Saturday, February 19, 2011

As the sun retreats behind a smoky horizon, the generator roars in the background as a constant reminder that we are not in Kansas/Kona anymore. Like a thick morning fog, tension hangs in the air brought on by the news that we will be spending yet another restless night stuck in the tent city with out showers. The worn out 14 sit outside swatting mosquitoes, struggling to maintain their pasted on smiles as the pastor and his crew put the finishing touches on the fence that will eventually protect the new church we have been setting up for the past two days. Some of us are crowded around one of the last remaining clean sheets of paper trying to plan sleeping arrangements for 14 people in an 8-man tent when a new commotion stirs everyone to attention.

Our contact, Pastor George, has been diligently meeting our every need while also faithfully taking care of his beautiful wife, Shelly, who is now frantically pacing back and forth with a strange look in her eye. Her hands press firmly into the small of her own back while she stifles the panic that slowly approaches with each deep breath. One foot stumbles in front of the next as the pain is almost too much to bare. Realizing what is going on, the girls spring into action, taking Shelly by the arms and helping her to a make shift bed that just happened to be ready. As the women scramble to make sure everything is clean , the guys are taping bare wires together to the rest of the scene does not have t continue in the shadows.

Trembling hands scrub and lay out what few supplies we have available. The clean metal of a Swiss Army Knife catches the light, joined with the smell of minty fresh dental floss and a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer. These are the tools that will be used to welcome new life into the world at the Tent City in Port Au Prince, Haiti. Some would later say this scene could have involved a king, just over Two Thousand years ago!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ok... So, I know today is January 29 and this is dated Dec 27. Internet out here is very rare and time to sit and type out what I wrote a month earlier is even harder to come by. Hope this post still gives a little bit of insight into this part of my journey. Love you all and hope someone is actually reading this! :)

Dec 27, 2010

Haiti...Day 12... I thought the first 10 were bringing me to breaking point, but these last 2 are solid evidence that we are capable of so much more than we think.

During the 1st week, we woke up each morning, walked half an hour to an orphanage and spent time loving on 40+ kids. The men hauled dirt and bricks up a hill so the local workers could finish building a new toilet and shower. We worked our butts off each day in the blazing sun. It wasn’t easy, but it was definately evident that we were helping. On day 4 of orphanage detail, a few of us began work on the pre-existing well. Because of the Cholera epidimic, they are scared to drink the water from it. Our plan is to install a pump and cover the well to block out the light. In theory, this should make the water drinkable because the bacteria cannot survive without light. We didn’t quite finish that part of the project, but I’m pretty sure we have plans to return.

Friday was Christmas Eve... This is my very first time away from home for Christmas. Let me first say. . . It was bittersweet. You don’t how much the climate effects you until you are jumping headfirst into a place where the winter months involve shorts, beaches and very little change in temperature. It was so strange to hear Christmas music in the 90 degree weather! It just wasn’t the same, but we still did our best. That night, the team made hot chocolate and watched “It’s a Wonderful Life.” After the movie, I stayed up, into the wee hours of the morning, decorating the common room for Christmas morning with threaded popcorn and duct tape streamers. When everyone woke up, we listened to Christmas music and were suprized with bacon, eggs and pancakes for breakfast! MERRY CHRISTMAS HAITI!

So, all that brings me to the last 2 days. On Sunday morning we load up on top of a truck and ride an hour and a half into the heart of destruction. Port Au Prince looks like a scene from a war movie! Most of the buildings are completely destroyed and millions of people have been left homeless even a year after the quake. They have been forced to set up make shift tent cities in the parks and any available land. The smell as we drove into town was overwhelming to say the least! There is trash everywhere and people use the streetcorners and gutters to relieve themselves as mother nature makes her frequent calls. We finally get to our destination, a tent city in the middle of Port Au Prince. We’re told that this is the largest and most chaotic tent city in existence. 5 – 7 thousand people crammed into makeshift houses with only feet or inches separating each tattered tent. Human beings living like cattle...victims of circumstance.

