Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Hard Parts

How do you decide what to do with limited resources and unlimited need? That is the biggest struggle I've faced here so far. We have only so much time, money, and availablility to offer. I truly realize how small we are in God's magnificent plan, and how small my fears and worries are when faced with true famine and desolation. I have seen hundreds of people already who literally have nothing. Some of them, who have a hope and a future because of their saving knowledge of Christ, have more joy than most people I know at home.

One day, I was faced with the following decision:
a. Help a man who's wife and baby were in the hospital and needing life-saving medicine
b. Give money to a woman who walked from the mountains about two hours away to ask for
any help we could give (she is the one we mentioned before with two surviving children out of
eleven - her clothes were threadbare, sandals were almost nonexistent, and when I put my
arm around her shoulders to pray with her I could feel every bone)
c. Buy baby formula for a woman taking care of her cousin's baby. Her cousin died during birth.

I'm sure there were more requests and needs that day, but those were the most pressing. There isn't enough money to do it all. What would you do?

One problem we face here is overcoming the years of attempting to solve the country's pains with handouts. As a culture, Haitians have become accustomed to having money thrown at problems. It even shows up here in this remote village when children see a white face and hold out their hands...not for a hug or handshake, but for the one thing many of them can say in English: "give me one dollar". It makes me very sad to have our goals here so misunderstood on a daily basis. Too many government organizations and missionary groups have put this country on welfare.

Then again, there are so many people in such need it is tempting to throw money at the huge problem to make it go away. But that has not worked in the 200 years of this nation's self-governance. It has only made things worse. It has taken away the independence and hope that comes from being self-sufficient. There is also a great deal of greed and dishonesty among the people here.

Please pray for us: For divine wisdom and clear discernment when it comes to who and how we help. For the love of Jesus to be prevalent in every contact we have with our new neighbors. For an understanding and peace about our role in God's work here in Haiti.

Jesus said: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." John 16:33