"This is worst than the earthquake" The words, not a sensationalized or exaggerated news headline but a one - line Facebook post by a friend, a veteran missionary veterinarian, made my heart cry and stomach ache as my mind tried to understand.
How can that be!?! As bad as the suffering, destruction, and loss of thousands of lives due to the 2010 earthquake, the rapidly approaching famine conditions that hundreds of thousands of Haitian people face is worse. Today, 10 days after the hurricane, hundreds of relief worker struggle to even reach mountain and remote villages. How many people can you feed with one truck of food...and they will need food for MONTHS to come even if they can replant rapidly And the first crops survive to produce a good harvest.
Wednesday night I did not sleep well following a Skype discussion with Gilles our missionary directors, making plans to travel to Port-au-Prince next week and then onto the South to get a first hand look at the devastation and try to provide agricultural and medical advice on how to best help people in the days, months, and years to come.
The tension of not actively having a plan on how to personally help with the hurricane relief was instantly replaced with the bigger tension of knowing the physical, mental, and spiritual beating and pain that will occur next week. Knowing that while we can help, and do what we can......the needs are too BIG to even begin to get a handle on and comprehend.
How do I deal with these mixed feelings? The knowledge we need to go, want to go, want to help fights with in me with the feelings of wanting to run the other direction, knowing from experience the pain and scars we are walking toward, that will change us for the rest of our lives.
1. Share from the heart to encourage our prayer team to remember the Haitians suffering and us. Posting this blog and the update that will be heading out to our support team, begging for prayer. Without the power of prayer and backing of our team I know that this would be almost impossible for us to do. Please share with others, your family, small group, church, prayer warriors. While we praise the Lord for sparing much of Haiti the battle for lives continues. Thank you. [Will later post a list of prayer requests for next week]
2. Intentionally keep my mind and heart turned to God. Reminding myself of His LOVE, and power in the midst of this overwhelming tragedy. Not for one minute relying on any strength I may think i have but asking Him to fill me with His love, power, might, wisdom, compassion, and courage. Easier to do here, safe at home where I can step away from the computer pictures and posts about the suffering than next week when we will be feeling, seeing, smelling and surrounded by the reality of the task the Lord has entrusted us with at this time. Pray.
3. My practical plan for preventing overwhelming, paralyzing feelings of inadequacy will be: to pray to find and see Jesus in each person I connect with on this trip. I read again yesterday about Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity and how she taught. They try to recognize Christ in each person they serve. The belief that God hides in ugly or discusting disguises to test the love of His followers.
I think that by looking and finding Jesus in the people around us the Lord ministers to me, a visual reminder that He is with me every step of the way through difficult times. He will be holding me next week.
Reminding myself to look for focus on the joy and hope that will be there. I saw the Haitians praising the Lord in song and prayers immediately after the earthquake. I know they are a resilient people who will rebuild their lives. They will be helping others with loving hearts, generously sharing the little they posses with others.
I am very thankful that for this adventure Cory and I will be together. We plan to leave Anna with teammates at the Ortlip Center to help out there and have fun hanging out with people other than her parents.
Blogs may not occur next week or until we return home. Each time you check please send up a prayer. Will be taking notes and plan to share in the future about the trip.