Ah, pray for us. This is raw, and I hope you'll excuse me from too much heart.
It is nothing new, but it weighs heavy today.
Refusing to contribute to corruption is not difficult. Staying away from politics in giving is possible.
But every day, I mean, EVERY DAY, friends, as Americans, as leaders, as people with connections, as missionaries, as foreigners, as "rich" people (it doesn't matter how poor we are in American standards...we have laptops, we have food on the table, we have electricity and clean water? we are LOADED) we are approached countless times with GOOD work by GOOD men and women for GOOD ministry...and they lack moyen.
They lack the money. Financial provision.
And it is heavy.
There are a million good visions for a million good things, and I tell you, Haiti needs every ounce of it.
From funding soccer balls for competitions that draw hundreds for evangelical efforts to purchasing precious Bibles to be used door-to-door, in churches, in small groups, in evangelism crusades....from churches meeting under trees that would love to build a little block church to protect them from sun and wind and rain to churches with falling in roofs or three benches for 100...from groups ready to go to unreached places needing a bit of money for food to money for a bit of fuel in generators to pronounce the Gospel from the rooftops through sound systems...from schools needing help paying professors who haven't been paid in months so that the kids can learn, to families with kiddos not in school, who need help sending them....to someone who is sick and needs an expensive operation or faces certain death to someone who has died and the family needs help paying to bury them.
There are a million needs in a million places, most of them not very big, and they pile.
Requests for them pile on our desks, prayers for them pile on phones, knocks for them pile on the gate...pleas for help pile on our hearts.
I see dear friends, seeking to be faithful in ministry throughout Haiti, come through the gate, and my heart hurts. We give what we had planned. And then we give what we hadn't planned. And then we give what we had to give. And then we give what we didn't have to give. And you give the same, and then we can give more. You give sacrificially, we give sacrificially, and yet there is still more, still more, and it hurts.
But more than having or not having the funds to give is wanting to give WELL. Wanting to give BETTER. Wanting to EQUIP, not create dependency. Wanting to help, not hurt, and knowing full well with loads of experience that often times, helping HURTS! Wanting to provide, but not cripple, wanting to buy Bibles, buy block, buy rice, buy soccer balls, even...but wanting to do it when and as and if it is Best.
God's VERY best for our brothers and sisters. And we don't always know what that is. I know what often FEELS best. We know what often SEEMS best. We know what is often EASIEST.
But we also know from experience that that often WAS. NOT. BEST. And money has hurt MANY in this world so tremendously. Money has created more problems than ever imaginable.
Matt and I. Giving money, sacrificially and with beautiful intentions, has HURT some relationships and situations beyond repair. It breaks my heart.
It is an issue, every single day. There is no black and white solution, there is no spreadsheet to pop your numbers in, producing the perfect and Godly solution.
And it wears on us. It wears on you.
What I do know is that every single time I read Acts 3, when Peter meets the lame beggar at the gate called Beautiful, and says, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have, I GIVE YOU, in the name of Jesus, get up and WALK" I burst into tears. Every time.
More than money, which 99% of the time is what people are asking for, we want to help people WALK! We don't want to plop $20 in outstretched hands, leaving behind a lame beggar with twenty dollars!
We only have ONE THING that NEVER harms. Only one thing that is NEVER the wrong time in NEVER the wrong way. We only have ONE THING that ENTIRELY transforms. Only one Bread that NEVER leaves you hungry, only ONE water that eternally satisfies.
And He whom I have, I GIVE you, knowing that it is JESUS who straightens limbs and opens eyes and leaves those he touches far better off than $20 richer.
I want to give that. I want to be that. I want to live that. I want to DIE that.
And even since I began writing this post 20 minutes ago, another bone-thin alumni has come, talking about the children in his zone, talking about how his little church wants to educate them, talking about how they don't have any money to pay tuition, any money to get a chalkboard, no money to pay a teacher, and what, perhaps, could I do for them?
He holds out a crumpled picture of the children, all as bone thin as he is, and I lived with him for four years and know his heart to be true. Knowing the children to be needy. Knowing the cause to be good.
Knowing that helping start a school is not one expense, but a forever expense, because teachers keep needing paid, and kids keep needing help. Knowing that we gave all of March by March 6th.
Knowing that us handing him $100, $1000, $10,000, even if we had it, could very well not at all be the best thing for him (and all the pressure he would then be under from the community to find MORE money from the foreigners for all kinds of things, because he has a connection), could very well not at all be the best thing for the kids (who don't worry much about working hard in school because neither they nor their families have sacrificed to make it happen), could very well not be the best thing for their parents (who got their kids in school like they wanted, but have none of the pride and ownership that comes from sending), could very well not at all be the best thing for the professors (who learn it is a foreigner paying and suddenly won't work for the wage they had agreed upon because they could probably get more), could very well not at all be the best thing for the church (who sees that there was no money to build a nicer building, but suddenly there is a school, and where did THAT money come from, and so why can't he get the foreigners to build them a nice church?), could very well not be the best thing for our brothers and sisters, who now come to us, not as their brother and sister, but as those in a position of power, saying and doing whatever needs said and done to keep the money coming. Because it is needed.
I just want to give Jesus.
I just want to spend every single penny of myself.
I just want to give that which Satisfies.
But there is a beautiful and Godly man at the door, and I am so inspired and encouraged and blessed by his vision.
and I want to hide. (you wonder why every version of rest we can access involves an entirely remote and abandoned beach).
Thinking, praying, consulting, praying, planning, finding a way, giving and praying some more while laying in bed at night thinking...all continues to be a huge part of what we do each day. Equipping. Trying. Failing. Succeeding. Thinking we've got it figured out. Totally new situation arises...starting all over again.
Pray for us. It is nothing new.
But it weighs heavy today.