Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Home from Haiti

I'm writing this post inside of an air conditioned hotel room complete with my own refrigerator, flat screen tv, couch and a king sized bed with plush pillows. I was woke up by a wake up call service this morning and then later dipped my feet in the hotel's pool. I'm here with my husband while he's on a business trip, and I'm enjoying some alone time, reflecting. It's a very far cry from where I was last week, working hard carrying gravel and rocks up and down a steep and curvy hill, kissing boo-boos of starving children grateful to just receive a granola bar, listening to a man explain to me that he only makes two dollars a day, and visting homes made up of just one room for 10 people to live with no door or lock to keep them safe, no bed to lay down to rest and no A/C to keep them cool from the unforgiving heat. The poverty in Haiti is so great, the food is not cheap, the schools are not free and most families are forced to choose one of the following; food, shelter, or education. Which would you choose?

We traveled down to Haiti to work with Restoration Ministries, a church located in Jacmel. So is Haiti being Restored? Yes, and by God's grace! Matt, a Pastor from another team who was working with us asked an old lady, "What is different here from 5 years ago?" she responded, “The little kids were always running around singing vodou songs, now they all run around and sing Christian songs.” Praise God! The differences that I have noticed personally were less tents and more homes, more of the children in the small village we visited had sponsors! More parents now had jobs, where as just two years ago I saw countless children sitting outside the feeding program hungry without a sponsor or an education. Unless you've been there you can't understand how frustrating it is to not be able to put into words the feeling that comes over you when a child tells you he's hungry and asks for something to eat, it breaks you. And then you return home and the greatest joy you find is watching your own child eat a meal, ask for more and then gladly giving them more, praising God for His grace. But what of His grace in Haiti, is it there? Yes! God is there and He is doing great things among His people in Jacmel. While there God showed me that I do not need things for happiness, I just need Him, and those who only have Him are far richer than I am. My daughter asked me "are the people in Haiti sad?" she was surprised and couldn't understand when I told her that they are filled with joy! "Why?" because they have hope in Jesus, they live simply, and they hold on to one another. Our own world so easily distracts us from God, our family, our community, and our things that we buy, thinking it will bring us joy, only brings us discontentment.

So how do the mission teams make a difference? One brick at a time! One bag of supplies, one brush stroke, sponsoring one child... at a time. Shining the light of Jesus, and then getting the word out. Before leaving on my first mission trip 2 years ago a person approached me with this comment, "Haiti doesn't need Jesus, they need food, water, and shelter!" Appauled I thought, they need it all and the need Him too! And the difference between an aid worker and a missionary is that in addition to providing aid we share the love of Jesus who gives them hope and eternal salvation. Haiti has a heavy influence of vodou that oppresses the people enslaving them to a dark world not knowing that Christ offers them freedom and that having the love of Jesus gives them a better life of hope. God is doing great things in Jacmel Haiti and if you feel led to spend a week down there, loving on children, building, sanding, or painting houses, then I hope that you will go. If you can't go but would like to make a difference please consider sponsoring a child through RestoreHaiti, $30 a month with provide a child with a hot meal 5 days a week, send them to school with a uniform, and provide basic health care. Who knew $30 could do so much!

I have so much to share about my past week and I hope to do so this week while I'm still away from home and my normal. I plan on sharing stories, memories and photos in posts to come. Thanks for reading what will forever be on my heart.

"Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
James 2:15-17

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