Our guest today, Jane Dennington, shares of how God has used her both in the United States and in Haiti to impact others and share the love of Christ. Jane and her husband were called to leave their family and home when they were in their fifties and move to Haiti to serve God there. They spent time caring for children, helping build things, and serving in whatever way was needed.
While in Haiti, Jane discovered that she had cancer. After returning to the States and facing treatment, she was healed and is now a cancer survivor. She now ministers in the U.S. by encouraging women who are dealing with cancer, helping with Samaritan’s Purse, and by being involved in prayer teams.
Throughout the episode, Jane shares of God’s work and how He uses her as a tool for the Kingdom of God.
What we talked about
Getting to know Jane Dennington
How Jane served in the marketplace
Before Jane was called into missions in Haiti, she served at her church, worked as a seamstress, and was in retail. Her husband worked in construction as an ironworker and acted as a handyman for plumbing, electrical, and other things like that. Jane shares with us about her family, which includes five children. Two of them are their natural children, one was adopted, and the other two entered the family in a special way. When one of Jane’s daughters got married, the husband had two sisters who were single moms, and both of their parents had passed away. Jane and her husband consider them to be their own children.
A season of transition
The call on Jane and her husband’s lives came as a great surprise to both of them. Jane never expected to be called to missions. She had grown up in a non-Christian home, had been abused both physically and sexually as a child, and was adopted at the age of sixteen. She later came to know God, but learning to trust Him was a process.
As for her husband, he was a homebody who didn’t tend to take change very well. The call came when Jane went on her second short-term trip to Haiti with her husband. She stayed two extra weeks after her husband went back home, and while they were separated, God worked on each of their hearts and made it clear that He was calling them to move to Haiti. Once there, they had to face the struggles of learning a new language, a different culture, and growing accustomed to the changes taking place.
Unlearning personal culture and learning other cultures
One of the greatest challenges Jane and her husband faced while in Haiti was learning to live at a slower pace. Life in Haiti is not dictated by the clock as it can be in the states. Relationships are also a crucial part of Haitian culture; when someone there asks how you are, they mean it. Their priorities are in developing relationship, and time comes after that.
Season of struggle
For missionaries, there are many struggles they face that go unnoticed by those back home. For example, Jane shares about the feelings of loneliness, disconnection, and spiritual struggle that she faced while living in Haiti. During that time of difficulty, God surrounded Jane and her husband with strong, Christian Haitians who supported and encouraged them. One lady there would come by and help Jane with cooking, would sit and listen, and would pray for her continually. The support of the local people and the church members back home gave them the strength to get through hard seasons.
Jane heard this quote while listening to a speaker, and it continually reminded her that God had a plan even when they couldn’t see it. “We should stop praying and asking God to use us, but we should be seeking to get so close to God that He can’t help but trip over us and use us because we’re always there.”
Engaging Missions Leadership MInute
Scott McClelland of FX Missions shares about overcoming opposition and folly.
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About the ministry
Journey into the mission field
After being called to go to Haiti, Jane and her husband had to be accepted by a missions board and tested for psychological and emotional stability. They also had to raise funds, which was difficult at times.
At one point, a church asked them to come and speak about their ministry. The trip there cost quite a bit, and after sharing, the church decided not to support them. Coming home discouraged and confused as to why they felt called to speak at that church, they were surprised to find an envelope from a friend in Haiti that had a check for the exact amount of money they had spent to go speak at the church. God used that trip to remind them that He could provide for them; all they had to do was trust Him.
With that trust, the two of them left for Haiti with only 75% of the funding needed. Although they were close to the red line, they never went below it and never had to come home due to lack of funding. God provided and showed them that their financial struggles in the states prepared them for ministry.
How Dave Ramsey’s class opened a door
Jane shares how taking a Financial Peace class at her church helped her get out of debt. She believes that by getting out of debt, she and her husband could then be called into the mission field.
What did you do for ministry?
