“You ok?!” was all I heard as I blindly made my way back to the front of the “church” trying to see through a flood of tears. One of our Haitian translators and security guards gave away more than he realized with that statement; he puts up a strong, stony front but he must have also been unnerved by the logistics of the one-way-in, one-way-out building packed full of homeless families and orphans looking for anything we could give them to ease their suffering. It was evident he didn’t understand that I was crying not because I was in physical pain or fearful but because of what I saw, of the suffering and hopelessness I felt each time I looked the homeless in the eyes. He did not understand that each time I looked at them and saw their eyes turn in shame because I was giving them underwear, that I too felt their shame and embarrassment in the deepest parts of me. The tears that flowed could not be explained… only felt.
This trip to Haiti was like a light at the end of the tunnel for me. My first year at my new teaching assignment had been marked with hurt, anger, bitterness and determination to be more effective the next year. Despite my resolve to continue improving professionally, I couldn’t help but find myself longing for a break. Haiti was that break. To be honest, I did not have an agenda in going this time. In December, I knew I was researching a path for our church to possibly travel down. When Jared went in March, I knew it would be so that he could work on the farm. However, with this trip… I just could not put my finger on what I was to do. I was so desperate for rest, for a refreshing outlook from the Savior that I found myself at a loss in the goal creation category for my trip. I went with expectations but no agenda… praying that the Lord would show me the way.
Sitting on the beach reading my Bible the first day I was led to the Psalm 127, which both reassured and frustrated me.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.” (vs1-2)
Anyone who knows me understands that I am not a passive, patient person. I am an individual of action. This scripture was not at all what I wanted to hear. Neither was the rest of the chapter, which just confused and made me more upset (maybe one day I’ll write about that… but now is not the time.) I continued to pray throughout the week that I would know why I was there.
With every turn the Lord told me to wait.
Wait on a truck.
Wait on paperwork.
Wait on the lawyer.
Wait on our director.
Wait on the Lord.
Wait on Jared.
Wait on our translators.
Wait. Wait. Wait.
Now, I realize that island time and American time are two VERY different things. But this was more than a series of moments of inactivity. This was a time of spiritual waiting that included physical demonstrations.
While I was waiting something amazing happened… relationships began to form around me. I got to know our translators. I started learning Creole. I heard the Lord speak for the first time in a long time. I observed changes happening in my cousin’s heart through her actions. I saw Haitian culture taking shape, changing and flowing around me like a river. I saw relationships laid bare. I saw God tearing down and rebuilding. I saw him working like a surgeon to cauterize issues like cancer between people. I saw problems not being solved but improved. I saw human pride and depravity through the eyes of someone weighing salvation. I saw the name of Jesus lifted up and I saw His name dragged through the mud. I saw restoration. I saw hope. I saw the Spirit moving through all of the people.
I realized, and am realizing, that in my desire to be effective and strategic in my actions, I had overlooked all of the amazing things God was doing in my everyday life. I had chosen to be defeated by my circumstances rather than depending on the “God of Angel Armies” who holds me in his right hand to take care of me. I had chosen to evaluate my self worth by personal standards rather than Biblical ones. I had been concerned with myself rather than the plight of others.
Those tears that day at the homeless communities were not the first, nor were they the last of the trip. Leaving Montrouis, with tears streaming down my face, was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I felt like I was being turned inside out and that my heart was being severed from the rest of me. I cried the whole way to Port-au-Prince. I cried for the people of Haiti, I cried for the orphan that I held that didn’t have a name or known birthday, I cried over the children that kept asking when we would return, I cried over the leaders I saw emerging from the young men translating for us, I cried over the mother who begged us to take her child so he would have a chance. I cried because I’m still trying to understand how I fit into this tapestry God is weaving between the hearts and lives of people here in the States and in Haiti.
I cried over Haiti because it is often forgotten.
But Haiti has not been forgotten by everyone…and Haiti has not forgotten us. More times than I can count did people say they were praying for us or praying for my family and farm specifically. People desperately wanted our prayers.
Please join me in praying for these issues… I’ll talk about them more in upcoming blogs:
1. Sponsors for Britis, Jeno, Roberto, Jet and Lyceen (spelling?)
2. Funding for Our Father’s House Orphanage
3. Spiritual growth and leadership development for Haitian translators
4. Funding for Feed My Sheep Farm and Heart For Haiti Artisan Group
Visit Give Us Hope Mission for more information or to help.