Once we arrived to New Life Children’s Home yesterday, we got a brief orientation on the history and ministry of the children’s home. I haven’t experienced much of Haiti yet, but from everything I’ve heard so far, I’m greatly looking forward to the week. And not just because I expect that I’m going to have a fun time (although I think that I will). I’m looking forward to growing in my faith by being challenged in every way.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. But that’s a fact I’ve known for awhile. It really starts to hit home when you see and hear stories of real people. How men spend all day at the airport in the hopes of helping people with their bags, so that they might possibly receive tips. How so many children need shelter and food. How there is so much need that sometimes the children’s home is filled to 2 or 3 children per bed. And how the greatest thing these kids need is to be shown the love of Jesus.
Today we walked around Bigarade, inviting children to play games and sports with us in the mornings at the futball field near the church. It was almost surreal. Even though it was very hot, everyone in the community seemed to be outside. That’s where they worked. That’s where they played. And they were eager to talk to us and allow us to pray with them.
Children, especially, loved that we were there. Without saying a word to us (because we wouldn’t have understood them anyway), they came up to us and held our hands. They walked with us, smiled at us, and laughed at us when we attempted to say something in Haitian Creole. One little girl, standing on her stone porch with her mom and grandmother, giggled as we were about to move on to the next house, presumably because she thought we looked or acted funny. In actually, they felt very honored to have us talk with them, because Americans are seen as rich and important.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” And He also said, “Whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
That’s what we’re going to be doing this week. But we don’t do these things out of rigid obedience to Christ’s commands. Such obedience is not really obedience at all. We do these things seeking to have the heart of Jesus: loving them, because God loves them, and because God has also loved us.