The team climbs down from the top of our chariot into a crowd of curious locals. Everyone wants to hold your hand and ask your name. The fragmented english they know comes from programmed responses to the few white faces that pass through from time to time offering pocket change and donated t-shirts. We spend the afternoon building a stage and painting a sign for the crusade that has been scheduled to start that night. As the sun goes down, people gather in the square in hopes of finding a better tomorrow. Preachers from around the world share their hearts as the words are translated from the multitude. From atop the bootleg stage, the Holy Spirit gently moves accross a willing crowd and each heart present is given a message of hope in the midst of despair. Something became very clear to me that night. There is a difference between someone who is wrecked by poverty, struggling to make it from one meal to the next and someone who is broken to the core and struggling to live. A lot of people I have met in my travels were just living so that one day they could die. These people, however, are dying to live!

After the crusade, all 14 of us piled into our one designated tent to sleep like sardenes. The hours passed slowly through the night until the sun came up way too early the next morning. A new day has come but the same hopless people are still waiting to fight for our attention, and the same question lingers in the thick morning air... “Will this ever end?”

Monday, January 17, 2011

I said, "Here I am, send me!" And God said, "OK...Go to Haiti!"

So here we are. . . Haiti!

September 28th, I landed in Kona Hawaii to begin planning for this day! People from all over the world converged on one campus in the middle of the pacific ocean fervently searching for God’s call on their lives. When I arrived, I knew nothing of Haiti. All I knew was that there was a team going to Africa. Little did I know, God had something different for 14 of us.

For the first 3 months we learned about the father heart of God. He loves you and I so much! We also learned that the spirit world is real and active. It is important to be able to discern between spirits and/or negative strong holds on our lives. God is continually speaking to us each day.

On Dec 15th, 14 of us started our journey toward Haiti. Four planes and 30 hours later, here we are. Everyone is tired and no one has luggage because it got misplaced somewhere along the way. If ever there was a time for us to understand that God is in control, that time is now. We’ve been here for 3 days now and still have no luggage. The first night we stayed at YWAM Port Au Prince. That was such a blessing because there was power and internet. I was able to call home and assure my family that I landed safely. The next day we get on the Tap Tap (Haitian Taxi) and drive about an hour to our home from the next 30 days. At this point we realize there will most likely be no power because it has been out for 8 days already. That’s ok though! The food has been great! We only have one bathroom between 14 of us, but that’s ok too... nobody packed soap so we all smell the same! We have been passing the deoderant between pits and have shared what snacks we have as we spend each night reading books, playing music and sharing life be candle light.

Saturday, we went to the market. It was like nothing I have ever seen. Vendors lined the streets selling anything and everything they could find. As we walked through the city of St. Mark, eyes followed our every move. Empty hands and hopeless eyes met ours as we passed by the beggars and orphans. “Grangou...Grangou” They were saying, “I’m Hungry!” Most of the kids we see had been trained to say, “Give me one dollar” in english. My heart ached for the people because I had nothing to give. When we got home that night there was a hot meal waiting on us. As I ate the delicious feast, I thought of the people I had seen that day. Most of them have nothing, but I fell asleep w/ a full stomach and an aching heart for the people of Haiti.

Sunday morning, a new smell drifed though the house. Pumpkin soup is a fairly new delacacy for the Haitians. Apparantly there was a revolution in Janaury. Before that, only the high class had access to pumpkins. After the revolution, every Hatian was allowed to cook and eat this delicious meal. Our cook this morning was from one of the largest hotels in Haiti and she wanted us to be a part of the new revolution. After we had this soup for breakfast, I get news that I’m preaching the Sunday morning sermon in about 30 minutes. I wasn’t super excited to be put on the spot, but I began to prepare. As I began to stifle my own apprehensions and fear, I asked God what he wanted me to tell the people this morning. Immediately he said, “Give them Hope... Tell thime I love them.” In my heart I thought “Lord I’m sure they hear that all the time!”

He said, “Tell them again!”

“But God...”

“Jon... I want YOU to tell them...again!”

30 minutes passed... One Hour... Two Hours... About 20 minutes after I finished preparing to speak,we get news that we are going somewhere else for church. I thought I was off the hook but we plan on going to night church, so I’ll have the chance to preach in Haiti after all!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Stretch Armstrong

Good morning world!

First, let me apologize for "falling off the map."
Second, let me assure you that I have not been thrown into a volcano or eaten by a shark. Unfortunately, I haven't even had the opportunity to see either. I have however, been bitten by an angry fish on my maiden snorkeling adventure in the Pacific Ocean!

