I think it would be safe to say that we’ve all experienced a wide variety of emotions these last few days. Joy at seeing the smiles, laughter, and hi-jinks of the kids; bewilderment at how things got this bad and how we can best help; a dose of conflicted aggravation from being asked for money, clothes, shoes, wedding rings, candy, soccer balls, or water over and over and over again; waves of sorrow that can momentarily overwhelm you; and moments of seeing God move that can bring you to tears in an instant.
The children are precious. They are so loving it knocks you over – sometimes literally. I’ve spent most of my time in the town square just playing with the kids in simple games like thumb wars, arm wrestling, and the ever popular “slaps.”
We can’t walk around outside without being mobbed with kids – such a great problem to have right? Perhaps the only thing that rivals the beauty of the kids themselves is the beauty of seeing Jesus in the faces of our team as they show love to them.
The kids today (Wed) were pretty amped up. I tried to give away candy but had to bail when a near riot started. They live to see pictures on my iPhone, and the really cool thing is I was able to show some kids pictures of us together from 2 years ago. Their faces were priceless! This too I had to cut short as upwards of 15 kids would swarm me, with lots of pushing and shoving. There is a ‘fight to survive’ mentality here. There is never enough so they fight for everything. This is strange to us as Americans where we have such “order,” but we also have enough…more than enough, we have excess. I need to remind myself of this before I judge.
We have had several very young children – like 2 or 3 years old – literally put into our arms by others. We hold them for long periods of time, some fall asleep in our arms.
Then there are the young adults and adults. They hang back in the shadows and we try to engage them. We try to seek them out to give them a smile, a touch, some food and water, or if the opportunity allows, to tell them about Jesus. We gave this older woman some food and I was able to follow up and give her water, she thanked me profusely in Creole and the only thing I could think to say is “Jezi” (Jesus). He is the reason we are here, what we give you food and water, play with the kids, hold them, teach VBS. It’s all about Jesus, even if you don’t rmemenber us – remember why we came.
And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42 ESV)
PS: Be sure to follow our team via #GPBCHaiti2015 – there are some great pictures going around!