Haiti Mission 2014 – Day 5 – Try a little Kindness

Ahh… peace and quiet at last. It’s day 5 in Haiti, and for the first time since we’ve arrived, we can hear the waves crashing in to shore. There’s no music blaring outside until three in the morning. Just the gentle hum of a generator, the light buzz of the swarm of mosquitos, and the wooshing of bats above our heads. Ah, Haiti.
It is lovely here, really, and we had an adventurous day. We started off dividing our work force. Matt was welding, Bruce was repairing the plow, and the ladies were gofers – going for this and that as needed. I went with Les to the Haiti version of Home Depot – it even had the right smell. We picked up a load of square tubing and angle iron, loaded the Land Rover with gas, as well as bought plenty of gas for the generators, and brought all the supplies back to the Consolation Center.
When we got back, so much had been done, but a break was sorely needed. It’s impossible to adequately convey just what the climate is like here. It’s hot. It’s sticky. The wind rarely moves. And the Sun burns down directly overhead. It’s easy to overdo it, and when you are welding, using a cutting torch, and working in the sun – you can overheat quickly.
We had one team member succumb to a little heat exhaustion today. The Haitians who were with us responded quickly, bringing us a bunch of coconuts – the electrolytes in the coconut have an exceptional ability to rehydrate and restore you. Still, we sent our sick one back the the beach house to rest for the remainder of the day – he went with our prayers, and we got back to work – more welding, some painting, and even some plowing. The good news is, if this ministry thing doesn’t pan out, I now have marketable skills in welding (wire and stick welding).
We finished the day with a refreshing swim in the ocean, followed by wonderful meal prepared by a lovely woman from the community. The main meal was goat, and it was fantastic. She made way more than we could eat, and the leftovers went to good use – we should all sleep well tonight.
Our devotional study for the day was on Kindness as an aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit. Kindness is a benevolence of disposition – desiring the welfare of others, even those who are continually taxing our patience. Kindness is wanting the best, thinking the best, and working for the best for all people, often at great personal expense.
We have been supported (financially and prayerfully) through the tremendous kindness of our congregation at Memorial Presbyterian Church. We have been shown great kindness and hospitality by our mission partners, Les ad Catherine DeRoos. But most importantly, we have receive the greatest of kindness, when God showed the “immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Jesus Christ” (Eph 2:7), when, through Christ, God raised us from the dead and to give us life.
God has proven to be kind and generous. When the punishment of sin was death, God showed kindness to Adam and Eve, clothing them to hide their shame, and sending them out of the Garden and away from His wrath. God continued to show kindness by demonstrating patience, and continually working restoration and reconciliation with His people. God’s ultimate kindness is seen in Christ coming to us for our salvation.
And so it is in that kindness that we have come to Haiti; and it is our hope that we may share God’s kindness with those around us. We want the people of Haiti to know God, and to trust in the grace of God through Jesus Christ for their salvation. We share this Good News freely. Yet we are also here to share this Good News through purposeful acts of kindness. We are making beds, painting gates, fixing plows, playing with children, rocking babies to sleep – so that through our kindness, others may see the kindness of God in us and be drawn to Him.
How much better would our message of the Gospel be if our preaching, our teaching, our evangelism, were always accompanied by purposeful acts of kindness? As you preach the Gospel, as you live the Gospel, try a little kindness – so that the world may see your good works, and give glory to our heavenly Father.
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Haiti Mission 2014 – Day 2 – The Joy of The Lord

Day 2 of our Haiti Mission is coming to an end. The party outside at Bamboula Beach is crazy. There’s probably a couple hundred people out there. The music is loud, and its been playing since 3 or 4 this afternoon (I kind of know how Manuel Noriega felt). The A/C in our room, and the generator in the back yard help to drown out the sound, but the beat goes on. Still, it adds to the sense of adventure, and the people are celebrating, and that’s a good thing.
Today we got to visit the orphanages that we have been working to support. We were greeted by familiar faces, welcomed with love, and blessed to see so many improvements since our visit last year. The children have grown. Some have moved on. There has been sorrow and pain, and there have been times of joy, and God’s gracious hand has provided all things in His wisdom and time.
Today was a day of joy. It was difficult, don’t get me wrong. Arriving at the Center for Help, where the memorial funds for Mark Sarchet have helped to radically transform a struggling facility into a place where children can grow and thrive – it was painful. We spent time in prayer, thanking God for His hand that has upheld us in the midst of loss and pain, and taking even that hardship and allowing such good to come through it. We played and laughed with the kids – I cant think of a better way to spend the day.
And as I said before, under the surface of everything we did today was a spirit of Joy. These kids have faced more at 8 and 9 than most of us will ever have to deal with in this life. And yet they are full of joy.
Maybe that’s why I needed to come back, to be reminded of the joy that should dwell in my heart. So often I struggle with an identity crisis: I know what Jesus says about who he is and what he has done for me, but I tend to forget what that really means. Jesus said, “I have spoken these things to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).
The “These Things” Jesus spoke of was His death for us, and His sending His Spirit to us to comfort us and give us strength. He has done all this – why? – that our joy may be full!
There is something terribly inconsistent in the joyless Christian. Christ came that we might know joy, and that our joy may be completed in Him. He was abundant with joy, deep in His heart there was a joy that drove Him. Hebrews shows us this when we read, “Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2).
When we trust in Christ for our salvation, when His Spirit moves in us and gives us life, we will know this lasting joy. It does not come ourselves, we don’t have to muster up a certain feeling. When we know and remember the truth of the Gospel, joy will prevail in our hearts. Joy is the work of the Holy Spirit within you, satisfying your soul in the presence of God – bringing delight in the inmost being.
Remember your catechism – What is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever!
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