18 September 2016

not enough

Haiti will never. stop. kicking. my. butt.

How's that for some sweet missionary speak.  

A few days ago I came across this and shared it on FB:
That's a good word, I thought.  Go Francis.

Obviously, a few days ago, it wasn't that hard and I wasn't all doubtful.

All three girlies are sick, and Matt and I aren't feeling too hot ourselves.  But a few weeks ago, I felt a very strong, out of nowhere conviction that we needed to be attending the church here in our village again.
After years and years of trying and going and volunteering and working in the village church, it just s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e-s.  There was corruption in leadership.  There was NO effort on the part of the people to participate or to grow (literally, people would come in, sprawl out on the benches, and sleep), and then one particular Sunday, a visiting pastor preached downright heresy that tickled everyone's ears by slamming their enemies and propping up voodoo, Matt spoke up against it, as did several other people, but everyone just wanted to hear more.

When we left that day, we knew it would be for a good long while.  

It's one thing when a church WANTS Christ.  It's different when they want none of Him, especially when there are so many other places to come alongside.  So we left, and it's been over a year now!

But out of nowhere, the Lord pressed on my heart last month that it was time.

Matt trusted that in me, our visitors all left Saturday, and today, sick or not sick, we went. 
And that little body of mostly the very old and the very young is still struggling.  But a lot has changed, and the leadership has left, and there was a sincere desire today to worship, to be together.  And it was downright GOOD to worship with so many of our brothers and sisters again, many of whom work at the Seminary, and it was a great encouragement to all of us to worship together.

Afterwards, we all chatted and caught up as we walked home together, each family dropping off at their yards.  As we neared one friend and employee's yard, I was talking with his wife while Lily chattered with their two kids, both of whom go to school with her.  A few months ago we had lent this particular family a large sum of money so that they could get off their current property, which was apparently a really terrible place to live, to a new property with a bit more space not far away. 

While I knew they weren't living in that new property yet, I asked as we were passing if they would show me where they live currently, and where they are moving to.

After all, their daughter has been to our home many times to play with Lil and Sof, their son, too, and yet I didn't know exactly where their house was.

I wish I hadn't asked.  

They were very happy to show me and we wove back between many other houses on the street until we came to a little pass between two cactus fences and  tiny dirt homes where you could only go through sideways.  I shimmied in after her with Nora still on my hip and Lily and Sofie already run ahead, and realized that one of those two homes, crammed between all the others, was theirs.  

Due in December, my friend's belly almost prohibited her from squeezing into her own home, and though I have seen and experienced many difficult living conditions, it was ALL I could do not to crumble, crumble like the walls.

It is, friends, incredibly challenging to stand in a home while its' family is staring at you, grinning, offering you the house chair, chatting to you, and your mouth goes dry and your stomach drops and you are fighting for all you are worth not to cry.

Here is this beautiful beaming family, with a 9 year-old daughter and 11 year-old son we've been carpooling with for three years, the son who ALWAYS makes sure to tell me about days off and national holidays and late pick-ups, the daughter who always kisses my cheek and thanks me, and they live here.

They've BEEN living here, all these days.

The floor is dirt, the walls are woven sticks and crumbling dry mud, the only door has a tiny lock, like the kind my pink diary in 2nd grade had on it, and a tiny key hidden in my friend's Bible.  There is no yard, and the home is divided in two, altogether not quite the size of our kitchen.  

Their entire house is not quite the size of our kitchen.

Half I sit in now, the other half, divided by a sheet in two again, one with a mat for mom and dad, the other with a mat for sister and brother.  Around back is a small stack of rocks and a pot for the kitchen, and all is dark, holes are many, crumbling mud has obviously been replaced many times.

They are still grinning at me and I am trying to glue in on their eyes, trying not to look around, trying to keep smiling as I see Lily and Sofie flop with their sweet friend on her lumpy "bed," seemingly oblivious.

I don't know WHY it all hit me so hard today. 

Maybe because she was wearing an old maternity dress of mine, maybe because I remember being hot and pregnant and waiting for a new precious sweet baby, and I remember how hard it is, with the heat and two others, and yet HERE.  Here she has no true BED.  Here she has no cool shower.  No toilet to throw up in, to stumble to five times a night.  No comfy chair.  No kitchen counter.  No quiet.

Here she will have that baby.  Here that sweet baby will live.

Here are our two dear children friends, always perfectly pressed and on time for school.  Simply HOW?  HOW?  No desk or table in the house for homework, no toy or book to be seen, no fridge for after school snacks, no Keurig for morning pick-ups, no light for evening homework, no WALLS for keeping out mosquitos, darn it, no cool tiles to lie on at the end of the day, as our girls do.  
Her husband tells me that the new land will actually give them a bit of a yard, but that there are some problems.  I make a mental note to ask Matt later to look into the problems tomorrow.  But for now I blink and blink and blink and thank them and kiss them and call the girls and head back for the road, where Matt is chatting with someone else.

It was HARD.  And I am DOUBTFUL.

I am doubtful, all of the sudden, that I am giving enough.

The joy of the Lord is their strength, I knew before, I knew today.  They love each other well and work hard and give their all and trust Him completely, I knew before, I knew today.

It's not about stuff, it never has been, it's not about where we live, it's about how.  I know that.  Lily and Sofie don't even SEE it.  We KNOW IT.  We believe it.  

But a few moments later when I walked into our now MANSION, our crystal palace, our home flowing with water and fans and lights, and I was sick.  I've been sick ever since.
Let me tell you.

I eyed our stretched out sheets the other day, thinking it was time for new ones.  I thought aloud to Matt, just last night, how a fall-y tea-towel would look nice hanging on my oven door.  I agreed with visitors just a few days ago how having air conditioning would be so nice, if maybe someday.  Just this afternoon I shared with my sister how much easier it would be on sleep if all three girls didn't have to share a bedroom.

I know how much I am trusting, and it is not enough.

I know how much I am rejoicing, and it is not enough.

I know how much I am grateful, and it is not enough.

I know how much I am thinking of others, and it is not enough.

I know how much I am GIVING.  And it is not enough.  

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