My Story, Part 2

This is the story.  Not my story alone, but the story of 26 Americans and thousands of Haitians that walked through the darkest hours of our lives, seeking the light that only comes through Jesus.

Just hours before the chaos, we were face to face with the reality of pre-earthquake Haiti, which was not that great to begin with. Most of the preaching team, and a few others, took an afternoon trip to a place called Val’s orphanage.  Val’s was about a 30 minute drive from where we were staying at Christianville.

Riding anywhere in Haiti is rough.  Roads are not really roads in Haiti. Sure, there are a few good ones, but most of them are glorified dirt paths.  The trees are cleared, but the rocks aren’t.  Needless to say, it is a bumpy, jarring ride.

The orphanage was not a real pretty sight, when looking at it with American eyes.  Cement walls, dormitory style sleeping arrangements, dirty feet and floors.  But when looking through Haitian eyes, this was AWESOME for parent-less children who had nothing.  Here they had food to eat, a roof to sleep under, clean water from a deep well, actual mattresses to sleep on and four amazing ladies who cared deeply for them. For the 28 children who lived here, this was paradise.

My miniature HD video camera was my friend as I interviewed child after child.  My Creole is pretty weak, but I could ask most of them there name and exchange a few other pleasantries.  They showed me their rooms, their well and their goats and chickens.

I had the blessing of watching and recording as other members of my team distributed Christmas gifts to these beautiful children.  We left, promising to return on Saturday and see them again.

Just down the road from the orphanage, around the corner really, is a football field.  (What Americans call soccer.)  We had a soccer ball in the truck, so we tossed it out and one of our guys jumped out to kick it around with some of the Haitian for a few minutes.  We had no idea that when we saw that field 10 minutes later, that instead of laughter and play, we would hear wails of distress and panic.

Just down the road a little further was when the earth began to shake.  It wasn’t as noticeable in the back of the truck, but the driver told us later that he began to lose control of the vehicle. Driving on Haitian roads already that day, we were accustomed to “out of control”.

We noticed a roof first. It was a metal roof on a house just off the road. It was shaking violently.  In fact, it was shaking so hard it seemed as if some screaming child was throwing a tantrum and jostling a toy around.

Our first thought was wind, but we didn’t feel ANY wind, much less wind that strong.  As we noticed dust rising, the word earthquake came to mind.

(to be continued….)

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My Story, Part 1

It’s going to take a few days, but I wanted to begin telling my story about what happened in Haiti. So, here we go.

When faced with an unexpected and unprecedented opportunity to serve the entire Jewish people, and save them from certain death, Esther was encouraged to see her situation as a divine appointment in God’s plans. Her uncle persuaded her to action by reminding her that perhaps God had placed her where she was, when she was, for such a time as this.

Never have those words rang truer in my heart and in my life than on January 12, 2010, and in the days to follow.

I was in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere.  There were many reasons I came to Haiti.

I came to encourage some full-time, on-site missionaries at Christianville (near Gressier), at Pouille (north of Maribolieas), and at World Harvest Orphanage in Port au Prince.

I came as part of a preaching team, of whom I was the youngest and most inexperienced. (Though, unarguably, the best-looking.)

I came to preach and teach local church leaders on various topics about the church and to discuss the increasing presence of voo doo in their communities.

I came to give away money and help some friends and family members take ownership of my love and passion for the Haitian people.

I didn’t come to get caught in the middle of what is being called the worst natural disaster in recorded history. (I think The Flood was worse…)

I didn’t come to find myself less than 10 miles from the epicenter of the 7.0 earthquake that decimated Haiti a few minutes before 5 on January 12.

I didn’t come to find myself face to face with death, destruction, pain, fear, anguish and confusion.

But I have come to realize that God counted us worthy to serve the people of Haiti, specifically the people of Gressier/Leogane, in their greatest hour of need.  God counted us worthy to serve beside some of the most phenomenal and real and raw Christ-followers I have ever known.  God considered us worthy to place us in Haiti for such a time as this.

(to be continued…)

UPDATE: Part 2

back.

Hey friends.  I made it.  your prayers and support for my family are truly overwhelming.  I am super stoked to see much relief and aid headed to Haiti, That makes me more excited than I can say.

And I want to help and do something truly huge.

But, I am still feeling the ground shake and being overwhelmed by the love and embrace of my family. So, that is going to have to wait for a few days.

Thanks for supporting my family for the last few days, and thanks in advance for giving us some space to clear our heads.

We are gonna do something huge soon enough.

Spread the Grace

Love the Groeschel quote– “To reach people no one is reaching, you are going to have to do things no one is doing.”
Like it or not, I will continue to challenge every status quo, every man-made boundary, and every false wall for the sake of the mission.
No more hiding behind our false walls of pious religiosity.
No more excuses.
The message is too powerful.
The need is vast.
The Savior is too good.

Radical Love

I have been pondering Luke 6:27-31 this week.  Go read it.  Don’t worry, I will wait.

Back?  Sweet.

I need your help.  Here’s what’s happening: I am floored by how little I see this lived out in life. Especially my own. Love my enemies.  Sure, I will decide to say that I LOVE them (attitude, emotion, feeling) but I won’t LIKE them (Action).  I don’t usually RESPOND poorly to those who are against me. In fact, it has been since early High School since I cussed someone out. (Just in case I never said it before: “Sorry, Chuck.”)

But, almost never will I take intentional step to love them forwardly.  What I mean is this: while I won’t respond poorly, I am almost never take a direct, intentional act of love and goodwill on behalf of someone I see as an enemy. I don’t intentionally act in love on behalf of someone who is intentionally unloving to me!

What I need is this:  Where have you seen someone intentionally loving someone who was intentionally unloving to them?  I am not sure I have ever done this.  So, help me out.

Only Hearing the F**ks and D**ns

So I have had this in my draft folder for a while. Not sure how you all will take it, but I sense the discussion needs to begin.

I had a friend recently who confessed that he was embarrassed by his friends at an event that he had invited me to. (In fact, he didn’t invite me back for some time because of this. And I thought I was just weird!)

He was embarrassed about the language that his friends used.  If you know me, you know I am not a big cusser. (Unless, of course, you lump words like ‘crap’ into this category.  If that’s the case, then I am a constant potty mouth.)

I don’t know for sure what prompted this embarrassment, but I assume he has run into Christians who can’t deal with people cussing. (I will ask him.) I assume this because there are lots of them.

It seems like we can only hear the cuss words in such conversations.  It seems like that is the only thing we hear.  All we can hear are the f**ks and d**ns.  This has prompted some questions in my mind that I really want to discuss:

  1. Why is that all we can hear?  I understand that we have chosen a different speech pattern, but do we really expect everyone to do it our way?  Including those who are not following Christ?  Why can’t we look through the mucky water of foul language and see the feelings, beauty and creativity of the what people are saying, regardless of how they are saying it?
  2. If we are in a foreign country, we don’t ask them to learn our language so that we can communicate.  We learn theirs!  Like it or not, “cussing” is a part of 21st century American language.  We need to be able to interpret, understand and identify the heart behind the words.
  3. Where do we get our theology for language?  What are some passages that you point to for this topic?  Do any of them have prohibit hearing ‘foul’ language? Do any of them actually discuss the language itself, or more how we use it in a relational context?
  4. While this avoidance of bad language is generally done with good and pure motives, often the consequence is people thinking we are snobbish and holier than thou.  How can we avoid this?

Anyway, jump into the discussion.  If you are feeling especially brave, tell me if you ‘cuss’, and why or why not!