Mark and I were blessed to have been a part of the team from LifeSong Church on a recent mission trip to Jacmel, Haiti, serving in the community of Morne Oge. Blessings come in all forms. ~E
Deuteronomy 6:5. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength.
After our Thursday morning devotion and team meeting, Mark and I went back to our room. He was out as quickly as the power in Haiti. As I lay beside him, I hear construction workers arrive, resuming where they left off yesterday. How they work is amazing. They make mortar by material on hand, not bags of RediMix. Much of the carpentry and wood work is by hand, without aid of power tools. It’s not the most efficient, but given the limitations and availability of resources, they’ve got it down and they get it done.
It’s early. I hear the ladies beginning their morning chores. The ones employed by the hotel dust everything, mop all the floors, wash the laundry … Every morning. Ladies in the community use handmade brooms to push the street back into it’s place every day. Those with items to sell load up their families, three and four to a moto, carrying their wares in bags and bowls to market. Those who can’t afford the ride have to walk.
The people follow this routine and manage their daily work diligently. Faithfully. A while later Mark rises from his mid-morning nap and goes back to his books and studies, faithfully, diligently.
And I’ve concluded that it’s Ok if God has restricted our activity and participation in this trip. Instead of disappointment, anger and self-pity I choose to take Ashley’s advice. As I sit here in this upper room I will praise God for what He is doing in this community and love Him with all my heart, soul and strength.
Here there are few distractions. Finding God, or feeling His presence is much easier here than back home. There’s beauty in the simplicity of life here, and we are hungry to have that in our own lives. Their culture is what ours was more than 50 years ago, less dependance on technology, more emphasis on community. When you can’t count on having power from the hours of 6am to 4pm you learn to work around it or make do without it, reverting to simpler methods of washing, drying, food prep, cooking and cleaning. They do what they do for survival with little complaint. I see people around me working hard and still enjoying life and realize again just how good we’ve got it and how little we appreciate what we’ve been blessed with.
We waste much. We’re spoiled and ungrateful. We take our cushy lives and conveniences for granted. I could list 10-12 advantages I have in the morning before my feet ever hit the floor back home. Once you have been here and experienced this you know. Time, however, fades the intense contrast of feelings. I feel thankfully blessed and undeservingly guilty for having all we have ….. while here even getting clean, fresh water is a daily struggle.
But God is God, regardless of geography or culture. American and Haitians love, praise, worship and serve the same Lord, Creator of All Things, Giver Of Life. He decides what, who, when, where and how much. This is such a mystery to me.
I finish this entry wondering how we can go back to our normal after having experienced theirs. How can I use less, simplify more? How can I be a better steward of the gifts God has blessed me with? In what ways can I be more diligent in service? What new work is God doing in me through this experience?