Monday, October 8, 2018

The Bridge/Day 1- The Power of Stories

What's your story? They say everyone has one. What if the story most often recounted about you was the one that brings you shame, that exploits your weakness for gain? None of us is the sum of the worst thing we have done. Each individual is a collection of stories- some of adventure and joy, maybe more about loss and sorrow, some of selflessness, and others about wicked actions that harmed others. We live in a time where we want to reduce a person's character to a sound bite. So it is with Haiti. For years, Haiti's saddest stories have been told. And it was, in part, these stories of abject poverty that led my husband and I, nearly 14 years ago, to begin the process of adopting three children from this country.

One year ago, I flew into Toussaint L'ouverture airport with trepidation, but over the course of the week, my eyes were opened to the beauty here. I saw Haiti with new eyes. I heard a different story than the one we are so often told.

Today, I had the joy of seeing my son's excitement to experience this country, the land of his birth, as he returned for the first time since he was a baby. I saw Haiti through his eyes.

So often, we do everything within our power to avoid struggle, even as the Lord tells us "In this world you will have troubles, but take heart! I have overcome the world." It's hard for us to take heart and take hold of His promise that He has overcome the world, when we are still losing faith because of our troubles. As we spend time with the people in Haiti, we hear stories that break our hearts, and we marvel that their faith can be strong amidst great adversity, and yet, it is in the midst of this very adversity that the maker of heaven and earth meets them.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed  day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

This week we will be wrecked. {Haiti has a way of doing that to a person.} And yet, we will also have the opportunity to hear the stories of people who are created in the image of, and deeply loved by, a good God. We will walk with them, hold their hands, pray with them, take them water, laugh with them, and cry with them. It is my prayer this week, that our team would become excellent story-tellers, and that we would be able to tell the church in Alton, IL about our Haitian brothers and sisters in Port au Prince who are our partners in the gospel, whom we serve alongside, and that your faith would be built up as you consider this cloud of witnesses who have so much to teach us. We hope to show you Haiti through their stories. Our God is One of redemption, and I hope that even as we share the hard stories, that you would see the sovereign hand of God and trust in the great Shepherd of the sheep, who will one day make all things new. In Him, the lost are found. May He give us eyes to see Him, ears to hear Him, lips to praise Him, and hands that serve Him.

Until the Whole World Hears,