I can't believe that we are already in week 4! It seems like I just got here yesterday, but each day I get out of bed I'm reminded that this is still just the beginning. During week one, we heard from a big Hawaiian named Ben. I walked into class on Monday morning with the mindset of "Step on my toes if it brings me closer to God, because I'm into God and I can survive without toes." Ben's message was on "The Father Heart of God." He told us that we are in a battle between two fathers; the father of lies and the father of light.
We also learned that the capacity to receive all that God wants for us will require vulnerability and boldness, and the ability to give that away come from the ability to receive. At this point in the week, my toes were still intact and all was well with my soul.

As i began to process all of what Ben the Hawaiian I started to ask myself what it meant to be vulnerable and how it looked to be bold in that vulnerability. Naturally I began to wonder "Is this place safe? Are these people really safe?" I found myself in a beautiful place... Exposed and vulnerable before a mighty and sovereign God... Terrified because every shred of personal protection was down, but calm because the Father's hand is gentle. The shelter I had been working so hard to build for myself was being broken piece by piece, opening me up to the elements. In a place like this your first instinct is to keep just a shred of shelter... something to hide behind in moments of weakness... but then I am not going to receive the extent of what God has for me because I am not truly vulnerable.

I Cor 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.
And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can
stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can

Ben taught us to "be legit in where you are, and God will meet you there." This meant that it is ok to say "Hey God... This is tough and I don't quite understand or agree with all of it, but if I have to have my toes broken in order to get closer to you...please stomp with all your might!" If I never walk again, at least I'll be closer to God.

So yah... That's week one... I know I told you that we're already in week 4 and so much more has happened but, with the intensity of what we're learning, it has taken me this long to process stuff from the first week. So please keep praying and checking back for more updates!

I miss you all and would love to hear from you! I also love getting mail! "Hint Hint ;)"

Jon Hatton
University of the Nations
75-5851 Kuakini Highway
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740-2199

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Every once in awhile we all do something good. From time to time, we all catch just a glimpse of who we were meant to be. Maybe you say something inspirational. . . or you have the opportunity to help someone that had no idea how they were going to accomplish a certain goal. . . Maybe it is the time you simply find patience in a situation where you would normally explode. It could be when you find yourself lost in a moment and didn't realize you had tears in your eyes. . . or that time you found the compassion you’ve been in search of for years, or you find yourself grateful to God for no reason at all. . . For just a moment. . . and in that moment, you get a just a glimpse of why God made you.

It is in these moments that an overwhelming feeling comes over us. It is in these moments that we cannot shake the feeling that there is so much more to life than we realize. The feeling that we can, in fact, be better. In these moments, I have to acknowledge that there is a God. . .and it is NOT ME. You see, I am not my handy work, and it is not up to me to make myself into who I am supposed to be. God is all the while guiding the process of bringing me to my fullest potential as a follower of Christ. He has many tools and is in no hurry.

From time to time I get caught up in the thoughts of “If I were a better person...” or “If I only read the Bible more…” or “If (insert situation here) had worked out differently, then I would be closer to what God intended for my life.” All the while missing countless opportunities to enjoy my creator and his endless grace. I find myself trying so hard to live up to expectations and qualifications, and fail to realize that the expectations I’m trying so hard to live up to…are none other than my own. My life is not my project… It’s God’s… And today is the day that He is beginning a new work in me. Today is the day that I’m embarking on a journey of change. . . of discovery. . . of transformation.

Today is the day that I take a step closer to being who God intended me to be!

Yes. . . Today is the day! I wish I could say that I got to bed early so I would be rested for today, but that would be a lie! As I laid in bed last night, I just couldn’t get to sleep… Thoughts of what may face me on the journey ahead raced through my mind. I tried my hardest to come up with every scenario I could think of, but found it impossible to shake the feeling that nothing in my imagination will compare to what is actually around the corner. It’s so bizarre when I look back on life. If someone told me even 3 years ago that I’d be sitting on a plane on September 28th 2010…. On my way to a place called YWAM to spend 12 weeks learning more about God before spending another 12 weeks traveling foreign countries sharing the love that I am just now learning to receive, I would have called you crazy! But… here I am… on a plane over the ocean. . . on my way to the beginning of the journey of a lifetime!

