I am currently experiencing a weary season filled with vast circumstances.

To start, there are about 6 months left until graduation day (188 days… but who’s counting). These 6 months involve “checking off” every last box of my undergraduate career—talk about stress inducing. I could bore you by explaining every one of these “boxes” in detail, but instead I believe it would be more valuable to share what I have experienced over the past couple weeks studying abroad in Europe.

Some of you may believe the statement, “Katrina Matthews just loves traveling.” When, in reality, traveling is really difficult for me. I do not do well with frequent change and transitions. Ironically, though, it appears the anxiety I experience with traveling produces an increased awareness of how much I need the Lord. I suppose this awareness increases once my life circumstances aren’t necessarily “going as planned” or “fitting into my box of comfort,” etc.


Some background information:

I have been studying abroad since the beginning of June. This specific abroad experience consists of me (and 11 other women) visiting Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland; I am now entering my second and final week in Prague. The most educationally demanding part of the trip involves teaching at an English immersion school in the Czech Republic called “Hanspaulka.”

To get straight to the point, this trip has been exceptionally more draining than I had predicted it would be. I truly cannot recall another time being so pushed and pulled out of my comfort zone until this last week. More specifically, the biggest battle I face is the fact that I know 0% of the Czech language. Let’s face it; if you know me well, you know how much I thrive in communication with others. And once this innate skill was taken away from me I experienced overwhelming feelings of isolation and confusion. Seriously, how can Katrina Matthews be Katrina Matthews without being able to communicate? (“Oh dear” is right.)


And now, on this sunny and 72 degree Sunday morning, I have a change of heart.

A couple of days ago I had informed my host family I needed time this weekend to work on homework. To my surprise, this morning my host “dad” told me I have the house to myself today (as their family is visiting the country house for the day). I couldn’t help but to smile and take a deep and appreciative breath as I was being reminded of how faithful our Heavenly Father is to his children.

I am overwhelmed by the pure truth that God knows just WHAT I need and WHEN I need it (and of all things— of course it is on Sabbath day). I have been blessed with a day of rest in Him as I leisurely complete my homework, nap in the sun, and have uninterrupted FaceTime as I see my sweet earthly father’s face on Father’s Day. This day of rest will give me just enough time to have my cup filled, as well as the energy and patience to finish the second half of this trip well.


Today I am thankful for God’s faithfulness.

He will carry you through this weary season 

It has been a week since I have returned back home. I was told there would be a lot of different things to process through while transitioning back home, but I was unaware of the extent to which this was true. Over the past few weeks I have felt convicted to share an important piece of my summer with you. So, I figured there wasn’t a better time than right now as I continue to process through my walk with The Lord and what He is teaching me.


Many of you know that I have felt a calling to pursue in Haiti since my first visit in 2012. The Lord continued to place this desire on my heart years following in 2013, 2015, and 2016 when I had returned with my mom to volunteer in VBS. Finally, through God’s grace, this summer I was given the opportunity to live in Haiti for 10 weeks as the VBS intern. When I would visit Haiti in the past, I remember feeling The Lord near me in ways I had never felt in America. I remember hearing His still and small voice in the most desperate times and always being confident in the fact that He was walking with me in every situation. As a result of this, whenever I would find myself in a messy situation in America, I would look at Haiti as an escape from it all and convince myself, “If only I were in Haiti, none of this would be happening and I would really feel God there.” Dang, naïve right?

I am going to be honest and tell you the truth about what God is carrying me through after this summer. It is my sincere intention and hope that my vulnerability will meet you in a way where you find encouragement.


Just a few days into my internship, I was convinced that God dropped me off at the airport with my parents. I have never felt so alone, confused, or unsure of myself. I remember praying prayers like, “Lord, you supposedly lead me to this foreign land for the past 5 years to serve you for the summer and now you have chosen to leave me once I was obedient to your call? You really picked to give me a dry season during the time I need you the absolute most?” I was on my knees in prayer begging to hear anything from Him—nothing. I felt so betrayed.

I remember sitting in our weekly small group time and listening to other interns explain how fruitful The Lord had been during various encounters with Haitians in the village, with their team members that week, etc. This resulted in me falling deep into the pit of comparison. Satan would tell me lies after lies; He must care more about them… Do you see how much He is teaching them through this? He clearly doesn’t love you as much as you thought He did. That sucked. It wasn’t until one of the last days of VBS when an intern told me something I really needed to be reminded of. These weary seasons are what grow us the most in our faith. They also increase our awareness for dependence on Him when we have nowhere else to run. And most importantly, God promises us that we will be blessed for our faithfulness during these seasons.

Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

One of the biggest lessons God is teaching me right now is how big of a difference there is between feeling and knowing. For example, this summer I would constantly feel like God wasn’t around, but I knew He was. During one of the last weeks of VBS, I had a team member eagerly pull me aside at lunch. She explained how The Lord revealed a specific phrase to her that she needed to tell me before traveling back home that day.

The teacher is always silent during the test.

When we take a test, we may not feel the teacher in the room with us, but we always know our teacher is there. We have confidence that our teacher is watching us concentrate and believes that we understand the content directly in front of us, even if we don’t have confidence in our own ability.

As each day passes I have already found myself in desperate need of forgiveness, as I tend to pick up what I already laid at His feet. As a result of this, I have become increasingly aware of how desperate I am for The Lord’s grace. I have grown to understand that a season of waiting is a blessing from God. He may not be walking next to me through trials like He has in the past, but I have confidence that He will carry me through.


So, what do you do when God seems distant? He tells us to serve Him. This is where we will find Him again.

Matthew 25:36-40

I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Two very important people

August 6, 2017 — the day that marks only 10 days left in this beautiful country. That seems absolutely unbelievable to me. I mentioned in the beginning of the summer that I would write about people I was surrounded by this summer. Although it was difficult to narrow it down to only a couple people, I couldn't think of anyone better to write about than my friends Vena and George.

~ Vena ~
I will never forget the first day I met my dear friend Vena. The interns were introduced to her during our first training week here and obviously everyone was dying to become her friend. At a loss for words, the first thing I had said to Vena were, "Hi, my name is Katrina and I don't know how else to say this, but I think we should be best friends this summer. I really need someone like you in my life as I am far away from my friends and family for a long time and this isn't going to be easy." She responded, "Hey, my best friend's name already is 'Katrina' so it looks like we were already meant to be best friends." Perfect.

Vena has been working at Mission of Hope since May and her main position on campus is the Assistant Hospitality Coordinator. This essentially means that she assists with the function of all things hospitality on campus and always makes sure our guests' needs are met. This also includes playing a huge role in the kitchen staff, as she is constantly making sure that there is enough food being made for all the team members, or different food being made if there are vegetarians or gluten allergies, etc. Also, did I mention she is on our phenomenal Haitian worship team? Yeah, she does it all! And with a thankful heart that is always giving God the glory with all the gifts He has given her.

No matter how smooth or terrible my day was going, I always knew Vena was there to just simply give me a big hug and kiss on my cheek without any other words. As the summer continued on and the days were getting longer, she was full of empathy and was able to understand exactly how I was feeling just by looking at me. Vena has played multiple roles for me during this season of life including: a dear friend, a loving mother, and a protective and understanding older sister. I would have never imagined anyone could wear all of these hats this summer for a short 10 weeks, but Vena did instinctively. My friendship with Vena is an example of how God goes before us. My Wisconsin neighbors, the Leffins, had helped her through school, which allowed her to be in this role and help me and other interns through the summer. It is amazing how God is working when we have no idea.

Yesterday I had the honor of attending Vena's wedding. It was absolutely lovely. And needless to say, she was the most breathtaking bride I've ever seen. Lord, thank you for blessing me with this sweet, sweet woman.


~ George ~
This summer I was blessed with 10 incredible VBS translators. While they are all wonderful in their own distinctive ways, I would like to introduce you to my friend George. This is George's fourth summer working as a VBS translator at MOH. I grew really close with George during our first week of VBS July 3-6, as VBS was hosted for the first time at a location called "Cina" in one of our partnering villages Source Matelas. Cina was practically a giant field with three trees to provide shade and a basketball court. This was the first time VBS has ever been hosted at Cina. Normally, main campus VBS is hosted in the church and surrounding classrooms. However, during the week of July 3-6, there were students scheduled to participate in national test-taking, and therefore the classrooms were unable to be used for VBS activities.

