“Glad you are back. How did your trip go?” It’s a question I was asked many times at church yesterday. I will hear it a lot this week.
World Orphans, the mission organization we are partnered with in Haiti advises that all mission team participants need to have a thirty second answer to that question. Surveys show that after about thirty seconds most people have heard all they want to here. So, how do I answer in thirty seconds what God was able to accomplish in Haiti? What the Haitian people are like? How living in Haiti is different from living here in “The States?” How beautiful the beaches are on the Coast of Haiti? How the mountains, even in Haiti, seemed to call to me urging me to come and visit. How do I sum all of this up in thirty seconds?
Haiti is a tough place to offer ministry. It has found itself in the position of having so much need that knowing where to start is difficult. Even before the earthquake in 2010, where an estimated 160,000-200,000 people died, there were great challenges that hindered prosperity in the country. Since the earthquake the needs have multiplied. They have infrastructure challenges, widespread poverty (not simply poor, impoverished), rampant disease, a lack of healthcare and education, and a fairly dysfunctional government. However, the people of Haiti are a strong folk who have persevered through it all. One by one they asked us to pray for Haiti as a country (especially the elderly). Some seek deliverance, some seek a new life, and some simply seek a job and good health.
Having said all that, God is alive, ALIVE, in Haiti. He is alive in the worship of his church, he is alive in the growth of his church, and he is alive in the vision of the Pastors who shepherd his church. God, working through these faithful few, is growing a church out of nothing. How can an impoverished congregation buy land and erect structures when they have close to nothing? GOD How can soul after soul after soul come to know Christ in a country where chaos, scarcity, and voodoo magic seem to rule? GOD How can eleven diverse, average, American church goers go into that environment and make a difference? GOD
We saw over 450 people get medical care at the two day clinic. We saw 12 come to know Christ. We enjoyed 4 worship services where God was glorified and honored. We shared the gospel with no less than 500 men, women, and children. We offered eight hours of teaching and encouragement to 35 local pastors. We learned about each other, lived with each other, sweated with each other, fussed with each other, and love each other more than we did when we left. We are better people now than we were a week ago. We see God in a different light. Most of us, perhaps all, will one day go back and try again. Thank you for your prayers and for sending us. Thank you God for your guidance, love, and grace.
Sorry, that was more than thirty seconds.