I read it, but couldn’t believe it. Sadness and frustration flooded me. Again? I mean seriously, again? This time around there aren’t any roadblocks, or looting businesses. This time around there aren’t any burning tires or falling asleep to the sound of gunshots. Gas stations are still well stocked with fuel, kids are still in school, normal life seemed to be coming back in after so many weeks of lockdown last fall. But this time around it’s on a whole different level. As we are all shocked that Haiti is now a level 4 again…right up there with Afghanistan and Iran, we know that the issues going on are so heavy and so traumatizing that even though there are no burning tires like we are used to, level 4 is where we are and I have to accept that.
Day after day there are reports of kidnappings. There has been a huge rise of kidnappings in the last few months where ransom amounts are sky high. Some days up to 15 victims. A few days ago it was stated 6 in one hour. Young and old, locals and foreigners, kidnapped and held for ransom.
That is what is believed to be the main reason for the travel advisory. Though we can still go on with our day to day activities, the knowledge of this actively going on still lurks around us. We’ve heard of so many instances over the past two months it has become all too normal to read about yet still nerve racking and devastating to hear.
This is a blog I wrote some time ago during another period of unrest, but it still rings true today.
“This is not the time to throw hands up in disgust and find a more “attractive” country to support. This is not the time to forget about our neighbors whom so many deserve the world yet only get the leftovers.
This is the time to continue serving because food prices have risen so much when the market already sells cups of cornflakes because a whole box of cereal is too expensive. This is the time to still give because ministries are fighting right in the middle of this mess to keep feeding, loving, encouraging, and serving these people while being wide eyed and cautious every time we leave the house. This is the time to pray like crazy because some of us are scared of what is to come. Will we lose support due to all of the corruption that seems to flare up every other season? Will teams stop coming in? Will donors give up on this island that seems to feel like it's always drowning? Will restaurants and hotels and stores collapse over time from all the turmoil and injustice and crime that never seems to take a break? What will be made of all this? Will it get worse?
Or will the donors and prayer partners remember the little girl in the picture who has a heart of gold and a dream of becoming a teacher one day and help her to make that dream come true. Will they remember the majestic mountains and the turquoise ocean as a reminder not to give up on the pearl of the Antilles. Will they remember to love thy neighbor and love like Jesus even if it’s messy, or dangerous, or not attractive?
Somedays counting the cost becomes a lot harder. Worry pounds its way in and tries to overtake one’s mind. “Worry is meditating the thoughts of Satan” is how it was once explained to me. The devil wants us to be scared when we leave the house, the "what ifs" that are around every corner, but we must keep our minds focused on Jesus. Because Jesus would be here loving, supporting, caring for the burdened. The outcast. The hard pressed. He’d have dinner with the sinners and wash the feet of his enemies.
He has big fans over here. He’s all so many of them have to cling to in a broken world and yet they prove to me day after day that HE IS ENOUGH.
Remember, He’s a king born in a stable, not a palace. May we never put ourselves in a higher position that He himself.
So, let us not shame the shoes we’ve yet to walk in.
There are so many souls over here that give me beautiful reminders that we can’t group the whole of a country into one stereotype. We can’t judge the country based off of the actions of a few people that we see on the news or read about online.
So, let’s join together in prayer for this country.
There IS love here.
There IS hope here.
And please, Jesus let change come here too.”
Churches were just starting to email me asking about bringing teams down. I was so encouraged to get these emails as 2019 was a tough year as so many teams weren’t able to come due to the unrest. I was and still am so hopeful for our teams to come see all that La Limyè has done and to be apart of it, but in the mean time we will accept the season we are in. So, join me in prayer. For all of the victims of crime, kidnappings, and unrest. Pray for all the families who are affected by these tragedies. Pray for all of the businesses that will have a loss in profit from teams and tourist money coming to a halt as many can't or won’t travel during a level 4. Pray for change to come. Pray that people won’t give up on this nation. You can talk to any one of my employees and instantly you will see the love and compassion and joy this country possesses.
This is only a season. It won’t define us. It doesn’t shape this place. It’s only a season.
God be with us.