During my time in Haiti, I saw in a new, somewhat unexpected light what it means to walk with the Lord and with His people. There are so many stories I could choose to relate, but I have chosen to share one that is close to my heart, although it is simple in nature. God often speaks through the simple—through the mundane, the ordinary, or the seemingly insignificant. He speaks in the beauty, and in the brokenness, and in all the in-betweens.
It was our third full day of being in Haiti, and we loaded up in the van to head to a place called Cite Soleil—the most impoverished place in the Western Hemisphere. It would be difficult for me to describe to you in full the brokenness we witnessed in this place. There was trash everywhere—you could hardly see the ground. We stepped out from the van and made our way across the street to a little school, where we were going to hold a VBS for the students there. We worshipped—singing and dancing and smiling with these kids, acting out Bible stories and making crafts.
I ended up towards the back of the school room, where I sat down on a long bench next to some girls who were around 13 years old. One of the girls—Rosalinda—and I taught each other how to count in our languages. I struggled with the Creole, but she caught on to my English right away. She was so patient with me, and we had so much fun as we attempted to communicate with each other, using the few common words we knew. She somehow got a hold of a marker, and motioned to my arm, asking to draw on it. I held it out to her, and she began to write. I looked down at what she had done, and tears came to my eyes when I saw that she had written “I love you Cassie”. Right in that moment, on a bench in a small schoolroom, in a city filled with garbage and brokenness and unimaginable inequity and lack of physical shalom, I couldn’t imagine myself being anywhere else. Being there, with these girls sitting close to me on all sides, as we taught each other language and as they wrote love on my arms—I saw the face of God. I saw His beauty in what was broken. I saw His radiant, perfect, inextinguishable light in the darkness.
In Haiti, the Lord showed me that loving His people doesn’t always mean having the perfect words, the right skillset, or the best plan. Our calling and our purpose is to be the hands and feet of Christ, right where we are. On that day in Cite Soleil, I didn’t have anything special to bring to the table. All I brought was a desire to let these kids know how loved they are—by me, by our team, and by our Heavenly Father. Walking with His people means letting go of our urge to “do” more and focus on “being”—and listening for the whispers of the Lord in the everyday.
This is a story that communicated the power of the Gospel to me in Haiti. We often overcomplicate the Gospel, tainting it with our own expectations and experiences, and, quite frankly, missing it because we’re expecting God to speak with a megaphone. And while he sometimes does choose to speak through mountain-top experiences, I have found that his whispers are always there—in a smile shared between two strangers, in the beauty of a sunny day, or hidden in a corner of a schoolroom in Haiti.
After the VBS, our team had the humbling opportunity to walk through Cite Soleil and pray over Haiti. We prayed that we wouldn’t forget what we had seen that day, and that our hearts would continue to be broken for what breaks the Lord’s heart. It is the most comforting and beautiful thought to realize that one day, all that is wrong will be made right again. All this brokenness will be made beautiful. And our job, as agents and vessels for the Lord, is to love. To learn and to listen. To pray without ceasing. And to walk with His people—our brothers and sisters—children of God.