One of my favorite quotes is from the missionary Jim Elliot who said, "Wherever you are, be all there; live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."
And I try to live that present. And there are many moments when I fight hard to have that kind of "all here" perspective and investment. And many moments, including this trip, when I have failed. But then there are those moments, like countless ones today, where it just clicks. The fullness settles into the present and you can literally see a little more clearly. It's hard to explain, but I am in love with those moments.
This morning's worship in Port au Prince with the team at Pastor Mois' church was the treasure that it was the first time I visited with his congregation in April. And I don't mean treasure in some cutesy term by any means. I mean, the type of hour that you could search for forever and not find, but the Lord in His graciousness just gives sometimes. I've said it before, and I hold to it. There is nothing more beautiful than when the broken exhaust themselves in worship of a good God that loves them. That they trust. That is healing them. Who has never left.
Our driver took us through many more parts of the vast capital today than I had assumed we were going to see. Cite' Soleil. The government buildings. The capitol. The hardest hit areas, construction wise. The hardest hit areas, death count wise. And it's hard.
It's just hard.
What a vain attempt it would be to try and wrap up the reality of the suffering into a few romantic words. I have nothing. Still, it is appalling. Still, it is incomprehensible to the greatest extent of the term. Still, it is heart wrenching if given only a second to realize what and who are still in the ruins not yet excavated as life goes on around them. To realize that an orphan, if viewed as not another face in a group, but as an individual who is not being rocked to sleep tonight by one mother and put on the shoulders of one father...who potentially had that just a few months ago, and now doesn't. To realize that we forget, and it is easier that way. It is harder to think, and sift, and ask. It is harder to feel and be vulnerable in all of the uncertainty. It is harder to see life at its raw, wounded, and rich core.
Help us, Lord. You are good. You love us. And You are here. Help us. Help us all.
As we drove between Pastor Joseph's orphanage sites today after church, Tate (who is on staff for GO Project and works most of his time in Haiti) asked Ines (a team member who at one point worked for the same company as Alan) what Alan (who used to work for that company but is now on staff at GO Project) was like at his old job. "Was he a big deal?" Tate said, and then laughed. And then he made a point that I don't think he completely knew was so significant. But he said, "See, that's what I love about Haiti. It doesn't matter how high up Alan was at some job back in the states. He's no different than me in this bus. We're both sweating, we're both the same."
The Kingdom brings us all to the table. And our titles and pasts and status descriptions don't matter. Not even in the least. Surely that's how we know:)
We were greeted at the OTV gate by a group of an excited 80 who had been attention starved for a whole five hours. They asked if we were leaving tomorrow. They know the drill. And we said yes, and put on a carnival (in the most structured manner that I've ever seen a group accomplish in Haiti...yay team!).
And before we left to go up for dinner and then one last debriefing on the roof, I found Kinli who jumped up in my arms and we just walked around for a bit. And it happened. One of those very real, very present moments. He gave me kisses on my cheek and laughed when I tried to say, "You are my little brother" in Creole. Then we walked toward the soccer field and I prayed for him and twirled him and he said, "Jezi, Jezi" then giggled and pulled out his pixi stick which was soon all over everything. And he asked when I would be back, and I told him I wasn't sure. But that I would be. And I will be:)
May your moments be present and to the hilt,
Thanks for reading about one more trip and a few more stories! Until next time:)
PS. I got ranked a five today in looks by a very blunt Haitian man. I am offended. But he was on the prowl for a mama to join he and his baby girl in their family. So maybe not that offended. Bon nuit!