Thursday and Friday – we spent the days in the Village of Kago building houses. By the time we finished on Friday, we built 5 homes over 3 days. I cannot even begin to put into words the feelings and emotions that bubble up when we present the family with the lock & key to their new home, as well as a Bible, before we pray over the house and family. In our blessing of others, we are blessed.
Before tearing the first house down on Wednesday, I got a video of the water (from Tuesday’s rain) running into the house through all the holes they had in their roof. I try to imagine myself in their shoes. My family and all our possessions in a super tiny makeshift home – made from rusty tin/metal and tents/tarps (and the tents are NOT anything like the ones we use in the US for camping, etc.). In a conversation I had with FanFan, I learned that the average Haitian family lives in less than $2 (US) each day and Middle Class families earn about $150/month (US $).
God was working on, in, and through me. Being in a country like Haiti, you learn to appreciate all we have. In the US, we’ve become such a materialistic society. It’s all about what we have. Whereas in Haiti, people are so happy with the little that they have. They have a joy that is inexplainable except that it comes from God.
I loved working side by side with or Haitian friends. The community in which we were building helped us in building. The kids would help unload the truck and bring our supplies to us. When was the last time we saw a sense of community like that in our own neighborhood? It’s amazing to me.
The houses we build aren’t anything extravagant. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The houses we build are 12×12 made out of 2x4s, plywood, & tin. For most of us, we can fit that in our living room. These houses don’t have a kitchen or indoor plumbing of any kind. It’s one room with a window, a door, and 2 plywood shelves. BUT – it’s dry without worry of water ruining their possessions. It means they aren’t sleeping on the ground. It might be cramped with a family of 5 or more people in there, but for the Haitians who get these houses, it means everything to them. They are more than grateful that we would come and do this for them.
I got to work with a Haitian named Mack. Mack is someone I will never forget. He is from the Village of Montreal where we built the last time I was there. He is now working with Greg & Kris in other villages. Mack doesn’t speak English. Yet, he and I worked together to finish a couple houses. We learned to communicate with each other despite the language barrier. Mack didn’t smile much, but when he did it was a beautiful smile. I don’t know much about Mack’s background, but my guess is he is more than grateful to be doing this work after seeing his village blessed with homes. There was just something about Mack that makes him unforgettable. The world could use a few more people like Mack.
I can’t begin to describe or even explain how God moved in me and worked on me during my time in Haiti. Some things became crystal clear to me. This was a trip that was scheduled at the perfect time. It was something I needed even more than I realized. Thursday night, as I sat in my room, writing out my prayers, I was listening to music and tears streamed down my face as I finally said, “Ok, God, if you’re leading me down this path, as anxious about it as I am, I will follow you”. I’m not ready to publicly talk about this path, but I ask that you pray for me because it will be a long and rocky path.
Trust seemed to be the theme of the week. As we all shared on Friday night about what we got out of the week, there were a number of us working through a lot of hurt and pain. There was a lot of tears. I’m glad I have new friends who are walking this road with me. God puts people in your path for a reason. Something that my new friends and I talked about was finding the beauty in the midst of the ugly, the hurt, the grief, etc. Sometimes we have to really search for it, but in the midst of everything, we can find something beautiful. As I continue to find the beautiful in my pain and hurt, I know that God has my back.
In Scripture we read, “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord” (Romans 8:28). In the midst of tragedy, trauma, & ashes, we can find good. As we drove by what seemed like endless trash on the side of the road in Croix des Bouquets, there were some beautiful flowers blooming in the middle of the trash.
I believe that we, as God’s masterpieces, are often the beautiful in the midst of crap and trash. We live in a world that is all about what is for them, instead of what they can be for God. We are the beauty in the midst of trash. We are light in a dark world. In Haiti, where there is hardship and uncertainty, there is joy. So many are hurting and grieving, while you may not be able to see it right now, there is something beautiful there. Take heart, friends. Trust in the Lord. He’s got our backs.