Somehow my translators and I were able make it through a week of VBS with over 500 children and no kitchen. The absence of a kitchen made the week especially difficult as we didn't have our lovely kitchen ladies to cook the children their rice meals like they usually can. So, every day three giant pots of rice were miraculously driven over to Cina every morning and God would do the impossible and show us His miracle of feeding the 500. You could say all of this left me incredibly stressed as a first-time VBS intern, but George always knew how to step in and calm my nerves and completely handle whatever new difficulty was thrown our way that day. George's strong yet peaceful disposition made the week millions of times smoother than it would have been without him there.

A couple days ago, George told me he wasn't going to be around for our last week of VBS because he will be WALKING for FOUR hours with his church to a surrounding island in Haiti that is in desperate need of Jesus. George is the perfect example of having faith in desperate circumstances and constantly putting his own needs aside as the Lord will always provide. Sometimes Americans think we have all the answers and resources, but here's a Haitian becoming a missionary to his own people. Thankful to MOH and their commitment to training up Haitian leaders to make a difference in their own country.

Last Thursday George asked me on his last day of VBS how I was doing. I "cheerfully" responded, "I'm doing great George, thanks for asking!" To which he responded back, "No you're not, you're not you." I was originally convicted that I wasn't being as honest with where my heart was really at, but also loved the fact that Haitians care so deeply to really know my heart. I explained to George that my mind, body and soul are really aching to be return to my family and my own culture but that I cannot imagine life without them by my side. He reminded me how God puts us through specific seasons for a reason and to be joyful that God is calling me back home after this internship. He also reassured me that this wasn't going to be the last time we see one another.


Although I am excited to be back in Wisconsin, I can't even begin to process what life is going to look like without these gracious brothers and sisters by my side.

Haitian Vacation Bible School

Hello sweet friends,

I apologize for the two-month delay in writing this second blog post. It would be impossible for me to put into words and explain how much God has grown me through seasons of joyfulness to seasons of absolute hardship and confusion. So, instead of writing a novel of every experience that has happened thus far, I figured you would be most interested in what an average day of Haitian VBS looks like.


Now, before I explain what VBS looks like once the children arrive, you should know how much organization and planning is going on behind the scenes. After eating breakfast, the plan is for my team of Haitian translators and I to load a school bus at 7:25. Sometimes this goal is accomplished, but more times than not it ends up being around 7:45 (my VBS translators are very intentional and relational with one another–which I LOVE–but it isn’t very common to be on the bus on time). During that in between time, I will gather up fellow MOH interns as they eat their breakfast and ask them to help load our school bus with 18 water bags from the freezer (each big bag is filled with 60 individual smaller water bags that is safe water for the children to drink during VBS). As soon as the waters are loaded in the bus, so do the suitcases. Each VBS suitcase holds 500 soaps, 500 toothpastes, 500 toothbrushes, and prizes for VBS.


The school bus will drive my Haitian translators and I down to the church and stop at two different locations to drop off water bags–9 bags will be dropped off in the kitchen area where the children get fed and the other 9 will be taken to the basketball court for our sports station. Once everything is set and taken off the bus, the bus driver and a translator will take one lap to the village we are hosting for the morning and pick up as many children that can fit in the bus. Once the first round of kids arrive to Mission of Hope, we wait for our other campus buses from Bercy to come so we can use them to get more kids (as our first bus who picked up children has to go straight back to the guesthouse by 8am to take our other mobilization interns and their North American team members to the villages for the day).

Now, here is a typical day for VBS:
As the children continue coming in by the hundreds, North American team members will typically form a tunnel or a high five line to greet the timoun (Haitian creole for “children”). From about 8:15-9:15 our translators will engage the timoun in a hype up VBS session with interactive games, dance parties and dance offs, singing worship songs, etc. Then around 9:15 is when the kids are separated into four different groups in regard to how old they are: 3-5, 6-8, 7-9 and 10-12 year olds. The 3-5 year olds leave the church and go to the kitchen to eat their rice and bean meal, 6-8 are lead to our agriculture/hygiene classroom, 7-9 are brought to the basketball court to kick a soccer ball around, play with jumprope, etc. and the 10-12 year olds stay in church to hear the Bible message given by the Village Champion.The goal is for each rotation to be around 20-30 minutes so the kids can be back in the buses by 11. My job during VBS is essentially to walk from station to station reminding each station what time to rotate the kids to each section with transition walking time, etc.

