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A lesson from Haiti

This week I am back from Haiti and as I get back into the swing of work and home, I am still trying to process just what happened last week. As you might know already it is hard to do a short term mission to the poorest places in the world and then just jump right back into you day to day when you come back. That is why I am useless this week. It is extremely hard for me to sleep in my comfortable pillow top mattress while knowing the people who will sleep on the ground. It is hard to see my excess in light of their lack and at times I feel a mix of guilt and anger. Guilt, because I have so much and anger, because there are those around me who have even more yet care even less. And yet we have so much to gain from the Haitians. Even though they have so little (or nothing in some cases), they have a joy we do not possess in America. Last week our whole team was surprised to see not weeping and depression but a country that has gotten its joy back. It’s almost as if the earthquake there lifted a vale and the people could see God at work. Since the quake, churches have been growing and revival happening. It reminds me of what Joseph said to his brothers. “…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” Even though the devastation is severe (in fact, more sever than I can portray), God takes together all things “for the good.”

As for me, I learned many lessons in Haiti, which I am still in the process of unpacking. One that stands out the clearest to me is paying attention to the Holy Spirit. For many of us in the US church this is more of a theory or a good sermon than an actual practice, but after talking to some of the missionaries who have been engaged in the work of God outside of America, Spiritual Discernment is an essential. To listen to where God is leading is a key element in the work of a missionary. The take home message for me is to learn to pay as much attention to the Holy Spirit here at my church. If we cannot listen to God’s promptings through His Spirit, we cannot be as useful to His purposes here on earth. The question that I have to ask myself and I hope that you do the same is this: What does God want me to do right now? Many times I confess that I snuff out the flame of the Spirit with my unwillingness to be a fool. What I mean is simply this, if God prompts you to go pray with someone on the street the first thing that we tend to worry about is an awkward moment rather than grieving the Spirit of God. What is more grieving than to disobey? While we were in Haiti we had amazing translators and a team that went with us as we walked through villages. When we saw someone or felt a nudge we prayed with them. Yes, sometimes I felt awkward going up to people and asking them “How can I pray for you?” but the more we practiced the more natural it felt. The more that we step out of our comfort zones in our lives, the less we care about comfort zones because once you feel the joy and power of walking in the will of God, there is no comparison. For me, the true awkward moment will be standing in front of my God when He asks, “Andrew, why didn’t you talk to that man? I sent him into your path for a reason and you let him slip by.”