After packing up our family and journeying to Haiti for a good portion of the summer, I was privileged to take away beautiful pieces of tapestry in the form of everyday life that molded and changed the very moral fiber of our souls. There are so many things I can recall and write about; truly I can pinch myself with the reality check that we actually DID what we as a family have dreamed and talked about for years! As a mother and a wife, there aren’t many moments GREATER than serving the Lord together with my family in a third-world country, with no holds barred,watching destiny unfold and flourish inside our hearts every single day. As I try to sum it up and identify the emotions that race through my mind when I think about our summer, I’m lost for words!
Shortly after Mike and I traveled to Haiti for the very FIRST time in June of 2011, I felt God impress upon my heart to begin immersing myself in books pertaining to world missions. I then downloaded a book off of Kindle entitled “On That Day, Everybody Ate.”A young widow who visited Haiti with her toddler son shortly after grieving the loss of her husband wrote this book. The Lord used Haiti to bring about her healing and to establish new purpose in her heart.She went on to start a nonprofit organization in 2007 that eventually fed thousands of children every week. I loved the vulnerability of her writing as she recalled beauty in the “everyday” occurrences of her life in Haiti. This summer I was reminded of this book when I experienced a day I will never forget!
My family spent the majority of our stay loving on orphans and hosting various mission teams from America at the Coreluv guesthouse. On days when the guesthouse was empty, we either rested or knocked out a project or two around the house. Because I have the type of brain that will not relent until I can create a sense of “this feels like a homey place,” I decided I would spend a day painting the entryway in the LUV shack… aka Coreluv guesthouse. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I am the messiest painter I know. After everything is cleaned up and the job is complete, the walls look great. But during the process I get in the zone and lose all sense of, “If I get paint on my shirt, shorts, hair, or anything in my path I may not be able to get if off.” There is nothing like standing on top of a folding table in Haiti around midnight painting when the electricity goes out. I would LOVE to blame that for the surf blue foot I had for days, but that simply wouldn’t be true.
On the day I’m remembering, as I was preparing to paint the guesthouse entryway, I found myself rummaging around outside looking for anything remotely resembling a paint stirrer.Apparently I gave off a BIG signal that I could use some help, because I heard a voice happily volunteer to help me paint. And then I saw him, a short, thin aging Haitian man with a smile on his face working ever so diligently on a project outside our front door. Just weeks earlier this man had been living in a tent at the base of a mountain. One of our mission teams from America saw him there and felt led to give him a little money. After they returned from their hike up the mountain, this same man was lit up as he showed the team his cleanly shaven face and the toiletries he had immediately purchased with their gift. Fast forward a few weeks, and here he was at the Coreluv guesthouse helping with odd jobs so he could make a little money to EAT that day. He literally whistled while he worked!
At first I graciously thanked him for offering his help but assured him I had it all under control, REALLY! But he kept insisting, so I eventually surrendered my paint roller and tray to him and retreated to paint the trim of the walls only. And so we began… painting… smiling… and exchanging the only Creole/English greeting phrases we knew with each other, over and over again, not understanding a lick of anything else. What we did understand was that our love for God was UNIVERSAL and that same love allowed us to love each other…and simply put… LOVE SPOKE a million words that day!
As the day grew to an end, my family and I sat down to a nutritious home cooked meal with my sweet painter friend and two other Haitian men whom the Coreluv missionaries encountered that same day who also wondered where their next meal would come from. So there we gathered around our Coreluv table, DIFFERENT from one another yet so very much alike, bonded with the commonality that we were ALL God’s children. I was honored to sit with these hard-working Haitians who so desperately desired to find work so that they and their families could eat, yet they live in a country where desires are often dashed and sometimes the only thing left is a small glimmer of hope that just maybe miracles still occur.I can’t begin to comprehend the pressure that must weighupon the shoulders of these men, but to my amazement they still managed to smile. I was so moved by the kindness of God I saw extended to them that day, and even more when I saw each of them at separate times bow their heads in a heartfelt prayer and TRULY gave thanks to God for their daily bread.
And on that day, everybody ATE!
Posted on Wed, September 19, 2012
by Mandy Reiszner filed under