The Greatest Commandment

I posted my very first facebook video – in the same clothes I wore yesterday, the same clothes I slept in after being up until 3 am, and it didn’t even matter. God has stripped any hesitation I have ever had of “putting myself out there”. If not us, then who??!! Right? Jesus told us so in Mark 12: 28 – 31, best known as The Greatest Commandment. Verse 31,”The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

It has been a difficult last couple of days. But God somehow shines his glory in the midst of it. We have so many friends, their families, actually all of the southern peninsula that are without the BARE basics of food, water, shelter. Each time I am privileged to make contact with Patchouko (internet and phone connectivity is sketchy at best) he tells me of how he is helping. Accolade for Saving Lives, with Patchouko as their leader, is remaining true to their call. As the staff and Patchouko are out to assist the Accolade families, they are helping along the way anyone that can be helped. Many others are doing the same – exemplifying Christ through their selfless service. Exhausted, hungry themselves they just keep going as long as there is something to be done and there is a fragment of anything left in them to be given.

Words do not come easily. Feelings of inadequacy threaten to well up inside of us. The needs are so vast, how can we possibly do anything from here that can matter? Following contacts, encouraging servants that are on the ground, prayer – there is no moment of prayer for life in this time is lived in constant prayer, watching for updates and pictures. . .then being unable to even look. Port Salut – a gorgeous place employing many Haitians where we often have taken the ASL boys to escape the reality of life and play for a day. Gelee Beach, and specifically Arise Haiti (founded by James Courter) where servant friends share the gospel, minister to broken souls and heal broken bodies. This, where Patchouko, Jesula, baby Francis and I went when she was gravely ill. Badly damaged but not destroyed. I could hardly look, hesitated to click. I don’t cry easily for whatever reason. It’s October 7, what day was the hurricane? Time has become a warp. In the moments that I opened James’ photographs, being some of the first I would see, I finally began to sob. . .and couldn’t stop. I found the courage to look again, Matt at my side this time. It reminded me of 2 Corinthians 4:8, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.” In that second look I saw support beams that held strong, pillars that stood straight. The strength of those supports and pillars represented to me the body of Christ. Brothers and sister will come together – crushed but not abandoned with God and each other. Our resilient Haitian friends have a depth of faith most of us living in 1st world conditions cannot fathom and those of us that have experienced their faith strive to emulate. They are in shock, but they will be ok.

Last evening a friend living farther west in the southern peninsula made internet contact. He said, “Tricia we are alive. The trees are gone, the crops wiped out, our house is crushed, our animals are dead. In a couple of weeks we will be dead because no food or water, my friend. I love you, phone is dying, Talk later.” Before his phone died I was able to encourage him, “No, no, you are not going to die. Hang on – help is on the way. Remember Job, remember Daniel, all of the disciples. . God is with you and you are loved.” And our connection was gone. Again, I struggle for words to name my emotions, but I trust in God who knows all and sees all and I trust in the seeds that have been planted in this friend who two years ago knew “about” Jesus, began to ask questions, became open to learning and accepted Christ as his savior. Has your faith been tested this week? My friend’s faith was surely being tested.

Yesterday and today help began to trickle in. Devastation continues to be further revealed, verified losses of life are climbing, and some food and water aid are arriving. Neighbors are pitching in to move trees, fallen roofs, collapsed walls, to clean flooded areas and to share what they have. Amidst that desperation is also seeping in. We pray for protection of brothers and sisters that make themselves vulnerable by helping others, by sharing what they have. We pray for aid workers, government officials, missionaries there on the ground and their organizations here in the U.S. – for wisdom, discernment and timing all in God’s will. For fellowship and shared resources, for this to be a time not of each for his own, but of our kingdom serving together.

“They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love”.

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