Their hospitality was overwhelming and refreshing! Each person or family that I met welcomed me into their home, some even kissed me as a greeting or as a thank you. If they had a chair they brought it to me to sit in. If they had a mango they gave it to me to eat. If my hands were dirty they washed them for me, and they did all of this not just for me, but for everyone. Their door was always open, children, friends, and neighbors were always running in and out of each others homes. It was beautiful and I was envious of their togetherness. I love how their family time is not centered around a television, but rather outside on their front porch or roof with their neighbors. The children stay active with each other playing soccer, singing songs and playing hand clap games. The women cooked together, braided each others hair, and all seem to have a part in discipling each other's children. I was amazed to witness that when someone had something that they did not need or something they could not use then they simply gave it away to someone else instead of hoarding it or selling it. They take care of each other, they stay busy with each other, they love each other, and they stay focused on community. This is how we should be!
Their church is amazing!
I love how they worship so freely. I myself was even able to worship more freely, without having anyone nearby to gossip about my style of worship. No awkward stares when I took a spontanious moment to stop and pray to God. I love how they celebrated God. They sang and danced to God, they even sang and danced while giving offerings. This church, as poor as they may be feeds the starving children that live just outside their doors. As easily as they could just ignore them or say, there is nothing we can do, they instead take action. They even build houses and give them away to homeless families! Some families even take in abandoned orphans into their homes as their own. They share and provide for each other and they do it joyfully! The church meets several nights a week to praise and worship God, to pray for each other, to learn about Christ, His love and how to treat their family, neighbor and how to live in the light. Even with voodoo being the main and most popular religion, even with it being in your face and on the streets you still find them worshiping and going all out for God.
There are so many things that I took away with me in my heart while in Haiti. Some of those things were friendships, while others were life lessons. One of the biggest things that stood out to me was that community is key and worshiping should be done freely. I learned from the poor that if I have more than I need (which I do) then I should joyfully give what I do not need away. I need to have more of an open door policy and more hospitality. I don't need all of the luxuries that I have, most of which are just distractions from living a truly fulfilled life. All I need is my God, my family, my friends, and my community. I need not be so lazy and selfish. I need to get rid of my pride, study more, and witness more. I need to get rid of my distractions and I need to sit down more with my children rather than with my computer and I need to pray more with my husband. I need to play more, spend more time braiding hair, painting nails, playing ball and building blocks. I need to read more to my children, and I even need to discipline my children more to respect authority. I need to always love with all of my heart, God must always be in the center of all that I do and I must always remember that I am my God's daughter and humble servant.
We have no idea how rich we are, and maybe our riches makes us selfish. Our things certainly distract us from our time that is suppose to be spent in the word, with our family, and even our neighbors. The question is, can we have a close knit community like theirs, even in our own culture and society? In my opinion I say yes, but we have to all put effort into it, which means limiting our tv time, focusing more on the family and actually introducing ourselves and getting to know our neighbors.
This small community in Jacmel Haiti are truly living in the light. I went to witness to them but instead they have witnessed to me, showing me the real love of Christ.
The things I took away were not Jacmel Haiti created, but rather lessons straight from the bible.