Today marks a week since leaving Port au Prince. Seriously, where did the time go?
As I think back, here are a few snapshots of the moments that stand out:
Moment one. Flying into Port au Prince and getting off the plane, I remember simply being overwhelmed with the sight of poverty meshed with the destruction of the quake. It was at this point that it all seemed real. Haiti was no longer a picture in a book or magazine or an image on my t.v. I could feel her heat, smell her garbage, see her rubble, and witness the impact it all was having on her people. As I think back, I still struggle to find words to describe what I was feeling and seeing. Simply overwhelming.
Moment two. Driving up into the mountains on the outskirts of the city, I remember looking down the road and seeing random things scattered all over the left-hand side of the road. As our truck approached, I realized it was a woman. She had been crossing the road, was hit and killed. The small tree, clothing and buckets that littered the road around her seemed to be the things she had been carrying at the time of the accident. Someone had come out and put tires around her body so the passing cars wouldn’t run over her. I found myself wondering, “Who is going to come and collect her body?” “Where is her family?” “Who is she leaving behind?” “How long will it take before someone notices she is gone?” At that point, she wasn’t roadkill, but a woman, a wife, a mommy, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a person.
Moment three. Leaving a mountain church after distributing water filters to a group of woman and children, I noticed a woman attempting to bathe herself in two tire tracks filled with a couple inches of mud. I watched as she washed her arms and hands, and then attempted to wash her face. I found myself wondering, “At what point is the water you’re washing with dirtier than you are?” This was the water that the woman lived with. It’s the water she cleaned with. It’s what she cooked with. It’s what she bathed in. It’s what she drank and it’s what she gave to her family. This woman was not at our water filter distribution and able to bring home a filter to her family. She’s still drinking that water.
Moment four. At one of the orphanages my teammates and I attended, I remember a little boy running up to me and just hugging my legs. I bent down and picked him up and held him. Off and on all day he came back to me, simply for me to pick him up or to chase him around the soccer field. I remember picking him up and just tickling his little belly. There’s something about the belly laughs of a child. I don’t know what it is, but I feel like I can feel the smile and sheer satisfaction of Jesus when I hear it; as if He’s letting me in on a glimpse of His heart and His affections. Those moments of running, swooping up, and tickling were beautiful reminders of how much God delights in us and how precious His children are to Him.
Haiti has a long road to recovery before her. But, I can say her people are beautiful and her country is slowly, but surely, beginning the long, hard journey to restoration. Over the past couple weeks, I have been often reminded of the power of Jesus Christ and how essential it is that we put our hope and our trust in Him.
I can go to Haiti and I can give my time, my energy and my money away. But, in the end, what good has it really done? A belly may be full, someone’s thirst may have been quenched, and they may be wearing a new shirt on their back, but–in the long run..? They will be hungry again, they will be thirsty again, and they will eventually need something new to wear. But, there’s hope and life and restoration in Jesus. He lives in me. I get to introduce Him to others and offer His Love and His life to those who are without. What I have in Him doesn’t wear out, run out, or go away. How encouraging is that?
When I think about where Haiti is, I am simply overwhelmed. I wonder, “Where do you even start?” The answer can only lie in Jesus. Thankfully, I serve a God who operates in the realm of miracles. I can’t fix the problem, but He can. As I am reminded of this, I am spurred on to pray.
Thank you, Jesus, that you are the author of life and the giver of hope. You don’t see situations as impossible. I ask that you would be the restorer, the healer, the provider, the protector, the hope, and the life of Haiti. I ask that you would raise up a new generation of Haitians who would love You with all their heart and would advocate for purity. May your heart for that nation be revealed and your purpose be completed.