(Look for pictures below in my Instagram feed. Ain’t nobody got time to post pics in the post. At least this mama doesn’t 🙂
It’s been over a week now since I’ve been home from Haiti, and it already feels like a distant memory. It seems like it literally is three worlds away. It was so weird to just jump back into the hustle and bustle of everyday life the day after our plane landed around midnight on a Sunday night. The next morning I almost forgot to take my kid to preschool. The urgency of daily life rushed in and the thickness of the Spirit of God seemed to slowly fade out. (Seemed to being the key word here). I’ve had such a hard time putting into words what I experienced there because there is no way to do it justice.
I just wish everyone could go. I’m Me is an awesome servant-hearted ministry on fire for loving the people of Haiti with the love of Christ.It’s not a far trip and it’s on the cheaper end of a mission trip. BUT I know not everyone can go, this is my compulsion to write this blog post. I feel blessed to the core of my heart that I was able to go, and I want to bless others with at least a glimpse of the face of God in Haiti, and challenge others to pray and give so that His hope will shine brighter there.
Let me start of with the low parts, the dark scary valley before we move to the mountaintop. The first full day we were in Port a Prince (where we stayed during the trip) we went to Cite de Soleil, which is known as one of the largest, poorest, most dangerous slums in the world. “The area is generally regarded as one of the poorest and most dangerous areas of the Western Hemisphere and it is one of the biggest slums in the Northern Hemisphere,” (Wikipedia). I was so stoked when I heard we were going here. I miss walking along the shacks in Uganda and I could not wait to go and love on some of the poorest of the poor.
However, my excitement turned sour, into bitterness at being brought through this part of Haiti as the 20+ entourage of white rich folk walked through to do what I felt like was basically look at their poverty. (Hold this thought). The first hour we walked we just waved at people, smiled, a small amount of kids came up to say hi. One ran and hugged Nick’s leg. But for the most part, I was pissed because I just wanted to do something. We stood around for a while watching some hogs take a mud bath in the sewage ditch while a local prepared some sugar cane for us to buy. I noticed a nicer looking walled building that had the words “academy” “fitness” “restaurant” on it. It definitely stood out among the shacks. We entered into it and it felt so different inside its walls. There was the aroma of hope- and soon we saw why.
We were greeted by a Haitian pastor who ran this church, school, fitness center. He was from the neighborhood but had been adopted by an American Citizen from Tennessee. We walked through the school and interrupted the classes to greet the kids and take pictures with them. They were so beautiful. Not just because of their big brown eyes and smiles, but because their faces shined hope in one of the darkest places I had ever walked through.
Our spirits were already feeling lifted, and what happened next sent them soaring. We walked back out into the street and the stench almost made me gag. It was so different out there. Hope was so close, but it seemed non-existent. Before we walked 100 yards, kids started flocking toward us. They held our hands, they ALL asked us for money or water, or something. But we just smiled and hugged them and held their hands as we walked. Later that night on the rooftop of the guesthouse we debriefed about the day and we talked about why the children flocked to us. They saw the love of The Father in us. We weren’t scared to walk through their everyday hell. Because we knew the Lord had gone before us, I had no thoughts for my safety when our Haitian guide, Anthony, bought some Rum and shared it with the gang leaders as a peace-offering so we could walk down their streets welcomed. These people were just people. We are really in all in search of the same thing.
Two mothers asked us to take their children. Like forever. This shocked some in our group but it didn’t surprise me at all. I had grown people in Uganda ask me if I could adopt them and take them to America. But this gives you an idea of the desperation these precious people feel. Can you imagine? Loving your child so much that you would entrust them to a stranger with no adoption agency or orphanage in sight, just to give them hope. Even though it didn’t shock me, it still crushes my heart.
We were told that school time was over, thus the many children who had been hiding in shame for not being able to afford school and others who had to work instead of go to school were now on the streets. They kept flocking to us and walked us all the way to the end of the street. One little boy held my hand the whole way. He couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t speak Creole, but we understood each other. He was six or seven. His name was Woncus. We hugged at the end of the street and as soon as he turned around he swiped a bottle of water out of one of our pockets. It was empty though. I still felt discouraged that I couldn’t at least give him some water per the ministry’s policy. But the desperation was so great, I now trusted their intent because Woncus might have been jumped for the bottle of water, doing more harm to him than good.
If I thought I was discouraged when I left Cite de Soleil, I didn’t know the true meaning of the word. The next part of our trip is the part that my heart most breaks over. But, to protect the people involved, it will be in a password protected post or an email. So if I have your email address be looking for it. Especially if you have a burden for the orphan.
I leave this post with the verse I heard during my quiet time the morning we visited Cite de Soleil:
The Lord replies:
“I have seen violence done to the helpless and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up and rescue them, as they have longed for me to do.”
This verse is the reason I could ride away from the worst slum I’ve ever experienced and have hope in my heart. I had heard some of the groans of the poor that day. I heard Woncus even though I couldn’t understand his words, I knew what he meant. I couldn’t do anything to lessen his strife. But God has heard him. How can I not entrust Woncus to the one true Rescuer? I wouldn’t even know what his rescue would look like. Sometimes our part in the rescue is simply being a light in the presence of darkness.