This week I’m in Haiti with students from Lifestyle Christian School and will be sharing what we are doing and learning. Our first two days have been full of travel, but also full of rewards. After two flights, we arrived in Port au Prince Saturday evening. When we got in the back of the coreluv.org trucks and headed through the city, I took a deep breath to breathe in the Haitian air. The noise of motorcycles whizzing by, the smell of burning trash, the blaring horns of semi trucks, the music coming from stores and people walking everywhere reminded me of the times I’ve come before.
I looked at the group of mostly first timers and exclaimed, “Haiti makes me happy!” They’re learning first hand this week how it makes them happy. When we walked through the door of our guest house, we were greeted with the smell of fried chicken. We sat down, ate and then retreated to the balcony for our first service. We sang worship songs accapella. We shared about our first impressions of Haiti. Then the missionary here told the group to be thinking of three questions this week:
Where did you see Jesus today?
What makes you sad? Mad? Glad?
What do you see that you are not OK with
On Sunday morning, we went to a Haitian church service. We didn’t recognize any of the songs. We didn’t understand any of the language either. There was no air conditioning on a 90+ degree day in that building. Even though it wasn’t like a church any of us were used to, we experienced the same God we would have at home. I noticed several times when our group had their hands raised in worship, had their head bowed in prayer joined in the corporate worship. It was amazing to see and experience. There are many nations, many languages, many denominations that serve the same God.
They asked if one of us would like to preach. Jeremiah threw his hand up without hesitation. He later said, “I don’t know why I did that!” I know it was because the Holy Spirit was upon him. He preached through an interpreter a convicting message about Jesus overturning the tables in the temple. He pointed out that Paul referred to our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit. He asked, “Since when did we start thinking it was ok to put thing into our lives, our temples, that God is not ok with?” I pray that we give God permission to come overturn the tables of our hearts and turn our lives into houses of prayer.
We left church and went to visit a woman whose husband and father to her children is a witch doctor. They are very poor and can’t care for their children. They are considering giving up the children to the orphanage. If they are able to come, imagine the course change for that family. Children who were born to a witch doctor would typically become witch doctors themselves. Children who live in these orphanages grow up to follow Christ. Before leaving, our group joined in prayer for that neighborhood. We prayed that God would liberate them from idolatry and shine His light in such a dark place.
From there, we went to “Faith, Hope, Love”, an infant rescue center. In this orphanage are children with HIV, AIDS, lymphoma, HPV, brittle bone disease and so many other life threatening things. Their parents can’t afford the medical care they need so they drop them off here. We went in and began loving on these children, playing with them, putting them on our shoulders and marching around. Laughter filled the air as these kids without hope had students who weren’t afraid of their disease and touched their hearts.
We left Port au Prince and took the slow drive to Gonaives. We stopped at the mass grave site where over 100,000 bodies are buried in a field. Survivors of the earthquake shared their horrific first hand accounts of what happened and what life was like. We drove through tent city where so many in Port au Prince still live since that fateful day in 2010. We followed the coast northwest and stopped at a resort to let the team cool down in the Caribbean waters. They learned to catch jellyfish without getting stung. After leaving there, we drove through the farm land of Haiti to make our way to the guest house in Gonaives.
After an amazing dinner, we joined together on a balcony and began to worship God. We talked about what it means to give up everything you have for God. We also talked about the widow in II Kings 4 whose husband had died and she couldn’t afford his debts. Elisha asked her what she had in her house. All she had left was a jar of oil. He told her to get jars from everyone she knew, fill them with oil and sell them. When she did, she didn’t just have enough to pay the debt. She had enough for the rest of her life. God always goes above and beyond what we ask. He simply requires us to use what’s in our house.
Today, we’re going to work at one orphanage most of the day and visit another one later to play with kids. I’ll update you tomorrow.