Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti and Me

This project of living on used things seems more appropriate in light of the situation in Haiti. For those of you who don't know, my husband and I were down there in July with one of three mission teams our church sent. The three teams combined helped build an orphanage, ran a music and fine arts camp, sports camp, vbs, and spent time with the orphans who were to be living in the orphanage. Our church, the previous Feb, raised money for the orphanage, a church, sugar cane equipment, wells, and more.

We've heard, so far, that our friends and all of the orphans are accounted for. Fortunately, the orphanage is in a town called Pignon some 80 miles north of Port au Prince. Still, dear friends of ours were in the capital for a number of reasons, one of which was to pick up a shipment of shoes (over 600) that our church gathered and sent.

When my husband and I left Haiti with our two youngest children, we left behind all of our clothes and shoes but one pair (whatever we had on). I was totally blessed to see a little boy in pictures wearing my 2-year-old's clothing after we left. The earthquake and resulting devastation has weighed heavily on our hearts, as well as on the hearts of our teammates and church body.

I sit at home, glued to the news (yahoo) and facebook... waiting for updates on friends or their family... crying over the pictures. The hotel I stayed in, the Karibe, is gone.... that's so hard to fathom. It seems easy and awkward to walk away from the computer and pretend this horror isnt occurring in Haiti. Obviously, it never really leaves my mind... but how strange it is to gaze in shock at the destruction... and then pause to feed my children a meal so readily, or use the restroom with running water, or KNOW that my family is safe and well wherever they happen to be... then to return to the computer and rejoin world of Haiti through photos and friends. It doesn't seem fair- especially when I think of all of the people who can't just turn it off. They are THERE and stuck... with nothing.

I know this is a heavy blog so far... but its a heavy situation. Hopefully the load lifts a little here. Though I have everything and they have nothing, in terms of material... so many are finding relief in communing with one another and singing and wailing before the Lord. This is baffling our nation... how people who already had little and have lost what they had... including their family, shacks of homes, friends... are praising Jesus in the midst. My dear friend Dorina reminding me of a powerful verse for this time: Isaiah 54:10
"'Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,'
says the LORD, who has compassion on you."

Regardless of Haiti's past (as we've all been untimely reminded of recently by Pat), God LOVES Haiti and His creations. And though we can't ever fully understand why He allows such calamities to happen... we KNOW that He is good and His ways are higher than ours. We live in a fallen sinful world yet we can praise Him still.

My point, as I process this in front of you all, is not why God lets bad things happen. :) (though I will have my fair share of questions when I get to heaven too :)

My point is this: even in a nation with such excess... we still have nothing if we don't have Jesus. I can have everything and have nothing. I can have nothing and have everything. I've had dear friends in Israel, Paraguay, Guatemala... from all over, envy my life as an American. A life with "freedoms" and the "American Dream." And monetarily... religiously, materially, there is truth to these privileges of America... However I have often envied them. The community they live in and rely on, their very deep relationships with one another... the way they MUST rely daily on the provisions of the Lord... the way they see His miracles, grand ones, in ways we've only hoped to... so much so that some of us even think God doesn't do miracles anymore.

Even in our excess we can have nothing. My prayer is that I may be like the Haitians singing in their perfect harmony... praising God in the storm, in the midst of questions, confusion, and chaos... in the midst of grief deeper than a heart can bear on its own strength... that they can yet praise Him.

Lord, may that be the story of my life as well. May I be like the Haitians, whom you love deeply and with compassion and mercy, when all this life has to offer is removed from me, that I will be found in your presence- in the midst of rubble, dust, destruction- praising You.


The Gilmores said...

Thanks for taking time to write this one. I have to say I'm almost envious because this week has been such a swirl that I haven't had much real processing (which for me means writing) time about Haiti. Your words resonate with my heart & my prayers today.