I can’t say how impacted I was by my quick 6 day trip to the other side of the island home that I live on. Mid-January, our Haiti team went to the Dominican Republic for a team retreat and renewal at a Todd White conference. The conference was full of the Holy Spirit and insisted on radical faith of prayers and shameless representation of Jesus Christ to the most common of people around who need to see Jesus in ME! I think our whole team was reenergized for the next season of ministry back in Haiti, after our 1st year completion of the discipleship school we launched, ENPAK195. Although the conference was great, something else hit much closer to home and I haven’t been able to shake it even now almost 2 months after.
I spent the whole week processing how different life was in the Dominican. I couldn’t help but notice the nicely paved roads, the shopping malls, the clean streets, the fast food restaurants, the Lexus car dealership… none of which Haiti has. History has induced a disdainful relationship between the Haitians and Dominicans much the same as was experienced between the Jews and Samaritans. Each thinks the other is pretentious, and therefore, scorns them to a degree of even despising them. However, Haiti gets the short end of the stick as it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, which doesn’t give support for bragging rights. The Dominican Republic, has experienced a steady increase in the GDP over the past 50 years while Haiti’s GDP keeps dipping lower and lower every year. How can this be with two countries sharing the same island?
I, informally, pulled a survey nearly everywhere I went, asking Haitians and Dominicans why Haiti is in the terrible state that it is while the Dominican, being on the same island is much further developed economically and socially. I heard answers about politics and economics, but one answer I heard repeatedly was short and simple, “Haiti is cursed.” Considering the two devastating catastrophes on Haiti within a 7 year period, I wondered about the validity of this response.
On the long bus ride from the Dominican Republic back to my home country of 6 years, I gazed out the window as the scenes changed from one country into the next. I gazed on and felt a consuming despair come over me. The roads got bumpier with potholes, the trash littered on the streets, the trees were not as full, the houses were built with less quality, and the people seemed as if they had an invisible cloud of hopelessness upon them. Is this what it means to be a nation that is cursed? I don’t want to get superstitious, but in the bible there is a clear distinction between God’s people who were favored and the other nations who were destroyed because of their idolatry.
I remember when I came to Haiti the first time, two weeks after the earthquake in 2010. There was still a stench of dead bodies in the rubble that hadn’t been cleared. I saw the rusty sheet metal shacks, dirt floors, mats for beds, and yet, I thought to myself, that one could live with very little for a long period of time, but Hope is what keeps you going; the knowing that something up ahead that will make all this turn out right and worthwhile. Yes, the resilience of the people to get going again was extraordinary, but the people needed HOPE.
How fleeting that hope can be.; as I sat in the bus looking on, I felt overwhelmed with hopelessness. I wondered why God was having me waste time in the country that numerous other mission organizations called a “charity black hole.” I’ve been the director at a primary school, founded another school, built multiple houses and schools, led bible studies, and helped launch a discipleship school, even with all that, has it all been in vain? How could one person do anything of significance enough to change this wasting away of a country? Tears flowed from my cheeks as I felt a heaviness rest upon my shoulders as my heart ached for the Haitian people and at the same moment felt like I was trying to keep afloat a sinking ship.
When we got off the bus, we had to wait for our ride to pick us up and immediately we were greeted by a group of younger guys who were just hanging out by the bus station, curious to see who these white girls were who could speak Creole. As typical, they asked for money, food, work and shared of their misery – Yes, that spirit of misery and poverty that is attacking this country. I called them out and became a mouth piece of the Holy Spirit sharing truth to these men, but graciously being given, myself, the very answers to my heavy pondering on the bus. The Holy Spirit spoke of how this nation is not hated by God, but of how the nation has turned its back on God. It has mixed Voodoo with Christ and God doesn’t tolerate it. God is love, but God is justice, as well. Spiritual oppression and bondage has sunk its talons into this country throughout its history of neglecting God as the One and Only God (Jer 10:10). I spoke saying, “God says to Haiti, ‘if MY people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek MY face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
It is so incredible how often it is that as I minister to someone else the very words I’m speaking minister to exactly what I’m dealing with. Does that ever happen to you? The weight of this burden to save Haiti was gone. I leave it in the hands of the Lord and I PRAY. I have, without ceasing, prayed nearly every day for the entire nation of Haiti. I know that God is going to bring revival here. I know that as knees drop to the ground and repent, that a wave of cleansing fire will sweep through this country so radically that it will be a model of change and the glory of God on a people who turn their hearts back to God. A love story of Darkness turning to Light!
I am Hopeful.
I am Eager for Revival.
I am fervently anticipating God to redeem
the people of Haiti that God loves much more than even I do.