Growing up in a U.S. Air Force family in the 1960’s, we heard this phrase a lot when my dad was sent overseas on temporary duty assignments. Phone calls from him often did not get through and when they did, it was hard to hear what he was saying because of all the crackling in the line. There was no internet or email then and I only remember getting letters from him when his assignment was an extended one.
Living in a third world country today is much like that for me and my family. To them, I apologize. Yes, we have International Calling and Data Plans today but they come at a premium price, above what my budget allows. Even though it can be extremely slow, wi-fi does work when I have power. I often have been in the middle of studying Creole or sending an email when the power abruptly shut off. Midday yesterday, one of the boys and I were at a store shopping for supplies for his business when all of a sudden, the store became pitch black until staff could get their generator started. (I am using a generator to have power to type this now.)
As challenging as this may sound, I am confident and continually reassured that I am right where God wants me to be. Please don’t let the lack of daily and/or instantaneous updates fool you into thinking His work is not being done.
For about two weeks a sickness spread through the neighborhood, including some of the boys in their apartment. It cause debilitating headaches, fever and a cough. We weathered that storm and all of the boys are well again. I have a lingering cough and so do a few of the young children who live near me. (I can hear them coughing as we all have open-air homes.)
Unhappiness of some of the Haitian people after the election results were announced have caused some schools and stores to be closed recently in an effort to keep people safe and off the streets. But life in Haiti goes on. Haitians are a resilient, hardworking and strong people.
Sunday church and Wednesday night prayer meetings are a highlight of our week. In the midst all the hunger, poverty and joblessness in Haiti, there is great joy, singing and dancing as the Lord is praised and worshiped. It warms my heart to read the Bible alongside the boys in my home or theirs. I read a verse in English and they read the same verse in Creole… and back and forth we go for a time. We all take turns praying before the meals we share together. I had thought I would be teaching them to cook. As it turns out, their taste buds are not accustomed to American cooking. Fortunately, I love rice and beans and am getting pretty good at preparing it too! Each day we work on their learning English and my learning Creole.
Things that are quick and easy to do in the States take much longer to do in Haiti. One of the boys had a severe toothache. Although the sign on the door said the clinic should be open, it was not. After a three-hour wait at another dentist, his tooth was pulled and he was given a prescription for antibiotics. The boys and I went to a park a few weeks ago that is about five miles away. It took us over an hour to get there but to see the joy on their faces as they played basketball, knowing someone was in the crowd watching them play, was priceless.
A few of us visited an orphanage the other day. No one was allowed to take pictures while we were there and it reminded me of how often the things we do for God are done when He is the only One who knows.
In spite of the challenges living in Haiti brings to me, my family and friends, I am very happy God called me to be here. He is a God Who is intimately involved in our daily lives and cares for our every need. Haiti seems to understand this well. Julian Norwich said it best when he wrote: “The greatest honor we can give to God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of His love.”