I have tried for days to sit down and write my thoughts and feelings about my 5 days in Haiti. Every time I do my mind goes blank. It’s almost as if I don’t want to admit what really happened. Haiti has been in the news this week for protests and riots because of political unrest. Despite what I saw this week I will continue to go.
The average American spends $140 a day. The average Haitian lives on less than $2 a day. Some time on Friday the government in Haiti raised gas prices 38%, which may be good for the business man in Haiti but not the average man. Understandably the people were angry, and that is why they were rioting and protesting. There were people in the crowds we saw on the news that were just trying to get home from visiting family. Innocent people were being punished because a select few resorted to violence to respond to a corrupt government. The people you saw on the news throwing rocks are not a good representation of my beloved friends from Haiti.
Let’s Get Real
I want to be very clear about a few things. The first is that we were in a very dangerous position because we drove through blockades. We also walked through an active area on our way to a hotel that promised to be a safe haven for us. We saw angry people throw rocks and we heard gunshots. The tire fires burned hot and the tension was very real. The second thing I want to make clear is that there are some amazing people that worked very hard to keep us safe. Not just the group from my church, but other groups as well. So, while there were people being injured and even dying on the streets I was being led by armed guard to keep me safe. We even had a worship service at the hotel that gave us refuge.
Go: But Use Your Privilege for Good
I know it was necessary for us to stay safe because we had students with us whose families were counting on us to bring them home. My own children were waiting for their parents to come back. At the same time, I wanted to run through the road blocks and yell at them to stop what they were doing. I wanted to tell them to stop the violence and come up with a better way. I knew that would not be the best use of my time there or the influence I could have. If something had happened to any of the groups while the rioting was going on, less people would want to go serve. The best use of my American privilege is to shed a light on the need in Haiti but also tell you about my wonderful friends. It is my job to be a witness so that you will see the need to go.
Go: Give Hope
The need in Haiti stems from a corrupt government. They seem to pander to big business and make the rich even more rich causing the poor to stay poor. My beautiful friends need Americans to go so that we can bring awareness to the problem. We can use our American privilege to bring much needed medical supplies and food. We can sponsor children so they can go to school and get a meal each day. They need us to go and give them some hope.
The friends I have in Haiti are kind and loving. They share so that no one goes without. They see orphans and widows and give them shelter even when they have so little themselves. I’ve given a hungry child a pack of crackers, expecting them to consume the whole pack by himself, turn around and share with his friends. Our group goes to visit families who welcome us by bringing out chairs so that we will stay and visit. The Haitian people are a beautiful group of people. They sing passionately in worship and love each other well. I go to Haiti to offer the hope I have in Christ.
“Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 3:15
I will continue to go to Haiti to share Christ because that is what God has called me to do. Our church partners with But God Ministries because they equip Haitians to help each other. They offer a medical clinic, child sponsorship for school, ways to help with food and water, and clothing when available. They aren’t trying to make Haitians like Americans. I don’t want Haiti to be like America. I want them to know Jesus. Even the protesters and rioters. Especially the protesters and rioters. I will continue to go and give them hope, the hope of Jesus.
I pray that someone reading this would be compelled to go. Go online to But God Ministries and see how you can get involved.