We had taken 5 of my fellow travelers to the airport in Port Au Prince for their return flight home. On a mission to make the most of the 4 hour drive to the capital city from Les Cayes, we set out on a few errands. When the first stop proves to be helpful but not fruitful, we set off toward a recommended next stop to continue our search.
Not far into the drive we are stopped in traffic. Eventually we creep forward to discover that four lanes of traffic are vying for a one lane detour up an inclined side street. Patchouko sits finally at the entrance to this long-awaited side street, one foot on the gas and one foot on the clutch, ready to dodge the next of the four of us that intend to go first. It seems our turn, the engine is revved, his foot begins to release the clutch just as several people hold up their hand and walk in front of us. A look of resignation covers his face and we wait as we watch the tap-tap next to us take “our” turn. We are able to climb the hill of detour next without challenge, feeling a sense of relief as we round a curve and the even longer line appears that is waiting to go in the direction from which we came. Evidence once again that very rarely are we experiencing the worst possible scenario.
Patchouko shares that even he has no idea where this detour will ultimately take us, thus we simply enjoy the quiet and conversation as we follow the vehicles ahead. As we reach what appears to be a major street, Patchouko asks me if I recognize where we are. Tracing in my mind where we have been is no help to me. After all, even my seasoned Haitian friend who grew up on Port Au Prince knew not where this route was going. I look around and find no familiar landmarks. He informs me that we came out in Cite Soleil. Only once before have I passed through, possibly taking an alternate route. Patchouko points out how things appear differently here, how life is much harder, hearts are hardened and survival is key. We pass police vehicles that are armored, have bars, armed police much different in appearance than you will see in the rest of Haiti.
With every glance, every turn of the head, every walk you take in Haiti there are needs. One of the biggest challenges is to keep our eyes focused on what God is calling us to do – just that. It is so easy to become overwhelmed by the needs, wanting to be so much to so many. I begin to pray for this as we continue our drive.
That is when it happened. Traffic from the opposing direction becomes congested. Patchouko glances over at me and says, “Looks like maybe a demonstration”. OK, I’m ready. Been there. Done that. God is in control. I begin thinking to myself, “What will I learn today, God?”
But, wait! As we near the growing crowd we hear PRAISES. Yes, you read that correctly – PRAISES! This is not the typical Haiti demonstration. This is a group of Haitian Christians, gathered around a large truck with a raised platform carrying a female vocalist broadcast from large speakers. She is singing worship music as the crowd walks alongside, dances, raises hands and sings praise and glory to Jesus Christ our Lord and King.
This is something far different than we had braced ourselves for. The air in the 4-Runner feels lighter and joy fills our hearts. Oh, to see praises sung in the streets of Port Au Prince. HOW MUST GOD HAVE BEEN SMILING THAT DAY??!!
I wish that I had taken a picture of this to include with my musings. However, I was so taken up in the moment it did not even occur to me to do so. I am confident my words are insufficient to describe the sacred hope in this moment, the joy indescribable. As you try to imagine it, join me in thanking the men and women of Haiti that are sharing the gospel with their neighbors and the many missionaries that have come to initiate the gospel with Haitians yet unaware.
God is at work in this world, friends. He is working in us and He desires to work through us. Maybe that is in a developing country, in a local neighborhood, in our churches, or in our living rooms. It matters not the location, but the answer to the call. Let us go where He sends us. Let us be the light in are darkening world.
In Jesus’ name, Amen!