Sandy….we loved her angelic singing in our October Newsletter/Blog. This month we’re privileged to learn about her life’s journey and why the words she sings are straight from her heart.
Sandy is a vibrant 21-year-old with a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness. She grew up as an only child and had the rare blessing of living with her Dad and Mom together. From as early as she remembers, they attended the Nazarene church in Jacmel together as a family. As a child, she always loved to sing, yet never had professional training, validating God’s given her an incredible gift. When she was 10 years old the church discovered her vocal gift and so she began singing solos during church services, blessing the congregation with her angelic voice.
January 12, 2010 was a pivotal day in Sandy’s life. A horrendous earthquake rocked her 12-year-old life. In the face of 300,000 nationwide deaths, she saw death, despair, suffering and disaster like never before (raw scenes more horrible than most of us Americans will ever experience in our lifetime!). Even though her and her parents were safe, fear and questions gripped her heart through the horrible aftermath of the tragedy. Would another earthquake happen again, and would she be hurt or die in it? Why was she saved yet friends and family died in this horrific disaster? If she were to die in an earthquake or any other way, would she go to Heaven or hell?
Church was especially crowded the Sunday just after the earthquake (and for months to come), as thousands of people were asking the same questions as Sandy, suffering from grief and fear. The pastor spoke about the fact that there is only one thing we are certain about in life – that we will all someday die (or be caught up in the Rapture). He asked the question that burned on her heart…have you given your heart to Jesus Christ and know that when you die, you will be welcomed into Heaven. Sandy responded to God’s call that Sunday morning, accepting Jesus into her heart and experienced an inner joy which transcended the current chaos she was living through.
Four years later, Sandy’s Dad left her and her Mom for another woman and moved to Port A Prince, never to be seen again. As a daughter, it is never easy to experience separation from your Dad, and divorce of your parents. However, at the young age of 16, it hit Sandy hard. How could he leave us? Didn’t he love me enough to flee from temptation, as is taught at church? How will Mom and I survive? Guilt, abandonment, and lack of self-acceptance were unwelcomed emotions. Sandy stuffed these hurt feelings deep in her heart and rebelled by looking to the world for relief. She began going against her love for Christ and what she knew was right, attempting to find love and acceptance in alcohol and partying with friends.
Sandy lived a double standard life for years. She was a “Sunday christian” as she regularly attended church every Sunday, but during the week she lived for the world, attempting to find value and meaning. At first it was fun to experience what she’d heard her worldly friends talk about, but later, if she was honest with herself, it was an empty, desperate and insecure life.
CIDM has a drama and music branch of the ministry. Young people from Lavi Reyel (New Life Discipleship bible club) visit different churches throughout the city and countryside sharing evangelism through skits and a musical ensemble. This CIDM group came to Sandy’s church one Sunday, inviting the church’s youth to attend Lavi Reyel on Saturdays where worship, biblical teaching and community is causing youth to grow in Christ, change their life and their world. Sandy wasn’t interested in what they shared. However, the second time they visited her church, they invited her to sing in the group, which she agreed to. She practiced and sang with the group at difference churches for a few months, but never did attend Lavi Reyel. One Saturday she reluctantly attended prompted by the fellow members of the group she was performing with. To her surprise, she felt a warmth, acceptance and love from the staff and other youth there. More than anything she felt the Holy Spirit in the “Warehouse of Worship” where the youth meet every Saturday.
While Sandy began attending regularly, she observed how spiritually deep the other youth were. She began to desire the intimate relationship her peers had with Jesus and she began learning biblical truths that she’d never heard or understood before. No longer was the Bible difficult to understand, but as the Holy Spirit gave her understanding she read it more and more. Sandy fell in love with Jesus all over again and within weeks, Sandy re-committed her heart to Jesus Christ. She is so grateful to God for revealing Himself to her, as she was headed down an empty path but was rescued by her Savior through CIDM. It’s traditionally taught in Haiti that youth cannot know God in an intimate way because they’re too young. We and the youth at Lavi Reyel thank God that this is not true for God’s word states “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” I Timothy 4:12
Sandy now sings praises to her Lord because He has transformed her life with true peace, hope and secure contentment. She knows He will never leave her as her earthly father did. Her voice has become even more beautiful and sweet as she worships the Lord from her heart with adoration and praise. This young woman dreams to become an accomplished singer, lifting up the name of the Lord through song and sharing her gift with others, encouraging them to know Jesus in a deeper way.
When Sandy graduates from high school, she has a desire to study nursing; however, there is an over-abundance of people in that field, so her second choice of a career is to be an airline attendant, if the Lord provides. If that doesn’t come together, she has a strong interest in studying computer science and learning English.
How exciting to see God’s faithfulness throughout Sandy’s young life. Through the dark valleys, He has been there, even though she may not have acknowledged Him. Now, He’s faithfully led her to the new space she’s in learning and following her Lord, Jesus Christ. We watch with anticipation all God has for Sandy. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 39:11. Sandy’s favorite bible verse is “I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.” Psalm 118:17.
Please pray for Sandy as she navigates through life in Jacmel, sharing her story and allowing God to lead her life path. Sandy is clearly a young woman who God is using to change Haiti, ”one life at a time”. If you’d like to partner with CIDM as we continue to disciple Sandy and so many other young people like her, please click HERE