A Haitian’s Faith
Imagine with me a city crowded with people. The streets have potholes or look like mountain trails. The traffic is chaotic with cars and motorcycles everywhere, pushing their way through the crowds. People selling their food, clothes and water on the streets and children in school uniforms making their way to and from school. The people have little: small homes with little in them, not much food, and sick from basic health concerns. It is easy to wonder how they are surviving. But when you ask they would say, "I'll ask God, He will provide."
Last week I had the pleasure of traveling with six other people from Pinnacle Presbyterian Church and Ascension Lutheran Church to Haiti for a mission trip. We spent one week visiting with Pastor Luc and his people in three different locations. At each location we fellowshipped with the people, led a hygiene class, gave basic medical help and taught the children about hand washing and brushing their teeth. The amazing part about the experience is that it didn't matter if we were in the mountains of La Salle, the community of Toman, or the city of Port-au-Prince, the people’s faith was at the center of their life.
For us, faith is what we lean on to help us through our difficult days. We pray for the recovery of a friend, stress relief over a difficult decision, and an explanation about the future. We give thanks for the moments when our family is there to help us, doctors give us answers and the work gets completed. And yet we still worry about the future. The challenge is how quickly the very blessings we receive keep us from seeking God’s help in the most trying times and the most ordinary times.
As I have reflected on these conversations since returning home, I wonder if the question is not how much faith we have, but if we are happy with our life today. For the Haitians, they had little but were grateful for everything they received. For example, one day I handed a child a sticker and she slide it into her pocket as if it was something to treasure because she had never received a sticker before. Or the woman who we gave three left over tuna packages to, who could have kept them for herself, but instead gave away all but one. Selfless would be one word for it, and trust in God would be another.
It is more difficult for those of us who have so much to be happy about with what we have today. We are really good at playing the “what if” game. “If I had more money, things would be easier.” “If I had a better job, I would be happier.” “If I could only get better, things would go my way.” Again and again, we play the “what if” game and suddenly, what we have in this moment is never enough.
When we never have enough for today, we will always turn to the things we believe will make us happy, instead of our God who promises to provide all that we need. The people in Haiti are totally satisfied today not because life is perfect or because they don’t struggle, but because they trust God to take care of all the rest.
Our challenge is to live with what we have and be happy with it, even if we could have more. I invite you to look at our pictures of the people in Haiti, to see the children excited about their stickers, notice the simplicity of their life and experience a little bit about what living with faith alone can look like.