Monday, May 18, 2009
Have you ever been 'Desperate'?
Has there ever been a time in you life when you were "desperate" for something? A time when you would risk anything to get out of your situation? That is the daily life of many Haitians.
Many of you have seen the headlines about the boat that capsized off of the coast of Florida last week. You can read about it here. When you saw the headlines or read the story did it break your heart? We should not lie to ourselves. If it didn't, we have to ask ourselves "why not"? Why did it not phase us?
I read the account from one of the survivors. This particular man's story is not an uncommon one. His brother paid a smuggler $4000USD to get him to the U.S. A place where he hoped he could work a menial job and make a little money to send back to his starving family in Haiti. In exchange for the $4000 - which is a life's saving for most Haitians that average $360 per YEAR income- the man was promised a dangerous trip to his new life. He boarded a boat in Haiti and was taken to the Bahamas. There he spent 5 months living in a holding house for an opening on a boat to Florida. They then left the Bahamas only to run out of gas. They spent 3 days adrift at sea until another small boat reached them to refuel. They were then taken back to the Bahamas to wait for anther opportunity. Finally they left again and almost made it. Then the overfilled boat capsized off of the coast of Florida. Nine of the twenty-six passengers died before the survivors were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. Now our unlucky Haitian friend sits in a detainee cell waiting to be repatriated to his homeland he tried so hard to escape from.
Now that is desperate! Those are the people we want to minister to. To Joy and I, those are the people that we want to give hope to. Not hope through America. Not hope through a handout. Not hope through a missionary. The only hope we can offer is the hope that came to me when I allowed Jesus Christ to change me and give me eternal life. We are not naive enough to believe that the country of Haiti is filled with innocent people as hungry for God's salvation as they are for food. We have been there too many times. We know that most Haitians have heard the name of Jesus. Most Haitians are just like the people we rub shoulders with here everyday. They know they are guilty sinners but they would rather continue in their sin than submit to the Lordship of a Savior. But, we know God loves them! We know God has a plan for their lives. We know God deserves for them to be saved and worship Him forever. We know that it breaks the heart of God for them to go hungry while we engorge ourselves in luxury. We are not going for them. We are going out of a love for Jesus Christ. We are going to please our Lord. We are going because of what He has done for us and because we hear the call of Isaiah 6 asking "who will go for us".
They are a desperate people in need of salvation. We are excited that God is allowing us to be a bearer of good news. We plan to meet physical needs of the poor and hopeless in an attempt to share with them the same hope that set us free.
When you read those headlines did you wonder if those nine people that suffered such a horrible death trying to escape a horrible life were born again? As they floated in the waters did they pray to Agoueh- the voodoo God of the sea- to save them? Did they place their hope in Diejuste- a kind hearted loa of voodoo- to have mercy on them and rescue them? Was their last thought as they perished was that they would wake up in Guinee- the voodoo afterlife back in Africa? That is what should break our hearts. Did anyone share the gospel with them the day before they left? Was there anyone that really cared about THEM? Not about a ministry. Not about themselves. Not about their own safety. Not about their own comfort. Not about their own decreased net worth with the economic trouble. Was there anyone in the personal circle of influence of those nine people that knew the truth of Jesus Christ and shared it with them before they set out on the journey to America? I don't know, but I sure hope that there will be some Haitians that I get to know personally that I can share with so that if they end up floating in shark infested waters off the coast of my beautiful homeland, they can call on the Savior of the world to rescue their souls if not their bodies. That is why we are going!