My dear friend Susan sent an email to thank those who supported her on her recent missions trip to Haiti. The words she typed ministered to me so much that I asked her if I could share them here. Her faith-filled testimony is bound to shake many of us to pray today…it certainly did me. Read on, friends.
I Just Sat Down While God Shook the Earth
by Susan Richards
My first thought upon entering Haiti – I’m actually standing in a third world country. It definitely felt a little surreal. We arrived in Port au Prince on a Friday in March. On the 40-minute or so school bus drive to Mission of Hope Haiti (MOHH), located in Titanyen, we immediately saw leftover devastation of the earthquake that happened in January of 2010. Buildings are still crumpled as if the earthquake had just happened; temporary houses are made of any type of material one can find, and lots of tent cities.
Our first visit to a village in Titanyen revealed a kids club that met at one of the houses. We sat under a blue tarp for shade with about 40 kids, a handful of adults, plus our team of about 16 in an approximate 20’ square area. We were crammed in like sardines, but had a blast with kids crawling all over us, playing games, and starved for affection.
Sunday, we attended their church – Church of Hope. What a joy to worship with them! The Haitians WORSHIP! Many of the songs they sang we were familiar with and able to sing along in English. I love the diversity and unity in singing to One God in different languages. One particular moment struck me as we sang the chorus of Mighty to Save:
Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
My eyes blurred with tears – I couldn’t imagine singing those words from their perspective. They’ve experienced God moving their mountains! They’ve seen Him save literally firsthand!
While the message was delivered in Creole, we were able to get a sense of what the pastor was talking about by following along with the scripture references. Afterward, we connected with a MOHH team member who explained that Haitians were comprised of about 70% Catholic, 30% Protestant, and 100% voodoo. It’s hard to imagine that, but it’s tradition vs faith. This is one of the many tasks of MOHH to educate through that.
We spent the week doing constructions projects – sifting mortar, moving cement blocks for the construction team, painting houses that MOHH is building for displaced Haitian families, and painting their newly constructed hospital. In addition, we spent a lot of time in neighboring villages with children ministering, sharing Bible stories, playing games, and giving out lots of hugs.
The last village we visited – Abraham – was the poorest. Trash is everywhere in Haiti, but it looked like this village had been constructed on a garbage heap. The children were malnourished and begged us for food and water. Gut wrenching.
I spoke with one of the MOHH team members about childbirth for these women as many had newborns. She explained they could not afford to deliver in a hospital. They were reliant on neighboring women to help them through childbirth. I looked around at this village and the trash and the children and realized that Jesus came for these. He came and was born in the lowest of circumstances in the lowest of places so He could identify with them; know their pain; love them as only He could. Overwhelming to think about.
During our time at MOHH we had the privilege of meeting with one of their team members – Jay. Jay and his wife were living in Haiti when the earthquake happened. He was walking down the main highway that runs in front of MOHH when it hit. He said the ground swayed 4 feet back and forth. He said, “I just sat down while God shook the earth.” What a profound statement! He shared things that no human being should witness – being in utter darkness, hearing the moans and cries of people trapped and traumatized, dealing with the wounded, the ground covered in blood.
As I’ve processed while in Haiti and upon my return I’ve found myself grateful for every small thing – a hot shower, a comfortable bed (sans mosquito net), coffee. I’m blessed to live like a king in comparison (i.e., I’ve got NOTHING to complain about). I’ve also thought about several situations in my life that are ongoing. God is shaking things up and I just need to sit down while He’s doing that; be quiet, and let Him move.
Susan is passionate about Jesus, family, the creative arts, and caring for people! She and her amazing husband, Dennis, minister to and journey with college students at the University of Texas in Austin. They are Mom & Dad to daughters, Lauren and Jerilynne, and Gigi & Grandpa D to Sarah and Robert.
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