Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Haiti--Contrasts Day 3 (evening) was another good day. Just hanging with the kids and loving on them. Each one is different and have their own way. Some will come up and sit on your lap or want to be picked up. And some shrink back like "Who are you strange person?"

The big kids have been great to teach us Creole. Then we had a discussion about me NOT being Haitian, although they still don't believe me. But that was interesting and funny and of course I tried to go into my Africans in the Diaspora lessons to explain the answer to their question of "If I'm not Haitian, then why is my skin the same color as theirs!" So Yvonne and I made up a song and dance about African ancestors and I'm sure at that point we both just became crazy Americans!

We also got to see several children from HAF dedicated today. That was cool. Always a reminder of why any of us who work with children in ministry do what we see them given back to the Lord, to see the adults commit to raise them to know the Lord, and ultimately to see those children one day give their lives to Christ.

Then we got to go to church and hear a service in Creole, then later we went to a church service on the beach with other missionaries. It was beautiful to sit in such an awesome location. Beverly, one of my roommates, told how watching the waves crash against the rocks reminded her that no matter what obstacles come our way or crash against us, we just need to stand on the Rock--God is our solid rock.

Then I met this brother and sister. I went to talk to the girl thinking she was Haitian and she spoke perfect English. She told me she was from about blowing my mind. She and her brother are both adopted. Their adopted parents bring them back to Haiti so they get to see their birth parents. The kids were great---Sophia and Jesse. We were talking and he said, "we have 4 parents." When I asked him how did they come to have 4 parents, they told me their story.

Then we came back and hung out with the kids some more...and oh wait....there was the football coach who shared at Church on the Beach. When he was in high school an old man gave him this advice and he shared it with us. "Whenever you face obstacles in your life....1) Pray about it 2) Do something about it and 3) Rest! Then the coach really did come out in him and he reminded us of what he tells his players. "Go hard! or Go Home!" OK! So I choose to Go Hard.

One of the funny things was at dinner that night. It was supposed to be a treat for us because it was going to be an American dinner. It was funny because before I came, I just kept thinking, what if they serve goat head stew or something like that. I can't eat that I thought, but I wouldn't want to offend anyone. OK....goat head stew? Don't know where I got that idea from.

Anyway, I had loved the Haitian dishes we'd had...rice with some kind of red Haitian sauce, chicken, and some kind of spicy coleslaw. Loved it! One day for breakfast was oatmeal and bananas. We also had fried plaintains, Haitian Kool-Aid (pineapple flavor). Breakfast this morning was great....eggs, bacon, and jelly toast. Teressa and I managed the bacon, some pork and some turkey bacon....We laughed about why call it bacon if it's not made of pork. So we cooked the turkey bacon in the pig grease!

So the only dish so far I haven't liked was the American meal, but dessert was carrot cake cupcakes and the buttered toast for dinner was the bomb. So I just went to the fridge, grabbed a piece of ham, and slapped it on the buttered toast. Voila!

Later, we broke out our electronics...I-Phones, mp3 players, even digital cameras...which the kids all loved. I even got a request for Justin Beiber. I was glad I had some to share. So tomorrow I'm supposed to bring it out again because the kids had to go to bed.

After that we had our sharing/devotions time with the team. One of my roommates shared a heartbreaking story. It broke her heart and when she told it, it broke mine too. We had chicken for lunch and there was a plate for the bones. I thought it was for Drake, the dog. But later, the kids lined up and they were eating and sucking on chicken bones. I did not pay it a second thought.

But this was the heartbreaking part that was shared. Who were we to eat the chicken, but the kids got the bones. WOW! Who indeed? I get the kids sucking on the kids do it....chicken, ribs, etc. But I think it was the thought that we sat there and feasted like kings and queens and they got the scraps. I did wonder if my reaction was a little bit of American self-righteousness! Like...."Well, I never....."

Now, let me say that the kids had already eaten dinner...and I'm pretty sure that they had the same thing because I had talked to one of the kids earlier about what we were having for dinner, but I think it was the contrast.

One of the staffers reminded us that it is good that our hearts hurt so that we don't forget. So that is my take away today coupled with the coach's advice. God does do a work in our lives, but it is not enought to hurt or feel we have the responsibility to do something about it. It may be something big or it may be something small, but God never gives us a revelation just for knowledge's sake. It is always a call to action. I am reminded of James 1:22 "But don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says."

So what are you going to do with what He has revealed to you?

I just love the expression on his face! Sadly, I realized as I was writing the caption that the little girl over his right shoulder is Junette. On August 11, less than 4 weeks after we met her, Junette died while playing at the beach. Life is short. Treasure each day.

Stephania was one of the kids who was dedicated at church. The abundance of baby powder reminded me of my own mother and grandmother who doused us generously with talcum powder in the summer too!

Teressa and I put the smack down on this bacon. It was a great breakfast. Thanks Sharon for putting it all together.

I got to hang with Sophia and Jesse at Church on the Beach.

What a beautiful location to have Church on the Beach.

Monday, October 1, 2012

How is God going to write you into this story?

I have learned reccently that I really do see food differently, to sort of borrow the line from Red Lobster's new campaign. I first became aware of it when chaperoning field trips with my children at school. I would watch in horror as they threw whole school-packed box lunches in the trash. Or I would see kids eat one thing out of the box, and all of the unopened, pre-packaged veggies, unopened bags of chips and cookies, fruit cups, and the like would be collected and thrown in the trash.

It bothered me so much that I figured something had to be done about it. I contacted the principal, then the superintendent's office, the my state and representative and state senator, and finally I even sent a message to the First Lady Michelle Obama. And everyone told me the same thing, there are rules that govern that, but it seemed to me that this was such a tremendous waste.

And now,  a recent visit to my daughter's class reminded me again of what we take for granted. The exercise was supposed to help each child try vegetables and fruits they may have never tasted. What resulted was bowls and bowls of salad---lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, and so on. Now the fruit went much better, but at clean up time, at least at one table, there were 7 full bowls of salad that were thrown away. Look at how much food was thrown away! And this was just at one table in an activity that included 50 students.

We live a lavish life in America, and it is so abundant that we truly take most of it for granted. According to a recent report, "forty percent of food in the United States is never eaten, amounting to $165 billion a year in waste." Read the Study

Seeing that news story has made me more conscious. When we go out to eat, I try to see if there is platter that we can order as a family because we can never individually eat the ginormous portions they bring to each of us. When I fix my kids plates at home, I try to be more consertave on the size of their servings so that we don't get to the end of they just can't eat it all.

And when I saw all of that food that the kids picked over being thrown away, I thought of Mark Stuart, whom I had met again for the second time a few days before. Mark is someone who's life intersected mine and changed the narrative. I recently attended a worship service where Mark and others shared miraculous stories of survival and God's intervention in the lives of children in Haiti. And a quote that Mark shared stayed with me, "God has an amazing narrative that is playing out in this country. The only question is how is God going to write you into this story."

God is doing amazing things every day. And people like Mark and those who serve alongside him through Hands and Feet really are the difference between life and death for many children in Haiti. And what are you giving your life? What is it that is greater than yourself that God is calling you to?

Mark challenged me when I met him the first time to come to Haiti and see what they do. I did. And I was amazed...and I was transformed. Because it did change the lens through which I see and experience the world.

My heart is for the kids of Haiti, but is is also for the kids I get to serve in Clark County and Fayette County, and Scott County...and wherever God leads here in Kentucky and elsewhere as well. No child should go hungry, while we casually throw food away. No child should want for love, or security, or basic needs. We can do better. What will you do?How is God going to write you into this story?