Haiti: Emptied and Filled

Bits and pieces from my letter regarding Haiti:

The most consistent thing throughout the trip were children - always wanting to be held and loved. I often had three girls fighting to hold my hand or four kids crowding onto my lap or six girls all doing my hair at once. I’ve never loved any feeling more. We held a gathering in Tent City where we gave each child a small piece of bread and peanut butter; seeing the way children fought over this food and cherished such a small bite hit me hard. During the rest of the week I found myself giving away my snacks and water to children, offering them a drink or bite without them asking.

I had the immense honor of befriending a woman at church named Lulune and being with her as she accepted Christ into her life. After the service, she invited me to her home with her three daughters Lulu, Sasha, and Dannika. Those couple hours were a favorite part of my trip because I got the privilege of being in their home and simply meeting them where they were. Their hospitality, grace, and love for me blew me away.

The first and most obvious lesson I learned was that I am blessed beyond what I deserve, and I have learned to render even the smallest of privileges as precious instead of ignorantly taking them for granted. I also quickly learned that there is joy in the Lord even when there is not joy in the situation.

In Haiti, there is no “lukewarm” faith. When every earthly thing is stripped from a person, they are given one choice: hot or cold.

I can truly say that I have never felt such joy, nor such sorrow, nor such anger as I did during my six days in Haiti. However, for the first few days, I actually did not feel many deep emotions. Even through this, God taught me a lesson: serving the Lord is not about the emotions you feel, rather it is about obedience to Him. God is working even when you claim you are “spiritually dry,” so continue to pursue Him. God is larger than any emotion and He is larger than any earthly need.

God taught me that the goal of faith and of servanthood is not an immediate result. If my only goal had been to seek monumental change in the hearts of Haitians and change in Haiti’s economic situation, I would have missed many small opportunities to love. No, faith is about obedience above all else. Faith is about giving your granola bar or your entire water bottle or your favorite hat away to a child without them asking not because it might change the course of their entire life, but because that is what Jesus would do in that one moment. Faith is about awkwardly praying for a stranger in the middle of a tin “home” through a translator who cannot really translate not because that prayer will change their life, but because you feel led by the Lord to bow your head, close your eyes, and proclaim His power. Faith is about anticipating what opportunities God may lay in front of you; awaiting the very moment that He tugs on your heart.

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