The Lover of My Soul
Have you noticed that God often reveals a characteristic of Himself to you in various seasons of your life? He likes to intimately show you something of Himself so that it will stick with you in life, drawing you closer to the Lord and instilling Jesus’ character within you.
I find that missions’ trips often do this for me. There’s a softening and conditioning of my heart that takes place before I go, enabling me to be vulnerable enough to receive what He wants to show me and respond accordingly.
I do have to say, as I’ve shared before, that Haiti was the most impactful trip for this. I think because I was so broken before going, so raw and vulnerable, that the Lord could begin His work immediately. That’s the beauty of enduring hard times. It causes a dependency and thirst within us to seek truth and find love.
Jesus revealed Himself as my Lover that trip. I was desperate for love. My parents had divorced and remarried, trying to find their own new rhythms of life. I wanted to think of myself as an adult, though I was still trying to figure out what that meant. I moved out to eastern Canada and then out west. I went to school and found random jobs. But nothing was settling the ache in my heart to be loved and cherished. To find a secure home for me and the safety and assurance of the future.
To be honest, Haiti was one of the last places I wanted to go. I had said once that I would go anywhere but Haiti and Africa. I had no idea why. I didn’t even know anything about Haiti, and barely knew much about Africa either. I wanted to explore Asia and Europe. But neither of those trips worked out, strangely enough. My mentor at the time told me she was taking me to Haiti. I sulked a bit but gave in, figuring she knew what was best.
Most people don’t hit culture shock until probably half way into the trip or so, especially if they have some sort of cultural reference to rely on. I, on the other hand, hit it as soon as I stepped out of the airport! I wish I was joking.
I grew up in a quiet little farm town where everyone knew each other. I wasn’t used to city life or crowded spaces. As soon as I walked out of the airport, people were lined up yelling at us in a language I couldn’t understand. People were trying to direct us and grab our bags. It was complete chaos to me. We had a smaller plane ride to get out of Port-Au-Prince to a desert valley where we’d settle in for a couple weeks. Our luggage didn’t arrive for a few days, so I had to wear someone else’s clothes.
There were only two of us on the trip who didn’t speak any French or Creole. The man that couldn’t had great charisma and knew how to get the people laughing. I felt like an island unto myself. I didn’t know what to do. My passion was to serve others and minister everywhere I could. How on earth was I supposed to do that if I couldn’t communicate with anyone. Why did my mentor send me here?
She found me in the kitchen sobbing. I was broken. I was angry. “Why God did you send me here? What is the point?” There I was wrestling with Him once again. When Bonita found out what was wrong with me, she began to laugh. “What are you laughing at?? This isn’t funny!” I exclaimed. In her excitement, she shared that she was laughing because she knew God was going to work mightily in me. She said that I had done the hard work of preparing myself with God for this trip before I came. Because I was so outside of my comfort zone, God would have the opportunity to teach me incredible things. She told me to watch and observe the others. She said that even the Haitians would experience some sort of culture shock in some of the places we were to travel to, but that I would be able to learn so much more because I was desperately clinging to God.
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. “
– John 14:27
As I mostly spent time in an outside observing perspective, God opened my eyes to the beauty around me. He showed and filled me with His love in the simple moments I took part in.
Since I couldn’t speak the language during a camp we held for a week, I was in charge of helping keep the toddlers entertained. Someone had brought bubbles. We blew them for the little ones. The children’s faces lit up with wonder and excitement. One of the women leading it told me the kids were shouting, “Catch the rain”! Wow, something so simple was beyond fascinating to these kids. Their lives were so hard, and yet they rejoiced at simple pleasures.
There was a little girl that stole my heart that trip. I would have adopted her had I been able to. Her name was Dashmite. She was around four years old. She came to the camp for the week. Her mother never came to check on her. One day, I noticed her belly was all bloated. People had missed noticing that she wasn’t eating all the meals. She was hungry. We fed her a big bowl of spaghetti and gave her lots to drink. Then she fell sound asleep. When she woke, I wrapped her up in a towel and held her for a while. She had the most beautiful smile. One that lit up her entire face. Though she was neglected at times, away from her mommy, and hungry, she smiled the entire time she was there; a genuine smile. Jesus showed me His love through her smile.
Considering we were in a desert valley, there were no cities or any abundant source of electricity around. So, when it got dark, it was pitch black! I could barely see where I was going. Bonita had brought a couple DVDs for us to watch at night. One was called, “Indescribable” by Louie Giglio. It was talking about the stars and galaxies, and Creator God’s design of them all. He spoke on how the stars even worship God by their brilliance and sounds.
We had a church service the next night. People from the surrounding villages came. The worship was … wild. People shouted for Jesus. They sang unrestrained, their voices seeming to echo off the mountains. They swayed and danced. They gave their all to Jesus in that leaf-covered chapel.
It was nothing I had ever seen before. I grew up in a very conservative church where it was weird to lift a hand or shout amen. People were extremely modest and orderly. This, this was like attending a party. Yet, as I sat there and listened to them sing, I could catch the tune and realized I knew some of the hymns and songs. I was able to sing along in English as they sang in Creole. God reminded me that this will take place in the New Kingdom when all nations come together to glorify God. Wow! What an awesome moment seeing brothers and sisters from around the world come together to rejoice in the Lord…
— Check back next week to hear the continued story —