We have been here almost half our allotted 6 weeks and we feel strangely at home and have the vague sense we have never lived elsewhere. Having fallen into routine, life has a way of settling into the predicable.
Here comes the old lady trying to sell me one of the 50 hats on her head as I’m having my morning coffee. I say “no mesi,” she smiles and says “pita, pita,” later.
Yes, I will see her later.
The elderly man that cuts through our yard every morning, wearing an NFL jersey and talking gibberish, but has a firm handshake and a friendly, toothless grin.
Franklin, the boy who sells shells and is always willing to gobble down any treat I have to offer.
Fitizin, walking the beach everyday with his pink surf board bag.
The kids gathering in our yard by evening for games, kickboxing and laughs.
It occurs to me tonight that for all our plans and efforts here to work, accomplish, provide and build structures, the real work is relationships.
Why does this surprise me? Because apparently I’m learning this lesson on repeat. Yes I’m a frequent flyer on this one and here in Haiti, God reminds me again.
He is always about relationship. My relationship with Him and His relationship with every other person I come into contact with.
It’s His priority. He is always pushing the envelope for a closer, deeper relationship. One that is powerful. Effective. Dynamic.
It surprises me because I constantly default to making it about the work. The task. My effort. A product I can point to and get glory, applause and status. But when I seek the Lord about our time here and His purpose for me, He gently and so faithfully reminds me,
“No. It’s all about the people. The work is loving the people I put in front of you. Just do that.”
This has a simplifying effect for me that just takes a load off and allows me to take that deep breath I’ve been needing for days.
Haiti is a complex place, troubles abound and even the most simplistic things are just difficult to get anything accomplished. It is discouraging. And overwhelming. Plagued with doubts, I have wondered if any of our efforts will be effective.
But then I see Franklin, shell boy, accepting Christ on our porch. My son Caleb sharing the gospel and praying with several teens, leading them to Christ. And I’m reminded,
It is God’s avenue of choice to work in us and through us. He came to us not dictating and controlling, but inviting us into a relationship with Himself. We can respond or not. Relationships go both ways.
I do know more than any other thing, it was God’s love and His kindness that won my heart over 22 years ago and I know here and now it’s His love that can win the day in the hearts of so many here on this island.
At the end of the day, relationship the measuring rod that we will be accountable for when we stand before God: what did you do with the relationship I offered you through my son Jesus? How did you treat the others around you? What did you do with the people? The others I wanted to love through you?
Our relationships are our letters of recommendation “known and read by all men”
(2 Corinthians 3: 1-3), not written with ink but by the Spirit of the living God on the tablets of flesh, that is of the heart.”
Lives changed through the power of the Holy Spirit through my life that has been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Who is in my letter of recommendation?
Yes, if that is the measure of ministry, these people are written on my heart by the living God. He asks me to follow in His example of making people the priority, allowing relationships to be the catalyst for His Spirit to work in and through me. He asks me to join Him in this great endeavor of loving people.
Yes, Lord. Have Your way.
Living Life with No Regrets!
Toby, Chris, Caleb, and Lauren Clark
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