I was asked on the first day of the 12Two Spring Haiti week 1 trip by James Cook to try to find God in a different way here in Merger, Haiti than I would normally find in the United States of America. Here’s my thoughts & ramblings…
The best way to describe Haiti is by saying it’s the juxtaposition phrase of a ‘beautiful mess.’ Everything is so paradoxical – meaning that for every sight, sound, and smell I observed, there tended to be an opposite counterpart. Although the houses are built on top of each other throughout the various mountainsides, the landscape is striking and plentiful. The view of the ocean is a marvel to see until you view the shanty-town shacks with tin/cloth roofs, sand bricks, and limited plumbing/electricity. There’s a Voodoo worship temple just a stone’s throw away from a K-8 school; one thing brings forth hopeless evil spirits while the other brings forth hopeful educational opportunities for the nation. Healthy and fat wild pigs are brought into the slums to eat the trash while the children are often sickly thin. People wearing rags line the main streets ready to sell anything and everything due to poverty, but there are riches to be found within the community among them. For every child that I saw dressed in a school uniform, there were two/three others that roamed the streets during the day hours. Once you say Bonjour, Bonswa, or Salut, the hardened Haitian faces break into a wide beautiful smile. The orphanage children are beyond filthy, but their embrace and infectious love is unforgettable. The smells are incredible in both positive and negative ways in that the aroma of home-cooked meals are tantalizing, while the stench of the ‘inner’ city can be overwhelming.
So, where is God in the midst of all of this?
In a land filled with trash, grew a green vine with pink and purple flowers. God is most certainly here in Haiti. There is motion, movement, and momentum waiting to burst through. Although the Haitian people have so few, they have so much in relationships and community. Mother Teresa once said, “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved,” meaning that isolation is the truest form of poverty. We often think of poverty in terms of factual statistics; as if it is a mathematical problem to be fixed and solved. But poverty is more than this – it is people with names, lives, and stories to share. So, here in Haiti God pours out His love within the various communities.
Unfortunately, in the USA, I believe that we have isolated ourselves into our own little cubicles – more outside of the workplace than within. Yes, we have the expensive expansive surge of technology and an advancement of social media, but how many of us can truly say that we have a strong relationship beyond looking at our cell phones, tablets, screens, and MacBooks? As an introvert, I like keeping to myself, but oddly enough enjoy watching extroverts talk and communicate. I can’t get this type of pleasure by staring at a screen and there isn’t an App yet designed for this need. So, how does God relate to our average Christian American lives verses the average Christian Haitian life? One is limited by their own desires while the other is limitless by the community around them.
Although, many may think of the thought of God loving Haiti as abstract and almost comical, I believe it is intentionally concrete and passionate. If God didn’t love Haiti, why would there be dozens of missionary teams such as 12Two Missions waiting at the Miami airport ready to fly over and be His mouthpiece, hands, and feet? If God didn’t love Haiti, why would there be strong people of faith like Pastor John and James Cook relentlessly serving this community through feeding programs, soccer evangelism, and on-going growth of educational opportunities. If God didn’t love Haiti, why would the indigenous people open up their homes and lives, instantly offer seating, and purely welcome ‘Blancs’ (American foreigners) the front row seats at Church.
Yes, God deeply loves Haiti… and so do I.
Till we meet again – Orevwa Haiti…