So many of us talk about living a more simple life, about giving up our excess, and not being so bound to it. Risa is a woman who takes her faith beyond talk and into action. I admire her so much.
When I first met Risa online she was taking part in something called the ‘same dress challenge’ by wearing the same dress everyday for six months. The purpose was to raise awareness for the extreme poverty so many live in around the world. I was inspired as I read her blog account of what God was changing in her heart through this experience.
Recently, God has moved Risa, her husband Spencer, and their three children to Haiti to work with the people there. To Risa, ministry isn’t a job or a destination. It’s just life lived for Christ. I love that so much about her. She is truly a picture of a woman putting action to her faith. Here is our interview with Risa
What is your ministry?
Risa: I hope mine is the same as yours, loving God and loving others. I’m just living in Haiti where infrastructure is disappointing and the country is third world status. My husband currently volunteers at Child Hope International.
I LOVE this blog on the definition on ministry; ==> Click here
What is the big dream for your ministry?
Risa: To know personally those the Lord placed me near to be in relationship with, to live life with, to fellowship and eat with on a regular basis.
In the future we hope to coordinate the Perspectives class here in Haiti. A Perspectives class is a course on how every believer has a purpose and a role in living missionally. We would also like to cultivate a House of Prayer.
What drew you to this ministry?
Risa: Since my husband and I met ten years ago, we had a desire to work in ‘missions’ as much as possible. After marriage, we agreed to eventually ‘go’ full time. Haiti was highlighted after the earthquake to everyone worldwide, but God shook our hearts differently following a team relief trip. One, it’s so close to home! I was simply ignorant of that fact. Two, caring for children was a desire and there are many here on the streets all day without parenting and supervision. Three, God opened doors as we prayed and got confirmation in several ways to pursue moving full time.
Tell us about that moment when you felt God call you to this? How did he call you? What was the tipping point for you? Was that decision supported by those around you?
Risa: August 2010, my husband, Spencer and I led a team to do relief work at Child Hope International in Port Au Prince, Haiti. I was seven months pregnant with my third child. During the trip, Spencer asked if I could see our family living in Haiti for ten years!? To be honest, at the moment I was non emotional to the suggestion.
Two weeks back home, I felt home-sick and couldn’t explain it. There was no one child or two I had attached to, no scenery or moment to cling to. I simply had a heavy heart to get back asap!
The story is long and full of awesome God things but in short, that Christmas, we were going to buy a house and suddenly chose not to. Spencer and I discerned not to. One month later, he was laid off of work.
He had a decent job, we had a schedule to be debt free, we had that ten year plan to get to the field when all was lined up perfectly… and so on and so on;). I laugh now and I’m sure the Lord was laughing then. For six months, we looked for work, taking temp jobs to barely pay the monthly minimums and food.
Oh, I need to mention, part of ‘our’ plan was to live with parents, save money, buy the home and have the buffer of time to possibly renovate. We moved in with them the month before our first trip to Haiti and Spencer was jobless six months later. I mention this because part of God’s provision was us having No Rent.
Spencer’s childhood home was long paid for and a retreat for many; a log cabin on a canyon edge with a peaceful creek. It was the cabin in the wood many would pay to stay in for a quiet vacation. It was and is our home on American soil.
Fast forward about 20 months and two more trips to Haiti for Spencer, we are here living our dream and sitting with many. It’s busy and difficult as the culture and language are a struggle, but we’re here. Our flesh didn’t think it was possible until God did what literally felt like a push in a corner to get us to take on a bigger faith and go for the obvious!
Support is incredible and many of them would say, “what took you so long?” or “no question, you were made for this!”. We are thoroughly encouraged, honored and thankful for this opportunity and the journey.
What compels you to continue when it’s hard?
Risa: Our children! They are Loving Haiti and are really, the ‘make it or break it’ factor.
The Haitian children who drive us to persevere on their behalf because often they don’t have a voice to teach them the Living Word. They need encouragement and healthy play time, sometimes they need water or food. Or they want to simply be with you for companionship. Majority are eager to learn… anything!
What would you say to the person who is on that edge of living life as usual or taking action on what God is calling them to do?
Risa: Get Faith! By definition, its…
- Confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
- Belief that is not based on proof.
“You’ve got to use the life you’ve been given to give others life. If your life isn’t about giving relief — you don’t get real life. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?”
Ann Voscamp journal
How can people help or get involved in what you are doing?
Risa: I hope reading this would encourage you to support your personal missionaries. For obvious reasons, I say this, but it’s a fact. They, along with the locals, do the job best. Short term and visitors are wonderful and such a blessing, but they can’t grasp the cultures in which the missionary lives and works in daily. Not to mention, the need to comprehend current infrastructure. In community, those things are extremely important to properly serve the natives. From personal experience, it’s simply difficult to live and work full time in a foreign land.
For us, the cost of living and food is outrageous because it’s an island with poor sound administration and import is the main way to get anything, hence high prices. Government is unreliable, inconsistent and proven corrupt. And because of Haiti’s history, many of the problems stem from past wounds. Wounds that will take us much time for understand.
We desire to learn language well so that is our current focus.
Sustainability is a tangible priority we are working toward. One of our goals is to create structures for raising tilapia and harvesting the wast to a garden. We will be needing key parts for the structures, as well as for gardening in this environment.
Prayers and notes to let us know you remember we are out here:)
Our family is 100% funded by monthly supporters and one time donations. Our general budget is approximately $4,000US per month.
Est. August 7, 2005, Spencer and Risa Reeves with Asher who’s almost 7, Keziah 4 and Salem 2. We met in Manhattan Beach, CA in 2002. Following a few dozen mission trips and our wedding in Ensenada, Mexico, we moved to Spencer’s hometown of Ellensburg, WA. With a desire to be full time in the mission field, The Lord began our journey toward Haiti. Four years later and a strong network of family in Christ who saw this desire in us, we moved to Port Au Prince in December 2012.