Sun beating down on my freckled cheeks, sweat rolling down the back of my neck, covered by little arms giving hugs. These are my normal days here in Haiti. What was once so foreign is now so second nature.
I only have about a month left of this journey. Not my journey of being obedient to God, but the end of this time in Haiti. God has stirred by heart for others, especially those who are overlooked and I know that I’ve got a lot more obedience to give. For a girl who has always been so head strong and controlling, surrendering to God has been the sweetest thing I’ve ever known. Each time I say yes to God, he draws me in closer. Maybe this is because when I say yes to him I go places and do things that are so uncomfortable that the only way that I can manage is by his strength pouring into me. With the time that I have left I’m working on being intentional and part of that is writing down and recounting each passing week. I don’t want to forget any part of this story that has wrecked me for Jesus and I pray that in sharing others will be moved by how big, and mighty, and loving, and life giving the Lord really is.
Last Friday I finally had a sleepover with all of the girls….. ALL OF THE GIRLS. That’s about 20 girls who are from 5 to 17 years old. It was a fun time! We watched a princess movie of course, and the girls were obviously captivated by the story because inside a princess is in each of them screaming to be seen and known. I painted their nails even though I’m so bad at it. When I asked Angeline if I could paint her toenails she told me she hadn’t washed her feet but of course I didn’t care. I’d gladly touch her dirty little feet anytime. When she said this it reminded me of when Jesus washed the disciples feet. He wanted to serve them just like I want to serve the girls and show them that they are loved, worthy, and beautiful beyond their wildest imaginations. This isn’t a story just about serving children of a foreign land, this is a story about how we serve daily. How we humble our hearts and take on a posture of service daily because that is exactly what our Father did for us.
After the movie and painting our nails it was time to go to bed. Unfortunately the air conditioner in our living room was broken and for 25 people we only had one fan. All of the youngest girls wanted to sleep with me so we all piled onto one, twin air mattress. Stefania, the tiniest, cutest little thing you’ve ever seen, took up three times her size on the air mattress. So Ms. Kelsey was left with about a foot of room to sleep. I didn’t care though. Shamaika held my hand all night until she fell asleep while I lay awake listening to the laughter of little girls, and prayed over them. This night was no night at the Best Western, but for the girls it was so special. I barely did anything at all other than give them my time and attention but I think that’s what they’re seeking more than anything else. Just like all of us are. We want to be seen, we want to be known, and we want to know that we matter. But we don’t have to want these things anymore because they’re a reality for us. Jesus sees us. He really sees us. He sees our heart, our mess, our sorrow, our joy, our jealousy, our sin and he loves us all the same. He knows us deeply, and fully. Before our parents even knew us he knew us. We matter to him. Isaiah 43:4 says, “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.” One man in particular that God gave in return for us was Jesus, His only son. What kind of exchange was that? Our sinful, selfish, failing selfs for the perfect, humble, teacher who was Jesus. It doesn’t make sense but it is true and because of this we matter. Nothing can change that. Not death. Not life. Not angels. Not demons. Not our fears of today. Not our worries for tomorrow. Not the powers of hell. Not the powers in the sky above. Not the powers of the earth below. Not anything in all of creation can change this (Romans 8:38). I really didn’t feel like I did much for the girls but they’re still talking about this hot, joyful, sleepless night and so I know that it was worth it.