I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.
My help comes from the Lord, which made Heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, He keepeth Israel shall neither slumber or sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite me by day, nor the moon at night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
Can I just go ahead and get this out of the way…..GOD IS SO GOOD TO ME.
This is the last view I had, the last memory of Haiti. Hand in hand with new friends listening to the beautiful chapter of Psalms 121 as I struggled to choke back tears. Maybe tears of sadness, some tears of joy, but mostly tears of incredible gratitude.
Gratitude. I am grateful. Always have been. I can give you a list of hundreds of things I am grateful for. Yet, this trip…this wonderful, life changing trip gave me a new list of things I am grateful for.
I am so grateful that God allowed me to get my first passport stamp to a place I have prayed about going to ever since I can remember. My heart was already in Haiti when I landed in that beautiful, poverty stricken country.
Grateful….When you pass through these streets you look around and don’t see many things these somewhat forgotten people would have to be grateful for. Trash consumed the streets, people were standing in the road pushing their way to your vehicle as you came to a stop, begging for you to buy something from them; whether it be a cold drink, some bread, live chickens and goats, I even saw a women selling wash rags. No Merci (no thank you) is what we would tell them as we made our 3 hour voyage in the mountains of Haiti. Yet, I found beauty everywhere I looked. The colors in the trash infested streets consisted of mangos, bananas, mandarins, plantains, bread….then there were the most insanely colored vehicles I have ever seen, Tap Taps lined the streets as they carried the weary hot travelers whether it be back home or wherever they needed to go. These vehicles almost always had Merci Jesus or some sort of Scripture painted on their Tap Taps as they barreled past you honking their horns loudly as if you are sitting still with about 50 passengers stuffed in the back and some even sat on the hot roof, I am sure saying Merci Jesus the whole way home.
It is good that man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:26
(verse written on the Tap Tap pictured above)
I was reminded one night while we were doing our devotions together how grateful I am. Our main focus all week was The Lords Prayer. We got to “Give us this day our daily bread” and I was ashamed, grateful and incredibly overwhelmed with emotions. I sniffed back a few tears as I heard one of our translators from this forsaken country give us his take on that particular line from The Lords Prayer as he explained that in our country (the US), we didn’t have to worry about food, But every day as they wake up, they don’t know where their next meal may come from, and some days, they just don’t eat. He said that they fully rely on God to supply their needs. Grateful? Yes, these beautiful people praise God for their rice and beans and maybe a fish or two…and they are grateful.
Before I left the States, I wanted to purchase some treats and gifts for the children in Mizak, Haiti. I took the kids to the Dollar Tree where we stocked up on candy, stickers and glow sticks. I spent less than $25. Let me tell you something, That $25 I spent was worth $1million to those kids in this tiny little town. I wish you all could have been there to see these kids when I cracked open the first Glow Stick!! My intention was to sit 20 plus kids around me as I told them about how Jesus is the light of the world (I practiced the Bible lesson in my head for days). All it took was one glow stick…one green illuminating Glow Stick to cause the biggest riot I have ever seen in my life!!! There were tiny little dirty hands all over me!! As I struggled to open the bags fast enough, my friend Laurie (who was supposed to be responsible for crowd control) started stomping her feet and clapping her hands as she started singing the most soulful rendition of “This Little Light of Mine” I have ever heard. Each kid held their most prized possession in the air and we all sang as loud as we could. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched their eyes beaming over something my kids take for granted everyday, a simple little package of 5 glow sticks that cost $1. And once again, I found myself grateful.
The pastor who we were staying with asked us if we would go with him after church that Sunday to pray with a lady in their community who was ill. After church, we filled up our water bottles and made the VERY LONG walk (in the scorching afternoon heat) to the young lady’s house. We heard singing and praying as we made our way to the front porch of the house. The tiny house was consumed with neighbors, friends and churches from the community. Rhonda looked over at me and said “Crystal, you are getting the real Haitian experience.” I humbly agreed as I tucked my camera away and started singing and praying with them. After the first crowd of what seemed like 50 people slowly creeped out of the house that is only big enough to hold 5 people comfortably, we were asked to come in. The pastor started out saying his own prayers as the word was getting to us that this young lady hadn’t spoken a word since her mother passed away the week before…she was consumed with a broken heart, and as I looked in her eyes I could somehow understand the grief she was feeling and I literally felt my stomach hurt as my own heart ached for her. We sang “Kumbaya” as people laid hands on her. The pastor asked Steve (one of our team members) to pray. We all stretched our hands out as Steve prayed one of the most touching prayers I have ever heard. I didn’t try to sniff back the tears this time. I was reminded of a verse in the Bible. God is near to the broken hearted.
It was that night as we were all sitting in the dimly lit room reciting the Lord’s Prayer as we held hands in a circle that I realized something. I am going to see all of these beautiful people in Heaven some day!! And once again, I cried as I found myself unbelievably grateful!
“Can you come and see my Baby?” This young man who hung out a lot at the clinic cornered Laurie and I after work one evening. BABY? DID SOMEONE SAY BABY??? I couldn’t get there fast enough…I love babies!! As we walked into the tiny shack that they called home, it was love at first sight as I slathered antibacterial lotion all over my hands and arms and anxiously reached for the tiny little un-diapered 22 day old miracle. As I carefully held her in my arms, my hand rested on her bare butt that was covered in scabies, she opened her tiny eyes and looked at me and I found myself grateful. Grateful for healthy babies of my own. Grateful for the Birthing kits I carried in my suitcase from the States. Grateful that I know God holds that tiny little baby’s future in the palm of his hand.
Grateful. My heart feels like it is about to explode as I write this. Guys, the things we take for granted in this Country……No one knows unless they see it first hand.
On the way back home, I was thinking about everything I saw while my week stay in Haiti. I thought about what Heaven is going to be like. Then I asked God to please let me walk in Heaven hand in hand with one of my new friends from Haiti. I want to see their reaction when they see the streets of gold, as they walk to their mansion and we all enjoy our first feast in Heaven. I guarantee you this, they will be first in line to bow in front of Jesus and say Merci Jesus.
I am going to stop here for today, but stay tuned for some pretty amazing little stories I cant wait to share. I haven’t even started talking about the people that came from miles around to come to us for glasses and the rusty deserted ship wreck we saw in the Caribbean. I want to tell you about Steve some more and what a blessing he was to me.
I will leave you with this….the entire week I spent in Haiti, this song kept resonating in my head. I sang it all the time!!! I want to share it with you.
“Little Is Much When God Is In It”
Until next time….find something you are grateful for.