Friday, January 13, 2012

Meeting a Child

There are a lot of things I really love about my job. Holding a child. Learning Haitian Creole. Walking through the local villages. But probably one of my absolute favorites is being able to witness a team member meeting their child that they have chosen to sponsor. I can never tell who’s smile is bigger, the team member or the child. It’s almost as if you could reach out and grab a handful of pure joy, as you watch the meeting take place! The student is so excited to know that someone is investing in their future and that they are loved by a complete stranger. And the team member begins to realize that they really can make a difference in the life of a student and they can be a part of the “bigger picture.”

Today was one of these days. I took a woman and her daughter down to the School of Hope to meet their sponsored child. The little girl was maybe 5-6 years old. I literally fought back tears as I watched the woman and daughter give the little girl a jump rope and some barrettes to put in her hair. The light in the little girls eyes was unexplainable. They sat and held her. Laughed. And took pictures. You could see it in all of their faces that if time could stop and they could stay in this moment for as long as possible, they would! What a beautiful representation of the Gospel. I am so blessed to be able to have this experience week in and week out. I love my life in Haiti.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Toss'n Rocks

Upon arriving in Haiti it was amazing to me how much I remembered but what probably shocked me even more, was how much I had forgotten.

I had only been at the Mission of Hope campus for maybe 2-3 hours when some of my dearest friends came walking up the hill towards my house. It was a few of the Hope House boys. Boys that live in our orphanage, that is on our compound. When I was an intern in the fall of 2011, I had spent quite a bit of time working with them, getting to know them, laughing with them and developing some wonderful friendships. So as you can imagine, when I first saw them walking up the hill, I was very excited. I hugged each one of them, asked them about their Christmas and New Year's and walked up to the playground. It didn't take long for us to all sit down on the loose rocks and continue to talk. One by one the boys started to pick up a rock or two and gently toss it at another rock, attempting to hit it. Watching them, I quickly realized that this was more habit than a conscious decision. They didn't even break conversation to pick up a rock and aim it at another victim rock. First just a few rocks were being thrown and then more and more. As more rocks began to be aimed and tossed, the less the conversation continued. And almost a matter of minutes the only sound that could be heard was the clank and clap of a rock being tossed into a pile of more rocks. This silence of words went on and on and on. I quickly found myself trying to come up with something else we could do. What game could we play? What subject matter could I bring up that they would want to talk about? My mind was literally racing. And then it hit me..... just toss rocks. I had forgotten the simplicity in which I had grown so accustomed to. I had forgotten that taking the time to just sit with someone, may be the most important thing you do that day. Tossing rocks may not be profound, it may not even make a whole lot of sense. Life doesn't always have to busy, things don't always have to be done. Everything has a time and a place. And right now, in this time and in this place, I'm going to toss rocks. So with that thought, I picked up another rock, glanced around at the boys to observe their smiles as their aim was getting better and better.... and tossed another rock.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Mystery of Hope

I read something the other day that shook me. It was a tweet from a pastor name Paul Tripp. Here is what it said:

"Hope is not a situation, location, idea, or thing. Hope is a person and his name is Jesus."

It made me stop.... and think. What do I put my hope in? What do I trust? What do I depend on? The definition of hope is " to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence; to believe, desire or trust." As I pondered this quote, I cringed as I thought of things that I so quickly put my "hope" in. Finances. Family. My car. Good health. The fact that I'm an American. It was a sobering reality.

Hope seems to be a word that gets thrown around casually in conversations. "I hope my team wins tonight." "I hope the restaurant doesn't have a long wait." "I hope we're not late for the movie." It challenges me to be slow to speak... to weigh my words. Now don't hear me say to tip the scales and go legalistic with this. I'm not asking anyone to alter the English language, but I am saying this.... I choose to put more weight to this word, "hope." I'm sure the fact that I'm going to work for an organization called Mission of HOPE, has magnified my awareness of this word. As I move forward and begin to live my life in Haiti, I want people to find their hope in Jesus. I want them to know that their hope IS Jesus. It's not comfort, possessions or the myriad of other things we try and complicate life with. Our hope is Jesus. Plain and simple.