Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why Haiti

Note: these pictures were taken by one of our unbelievably talented students who served with us in Haiti. I especially love the sweet girl giving thumbs up. :)

Since returning home and before I left, I have received accolades for going to Haiti and been asked on multiple occasions if I feel fulfilled from doing something good. While I understand these responses/questions, they also make me a little uncomfortable. The reason is simply that I do not deserve accolades as I went merely out of obedience. And I am not fulfilled from going as my fulfillment comes from someone else, someone greater. I simply went to Haiti because I am loved by a magnificent God and want others to know they are loved, too.

While I most certainly make mistakes, act selfishly, and sin too frequently, my sole purpose and goal in life is to glorify Christ. This purpose manifests itself in various ways, be it sitting quietly before the Lord or enjoying dinner with friends or discipling my girls or choosing to dress a certain way or avoiding/doing certain things or work with diligence or playing with orphans in Haiti. These choices aren’t punishments or attempts toward prudishness for the sake of boasting, they are choices made because God loves me and has something greater than earthly treasures or experiences in store for me because of Jesus.

God’s word says “but God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. This seemingly simple phrase molds and shapes my being as it proves I have a perfect, loving God. For I know the depths of my depravity and I know how useless I am apart from his love. This love compels me to act. It compels me to serve. It compels me to love others, all the way down to the least of these. I love because he first loved me. And I pray that he will give me the strength, boldness, and ability to love as he loves, so others may come to know the saving grace of Christ.

God’s word also says, “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.” Deuteronomy 15:7-8. Over the past two years, my understanding of how God loves the poor has shifted significantly. My eyes have been opened to the prevalence with which he speaks of this in his word, and his commandments to us, the rich. But even here, my heart for the poor is still based solely in the truth of Romans 5:8, that the poor are sinners just as the rich are. And because Christ loves them, I love them. And I prayerfully long for their eyes, as well as fellow eyes of the rich, to be opened to salvation as mine have.

At times throughout the trip, my American self wanted to see big changes happen or I wanted the Haitians’ lives to shift to look American. Quite silly since I was only there a week and silly since we most certainly do not have it all and are unbelievably broken people bent on the love of self and material items. Yet the Lord gently reminded me of his timing and something he said about the Israelites and the promises he made to them in Hebrews 11:39-40: “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

No, I didn’t see a huge change directly from our work. And, by the help of God’s word and an amazing book on poverty alleviation that I’m working through, When Helping Hurts, I strive to not measure “success” through my American lens. I know that the Lord is faithful and he will use the collection of all of his people who serve to continue to impact his Kingdom, both in Haiti and the rest of the world, for his glory. And this truth encourages me here at home, too, when I long for quick action: to walk a little more slowly, increase in patience, and trust the Lord’s perfect timing. For he will never fail or mess up.

So you see, my only reason for going to Haiti was to bring glory to the Father. I believe our team did. I believe that we honored him as we served each other, served the other teams at MOH, and served the Haitians. And I believe we will continue to bring him glory as we share what we saw and learned back at home, and walk with hearts more in love with him.

Haiti has many, many problems that riddle the country and its people. My heart grieves for the mountainous amount of change that is needed, yet it first and foremost cries out for the salvation of the Haitians for only then will true, lasting change be possible. I’ve been broken-hearted for the news of the impending storm, but the Lord is faithful as I was reminded from reading Jean-Julien’s comment in this article. Pray for Haiti. Pray for salvation and restoration. Pray for change to be built from the inside out. I hope I can someday return to the beautiful country filled with beautiful people. And I pray the Lord will continue to provide opportunities to meet more of his people in America and throughout the world, and use me to show his love.

It is an honor to be a part of Kingdom work. That God would choose to use me, a sinful, fearful, selfish, foolish person to shine his Light is beyond imaginable.

“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30