Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"It is not US and THEM...it is WE"

 Kids in the village of Sourcematles

I had planned to post yesterday right when I got back, but there were no words, only tears.  I can't quite explain what I have been feeling since we returned. I first experienced it on the plane when I would just burst into quiet tears.  I called both of my parents when we arrived safely in FT. Lauderdale, and I could barely talk to either one of them.  The crying was too strong, my face completely covered in tears and it was hard to breath.  It feels almost like a depression that I'm feeling, a heaviness on my heart for the people of Haiti, grief, sadness....I can't explain it.  I was so excited to see my kids, but at the same time I was sad to be home when there is SO much to be done in Haiti.  It's the strangest feeling, but I honestly think that my heart has been broken for the people of Haiti.  All day yesterday I was in and out of crying.  Thoughts about people and faces would come to my mind and I would just sob.

My prayer before I left for this trip was that God would break my heart for what breaks His and that I would see the Haitian people the way that He sees them.  I can only guess that I am feeling a tiny bit of the grief and pain that God feels for the people of this Country.  It's amazing to think that God loves each and every one of us so much that He hurts when we hurt.  He cries for us, He grieves over our situations.  I don't know that I really grasped this concept before this trip.

An Intern at Mission of Hope said to us one night that, "it is not US and THEM, it is WE".  This really struck me.  I feel like here in the states we live in a bubble.  We worry about trivial things and focus our time on the unimportant.  In Haiti it is a daily struggle just to live.  They live one day at a time because they have no other option.  They fight for their lives and for each meal in most situations.  When you sit back and think that to Jesus we are all one in the same.  Why don't we look at the situation in Haiti and treat those people as if it were our own neighbor struggling?  I tried every chance I got to love the kids I came in contact with.  I hugged them, held their hands, sang songs to them and started giving them names like I give my kids (this helped because I couldn't pronounce their name in Creole no matter how hard I tried:).  Most of them were bubba and bubbie to me.  I read a shirt that one of the missionaries had on one day and it touched me.  It said, 'there is no such thing as a lesser person'.  That hit me hard.  If everyone took on that view-point, this world would be changed!

Some things I learned...

1. Haiti is in MUCH worse shape than I anticipated.  There are tent cities all over the place.  As many as   12 people live in one tent.  The temporary structures that Samaritan's Purse set up (over 15,000) are still being used as houses for families even though they were made to last only one year.  I anticipate they will be used until they deteriorate.
Samaritan's Purse temporary houses

2. There was a misconception with the funds donated to Haiti by the US Government.
A number of people, including myself, thought that Haiti took the funds donated and squandered them away.  We learned while we were there that is not the case.  The US Government has not yet released those relief funds to Haiti.  We are supposedly waiting for the new Haitian president to take office (in just a few weeks) before releasing the money from the US.

3. The mass grave is overwhelming.  We passed by what just looked like another mountain, but learned it is the sight where they piled over 250,000 bodies after the earthquake.
Mass Grave

4. The kids in haiti have no 'stranger danger' fear.  They LOVED us.  They ran up to us and would hang from our legs.  They wanted to be held and get piggy back rides.  They would follow us wherever we were headed in the village with no parent chasing behind them wondering where they were going.  They wanted to help us dig trenches and pick up trash.  They would play with my hair and touch my face.

5. It is no wonder that disease is rampant in Haiti.  We saw children swimming with pigs, they ran around the villages with no shoes, no underwear and no clothes at all in some cases.  Most of the kids, especially in one village, had sores all over them, on their heads.  I was told most of them had ringworm and staff infection, and they just live with it.  We loved them and hugged on them. A kid is a kid is a kid...

dallas giving the kids rides on his arms
6. Mission of Hope is probably the BEST example of what God calls us to be.  They are loving the people of Haiti, feeding the hungry, caring for the poor and taking care of the orphans.  I just can't even explain the love exhibited through this organization.  They may live in an impoverished place where there are no luxuries, but they will have many riches in heaven!

7. God has a bigger plan for my life than what I am living.  I can't wait to find out what it is!

8. Haiti needs help, prayer and support. The mission of Hope is doing a wonderful job, but 2 needs they have are for prayer and support.

9. Mission of Hope is A-Mazing!  They have 61 orphans living there full time.  These kids are thriving!  They started a school several years ago and have 2600 students this year.  They educate these kids and teach them to love their country.  Their hope and prayer is that these kids will have a passion for their country and will change the Country for Christ.  They are building a planned community in a village called Leveque (we worked there one day) with over 500 homes to be given away.  They feed over 50,000 Hatians a day partnering with Convoy of Hope.  They have a medical clinic for the community and are opening a full-service hospital soon.  So much is going on there and it's amazing to see what God is doing through them to touch this nation.

10. Mission trips are life changing!  Even though our trip was short, I will never be the same.  God showed me so much on this trip.  I have been on several mission trips in the past, but this was different.  I don't know what all will come from it, but I know that I will never be the same.

Check out Mission of Hope if you want to help the effort to change Haiti for Christ.

MOH's Mission Statement: As an organization following Jesus Christ, Mission of Hope exists to bring life transformation to every man, woman, and child in Haiti. We desire to serve the nation of Haiti, and see lives changed.
Kids in Simonette
My buddy
Painting a house in Titanyen


mike said...

Great thought. Great leadership.

katie@tulsadetails said...

This brought tears to my eyes, Sarah. You are a great writer and I am so glad I could see Haiti through your eyes. My prayers will be with them.

SarahTopolski said...

What an amazing entry. When you guys went to Haiti, I came across John 14:12 and thought it fit you guys (it was my prayer for your trip). "Very truly I tell you, all who have faith in me will do the works I have been doing and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."
All those years ago, God knew there would be people like you and Dallas continuing to spread His goodness, His light, His love. I like to think that in cities of heartbreak, God used you to bring smiles, hope, and love. Your heart was broken for the lost and yet those people's hearts were mending because of your love and devotion. What a true joy to have such a great friend!