20 November 2016


There’s no way around it : this has been a season of sadness for Haiti that isn't lifting.

It started with hurricane Matthew and all the overwhelming, complicated problems and heartaches that persist today, then led to the now 40+ inches of rain we’ve received in Northern Haiti since November 1st, and all the continual devastation following. 

Haiti always seems to live on the fragile line between focusing all its energy on survival and focusing all its passion into thriving, and it has truly been two months of fè bak.

All progress put aside, all the focus has been on getting dry and staying dry, getting food, keeping safe, keeping alive, and suddenly, today was the long-awaited election, and the last thing Northern Haiti or South-Western Haiti are able to think about right now is how to vote…much less how to even GET there.

And it matters, greatly, who the next president is matters.  But it doesn’t really matter today when your house is 3 feet under muddy water…and HAS been for days and days and days on end.  (try to imagine, try).  It doesn't really matter when the roads are gone, the markets are gone, your livestock are gone, your few belongings are gone, your children have missed days and weeks and months of school.  

Everyone is trying.

We are celebrating birthdays and babies and Thanksgiving and Vertier Day. 

But the reality is that it's hard for many to ignore the sour reek of injustice.

To be the second-largest city in Haiti and unrepresented in the election, unable to vote.  To have lost everything and to listen to the rain continue to pour on leaky tin roofs.  To have sacrificed so much to send children off to school, only to have them stir-crazy in mud huts, learning nothing, doing nothing.    To invest, painfully, in something...chickens, goats, fields, seeds...and to have it gone and no hope for something new.

We walked muddily to church in the drops today.  Through the sludge of people's homes and lives, slipping in paths of mud and being met by surprised greeting after another, "Don't you fear the rain?"

I had thought that such a silly fear 10 years ago, to fear something as small as rain, too naive to realize how much it cost, how many years, how many progresses, how many lives.

We finally climbed to the empty church on the hill, dark and cold, with 13 other brothers and sisters wrapped in layers on its benches.

Why is it so EMPTY? Sofie wanted to know loudly.

Everyone fears the rain, I remind her, and it is election day, and everyone is home and sad and frustrated.

Why are we meeting for church, then? she persisted.

Don't you know, I said without thinking, that the Bible says when two or more are gathered together in His name, God is among us?

Her little eyes grew wide, her mouth in a perfect "o", totally surprised, suddenly excited.  She painstakingly passed the acappella worship, echoing through the small room, counting, and tugged my hand to let me know we were 18, counting Nora.

He is HERE, she whispered loudly, like a child catching Santa on Christmas. 

I clutched her hand as we sang on, third-year student Dian leading worship in her voice-much-bigger-than-her-body, second year student Jhony getting ready to preach.

On a Sunday that everyone stayed home, the pastor was absent, the deacons' and leaders' pew empty, I was proud to see Dian and Jhony with muddy shoes, humbly and sincerely leading the service, making "when two or more gather together" possible.
And as Johny preached about Christ-redeemer for a very broken day, I handled Sofie's awe for myself.

He is HERE.

I have no answers to Hurricane Matthew, so very little to do to help our many countrymen trying to get through the day and heavy, heavy with tomorrow. I can't do much at all about any political messes in any country, much less in one which continues to earn it's ongoing "top 15 most politically corrupt countries in the world" badge.

Our brothers and sisters are weary and cold and we are all out of "maybe tomorrows!" and "let's look at the bright-sides."  

And thinking about what is fair has never brought anyone closer to our Lord Jesus, nor has complaining or arguing.  

So we visit neighbors and have the kids over for the days and help everyplace we see and ask God to show us where we don't, and we gather together.

Wet and cold and moody, we gather together, more than two or three, and call upon His name.

I don't know. 

But He is here. 

And He will be enough...He will be enough, beloved...as He has ever been. 


  1. I feel so far away and so helpless to you all. My prayers are many for the many situations. Love you all....

  2. Elaine HeplerNovember 21, 2016

    Sending prayers that Haiti would feel His hope, help, loving care and you would be strengthened. Elaine