“Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen”
The Doxology seems appropriate today somehow. We have so much to praise God for during our time in Haiti. Beautiful sunshine, the sense of accomplishment in our tasks, opportunities to stretch ourselves in reaching out to others & teaching God’s word, and in our relationships - forging deep bonds amongst our team, and opening up our hearts to new opportunities for friendship and growth.
I have seen so many beautiful moments happen when our ladies have reached out to touch the hand of a child, or hold them in their arms. I have heard them struggle with a mix of Creole, French & English in order to exchange names, express affection, and get to know a special child from the Haiti Arise school. I have witnessed Robin, one of our team leaders, and our women’s leader, fearlessly strive to communicate with every woman she encounters. And I have watched as our men have talked with our Hatian translators and technical students, desiring to get beneath the surface of chit-chat, to what matters most - family, God, and dreams for the future. Being a part of a team who puts self aside, braving potential embarrassment and awkward silences in order to fully engage with the people they are working along side or here to serve, is a beautiful, marvellous God-thing. It humbles me. The Spirit of God is so present within them… I’m not sure that they are even aware at how much Jesus is in their eyes, and in their touch.
Only God could take such city folk, uproot them from their busy life, unplug them from their devices & their home-worries, and plant them in this place that is surrounded by so much poverty, so much need… and make beautiful things happen. And beautiful things have been happening, not without feelings of sadness or pain, but without moving us to despair.
Instead of a loss of faith, our faith has increased. Instead of feeling hopeless after visiting a home surrounded by mud, where children go unclothed and illnesses untreated, there is a deep knowledge that God is with them, even as he is with us. Loving, comforting & instilling hope for the future. The immense need, while moving us to tears and making us question many things about our own lives, has not overpowered us. Instead, it has moved us to join more fully with the mission of Haiti Arise, who has already made such a dramatic difference in this small town, and whose plans for the future are bigger and more beautiful than we ever could have imagined.
I feel that in many ways I have been an observer on this trip. Watching, listening, drinking in the people of Haiti, the incredible Haiti Arise missionary team, and our own, beautiful, precious team of Spirit-filled Canucks.
I suppose that it is natural to feel like one takes in much more than one gives out on a trip like this, and my own personality is one that watches and waits long before she is ready to act. But I have been grateful, so grateful to watch, and to listen, to share moments of intimacy with my team members, and to be a mother-confessor, listening to tears of sadness and expressions of joy. And I have myself, have confessed - weeping on the rooftop over losses beyond imagining, and grudges against myself that in time, God will help me lift.
I came here in a place of weakness, unrecovered from health issues, and much limited in what I could do. And I have also come with some sadness and fear in my heart, unsure of the future, and unsure if I was up to the challenges it holds. I’m not sure how much has changed in those things, but I have been well loved, and I have loved well. I have taught out of my heart and my experience to the leaders of the Haiti Arise church, and I have shared my life with those in poverty in the villages that surround us. I have held a little boy, and an aged, frail woman. And I have held another as she cried, as I myself have been held as my tears flowed.
And it is enough.