A sacred piece of Chiclets gum
I held onto the piece of gum like it was a sacred object. About ten minutes later, I asked again, "Pou mwen, pa pou ou?" (For me, not for you?) Lizyanna smiled and shook her head "no." I wondered what purer gift there is in the world than a piece of gum given by a ten-year-old child living in poverty. I decided right then to honor Lizyanna, so I took the gum from its wrapper and popped it into my mouth. I started chewing and smiling, and in that moment I was ten again too. For the rest of the feeding program on Friday, I chomped on that piece of gum and relished what the gum represents: fellowship. Who cares that we can barely speak to each other? Who cares that we are from different cultures? Who cares that I'm an adult and she's a ten-year-old? We have fellowship, and that's what matters most in the kingdom of God. How grateful I am that this is what God cares about most of all!
I told some friends this morning that Haiti helps to reset my inner bearings. It's like a spiritual retreat. Ministry here can become very complicated. Schedules, commitments, plans, and the accessories of being a pastor attach themselves to me like barnacles to a ship. The raw realities of Haiti scrape them off. Ministry there, especially on the streets, is very simple. Be the incarnational presence of Jesus among people -- that matters most. For the last couple of years, I have been working on bringing the lessons of Haiti into everyday life here. It has proven to be an elusive goal, but it will be a good day when I can say, "It's not I who live but Christ who lives in me."