For Us to be One
When we walked out of the airport in Port-au-Prince, it began, an explosion of color, the rumble of people. Pastor Gaetan met us there to give us a ride. It was a new airport. It was city. I expected poverty in large spreads but I didn’t expect to see tin on tin as homes strung along the sides of main roads in many directions. I didn’t expect the roads to look as if they had been jig-sawed, how they dipped and slung to the side. Broken boards and spindles from the backs of broken chairs were nailed up into walls. There is art at every turn. Even in the thick of poverty, there’s a man humming. There is the smell of spice. The faces are so beautiful it’ll make you school-girl nervous.
There’s an easiness to the personalities here, a desire for connection. I believe I’ve made real friends in only a day. I can’t imagine never coming back.
I didn’t exactly realize I wasn’t coming here to tell you a story about Help One Now. I thought I was, but now I know how small they are. They have only come here as friends and supporters of the ones who are really doing the work. Help One Now is the friend who keeps coming back. They are the friend who walks with and supports.
Something about watching Marlow with the pastors here (Pastor Gaetan and Pastor Jean Alix) feels like watching a first century sort of brotherhood. I didn’t realize the actual structure. Chris Marlow is the head of Help One Now, yes, but I feel like I witnessed a man who has come to submit to the shepherds (apostles?) of this nation. If you were to meet them, you’d know what I mean. If you could hear Gaetan speak about Gospel and training leaders, or if you could see Jean Alix with his arms around the orphans who have become his many sons, you would know what I mean. Today we met Gaetan’s wife, and after nearly being blinded by the joy of her face after she had cooked a meal for 31 children, my eyes went straight to her feet. I have never so desired to kneel straight down and wash feet. They are not famous and don’t belong on pedestals. They are humble, desperate, persevering disciples of Jesus Christ. To know them is to respect them and to want to show them honor.
Seeing the church in Haiti has brought about a New Testament language in me. I saw a woman pick through garbage, gathering it with a bag yesterday, and right on the same island I see a church so healthy that I wonder how to get every single church leader I know to come and witness the discipleship. I want you to see the families passing babies, fathers raising their hands. Young men read scripture. It seemed that everyone has a place, the young and the women, too. I didn’t understand but three words throughout the entire service. Amen. Hallelujah. Hosannah.
“Hosannah in the highest!” we all sang. They in their language, and me in mine.
I want you to see the woman who led worship this morning and the young men in the band. I want you to hear them worship. I want you to hear us all. Imagine it, how we swayed and sang even when we didn’t know the words. Imagine glory. I received something near the gift of interpretation, because never before have I understood so few words while also understanding everything. We are clothed with the same spirit, all of us. I felt interwoven into something much greater than an island, than my little state, my own little nation.
Church, we were all there. You in my heart, I was thinking about you, how we’re reading along and deciding whether or not to engage. I saw with my eyes the benefits of churches coming alongside other churches. I saw with my eyes, unity. I saw the school we built, Yahve Shamma Orphanage and Williamson Adrien Academy, and I held the hands of future leaders.
I saw them, and it made me long for you. I long for us to be One. I came to Haiti to write about you.
We travel to Drouin today and have to leave at 5 AM! Whew! Also I kind of feel like crud on a stick, so keep up the prayers.
Hop over to Help One Now to support the work of these leaders in Haiti, and I’ll be back soon to share more about what I’m seeing.
All but the 2nd photo belong to good ole Scott Wade.