The Earthquake Anniversary – Always Hoping in Haiti
Bonswa! I hope this post finds you doing well and loving life wherever you may be. I am happy to write to you today from Haiti at the end of an extremely busy first week back after the holidays. I traveled straight to the deaf community from the airport on Monday morning and felt my heart uplifted and warmed by an incredible welcome from many people in the community and the usual train of children who chase my motorcycle for a few hundred yards. After big hugs of welcome back to the community several people laughed and commented that I had returned to Haiti much bigger than when I had left (giggling and using the hand motions for a bigger size, describing my face and my belly). I guess that is a sign of a good holiday with family and friends in the Chicago suburbs. On Monday we enjoyed many hours of time spent catching up, joking and casting vision for the next six months. A vision team also traveled to spend monday and tuesday viewing the project and getting to know the deaf leaders. Similar to anyone who has traveled to the community, the group fell in love with the people and left the day feeling blessed to have met them.
I write to you on a solemn day in the history of Haiti. As many of you remember, two years ago today, an earthquake devastated this already hurting and very poor nation. Hundreds of thousands were killed, more than a million were displaced, and even two years later, the rubble and remnants of buildings can be seen all over Port au Prince. While much of the damage is still very visible everyday in the slums and poorer areas of the country, as I have written often, there are beautiful pockets of hope and evidence that this might just be a country that is healing and is on the mend. Today is a day of prayer and reflection in Haiti – a day to honor those who passed away and a day to gather with those whose lives were forever changed.
This morning I received a text message from a very good friend in Haiti. You were introduced to Mackenson St. Louis a few months ago in a blog post that shared a little of his remarkable story. Staying true to our rule of written communication(write to each other in the languages we are learning) Mackenson spent time to compose his message in English. The following are his words this morning. “good morning every people. every people today please please praying for haiti because 12 january. everything praying for haiti and god blessing every people in haiti and Jesus was i love you every people in haiti safeling to live. please please every world today praying for haiti god blessing haiti!!!.”
Looking forwards we can all be encouraged by Mackenson’s words. We follow the God of hope – the god of perfect and infinite hope. That even amidst one of the greatest natural disasters our world has ever seen, we can find new life together and work alongside one another in the hope of a better future and in the full hope of the fulfillment of the deepest desires of our hearts. All week the community has shared new concerns regarding their move to the new land, but they have also voiced their new visions, hopes and dreams for the new life in Leveque. New gardens, ideas for small businesses, dreams of education classes and programs, and a life removed from the violence of the slums all permeate the minds of dozens of families this month as they prepare to move and start again in two weeks.
Today as you pray, please pray for this nation that lost so much 2 years ago. Mourn and grieve for the suffering that still occurs here every single day, but also pray prayers of thanksgiving for the hope that is present for so many.
Wishing you all the experience and pursuit of grand adventures!
grace and peace,