Monday, July 5, 2010


I stare into my closet and reach down to pick up my fancy dress shoes. They are bronze with a small heel and very, very cute. They still look brand new, and not only that, they are the only shoes I own that actually have a heel! I carefully slip them on and then do a practice walk in front of the mirror. Click clack, click clack, the heels tap against the tile floor. They look perfect with my Sunday dress too! I walk a few more steps and then plop down on the bed. Cute, but completely not practical! I sigh and slip them off again. If I don’t wear them to church when am I going to wear them? I wonder for a moment. Oh well, maybe next time. I put them carefully back on the shelf and then grab my sandals instead. Not exactly pretty, but pink, practical, and comfortable. I slip them on instead, give my hair a final check in the mirror, grab my purse off the shelf and then make my way to the living room. Jason is still sitting on the couch slowly eating his breakfast. “Are you coming?” I ask, slightly annoyed that he’s not even dressed in his church clothes yet. “Yup”, he replies. “Why don’t you take Jayden's car seat out of the Pathfinder and put it in the Land Cruiser instead and I’ll be right there.” He jumps up and bounds to the bedroom to get changed as I go help Jayden with his shoes. He’s already dressed with his hair slicked just so, and is patiently waiting by the door. “Let’s go,” I tell him, and squeeze his hand. For the last week we’ve been driving the Pathfinder, but on Saturday Jason drove the Land Cruiser, a much more powerful vehicle, home from work and it is now blocking the smaller Pathfinder. I grab the car seat and strap it into the Cruiser. Once Jayden’s in with his seat belt on, Jason’s ready to go, just as he promised. Anoud pulls open the heavy iron gate and we slowly back out. Although it’s only 9:30 it’s already very hot outside and I’m thankful the air conditioning is working. As we drive, I can’t help but admire the blue skies, and the pretty flowering trees, a direct contrast to the dust, garbage and rubble lining the streets. A few minutes later we reach Delmas 75, and as we turn the corner, Jason remarks. “Hey that looks like Mark Williams’ vehicle.” “I think it is”, I reply, “slow down”. Sure enough, inside the blue vehicle I see Glee. The hood is popped open and Mark, our program manager, is standing in front, checking the engine. Jason pulls over and hops out to see if he can help. A little while later he returns with Glee, and a Haitian boy, who they were giving a ride, called Alex. “Mark is going to stay with the vehicle” Jason says, “So we will take Glee and Alex to church”. “Okay”, I reply as I climb into the back beside Jayden, so Glee can sit up front. Several minutes later we arrive at church. We find a spot to park on the grass under a tree, and then get out. Quisqueya Chapel, the church we attend every Sunday morning, is an international, non-denominational English speaking church. When we first arrived in Port au Prince we attended some Haitian, Creole speaking churches, but soon decided Jayden was much too big of a distraction for the people in church. Since we were considered guests, a spot would be found for us to sit right in the front of church, and Jayden who was younger had a very hard time sitting still. Especially with the heat and mosquitoes! He thus attracted more attention than the pastor, so we soon decided to attend Quisqueya instead. With 10-20% of the members being foreigners, we blend in much better. We also aren’t required to sit up front and instead find a bench right in the back to sit. Although the church does have its own pastor, almost every other Sunday we have a guest pastor/missionary/student from some other church or country who preaches. Since each pastor comes from a different background, you’re never really sure what to expect from week to week. Today, a friend of ours Missionary/Pastor Zachary King leads the service and he preaches on Revelations 21. Although I’ve heard this passage before, sitting on a tiny bench, melting in the heat and humidity, shooing away buzzing mosquitoes and surrounded by people who’ve survived such a tragedy the words come alive.

1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
9And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
10And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
12And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
16And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
17And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
18And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
19And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
20The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
23And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
25And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
27And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

For a people whose city has been destroyed and who know everything about pain and suffering, the message of a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem is a marvel indeed. Out of the rubble and destruction and pain comes a hope for a better future. A future where God himself will wipe the tears from their eyes. The church is silent, everyone soaking up the Word. God’s Word. Even Jayden who usually has a hard time sitting still, sits quietly and listens. From our spot against the back wall, my eyes drift to the right back corner of the church. As I continue to listen I watch as a young Haitian man, not much older than myself, signs out the message to a group of deaf children. The passion in his eyes as he conveys the message with his hands, brings tears to my eyes. The children's eyes are trained on him, and I am certain that his passion alone is enough to draw their attention to the importance of God’s Word.

After the service we head back to the Cruiser and drive towards home. Mark is still waiting by his vehicle so he now asks if we can tow him. I silently thank God for making us drive the powerful Land Cruiser rather than the pathfinder today. A Haitian man helps tie the two vehicles together and we are soon on our way. Traffic begins to back up behind us as Jason drives at a crawls pace, but no one seems to get impatient or angry. Jason sweats as he carefully navigates the two vehicles around impossible turns, tight corners and hazardous pot holes. On a final steep embankment, the Land Cruiser stalls, since Jason is forced to stop due to traffic driving on the wrong side of the road. “Grace”, I remind him, as he struggles with the Land Cruiser, while complaining about the backwards traffic. A car stops besides us and the driver suggests Jason carefully back down the hill and try again at a more level section. Although difficult it does work and we are soon pulling Mark and his vehicle up the hill again, all the while praying we will make it to the top. This time it works and we are able to pull Mark’s vehicle all the way to the street in front of his home. We are now faced with a new problem as Mark, Alex and Jason are unable to push the vehicle into the garage area. I now smile and thank God that I wore my practical shoes as I jump out of the cruiser. My extra girl power is just what is needed to push the vehicle into the garage. Dusting off my feet, and hands, I slowly make my way back to the Cruiser. Sunday in Haiti, you never really know what to expect.

1 comment:

  1. Loving your stories, poems, and private thoughts. Thanks again for sharing, I love reading your blog!
    Love Henry and Jenny