Lessons from Haiti: Grateful

washing clothesLessons from Haiti: Grateful

As the plane left the Port Au Prince airport in Haiti headed back to the United States, I cried.  I was overwhelmed with so many emotions.  One of them is gratitude.

As soon as we entered the airport, I was grateful for air conditioning.  Living for two weeks in extreme heat with very little relief was difficult.  I learned to love my little battery-operated fan.  I am  grateful for a hot shower.  There were only moments of no water, and for that I am thankful.  When I would hop in the cold shower, limiting my water in order to conserve it, I would try to say to myself, “I am grateful for water” but most of the time that turned into “I am not grateful, I am not grateful!!”

I am grateful for electricity and every piece of my convenient life that is attached to that.  I am grateful to Samsung for my washing machine.  A wonderful group of ladies and I washed clothes Haitian style one morning, which meant washing  by hand in a tub.  Seeing that our host continued to rewash and hand us back clothes that we thought were clean, we washed until our fingers bled trying to get it right.  We never did.

I am grateful for so many conveniences that there are too many to name.  My life is comfortable and easy, which is one of the reasons God called me to go to Haiti.   I was so looking forward to coming home, realizing that most of the Haitians that I lived among for two weeks would never know these amenities.

Some do.  They have seen movies and television that portray life in America.  Many times the view is skewed.  One Haitian gentleman anticipating a visit to Tennessee stated that he could not wait to drive up to one of those windows and have the people hand him food.  We know that is not reality.  Understand also that the Haitian people are content.  We cannot assume that some things that we think make our life so much better, in fact, do not make our life better at all.  We have so much and yet we can be are so ungrateful and unhappy.

The Haitians clearly see that we Americans left our comfortable life to come to Haiti.  For that, they are thankful.  One day a precious little girl kept rubbing, hugging and kissing my arm.  Why would anyone leave the states and go to Haiti?

As Christians, the answer is clear: God.  We have such a wonderful picture of this in Christ.  “He left the splendor of heaven…” is the first line of an old song that my church sang when I was growing up.  I cannot conceive of a Savior who left heaven to come to earth to live for thirty-three years. Maybe Jesus would have come to what I now realize is my good American life, which is still ludicrous, but would He have come to live in Haiti among the ones in the direst of situations?  I had difficulty making it two weeks.  To think that Christ willingly left paradise to live among us is…crazy.

I am grateful.  Our greatest need far above air conditioning, hot water, washing machines, refrigeration, ice, which, by the way, are not needs, is salvation.  Christ met that need regardless of the sacrifice of small and great measure.  May I never get over this lesson learned in Haiti.

To sponsor a child, donate to My Life Speaks or just learn more about this ministry in Neply, Haiti visit http://www.mylifespeaks.com



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