My fourth week in Haiti is quickly approaching its end. The last week has been eventful and God continues to teach me and stretch me spiritually. Where to begin? On Monday’s we always visit a nearby fishing village and have a small Bible study prepared for the children that live there.
The last two weeks we have visited a small fishing village by the name of Carenaj which is about a 2 mile walk from the mission. I love getting to spend time with these children. You can never underestimate the power of a hug or a welcoming smile. It is sometimes hard to think about but this may be the only form of positive love that these beautiful children of God receive. It is amazing to see how the children open up and their unique personalities shine through when they are allowed just to be children.
Our last trip to Carenaj we had plans of conducting a short Bible lesson leaving plenty of time to continue getting to know the children. After the lesson I went to play soccer with the older boys while the girls colored with the girls and younger children. Spending this precious time with these kids is priceless. Seeing their bright smiles just reaffirms my belief that every child is a blessing from God.
Later that evening, after returning from Carenaj, a woman arrived at the mission gate with a small plastic bag in hand. She informed us that one of the children had gotten into my backpack and taken the nine dollars that I had in a side pocket. She walked all the way to the mission to return this money. She said, “The mission has done too much for this town for it to be stolen from.” This nine dollars might not seem like a lot of money but it is roughly equivalent to a weeks worth of wages here.
It would have been much easier for this woman to keep the money for herself. I would have never noticed that the money was missing. Her actions had a deeper meaning than pure honesty. It is easy to grow discouraged when we do not see any signs of change after many hours of hard work. I have only been in Haiti for around a month but many of the missionaries that work at the mission live here year round. It is small actions such as these that prove to me that God is beginning to change the heart of Haiti one person at a time. God’s love has overcome and this war is being won one heart at a time.
As I spend more time here I realize just how content my heart is. It is hard to explain but the best way I can describe it is my spirit is rejoicing. This feeling is hard to describe but the reason for this feeling is very easy to state. When God places a call upon our heart it can be a struggle. We have the choice to follow his calling or push it towards the back of our mind. When we ignore God’s call I feel as if it begins to eat away at our every thought. We constantly begin to question ourself asking what if.
What would have happened if we completely trusted God and followed his orders when he calls us? I have found myself in this situation all to often. What if I would have talked to that quiet kid in my class about my faith? What if I would befriend the kid walking across campus that looks tired and lonely? The what if’s go on and on. When will we realize that God’s plan and purpose for our lives is far greater than what our minds can comprehend? There is only one solution and that is to surrender. Completely give up. Surrender your life to God’s purpose and you will be amazed at the outcome. I know this feeling that I have within my soul is because I am following His purpose. I know surrendering each day and dying to our own desires and following God’s purpose will fill our lives with more contentment than anything that this world has to offer.
Later in the week I began to feel a little sick and by Saturday night I was running a fever. I felt horrible. My joints ached and my head throbbed. Thankfully I fully recovered after only three days of rest. This rest did give me time to just lay and think. I know in life it is easy to fall into a rut of negative thinking when we fall upon troubled times. Sitting in bed the story of Job came to my mind. Job was a “Blameless and upright man that feared God and shunned evil.” He was blessed having wealth and a large family.
Satan made a visit to God and God allowed Satan to create adversity in Job’s life to test his commitment towards his faith. Satan caused Job to lose everything. He lost his children, wealth, and even his health. When Job was sick his wife came to him and said, “Are you still holding onto your integrity? Curse God and die.” He replied, ” You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?”
God is constant! He does not waiver or fail to work when times are troubled. We need to praise him when times are good and when times grow hard. The orphans living at the Mole also came and prayed with me. Watching their faces I could see the concern in their eyes. Having around thirty 3-7 year olds praying for you is a powerful thing. This experience, although under poor circumstances, is one that I will always remember.
I began to feel better just in time for the weekly boys Bible study I have been trying to get started. For the first time boys arrived and I got to spend a little time with them going over a small lesson and watching soccer. Boys connect on a different level than girls do. It has been really hard to find boys willing to come to a Bible study but it is easy to find boys that want to watch the World Cup. Waiting for the invited boys to arrive I met a small boy walking in front of the mission. He was dirty and his eyes were unusually red. I don’t know what it exactly was about this particular boy but I felt draw to ask him if he wanted to come watch the game. He quickly said yes and he watched the game and listened to the lesson.
Later that evening, walking to the beach, I saw the same small boy walking with his mother and small brother. The smile upon his face when he saw me made my heart rejoice. I realize that it is hard to teach these young boys about God’s love when many of them do not truly understand love. Many of these kids may have experience abuse and it is hard to comprehend a God that loves you unconditionally when you have never seen this kind of love. Showing this young boy that he is welcome and important is how God treats each and everyone of us. We are all sinners yet God continues to love us unconditionally.
I have also tried to start a men’s Bible study. This has faired even more difficult than starting a young boy’s Bible study. I have invited many young men from town only for them to never show up. This week I invited guy’s with the promise that we would watch the soccer game. Thursday arrived and only one man showed up. We sat down and had a small Bible study on temptation. This young man listened very intently and had many great questions for me after the lesson. Just sitting with him and having this conversations is why I came to the Mole. I want to be able to help young men fully understand just how big of an impact they can have on this community. This community and every community for that matter needs more Godly men. We need to be slow to anger and quick to listen. Most of all we need men that are pursuing a relationship with Christ and everything else will fall into place. My prayer is that strong Goldy men will begin to rise up and realize that they can make a difference. God never promised us that it would be easy but the final reward will be worth all of the sweat.