the Paradox of Haiti
Just spent a week in Haiti. I’m still processing, but this is the simple, raw version of what I have so far…
Group A and Group B - Before my trip, when I talked to people about Haiti, they either huffed and puffed and listed reasons why it’s a lost cause OR they offered assistance in either prayer or a willingness to go. Group A may be right or cynical. Group B may be ignorant or compassionate. After going to Haiti this past week, I am now part of both groups, (hopefully minus the ignorance but plus something greater), henceforth the title of the blog. I’ve squeezed a few stories in but if you’re curious, ask me in person- I like to use my hands when I talk.
Paradox- a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth. (shout out dictionary.com)
Ignorant and Compassionate- We all are ignorant about something. In this case, I wasn’t ignorant about the craziness of the third world country. I have seen it before- children starving for food, affection, and safety. Compassion inside of me immediately kicked in as soon as I got there. The first village we came to had just received houses built by gracious people through Mission of Hope. (kinda cool side note- we just missed Sean Penn visiting the same place we were on the first day there) After getting out of the truck, a little child (Wu dye)…. not sure how to spell her name… captured my heart. She reached for me- her little arms up like she knew my mama hips would be comfortable travel. Sweet little one just wanted to cuddle. So we did. We sang a couple of silly songs too. I told Grace about her tonight, which was promptly met with a desire to go and meet her. love it. I really wanted a picture of her, but she freaked out when Thomas pointed the camera near us…so you’ll have to take my word for it that she was a super cute kid.
I was ignorant because….Haiti is really exactly as group A states. A lost cause.
Group A’s Point: Millions of Aide-dollars have floated this country. (which I knew and still had a big “BUT” in my mind) Their history began with an agreement with Satan years ago in exchange for freedom. The leader then sacrificed a bull and stuck a live baby inside then buried it as a sign to the Devil that he was serious. After hearing that and saying, “what????” Processing a dead baby thing. OK….gulp… Sounds like it made the Devil very happy indeed because they gained their freedom and have renewed this “agreement” between the Devil and with every leader since. This is what they’ve got to show for it- Everywhere you look there is crap (crap meaning actual crap and children being neglected, abused, prostituted). Even if one wanted a job…there aren’t any. We talked with aid workers who were hanging in there but completely discouraged. Corruption is everywhere. Sadly those who you should be able to trust are a big fat failure. A lot of corruption in pastors who for years were paid large sums of money without any accountability. Voodoo or witch doctors are esteemed but they make a living practicing both “good” magic (which intends to heal) and “bad” magic (which intends to harm). These are the leaders!! The politicians have been a joke and when aid is sent- it is abused, misused, and forgotten. There is no standard of good, better, best- just do whatever it takes to survive. The Haitians thankfully take care of their own, but always with a cost (ie rampant abuse and child sex-slavery). Did I mention how many people start their own orphanages there…because they know they will get aide. Are you kidding? There has got to be a better way.
Group B’s Point: We can make a difference. We can make a change. If you extend the life of the child (food and clean water) you will give this child more days to live and perhaps in God’s mercy, this child will one day know Christ. Hope is for all people. Be the hands and feet of Christ- TAKE CARE OF ORPHANS!! This is a mandate, followers of Christ!!! (not an option). Education will feed these young minds and encourage change. Let’s get our hands dirty for heaven’s sake. I am literally walking around inviting the presence of the Living God to kick butt down here…Have mercy Lord, by that I mean- please come! Move some invisible mountains around here. I can’t even hardly stand the injustice, I want to scream.
The Big “But”: The last day we were there, we visited with a Pastor. Pastor P is a Haitian. He was educated in America and served in our military for 20 years. He and his family live in Haiti now. He believes that since the earthquake, God has given Haiti a second chance at redemption. He believes that the agreement with Satan and Haiti has been broken. The current president hasn’t renewed the agreement, and Pastor P believes that this is the time for change. This is the time for renewal. Pastor P is neatly dressed, well spoken, and reminded us all of something extremely important. As we were driving around a small fishing village, he shared viewpoints from both groups (A and B). He then he confesses that, “the Haitian is dirty because our hearts our dirty. Haiti is trashy because our hearts are trashy. We must repent. We must turn from wickedness. We must confess Christ and follow Him. The gospel is the only hope for Haiti.” Pastor P has dedicated his time to training young pastors and holding them accountable. He checks in on how they are using aid money. He regularly calls for a group of these “remnant” to repent together and pray and fast for Haiti’s change. He goes out every night on the mountainside and prays for Haiti. Recently, one of the pastors He mentors has experienced incredible revival in his town. In this village- several voodoo priests renounced their craft and decided to make Jesus Christ their one true God. A few priests felt threatened that this young pastor was making changes- cleaning up corruption. Planting trees. Connecting people to Jesus Christ, the one true God. The evil men kidnapped his father two months ago and brutally killed him. We found out later that years ago, his father was the first in the village to offer up his land so that a church could be built in the future. Pastor P talked about the cost of the gospel further. We met a man who had been a voodoo priest most of his life and recently gave that profession up to follow Christ. He needed daily encouragement so that he wouldn’t fall into depression as he fought the “angry” spirit’s that visited him. He is doing really well now.
the Point: We need Jesus Christ. We are trashy because our hearts are trashy. We need regular times of repentance. We need Jesus Christ to be our one and only Lord and Savior. His laws set us free and call us to a life of love. A changed heart walks in integrity. A changed life is dependent on Christ. Prone to wander, every person needs encouragement including pastor, leader, teacher, student, citizen, man, woman, child. God used Pastor P to remind us that the Gospel must be the center of our lives and our ventures so don’t get distracted!!!
“God, give us eyes to see nations and kingdoms crumbling, and Christ unshaken. Then we will not be fools in what we love.” -Piper
Mission of Hope: There is a beautiful, gospel-centered organization that works this Paradox out beautifully…. Thankful for their vision, they hold the gospel close as they make decisions in the Haitian community. They’ve been around since 1998 and have thousands of Haitian children coming to their top-rated school. They are dutifully thinking through the future by using all the educated people that flood through there to help think of ways to create jobs. So far, they have partnered with agriculture people, tech school people, and have a partnership with a brand new engineering school next door. Many of their programs are Haitian led- including the worship teams, pastors, teachers, medical clinic, and orphanages. We sat down with their leader, Brad and learned that his heart was just like Pastor P- with the desire to use collected resources (money, education, logistic genius, government connections) to give Haitians Hope through the Gospel of Christ. Mission of Hope has made it possible for workers to come and stay on base. They have built a safe, well-run machine up on a hill. Several groups from North America were there working away while we were spectating Their guest house sleeps 150. wow.
He finishes the good works that He starts. Philemon 1:6
Go: There is an opportunity to go. Why go? Short of the mandate we talked about earlier everyone is so tired there. The workers need encouragement. Prayers are needed to pray over the work being done. (Satan is seeking to hold onto the land He owned and operated for years.) Prayer and worship are needed. The children literally light up when they are held, sang to, and of course a friendly game of slaps. We visited with twin toddlers that had just been rescued and were running around in the orphanage. One little boy was in a wheel chair and so full of joy when we held his hand and sang him a little song. Lots of love is needed. (the gospel is the heart of true love) It is very cool to be apart of something that the Devil meant for evil- and Christ is the victory. “God is not served by human hand as if he needed anything.” Acts 17:25 yet, this is also a cool paradox… He is using the meek, simple, humble things to show off His Glory and Goodness- (Boom)
Oh look, we’re back in Isaiah, where we started:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. (Isaiah 61:1)