“Hostilities may result in my being held hostage, or being stranded and not being able to return home.” – Mission Trip Waiver and my initials…
In typical Telephone game fashion – where a group of kids whisper the phrase down the line – the nurse’s advice became “do not shower.” I had signed off on a lot of things to travel to Haiti, but not a week without these guys showering!
Checking back with the nurse, the conversation started over concerns in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Sanitary drinking water is often a concern, but now there are cholera outbreaks. The nurse had advised the group not to allow any shower water in their mouth or nose. Picturing germ infested water, this advice soon became “do not shower”.
There is an element of fear going to Haiti – anytime. Language barrier, dengue fever, spicy eggs… But especially with the aftermath of the hurricane. Communication is more difficult. Cholera is a problem. Our mission to Grand Goave is on the north side of the southern peninsula. Not the harder hit south side or western tip. Still houses are in disarray. Jenny – the missionary who lives there – had already sent a list of needs. After the storm she sent a new list – asking for more work gloves, hurricane ties, and tarps to repair roofs. With these we can at least temporarily provide shelter.
Most Haitian homes would be sheds for us. A great place to store rakes and mowers – not live. Picturing these homes without roofs, the families struggling to rebuild, my fears start to shrink. How can we not go in this moment? Sure I will still close my mouth while showering and bathe in deet (maybe we don’t need to shower with Off body spray…), yet my fears are overcome by their need. Certainly I can not fix everything – not even close – but I am excited to be there to help with whatever little bit I can provide.
I want to thank you for praying and thank many of you for giving funds and items to help make this trip possible. I raised more than I needed (so did the whole team). This means beyond all things Jenny hoped we would bring – tarps, gloves, a fuel filter, all kinds of random things (even a season of Big Bang – on the missionary’s wish list) – we are also able to offer an extra financial gift. These may seem small in the face of crisis, but they will make a difference to individual Haitians.
We are the church. Serving the resurrected King. Let go of your fears. Start rebuilding the good in this world. If you haven’t read the fine print1, this is what we signed up to do. To go to all places and peoples. We are the river of life. Called to feed the hungry. To stand against the arrogant. To encourage. To pray. To share. To build His Kingdom.
1 I suppose the entire scripture is the “fine print”. Key passages could be the Great Commission, early church (Acts 2 or Acts 4), or possibly my favorite passage: Ezekiel 47. The river goes out to all the nations to provide healing. The image is powerful. Many interpret the river as the spirit and they are right. But in this world you can separate the spiritual from the physical. So the river is also literally providing fresh water and food to eat.