ready or not

Written by Sandra Heska King

PRAY EDITOR "Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.

December 4, 2012

I’ve had months to get ready.

But I’m not ready.

I google “animals in Haiti,” “birds in Haiti,” “snakes in Haiti.” and “Haitian culture.” I immerse myself in Flickr‘ed blue and red and green and pink gingerbread architecture and cough from dust rising in YouTube videos. I wonder if I’ll have to eat goat.

I comb through friend photos, stalk pages of people I don’t know hoping to find a public album. I drink in the faces of the children, try to memorize their names, try to imagine what that first meeting will be like.

I read stories about the sights and smells, pack extra tissue for brimming, and make a note to tuck in some toilet paper. I count bottles of hand sanitizer and remind myself not to nibble on my cuticles or rub my eyes like I’m prone to do. My sister told me about a young girl who got an infection and went blind because she wasn’t fastidious about her contact lenses while in the Dominican Republic. I haven’t studied my Creole like I should have. I hope I remember to take my malaria pills. I’ve stocked up on Pepto and Kao. I’ve filled a prescription for Cipro.

Lord, please don’t let me forget my passport.

Don’t let me forget to pay the bills due before I return.

My daughter teases about my not being able to come home, that there’ll be some sort of solar flare and power loss, and I think a part of her might be really worried. I remind her we operate on Bible time, not the Mayan calendar. But I try not to think about the itty bitty plane I need to fly in or whether or not there’ll be an earthquake or whether I’ll be cut off from home and whether everything will run smoothly and everyone will stay healthy.

I have 48 hours from the time of this posting to be ready to leave home for 12 days.


During Advent.

Can one really be fully ready for anything except Jesus’ coming?

The first two objectives for the trip are to let God govern our days and plans, our every moment, and to be fluid and flexible.

Our pastor talked yesterday about Christmas being full of surprises, about God being full of surprises.

I’m expecting to be surprised.

My dream has always been to visit Africa. I wanted to go over my birthday next month and meet our sponsored child. But my husband didn’t think it was the right time, so I pouted a bit and then went with the flow, rested in the letting go. I’m pretty sure it was the same day Tami sent the email asking if I’d help take Christmas to 270 orphans in Haiti.

And the town’s name?


A change in my plan for God’s plan.

A reminder of how God changed our plans once before with an unmistakable name.


God seems to have a sense of humor.

Ready or not, here I come.

I fly to Nashville on Thursday the 6th to travel with a team from Long Hollow Baptist Church in partnership with El Shaddai Ministries International. We leave for Haiti on Saturday the 8th and come back the following Saturday the 15th. I’ll return home on Monday, the 17th. Will you pray?

My dear friend, Patricia Hunter, will fill in for me next week. I’m sure she’ll have photos. I’m sure you’ll love them. I’m sure you’ll love her.

Photo by Tami Heim of the children at the orphanage in Jeremie, Haiti, and used with permission. She and I met on Twitter. It’s kind of a social media miracle.



  1. Laura Boggess

    Oh, Sandy! Really? I am so excited for you, my friend! What a gift you will be to these people, and you to them. I am praying, praying, praying. I can’t wait to hear what does does…again–through this name: Jeremie.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Is that not wild, Laura? I just shake my head in wonder… Pray the internet will work. I think I will explode if I have to wait until I get back to post.

  2. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    You know that old saw, “He doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called” don’t you? I’ll be praying, dear one, and I know it’s gonna be amazing. For them and for you. xoxoxo

    • Sandra Heska King

      I think I’d forgotten. Thank you for that! I feel so small. I guess that’s a good thing, right?

      • Sheila Seiler Lagrand

        You’re welcome.

        Small like a little child? I KNOW I don’t need to remind you of all the things He had to say about little children. . .

  3. Linda Chontos

    You just pack up your dear, tender heart and you’re good to go. I will be praying, all the while knowing He will do something breathtaking in and through you. Love to you dear friend.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Oh, Linda. I’m in good hands. His. And yours. I miss you.

  4. Patricia W Hunter

    I’m so excited for you, Sandra…and truly honored (and humbled) to even try to fill your shoes here. I’ll be praying for you, sweet friend….while waiting anxiously to hear all about it.

    • Sandra Heska King

      I’m so glad you said yes. I can’t wait to see you in this space.

    • Nancy Franson

      What?!!! You’re going to be an honorary Bible Dude? Awesome! 🙂

  5. pastordt

    Praying for you daily, friend. I know this will be wondrous and good. Probably exhausting, too – but hey – you can come home and sleep right through Christmas, right??? You are the right person at the right time for this job, dear Sandy. And you will write your heart out (and you can do that whether the internet is working or not.) So excited for you. And THRILLED Patricia will fill in while you’re away.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Somehow I don’t think the family will let me sleep through Christmas. 😉

  6. Martha Orlando

    I pray for your safe travels to and from Haiti and that your presence there will be a blessing for those children. May God give you blessings in this journey, Sandy!

  7. Ro elliott

    blessings as you go~

  8. David Rupert

    Sister, thinking about your journey and praying you onward

  9. Nancy Franson

    Go with God my friend! Can’t wait to hear how He surprises you with his goodness!

  10. cherylsmith

    Just settling in to read this now. Oh, how He loves us. And how He moves! Jeremie? Love it! I’ll be praying! am praying, just now while cutting up juice oranges on the small white cutting board. The fragrance of that fresh juice filled the whole kitchen. Isn’t that just like what He does with the story of our lives?

    • Sandra Heska King

      I can smell those oranges, Cheryl! How He loves us, yes!

  11. Emily Wierenga

    oh sandra, THRILLED for you, so excited to hear how God moves you on this journey! i will be praying.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ready or not

by Sandra Heska King time to read: 3 min