Greater Things Have Yet To Come: Haiti (part one)…

As I sit down to blog about my Haiti experience, I am still not sure exactly what to say or how to say it. I will break this up so that it’s not an overwhelming blog. :)

It is astounding how six days can change your heart forever.

I’ll begin with my time in the Ft. Lauderdale airport before boarding my flight to Port-au-Prince. I was sitting in the waiting area when a group of 20 college-aged white people walked in with a guitar…it was very clear to me that they were on a mission trip :)  So I asked one of them, and they confirmed my suspicion.

One of the girls began talking to a Haitian man who was sitting across from her about the earthquake, and I overheard most of the conversation. I wrote in my journal two quotes from the man: “I don’t think we’ll ever get out” (in reference to recovering from the destruction). “They never finish the job” (in reference to the international community starting in really strong at the beginning with help, but never staying to see it to completion). I pondered this as we flew into Haiti…

…even from the plane, we could see tent cities for miles. As we drove through Port-au-Prince to get to our house from the airport, it was hard to not be overwhelmed by the piles of rubble everywhere (and by the seeming lack of driving laws!). We passed many tent cities sponsored by several different nations. The devastation was and is incredible–yet, people are making the most of it. Shops are open on the street in front of the buildings in which they once operated, amidst the piles of rubble. There is so much color, everywhere–buildings, umbrellas, clothes, fruit, flowers…and it provides a stark contrast to the gray piles surrounding everything.

I immediately began to ask the question, “where do they even begin to rebuild?” Everywhere you look, all you see are damaged/destroyed buildings…I was brought back to the comment made by the Haitian man in the airport, and I joined him in his sentiment…at first.

We had an orientation on Sunday night to Haiti, to what our week would look like, etc. We were told to be fluid, not flexible, because flexible can break. What a great concept, especially for what was ahead!

The missionaries told us about a conference that was held in November 2009, a conference that had a greater impact on Haiti than they ever imagined possible. A group of 2,500 Haitian pastors met together to pray for their nation. They specifically prayed that God would “break the spine of Haiti”, and “shake the things that could be shaken.” They asked God to remove the corruption from the government, to get rid of the voodoo influence, and bring revival. We all got chills. About two months later, God answered that prayer in a mighty way! Wow…

This year, Haiti cancelled Carnival (a voodoo festival) and called for three days of prayer and fasting. Haiti is a country that made a pact to serve the devil for two-hundred years, and voodoo is a very real thing there. So, the fact that this festival was cancelled is incredible! Hundreds of thousands of people gathered! The Lord is shaking people’s hearts daily…and the spirit of darkness, fear, oppression, and anger is disappearing…

Adventures in Missions (the organization with which I went) has been working directly with Haitian pastors to empower them to help their people, which I think is the absolute best approach. Many of the pastors, when asked what they most needed, said that they need discipleship–not food, not water, not buildings. And they said to start with them. In a country filled with so much need, so much desperation, these pastors recognize that man does not live by bread alone, but by the Word of the Lord, and that was so encouraging!

Haiti is a magnet right now–God is bringing people from all over the world here to “help Haiti”, but these people are leaving with a new sense of spiritual hunger and desperation that they are taking back to their homes. God wants to bless the nations through Haiti, and I can definitely say that my experience is in line with that! People are going home infused with an urgency and a desire to serve Jesus more!

God is working in Haiti, and we were so encouraged, so inspired by the joy and determination of the people…

And I’ll write more later… :)

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