Today’s Missions Emphasis Week guest post is by Andrea of stacking chairs blog (under construction).
I stood on the roof with my bible resting open in front of me. I had been reading through the Psalms. The sun had risen just recent enough to leave a little pink hue in the sky, dancing with ambers and light blues. The smell of my coffee almost overpowered the scents from the streets below. A unique mixture of smells from sewage, fire pits, and motor exhausts filled the air. Strange as it seems, it’s a fragrance I miss quite often.
I went to the roof every morning to look out across the village, seeing the mountains tucked away beyond the edges of the buildings, sheds and rubble remaining of Grand Goave following the earthquake two years prior. It was July 2012 and my first time in Haiti. I was only scheduled to be there for one week, but it wasn’t difficult for me to envision something much larger for my future tied there. God had tugged at my heart to go, so I went; and God was already tugging at me to return, even before departing. This was my morning rhythm, a time of reflection and conversation with Jesus. This was the first of many visits to the mountains of Haiti, the mountains that stole my heart four years ago and don’t appear to be letting go any time soon. In fact, the grip gets tighter and tighter each time I return to them.
It has repeatedly been made clear to me how present God is in Haiti, yet so unrevealed. He waits patiently on us in the rhythm of His grace and love. He waits patiently on us, to seek Him in our time and by our desires. Though the appearance of Haiti, as a fourth world country, is much different than the United States; I learned quickly there were more and more similarities between Haiti and home than I would have imagined.
We would often walk the streets throughout the village during the day, passing out tickets for families to come and receive clothing and food. The sounds of the village never silenced; the rhythms of chants could be heard from a nearby Voodoo temple while simultaneously we could hear singing and worship to our God in other areas. Regardless of their efforts or their worship’s destination, the village was filled with the sounds of people’s outcry for something greater than themselves.
Unexpectedly, I quickly realized the people’s needs in Haiti were not material deep, but into the soul. Their lives were not unfulfilled because of any lacking earthly possession, but because they needed to know a true Savior; they needed to know a true God worthy of worship. I know many of them live in conditions some could never fathom; but beyond the physical life needs, our soul hungers for something with even more necessity. I wondered how many of them had hearts beating to the rhythm of God’s; and then I began the wonder the same of myself. Those in Haiti who had Jesus and faith and true life; it was so evident in their entire existence. Their faith in God completely consumed them; and they saw no other way to live but to spend every moment in gratitude of our King. I then began to see how much some of my day-to-day conveniences truly rob me of joy and time with Jesus.
We built a home on the outskirts of the village, along the mountainside. There were very few homes or structures close by, but I could hear not too far off in the distance, a chorus of voices singing in Creole. I asked a pastor what they were saying. He replied ‘They are singing praises to the Lord, for He has been so good to them.’ The singing continued through the morning. When we returned from lunch that afternoon I noticed it still persisted, almost 5 hours later. I had wandered closer to the voices and found a tent where people had gathered in worship. They had crowded into the tent, but also into what was now a temple, praising God. All the while, He was bending down to meet them as well.
My heart continues to be drawn to the mountains, the people and the presence of the Holy Spirit. He is present, and He is at war with the evil spirits that arise from depths of tradition, heritage and lies that have been placed in that land many generations ago. Though there are some in Haiti who know and love God, there are still deeply rooted lies within the theology of the church and many hearts. The fight in Haiti is not a physical one, not a material one and not an earthly one. The fight in Haiti is for the soul and for the heart. The fight is for the rhythm of their hearts to beat in sync with the rhythm of the Father’s. The same fight is true for me, and for you. See, we are no different in God’s eyes than any of them. We are children whom He loves, grafted into His family through the mission and sacrifice of Jesus.
Jesus is teaching me more and more the importance of writing down everything I experience while on the mission field. Through the words He gives me to tell the stories He is writing, I can see the rhythms of the hearts He wants me to serve, the rhythm of the life He is calling me to live and the rhythm of His heart beat- striving to reconcile the relationship with each of His children. His one and only desire is to have us back, His children in Haiti, in America, and all around the world. So I continue to run back to Him daily, asking Him as Abba Father to send me out to share Him with the world. But I always know I am never too far to hear the rhythm of His heartbeat; always knowing His heart beats out of love for us, His children.
I am a seminary student who is excited for God to define what path my life of ministry will take next! I love to run off to Haiti as much as possible, serving with my church at a school in Ouanaminthe, Haiti and spend my free time hiking, writing and doing yoga.
Local passions and ministries include my personal ministry on practicing humility named Stacking Chairs Blog (www.stackingchairsblog.com), and a bicycle ministry Eternally Geared (www.eternallygeared.com).
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Blog (under construction until June 15th): www.stackingchairsblog.com