I begin to write with no subject in front of me except for the beloved country of Haiti which has become a home to me. I write for three different groups: to those who have never experienced the world outside of your protected walls, to those who have experienced foreign soil and poverty and long to paint a picture of reality to others, and I write for the voices of the children in Haiti, which you may never hear directly from them so I will do my best to share their words with you.
To those who have lived comfortably…
…let me take this time to make you feel a bit uncomfortable.
I have grown up in a stable environment my entire life. Like you, I haven’t had to roam the streets, dig for food in a garbage can, or fight for daily survival. I am not Haitian because unlike the average Haitian who receives 2 meals PER WEEK, I have access to food whenever I want. I do not condemn your behavior because, like you, I live well. But I do want to challenge you to take a risk.
Mark Twain says it this way,
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
What I am trying to say here is that when we hold onto our stuff, when we vow to live safe above all else, when we stay inside the walls of our home, by holding on to those things, we are missing out on quite the adventure. Let me start with this: I am not telling you to move to Haiti (although if you want to, I will not stop you) but what I am saying is that God loves for His people to live an adventure. We are not here in America to live in excess but rather to live in freedom. Sometimes we see the comfort of our possessions and our time as our American right or freedom but let me assure you that nothing is more freeing than living simply. So I challenge you to rid yourself of some of those clothes and shoes in your closet, spend some time with the poor in your city, and look for opportunities to travel to a different country to experience something that will truly change your life forever.
To those who have seen the lost and the hurting and are home with a broken heart
…let me take this time to comfort you.
It is ok to be blessed with material things. I know it is hard to see a country that is just a simply plane ride away that is in complete poverty. It breaks your heart to come home to a bunch of stuff that just doesn’t seem necessary. Your definition of “need” has drastically changed and you have just about cried yourself dry. Let yourself cry. Let God do a work in your heart. Make a point right now in your life that you will do everything to help the needy. Speak up! Tell people what you have experienced and challenge those around you. Use your blessings to help others and let Haiti or whatever has broken your heart forever change you. Just open your heart and let God do His thing, a new thing. The process is confusing and hurts but it is all part of Him showing you His heart. There is a song that says “Break my heart for what breaks yours” and that is what he is doing right now. We are an extremely excessive people. We have way too much and are never satisfied. We are a sick and selfish people. But God brings us to the center of his heart. The Orphans. The Poor. The Forgotten. And He allows us to feel a portion of what he feels so that we can be the best light and best example of His love to others.
From the mouths of the children…
We don’t want your stuff, we want your love. Please provide for our needs, because we have many, but they look a little different than yours. We don’t say things like “I need the new iPhone” because we need food. But deep down, more important than the food we eat and the clothes you provide, we need love. You see, you and I aren’t as different as you think. You visit us in our homes, which look nothing like yours and it brings you to tears, but for the most part, we are ok with the tight living space, so you may think we have nothing in common. But you and I search for the same things, deep down. We need Jesus. A love that goes deeper than the surface. A love that changes you. We would rather be hungry and know the love of Christ fully than to be full and have an empty heart. We think, if you really thought about it, you would feel the same way too. Please don’t misinterpret, we do need food, soap, and education but please don’t feed our bodies without feeding our souls. When you come, bring Jesus with you. Show us what He has done in your heart. Give generously and love well so that we can understand even just a glimpse of who He is. Don’t come to check “missions trip” off of your Christian things to do, we have seen enough of those. Don’t come to satisfy your giving for the year. Come because you are overflowing with the love of Christ and you can’t help but share it with someone else. We are listening. It’s ok if you don’t speak our language. You don’t have to, we can hear you. We can see you and feel you.
Copyright © 2014 Rachel D. Fenimore All Rights Reserved