As my husband and I packed our bags to leave the comfort and convenience of our home to head to a third world country, never in a million years did we think nor prepare ourselves for what we would see, experience and ultimately how our hearts would be changed forever.
Before leaving, people were so kind offering words of encouragement. The one comment we would hear from many was how we would be such a blessing to the people of Haiti. As great as this sounds and can make someone feel, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Reality is the children and people we met through Gradec Orphanage are the ones who had so much more to offer us even though you couldn’t see it by looking at just the circumstances and appearances from the outside.
As Mark and I traveled through the city of port du prince Haiti, we have never been surrounded by so much poverty. The roads, buildings, homes were nothing like we have ever witnessed before with our own two eyes. Garbage was everywhere and the destruction from the earthquake that hit this county just a few years ago, looked like it just happened yesterday wiping out everything in sight. The orphanage we stayed at only had electricity when the government felt like giving it to them. The majority of cooking was done over charcoal, laundry and dishes were done by hand. Showers were taken by pouring water from a large bucket over your body. We slept outside on air mattresses under our mosquito nets. It was like extreme camping however never ending. This is their life 7 days a week. Even having to go to the store was difficult making it and all day event. Daily living is much harder something my husband and I take for granted.
See, if we would have focused on the problems and the how things look on the outside, we would have missed the heart of the Haitian people who eventually become family to us. Despite their daily struggles, they are filled with joy and gratitude reminding me that if we focus on our circumstances we will never see the hand of God working in and through our lives. I never met people who love and know Jesus like they do. Even though the world says they have nothing they actually have more than most people I know and that is hope and love in Jesus Christ. We have never experienced conditions like we did but from the moment we wrapped our arms around those kids and saw the heart of the people who founded this little orphanage all we could see was love. It was just a reminder to me that God doesn’t see what the world see’s, He only see’s our heart.
“The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted. The gentle are blessed, for they will inherit the earth. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled. The merciful are blessed, for they will show mercy. The pure in heart are blessed for they will see God. The peacemakers are blessed, for they will be called sons of God.” Matthew 5: 3-9