Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Haiti: No Mask, No Pretense!



  This was one of the hardest blogs to write, unfortunately doing mission’s work and pastoring around the world doesn’t necessarily make you a Saint.  We struggle like everyone else; the beautiful pictures and great stories are often covered with great challenges, spiritual assault and our own hardened heart.  Well this blog only scratches the surface on how human we all really are.

On July 27th I embarked yet another challenge in my spiritual journey; I Co-lead a team to Haiti, my beloved country, to teach a group of some 200 students on what it means to live for Jesus! I have often been a part of many teams going to Haiti with the goal of introducing Jesus to the people, not realizing that Haiti is like, "the bible belt of the Caribbean". They've heard of Jesus and many would call themselves Christians but  that doesn’t necessary mean they know and understand what it means to actually LIVE for Jesus. It's kind of funny that our team made up of all Americans would attempt to teach on such a subject since we, too, struggle terribly with that concept; though they struggle with voodoo, we struggle with our own idols.  

 Nonetheless our plans were set to teach on love, forgiveness, and working together. To our surprise and God's perfect planning; we ended up working in a community where signs of poverty and lack of development were quite apparent on the faces of the children. The church where we worked was surrounded by corn fields. Space was limited and we thank the Lord we traveled light; this year we decided we were not going to put the “Dollar Tree” out of business or attempt to design paper crosses where all would end up on top of the rest of the other trash that's pilling up in that community.

 We began teaching on Monday and instantly the smell of material poverty hit me hard, I took a whiff of those children and my sense of smell was immediately challenged. Many of their clothes were torn, dirty and their hands were pretty grimy. Did I tell you I was a borderline germaphobe? And every last one of these children wanted to hold my hands and get physically close to me. Ugh...And yes my mind started going there, you know that place (I'm so clean and you're so unclean) and I fought hard to dispel those thoughts, I was so disappointed in me. After all, I am Haitian and I've traveled enough to know better but each day became increasingly harder.

On top of the challenging smells, these children struggled with the concepts of love; forgiveness and what it means to live for Jesus! I could not understand it because they've heard of Jesus; they new the songs, they have memorized key bible passages and even knew to "look" their best for church! I was  so disappointed when they answered "hurt them back" when asked what should be done if someone hurts them.  One teenager was adamant about her convictions, she even sucked her teeth and rolled her eyes at me for challenging them to forgive.

Each night I would ponder these issues, not able to make sense of their complexities. It wasn't until the last day of camp that Jesus cracked heaven open for me to see deeper, through one of my children.  I took notice of him in the back of the church playing joyfully with one of the toddlers. The child had "booger goo" all over his face (as my son calls it), his clothes were dirty and I'm pretty sure he did not take a bath prior to coming to camp that day. But my son was caught in a joyful exchange with this kid that I would not dare touch. He went down on his knees, to the kid's height and they both exchanged great sounds of laughter through their game. My son accepted him "goo" faced and all, when I could not.



And the Lord spoke to me; Dieula,  if you lived here would you not smell the same? If you found yourself living in this community would you not believe the same? If everyone in this community was only looking out for their own interest, would you be so inclined to forgive those who were trying to walk over you to get ahead? See dieula where you live in America, you are able to cover the stench of your heart with fancy homes, fancy clothes and education. Material wealth can cover many smells, so much so that you can fool one another but you cannot cover the stench of the heart. Dieula, What you see and smell in these children is what you fear about your own being!

  I'm still pondering and processing these nuggets from God...but I walked away realizing that these children were living more authentically than any of us in the US; their outside actually reflect their insides.  I can't remember the last time my outside reflected my inside.  God is present to do amazing work with those who  come to him authentically; no mask, no pretense.  

3 comments:

  1. Good one Dieula. The Lord gave me a picture a few months ago of what it must have been like for Jesus to come to Earth. Picture our holy, pure God in human form diving into a cess pool filled with sewage. He did that for us!

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  2. This exact thing has been on my heart for weeks, Dieula. EXACT. "Dieula, What you see and smell in these children is what you fear about your own being!" --had the same thought/conviction! And lately my husband (a contractor) has worked in a UT Frat House. Um, gross. Except, these kids have rich parents that will pay for them to not suffer the consequences of pot, alcoholism, and promiscuous sex. But the facade is pitiful. And angering. The poor turn to such things to anesthetize, but end up on the streets, losing their children, in jail... what a world.

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