Thursday, January 27, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
We have had to stop buying fish from any of the guys in our group because of the fear of the people that the fish that live in the ocean go and drink the water that comes out of the rivers and so they can make you sick. Our fisherman have just paid their money to put their kids all in school and now have no income because people are too afraid to buy fish. We do not have any cases here in Montrouis of contracted disease. The little mission hospital where we have our eye clinic has had 4 die and have treated hundreds. It is harder finding IV saline so keep that in your prayers.
This is Haiti's first significant cholera outbreak in 50 years. It is caused by a river in the Artibonite valley that became contaminated. We have seen about 3000 cases reported with almost 300 deaths. That is a terrible ratio even for a disease of this severity. The lack of understanding by the people of the cause of the disease and even bigger...fear. Fear killed many of the victims. They were afraid to drink more water because they heard water is what made them sick...so they died of dehydration. Tap tap drivers, local transportation, refused to carry passengers that were sick so they left them on the sides of the road to die...because they were afraid. Many hospitals and workers were afraid to take in patients and work with them at the onset because they did not know the cause of the disease...so patients died outside the hospitals. Fear is a powerful thing and a major part of life here in this little corner of reality.
People have some of the most irrational fears you can imagine. They are so scared of frogs because if it peepees in your eyes you will go blind...tough one to disprove but they get so upset with me for picking up frogs. Lucky for me, none have been able to pee in my eyes yet.
People fear all sorts of things concerning the spirits and voodoo. They fear many animals because it may be a lougau in disguise. They fear zombies. They fear witch doctors. The fear upsetting the family spirits. They fear dishonoring someone in power. They fear the government due to past leaders indiscriminately killing dissenters. They fear hunger. They fear food they are not familiar with. They fear a slight fever.
But out of all the fears that affect the people here, the one that is the greatest risk for them is the fear that comfortable Americans have of being drawn out of their comfort zone. The fear of millions of "Christians" that if they really give in to what God wants them to do to reach the world with His love, then He might send them to some crazy place like Haiti. When the reality is that if we would just surrender fully to God, He is most likely to keep us exactly where He had already placed us, but use us more effectively to fullfill our deepest desires and impact the lives of people from our home town to the far reaches of the world's densest jungles. But the fear that somehow God is going to demand something radical of us is a fear used by satan to keep us from really amounting to anything eternal. The fear is so strong that it triggers our defense mechanisms in our minds that cause us to build up walls to reality. We allow ourselves to be consumed by our surroundings in order to dull the sensation of reality. The sensation that just possibly we have totally missed it. Somehow we have convinced ourselves that our selfish, self serving, self helping, loveless, sacrificeless form of religion we inherited from our parents and perfected ourselves is somehow the Christianity described in the Bible.
That fear is the most dangerous fear in the world. More orphans, widows, homeless, starving, sick, helpless, and desperate souls die each year because of that fear than because of any fear I encounter here that we like to call "irrational". You want to talk about irrational? Is it rational to believe that a God who has ALL power in the universe and LOVES me more than I can comprehend could possibly devise a plan for me that is anything short of spectacularly amazing? I wish the greatest fear of my friends back home was frog peepee. Then maybe we could change the world.
Our greatest fear should be of the day we stand before a Holy God. We will give account for every thought, every action, every dollar, and all of our skills. I somehow don't think excuses like our kids are too small, our parents are aging now, when I get that raise we will give more, when we pay off some debt, if I could just hear from God, we're just waiting until we know for certain, I just don't feel "called", I just don't think this church is feeding me, I can't align myself with that pastor, that youth group is too culturally relevant, that church is not culturally relevant enough, etc. is going to pass when God asks why we would not obey the hundreds of instances in His word that He commands us to reach the world with His love. If we all feared that day as much as the Haitians fear zombies we could take care of the millions of orphans in subsahara Africa that become prostitutes because we are not there to give them a home. Or the sick in India that die because they don't have access to antibiotics that cost 75 cents. As I was typing this a man showed up from PAP crying. He has interpreted for us before at crusades. Degraff sat in my yard and cried as he explained that 3 days ago his 18 month old only son died of respiratory arrest and is in the morgue because he can't afford to have him buried. At the same time Joy was walking and met a man from another village sitting by the road holding a dead baby. The child died after leaving the hospital and the father had no money to get a tap tap to get back home. The world is literally dying and we spend our days complaining about the lines in Walmart.
