Y’all, I went to Haiti and back. To all of you who supported me, prayed for me, followed along with me and encouraged me, I thank you. This was a big time moment for me and I couldn’t – and shouldn’t – have done it without you. God created us to live in community and I needed my tribe!
And now my tribe is just a little bigger. I’ve made friends and shared experiences and seen God move.
I’m what we call “Haiti happy.”
These people, these people who see death and devastation and desperation every day, are happy. It’s a joy that comes from the Lord, and woah, did I learn from them.
From Kensley who lost his daughter less than a year ago but still leads youth ministry and shows the love of Christ to children all through Simonette. Kids flock to him because of his loving kindness and silly goodness. It’s beautiful.
From Analiese who is elderly and paralyzed with no remaining family and relies on the service of her village for every need, asked us to pray for her to have a stronger relationship with God.
From Joesph who began as a translator for mobile medical units who is now in nursing school, himself. He opened his still earthquake-damaged home to us and it turned into a party!
His brother, Jacques, is sponsored in school by a friend traveling with me and their connection is precious.
From Mamay, my family’s sponsored child, who’s sweet shyness won my heart ten times over, who I had to teach how to hug. Jesus met me in that moment.
From these women, who left their families and jobs and lives to serve in a foreign land. They amaze me.
And Wilkens and Jhonny and Mike and Courtney and Franell and Jack and Chedly and Leonida and Kayla and so many more who have stories and joy and loss and love they shared with me this week.
My prayer is that as I get back into the rhythm of my life, that I retain this understanding the people of Haiti tend to have – that regardless of circumstance, all things are good and the glory be to God. Which was surprising since Haiti is the “voodoo capital of the world.” But God is doing a great work across the nation and most all I interacted with depended on the creator in ways we in North America don’t.
I realized that when I’m able to strip away the distractions of life, it’s so easy to see the tangible work of God. It’s powerful stuff. Not that the way I live is wrong – believe me, there’s NOTHING wrong with air conditioning and a warm shower after a week without either! It’s just that those things and all of the other things we can get caught up in – work and school and baseball tournaments and sick kids and troubled marriages and broken relationships and grocery shopping and promotions and birthday parties and the list goes on – can’t be where I place my identity. My identity is in Christ and my hope is in Him alone. Knowing and seeing are two different things and I saw it in the villagers in Simonette.
Haiti doesn’t need me, I need Haiti. I need to see how big God is. How loving God is. How mighty God is. Even in the midst of poverty and desperation, God is with us and we are commissioned to be good stewards of our resources, whatever they may be.
Because poverty is not only about money. In fact, poverty is more often about shame, despair and inferiority. We are all impoverished in some way. And we can help heal the hurting wherever we are. So let’s be Haitian where we live. Let’s invite our neighbors to dinner, serve the refugees in our city, volunteer at our churches, offer to babysit for free, sponsor a child’s school and nutrition. Be like Jesus. Love, mourn, celebrate, and live in community.
“Peace be with you, as the father sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21