Woodson’s first steps

As they are for any child learning to walk, Woodson’s first steps were tentative and shaky. Without something to hold onto, he would surely have fallen into a heap on the tile floor. And even with something to help his balance, it was clear that it would take him some time to work out all the mechanics of this new way of getting around. Of course, toddlers have been learning to do this since Adam and Eve had their first children. But Woodson is no child. He’s a young man, probably in his early 20s, and on Wednesday, I watched … Continue reading Woodson’s first steps

Searching for hope and forgiveness

I’ve been struggling over this post for a couple of days now – trying to work through the emotions that are tied up with it so that I don’t allow anger and bitterness to take over and trying to find some hope within the heartache. A little more than a week ago, I held a dying woman in my arms. I don’t know her name, and I can only guess at her age – somewhere in her 80s probably – but I know she was dying, because she passed away on Friday. And judging from the conditions in which she … Continue reading Searching for hope and forgiveness

The keys to a one-room palace

EDITOR’S NOTE: Normally I don’t like to use this space for rants. I believe most of you visit this page for updates on my ministry and, perhaps, an encouraging word or even the rare spiritual insight. Please forgive me for the exception to my own rule. I spent a distressing morning in a community where the daily struggle to survive weighs hard. Haiti is such a beautiful and terrible place. This has been the most fulfilling period of my life, and it has been the most heartbreaking. These people are so incredibly tough and so unbelievably fragile. This is hard … Continue reading The keys to a one-room palace

Loaves and fishes in Peris

  I wonder: Did the boy hesitate, thinking the disciples must be crazy, or did he eagerly hand over his five loaves and two fishes when they told him Jesus wanted to use them to feed the hungry multitude? The feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle of Christ that is recorded in all four gospels, and the account in the Book of John is the only one that mentions the boy: “One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, ‘There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are … Continue reading Loaves and fishes in Peris

An afternoon in Peris

We weren’t even supposed to be there. If I still weren’t struggling with communication problems, I’d have heard the slight difference between “Peris” and “Carries” when our ministry team was making plans for the week, and instead of telling our guests — 16 young adults from Adventures in Missions’ World Race — that we were going to help with a house build, I’d have told them we were dropping into a community we’d never visited before to gauge their interest in the Gospel’s message of love and hope. At the very least, I’d have left my gloves back at home. … Continue reading An afternoon in Peris

I must decrease

Communication turns out to have been the first tool that God has used to break me in Haiti. For some reason, it never occurred to me – a guy who spent most of the past 32 years as a journalist – that it would be so hard here to do the thing that I have done so easily for so long. Whether in print or face to face, I rarely struggle for what to say or how to say it. And then I got to Haiti. Where they speak Kréyol. And I do not. It probably says something about me … Continue reading I must decrease

The God of all of it

  As I was driving around Suffolk this morning, doing some last-minute errands before heading to Haiti to serve for a season under the ministry of Supply and Multiply, I caught myself paying closer attention to my surroundings than I might normally have done. There was the new development being built over by Bennett’s Creek, and I wondered whether it would be complete when I return home. There was the vacant nursery where we bought so many of the azalea bushes that surround our home. Will someone buy the property and begin turning it into something new while I’m gone? … Continue reading The God of all of it

Haiti mission trip prospectus

I have put together the following information to answer some of the questions folks have had about my upcoming extended mission trip to Haiti. Thank you for your prayers for me and my family during this time. If you’d like to donate to support the ministry of Supply and Multiply, you can do so by clicking this link. If you’d like to contribute to the costs of my six-month mission trip, just follow the same link and designate “Spears” on the memo line of your check or in the PayPal comments line. All donations and contributions are tax deductible. Thanks … Continue reading Haiti mission trip prospectus

Letting go

    I’ve heard it said that we can never receive the full blessings that God has for us until we’re willing to let go of the lesser things we tend to hold so fast. The past month, since my announcement that I am leaving the newspaper business, has been a long lesson in letting go. Letting go of control. Letting go of position. Letting go of pride. At times, it has felt as if God was prying my fingers loose from these things, and I haven’t always handled the changes as well as I would have liked. Pride is … Continue reading Letting go

Get out of the pew

  I leave for a weeklong visit to Haiti this week, and the past few days have been a flurry of packing, shopping online and in stores for supplies my small group will take for the work we have planned there, scheduling projects and visits in the town of Montrouis and trying to get caught up on my work to the degree necessary to allow me to be gone for the week. I have a feeling I’ll be tired when I leave and exhausted when I return. And yet, I can hardly wait. Something happened to me in Haiti during … Continue reading Get out of the pew