Confession # 13: God Put the Kinzers in Our Lives

Nashville Engagment

Hello friends of the World Wide Web. My apologies for being M.I.A. this past week. Being back in America with family, friends, TV, shopping, restaurants, traveling, and a car of my very own have thrown me for a loop. And my little blog, well I must confess, I kinda forgot all about it!

Currently Hunter and I are on our way to Nashville. Home sweet home! Nashville is the city where we went to college, became adults, discovered our own faiths, met some of our closest friends, and fell in love. Nashville is where we lived and worked after were married, and Nashville is where we would probably still be if God had not sent us to Haiti. So to be heading to Nashville right now, well, we are both just a tad excited!

We have done this a few times already- visited Nashville since moving to Haiti. And since we have tons of family and friends in the rather large city we always seem to run into a problem: Who do we stay with? With dozens of invitations graciously offered, Hunter and I always have the difficult job of choosing who to stay with while visiting our once beloved city.

So who are we staying with this time?  Well, this time around we are going to spread the love. Family trumps, so one night we will be staying with my brother and sister-in-law and another night we will with Hunter’s grandparents. But for the next two nights we are going to be hanging out with two of our most favorite people under the sun.

Phil and Diane

Phil and Diane packing rice and beans to serve the local community.

Meet Phil and Diane Kinzer.

Now, I don’t know how you feel about these things: Does God put certain people and situations in our lives or are these things just left to chance? Regardless of your theology, our entire relationship with the Kinzer’s has been based as if the former is true. Let me attempt to explain without writing a novel…

Summer 2003: I went to Haiti for the first time and hated it. Said I would never go back. Obviously not the reaction God wanted.

Summer 2005: God got my good friend Adrienne to take me back to Haiti. I liked it this time. I said I wanted to go back. I think God was pleased with me, but was going to test how serious I was.

Fall 2005: I transferred to Lipscomb and started dating Hunter. I went to the missions fair and noticed out of 40+ mission trips there wasn’t a single trip to Haiti. I felt God putting a desire in me more than ever to go back to Haiti. He also started putting that desire in Hunter as well.

Winter 2005: I spoke with the Missions Department at Lipscomb about starting a Haiti missions team. They gave me permission to form a team for the summer of 2007 as long as I could find a faculty sponsor.

Spring 2006: Sitting in Professor Kinzer’s Bible class one morning I heard him describe the prisons he once worked at in Haiti. God nudged me. I knew I had to talk to Mr. Kinzer. He was my ticket back to Haiti. I talked to him after class. I asked him to be the faculty sponsor, if I could put a team together He laughed; it had been years since he had been to Haiti. Although he agreed, I don’t think he believed me.

Spring 2006 (2 months later): Spring break in Mexico. I was with the A Cappella Singers and Mr. Kinzer was on a mission trip and we just “happened to run into each other in Mexico”.  Yeah right. I was there to perform for the kids at the City of Children and he was there to visit. After the concert was over I stood there starring at the children and I began to tear up. “Mr. Kinzer,” I said, “I miss the kids in Haiti. We have to go back to Haiti.” Now, I think, he took me seriously. Peace.

Fall 2006: Hunter and I started attending West End church of Christ, where Phil is the Minister.

Spring 2007: Unknown to me Phil helped Hunter plan my proposal.

Summer 2007: Phil, Hunter, and I led our first team to Haiti and Hunter proposed. We would continue to go with Phil many more times before moving.

Summer 2008 (Pre-marital counseling): I think God told Phil and Diane both that we would be moving to Haiti long before He told us. I think He tried to tell us, but we weren’t ready to listen. So in the mean time He decided to prepare us through the Kinzers until we were prepared to hear Him. This time of mental preparation for the possibility of moving to Haiti came a lot during pre-marital counseling. Although it would be 2 ½ more years before we would actually take the plunge, the Kinzers helped us realize that moving to Haiti was in our future this summer. 

Summer 2008 (2 months later): Phil and Diane helped us say, “I do”. Phil even incorporated I Dovarious Haitian wedding traditions into our ceremony for us.

Summer 2010: Hunter and I decide to move to Haiti.

Since our move, Phil and Diane have been to Haiti to visit us every summer to encourage us, love us, and serve alongside us.

And so now we are going to visit them and we can’t wait.

God used the Kinzers to help change our lives in so many ways. They have been mentors in our faith, teachers in our marriage, and supporters on our journey to Haiti. If it weren’t for them I may not have made it back to Haiti in college, we may not have moved to Haiti a couple of years ago, and we may not be parents to Dalencia and Nalandson today. Perhaps God would have found other outlets to get us to Haiti and capture our hearts for missions, but He chose to work in our lives through the Kinzers. And I am grateful that He did and continues to do so…

Well friends of the World Wide Web, we just made it to Nashville, which means I need to go! I have some sight seeing and some reminiscing to do. Oh how I miss this city and the people who live in it! Especially the Kinzers.

~Jillian

2 Comments on “Confession # 13: God Put the Kinzers in Our Lives

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