Wow, we are in Haiti alright. Sometimes (ok, most of the time), we are at the mercy of our host here in Montrious. His name is Pastor Georges, who leads a church here and is expanding into the poorest slum in Haiti. He was thrilled to have us able-bodied folks to help him construct his vision. “For the weekend” is what we were told, with about 15 minutes to pack. Quickly, we threw some items in our bag– two sets of clothes, pajamas, sleeping bags, Nyquil (we’re all sick) and wet wipes. A good bag for a quick trip, right? Our trip started with riding on a truck carrying everything from a drum set to cooking supplies. We were welcomed by a group of people at the tent city and from the moment we arrived to the moment we left– we were never alone. We met up with our friends who were there, working with the 4-day revival. It was our first job to set up a stage and prepare for the night. The revival was difficult. We quickly came to the conclusion that people were done hearing about their sin, their problems and of Jesus. They were over being condemned and still living in poverty. It was disheartening for our entire team to see people feeling so worn out and not renewed when Christians brought the…wait for it….GOOD news. Its hard, but isn’t this true everywhere? It is so easy for us to condemn and rebuke. We went to sleep that night in our 8-man tent, exhausted, and questioning what God would have us do the next day. We woke to the chatter of little people, children screaming Creole at one another and some shuffling in the tent. We didn’t sleep very long before we were disturbed by the children. So many of them…just waiting to hang out. As a team, we met and prayed and listened. Utterly drained, we decided that God was speaking to us to live like Christ- to truly show the Haitians, who God dearly loves, who Christ is. Who He really is, and not the man with the withered finger sticking out condemning them. Some of us gathered trash bags; many grabbed gloves and masks from the Red Cross/Red Cresent. We gathered the children together and taught about sanitation. We taught from the Bible as we explained that God desires for us to take care of His creation. That means no littering. Then, we began to clean up the poorest slum in the western hemisphere. What started with about 30 children and 14 team members quickly turned into a movement of hundreds of people. Unbelievably, we cleaned up an entire field in two hours. Our mob moved through the streets littered with garbage and began picking up everything in their path. Picture this chaotic, yet amazing picture of Jesus. These kids, these adults– they just wanted something to do. Someone (in this case, we) showed them something they could do to better their situation. I believe this is what Jesus would have done in the tent city- he would have picked up trash, not sent messages of condemnation to our suffering brothers and sisters in Haiti. Here are some photos from our time there!
The Tent City
Ryan and Lovely...take a break from cleaning!