Two days before I left for Haiti I had a dream. I dreamed I was on the road to Emmaus walking with the two disciples who didn’t recognize Jesus after He had risen from the dead.
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. Luke 24:13-16
Then the scene changed and I was at a table eating with Jesus. In my dream I knew I was eating with Him, but instead of Jesus, sitting across from me, there was an orphan, a widow, and several other people with great needs.
Then I woke up.
I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous about going to Haiti. Kinsley’s plan was to host a ladies’ conference for three days while we were there. We would be teaching the Haitian women about the Armor of God in Ephesians 6. Each of us picked out different pieces of the armor to study and teach.
Now I don’t usually mind teaching. I was an elementary school teacher for 12 years. But this type of teaching was totally out of my comfort zone. I don’t speak the language, and I knew we would be working with a translator. I didn’t know anything about the culture. I was told that several of the ladies didn’t know how to read or write. What if I said something that offended them?
But a few days before I left, I was talking to my friend Stacey about my fears. She has been to Haiti several times. She said, “Rachel, you don’t have to know the language. Just love them. Love is a universal language.”
Love is a universal language.
Just love them.
Then I was listening to a message and a lady shared that she encountered a young boy strapped to a bed in a hospital while visiting another country. He had both mental and physical disabilities. She said she wasn’t able to communicate with him, but she went over to his bed and began to gently rub his forehead. After about an hour, she got up to leave and he looked up at her as if to say, “Please don’t stop. Please don’t leave!” She said she could not forget that look in his eyes. She said that there’s such power in the human touch.
There’s power in the human touch.
When we got off the plane in Port-au-Prince, and began our 4 hour drive to Les Cayes, I felt like I had stepped into another world. I had never seen such poverty. Sure, I’ve heard stories and seen poor places on television. But experiencing it in person is completely different. I was speechless. I could not believe what I was seeing. The majority of the buildings I saw were broken down and in shambles. Most of the houses people lived in looked like shacks. And there was so much trash! Everywhere! Trash, trash, and more trash!
The skinniest animals I have ever seen roamed through the debris and garbage looking for food. People swarmed like flies doing anything and everything they could to earn money. Some were selling items from little booths, on pallets, or baskets.
Many people would walk out into the street up to cars and try to sell bottled water, rice cakes, or bread. Men with cloths would try to clean the windshields of cars as they passed by. This beautiful island that God created looked like a junk yard. As I looked out at the brokenness, trash and filth, my heart began to ache for this place and these people. Then I had a thought.
What does the Lord see when He looks at the landscape of our hearts? What are we filling our hearts with? Junk? Garbage? Trash? Filth? Or are we filling our hearts with things that are holy and pure–things that honor Him and give Him glory? We get so fixated on the outward appearance, when God is more concerned about the condition of our hearts. Was the filth that I was seeing here on the outskirts of Haiti what God sometimes sees when He looks on the inside of me?
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
I saw people bathing in rivers. And apparently it is normal for Haitians to wash their clothes and their cars in the river. Others who were more fortunate had wells, and they would pump water into a bucket and use that to bathe and wash clothes.
Very few homes had electricity, so at night, it was pitch black. The only lights that could be seen were the headlights of cars passing by.
The magnitude of the needs in this place are overwhelming.
The house we stayed in was one of the nicest buildings I saw while we were there. We had electricity–sometimes. City power was sketchy and unreliable. They seemed to turn it on and off throughout the day for no real rhyme or reason. We had running water but since the water wasn’t filtered, we could only drink bottled water. And we always had to use germ-x after we washed our hands. We were able to shower, but the water was cold. For the first time in my life, I was very thankful for a cold shower.
My experience in Haiti made me thankful for many blessings and comforts in my life that I have taken for granted.
Our first stop on the way to Les Cayes was at a mission house for orphans (mainly orphans with disabilities), in Neply, Haiti, called My Life Speaks.
In Haiti, Vodou worship is common. So when children are born with disabilities, the community looks at them like they are cursed and they shun them. So My Life Speaks takes in these precious orphans, loves and nurtures them. They want to help change the mindset of the Haitian people. To help them see that these children are not cursed. They are beautiful, valuable, and created by God in the image of God. And their goal is to help these children find forever homes with the Haitian people.
As Day 1 in Haiti comes to a close, I think back to the dream I had before I left. I picture myself sitting at that table, looking at those beautiful faces on the other side. I ask, “Lord, is that You?”
I think I am beginning to recognize Him here in this place.
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:37-40
To learn more about this amazing ministry, click on this link.