sitting in a plastic lawn chair inside a very hot upper room on our last night in Haiti I’m listening to the generators run outside the Byxbe’s home. It’s a white noise that is incredibly comforting to hear. The few times it has slowed and become silent the lights go dark, the fans stop and you hold your breath… And wait to see how long the generator will take to kick back on.
In America it’s a simple thing that you can own or rent… It’s a spare. Or a means to power an event such as a concert. It’s not necessary to everyday living… Here generators have a different daily purpose.
Last year when we stepped onto Haitian soil it was all new. All different. My eyes were glued to everything around me… This year it’s a bit like going to grandmas house. It’s not your home but you know where things are, how they work, and what to expect (except for the rat/mouse I literally just saw run across the floor… No joke.)
Instead of watching the environment this year I watched the people on our team… I have been so excited for this team to meet this part of our family… And to experience this culture and to see what God is going to do in their lives in the coming weeks months and years because of their obedience to the come…
I have found myself on the brink of tears often on this trip. Sometimes I’m able to pin point exactly why and sometimes it’s more than words… A lot of them are tears of gratitude.
I’m so grateful that we’ve been able to introduce 35 of our dearest friends to the ministry of together we can. We love the Byxbe’s. We love their heart for the people of Haiti. Their vision and passion for the gospel. We love their children. We love their bold-faced spit-at-the-impossible attitude… We simply love them… And it’s been such a privilege and exciting honor to intro friends to friends.
I’m grateful for our team. These 13 men and women have been incredible. Incredible. We have experienced the most bi-polar weather ever!!! We have sweated until our faces are melting and then froze half to death within the same 12 hours. We have gone without 8 bags of luggage… 4 of which were personal clothing bags. These folks have gone completely to the brink physically… Buckets of water and gravel up and down hill after hill… Foot after foot of trench digging, pushing a concrete mixer up and down hills that are ridiculous, and ridden for hours in the back of a pick up truck (28 people plus 4 days worth of camping supplies in an extended cab truck… No joke. No lie.) there has not been one… Count it… ONE meltdown on this trip. Not one.
The Haitian lifestyle had made me grateful for the American lifestyle and sorrowful for the ways that we squander it….
I’m so incredibly grateful for my children. For the fact they are clothed. Fed. Educated. Loved. Clean (85% of the time). Heathy. When you see children walking on cliffs with the most ragged dressed and no shoes yet waving fanatically and smiling from ear to ear as you drive by it sucker punches you… The simple life of a Haitian child. Oh how bittersweet.
I’m beyond grateful for a man that loves Jesus. Stephen had the opportunity to meet with 15 local pastors a few days. Some of these men walked over an hour and half to spend time in the word and be poured into as pastors. Each day as we traveled the mountain road and stopped where the conference was being held I watched as my man hopped off the back of the truck and walked away to talk about the thing he loves most in his life… His savior. There’s nothing more endearing that seeing that. The intesifying burden and passion for the gospel in my husband over the last year is one of the biggest blessings in my life… Then to see him spend the afternoon swinging a pick axe or using and shovel and laughing around the fire with him under the stars… Gratitude. Nothing better.
Gratitude is such a small word for the welling emotion that summarizes much… Gratitude should be a generator… It should generate a thankful attitude. It should generate love and compassion for people. People I want to love and show compassion to and people that I have no desire to love. Gratitude is fueled by recognizing and resting in my Savior and the grace He has given freely to me… Completely undeserved. Completely unmerited. And completely for His glory.
Mission trips tend to be extreme in some, or many ways… But the emotion, convictions, and challenges they present shouldn’t be left on foreign soil… They should generate change at home. They should stir and prompt growth in my everyday life…