Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sunday Afternoon Shout Out

It seems to me that there is a slump in information and blog quality. My concerted effort to reduce my computer time, is corresponding directly with a time when I just don't have all that much to say. Troy has said "I should write about that" about ten times, so hopefully he comes through in a big way, very soon.

I could tell stories about the kids day in and day out, but I want to keep the focus on Haiti observations and happenings as much as possible.

But, I like my kids so ... briefly here is a fun Ike story:
Me-Isaac, what did you learn in church today?
Isaac-Uh, uh, uh ... trust the Lord your God with all your heart.
Me- aaand ????
Isaac- lead not your own on understanding - that's the end of it, mom.

Onto other things. Someone asked about...
The Charcoal Beach Photos from this morning ... the last photo is trees that have been chopped up, set on fire and buried under dirt so they will smolder and make better slower burning, homemade charcoal for cooking. They are in the buckets waiting to be sold. Most cannot afford to cook with propane so charcoal is their solution. It is a sticky wicket, since it creates a larger problem of deforestation.

A few things that hit me/us at church these last two Sunday's...

Our Pastor asked that we take some time and pray for the people in our congregation who live and work or daily need to be in dangerous areas of Haiti. He asked them to stand. I had my head bowed but when Jack-Jack took off I got up to follow him and was surprised to see about 15 to 20 people standing for prayer. The media focus is on Westerners getting kidnapped or being in danger, the fact is, there are tens of thousands of good Haitian people that live in dangerous areas and no one ever gives it a second thought. They are not part of the upheaval or the discord, they are just trying to live their lives.

When we met with our birth mothers June 30, I asked Hope's birth mother if she felt safe living in Cite Soleil. Her reply translates to, "There is always running." She meant, they are always running for cover. Gunfire and gang wars are the norm. The UN won't even go in. Sad.

Believing that nothing can ever change for Haiti is a lie that the devil wants us all to believe. I am guilty of "going there" sometimes too. There is no point in my being here if I buy that lie. Things can change. God can do anything He wants to do with this country, whether I believe it each day, or not. I think He asks me, at the very least, to believe He can. I don't know when but my responsibility is not to give up. Not to lose hope. Not to forget who is in charge. Not to buy a load of lies. Keep being faithful. Keep trusting Him. Keep looking up.

Then, today we were blessed when Haiti's Campus Crusade for Christ Director (who attends our church) delivered the sermon. His name is Pierre. He said many things, and I won't attempt to reproduce his sermon but he was the one who reminded me that you have to watch the way you think about things. He has lived most of his life here -- yet he has not lost hope. He shared his testimony of growing up in the Artibonite Valley of Haiti and of having a father who refused to give in to the pressures of practicing Voodoo. He talked about high and low points in his spiritual journey. He talked about what God is doing with us in those high and low times. It was all good.

One of my favorite things he said was when he shared about a time when he was in Washington D.C. for a work conference. A black man walked up to him and said "Isn't it strange to be a black man but not be an African American?"

He said, what you are probably thinking .... what a WEIRD question. Pierre said his response was something like this ... "Well, that is an interesting question. Hundreds of years ago our ancestors all left Africa on boats bound for somewhere further west. The fact that your ancestors were brought to America and mine went 700 miles south of America to Hispanola means my title is "Haitian" and yours is "African American", but I don't think we are here to debate what happened hundreds and hundreds of years ago. I don't think we have any business doing that. More than Haitian, more than African American, we are Children of God ... I think we want to focus on that and what God has for us, what God wants to do with us, NOW in this day, in this time."

It was refreshing. He is right. We all dramatize and glorify the past. We all question why we are where we are, why God placed us in this family or that location. God recycles and God reuses - and the past is the past ... why do so many people (believers included) want to stay in bondage to it? My pastor gave me a lesson on this right before I moved to Haiti and it was one huge "AH-HA" moment for me. It was cool to hear it from Pierre as it related to his story and his experience as a follower of Jesus Christ, who also happens to be Haitian. Are we not children of God first and foremost? Are we not to be looking forward, instead of back?

I sat down thinking I had nothing to say. It seems I was wrong. Mini-sermon over. Back to serious things.

Whoever gave us the DVD called "I love Big Machines" -- let us just thank you. There is nothing cuter that little boys watching front-end loaders and excavators and cheering as they watch dirt being dumped. Both of the guys say "ExSavator." Oddly, along with BibleMan, it is one of the poorest quality productions you can find in this day and age. I could have taken my Sony home Cam-corder and produced a higher quality product. Even so BibleMan and Big Machines are tops around here. Maybe the boys are not headed into a career in technology or Video Production?

The lesson for today "Lead not your own on understanding" or Lean not, on your own understanding. We are busy applying that.

Have a good Monday! Be blessed.