TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
August 23, 2006
The simplistic life of the people in Haiti is something that I am drawn to. Many times, at dusk, I find myself on top of the house trying to catch a cool breeze. It is from here, my bird’s eye perch, that I observe the comings and goings of the village below. I marvel at the bare naked toddler who is running along the rocky terrain with his sandal-less feet, oblivious to the sharp stones, as if he is instead running on a plush grass turf. And then I see another toddler pulling along an empty plastic bottle with a string securely fastened to the neck of the bottle. He is totally unaware that Fisher Price makes great toys. He is completely content with the simple toy that has been made for him! Then there is the woman with a large basket on her head. Still stacked in her basket are several loaves of un-sold bread. She sings a song, as she proceeds through the village in hopes of selling those last loaves. No stress appears on her face; her body is still tall and straight, even though she is certainly at the end of a very long day, with only a few pennies having accumulated in her pocket. A scattering of boys can still be seen playing a game of soccer until the shadows of the darkness will no longer permit them to play. An old man, in his hand woven reed chair with the back tilted against the house behind him, joins me in the watch of the comings and goings of the village. Despite the harshness of the world in which the Haitians live, their simplistic life brings about a calmness in my soul.
Little would I know how soon I would be in need of this calmness! When I received the news that my daughter was losing her unborn child, I would need to glean the calmness from the scene of the village at dusk. Heartache is world wide, not just confined to the nation of Haiti. I sometimes think God allows me pain so that people here can see and realize that I too can suffer pain, even though I come from a land of wealth and over-abundance. This has again reminded me of the faithful prayer warriors that God has placed in my life. Warriors not only from my circle of family and friends in the States, but from right here in Haiti!
Although I was unable to join my daughter in the States, I again can see God’s plan at work! He has brought new and unexpected friends into my daughter’s life. She recently moved where she knows no one. And then, God sent people who cared! He sent people who brought in groceries, offered to stay with her toddler, and brought in meals. It never ceases to amaze me that where God’s hurting people are, there are his “angels” also!
Another source of enjoyment for me here is watching the “universal-ness” of children. Recently Léon and I were at the boys’ orphanage. We had a “First Encyclopedia” picture book with us. Children here will drop anything they are doing to look at a picture book. It brings to them a world of things that they are unfamiliar with. I could not help but smile when we came to the pictures of trucks and planes and dinosaurs. The excitement was unanimous among the boys. Each pointed to a particular favorite and said “This is for me! This is for me!” One question after another spilled out of their mouths as they were trying to learn as much as they could about these unfamiliar, but exciting things! In contrast, when we showed the same book to the girls they squirmed at the sight of the snakes and insects. They were totally disinterested in the pages with the trucks and planes. They were more delighted with the pages that showed snow and butterflies and flowers!
Children in Haiti are also very creative. Toys are made out of every imaginable piece of scrap material. One of my favorite is the kites that are made from the plastic of grocery bags and small strips of wood. The tail consists of torn up cloth and most often the string can be seen wound around an old rusted tin can. Trucks are made from motor oil cans, with bottle caps for tires. Jean Junio, of the orphanage, displayed his love for music by making his own guitar from a scrap of wood, some nails and some pieces of string. It even produced its own sort of music! I love these simple pleasures as seen through the eyes of a child!
These children and others are the hope for a better future in Haiti! We are praying that they will be change-making pastors and teachers and nurses who will make a difference in this country. We are praying that they will see a better tomorrow because of the hope that is offered through Jesus!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time ………….