the first glimpse of haiti was beautiful– beach, mountains, gorgeous clouds. the land looked untouched– full of promise and potential.
then the city was underneath us– tents smushed together, scattered among very small plots of grassy area. the poverty and NEED jumped right off the ground into my heart as i looked out my plane window.
how would i feel when i was living in it?
how do they feel living in it?
is God here?
these questions rolled in my head as the wheels of the plane hit the ground. no turning back. for better or for worse i was in haiti.
i said a short, silent prayer– “Lord, help me see you.”
the airport was overwhelmingly hot, simple, dirty, unwelcoming. my senses were on alert trying to take everything in. we walked through a narrow glass hallway that separates the outgoing flights from the incoming ones, down a broken escalator, past a few men with stony faces playing music for tips. in that short walk i felt a million things– fear of the unknown, sadness for the conditions, uneasiness because of the unwelcome looks i felt, embarrassment for the amount of STUFF i had with me. my arm was actually aching from the carry-on i had with me and i still needed to pick up my luggage.
i said a short, silent (and a little more desperate) prayer– “Lord, please let me see you.”
we made it through customs, gathered our things, and moved in groups of two or three outdoor to find our ride. the heat and humidity hit me first, then the calling started–
“this way!! i’ll take your bags!! it’s okay, it’s okay, come this way!!”
i can’t even lie– i was in sensory overload in about 2.1 seconds.
i didn’t know where to go, who to trust, or how to say “slow your roll” in creole.
and, just like that. with one short walk.
God began answering my prayers by stripping me down– goodbye sense of security, goodbye control, goodbye ability to communicate with just words!!!
by the time we made it to the bus, i realized God wasn’t gonna let me hide, homeskillets.
He wanted, and got, my FULL attention the entire trip. i had nothing normal to cling to– i had ONLY Him to rely on.
and He totally had my heart.
i cannot put into words the heartbreak i experienced as we drove through port au prince. no smiles, no laughter on the faces we passed– just the mark of hard-fought life. the people are beautiful, but their faces are as hard as stone. they live surrounded by rotted food, crumbled buildings, human waste and extreme filth– yet, there are babies and children there naked, playing, living. God showed me LIFE continues and it has nothing to do with convenience or comfort and everything to do with love, perseverance, and hope.
i started in on the ugly cry flat out from the get go, and in that moment when God had my full attention and my heart was completely ripped to shreds , i knew my Lord HAD to be real because if He isn’t i couldn’t see this level of depravity and be able to bear it. without a faith in His redeeming love…