Sunday, May 29, 2016

Hello all!
The last day in Haiti was truly a day of reflection for all of us, I think. We began the day with church at Port-au-Prince Fellowship, where a lot of long-term missionaries attend church. I think that experience gave the whole team a taste of what truly living in Haiti long term is like for these missionaries. They are not protected by translators all day or locked in a compound with guard dogs. These people are living here, amongst the poverty and crime. We were also able to see how these people are able to praise God throughout all their struggles and trials because they are alive. I think that’s the most important thing I learned from church this morning is learning to praise during the trials, not just when things are going well for us, but when we think we can’t find any reason to praise him.

All in all, today was a day of lasts, a day of goodbyes, to our translators and the missionaries from Healing Haiti, a day of remembering the week and all we did, a day of remembering to remember Haiti. I think when we all leave this place, we need to remember to remember and remember to forget. Remember the people here and their love for one another and their communities. Remember everything we learned this week about each other and, more importantly, ourselves. Remember to be changed and live differently when we get home. Remember to love everyone, not just the people of Haiti, but the people all around us every day. Remember to love, to serve, to say hello, to smile, and to be the hands of feet of God. We also need to remember to forget. Forget ourselves and our selfish needs. Forget what we previously thought of our lives. Forget complaining when we are so incredibly blessed as Americans. Forget ever living the same lives as we lead before.
Haiti will forever be in our hearts and our minds and hopefully, change all of us for the better.

For the last year, I have not slept well.  My job has been very stressful – the decisions and problems of the day would not go away in the night.  Last night, here in Haiti, I slept for 10 hours straight!  And it felt really really good.  We forget the healing of sleep.
So I am pondering why I sleep so well in Haiti on a Healing Haiti mission trip.  Not somewhere one would assume provides good sleep. 
The word I believe explains this conundrum is – peace.  I am at peace in Haiti.  But why? This country was struggling mightily before a devastating earthquake hit the capital city and left more than a million homeless and hundreds of thousands dead.  The people of Haiti have fought back and are recovering a little more each day.  However, there is a long road ahead and there are still many heart-breaking issues.
I am at peace because I have spent every day working for; praying for; and thinking of - others.  Usually others in desperate need.  Some at hospitals for the Sick and Dying, others without family, others without water.  There is immense power, purpose and satisfaction in focusing on others.  This is not the message we see and hear every day in America.  We are told so often the world should be about us NOT others.  They tell us we will find contentment in us and our stuff and more stuff.  But I found again the opposite is true.  Giving and helping provide much more contentment.  Sarah says it best – “It’s not about you”.
This week I slept well because I found peace.  I found it by caring for others.  I encourage you to do the same sometime soon.  Maybe for a day maybe for a week and maybe even for a life time.    
God Bless!