Surrender All

by | Jun 27, 2018

Catie and Tim in Haiti, 2017

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus, I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy Blessing fall on me.

I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

As sweat rolled down our faces in a muggy, Haitian hospital hallway, Catie Ruefer and I sang this song with all our hearts. Two-and-a-half years earlier, I met Catie for the first time and ended up throwing her in a murky Central College pond (THAT is a story for another day). Now, one year away from our marriage date, we were singing what would become the theme song for our life together. In an amazing foreshadowing of what was to come, God was weaving the Haiti story into our hearts and into our marriage for Him to do more than we imagined. There is no stronger bond this side of Heaven than when two people surrender themselves to Jesus, allowing Him to take what was once two people and form them into one. On this day, the fifteen-year-anniversary of our marriage together, I lift up the love of my life, Catie.  

She has been Jesus’s love to me here on this Earth.

Earlier in this series, I talked about the day God showed me a glimpse of what He wanted for me in Haiti through a boy in the street light. Upon returning home, I connected with my future wife, writing a note on her white board door to give me a call if she wanted to go for a walk. That night, we walked for around three hours, having the first of many and long conversations. The first topic we covered was Haiti. I shared this passion planted in my heart from earlier that summer and for whatever reason, she connected. Looking back, it is a bit crazy that our first real conversation was about Haiti. Then, when we got engaged, we both agreed she needed to go to Haiti with me BEFORE we were married, as this needed to be a confirmed, life-long passion in both of us, not just me. Singing “I Surrender All” together, we knew.

Tim and Catie during their 2002 trip to Haiti

Over the past 18 years, our roles in how we go about serving our calling have changed. With me being gone as much as I am and with two children at home, Catie has had to shift to more of a “hold the house down” role than the public role I serve in. Through it all, she serves with grace, humility, and love. I don’t know how she does it, given she teaches full-time with a bunch of rowdy 7th graders and is the varsity head coach of our high school volleyball team. When I share these crazy visions of all I believe God has called for us, she doesn’t complain, despite knowing it will demand more of my time and attention. Rather, she encourages and gives approval to “go”. When we sold the house to make finances work, she followed in surrender. Together, we’ve made decisions based upon the promptings God has given to both of us.

Many times, we make life more complicated than it needs to be. Jesus was spot on when He said there were two things needed to thrive in this life. One, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. When we surrender all to Jesus, life gets better. Second, love your neighbor as yourself. For me, I’ve learned to love my neighbor better by understanding and feeling the way my wife loves me. She has been Jesus’s love to me here on this Earth.

Over the past year, MH4H stumbled upon making marriages one of our core programs for strengthening families. It came from our Spiritual Shepherds, who saw a desire for couples they walked with in discipleship, but they lacked the needed resources to be married in Haitian culture. It truly was a remarkable day hearing the stories of 21 couples being united in marriage, bringing together five different churches, and utilizing our campus and resources to make this day possible. I’ve witnessed the power of a strong marriage, and we have been able to provide this same opportunity to our Haitian families. It is truly magnificent when two unique and fully-functioning individuals surrender to each other to do their best to love each other. God moves when this happens.

Many Hands for Haiti stands on the shoulders of Catie Ruefer Brand, who surrendered all to King Jesus, to be united in marriage to me, and seek first the Kingdom of God in Haiti. She brings shalom to the chaos, helping me be able to hear God’s voice despite the noise of this world. I’m so thankful God chose her for me and together, day-by-day, we surrender all to Jesus.





I’m With You

Many Hands stands on the shoulders of Tim and Lucia Van Maanen, whose sacrificial “I’m with you” spirit forever set our organization on God’s path.

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Angel Among Us

Many Hands for Haiti stands on the shoulders of Pastor Francois Romelus, who is our angel on earth, gently guiding us with wisdom, courage, and love.

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