Today I Wept

I’ve spent the past week in Haiti among some of the poorest people in the world. My team facilitated a medical clinic and served impoverished families who are very, very sick. We played with orphans who have experienced deep tragedy and loss, as well as restaveks (child slaves) who are deprived of opportunity and dignity. We drove down the street and saw great need everywhere we look: hunger, poverty, homelessness, joblessness, disease, and more. I think this was my 11th mission trip to a developing country. The shock factor of poverty has worn off.

I still see it and process it, but in a totally different way than my first trip. Where that first trip left me broken in pieces, the following trips have left me feeling inspired, motivated, encouraged, restored, and given me a much more educated world view. If you’re going to travel frequently and do mission work full time, you can’t let the poverty just destroy you each time…you’ll get burnt out.

We are not meant to focus on sin and it’s devastating effects. We are meant to focus our eyes on the Redeemer, Healer, and Hope of the World. He can be found in the lively eyes of children and in the hearts of passionate mission team members. That’s where I like to focus…

However, sometimes I wonder if I’m too “desensitized.” Is it ok to not feel broken when I am surrounded by so much brokenness? After all, Jesus “bore our grief and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4), and we are to “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). I often pray about finding this balance. We must carry the burden of our fellow Christians around the world in developing nations and those facing persecution. We must pray for them and intercede for them.

Most of all, I think we need to let their struggles and their suffering motivate us, urging us on to “learn to do right, seek justice, take up the cause of the fatherless, and plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). Then there are days, like yesterday, where I am suddenly shocked by poverty once again. Just when I think I’ve grown accustomed to seeing poverty and caring for orphaned and vulnerable kids, the Lord grabs my attention and reminds me of how little I know.

Yesterday morning, I woke up to an email from our ministry partner in Rwanda, Best Family. This is the organization that Blake and I partner with in facilitating a sponsorship program for 150 kids. The email carried tragic news about one of our kids. Out of nowhere, this beautiful, lively, spunky little 5 year old girl who wanted to grow up to be a fashion designer passed away.

She died from malaria, a totally preventable and treatable disease. It’s not fair. It’s not right. Poverty killed her, and I’m angry. In remembrance of Aisha, we are writing letters of love to the family and opening up The Aisha Fund, a fund dedicated to providing mosquito nets to all of the children in Best Family Rwanda. Learn more here.

Soon after reading the email with this tragic news, I went to church here in Haiti. During the drive there, the stench in the road seemed stronger, the people seemed thinner, their faces seemed more desperate. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so desensitized. My heart was breaking. We’ve never experienced a child’s death in Best Family before, and this shook me to the core. Once at church, I was the only white person in the building, and I couldn’t understand a single word of the Creole that was spoken. But I poured my heart out to God.

The church is situated up on a hill where you can look through the windows and see the city of Port au Prince in the valley below. The congregation was singing “Bless the Lord oh my soul” in Creole, and I sang along in English. Suddenly the tears started flowing. I wept for this little girl. I wept because her family is Muslim and is experiencing this grief without the hope of Christ. I wept because there are millions of kids just like her. I wept for Best Family, the staff, and our kids. I wept for Port au Prince, as I looked at the city in the valley through the window.

In my purse I had a roll of toilet paper, (which if you’ve ever traveled to a developing nation, you know is like gold), and I started to wipe away the tears. Suddenly I became very aware that everyone in the church was staring at this crazy white lady who wreaked of bug spray blubbering like a baby and holding a roll of toilet paper. You could say I stood out. The lady next to me hugged me and started praying for me. I couldn’t understand a word, but it just encouraged me so much to be a part of the Body of Christ no matter where I am in the world, and to know that I am not alone in this fight.

At the end of the service we sang the song “Forever”, and again I sang in English while the congregation sang in Creole. The words were so fitting and so perfect that I think it’s an appropriate way to end this blog post as well…

The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Savior of the world was fallen

His body on the cross His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon him
One final breath He gave
As Heaven looked away
The Son of God was laid in darkness

A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken

The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated

Forever, He is glorified
Forever, He is lifted high
Forever, He is risen
He is alive, He is alive

The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated

We sing Hallelujah x3
The Lamb has overcome

Read our adoption story and why we felt God calling us to adopt.

Check out other blog posts about Lindsay’s ministry and our adoption.

Read Lindsay’s testimony and learn about her work with World Orphans.

We were able to adopt debt free thanks to the help of this resource.