Friday, July 15, 2016

Day 4- Wash my feet

Day 4- Wash my feet

The Sunday prior to my trip to Haiti, I was at my home church of River Valley. The sermon was related to Jesus being a servant to his disciples- illustrating the significance of him doing the job of a servant and washing the dirty feet of his disciples. I have always loved this story and have heard it used many times as an example of how leadership should look.

Thursday we had the chance to visit three elderly in the community. Two women and one man, ranging in age from 70-90 years old, which is exceeding the average life span of Haitians, which is around mid 60s. When I heard about the experience, I imagined bringing water and food to shut-ins; to be greeted by somber and tired faces.

We brought our guitar and drum, a bucket and towels to clean their feet and lotion to finish off the job with a massage. The elderly and their large entourage of grandchildren and neighbors met us warmly with hugs and smiles. We broke the ice with live worship music and got right to work- one person on each limb, and the rest playing with the children.  At the first two stops I sat on my drum, keeping the beat alongside Jeff, our team leader as he strummed his guitar and sang even more energy and life into these homes. I liked my spot on the drum, contributing in my own way, and infusing my joy and personality through my hand movements beating against the drum. This drum was also my lookout spot. I took in my scenery and watched with pride at the hard work of my fellow friends and teammates, moved by their compassion and care with their soft movements over the bony, dry skin they were touching. They looked so natural, made the job look easy and enjoyable.

At the final home, I was encouraged to get off my drum and put my famous massage skills to work. As I crouched by the old man’s feet, it dawned on me that this would be dirty, smelly, rough...did I mention dirty? The laces were so stiff from dried dirt that it took work to loosen them. Dust was covering the entire shoe; there wasn’t a clean spot to hold onto. The old man was unphased- sat back and relaxed, thankfully unaware of the thoughts in my head about how I would get through the messy experience. As all this was going through my head, and as I continued to work on peeling off the dirty shoes, I was reminded of the sermon I had heard just days ago at church. This was the type of feet Jesus cleaned. Feet full of dirt, expected from the type of lifestyle and the area they lived in. I literally had to bring myself to the thought that Jesus- the King of the World, washed feet.  I had to remind myself of the “amens!” I verbalized throughout the sermon about how I am the hands and feet of Jesus.  It was convicting, to say the least. It was my turn to do the dirty work.

The old man thoroughly enjoyed his cleaning and massage. An eager team member graciously offered we could massage his back as well, and there was not a second of hesitancy from him. Thank you eager team member- cause guess who rotated to his back? Yes, me. Oh, did I mention yet that his hips hurt as well? He was ready for the full rub down, body massage. This old man was full of fire and FUNNY. We asked him how we could pray for him, and he closed his eyes, raised his hands in the air and started rattling off praises and worship to God for US being there. We then switched roles and prayed for him, asking for relief of the pain that agonized him all over.

The elderly were a blessing to us all. We enjoyed being immersed in the community and seeing into the homes and lives of some of the locals. They were easy to love on, and the life that flowed from their smiles was something we carried with us all day.

Day 3: water truck

I pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that is God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. Ezekiel 36:26-27

     Have you ever had the courage to ask God to break your heart for the things that break His, to see what He sees, to feel the way He feels and shed the kind of tears that He cries for His lost, lonely, and the brokenness of this world? That’s the kind of brokenness I seek from God. To Love the lost, the lonely and brokenness. Today our team visited a place called Cite Soleil, one of the poorest places in the world and delivered water to them. They may be in a place where they have no water, no electricity, or decent homes, but what they are rich in is the love they have for Jesus. If you ask a child or an elder if they know who Jezi (Jesus) is, most will say “yes Jezi”. My heart broke today for this elderly woman sitting all alone in front of her home when I was helping a little girl with her water bucket. When I left the little girls home, I went back to visit with the elderly woman for a little while. Despite the communication barrier, I embraced her hands and wanted to let her know how much she is loved. She had the most warming smile. I believe she understood but wish I was able to communicate better. She started patting her belly and patting her head but I wasn’t sure what she was saying so I asked one of our interpreters to come over to translate. What she was trying to tell me was that she was hungry and had a headache. I felt so helpless that there was nothing I could do.  All I wanted to do was to relieve her pain. Our interpreter said I could go back to the tap-tap and get her some aspirins. I was thankful that we could help with her headache but there was nothing we could do for her hunger. It makes me think, you may not be able to help everyone but if you can help one, a difference you have made. I am thankful I was able to help her in one way, if I couldn’t help with both. It was touching to see her reaction when I asked her if she knew Jezi. She lifted her hands in praise and said “yes Jezi”. When it was time for me to leave, she kissed the back of my hand with thankfulness…we connected. Two strangers from two totally different cultures were able to help each other. I showed her the love of Jesus and she touched a place deep in my heart. I guess what drew me to her was that she was sitting all alone with nobody around her and how often I feel alone while everyone else is living life. Later that evening Jeff sang us a song called, I Trust In You, which also touched my heart because it talks about how we’re not alone, that we can trust in God’s promises that He’s always with us. Today, the elderly woman and I were both joined together by God’s loving presents. God was definitely with the both of us today. What a blessed day I’ll never forget.     

Kim Juska