If you’re reading this, you probably know a little bit about what is going on in my life. It has been so amazing to sit back and watch the Lord work in me as I began to prepare for the chance to abandon my comfort zone and dive into the unknown. I’ll admit that I’ve had my days where I wondered if I was listening correctly when I felt the Lord calling me to YWAM, but I’ll also rejoice in the fact that over the past month, as my fears and concerns grew, God has continued to show up in the most surprising ways. I had my idea of how it would all play out until now, but I was pleasantly wrong. I thought that if God wanted this for me he would make it easy. . . that the support would POUR in… and I wouldn’t have to worry about a thing. But what I’m realizing is that God is not only showing up and hanging out, but he is also speaking to me and assuring me that the journey may not be painless… but that He’ll be hanging out with me along the way.

Friday, August 6, 2010

This week was my very last week in my apartment. I finally got everything moved out and stored most of my stuff in a 5’x5’ storage unit. Who knew that Jon Hatton, the king of collecting junk, could fit all of his stuff in a 5’x5’ room? I bet I threw away 20 trash bags of stuff. In fact, I know it was at least 20, because I used an entire box. Moving makes you realize just how much junk you have that you don’t really need or use.

With the move, I disconnected my internet and packed up my computer. When I got home last night I checked my email and found my official acceptance letter to YWAM! So yes… It’s official… I have been accepted to the Justice DTS Lecture Phase of YWAM. Starting in September, I’ll have the opportunity to be taught by the mothers and fathers of world missions, who God has been using to build His kingdom all over the earth. This portion of the YWAM Journey will cover 12 weeks. When this part is over, we’ll spend the next 12 weeks targeting areas of poverty and injustice in both Asia and Africa. We may be working in an orphanage in Cambodia, digging wells in Mozambique, working with the trafficked and sexually abused women in Thailand, or caring for street children in India. The possibilities are endless!

So, why have I decided to take such an extreme leap? Over the past year or so, I’ve realized that I am my own biggest fan. It’s a humbling experience when you confide in your friends about your concerns with your own ego, and they agree that you have become one of the most self-absorbed people they know. I’ve gotten really good at putting myself first and that’s not ok. YWAM had been on my radar for awhile and the more I looked into it, the more I realized that this was a perfect opportunity to be part of something much bigger than myself. When Jesus spent time with his disciples, he told them that in order to find life they first had to lose it.

I understand that losing your life isn’t the “American Dream,” but right now, I want nothing more than to know what it means to die to myself in order to find true life. I want to experience life in Christ in a way that I’ve never imagined! The Justice DTS is designed for those who refuse to stand on the sidelines and observe the atrocities of the world. It is for the adventurous in spirit, the compassionate at heart, and those who desire for their lives to really make a difference!

If you feel like God is speaking to you through this post and would like to consider partnering with me in ministry and joining me on this mission, there is a “donate” button on the right side of this page. YWAM is a support-based ministry, therefore its participants are required to raise their own support. First and foremost, I only want to strive for what the Lord has for me. If you are considering making a donation, please take some time to pray and hear from the Lord what amount to give.

Thank you in advance to anyone who is called to join me financially or through prayer!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I think it may rain soon, but I’m not quite sure. The windows here are tented and I can’t tell if the sun is shining or if the clouds are holding him hostage. Either way, I’m comfy because I have my coffee, music and a soft couch to keep me safe. There isn’t anyone else in the coffee shop right now but that’s ok because I’m not really hear to talk. I’m just here…and as the fans softly encourage the surrounding air to move across the room, I can’t help but imagine what it would be like to move without reservation at the slightest nudge from the Holy Spirit. To possess that sort of freedom… that sort of fearlessness… would erase the limits we force upon ourselves with the need for security or stability. Is there not security in flowing with ease; caught in the rhythm and melody of Christ? Is there no stability in feeling the movement and allowing yourself to let go of the things in this world, only to cling to Him as He draws you closer?

As of today, YWAM is almost exactly 2 months away. I’m supposed to be out of my apartment by August 5th and I’m trying really hard to get everything packed up. This morning I had the chance to worship with the staff of Love89.1FM through painting. They invited me in to be part of their meeting and it was such a blessing being there. I was able to share my story and tell them where I am in my journey.If you’re finding this blog from the Love89.1FM Facebook page…Welcome!

As far as support goes, each day a little more comes in and I am slowly creeping forward. Of the almost $15,000 needed, we are around 1/5th of the way there with little time left. I am currently trying to land a job painting a 40’X13’ mural in Arkansas before I leave. Please pray that the clients like the art I have sent them and give the green light to move forward with the project.

Also, I’d like to thank everyone who has already committed to pray for me throughout the duration of my YWAM journey and thank you in advance for those of you that are praying into how you may be able to help.

God Bless You All!