It has been almost a week since I returned home from my whirlwind trip to Haiti. Accompanied by a representative of the Leadership Team, I was in the Caribbean country to see the work being done, and consider further investment. My time ‘in country’ was brief and yet it was highly beneficial—I learned a great deal.
These are some of my reflections (in no particular order):
1. Haiti is a tragic place.
Haiti is not without beauty, but poverty dominates the landscape. The people have suffered enormous economic and physical loss and their need is great. As is often the case in such desperate circumstances, the women and children of Haiti are especially vulnerable.
I have seen the deprived in other places and Haiti’s poor are no better off or worse that any other. However, the poverty in Haiti is incredibly uniform. Poverty is not restricted to pockets of the population—the entire country seems to share the same fate.
2. Sin is the cause of suffering and the hindrance to health.
The Haitian tragedy is due to sin. The French saw the land as a resource and the slaves as a means. Consequently, there was no development of the country and when they left they stripped the land of its timber resulting in massive erosion and depleted soils. Subsequent rulers have been equally exploitive.
But sin is not limited to the mighty; greed is equally at home in the heart of the poor. The urgency to find comfort leads people to take advantage of neighbors. Sin corrupts everything.
3. Partnerships with proven organizations are key to lasting influence.
The number of humanitarian efforts in Haiti is impressive. There are numerous compounds dotted across the landscape and each one is committed to serving those in need. However, the majority of these endeavors seem small and isolated, and their impact is limited by inadequate infrastructure.
I am delighted that Fellowship is partnered with Mission of Hope. Here is a tested ministry that is aligned with our convictions and ambitions. They are a great fit for us. Through their expertise we will be able to leave a lasting impact.
4. Our church is doing a heroic work.
I am amazed at the impact that our church has had on the lives of orphans and displaced children in Williamson village. Two years ago these children were malnourished, riddled with parasites, and living in deplorable conditions. Today these same children are healthy and happy. Their dwellings are safe and they receive the kind of care that every child deserves.
All of this is by God, through his people here at Fellowship. Some have traveled to Haiti to hold and teach these children, while others in Jackson have faithfully contributed money to the cause. I am exceedingly proud of this church.
5. Compelling relationships really do have an irresistible influence.
I arrived in Haiti just as our team was preparing to leave. Goodbyes were being said and it was a deeply moving thing to watch. Haitian children clung to Jackson teens that who returned the hugs with equal vigor. Tears were plentiful. There is a lot of love shared.
These displaced children value the improvements we bring, but what they truly prize is our love. This is why I see the names of our people painted beside the bunks of the children. They are no longer invisible. They have been seen and found lovely, and this makes all the difference. It helps make the gospel seem plausible.