For those who appreciate lots of details (shout-out to my Momma!):
Steve and I arrived in Haiti, safely, just one day after the 4th anniversary of the massive earthquake that devastated hundreds of thousands of lives here. This country had plenty of struggles prior to the earthquake, but they were compounded significantly, with nearly 80% of the population living around the capital city of Port-au-Prince.
We were in Port-au-Prince only briefly before hopping on a “puddle jumper” for the 20 minute flight to Cap Haitian. I was told that by car or bus, it would take 8-9 hours to get here! Which I thought, at one point, may have been worth it…but I’ll save that story for when we get home. Regardless, we arrived in Cap Haitian and were greeted by two great friends of Grace Church, Bobby & Pastor Daniel. Pastor Daniel has a large church in this town, and also runs the Bible Institute which trains current and future pastors. Bobby is the administrator of both the Bible Institute and the orphanage (which we will visit tomorrow). We headed to the Bible Institute which is where several teams from Grace Church have stayed when in Haiti, as well as helped with several building projects.
Both of these men have big, kind hearts and speak excellent English. It was such a joy to fellowship with them, and we wasted no
time getting into some of the “exploratory” nature of our trip – discussing the status of churches in this region, the care of orphans, the training and sending of pastors and church leaders, etc. I was personally excited by several of their “dreams” for utilizing the Bible Institute property as a place for community outreach.
We also visited Pastor Daniel’s church, which is quite nice compared to some I’ve seen in developing countries. That being said, I am still reminded of the nonsense that we can get caught up within our North American churches. Pastor Daniel’s church has services 6 nights a week, in addition to Sunday morning – he said it’s because the community needs it to be open! He preaches 4 times a week. That’s all in addition to running the Bible Institute and teaching as well. AND, he is also the worship leader the nights he is preaching…because someone has to do it. Perspective.
We were then dropped off at our resting place for the evening. We are quite tired, as we left around 1 a.m. this morning for New York to catch our fligh…zzzzzzz…
For those who just want a few quick thoughts to chew on:
I was in conversation with the young woman next to me for nearly the entire flight from JFK to PAP. She was about my age and was on her way to Haiti to help develop medical tools for hospitals and clinics here. She’s been essentially homeless (by choice) in California for the past 4 months, so that instead of paying rent, she could save enough money to come work on these projects. I asked her what motivates her to come and do this (as it became very clear that she was not a Christ-follower or a strong ‘religious’ person). You know what she said? She said that every human deserves access to good healthcare – a right to live a healthy life. And she did nothing to deserve being born in a country where it is accessible and taken for granted. My jaw about dropped – I felt ashamed. How often, as those who are clear about our mission from God on this earth, do we need “pushed” to do something significant with our lives? We need a motivational speaker to prompt us to do something? We need an emotional video or ploy to stir our hearts for the cause of the down-trodden? Rather than simply living each day to impact the world in the name of Jesus? Imagine the power of YOU doing radical things – in the name of Jesus. That girl is going to change the world…how about YOU?
(Sidenote: if you DO need some encouragement to get into action, be sure to listen to the “Unwrapping Gifts” series – particularly this last Sunday’s message from Dave Marks under ‘messages’ at www.meetgrace.org)