Communiqué #095 TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY to the PEOPLE of HAITI June 12, 2012
The song had a particularly upbeat tune. The members of the choir were belting out the words with joy on their faces, a sway in their step and hands clapping to the beat! Near the end of the song, the congregation would join in with the handclapping as the choir left their position in the front of the church and headed back to their seats in the pews.
Music has a way of helping to forget one’s miseries! Miseries are many in the country of Haiti, but a reprieve is often found in church in the form of singing and fellowship and the truths of God’s Word. As I watched the faces of each choir member, I reflected on some of the personal stories of misery that I knew had been a part of the lives of those who were lost in the love of the words of the song they were singing. I knew that one of the choir members had lost a young twin daughter to a sudden, short illness and later was hit by a motorcycle which threatened her ability to ever be able to walk again. Another thought was of a man who had been promoted from selling stalks of sugar cane out of a wheelbarrow by the side of the road to selling hotdogs from a push cart. He had nursed his son back to health after he was attacked with a machete that narrowly missed piercing his eye. A couple in the choir had mourned the loss of a long-awaited daughter at the age of one day. Another couple, this one very elderly, had lost a daughter who was the mother of a small child. The grandparents were left to raise the toddler as best they could on their meager income, until an orphanage and later an adoption from that orphanage provided a home for their granddaughter. A very poor mother had contracted AIDS from her unfaithful husband and had passed the disease to her daughter. Yet another woman had been displaced from Port-au-Prince during the earthquake and had come to learn of this church while living in the tent city that had housed refugees in the soccer field next to the church. A young father had been born with two thumbs on his right hand (a condition quickly remedied with surgery in the USA). To provide for his family, he eeks out a living by selling toothpaste and shampoo from a wheelbarrow parked in the sun at the public market, while his wife hand washes clothes at a nearby orphanage. Their two lovely children have smiles that reflect the beautiful smiles that almost always radiate from their parents’ faces. A grandmother sings boldly and with joy, even though her aging husband is suffering with severe dementia!
Perhaps the choir in your church is not all that different from this choir. If the truth be told, each member of every choir has sorrows and sufferings in their lives too. What a great Lord we have, when He can provide for us a respite from our worries through a song that offers words of hope and joy and tells of the everlasting life that will be free of daily troubles. We can all look forward to the day that all of our sorrows will only be a distant memory, where each of our days, every one of our moments will be filled with the joys that we will experience in Heaven. There, our joys will be like none others that we have ever experienced and they will be e-v-e-r-l-a-s-t-i-n-g! Now that is certainly something to sing about!
Nora Léon Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time, God willing …………