Our second and third days in Haiti were filled with work. We split the team up to get some maintenance things done around the property of the orphanage. We took a group of guys and went behind the main building to do dirt work. At the back of the property, there was a hill of dirt that sloped down into the cafeteria building. We spent three days with pick axes and shovels breaking up that hill and shoveling it into wheel barrows. We would take the wheel barrow of dirt and dump it closer to the building to level out the ground.
The sun was hot and we often tried to find shade from its heat. As it got higher in the sky, shade was increasingly more difficult to find. We drank plenty of water, but we kept at it. We were able to make it level where once it was not. I kept thinking of the scripture in Matthew 21:21 where Jesus said we could speak to the mountain and move it if we had faith. I was then reminded of James 2:17 that says, “Faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative or dead).”
Often we try to speak to the mountains in our lives asking them to move without ever picking up a shovel. We want God to do all the work while we simply “believe”. One of the things I shared with the team on these days is that God always requires a proactive action on our part before He moves. We must seek if we are to find. We must knock if the door will be opened. We must ask if it is to be given. We must draw near to God if He is to draw near to us. I have yet to find a place in scripture where we don’t have to be proactive before God moves. We can’t wait for God to do something. We have to step out in faith first.
On these trips over here, I remind the team that they are coming to put sweat equity in the Kingdom. We come to work and to serve. It’s hot and dirty, but God honors us and the work we do when we do it with a cheerful heart. Our second team was painting a pirate ship that was built for the playground. The first day of work on it was tedious. They had screw drivers and were digging rocks out from in between the boards before they could paint it reminded me that God is in the nitty gritty details. We look for Him in the big picture, but we find Him in the small things.
On Tuesday afternoon, we were able to do a Bible lesson for the kids. After the lesson we took them on a nature walk / scavenger hunt outside the walls of the orphanage. As they walked down a dusty road, several of us were spread out along it. When they came to us, we acted out different emotions and the kids determined whether the actions were pleasing to God or not. After they found the last person, we continued walking to a dried up creek bed. There were mango trees all along its banks. The kids picked up rocks and threw them at the tree to knock down the mangos.
We walked further down towards some other mango trees that didn’t require rocks. We picked mangos from the branches we could reach and gave them to the kids. Some mangos were ripe and others had more time left. The kids would bite through the skin and peel it back to get to the sweet pulp. We sat under the trees and laughed with the kids as they enjoyed them. It was an incredible afternoon that gave us a refreshing from our hard labor. The team was reenergized and and ready to work more the next day for these kids.
On Wednesday afternoon, we took a beach trip to jump off a cliff into the ocean. It was a long journey across the beach, over boulders, up rocky cliffs and over crevices. When we got there, we took a rest and began jumping in. Standing on the edge of the cliff looking down brought fear to many. It was a long way down to the water, but everyone who went up there faced their fears and jumped in. Fear paralyzes us and tries to prevent us from doing things. So many Christians stand at the edge of a cliff and never take the leap of faith. They’re scared to do anything for God, so they spend their lives in that place.
God has asked us to live by faith and not sight because sight brings fear. It tells us the journey is too long, too hard and too far. It asks all kinds of questions that prevent us from taking those leaps of faith. If you’re in that moment of standing on the cliff with God calling you to jump, don’t stand there and think of everything that could go wrong. Step out in faith, trust God and jump. It will be the ride of your life. When you put action to your faith, it brings great power.