You know those special moments in life that God allows you to experience? The ones that break your heart, and build it back up? Not too long ago in Haiti we were blessed to be able to experience such an event.
As many of you are aware the earthquake in January 2010 left a lot of destruction in an already struggling country. Many of the dead were unknown at the time, so they were taken to a mass grave. Crosses were staked in the ground in memory of each person buried there. This has now become a memorial to the fallen in the earthquake. Over the past year, many of the crosses have fallen to the ground due to the wind and rain. It seemed to be that only about half of the total crosses were still standing and well over a hundred had fallen.
Seven of us, five Americans led by two Haitians, started heading in the direction of the fallen crosses. I don’t think our end goal was to pick up more than a few crosses each, but rather to honor the dead at this memorial. But as usually seems to happen, God had more in store than we had imagined. The number of people working side by side to honor the dead increased from seven to over seventy people in less than ten minutes. A group of Haitian farmers used their hands to dig new holes for the crosses while our vision trip team members pushed the crosses into the ground.
After the crosses had been righted, a circle began to form. A Haitian led us in singing the hymn “How Great Thou Art”. Kreyol and English were mixing together and it was a beautiful song of praise that surely reached heaven. The end result probably won’t fully be known until the other side of glory, but that day, to see Haitians and Americans working side by side in memory of those lost, is a moment that humbled all of us.
Our prayer now, is that the Haitian farmers would ask themselves, “What would drive a group of Americans to take the time to pick up a few dirty crosses?” And that the Americans would remember and wonder, “Who is really at the center of this act?” And that the answer would be…Jesus
Desire: an unassuming village on the outskirts of Gonaives, Haiti. When one is able to spend the afternoon in Desire, a few things stand out.
First and perhaps most obvious is the source of water. Just a few months ago the well, which was used by the surrounding community, was found to be contaminated and shut down. No one knew where water would come from but, by the grace of God, there turned out to be a spring not far from the old well. The funny thing about the spring is that it appears to come straight out of the side of a rock! It gives a perfect image of the Israelites drinking water from the rocks at Meribah when God told Moses to strike the rock with his staff. No complaint was heard about the long walk or the time it takes to fill up the buckets. The Haitians see the water for what it is: A gift from God, our Provider.
Second, at church the children probably outnumber the adults 10 to 1. The most amazing thing about this is how the Holy Spirit is working in these children. When asked, “Who does God love?” every child’s hand shot up in the air to demonstrate them saying, “Me!”
Third and most exciting is the developing relationship between the local church in Desire, and the church from the United States. This past week, members of this church traveled for two solid days in order to deepen that relationship. Because of my position with the GO Project, I’m able and joyful to see this relationship taking place. I can honestly look at this and see, obviously, that it is God ordained. I am really looking forward to watching how this relationship ripens, and witnessing the fruit that will come of it.
Some of the fruit is already evident, although it is wonderful that God has been providing water through a rock, he has recently provided funds, through this church, to build a new well on the village property. This will allow the village to open its arms with love to the surrounding area by providing clean water. Children in the village now have school available to them and the village has also been able to build its first permanent house for the children. It's even getting ready for two more homes! All this because God decided to forge a relationship between two churches, and both responded in obedience.