Riding in the back of a truck as we maneuver around gaps in the road, pot holes that could swallow small cars. Watching as a tap-tap drives passed us with about a dozen goats tied to the roof, a small suv comes speeding around the corner dragging 20ft metal rods that have been strapped on to the bumper with noise that could make your ears bleed from the rods on asphalt.
Weaving through paths of mud going from tent to tent where over 200 people, young and old, are living in appalling conditions. Passing out zip-lock baggies to families to keep important papers like birth certificates, passports, bank notices and more as a hurricane threatens to wipe out their lives - again. Praying that the next time I visit, all those faces I'll see again.
Sitting on the balcony of my house watching as a young troublemaker gets beaten by a passerby who caught him throwing rocks at the girls carrying 5 gallon water buckets on their heads. The screams grip at my heart as I pray for peace to overrule and for love to destroy the fear that has held this nation captive for far too long.
Other things here remind you where you are like when you chose to risk disease from mosquitoes and sleep uncovered (with bug spray)on the balcony rather than wake up wet. In the last 2 weeks we've taken 5 staff/students in the hospital with typhoid, dengue, gastrointestinal problems, and severe asthma. Coming home to Belville the other night from being at the hospital nearly all day I found myself nursing a few more who had fevers, migraines, stomach aches, and colds.
Until these past 3 weeks our house of 80 has hardly had any serious health issues and we've been praising the Lord daily for the grace and blessing He's covered us with in health. As we prepare to leave for outreach in the next 7-10 days it comes as no surprise to us that the devil would try and attack us in this way. We are specifically praying that this grace covering is renewed to last for the next week until departure.
Personally it is hard to even comprehend all of this and the true reality of these circumstances. Dare I let it become "normal" for me to see thousands of people living in tents made from sides of 18-wheelers, tarps and odd cut lumber? Or to see women walking from tent city to water pump with a 5 gallon bucket of water on their heads? It's not clean but it's all they can get and I can only pray they find clean water for drinking. There's the risk that seeing voodoo idols and the signs of witch doctors scared on people's flesh become so common that I forget how far from His design this is. It simply cannot become normal for me to believe that nearly every person in this country has been involved in some sort of demon worship (voodoo) whether it was intentional or not. Maybe it's become normal to know that every day something that I could never have imagined up will happen to me. Something is wrong here, but it's out of a heart completely captivated by the potential in these people that I say that. I pray to not see things with a calloused heart, but that I would remember the truth of these people's life circumstances anew each day.
This country has been hard to me, but I will never say that it was too much for the Spirit of God in me. I feel that anything I face in the future will never again take me off my feet in disbelief. Over and over again the Lord has proved His faithfulness to hold me high and dry in all places and situations. Above anything I have learned here is that, by walking in the opposite spirit, there truly is no reason to have fear.
God has taken me through red lit streets in Phuket where women live in an industry of sex and trafficking, where I am told to not even look down some streets lest I be killed or kidnapped. He has brought me through the chaos of Haiti where there is no silence to the voices and spirits of fear, anger and bitterness. I have walked through places where "hell" is the best term to describe, and yet my God has been faithful to never let me out of His sight or hide from mine. He has provided over $127,000 USD in a matter of months to support all of our Haitian students in this DTS. The God I have chosen to lose my life to, He is my Beloved, whom I pray to never turn from. It is He who I am willing to die every day for, just to live a life of extraordinary love with. It must be Him who I allow to be Lord over my anger and pain, over my weakness He reigns and it must be me who responds to His calling without wavering. I trust His voice, and pray that I will move in obedience every day of my life without doubt and unbelief.
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21