For a while before the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, I had a stirring in my heart for Haiti. There is no explanation for it, except that God put it there in anticipation of the plans that he has for me .I have a friend who has a gift for prophecy, who once told me that I would be going somewhere extremely poor and doing work there. At the time, I actually told him that he was a few cards short of a full deck, but he said to wait and see. Oh yea of little faith!
Very soon I will be embarking on my 5th trip to Haiti. I can talk and try to explain what draws my heart to Haiti, but I don't think the average person living here in the United States can understand. Unless you see, hear, touch and experience Haiti, it's just not easy to comprehend. As a child, I recall my father talking about the Great Depression and the challenges of living through those tough economic times. His family moved on one occasion because my granddad found a job that paid 10 cents more an hour. One year, the kids started school late because there was no money for shoes until a good Samaritan found some shoes for them. I am ashamed to say this, but these stories did not have a profound affect on me until I went to Haiti. My needs were always well met, even though at the time I may not have thought so. Most of us have our basic needs taken care of-what are we doing to take care of others?
What does it mean to have nothing or very little? How would each and everyone of us do with no electricity, no running water, (you have to carry your water from the local well or even get it from a stream) having basically one meal a day, and the list goes on and on? WE ARE SO BLESSED! I cannot stress this enough. Are we thankful for all that we have? I know that times have been tough for a great many people in the past few years, and I do not wish to make light of that, but we as Americans need to relearn the idea of picking ourselves up by our bootstraps and moving forward and to make a promise to ourselves to quit whining. Opportunity abounds here. Close your eyes and imagine a place that doesn't offer opportunity. What happens when people lose hope? What happens when you have no hope that your life or your children's life will get better? Think about the opportunities that have been offered to you in your lifetime. Did you take advantage of them, even though you were a little scared or just not quite sure? How many times have you kicked yourself for passing something by? Why do you suppose that opportunity presented itself? Will God give you another opportunity if you don't take advantage of the ones you are given? A talent buried in the round reaps nothing.
What do you suppose as Christians, does God want us to do? We can all quote scripture about taking care of the widows and orphans and about helping the needy. But really, deep, deep, down, how far are you willing to go? Don't worry about what I am doing, or about what your neighbor is doing. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Most of the time, what you can do, in the whole scheme of things is not much. But, everyone has a story. Everyone needs someone to listen. Be present. Make it a ministry of presence. In the most desperate times of our lives, we generally just want someone to acknowledge our pain. Look at each person through God's eyes. He put that person in your path for a reason. Each and every one of us needs to take the life lessons and opportunities that God has given us and put them to good use. Life is not a nice neat little package wrapped up in a bow. Life and relationships is MESSY. The most important things are wrapped up in the relationships we develop and the love we show. A good portion of the time is not fun and games, but investing in someone who may not be the most loveable is God's work at the highest level. I admit it, I struggle with this all the time.
It is important for us to start stepping outside of the box, not just for us, but for the next generation. Our children need to see us at work furthering God's kingdom. Every time we reach out to touch someone in need, we are furthering His kingdom. So, whether you decide to pound a few nails, distribute some food, cook a community dinner, hold someone's hand, go to Haiti, remember it is God's work you are furthering. You don't have to beat people over the head with your bible, they know. In Haiti, you don't ask people if they are Christian. They will say “of course”, I am a good person. The question is “Ou konnen Jezi?” Do you know Jesus? So, are you a Christian or do you know Jesus? We are to give sacrificially. What are you giving up to further God's kingdom? Time, money, resources. Does it hurt? It shouldn't, God loves a cheerful giver. Are you just warming a pew on Sunday morning? Get out there,connect with the world, and show God's love. Maybe you won't get a heart for Haiti, but you might get a heart for your community , your country ,or some place as simple as your place of work.Seek God's wisdom in finding your Haiti for your heart. Maybe He has been chasing you with an idea for a while now. Commit to that idea, and see what happens. You probably won't save the world, but you will have made someone's life a little easier.