Hi This is Donna Bennett...
Today was our first full day experiencing the land of Haiti. The smell, the taste, the sounds, the people and the reality that this is a place of desperation. Everything here is limited… roads, light, water, food, sanitation and every thing we, in the US, might find necessary in daily living.
Today, we learned that moms collect dirt from the road, mix the dirt with oil and pat it to a crisp…then feed the “dirt cookie” to their children so that their tummies will feel full.
Today, we saw garbage EVERYWHERE!
Today, we drove on roads that I certainly would never drive my car on for fear of popping a tire.
Today, we saw pigs, cows, goats and chickens wandering the roads and eating the garbage lying around while children played, “soccer”, with a Coke bottle just steps away from the animals.
Today, we saw tents…lots of tents…. Many of the Haitians live in tents. It is crowded, dirty and desolate.
Hears the most amazing news of the day…
Today, I saw with my own eyes that the “weak are truly strong” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, that the “Joy of the Lord is our Strength” Psalm 5:11, and that “He knows every hair on our heads” Luke 12:7.
Interesting when you come to “minister” to others through a mission trip, that you find yourself ministered to.
Our team made three visits today…
The first visit was to a hospital for those that were “sick and dying”. We, in the States, call that “hospice”. There were people of all ages. Many of them were very weak and confined to their beds. They met us with smiles and voices willing to make a joyful noise to the Lord. As we sang WITH them, we were able to rub lotion on their dry and brittle skin. We were reminded by our leaders that many of the people we would visit crave and long to be touched, as that is something they do not experience often. To think that these people will soon be meeting our Lord and King, Jesus, was emotional. Interesting though…. To me, these very ill people didn’t seem to be holding on to this world. Perhaps they truly know where their treasure is stored?
Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves beak in and steal. But store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Our second stop of the day was at a school. En route to the school we found ourselves driving towards a “demonstration” that was walking towards us. There were Police officials carrying AK-47’s and clothed in full combat armor. Yep…we turned around…only to find the school was just a block away. They were walking towards the school, so we made sure to get out of the “truck” quickly.
The school day was coming to a close, but many of the kids stayed behind to sing songs and play some of our instruments with us. The first requested song was, “open the eyes of my heart”. Psalm 119:18 says, Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your teachings”. What a great reminder that God would ask us to “open our eyes”. One of my mottos in teaching is, “you are never to young to teach and you are never to old to learn”. Often times, In His word, God uses the weak, the poor and the children to show us how we should live. Our team was blessed to witness this first hand today as the weak, poor and children reminded us that no matter where you are, you will see God’s blessings, joy and love, if you just open your eyes. Here’s a challenge, right now, simply ask God, “open my eyes”. If you open your eyes, your heart will open too.
Last stop of the day was a late entry…but truly an amazing, mind searing moment. We went to an orphanage. It was in the middle of rubbish and rubble. Yes…that’s garbage and rock. The kids just finished school and greeted us with three songs. WOW! If I could bring them home and take them on tour, I believe we could sell out every major music hall in the country. Being a full time musician, I was appreciative of their willingness to sing and their amazing God given talent.
Funny, these kids also requested, “Open the eyes of my heart”. Yes, another opportunity to be reminded that God is working not only through us this week, but definitely IN us! There were so many “best parts” to this visit, but I will share a couple that stood out.
Matthew 6:22 says, “the eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light”. Interesting verse, isn’t it?! As we looked into the eyes of the children, we noticed how many of their eyes lit up when the music started. One of our favorite moments was when we sang the first verse of “Glory to God” in their native language. We are so happy that music is a universal language and better yet that we can sing with the Haitians in their native tongue! While Kenny was a master at leading us in song, at one point the kids decided to head right to the bridge of the “Glory to God”…..
They sang with passion…
“TAKE MY LIFE AND LET IT BE ALL FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR GLORY! TAKE MY LIFE AND LET IT BE YOURS!”
WOW!!!!!! They were shouting that out, in tune, and praising God with their minds, body and soul! Without a video to show you the moment….all I can say is ask Kenny when the next trip is so you can experience this for yourself.
Since I am writing the blog, I will tell you on of my favorite moments from that stop. There was a little girl about three years of age. About three songs in, she walked towards me. We danced a bit and then I picked her up. Not sure how long was “appropriate” to hold this precious jewel, I heard the words Kari spoke to us earlier that said “these people crave touch”, so I decided I would not put her down until the music stopped. As I held this beautiful child of God, I felt her beating the rhythm of the song on my back. Soon thereafter I felt the weight of her whole body sink in to mine. She had fallen asleep and would remain on my shoulder for a good 30 minutes. I sat down with the other children on their school benches and took it all in as the band sang, “Open the Eyes”. As we sang, the verse from Jeremiah 29:11 came to me. The verse say, “for I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Although I may never see this precious Gem again in my life, I whispered that verse into her as a prayer. You see, none of us know God’s plan, but He does give each of us a unique hope and future. My prayer for her this day is that she will be a blessing to others, because she will open her eyes to the Love of Christ. He will be her Hope, her strength, her Joy and her greatest Love … AND … with that….SHE WILL BE BLESSED!
After reflecting on what we saw today, I came away with a final thought… They (the Haitians), have nothing…so, He (God), is their everything.
Here’s a question for you… Have you ever felt completely depleted, feeling as if you have nothing, only to just feel that you have …well…..“NOTHING”?
Has your own misfortune and desperation ever caused you to look to the one who is everything?
Jesus says in John 16:33, “in this world, you will have trouble. But, take heart! I have overcome the world” NIV. Did you hear that? He, “Jesus”, has overcome the world?! Remember the things you just read about our day in Haiti the next time you feel like the world is crashing in on you…and you think you have “nothing”….
Open your eyes to His Strength, His Joy and His Love! It’s there you will find Hope because He Is YOUR EVERYTHING!