This morning came really early for me. Rhonda and Joan were stirring so I got up to start my day and asked what time it was. They said, "2:30." I let out a squeal and jumped back into bed. But thanks to the cold, I could not sleep. By the time that 3:30 rolled around, Allan had the coffee on. And I had a couple of cups with some dry cereal, and it wasn't long before the bus arrived.
A different bus than the old jalopy we traveled here in, this one was a 15 passenger van. And I want to add 15 small passengers. And yet we got 17 of those in there, secured the luggage on the roof and pulled away. To my horror, Tessa informed me that Junior was sitting on the roof! When a piece of luggage worked its way loose, we stopped and we discovered that not only Junior was on the roof, but a friend of his, too!
Yes, you heard right! Two people clinging to the roof rack for an hour and a half!
In good time, we arrived at the airport, only to be swamped by porters and men selling paintings, but we had no money. Sharon had been traveling with a small plastic jar of bubbles, and finally had it confiscated, even though she traveled with it through Canada and the United States. The female inspector had never seen a jar of bubbles before.
The airport is crowded with so many missionaries, as well as one young couple with their newly adopted Haitian son. I wonder at all the work we're doing in Haiti, and yet the country is so dirt poor. There is no infrastructure and children are always demanding money. Some Haitians say this enough food for everyone, and that it's getting better slowly, but in my short experience I can't fully appreciate that. In the market we visited, I saw plenty of used clothing being sold, and people call it Kennedy Clothing because it arrived during the Kennedy administration.
So what do these people need? I keep running that question over and over in my mind, and there is no pat answer that I can come up with. Charles Spurgeon once said, if you're going to hand a man a tract, you better put it in the sandwich. So are we to do good work only ? Humanitarian efforts are good, excellent even, but change must come within the Haitians themselves.
It's not until I return home and speak with another woman who also just returned from Haiti, that I really get a sense of what the Haitians need, from words spoken by a Haitian woman. Haiti needs lives transformed by Christ. You may not believe that, but it's true. Secular humanitarian efforts can fill a belly, but even an atheist must admit there is a spirit within each of us that needs to be filled, too. A life truly and honestly transformed by God can do powerful things.
It's been over a week since I returned, and finally I'm feeling more comfortable with my thoughts. I still don't know if I would return to Haiti, but I've come away with so much more than I gave, so who knows, maybe I will return to try to give that little bit more, and help in the transformation of the country.
I hope you enjoyed this little series and even got a better sense of the difficulties missionaries face. Take a moment if you will and comment with your thoughts. Thank you!