I know my words are not enough, but I have to share them with you anyway. I pray God takes what little I have and makes it much. I pray you open your heart and let His Spirit speak to you through what I have to say.
I thought I would weep continuously and uncontrollably, but I didn't. I smiled instead. It isn't what I expected or planned, but I couldn't help myself. They were smiling, so crying seemed unthinkable. They lifted my spirit with their joyful faces—who was I to dampen theirs with my tears?
I went hoping to give at least as much as I was to receive. I wanted to make a difference, but within minutes of stepping out of the airport I knew my being there was not going to change anything for anyone. I realized, quickly, how limited and insignificant I am. I wept privately over that truth. It's impossible to describe the feeling of inadequacy that overwhelmed me. I didn't give much, but they changed me. I can't explain what they gave, but I'm thankful for it.
I had been warned, I had seen pictures, I had heard stories, but I was not prepared. To be there and see it is devastating. They live in the most extreme poverty ridden conditions imaginable. Maybe it can, but it seems like it can't get any worse.
Most live in tents made of cloth and sticks, or square boxes of scrap metal or plywood, or two rooms made from mud blocks (an upgrade). They have no air conditioning other than the occasional breeze that flows through their un-paned window openings. Their water comes from a community well, if one is there. I don't know where it comes from when there is no well. Mountains of trash surround them through which they rummage for food or scraps. Cows, pigs, goats, dogs, and an occasional cat wander through the streets eating from the same trash or from the ground dust. They line the streets buying and selling their limited resources amongst themselves. My description only scratches the surface. It's poverty at its most desperate level. They literally fight for their lives on a daily basis.
I did not meet the people I saw from my window as we drove by, so they remain strangers to me. But there are others I did meet. I met those to whom missionaries Ron and Terry Brian are connected, and I found them to be gracious, kind, giving, hospitable, and pleasant people. They did not know me, but they never hesitated to embrace me. They seemed genuinely happy to see me. The orphan kids immediately surrounded me whenever I stepped from the car, grabbing to hold my hand, give me generous hugs, and pulling me down so they could sit on my lap. They were hungry for more than food—their craving for touch and affection was beyond evident, but they gave it before they received it. Though our language barriers made it difficult to communicate, the language of love was easy to understand. In spite of their extreme lack, I met a people full of laughter. Their beauty is as indescribable as their desperation.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:35-40, "'For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’"
Ron and Terry Brian have given their lives for Haiti. They have sacrificed the land of plenty to live among the Haitian people. They have chosen to help them fight. They have offered their hand to help pull them one at a time from their depths of despair. They have given them resources to help them learn to help themselves. They have told them about the love of God as well, but by doing these things—by bearing this cross, by living this life—they have also shown them the love of God.
Ron and Terry Brian are driven by a cause that is bigger than themselves. They are pure and undefiled religion. They are making a difference; they are changing the world; they are the love of God in action. "You can't un-see Haiti," (kenanke.org). That's true! I'll never un-see Haiti, but neither will I ever un-see Ron and Terry Brian.
If you're looking to connect to a worthy cause, if you want to help make a difference, you can be a part of this purpose. You can help bridge the gap. Go to kenanke.org and donate. I have a Ke Nan Ke tab at the top of my home page that will connect you directly to the website. It's worth what you have to give.