Showing posts from May, 2009

Moments from Haiti... The power of God's love

Jesus preached that love is the core of the human response to God (see Matt 22:34-40). What made Haiti so impactful for me is that I saw this theological truth in the faces of children. The boys and girls in the orphanage have known various degrees of mistreatment, abuse, and abandonment. They are now in an environment where, for the first time, they are saturated with God's love. You can see in their faces the transformation that is taking place as they go from closed to open, hard to soft, begging to giving.

They are like flowers that open their petals to receive sunlight. They soak up love like sponges soak up water. They are irresistable for that very reason.

David Benner writes this in his book Surrender to Love...

"Christianity is the world's great love religion. The Christian God comes to us as love, in love, for love. The Christian God woos us with love and works our transformation through love.

"In spite of the trivializing influence of romantic and sentimental…

Moments from Haiti... The job of eating

[Photo by LucastheExperience]
Three days a week the Manasseros run a feeding program for kids who live in the area and are regularly undernourished. These kids might or might not eat when they are at home. A bowl of rice and beans at the feeding program is the only substantial meal they will get for a couple of days when the next feeding program happens.

It is interesting to watch these kids eat. They clearly do not eat for taste. That is, how the food tastes is not important. For them, eating is a job.
It gets oddly quiet when the kids are eating. There is no horseplay like you might see at an American elementary school cafeteria. These kids from the ravine are focused. There is a marked intensity to their eating.
Nor are there mounds of food to throw away. If a child leaves leftovers, another child eats them.
And you should see how much these kids eat! When you might not eat for a day or two, you shovel as much in as you can. Many kids eat until their stomachs are bulging and tight as …

Moments from Haiti... They know too much death

We went to church on Sunday while we were there. I sat in the front row with the Manasseros and some other members of our team. When Pastor John McCool, a man who is as eccentric as Hait itself, started preaching from the second row, I had to turn around to see him. That gave me a chance to look at the people in the congregation. I watched them as they listened to him. I wondered what they were thinking. "How do they live out their faith here in Haiti? What are they hearing right now?"

The message was about God's goodness. Pastor John was arguing that although life is messy, God is good in the midst of all the messiness. The poignant moment for me came when John said, "I have had to inform parents that their children have committed suicide..." As he said this, two people caught my attention. The eyes of a young man in his twenties drifted off from Pastor John to another part of the room. He had gone somewhere else in his thoughts. I said to myself, "This yo…

Moments from Haiti... "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

This moment from Haiti is about thankfulness.

Every morning we would go at 6:00 AM to worship with either the girls or the boys of the orphanage. Six days a week they gather at that time to sing and pray together. On Saturdays they sleep in until 7:00. :-)

The first morning we worshiped with the girls, I was both participant and observer. Much of what the girls did was in Creole, so I participated as best I could. In large part, I was just taking it in. One observation I had was that the girls were singing out. When they sing, they do not play it safe. They let their worship go. It's very inspiring!

The thing that really grabbed my attention was the prayer of Navi, the house mother. She prayed for about five minutes, all in rapidly spoken Creole. I have an extremely limited Creole vocabulary, so I understood almost nothing she was saying. However, one word popped out to me. It was one of the few words I understood, and it was repeated over and over. "Mesi... Mesi... Mesi..."…

Moments from Haiti... "Do you believe in that cross?"

Our trip to Haiti was full of moments that tell parts of a larger story. Here is one such moment...

I was walking home from school one afternoon with one of the older boys from the orphanage. Everyone else had drifted away from us, and we were talking alone. I usually wear a small cross on a silver chain around my neck, and this boy became interested in it. Pointing to the section of chain visible above the back of my t-shirt collar, he asked, "What's the bling you are wearing?" (I doubt many Haitian boys know the English word "bling", but this one does.)

I pulled the cross out from under my shirt and showed it to him. "This is a cross I wear. When I put it on in the morning, I say a prayer."

He asked, "Do you believe in that cross?"

"Yes, I believe in the cross."

He asked again, a little more pointedly, "You believe in that cross?"

Suddenly I realized what he was asking. In a world saturated with voodoo, superstition, and &quo…

Greetings from Haiti!

It has been an eventful week, to say the least. I have had limited access to computers and the internet, so I haven't been able to blog. The best day-to-day narrative can be found at: BTW, the photo of the tap-tap accident was taken by me. (A tap-tap is a pickup truck modified to serve as a taxi. People cram into the back to get a ride somewhere.) It was a very intense few moments as we watched the truck crammed with people roll on its side about 150 feet up the street in front of us and slide to a point directly in front of us. For a moment, I thought it was going to hit us -- not a nice thought, since the little pickup had about a dozen people in the back. As the truck slid down the street, I could see the terrified face of a lady sticking out of the back. She was holding onto something, and her face was no more than 6 inches from the pavement. One slip, and her face would have been ground to nothing. As the truck stopped, a large and very lou…

Leaving for Haiti tonight!

Just two weeks ago, Lauren and I were added to this missions team. What is interesting is that unbeknownst to me, Dan, the missions pastor, had been hoping to add two more people to the team. Lauren and I sort of fell into place... like we were meant to be there all along. Hmm...