And in the way they stood for long periods of time to sing praise to God with hands uplifted.
Not complaining about the temperature, the length of the service, the fact that they were hungry, or how uncomfortable their "pews" were. Just praising God.
I saw it on Day two and three as we helped create a home for this elderly widow whose health is failing and has hardly any possessions to speak of; who was so happy to have a new home closer to her church and the market that she slept on the concrete floor the first night instead of returning to her old house. The next day one of our team member bought her new mattresses. Her response at the house and the new place to sleep? Hands uplifted in praise to Jesus.
I saw it on Day three as we took a chicken to another elderly widow lady in the village of Coq Chante. She has battled pain and as was the story of so many others, has very little. When we gave her the chicken she raise one hand up and thanked Jesus repeatedly.
My heart was aching. How is it that these people who have so little are so grateful...and how is it, that these people who have so little are not at all bitter toward God for their hardships? How is it that they see every gift as a direct provision from God's hand? Tears fell from my eyes as we prayed over her that day.
Day Four was a hike into the village of Tiapo. The hike was tough to say the least. However, God kept placing people in our path who had needs to be met and I kept praying that I could stay focused on that rather than my own discomfort. Then, I caught a glimpse of it again...the faith of these people once again overwhelmed me as it had every day. It was at of the last houses we stopped at before completing our hike. We met this man.
He was blind. There were four or five children there at his home that were so dirty. We did everything we could for them with what we had. Every one of the five people in my group emptied our backpacks of food and clothes. One of my team members jumped in and started cleaning the children with baby wipes while another administered light medical treatment and tried to give the youngest baby a bottle.
I can honestly say it was the most heart breaking thing I saw during my entire trip. Tearfully one of my team members told our translator to ask the man "Who takes care of you?" His response hit me like a ton of bricks. He said, "Me...and God."
On Day Five we took a day to rest at the beach in Jacmel. It was there that I started truly reflecting on all of these things and asking God why. Why do these people trust you so much? Why is their faith so big when their life is so hard? And why is mine so small...when I am so blessed? I felt God reminding me of his power. I felt him directing my attention to the tiny pebbles that covered the beach and reminding me that he knew of each and every pebble, and every grain of sand beneath it. I felt him reminding me that He told the waves when to rise and fall and how far to come on the shore.
It was as if I heard Him whispering to me that He controls everything and it is He that meets our needs. An almighty God who is that powerful takes care of us and promises to provide for each and every one of these...
Day six and seven get a little blurry for me as God allowed me to be sick and spend most of my time in bed. Do you trust me now? Do you trust that I am going to provide what you need? Do you trust that I am in control even now when its hard? I spent the little time I was awake contemplating these questions. I wish that I could say "Always, Lord." I wish that I could say when something good comes my way that I raise my hands and thank Jesus, and when something bad comes my way I trust that He is going to come through for me. I can't always say that, but because of the faith of the Haitian people I know that I will strive to do this more. You see, in them I saw deep faith... I thought that I was going to teach the people of Haiti...but in the end it was the people of Haiti who taught me...with a faith that was deeper than my own. I am forever grateful.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
- Luke 12:6-7