“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” With those words, a young girl living in Israel found her life changed. And with her life – our lives as well.
Our image of Mary prevents us from appreciating the enormity of what transpired in those moments that would lead to a changed world. Mary, without being consulted, without being given a choice, and without any warning or preparation, was told that she would be a mother and would bear a son who would be called Jesus. (Douglas Yeo at Hope Church in Lenox).
I imagine that night in the stable. Mary being 9 months pregnant was surely very miserable. I can only imagine the stench that overtook the stable where she was housed with the barn animals. No power, no running water, no fan to cool her down, or a bed to rest her head. I can see a small wooden shack with straw covering the roof and a dirt ground -maybe a lantern providing the only light that would help bring Jesus into this world.
This picture I have in my mind – the stable – is probably not that much different than the huts that surround the northwest part of Haiti. I imagine Christmas night here for our Haitian brothers and sisters. Much like Mary did – they too spend their nights with no power -on a muddy floor they sleep – wooden sticks to hold up their straw roofs – and maybe a lantern as the only source of light.
There is however one big difference in the two stories above. The difference being – despite Mary’s poverty at that time – she got to touch and feel the face of Jesus. She knew right away what role she would play in His story.
Friends, our Haitian brothers and sisters spend their nights just like Mary did. What a tragedy if they never get to experience the face of Jesus. We might not be able to put a present in every home across Haiti – but we can give them a gift to unwrap – a gift that will sustain them long after the batteries have died and the toys are broken.
Can you imagine the excitement in the eyes of the families when they get to see Jesus – to be able to reach the parents who feel like there’s no hope? We have this beautiful face of Jesus – His majestic – magnificent – full of mercy – full of peace – full of compassion – King that is Jesus – to share with every single person in the northwest part of Haiti. We can give them a chance to feel the wrinkles in His forehead, to see His brows of mercy, the softness in His cheeks, and the compassion in His eyes.
Those who’ve been here you know exactly what I’m talking about. Time after time short-term missionaries come to Haiti – some every single year. They see the huts where children huddle together – on dirty blankets they lay and rain pours down on their faces. They see the mothers with children who are dying – their skin swollen and bursting open from wet malnutrition. They see the special-needs children who were abandoned and shunned and told they had no value.
With their own eyes they experience the things we see every single day. Some people do come back and respond to their heart’s call to help. I think sometimes though most of us go back home – get caught up in our day to day and we begin to forget the things that we knew would change our lives forever. Our clothes are washed and thrown back in the suitcase – the suitcase thrown in the back of the closet – and we resume our lives until it’s time to come back to Haiti the next year.
Forgive me if I offend you. But folks – this isn’t just a playground where you come every year and you see your friends and do a few good deeds. This is the battlefield. The line outside my office continues to grow and yet the faces I see – most will only cross my path once – then they’re gone. How do I know this? Because today we buried one of the very children I wrote about last Monday.
We can unwrap hope for every child, every family, every village, and every zone in this entire Nation. In fact – God has called us to do this very thing. But I am telling you that we cannot do this alone. I do not believe it is okay to see with our eyes the sufferings in front of us and stand-by and do nothing.
I am making a plea to you – to those who love this mission – to those who read missionary blogs every week – to those who’s heart cannot take the sufferings of those in need – to those who come here every year – to those who think they have nothing yet know they have 100 times more than over half the world – - – it’s time. It’s time to put our money where our faith is. To believe in our Creator and to step out and give a life-time guarantee to someone who’s days are numbered and might leave this world without ever knowing the face of Jesus. It’s time.