In Haiti, Sunday was one of the most powerful days for me. So I thought I’d share an entry I wrote that day in my journal:
5/15/2011 Day 2
I’m sitting in a white church building in Mission of Hope, Haiti. The building is an open breezeway type, with fencing as “windows”. It has a simple tin roof, wooden pews and white and crimson draping for the stage. On stage they have two keyboards, a bass, drums and a trumpet. I just had one of the most emotional worship experiences of my life. Locals walked or were picked up by buses from nearby villages. They are all dressed their best. And in the midst of nothing and sorrow, they worship with passion. We sang ‘I am a friend of God’, ‘Here I am to Worship’, ‘Lord I lift Your Name on High’ and others. We sang in Creole and they even sang some lines in English. But one word was spoken the same in both languages: Hallelujah. I began to cry as we sang the same melody with different languages and came together on that one word. These people have nothing, and praise God with more passion than we do back at home where we have so much. Why is that?! I came to Haiti and am reminded of what true worship is about: Lifting high the Name of God no matter what situation He puts you in. Because He is worthy. He saved us. The pastor is on fire! Even though it’s in Creole, I know the message is powerful. The crowd responds with Amen’s and words in Creole with their hands raised. There is a little boy about 3 in the pew before me smiling at me. He thinks the origami dragon I made him is the greatest thing ever. There are around 1,400 people, Haitian and American worshipping together today.
I don’t know how long it will take to process all that’s happened. I feel like I’ve seen and learned so much. I think the little things will stick in my mind too. Like playing games with the Haitian kids, how fast they learn and how big they smile. How they would hold my hand or sit in my lap, silently studying every move I made. They take care of each other and are used to the harsh conditions they live in.
I’ve seen cripples in the street, tent villages, families bathing beside the streets, violence, ladies carrying big loads on their heads, beautiful scenery, piles of trash, random animals and tons of bananas.
How shall I describe it? Beautiful? Dangerous? Dirty? Hopeful? Poor? Or all of the above? I’ve come to the conclusion that Haiti cannot be described in words, or captured in pictures. The lessons learned here cannot be manufactured. The kid’s smiles and joy cannot be brought home. The emotion of worshipping with the locals cannot be seen. Haiti has to be experienced.
So, what is Haiti like? Nothing else. I’ll try my best to tell you, but it’s my prayer that you can experience it for yourself one day.