Thursday, May 16, 2013


I just spent several days in Haiti with an organization called Healing Haiti and now that I finally have time to sit down and write something I feel at a loss for words.

Being back at in Robbinsdale has been just a shock to my brain. For all the trips I've taken and the missions experiences that I have had, I don't think I've ever had such culture shock coming home. I've also never had my heart broken so many times in one week. I can't even count the number of times I have cried since last Tuesday. And then how to answer the simple question, "How was it?" 

Well, the best answer I have to that is that it was simply heartbreaking. 

When Steve and I were once planning to be missionaries to Poland a missions pastor and friend of ours said something along the lines of, "How can I give you that much money for a car and a washer and dryer when that much money would literally save lives in Haiti and Africa? If you can give me a good reason I'll give you the money, otherwise I'm going to use it to save some lives." We didn't have a good answer at the time and, to be honest, I didn't truly understand the full meaning of what he was saying. Yes, the souls in Poland need Jesus just as much as the souls do in Haiti, and could he really be saying that the money was better spent in Haiti? 

That was a good 7 or 8 years ago and it was taken me this long and a trip to Haiti to understand. 

There really are no words or pictures that can accurately describe what it is like to look at a tent city where 100+ people live in an area the size of my yard in makeshift homes made of pieces of tin, tarp, and bedsheets. Rocks and bricks hold the roof from blowing away and there is no running water and no toilets. Add to this picture a ground that is covered in trash and children who are only partially or maybe not clothed at all. There are tent cities that stretch on for blocks and miles. 

I can't tell you what it is like to stand on the sacred ground of a mass grave where 300,000+ bodies were dumped by truckloads after the earthquake a few years ago. There was no room to bury them all. Every single Haitian can tell you the exact date of the earthquake and what they were doing when it happened. One guy I met was in a school with 300 other students. He left the building to get a drink of water and when he stepped outside the earthquake shook the building and everyone in it died, he was the only one who survived. 

These pictures don't describe what it is like to hug someone who should get hugged every day, several times a day, and doesn't. I hugged hundreds of kids who should know the love of a mother every single day and they don't. They are hugged and loved by the occasional white American who stops into their lives for an hour or so...I tried to make each hug count as much as possible. But I know that hugging my own children once or twice a day is not enough for them, and it's not enough for Haitian orphans either.

Cite Soleil is one of the most poor and dangerous places in the world and I went there last Wednesday to deliver water to its residents. They have no access to water, no toilets, and an estimated 400,000 people live in area smaller than North Minneapolis. We did three water truck runs that day, to three different areas of Cite Soleil. When we drove up to the first place my new friend Katie turned to me with tears in her eyes and said, "I don't think I can do this, tell me something good." I was silent and tears sprung into my eyes, I had nothing good to tell her. When I stepped off the truck a little girl older but smaller than my son leaped into my arms and would not let me put her down the entire time we were there. I held her and hugged her and tried not to cry. Before we left that water stop we took a little walk out onto a peninsula. Cite Soleil has, ironically, the beautiful turquoise Bahamas looking ocean at it's western edge. We walked out close enough to touch the salty water, but I didn't dare. The peninsula was made up of layers of mud, garbage, and manure. The kids who followed us out there walked over broken glass with their bare feet and didn't even flinch. I carefully picked my way over earth that was really more trash than dirt.Once we reached an open space we stood in a circle with all the children and sang, "God is so good, he's so good, he's so good." And the children sang, laughed, and danced with joy. And I tried not to sit down and sob.

I could tell you of so many other moments just like that where my mind was blown away and my heart ripped open, but I can't right now. Like I said, I've cried so much this past week already. All I can say is that I am glad that our friend took the money and sent it to Haiti. Because just maybe I saw some people, some precious souls who have no hope and who still need a chance to hear about Jesus, who were still alive because of his great heart.

1 comment:

Kayla said...

I'm crying :( It's so sad what others, especially children, have to go through. Josh and I wanted to slowly start the adoption process this year (it takes so long) of adopting a child from overseas. We have prayed some about what country we want to adopt from and Haiti, along with Sierra Leone and India, have been on our list that God has placed on our hearts. Hopefully, sooner rather then later, we will be able to give the love and hugs to one of those children that desperately need it. Thanks for writing this!!!