So what do we do now?
Today we are heading home from Haiti. With thankful hearts and much to think about. Our time in Haiti can only be described as a blessing. There are few others words that could accurately describe it. Meeting and making new friends with our Haitian brothers and sisters. Learning from and encouraging our missionaries. Bonding together as a team. Challenging our perspectives on poverty and the poor.
We worked together, played together, sweat together, sang together, ate together, laughed together, cried together. We enjoyed this beautiful human experience that God created us to enjoy. We became friends and a bonded team of brothers and sisters in Christ. And ultimately we hope that we have been able to make a positive change in the lives of the people we spent time with in Haiti.
In asking Dave and Jen some of the important things to think about and take back with us regarding mission trips and poverty alleviation in general; they offered some very insightful suggestions and input that has come from a life dedicated to furthering God's kingdom in a third world country.
- It needs to start with a relationship. Meeting people where they are. Getting to know them, their culture, their dreams, their concerns about the future and life. This will help us understand where we can better walk alongside them, whatever they may be going through.
- Be aware of unintended consequences. We all have hearts to help the poor but at times some of our actions have unintended consequences that actually hurt them more then help them. Critical thinking and prayer are necessary in order to ensure you are helping and not hurting.
- What is your definition of being blessed? What is your definition of being poor? Jen challenged us to really think about these questions. Has our definition changed over the past week? Has yours?
- Contentment. This word has come up more than most others when the team was asked their thoughts and perspectives on the week. It was so surprising to us Americans the high perceived level of contentment that Haitians have in comparison to their poverty level. Satan's lie in America as that contentment will come once I have achieved or done________ (fill in the blank).
God has placed each one of us on this earth for something. We have ALL been called to do something that glorifies Him and his kingdom. Not just missionaries. Not just people who go on short term mission trips. Not just pastors and church organizers. ALL of us. What does that look like for you? It will likely look a lot different than what it looks like for me. God in his ultimate plan has given each one of us unique gifts and talents. That is by his design and plan for each one of us and mankind. Allister Begg said one time that the key to furthering God's kingdom is doing "What you can, where you are, with what you have." That is a challenge that God has equipped each of us to take every day of our lives.
We will be traveling home today and look forward to sharing with you the personal experiences we have had on this trip and the ways in which Gad has blessed and spoken to us from this beautiful place and beautiful people.
Steve, Dave, Marcia, Mark, Debbie, Rick, Bando, Jon, Ryan
A Special thanks to our fearless leader Steve Cram. You are truly a blessing to all those you faithfully serve and lead on these trips.