Friday, September 24, 2010

Haitians, Orphanage Need Our Prayers

Day 7 continued (Saturday, Aug. 7)

Leogane, Haiti

After returning to our hotel from our Port-au-Prince jaunt, we all quickly finished packing our bags for our 5 a.m. departure time the next morning. Everyone wanted to make sure their suitcases were under the 50-pound maximum, so lots of filthy t-shirts and pairs of jeans were tossed in the garbage. Any extra food was given to Amy, who was staying the next week to work with the children.

By the time Saturday night rolled around, we all were exhausted and ready to go home. Everyone was anxious to go to bed, knowing we would be getting up at 4 to drive the two hours to the airport.

Saturday night also meant our last evening group gathering. Chris Stockhaus, missions director at Cornerstone Fellowship (Livermore, California), gave our 200 missionaries “Humility: True Greatness,” by C.J. Mahaney. Each day, we were to read two chapters for our personal devotional time, then talk about it later in our group time.

Frankly, every chapter was a little depressing. Do any of us ever feel humble enough to be worthy of the presence of God? We might feel humbled for a minute, but in that instance, our pride has kicked in and humility goes out the window. And yet, humility is something we all need.

I found it ironic that I received a book on humility. For the past nine months, I’ve been working on developing a new ministry, Feast With the King, also the name of the ministry book I hope to finish writing someday and get published. My morning prayer since January has been that I be a simple, humble servant, seeking to fulfill his God-given mission.

Sometimes, I think God is so funny. Was this book God’s way of telling me that I still need more humility? I thought I was doing pretty good there … for a minute or two. Or was it just a few seconds?

My gauge for humility has always my dad, who passed away 5 ½ years ago after a four-year battle with lung cancer. Pop was almost always who he was: a hard-working, simple farmer. That’s what made him happy. He was a deacon and sang in the choir for 40 years at the church I grew up in. I don’t think my dad ever sought attention for himself. He devoted his life to his God, his church, his wife, and his three sons. My dad was always willing to help others in need.

Me? I can find countless ways I bring attention to myself – every day. Sometimes, I get caught up in our “look at me” world.

It was equally humbling to hear others in our group tell their stories during our evening meetings. Going down to Haiti to help the orphans wasn’t the only thing this week was about. Short-term missions are God’s way of connecting with us in special ways.

I went down to gain some carpentry skills, only to hear God to tell me to plant a garden. I still don’t have many carpentry skills, but I grew up on a farm and worked in the fields for 10 years. God knew that when he recruited me. He knew both my brothers still work in the ag industry, so I have instant experts at my disposal.

As we went around that night, person after the person were so moved at seeing God work in the lives of these poor orphans and the adults associated with them. I think we all realized how rich we really are compared with Haitians, many of whom make around $100 a year. If I make less than that in a day, it’s a bad day. We all have air-conditioned homes and apartments to go to, cars to drive speedily to where we need to go, microwaves to heat up our dinners in a minute refrigerators to keep food cold, and freezers to keep food frozen.

Americans are so privileged to live the lives we do. Going down to a place like Haiti taught all of us who went how fortunate we are to live in the country we live in. In Haiti, we saw the worst form of poverty any of us had ever seen right in front of us. I’m a firm believer in being an Acts 1:8 church (paraphrase: go to Samaria, Judea and throughout the world to share the gospel), but where do you start with a place like Haiti? These people just saw the worst devastation they will ever see.

These people walk in humility every day. Many of the orphans lost one or both parents, friends and relatives in the January 12 earthquake. They see the same devastation around them every day. Hunger is a part of their daily lives. They battle near 100-degree temperatures and 90-percent humidity on a regular basis half the year. Drinking clean water is not a guarantee some days.

What do we do to help them? Maybe a better question is what can we do? Maybe you’re unemployed or underemployed and taking government welfare, and you don’t have any funds to send? Maybe you can’t get away from work or family to go to Haiti on a short-term mission trip. If all you can do every day is get on your hands and knees and ask God to help these people, then that is what you should be doing.

But, do not be one of those Christians who says “I’ll pray for them,” and then never think about them as you merrily go about your daily lives. That is one of the worst form of hypocrisy in the church today. Write a note in your Bible reminding you to pray for the Haitians. Keep a prayer list near your nightstand that includes a prayer for the orphanage.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) says “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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Haiti is a land that needs healing; Haitians need our prayers. When we pray, at home, at our churches and nationwide, change occurs, miracles happen, bellies fill up, clean water springs up from dirty wells, crops grow where only weeds grew before and people begin living again. Those things may need to happen for the Haitians to feel God’s love for them.

So if all you can do for Haiti and the orphanage in Leogane is pray, then pray earnestly every day. God hears our humble prayers.

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