There was something which laid dormant in me for 44 years. I didn’t know it existed and had no idea it was even there. None of the work I had accomplished, the incredible sights I’ve seen, nor the places I’ve visited, had ever awakened it until I stepped on Haitian ground.
I’m sure you have many names for it but the only way I know to describe it, is something deep within me came to life. My ears heard new sounds, my eyes saw new sights, my body experienced an awesome level of tired, and my heart reached a fever pitch of love.
Our church, CrossRoads Church in Antioch, TN (www.crossroadsantioch.org) has Haiti as our overseas missions focus. I’m not sure anything we’ve done in the young life of our church has received more criticism than our work in Haiti. Just some of the comments we’ve received…”Don’t you know there’s starving people in America?”…or…”Why are you giving all your money to those people when you don’t even have a building?”…one of the funnier ones…”America should come first. Period.”…my personal favorite…”You can’t give them a handout, you gotta make ’em work for what they get!” Of course I can’t think of one person who has criticized our work who has actually ever BEEN to Haiti, but that’s beside the point right? Everyone has their opinion.
These people have no idea what or how God has worked through our church to bring Jesus salvation message, first aid, jobs, churches, a Bible school, food, an orphanage, and clothing to these wonderful people in Haiti AND in America. But criticizing our efforts makes them feel better for doing nothing.
I have wondered many times how these critics would feel if they could see what we’ve seen…an 80 year old man, naked, trying to bathe himself in a mud puddle, or having to scrape the skin of a grown man who was burned over more than half of his body, or a middle aged woman scavenging for food through the same trash pile as a wild dog, or seeing a woman get beaten by a belt and a baseball bat because she was trying to push through security to get food for her family, or being caught in a mob because they found out we had food, and I could continue to list these moments but you understand. My eyes fill with tears at the memory of these sights from over the last 5 years we’ve been traveling there.
These are real people.
This is really happening.
I woke up this morning to be greeted with the post of my friend YvRose who has a home in Haiti with 28 children in it that she and her husband educate, feed, clothe, and love, all in Jesus name. YvRose lost one of her children last night so I know her heart is broken. But I have to smile at the fact that God knew her life wouldn’t be long on this earth. He made sure this young orphan girl made her way to YvRose so her life would be happy, loved, and celebrated. If she couldn’t be with her biological family, then there’s no better place young Ivella could have been than with The Ismael family. Please pray for them as they grieve and lay their daughter to rest.
I may sound like I have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to Haiti, and yes, maybe I do. But I love these people, I love this country, and I see serving my Haitian sisters and brothers as an incredible privilege.
I pray you find your it before you leave this earth because it is a spectacular moment of awakening that you don’t want to miss. Because honestly, it has changed me far more than I could have changed it.
And oh yeah…I promise all my blog posts won’t be this heavy, just woke up with Haiti on my mind. Leaving to go there again in 11 days….