Titanyen means "less than nothing". A dusty, arid patch of desert, this area was allegedly a grave yard where the Duvalier dictatorships brought dissenters to be killed (I envision a cross between the Wild West and goodfellas).
High cliffs of red sand and tan dust form an empty amphitheater as Mack trucks haul concrete supplies from the hills near Titanyen. One of these open pits is now filled with at least 100,000 Haitian earthquake victims from 2010. Others estimate near 300,000. After the earthquake some Haitians, worried about Typhoons, desperate for a change, seeking a new life, set up shanties up in the hills of Titanyen. These tiny shacks are easily seen from the mass grave site memorial. This land certainly carries the weight of death, despair, and desolation.
Down the road a short poke, inside the humble town of Titanyen, Grace church begins to fill. Purple and white balloons on white mesh ribbons line the pews. A lean, even by Haitian standards, young man balances on a bar stool as he tapes the sign above the pulpit;
"Apogee Graduation Day 2016" was written on white poster board.
In the back 14 students, having completed the 13th grade (philo year), were about to graduate. Purple graduation caps with purple gowns covered much of the freshly pressed and sparkling white sport coats, pants, and dresses.
I couldn't seem to keep my patterned shirt clean and yet these proud grads look like Naval cadets!
The ceremony was filled with pride, God-honoring worship, countless thank-yous, and even tears. I expect
Some mothers to cry, mine would. I figured some teachers might. I was surprised when the proud teen boy who received a scholarship for college wept as his reality changed. I was more surprised when I cried too.
In my head was the Gungor song, beautiful things. "You make beautiful things out the dust."
As the praises went up I saw these beautiful children gleaming white and purple, flowering in the desert. God made beautiful things out of dust. Moreover, out of the grave and death, Jesus gave life to us all.
Today, 6/19/2016, a battlefield victory at Titanyen. We all brought less than nothing and God made it more than amazing.