I took up residence on the rooftop of the mission with my Bible in one hand and my journal in the other. I wanted to make sure that I captured my thoughts while I was in Haiti so I could relay more clearly what I was experiencing and what God was teaching me. It was a beautiful afternoon after a long day of digging at the work site.
As I looked down from the mission I could see children in the street, young men and women who were moving about during their day and some folks who were selling trinkets to anyone willing to buy. I could see dirt, and poverty and desperation. I could see that the struggle for survival is real and powerful in this place. The mission is an incredible oasis of hope in this place, but there is only so much they can do.
Some guys were setting up tents on the roof when someone noticed a cruise ship just off the coast. It seemed like a long distance away, but within ten minutes it was passing directly in front of the mission. Such a strange dichotomy: the finest of luxury and the despair of poverty.
I remember being on cruise ships that sailed these waters. They are headed to Labadie on the island of Haiti. It is really the only resort area on the island. In fact, I remember visiting there when my wife and I took a cruise and being told how armed guards were on the other side of the bushes making sure Haitians stay away from the tourist area.
Now I was on the other side of the bush. I was not at the resort, but in the midst of the despair. And I found this twinge in my heart that so much of my life has been about being able to enjoy the luxury and not end the poverty. I know I can’t do it all, but I have to be able to do more.
I am not against cruises, trips, or vacations. In fact, I love enjoying those things with my family. But I have come to realize the importance of the heart desire to serve the least of my brothers. In the moments as I watched the ship sail out of sight, my mind was overwhelmed with the image of how often we sail by others in need in order to enjoy our luxury.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27