twelve days later, i am entering into my third week living in haiti. goodness, how time flies!
so far, i’ve sewed up one finger due to a machete slice, scrubbed countless little heads and ankles full of staph, cleaned wound after wound, and bandaged (and rebandaged) a horrible burn. it literally never stops, but i cannot imagine having it any other way. i also have had the opportunity to spend time with one of the most precious 28 year old women here who just happens to be the school nurse for respire.
last week, we had a team serving with us from Lafayette, LA. one of the team members was an eye doctor, and this trip to haiti was his 16th mission trip. how cool is that? we held an eye clinic all week for the students and staff of respire as well as the public. in 3 and a half clinic days, we saw 686 patients, handed out countless bottles of rewetting drops, provided many in the 40+ age group glasses for reading, and were able to examine just about every little eye ball of each student and correct vision as needed. it was the coolest. the eye doctor, Dr. Patrick Magee, is excellent at what he does. he has a system in place, and it worked like a charm. he also would get tired in the afternoons and take a rest (or two) while we had a break between patients.
this weekend has truly been the first time where i have had time to sit down and spend time thinking about my time here so far. my biggest frustration has been the language barrier. i am so bad at creole. IT IS HARD. i feel like one of my best (or maybe just my favorite) way to show compassion is through words. it’s really difficult to show compassion without using words when you’re scrubbing a 4 year old’s scalded arm from a coffee spill the week before. or when you’re digging a Q-tip in an abscessed wound. or when you’re cleaning a kindergartener’s staph-ed ankle who was obviously not happy about it, and you eventually get peed on (i spent that day with a pee stain on my purple skirt). or while stitching up a machete sliced finger on day 2, i didn’t even know how to say “i’m sorry i’m hurting you” or “it will be over soon”. never have i ever relied on the Lord so intensely to bring forth comfort and peace as in these high-stressed moments.
in the midst of each and every moment or battle, a choice must be made.
will i chose joy? or will i let my frustration paralyze my ability to love?
will i resign to my inadequacy? or will i allow the Lord to intercede fully for me?
will my faith be emotionally based? or will i choose to stand on the foundation truths that redeemed me?
the Lord has been so very kind in reminding me of the simplest things each time i have had a moment of feeling defeated. although i often resist his truth and grace, he goes before me, and he WILL be my rear guard (Isaiah 58). not only has the Lord gone before me, but he has also so graciously sent others before me who have gained knowledge and experience that can only be gained through going. my friend Jessi who spent this same plot of time last year serving with respire has used the term “ripple effect” for as long as i can recollect. her sweet and encouraging ripple got me, and i can already see my ripple stirring others. just in the last week, i have had two fellow Ida V. Moffett students (one senior and one fellow alum) contact respire for the possibility of serving here. my heart leaps. it has been the most encouraging, and i can only give Jesus the glory. this is a perfect example of the kindness of the Lord bringing tender affirmation in the middle of uncertainty.
what an encouragement and honor it is to even have a ripple in bringing glory to the Lord through simply loving each heart one at a time and meeting each need one at a time. that is all that is asked of us, and while it can be exhausting, frustrating, and overwhelming to think of the needs of this world and particularly Haiti, we have the creator of the universe empowering us to move forward.
so, i’ll keep moving forward. one step at a time. doing only the next thing. i must choose to rest in the sovereignty of God and stand firmly on His promises.
“that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3