When I was forty years old a friend asked me where I wanted to spend my Golden Years. “Golden years? What are the golden years?” She replied with “age 60 to whenever.” (Some people say 65 to whenever). I responded that there had been a lot of ‘gold’ in all my stages of life, along with some ‘silver’ and also some ‘bronze’. I remember telling her I would spend those, so called, ‘golden years’ wherever God placed me, but I thought it would be working with, and serving, children somewhere. I had no doubt there would be silver and bronze, along with the ‘golden’ then too. Little did I know there would also be a lot of rusty iron.
Karen – Infant; Childhood; Teenager; Young Adult; Adult; Senior (known by some as golden years – often I see it as Rusty Iron years)
|Don, Ken, Bob, Karen Sandra (Karen 8)|
I am coming to think that these, so called, golden years are not so golden a lot of the time. I’ve decided for myself that at times this season of life would be aptly known instead as ‘rusty iron’. I see rusty nails lying around sometimes and I relate it to my body. Some days I feel like I am still 40 and wondering about those so called ‘golden years’. Other days I feel like I am really becoming a rusty nail – no longer new and shiny, no longer 100% straight and strong, not able to be pounded into the wood with a hammer – however still very usable and useful.
I have often been asked questions about my ‘call to missions’. People seem to be interested in this. I knew at age 14 that I wanted to go and serve in a country where there were black children in need. My mother knew how I felt, and so did the pastors and Christians who helped me in my spiritual growth. At the age of 13 – 16 I attended two churches in my home town – the Pentecostal (where I became a Christian) and the Salvation Army, and received encouragement from both in what I felt I was supposed to do. My final year of high school saw us do ‘a makeshift’ yearbook which had a 20 year prediction for each of us students. Where would we be in 20 years? I still have a copy of that page of our yearbook which says ‘In 20 years Karen Huxter will be a missionary in Africa.’
I, however, was young and certainly not ready for the mission field. I went around the mountain a few times before moving to Haiti, 20 years ago, to work with and to serve black children – not in Africa – but descendants of African heritage.
University, teaching, marriage, working, bringing up two children, and growing with God, was my life for years as my children grew to become women.
I moved to Haiti twenty years ago, in 1995. One thing as a missionary I needed to quickly learn was I needed to depend 100% on God all the time. I needed to wait on Him and His timing. I needed of a lot of prayer coverage for the spiritual battles. I saw that I was indeed here to serve. I needed to join God in whatever He was doing and needed to give up any preconceived ideas I may have had before coming. I had to be willing to learn, to accept, to learn some more, to accept even more, to learn more again, to laugh at myself often, and to regularly ask God to change me as he wished.
Missions to me is seeing what God is doing and joining Him in the work. Then doing whatever is needed, when needed, and allowing the people we serve to see Jesus in us.
|Karen Huxter 2010|
My blogs always say “It Is All About The Children”. That is also painted on the outside of our mission walls.
|God’s work with orphans in Deschapelles, Haiti|
This is true for HATS but first and foremost it has to be “ALL ABOUT GOD”. If it is not all about Him I cannot serve anyone, reach anyone, teach anyone about Jesus, be a blessing to anyone or be blessed by anyone.
I am extremely thankful for all the stages of my life – infant, childhood, young adult, adult, senior – aka rusty iron. I am extremely thankful for my upbringing in a beautiful town called Springdale, in Newfoundland.
I remember as a young adult my mother lovingly saying that I walked and talked later than my three brothers. She attributed this to having three brothers willing to carry me anywhere and everywhere and for giving me what I wanted without my having to ask for it. She then continued to say – however after I did get going I did not slow down in the walking or talking. She also used to say I danced my way out of the womb and continued to dance all the time. She encouraged me with all three – walking, talking and dancing – throughout my life.
This being on the go, talking easily to anybody and everybody, (including before small or large groups), and dancing whenever music is heard, (especially Newfie music) has carried me into this ‘rusty iron’ stage of life.
I am thankful for everybody who has come into my life both in Canada and in Haiti– as a child, as a young woman, and as an adult – including these senior ‘rusty iron’ years. I am thankful for every experience – the happy ones and the unhappy, painful ones. All have made me who I am today.
I am very thankful for all my family members in Canada. I often really miss my Canadian family, both in the east and the west. I am thankful for the family God has blessed me with here at the HATS-Haiti Mission. I am very thankful for my ‘special’ adopted 9-year-old son, Ti Luc. He is a very special boy with an immense sense of humour, with patience, understanding, and a caring heart that is far beyond his age.
|Karen and Ti Luc (now 9)|
All the children keep me on my toes and keep me going when I start thinking of, and longing for, those in Canada.
|Mama Karen and Sandra|
|Mama Karen and Anne|
Despite missing loved ones in Canada it has been, and still is, a privilege and honour to serve here in Haiti.
I, am also thankful for my friends. I have lived in six different places – Newfoundland, two years in Quebec, eleven years in the Yukon, two in Ontario, and seven in BC, before these 20 years in Haiti. All the friends I had, and those I still have, from these six places, have touched my life and helped shape me. Like family – friends are also important. Sometimes it is not easy to find people you can trust and forge real friendships with after a move – this I have found especially so in Haiti. Having said that I must go on to say I truly have two ‘real’ Haitian friends here, male and female, who I see regularly at work and in visits, that I appreciate a great deal. One of these friends has also become a brother to me. Yes, I have a chocolate brother, as well as a chocolate son. He is younger than me but insists he is ‘my big brother’ and takes his role as big brother quite seriously.
Since the three brothers I grew up with, and the wonderful one I received through marriage to my sister, are in Eastern Canada I greatly appreciate the one I have here in Haiti.
|Don, Ken, Bob, Karen, Sandra (rusty iron versions)|
Too, I am thankful for the many people who are a part of the HATS-Haiti Mission family – those who have supported with finances, with prayers and with encouragement. I am thankful for all who have come down and helped, short term and long term, and for those who are booked to come this week in April, in May, and again in June. There are many who cannot come but you are a very big part of this mission. Your support is invaluable. HATS-Haiti would not be what it is without you. May God bless each and every one of you. We will continue to walk together to help this mission make a difference in the lives of the children we serve in this area of the Artibonite Valley.
|God’s work with educating children and care of orphans in the Artibonite Valley of Haiti|
God bless you all.