Posted by Admin on Thursday, April 24, 2014
Here in Haiti the battle between Satan and God is most evident over the Easter week. It’s the time when the followers of evil (voodoo worship) and the followers of Jesus collide. There are voodoo marches most nights and sometimes the streets can be blocked for hours while they dance and chant in a procession. And as the noise from these processions blare, it collides with worship and praise music coming from the windows of each church along the route. Haiti feels spiritually “on fire” during Easter week. It is a battleground between good and evil.
My own spiritual battle occurs when I let frustration and disappointment wear me down. I open the door to darkness when I quit trusting in God and start doubting. The voodoo drums start beating inside my head. Dealing with staff problems, vehicle issues, health challenges, blah, blah, blah - I let the negative things start to discourage me and actually announce to God “I’m done” – “I don’t want to do this anymore” – drums beating loudly.
But our God is loving and patient and in these days of darkness he usually shines a light for me to claw my way out. Just like the voodoo procession that looses its steam when encountering the melodic chorus of Praise music from the open church windows – my darkness abates with an act of service. While organizing a feeding program for 100 malnourished children in a remote province, my heart is softened. Through the efforts of Highlands Church and New Harvest Church, I am forced to quit thinking about my own needs and see life through the eyes of a malnourished child who hasn’t eaten in days. Instead of focusing on my own stomach issues and cold, I focus on what it feels like to not know when you will eat again. To focus on a 5 year old with no muscle tone, red hair and a distended belly. But God wasn’t done; He knows I am a slow learner so on Easter he added an extra bit of encouragement.
After Easter Service – I was told that a visitor at the church was looking for me. She had walked over 8 miles with some of her family members, because she had heard I lived in Kenscoff and had a picture book identifying me and our daughter, Esperancia. The doubting starts again….the voodoo drums start pounding…does she want money? What does she need? How will this affect Espie? Who is she? Will this become a bigger problem? On and on and on…… as the drums crescendo I hear the chorus of “Whom Shall I Fear “and know that angel armies are at my side. I make a decision – “I’m done.” Done relying on my own understanding, done doubting, done questioning? I am choosing to trust. Because if God brought her all this way, today, on Easter, He knows what is best for Espie and I. So I went back inside the church and for the next few hours met the woman who had just as much love for our daughter as I did.
Talking with Francine and learning about her family, her children (13 of them), her life, her mother – it was surreal. Two of Espie’s sisters were also there – but Espie hadn’t come to church that day because she wasn’t feeling well either. So I called her on the phone and invited her to join us if she was comfortable doing so. The look of PURE JOY on Francine’s face when she saw Espie is something that will stay with me all the days of my life. Her voice began to lift as she praised God for seeing her daughter, for holding her in her arms. Her sweet Esperancia, grown, beautiful, poised, sweet and with those same piercing eyes as when she last saw her 7 years ago; it knocked her breath away. It was a moment of undiluted and unconditional love. We all talked and laughed and shared stories. Espie and I invited them to join us in a few weeks for dinner and I just pray that all 14 won’t show.
I offered to give them a ride home since they had walked so far, and one of my coworkers (Noe, who had helped me with some of the translation) offered to drive for me. I asked Espie if she would like to take them home and she jumped at the opportunity. She held her little sister on her lap. They were gone what seemed like an eternity to me and the entire time, not a moment of doubt crept in. When Espie returned she was beaming. She hugged me more tightly than ever and said “Thank you” about 200 times while we hugged. Tears fell and when we could finally talk, Espie said “What do I call her?”
“Well,” I smiled “You call her Mom, honey, she’s your Mom.”
“But that won’t upset you? You’re my Mom.” She replied. And I smiled with the confidence that only comes from God and said,
“What a great Easter gift God brought us today, another Mom that loves you as much as this Mom.”
And with that we said a prayer of gratitude and listened as harmonic chords of worship drowned out the beating voodoo drums.
P.S. The day happened so fast, that I forgot to take any pictures, but don’t worry, I promise to add them after our big “family” dinner.
Hope you all had a blessed and peace filled Easter.