Greetings to all,
I pray God continues to bless you and your family as we head into this holiday season. For many, this can be a very stressful time of the year. I pray that we are all able to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and not get caught up in the commercialization of the season. This is such a wonderful time of year, when we are blessed with the ability to celebrate our Savior's birth. I pray also that we are able to demonstrate to our friends, families and neighbors through our love and compassion what it truly means to be a Christ follower. We can all give the gift of love and compassion, the same gift Jesus gave us 2000 years ago. Let our Saviors light shine through us for all the world to see this holiday season.
It seems like I've been down here for a long time. I know it's only been a little over a month, but it's the longest time I've ever been away from home and the longest time I've been away from my wife, my son and my family and friends. I miss them. Having never lived "out of state", it's a very new experience for me. God continues to bless me with opportunities to serve others on the water truck but continues to open my eyes to the daily strife that is Haiti.
Many of our regular stops in Cite Soleil are starting to become easier. Lines are forming sooner and less people are trying to "cut in". At least one person each day, comes up to thank me for changing the way the water is distributed. Besides the children, this is probably the highlight of my day. Not only do the lines run smoother, I have more time to help lift buckets onto peoples heads and play with the children. That is my blessing.
Here are some pictures from the last week...
This first one is fairly typical. I try to always make time for the children and now many come and run to me as soon as I get off the truck. In the background, you can see some nicely formed lines of people that are waiting for water.
Jean Claude was able to capture this picture of me trying to thank the people for forming the lines. As you can see, I'm very happy when this happens.
There are so many children in Haiti without clothes. Many children like the boy in the green and white striped shirt to my left and the boy in the yellow shirt to my right, only have a shirt on, with no pants. You can see a child in the middle behind the boy in red coat with no clothes and another little boy on the left with no clothes. It is so common for children to only have a shirt or nothing at all to wear.
Here is a little boy who is obviously malnourished. His reddish hair and bloated stomach are symptoms of malnourishment. This makes me so sad to see... because it's so common.
Here is little Haitian boy is trying to collect run off water from a sewer pipe in his plastic pop bottles.
Often while I'm "directing" the lines, I'll feel a tug at the bottom of my shorts. I can't help but pick these kids up and give them a big hug. I just love the children... they make me smile... they are so innocent... I pray for their future...
"God let Your grace and blessings comfort the poor of Haiti and make it a better place for these children and their future than what I'm experiencing today. Let You move the hearts of people everywhere to do something to give these children a better life."
Helping lift their buckets is part of my work... over 40lbs. each... even young children are put to the task (see the little girl to my left with the towel on her head asking me to help her next).
One little girl was struggling so bad with her 5 gallon pail that I couldn't help but grab it and carry if for her to her house. She couldn't have been more than 7 or 8...
These next pictures are where God continues to open my eyes. This week we had the opportunity to go to Jeremy Wharf, a coastal town literally built on a swamp. The effects of Noah, even a week and a half later were very obvious. Unlike Cite Soleil, where some foreign government put pavers down on the roads between the shacks years ago, Jeremy Wharf has none. The streets are mud, water and sewage. It is incomprehensible that God's people are forced to live this way and very few from the US ever see this...
The question that keeps coming up in my head is "Can you imagine?"... Can you even imagine having to live in this as part of your everyday life... most of the mud and sewage wash down from areas higher up in Port-au-Prince and just land here as the water rushes out to sea.
Luke 10:25-28 says:
"Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus said, What's written in the Old Testament, how do you read it? The man answered, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Right, Jesus says, Do this and you will live."
Dallas Willard in his book "The Spirit of the Disciplines" writes:
"The overarching biblical command is to love, and the first act of love is the giving of our attention. The poor are not to be avoided, forgotten, or allowed to become invisible. We are to see them as God's creatures, of equal significance with anyone else. The rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all."
My prayer this holiday season is for me, through these pictures and experiences in Haiti, to be able to move the hearts of all who have seen and heard them. To help others see a world, not through "first world eyes" but through newly found "third world eyes". We in the USA are so blessed by our Creator... and so I pray...
Please help me to capture the real devastation, struggle and hardship that is part of everyday lift in Haiti. Let my words and photos make an endearing impression on the hearts of those who you have blessed. Let those who are not able to come to Haiti, see Haiti through my eyes. You have blessed us by the latitude and longitude of where we were born, let us not take this for granted and let us commit to making a difference in this world, no matter how small or how large. Dear Lord, give the people of Haiti the comfort and knowledge of your Son's love through our actions as we 'love our neighbors as ourselves'. Let us give our attention to the poor and those in need... let us not let them become invisible, but let us lift them up for the world to see. Help us see them as God's creatures of equal significance and love them as you do.
In your precious and holy name I pray, Amen"
Connecting people who have much and need little...
to those who have little and need so much.