I’m going to be raw with you right now because raw is what I’ve got. Emotions and facts firing non-stop in my head around situations that cut to my core. If it weren’t for God’s promise to work all things together for good (Romans 8:28) and my trust in His faithfulness (2 Thessalonians 3:3) insanity would have won long ago. I have no plan for the words to come, only knowledge that it could be enough content for a year’s worth of blogs.
How and where are we truly called to service, for where is there NOT unending need? To where the gospel has not yet gone? To where the hurting have lost sight of His faithfulness? To where God has broken our hearts? And, if we all responded to the broken heartedness He drives into our individual soul, would there be judgment from others for choosing to serve? For, after-all, we would all be serving in our own calling and far too engaged and exhausted to cast our eyes upon the work of others.
My morning alarm goes off – I think of my Haitian friends awakened by neighbor’s roosters at the crack of dawn. Find my way to my master bathroom – I think of those who have no toilet, no plumbing. Pour coffee from my waiting, warm pot – I think of my friend and neighbor, Ilan, who roasted coffee over an open flame and sold it in her boutique to privileged people who could afford it, who then hauled water, built a charcoal fire to boil the water before enjoying their first cup of joe. When adequate window screens keep mosquitoes outside and allows for peaceful sleep; when water flows from a faucet within my home; when instant pots, crockpots and microwaves do the work for us to prepare food; when I open the refrigerator door – for anything – I think of my friends and Haitian family who not only do not have access to a cold drink but do not have access to drinking water without treating water they had to haul or purchasing water safe to drink.When I get groceries weekly I think of daily market trips because we did not have refrigeration. How dare I grumble when I face loads of laundry – that a MACHINE will clean and dry for me??!! When I need new shoes I can barely bring myself to purchase – so many people have none. The list of thoughts goes on and on and it goes on all day every day.
What gives you or I privilege to have anything, especially anything more than we need for survival? Is it blessing? Is it where we were born? How we were raised? Who influenced our lives? How we know our God and His plan for all of His people? What is it? This is the stuff that haunts me. I am forever changed by what I have allowed into my heart and mind, maybe forever haunted. I wouldn’t want it any other way, but I would love some company in my chaotic state of mind. Anyone out there with me? Have you experienced something so life transforming that you now view the world through a different lens, a different filter? Please tell me about it – let’s share in our brokenness.
Gangs maintain control of Haiti, to the extent they dictate when and where fuel is distributed, when roads are passable. “BBQ” (leader of the most ominous gang) referring to himself as a modern day Robinhood with zero to few similarities to serving the less advantaged. He is bullying his way into power while plummeting people under his feet into even less than an existence of nothing that they had before.
17 hostages remain hidden with prayers for protection and provision. Who is looking for them? We know U.S. FBI are present in Haiti; we get no updates. Haitians and missionaries on the ground were hopeful the good that would come out of 17 Christians being held captive would be an international response to Haiti’s chaos. That has not ensued. I don’t even know how to feel and think about what the international community’s response SHOULD be.
Gas is unavailable to most (even after BBQ announced his allowance of three weeks of fuel delivery), hospitals have closed doors because without fuel there is no power, without fuel there is not oxygen delivery, without resources a hospital is paralyzed. Without hospital services people are dying. Food is becoming scarce and EXPENSIVE. Banks are open three days/week for limited hours those days and capped limits for withdrawals. If you get your money you need to have protection – there are thugs waiting outside for you.
Yet, don’t despair, my heart says. Focus on what IS happening. While I feel helpless, confused & nearly psychotic in my thoughts our Haitian family presses on – what choice do they have? We must all keep going – we to our vocations and they to their survival. The world keeps spinning whether we feel ready to move on or not. You won’t meet a more resourceful group of people. If there is a way to keep materials coming to the building site, Patchouko and his construction boss, David, will find a way. Persistence and the belief in the power of God have proven time and again that nothing is impossible. Consuelo and Pierre? Without a safe building, they are taking clinic out – to Hospital Brenda, to covered porches, to village streets and by boat to islands. A listening ear, strengthening exercises, prosthetic arms and legs, walkers, wheelchairs, braces and slings showing God’s loved ones hope for their futures of a new normal in a land whose physical challenges can be a barrier even for the able bodied. Patchouko and Consuelo both display lives of service, lives of steady, quiet (yet BLASTING) faith. I am so humbled to be their friend, honored to serve with them in the battlefield of Haiti. When we started out with CLIMB for Haiti we knew God was asking us to do one thing very differently. We knew without a shadow of a doubt we were to trust in the Haitians we were called to serve and to never lose sight of a future for them that would not include us. Well, in a way, that has come. Travel to Haiti has not made sense since our return in the spring of 2019. It certainly would not serve them well for us to go now. That could be an entire blog post of itself!
What does it look like now? Pretty amazing, all things considered. When I am able to check in with Patchouko and Consuelo they are busy working. Maybe we haven’t had contact for a few days, sometimes it’s been a week or more, but I NEVER find them where we left off. I get updates, I listen, learn about new challenges, hear stories of redemption and stories of loss. In light of all that is horribly wrong and tragic, sad and hopeless in Haiti these two are doing what they are called to do without question. At the end of the day, God continues to provide for their sustenance, their family’s well-being and their safety – thank you, Jesus!
This week one of Accolade’s “street boys” (now 20 years old) shared this with me: “Tricia, I see no future for me here in Haiti. My country is lost and more dangerous than ever. If I did not have hope from you and Patchouko, if I wasn’t part of Accolade, I wouldn’t have a reason to keep living right now.” He went on to tell of visions and plans he had (and we hope can still have) to finish school, return to his younger siblings (they are long orphaned) and provide a life for them after he completes school. Talk about emotions – thank you, God, for the privilege of reaching souls, the privilege to love those very different from me in very different life circumstances from mine. I want to also thank God for the privilege of a broken heart but it hurts SO MUCH right now I cannot bring myself to thanks. The hurt is more easily accepted with thanksgiving when times allow for progress, at least corporate prayer and planning. You see, it feels monumental and lonelyl right now.
Accolade for Saving Lives has business ventures that had begun to grown and has potential to sustain itself when Haiti is righted into functional governance. Tous Ensemble provides a unique service to people who have little or no means to pay. It is the right thing to do. Their building needs costly repair, the usual patients of 50 – 60/day has increased substantially since the Earthquake caused many injuries & amputations. Without government programs in a country where employment, let alone insurance, is a rarity, where do they find funding? A few business-for-profit ideas had been discussed prior to the earthquake. Sort of a side gig to pay for the ministry of therapies. These will all require upstart funding which is difficult when operational funds are in desperate need.
I can’t imagine living in the current circumstances. Most Haitians are not eligible for travel Visas, for them it is what it is. We pray for their resilience to remain, their faith to grow and for God to protect them. I pray also for the Haitian Christian community to rise up and show His love. Let His light shine from within!!!!