Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Visiting Friends

Brothers and sisters: Isaac and Sandra, Dawens and Landa
Several weeks ago, Cathi and I were privileged to go to Compassion International's 45th year anniversary (of their involvement in Haiti) celebration. It also marked the retirement of one president and the inauguration of the next. The new president, Santiago "Jimmy" Mellado, got up and spoke of his upbringing. He talked about how his parents moved a lot while he was growing up - and not just from State to State, but from country to country. His father was an engineer. Rather than use his knowledge to become rich, he decided to use it to help those that truly needed it. He traveled to mostly third world country, designing buildings and structures specifically to help the impoverished. Likewise, his mother always chose to take the family to church in the poorest neighborhood they could find. As a result, Jimmy grew up with the influence of the poor always around him. Now, he is in a position with the heart to help the poor.

Making a car out of an oil bottle and caps
As we continue to live in Haiti, I pray many things over my kids. One of those is that they would be influenced by the poor around them. They may be poor economically, but they are rich in so many ways - particularly in their relationships. I've written before about a particular family we go visit in the village of Chambrun. Yesterday, we went to visit this family. When we arrived, we were so warmly greeted. You could see the smile on their faces as we came to just sit and talk and watch our kids play together. Isaac and Miguel learned to make little cars out of juice bottles and caps (ingenious!). Sandra carried Landa around the whole time, while Landa squealed, laughed, and smiled. Kayla helped some of the other girls, Kenia and Widlan with food preparation.
At one point, the sky started clouding over and the sun went behind a cloud. "Do you think it's going to rain later?" Darlene pointed to a cloud and said it would rain soon. I was skeptical. Clouds move in all the time and pass us right by without us getting a drop. However, I could tell she was a little worried. Lightning flashed in the cloud and she made sure I had seen it. "Do you think we should go, Darlene?" Yes, she said - she didn't want us walking home in the rain or have Isaac fall because we were hurrying back. So, we got ready, said our good-byes and started walking home. On our half-mile walk home, we felt a few rain drops, but nothing severe. However, the cloud that she had pointed to was now overhead. Not even thirty seconds after we stepped in the door of our house, the cloud opened up and it rained hard. Now, even if it hadn't rained, Darlene was looking out for us and showed this in that she was genuinely worried that it might rain on us. Granted, when I got home, I changed and went running in the rain, but that's beside the point!
In the past month, I've been able to bring some people with me to Darlene's to visit. They're not going there to do some project or try to make a difference somehow - they're going to spend time with people and build relationships. At the same time, they witness the relationship my family has built with hers. Without fail, this is one of the most impactful things people have mentioned of their experience here. In Western culture, we are very task-oriented and project-driven. People are attracted to the idea of traveling to a third-world country and doing something to help. When the project is over, they go home, feeling a sense of accomplishment. But more than projects, it's relationships that will make a difference. Jesus exemplified this in his earthly ministry. He touched people, healed people, had compassion on them, fed them. He poured himself into twelve men to carry on. His life was characterized by relationships. It's definitely harder. It's not as predictable. It's messy. But instead of going home with a sense of accomplishment, people can go home with a sense of fulfillment. The project will even be more meaningful because of it. But you don't have to wait to go to a third-world country to build relationships. You can do that wherever you are and impact people with the love of Christ.

1 comment:

  1. Great job Gammy and Cathi! Thanks for being there and impacting many im such a tremendous way--may God continue to provide guidance and clarity on your journey. It is very rewarding to read from you.