While in Haiti, Jane taught English and art, visited local schools, met with parents of students, and worked at an orphanage. Her husband helped build buildings, fix things, and worked with his hands. He also taught others by example; many came to see that his faith in Christ was genuine and that he had come to serve Jesus. Sometimes they would go and check on their neighbors and help them in any way they could. Even though many of the people living around them were criminals, Jane and her husband saw them as neighbors and cared for them.
One of the times they were going around the neighborhood, they found a house full of children who clearly lacked nutritional and medical care. They came to discover that it was an orphanage of sorts that a man had started to give the children a place to stay. Unfortunately, it had become too overwhelming for him and he was unable to provide the full care that they needed. After praying about it, the two of them felt led to help by providing food and money monthly, taking the kids to check-ups, and by aiding in other ways.
As they were helping, Jane found out about an eleven-month-old little boy who was dying, took him into her home, and he is now a strong, healthy three year old boy, and is a testament to God’s goodness.
The impact of Jesus
During her time in Haiti, Jane was able to see lives transformed by the Good News of Jesus. One man, a security guard for their house, started attending church and gave his life to Christ. After becoming a believer, he shared that he was living with a woman who was not his wife and they had a child. Jane helped them with their wedding, and he now runs the ministry in Haiti while Jane and her husband are back in the States.
Another man, who attended one of Jane’s classes, had been heavily involved in voodoo and witchcraft (his father was a witch doctor), but after asking about Jesus, decided to surrender his heart to Him. He now attends seminary to be a youth pastor. As Jane saw these things take place, she realized that God was truly using her as a tool for the glory of His Name.
While in Haiti, Jane discovered that she had cancer and had to return suddenly to the States. She struggled with understanding why she had to come back, but God reminded her that she was only a tool in His hand, and that He would make something beautiful out of the situation. He completely healed her from cancer, and due to her experience with it and the different procedures to cure it, Jane is now able to encourage women who are facing the same struggle.
She works with ministry known as Fourth Angel Program and mentors those going through the difficult process of fighting cancer. She also works with Samaritan’s Purse, supports the orphanage back in Haiti, and is on prayer teams. Just because Jane is back in the States, it doesn’t mean that God has stopped using her.
Focus on YOU, the listener
Information about Samaritan’s Purse
Jane shares how you can be involved with Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child, and how the church should push for the importance of ministry around the world. She also shares a story of the impact of Samaritan’s Purse and how it shows the greatness of God.
Seeing the marketplace as ministry
- “Missions isn’t always overseas. God doesn’t always call you to long term mission. Maybe He’s only called you to be in this ministry for such a time as this.”
- “Just get so close to God that He can’t help but use you.”
- “The biggest thing is to be willing.”
- “He will give you a vision; He will give you a passion; He will show you how you’re to work.”
- “God never does anything without building a team.”
- “He chooses to use us because there’s something in it for us to learn.”
- “Pass a person on the street and smile at them; maybe you’re the only person that’s smiled in their direction in a very long time.”
- “Just do it and be that tool, because you don’t know what that person’s going through.”
Book and Internet source
Parting advice and contact information
- God sees good things in all of us. Don’t let the lies that Satan whispers in your ear and says you’re not good enough.
- God uses the misfits of this world to do His greatest work.
Questions, Topics, and Times
- [00:27] – Introduction
- [01:23] – How Jane served in the marketplace
- [02:37] – How transition and difficulties help others
- [05:36] – Life in Haiti
- [07:00] – Unlearning personal culture and learning other cultures
- [09:20] – Season of transition
- [12:00] – Meaningful quote
- [14:17] – Engaging Missions leadership minute
- [17:28] – Jane’s journey into the mission field
- [21:30] – How Dave Ramsey’s class opened a door
- [22:55] – What did you do for ministry in Haiti?
- [27:41] – The impact of Jesus
- [30:37] – Jane’s current ministry
- [38:08] – Information about Samaritan’s Purse
- [42:27] – Seeing the marketplace as ministry
- [44:16] – Book and internet source
- [45:36] – Parting advice and contact information
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- When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself
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