Tuesday’s and Thursday’s are especially exciting days for VBS. On Tuesday’s, one of my translators Samedy teaches about the importance of hygiene and passes out soap to around 500 children each week. Then, on Thursday’s he distributes toothbrushes and toothpaste after explaining how to thoroughly clean ones teeth. Although every day of VBS is equally as important than the other, VBS Wednesday’s are the most celebrated in the Kingdom. Every 3-12 year old child is given the opportunity to follow Jesus during our Bible rotation–we call this “Salvation Day.” It is a truly powerful thing to be given the opportunity to witness these Haitians lives being changed on a weekly basis.

The summer is already becoming a blur. It’ll take me some time to process it. So please forgive me not communicating as well as I’d like to. I’ve been blessed to touch the lives of thousands of Haitian children. I’ve witnessed the courage of malnourished Haitians pursuing their faith and protecting their families. I’ve had to be patient with stranded vehicles in the mountains and chaos in the villages. And most days I’m just overwhelmed that I’ve even been given this opportunity. I am honored to be able to spend my summer with these amazing Haitians and the people ministering to them. And I’ve known every day that my friends and family have been supporting me with their prayers. I’m so grateful for that encouragement as I’ve done my best to help the children of Haiti.

Thank you for your love and your prayers.

Understanding the importance of grace & vulnerability 

Hello loved ones. ☺️ Thank you for joining me on this journey to Haiti. I plan on writing a post once every 1-2 weeks, but please forgive me if I’m not as consistent as I would hope to be. 

I will be writing about a mix of different things for these posts. Mostly, I will write about the following two areas: 

1. I will be giving you little updates and prayer requests for MOH, the Haitians, my fellow interns and myself. 

2. I would love to introduce you to people I have the pleasure to serve alongside of this summer. Whether that be a Haitian worker on the MOH campus, a child in a village or at VBS, a North American spending a week out of there summer to serve, a fellow intern, or a long-term missionary at MOH. I would love to illustrate their distinctive characteristics and giftedness that points directly towards Christs idenity. 


For my first post, I wanted to open up to you about what God has been teaching me in the past few weeks in preparation for this 10 week internship. 

All throughout the second half of my college semester, I would often find myself making this “ideal picture” of who I wanted and needed to be in a short matter of months, then weeks, and then the last few days before moving to Haiti. This ideal picture looked like a number of things to me (i.e. reading my Bible a certain amount of times a day, watch Netflix waaayy less, journal consistently my progress throughout the months leading up to leaving, etc). While these are great goals to strive for, I was convincing myself that I would be a better leader for the summer once these things were being done all the time. Instead of these goals pushing me to be better, it became such an exhausted list of “good works” to be completed prior to leaving. 

I remember praying and apologizing for feeling so unprepared for Haiti. In that moment, Gods Grace completely washed over me and I felt so much lighter. God reminded me of how yes, while those goals are incredibly important to Him, the “goals” I had made for myself are a process. They aren’t billeted lists where I could pretend to transform into a different person within a short matter of weeks. 
These past few weeks it felt as if I had more weaknesses and vulnerabilities revealed to me than my strengths. I believe God meets everyone in their own unique way to deepen his/her dependence on Him. Whether someone feels closest to Him during times of thanksgiving or during times of weaknesses and insecurities. In my experience, I need to have my weaknesses made so clear so I know I am never in control (this is NOT easy)!

God had to remind me the importance of vulnerability during this experience. He reminded me of how disheartening it has been after talking with someone about struggles, only to feel that they “have it all together” already and are unable to empathize with me. If I had gone to Haiti with the mentality of pretending that I was in a “really good place” in life (after checking off my bulleted list), I highly doubt the Haitians would have entrusted their hearts to me.

There needs to be a common ground shared in community. There needs to be healthy communication explaining that although we live in completely different countries and cultures, we still share the same emotional and spiritual battles. Rich or poor, skinny or plump, black or white, we are in desperate need for encouragement and accountability on a daily basis. We need to be open to vulnerability with one another in order to experience rich community. 


A summer like this has been long awaited and it’s hard to believe it is finally here. I have written this post with blurry and tear-filled eyes as I fly to Haiti for the first of many days to come. I feel so incredibly blessed to serve alongside such wonderful Haitians, interns, and other MOH staff. Please pray for the Lord to open my eyes to see what He sees and for my heart to break for what breaks His. 

Much love,