This is Haiti.
6 weeks in Haiti.
Over the last month and a half I’ve shared pictures of different things that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of, of the different groups that have been here, of the adorable children and of the beauty that is this country.
Pictures are easy.
Words I am struggling with.
I’ve sat down many times with the intention of writing an update on everything going on but the words just don’t seem to come. There’s so much to take in, so much to process through and so much to learn.
I can tell you of the many things that I’ve experienced in the last month and a half here…
The driving is crazy. And by crazy I mean imagine no driving laws, no traffic lights, and crazy city like traffic. Now throw in motorcycles everywhere, weaving in and out of traffic. Instead of blinkers they just use horns. And instead of buses, small truck like vehicles with toppers with as many as 30 people crammed in the back. Now throw a couple people on top and a few goats tied to the side. That’s the kind of crazy I’m talking about.
It’s hot. I’m not talking Michigan mid-August ‘It might reach 100 today so we’ll go to the beach or pool or turn up the air’ hot. I’m talkin’… Sweat... All… The… Time… HOT.
It’s dirty. There is trash everywhere. With no formal waste removal system, the trash just ends up in piles on the side of the road with people going through and attempting to burn it every once in a while.
Electricity is a novelty. Some have it. Many don’t. Those that have it… Sometimes it comes on. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Clean readily available running water doesn’t exist. Most villages have wells that they walk to and pump in order to get water for cleaning and washing. If you want to drink the water though you have to filter it, boil it, bleach it or buy it.
It doesn’t take long to realize how few things in life you actually need and how many are conveniences.
School is a privilege for those that are fortunate enough that your parents can afford to send you or someone sponsors you.
Many still live in shelters made of tarps that were set up after the earthquake with the intent of being only 6 month shelters. Those that live in homes… they are homes that most Americans would never consider living in.
Sometimes there is money for food and sometimes there isn’t.
I’ve seen kids eat mud cakes because they were hungry. Children running around without pants on because they only have one pair and that pair is for school. Sickness that is just part of life. Distended stomachs and orange tinted hair that is a clear sign of malnutrition is an everyday sight.
I can tell you of the many things that I’ve experienced in the last month here…
But there just doesn’t seem to be words to encompass the emotions that go with seeing and experiencing all of those things. I just don’t know...
Here’s what I do know…
God is good.
In the midst of poverty, sickness, and living conditions that you wouldn’t believe until you’ve seen it: God is good. In the midst of a country that is so different from the one I grew up in, a way of life that I’m not sure I could ever live, and people who define normal in a way I never would: God is good.
But how? How can one look at the destruction, the loss, and the hopelessness that seems to surround this country and still say God is good?
God keeps pulling me back to Hebrews 4: 15-16. It’s a verse that has resonated in me over and over these last few week.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I don’t know why one country and its people suffer so while another thrives. I don’t know why a natural disaster killing over 200,000 people happens. These why questions are ones I don’t expect to ever know this side of heaven.
What I do know is that Jesus lived just like we live. He loved. He experienced loss. He grieved. He laughed. And in the end He died. For us.
We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with us.
For those that know Christ… They know this. There is joy in their eyes and a smile that radiates from their being. It’s something that I have a hard time wrapping my head around as I look at their living circumstances and their loss. They have truly grasped something that I haven’t. This is only temporary. This stuff; their health, their pain, their loss, their lack of material possessions… It is only temporary. They know their High Priest. They know he suffered just as they have. They know that He died for them. They know that they will one day be with Him… without the pain, without the loss, without the suffering. And because of that, they are so grateful for what they do have, they trust God for what they don’t and they hope.
What I do know is that even in the midst of all those things that I mentioned above, these people; the ones that are sick, the ones living in poverty, the ones still recovering from all they lost back in 2010; As I have sat on their porches and listen to their stories, as they have allowed me to ask them any question that I want; these people, the ones who have trusted in Christ as their Savior, have shown me just how good God is. Why? Because no one else could light up their eyes and bring smiles to their faces with such overwhelming joy except One who had truly given up everything for them.
For those who don’t know Christ and are still struggling with all the loss, sickness, and poverty. Well… I believe that very reason is why God has called so many people here. Life transformation. We’ve been given the opportunity to help meet some of those physical needs in regards to the loss, sickness, and poverty. Handing out goats, giving families houses, planting fruit trees, painting a house, clean water… All things that will help families and individuals transform their daily lives. But it is in meeting those needs we are able to introduce people to the one who can sympathize with them better than we ever will be able to. One who can truly transform their entire life.
And the funny thing about that is while we are aiming for life transformation for those in need of a Savior, God has a way of transforming our own lives in the process.
My prayer for myself and for those I have had and will have the opportunity to meet is this:
Let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace. Boldly approach. That we will receive mercy. We will find grace to help us when we need it.
My God is a great God. With confidence I can draw near to Him. I can boldly approach him. He shows me mercy. He gives me grace. He helps me.
There are so many things God has shown me and taught me in the last few months, and while I continue to process through those and attempt to come up with the words to share, I will continue to hold tight to this truth:
God is good.