Friday, December 16, 2011

Freely given by an unknown giver

     Being back in Haiti for almost a week has had it's desire effect on me.  I no longer like to be in the U.S. for the holidays due to all the emphasis on buying and gifts.  I blame myself as I can't seem to get away from the advertising and pulse of "buy, buy, buy" all the time.
     People here in Haiti do exchange gifts sometimes.  The gifts tend to be practical to meet the oppressive needs.  We won't be able to do everything we'd like to do....for our staff and friends around us.  Last year we were promised a donation and told to buy gifts for everyone and have a big party only to find out that the check never came.  Sadly, that wasn't the first time that has happened in our history that we've been left holding the bill.  So like many others worldwide we'll take it more simply and enjoy area church services, Christmas singing, and pumpkin soup (Haiti's traditional holiday meal).
     We're praying for the needs around us, for the resources to pay our staff and even to be paid ourselves.  I like the fact that this year, even more than donations, we have been seeking people to pray with us for the outreaches here.  The business model says we should list our shortfalls and let potential donors know.  I believe that if we let our Father know, He'll motivate those who are listening to Him to bring the resources we need.
     With the harsh realities of unmet needs surrounding us back here in Haiti, it's been a joy to appreciate the little things.  I'm grateful that I have electricity tonight to be able to catch up on mail and updates.  I'm grateful to be able to be back in a small Haitian community that doesn't attract the big celebrities.  This past week the traffic was so bad in the capital due to all the big names and their security teams that normal workers couldn't move freely.  I'm just glad the biggest Name walks with me every day on the dusty roads of Haiti where only the two of us know what is being done.
     One of the biggest privileges I get is to coordinate communication with our 250 or so sponsored students and their friends worldwide.  This gives me the job of being Santa's elf this time of year.  I was  greeted very enthusiastically by a crowd of kids this week (see below) as they wondered whether they'd get something this time...

     It's been fun to deliver what is probably the only gift a lot of the kids here will get.  Our sponsored kids sometimes receive gifts from their friend in the U.S. who pays for their school expenses.  They have usually never met the donor.  And there is no way they can repay this gift that is freely offered to them.  Wait, that's like an experience I had when I first realized and received the baby in a manger who was given by someone I really didn't know.  He was a gift freely given to meet my needs by someone who cared that I didn't yet met.  
     Mike (pictured here) is pretty happy tonight.  I'm glad to be able to share his joy with you.   May we all be as grateful for the incredible gift given to us as are the children of Haiti.


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