Monday, December 13, 2010
All morning I’ve been struggling to figure out something to write on here. SOMETHING, Anything that might be worth your time. I wrote the date on my calendar and all of last week I saw it approaching and thought of all sorts of witty, amusing things to say but those have seemed to escape me and out of all the thoughts running through my head none of them seem worth sharing because they feel incomplete or lacking definition or even direction. (ß Longest sentence ever, but I didn’t major in English, only minor) But alas, I’ll share some anyways in hope that maybe you will make some sense of their dicombobulatedness.
The over arching theme in my heart this morning is hurt, but not a bad hurt. I hurt for the people in my life that don’t know Christ. I think about the times that I’ve asked for this and prayed that the Lord would reveal a deeper understanding of the hurt He feels when he watches his children who have gone astray. I know that any hurt I feel has to be miniscule in comparison to His and yet now that I feel even a little bit of it, I feel weak, fatigued, and a bit overwhelmed. It is as if I’ve bit off more than I can chew, as if He gave me more than I can handle. I’m tempted to ignore the hurt and the fact that there are people in my life who need Him but annoyingly and persistently (can I say that about scripture?) I keep remembering “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Cor 10:13)” I’m well aware that the context of this verse isn’t necessarily applied well but nevertheless I can’t get it out of my head and I can’t help but think that there is a reason for that.
The other thing that is making me hurt is my sin and the sin of my friends who claim Christ. I’ve been recently pained by watching friends hurt friends, and friends holding bitterness and sadness, and myself and others being deliberately disobedient to a loving God. I woke up Sunday feeling guilty and heavy in regards to these things. In my head I was mulling over decisions that I’ve made recently. It makes me feel physically sick to think that there have been times recently that when I’ve been faced with a moral dilemma and I’ve deliberately decided to choose what is wrong. As I was sitting in the car mulling all this over on the 4.5 hour drive I looked over at Nathan who was smiling. Annoyed, I asked “why are you smirking?” (Ridiculously thinking that he could see my anguish and was enjoying it) and he said, “I’m not smirking, I’m smiling.” So I said, “and why are you smiling?” and in a matter of fact tone he said, “because of what you’re whistling.” At this point I wasn’t aware that I was whistling because I do it a lot when I’m bored/thinking/working… and so I listened and it was Great is thy faithfulness the hymn. I smiled and almost instantly the verses from Lam. 3 popped into my head ever so conveniently. “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” I wrestled with it all day, and again this morning, and the entire time that hymn has been in my head no matter how hard I tried to replace it with annoying rap songs.
I see that there is a theme here and in my head I know that He is faithful, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that He wants me to apply it to. So I suppose I’ll wrestle some more, and as long as the theme remains at my forefront, I can’t help but hope that the outcome will be bearable at the least.
Lastly, I’ve been gifted by way of grooveshark some tunes with lyrics that have pointed me in a direction of gratitude. Love and miss you.
“Oh the devil’s singing over me
An age old song
That I am cursed and gone astray
Singing the first verse so conveniently
He’s forgotten the refrain
Shane and Shane “Embracing Accusation”
I need thee every hour most gracious Lord
no tender voice like thine can peace afford
I need Thee O I need Thee
Every hour I need Thee O bless me now my Savior
I come to Thee
I need Thee every hour stay Thou nearby
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh
Jadon Lavik “I Need Thee”
Deliver me from my prideful mind
It weighs heavier on me all the time
What a silent, yet, such a deadly crime
To think that I own my own life
So humble me just like You did
The king who lost his mind in the wilderness
And don’t let me go back
Until I confess
You are the only God
Bethany Dillon “Deliver Me”
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I read this the other day and it encouraged me.
I hope you like it.
“Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day
he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”