Church on Sunday was rough. I went with a couple of the intern girls after a night of staying out at the Bercy campus, and shortly after we took our seats, a woman came in with her little toddler daughter and dropped her off to hang out with us. That’s pretty normal in Haiti, most of the little kids are off running around together without their parents. There’s a greater sense of community here; everyone contributes, everyone looks out for each other whether they’re people you are close with or not. This little girl comes over to me and sits on my lap. I think her name was Sasha. Some other little kid comes over and hands her a package of vanilla cookies and a bright green lollipop, which she devours every last crumb of. I notice that she has what was possibly ringworm on her head, a black eye and a giant glob of green snot coming out of her nose. It was one of those inner-turmoil moments where you’re like, “Oh no! I want to love on this sweet little kid, but to what extent?” How much concern for my own self will I give up to minister to this broken person? It’s in those moments that you realize that it’s not enough to just feel bad for them. It’s one thing to hear about this kind of stuff, but to actually have a little fearfully and wonderfully created soul sitting on your lap with all sorts of serious needs is another thing. This is the one shot this person has at life; they don’t get do-overs. You can’t just hit the “Restart” button on the console. It stirs up something in you. God invites you into His presence and gives you a glimpse into His own broken heart for each individual person here. He asks you, “Will you do something about it?” It was slightly overwhelming for the first time because I’ve mostly been in my own little bubble up in the classroom with North American students so far.
I also got the chance to help out the interns on Saturday during one of the busiest times of the week when all the groups come through, and we sort through all the luggage and donations. We have close to 250 people here this week, which makes for a long lunch line. The interns are just so awesome. I have a lot of appreciation for what they do. They are working sunrise to sunset most days with one day off a week. They wake up each day and have to put a smile on their face and care about each person that comes through this organization, which can take a lot out of you. These guys are learning probably one of the most important lessons out in the trenches each day, and that’s to not rely on our own strength or wisdom or power, let alone our own reserves of love or compassion. Try it for a week and you’ll find that you can’t. It’s impossible. You run on E after about 2 days. We try and do life in the States in our own strength and we have ourselves fooled that we’re strong enough to bear the weight of it all. We’ve learned here that we weren’t made to live that way in Haiti, and the take-away is that however much we think we’ve got it, we weren’t made to live that way in our comfortable lives back home, either. I admire the Interns and what God is doing in them. I was honored to serve alongside them this weekend. They’re a fun group of young adults. I think I’m going to start helping them out as much as I can.
Saturday night I stayed at our Bercy Campus, just a couple miles down the road. We have a kindergarten thru 5th grade school there, an agricultural center where we teach local farmers the science behind best practice for Haiti’s soil and crop. We are going to begin building a conference center soon to have pastors from villages all over to come and be encouraged and equipped, as well as a retirement home for the overly marginalized seniors in Haiti. The buildings in this photo are the guest houses for groups coming in to serve. I think it can hold close to 150 people.
I got asked to help lead the bible study with the 21 year old intern girls here. There’s five of them, and they are each so uniquely awesome. I am SO excited at this opportunity to disciple these girls and to help them process and work through what they face each day here. They have a hard job. What I do is like sitting on the beach with a smoothie in my hand compared to what they do. When I told her, my best friend Charity asked me “Are you nervous?” and thankfully I could say no. It’s cool to look back and see how the Lord has been preparing me for something like this over the past year. Am I equipped, full of enough love and patience and empathy and grace and wisdom for this? Nope, but Jesus is. He’s all I need and He’s all I’ll be pointing them to over the next few months.
The Bible says that the Creator of the Universe has deep sympathy and sorrow for those who are stricken, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate their suffering (Psalm 111:4).
The God who knows every star by name knows me completely, knows what has broken my heart and actually cares (though He has every reason not to – I haven’t cared about Him, I’ve taken every tragedy in my life and exchanged the love and comfort I could get from Him for the attractive yet empty powerless idols of this world, I’ve been hostile towards God and His people, I’ve been hungry for everything but Him). Even more so, He isn’t like us when our hearts may break for something but we don’t often, if ever, leave our comfort zone to actually do something about it. He did something about it. He fought for us, He continues to fight for us. He proved Himself and He didn’t just stop at the one time and say “That’s all the evidence you get.” – He continues to prove Himself to us even though He doesn’t have to.
I’m just reminded, humbled and in awe of the character of God.
Romans 5:6-8 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
So proud of the notes these boys have been taking since I made it a requirement! 100%s here we come!
3rd row: Mike (Construction Project Facilitator), Nicki (Church Advancement), Kara-Lynn (Emotional Health Facilitator for Orphanage)
2nd row: Katie (Orphanage Activities Coordinator), Chelsea (Medical Coordinator), Elizabeth (Group Trip Coordinator), Tim (Church Advancement)
1st row: Me
Wow. This is beautiful. I want to bring glory to His kingdom with my film like this.
I’m gonna make these for my girls tonight. Homemade graham crackers!