Since my arrival in Haiti for a week of missions work I have observed what can only be described as paralysis that is brought on by frustration (hopelessness that says: “What’s the use?”) and I have seen the redeeming power of simple acts of love. I have become acquainted with the frustration felt by: lookers on, the missionaries on the field serving, and the Haitian people themselves. The source of the frustration, (governmental entities, socio-cultural barriers etc.) is the stuff of my prayers, but I have found that understanding what frustrates each of the groups brings enlightenment that strengthens my resolve to advance the Kingdom of God here in Haiti.
Those looking on, at what I would characterize as a spiritual warfare that is so evident it pokes through whatever veneer that separates the natural from the spiritual, wonder why we don’t just do more. There is a unique complexity that challenges every effort made by missionaries in Haiti, where doing more, but getting the same results, only multiplies the frustration.
There is an obvious frustration with the people of Haiti who have found hope to be as elusive as a little child reaching for the mercury from a broken thermometer. As harsh as this may sound, their present state does not absolve the Haitian people of the responsibility that they have in their own recovery. Self- improvement will ultimately improve the nation; Thoreau wrote, “When the tide is high, all the boats in the harbor are raised.” When the people of Haiti better themselves, their expectations of their leaders will be greater and they will also be in a better position to demand righteousness of them.
The missionaries who are serving on the ground in Haiti feel the pressure to get things done from the lookers on and the people of Haiti. The lookers on lack the real world experience and can’t begin to imagine the obstacles that have to be negotiated daily and the people of Haiti are blinded by great need and desperation and cannot see the logistical nightmare that is their daily lives.
Frustration here in Haiti is like the rain here in Haiti. You are in it, about to be in it or just coming out of it. The use of reason and strategy alone to serve and lift the people of Haiti will only leave us sat down in a maze of conundrums and paradoxes. However, I have found that simple acts of love, not only carry the message that God cares and we care, but they also free us from the paralysis that frustration can bring. Love frees us with four simple words; “Do what you can”. Matthew 14:18 reminds us that when we give God what we have, he will make it count.
Highlands Christian Fellowship Palmdale, CA