We know God has big plans for those He has entrusted to our care.
Disclaimer: This is not my usual, upbeat share. But this is reality.
“This is the promise that empowers us to take risks for the sake of Christ. It is not the impulse of heroism, or the lust for adventure, or the courage of self-reliance, or the need to earn God’s favor.
It is simple trust in Christ—that in him God will do everything necessary so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. Every good poised to bless us, and every evil arrayed against us, will in the end help us boast only in the cross, magnify Christ, and glorify our Creator. Faith in these promises frees us to risk and to find in our own experience that it is better to lose our life than to waste it.
— John Piper
But one of the most beautiful, soul-sanctifying things God ever does for us is to bless our lives through those we’ve come to bless, to expose the pride and superiority that makes us think we’re in perceived control of them, and to realize that God is the one who’s truly in control of all of us. Sure, people learn and grow from what we do, but we learn and grow as well by being in their company.
— Joey Lankford
By far, the most common question people ask me is, “When are you going back to Haiti?” and since April 18, the answer has been, “June 14.” Over and over people expressed surprise. “But that’s so far away!” And it was. But now the date is drawing close, and last minute preparations are being made.
And my heart is happy.
On Monday, May 7, 2018, over 200 people gathered at Scotts Hill Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC, to celebrate missions around the world. On this night, 25 tables were set to share more about missions based in the Wilmington area but operating all over the world.
Two of the tables hosted by Pastor Roger Barnes, Sophie Leonard, Alexandria Augi and Jennifer Augi (all members of the March 2018 team) highlighted and told the story of Haiti Awake.
Sophie Leonard and Alexandria Augi were also able to talk with the children in attendance at this event about the Bible schools they led in Haiti while traveling with Haiti Awake. They encouraged the children not to feel limited by their age but to listen for God’s calling to go and serve being the hands and feet of Jesus.
The mission night was a wonderful opportunity to share in our local community how lives in Haiti are being changed through friendship, discipleship, community, teaching, resources, time, and most importantly the unifying love of Jesus Christ.
At the same time, I came home with my heart once again tender toward so many things. Tears haven't been too far from my eyes on any given day. I often pray that as I continue to see and experience more of Haiti and her people that I will not become jaded, that I won't become callous, that the things that once broke me won't become routine and common. Like so many, I pray the prayer Bob Pierce once prayed, "Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God."
I often get a different perspective on a familiar passage of Scripture when I attempt to put aside my American interpretation and try to see things the way a Haitian would see them.
For example, "Give us this day our daily bread" means something completely different when a person is actually depending on God each day to provide sustenance . . . in absence of a well-stocked pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.
While I was in Haiti this week, I was asked to read Matthew 25:31-46 at The Bridge tomorrow morning. Reading that passage in Haiti as we were back and forth to the hospital, it took on a whole new meaning . . . especially because we now have a new friend, Herby Joseph.
Herby Joseph is from St. Marc, a town about 2 hours north of Tabarre. While in Port-au-Prince over two weeks ago, he had a moto accident and severely injured his leg. And he's been at Medecins San Frontiers since that time. With no one to visit him. Day after day. His family is too far away to come to see him.
Herby's bed was next to Wesly's, so as we visited Wesly day-by-day, Herby became our friend. His face would light up when we'd come into the room, and he was more than eager to play a hand of cards with Steeve or Polo to pass the time. (There were 9 men in the room with nothing to do all day.) He, along with the other men, were very happy when we brought snacks for them each day (snacks that many of you donated this summer).
This is what ministry often looks like - just loving the people God puts in front of us each day. There's not a big plan or agenda. It's just opening our eyes to the people around us who are in need. It's loving our neighbor . . . and that neighbor might be the person in the hospital bed next to our loved one.
On Tuesday when Polo and I went to the hospital for my last visit before Wesly would be discharged and I would return to the United States, Herby asked to take a photo with me. It was so hard to say goodbye knowing that Herby would be without visitors and because we don't know if or when we'll see each other again. He doesn't have a telephone, but he has Steeve and Wesly's phone numbers, and we're hopeful he'll call when he is released from the hospital.
There are many Herby Josephs in Haitian hospitals tonight. Some of them, like Herby, do not have family nearby who can visit. Some of their families do not have the money necessary to hire a moto or take a tap tap to the hospital. Some of them actually don't have anyone that cares. (There was a man like this in Wesly's room).
These people need someone to visit them, to encourage them, to show them Jesus' love. Will you pray with us that God will allow Haiti Awake to have an outreach to the hospitals in Haiti?