Monday, October 25, 2010

Uncomfortable in Haiti

God definitely brought me outside my comfort zone in many situations during our time in Haiti. I know God caused me to be uncomfortable so that I could have a taste of the injustice that many are facing in our world today.

Some of us slept in tents in the small backyard of our host home. The first night we arrived, the men set up our tents right next to the outdoor restroom. One thing we saw that night as our tents were being assembled were cock roaches (very large ones I might add!!) on the toilet seat. It was already dark by the time we reached our host home the first night. It was hot. We were all sweating. And that night I went to bed in a tent with my very good friend Lisa, her daughter and my daughter Lauren. We each had a thin mattress for our bed and we didn't need anything to cover us because it was so hot.

About 2 hours into our sleepless night, it began to storm. The wind blew hard and it rained hard. There was loud thunder and lightening. It rained so hard in a short amount of time that our tent began to fill up with water. Our personal belongings were getting wet. The four of us made the decision to grab our mattresses and make a mad dash to the house. Inside, most everyone was awake. There was a lot of commotion but eventually we all settled down with a new sleeping arrangement.

The next morning, after a sleepless night for myself, some of my belongings wet from the storm, I just wanted to cry. I wanted to go home. Our family does not camp, so this was not fun for me.

The second night was a repeat of the first except the water didn't leak into our tent near as much. Lisa and I both woke up at the same time startled. Along with the rain, there was loud music playing nearby. On the other side of us, there was a mixture of animal noises all at once. It sounded like ducks quaking and pigs squealing but we couldn't tell for sure. The louder the music, the louder the animal sounds.

Lisa and I both felt like our tent was surrounded by evil spirits. We were frightened, so once again, we woke up our girls, grabbed our mattresses and headed into the house. And once again, I wanted to go home.

The next morning our team visited a nearby Tent City. We split up into 3 teams. One team went around doing tent repairs, one team walked around and prayed for people and our team handed out shoes and clothing.

We visited with a grandma who lost her home in the earthquake. She was so grateful that God gave her another home - a small tent. She was taking care of her granddaughter. She expressed hope and thankfulness to the Lord.

Her request to us was that we would not forget her. She asked us to pray that God will not take her until His work through her is complete. I believe she asked that she be here on earth when Jesus returns.

We took turns praying over each person we connected with. This time, Lauren prayed over this elderly woman. That was my first breaking moment of the trip.

In the Tent City, we saw dirty water running outside the tents. Most likely water ran into each tent during each rainstorm. We saw very small, sick babies. We saw lice eggs on heads as thick and as big as the beads in tapioca pudding.

We heard stories of people losing loved ones in the earthquake. One woman we prayed over lost her husband in the quake. She was pregnant with their second child at the time. Now she is alone, raising two young children under horrific conditions.

After returning to our host home that afternoon, our team had a debriefing. We were all broken. The tent repair team shared that they built a home for a family that did not have a home. It took them just 30 minutes to assemble a tarp tent. Just under 10 months since the earthquake and this family was without a home up until this point. And to think that it took only 30 minutes to build.

That night I went to bed with a greater appreciation for shelter. Rainstorm or not, Lisa and I decided that we were going to stick it out all night. I was reminded that no matter how bad you have it, there is always someone somewhere in the world that has it much worst.

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