Right away, Sister Gregoria said she wanted to introduce us to some people who needed a new roof. Their house was a dirt floor, rusty tin walls, and a Hefty-bag roof. Our hearts were moved to help Herman, Sara, and their son Gerald. They are a sweet, hard-working couple.
I hate doing the dishes. I always have and I probably always will. I don’t like how long it takes, I really don’t like the way it makes my hands feel, and I really really don’t like touching the soggy fragments of food caught in the drain. But a quote from Mother Teresa is making me rethink things.
On the third day we held the medical clinic in our own town of Pucacaca. One lady came in with her elderly cousin, an 88-year-old frail woman who struggled to walk. The sweet elderly woman must have had her hair colored for the occasion, as she still had the remnants of dye on the skin around her hairline. She had a pleasant demeanor and may have been blissfully unaware of what was going on around her.
Fr. Bernard began in English but quickly switched to Kimeru, the tribal language of Meru, so that everyone could understand – everyone except for us, that is. I haven’t a clue what Father said, but I assume it was beautiful because the people’s eyes twinkled in a very special way.
Many years ago, a wise friend taught me this counterintuitive lesson: When you’re thirsty, serve someone ELSE a glass of water!
The other day a man showed up at the gate of our home. He had seen a poster which I had made advertising a praise and worship night we will host at the church. Our new friend, an atheist who works as a fortune teller in a temple, extended an invitation to Rebekah and I to join his language exchange group, saying that we could come “teach them about Jesus.”
As I walked, my blood started to boil, I was so angry that I was close to tears. We found Fernando hunched under a tree and the boy towering over him.
After we put a big, wooden cross up outside our front door, we had a crazy forty-eight hours. We had been going slow and steady, meeting people one at a time, accompanying the missionary family already here to remote pueblos for prayer services, and brainstorming what this community could use. Moreover, we were still acclimating to the heat, caring for a newborn, and running the kids to and from school four times daily because they each have different daily schedules. Then we put the cross up…
This life in Haiti is one of extremes. One moment rain is pouring down in sheets and the next, the sun comes out and scorches the earth dry again.
He ever so gently chimed in as soon as I was done with my questioning and said, “My daughter, won’t you slow down and look up?” And for a moment, I stepped outside of myself and my struggles and I looked up.
I’m in a country I’ve never been to and I’m staying for the year; it’s really hot and there is no A/C; I don’t know where anything is; and I don’t speak the language. As I write this down I have to admit: that’s terrifying! … Living in Haiti is hard. I can do hard things though, with the help of Jesus.
It is a ministry of encounter, of witnessing to a culture of encounter, and then serving those we meet. In essence, we are seeking out God in the poor, the marginalized, the outcast, the sick, and the forgotten, wherever they may be: physically, socially, visible or invisible.
It didn’t take long for God to remind me that the weakness and inadequacies of my flesh were exactly why He must humble Himself in hiding His glory because He wants to be welcomed into my mess.
Crawling. Isn’t that how we sometimes live the Christian life? We talk about the Christian walk, climbing the mountain, running to attain the goal…but in reality, it seems that we’re slowly creeping along on our hands and knees, doing all we can not to give up before we reach the top.
Fr. David reminds us that Christ has called us here to serve the people of Haiti, but we ourselves are not Christ. We are fully human and must establish and keep boundaries and set priorities. Jesus is the one who saves, not us.
Why would someone become a foreign missionary? The members of the 2018 Intake class tell their stories.
We have been in Peru for 2 1/2 weeks. We have had a lot to process as life here is very different from our life in Minnesota. Our children want to share some of their perspectives with you!
These few weeks have taught me more about living in sync with nature. We cook with foods that are available locally instead of going to a grocery store with hundreds of options. We decide when to wash our laundry based on the rain forecast, since they are hung to dry—after they are hand washed. Many conveniences that I’ve taken for granted are not part of our life here. There is both beauty and challenge in the simplicity of it. But we choose this route so that we can walk in solidarity with the poor whom we serve.