I was sharing with someone a particularly hard time a few days ago, and this morning searched out the post where I had talked about it...and it was as beautiful to live again today as it was on September 16, 2010 when it happened! Gotta share (again)...
Over these last 773 posts, we have shared a lot of beautiful things with you. We've talked about so many beautiful people, so many beautiful lessons that the Lord has brought us to. We've shared a hundred beautiful opportunities to talk to others about the Lord, and just as many beautiful moments where our hearts have been broken alongside of His.
But last night, I was speechless and floor-humbled and emotionally overwhelmed by a beautiful outpouring of sacrifice, for us, by our little community here in Haiti.
Though Don and Joe worked most of the day, previous work on the generator seems to have fried some vital systems, and they were unable to get power going. Around 4, we lost all our water and power, and expected another sticky and black evening.
Poor Don and Joe were REALLY nasty (no offense guys) after working on the generator all day, we were all glossy with sweat, and Lily was sticky with sweat, cookie and bugspray. In case you haven't been here yet, this is NOT a glamorous life we lead :)
However, everyone took good courage, and we were all happily sitting around the literal LAST light bulb still burning on the whole campus (our inverter was treating us to one final strain of power) playing Scrap-Out, when Abel and Maxi knocked on the door.
I grabbed the door for them only to see that they were laden with brimming buckets of clear water.
"What in the world is this?!" I exclaimed, scooting the buckets across the floor quickly while they returned with another load.
"Water is life!" Abel laughed, quoting a common Haitian proverb, "And we know Lily needs to bathe! We pumped it for you!"
Lily loved her bucket bath as much everyone else!
"Where did you get all these buckets?"
"Everywhere! This one is Kesner's, that one is Magloires. This is my wife's, and Sheila gave us this one."
"Enough! That's plenty of water! Let's take some to the students!" I said, my mouth beginning to feel like sandpaper as I realized what their past HOURS had looked like while we played games.
"Already done!" Maxi grinned. "Two people had huge water barrels, and they emptied and cleaned them for us, and we pumped them full, and then we borrowed the tractor and loaded them on there and put them in front of the cafeteria. Everyone is bathing now!"
With five visitors, sticky sleepy Lily and a kitchen overflowing with dirty dishes unable to be washed, I dug right into work, bathing Lily and splitting up water for our five visitors. I got Lily to bed, the house now completely dark, and cleaned up what I could in the night.
"Let's go check on everyone," I said to Matt, and we left sleeping Don, Joe and Lily and walked the few yards to the school. As soon as we left the house, we were both AMAZED by the sky. Without once ounce of electricity in all of Saccanville, the night sky was just BRILLIANT with stars, shimmering white clouds and a glowing half moon. A small breeze surrounded us as we walked, and man, I don't know if I've ever felt so blessed.
My heart wasn't the only one welling with Hallelujah. As we rounded the trees we found a whole congregation of friends, both from the community and from the seminary, flaney-ing (hanging out) on the front walk of the cafeteria.
"Hello! How are you?" I called as we approached, the light of the moon more than enough to guide our steps.
"Ah!" grinned Giselaine, arms lifting to the night sky. "I have everything that I need! That first night was hard, but now? I see that He takes care of our every need, and tonight we have all that we could ask for."
"The moon! Light!" Edlin called from his chair.
"Look!" Madame Abel said, pointing to two large barrels brimming with water, beautiful as alabaster jars. "Water!"
"Ah!" said Nicole, rapidly twisting Mona's hair into all kinds of wild braids. "The glory of God!"
We all chattered for a while, and as we walked home, blessedly reminded of what a precious and rare community of believers we have here at Emmaus, Matt said, "Uhhh. I so frequently overestimate my contribution to what God is doing here at EBS...here in Haiti. That special group of people, the way God provides for all our needs, these students and their call and their love for their people... I didn't do one thing to make that happen! We're just a tiny little fraction of all of this, aren't we? Just one speck-star in the entire space of His plan."
I realized as I lay in bed soon after, pouring out my blessed heart and overwhelmed tears to the Lord, that this might have been the first time since we moved to Haiti that the Haitian people were actually able to HELP us (in direly needed physical way.) Day in and day out, people come to us as foreigners to help them. When they need food, they ask us for help. When they need work. When they need education. When they need shelter, medicine, transportation, clothes, they ask us.
As foreigners, as Americans, we are perceived as having infinitely more resources than everyone else around us (and frankly, we do...), and so are an obvious source of aid in desperate times.
But when WE need money, we come to you! When we need food, I ask and you send us a box. When we needed baby things, you sent them. When we need transportation, you helped us buy a truck. When we needed language classes, you helped pay for them. When we need medicine, you help us buy it, or even let us call you while you're on vacation at 6 am and give us medical advice! When we needed shelter, you helped us rent our home. When our generator breaks, you send us funds and experts and prayers.
But last night? We needed buckets. And we needed water. For 50 people! And we needed light. And you couldn't help us with that! I never once thought to go to our community and ask them for help.
They have NOTHING. Never had a drop of running water from a faucet in their home. Never had a drop of water that they didn't throw themselves into pumping. Never had an ounce of electricity running through their walls, never flipped a switch and had light.
And yet last night, without anyone asking, in the inky black night, Saccanville dumped out their own precious water, scrubbed their best buckets and barrels clean, strained their backs to pump gallons of water from their sole pump, filled each container to the brim, and carried them to the Seminary. Carried them to our home. For us.
A community that we joined to serve, a community that we became a part of to die to, laid out their best, instead, for us.
I don't pretend to know why God does or allows what He does or allows. But just maybe all that this whole generator thing was for, was so that Saccanville, village of poverty and voodoo and flickering lights of Christ, could be missionaries to the missionaries.
Just as it has brought us such joy these years to give to our brothers and sisters here, Saccanville gave last night with laughter. With celebration. With joy, pouring their precious precious oil on the feet of Jesus in Emmaus Biblical Seminary.
As I lay there in the dark, sweating to sleep after my scrumptious bucket-bath, I realized that while we have given and prayed, worked and loved, preached and taught, lived and learned for three years in Haiti...we are only just now a part of this Haitian circle of life, of God's woven fabric for Haiti, because we have received.