. They were excited and expectant for us to come meet them once again for the third day in a row. I felt like it could have been a story straight out of the Bible. I look up and see the most beautiful rainbow that Jesus had painted across the sky, I look straight ahead and Haitians are expectant to hear the good news of Jesus. I was literally living on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean, living out The Great Commission that Jesus talks about in Matthew 28. Life couldn’t have been any sweeter in those moments.

When I think of these moments that leave me utterly speechless, the lyrics of “Reckless Love” come to mind. “There’s no shadow you won’t light up, mountain you won’t climb up, coming after me. There’s no wall you won’t kick down, lie you won’t tear down, coming after me.” Jesus showed up in a way that I never deemed possible. I was simply in awe of my Savior on this day, and as long as I live, won’t ever forget that moment. What a  joy it is to serve a God who looks at me in my moments of weakness and sin, smiles, and says, “She has no idea what she is about to do for my Kingdom.” Rest in THAT truth, friends.

 

With Love,

D’Anna Johnson