Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I See You

I was in a fluffy white robe sipping high-end-fancy-people flavored coffee and looking out over a beautifully decorated and manicured neighborhood in Dallas when Beth M. and KJ texted and said, "There is a dead man in the street in front of the house, he stole something and was stoned  by a crowd of people right outside earlier this morning. The body is just lying there in the street."  

They went on to tell me that they would guard our kids from seeing him and take a long back road to avoid driving right past his body.

In Haiti, crime increases around Christmas. 
Every year it is the same. 
Reports of theft and mayhem rise as the 25th of December approaches.

Perhaps it is the encouragement of active waiting at Advent, but December always feels more difficult.  We are following the directive and actively waiting and purposefully hoping and it seems to magnify the brokenness all around us. 

A man is stoned to death, a pregnant 20 year old with HIV is homeless and hungry and crying in front of us, a 13 year old across the street is due to deliver a baby in a few weeks, a devastated mother who has already lost one child goes into premature labor with her second pregnancy, a large portion of the country sleeps without a roof two and a half months after a hurricane wipes out their homes. 

Existential anguish is not strong enough a descriptor. It doesn't begin to cover the confusion of the season.  The disorder of our world and the incongruity of drinking a $5 beverage while someone is stoned to death for a petty theft of approximately the value of my cup of coffee is more than impossible to reconcile.

Yesterday we (we, the Maternity Center) drove yet another emergency situation the 35 miles over the mountains because in Port au Prince we must ignore 6 hospitals that are closer in order to arrive at a hospital that gives consistent and kind quality care.  Without advocates, most folks don't get the care they need and don't arrive at the hospital far far outside the city.

Bryan A. Stevenson is an American lawyer, social justice activist, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and the author of Just Mercy.   Bryan says the broken, materially poor, and marginalized desperately need us to see them and to be hopeful. He says there is a need for us to choose to be in their hopeless places and situations and be a witness.

I wonder if he is right.  I wonder if bearing witness and fighting against hopelessness is of value. Is it acceptable to fake hope until it actually comes again? It must be. 

In South Africa, there is reportedly a Zulu greeting where upon greeting one says,

"I see you."

When you want someone to know you have taken the time to notice them, that you honor their position, presence, and uniqueness in this world ... And you even celebrate it, you say, "I see you."

Jan Richardson says, "This seeing, this recognition, is the stuff that joy is made of. And heartbreak, too, for seeing comes with a cost. But that place of seeing -- that place where we know, where we refuse to be content with appearances, where we resist the impulse to take things for granted: this is where God lives, and where Christ is born anew.

~           ~~          ~           ~~          ~

To those of you that read the stories and keep up with the work of Heartline Ministries  (sometimes filled with hope, other times filled with lament and pain)  - we understand that you see Haiti, that you see Heartline, that you see  -- and your seeing and giving and praying is what sustains the work and propels it forward.  

This update was from Troy yesterday ... 

Monday at Heartline: 
Nadia transported to hospital for pre-term labor, a beautiful baby girl born to Jolina at the Maternity Center, Discipleship class men leading a worship service, sewing and cooking classes overflowing into the yard at the Womens Education Center, thousands of pieces of bread made by the Beltis Bakery, and Mirana picked up from the hospital for continued care at the MC after her C-Section. 

All of this made possible by your love, prayers, and participation in this Kingdom work in Haiti. Thank you...it is a joy to behold and participate.

We are at 60% of our year-end giving goal to sustain this work in 2017, and generous donors have offered to match your gifts through the end of the year!

Please consider joining and supporting the Heartline Family with a gift and double your impact in Haiti.