Amid The Rubble….

Jose and I decided to go to Port-au-Prince today. There was a group leaving and we had to charter a plane. After dropping off the group – Jose took me around to some of the places he had been. Watching his body language – I could tell there were moments where he remembered too much.

I asked a few times for the truck to stop. I wanted to take a few moments in certain places to just simply stop and pray. I don’t want to be a sight-seeing tourist. I prayed for today to not be about me and what I saw. I am not a victim and I don’t want to write as though I am one.  I told Jose before we began this journey – I’m not going to write anything about today. Everyone is expecting me to – so I don’t want to do it. He told me – don’t decide what you will or won’t do before you even experience the day. Let God guide your thoughts and your heart. So here I am…..writing.

But before I write anymore let me say this: There is nothing I can write here that you haven’t read somewhere else. There isn’t a new photo you haven’t already seen. There is little I have to offer you as any sort of news. You’re not going to read this and feel like you’ve walked away with some great find. All I can tell you is what I saw  – amid the rubble.

********

My mind could not wrap around all that was before me. So I didn’t force it to. Instead – God gave me moments throughout the day where His whispers were like a gentle breeze – calming and comforting. He spoke to me  – when there were no words. He held my hand – when I covered my eyes. He gave me peace – when my heart began to shatter. He gave me hope  – when there was none to be found.

I’ve been praying every day for God to give me His eyes. Today He did.

Amid the rubble – through His eyes –  I saw…Sorrow.

I have friends who live in Petionville and all our groups used to stay at the Villa St. Louis before it became UN headquarters. I wanted to go there first. While the streets were clear of the bodies Jose had seen nearly 2 months ago – there were a few places where new ones lie. We arrived in Petionville just as one complex dug out their 2nd story inhabitants. We joined in the tears of their loved ones and their sorrow pierced our hearts.

Anytime there is a tragedy – I always wonder – what were the people doing in that moment? On one of the places we stopped to pray at- my eyes drifted to a hamper full of dirty clothes. It was semi-buried.Were they thinking they’d just do a load of laundry that next day? Were they studying for school or laughing with friends when the roof caved in? Were they putting their baby down for his nap when the walls fell out? What must have gone through their minds as the noise of buildings collapsed all around them – and on them.

I saw beautiful homes – homes of the rich –  crumbled before us. They were homes that no doubt people paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for.  They probably saved all year to add those special luxurious touches. That marble tile that covered their floors and walls – it’s now exposed to the open air. Whatever earthly treasures and possessions they held – it’s now covered in gray dust and concrete debris. Their whole life’s savings – in ruins before them.

Though very hard to process – God showed me a glimpse of what is still happening here every day.

We all have moved on – while they still dig on.

Just Checking Email......And No Survivors...

10 were lost here

Working where a school once stood.

Bed sticking out of Villa St Louis Hotel

Villa St. Louis Hotel

Villa St. Louis Hotel

All Parished Here..

Caribbean Market-Jose should have been there that day.

********

But how many pictures can you take of flattened buildings, crumbled homes, and rubble every where? Apparently 323. That’s what my camera says anyways. As my mind could not comprehend the big picture – God began to whisper to me. He didn’t need for me to widen the lens – but focus it on what was right in front of me.

Amid the rubble – through His eyes –  I saw…Love.

It began in the eyes of a little boy in a red shirt. His smile was bright as he was standing outside of his new tarp home. Before he locked eyes with me – I watched him flying his little kite made of plastic strings. Unaware of what was around him or perhaps inspite of it – his laughter filled my heart where sorrow had started to set up camp.

The little boy in the red shirt led to two other cute kids and then the leader of their small tent zone. He explained that USAID gave a few tarps and that’s it. There’s no food. There’s no water. They live right across from the palace. “Everyone comes to take pictures of the palace – they stand right outside our tarp-homes – but no one sees us though we are in plain sight”. He has 50 families in his tent zone. There is a committee of 3 people who “govern” that zone.

I was impressed number one that they’ve already established some type of government within the tent cities. I was also impressed how he could tell me the story of every family who lived there. What I wasn’t impressed by was the fact that the Red Cross has 50 million dollars and I don’t see those red crosses anywhere but at the airport. The families explained to me how hungry they were – how thieves come into their tents and steal what little they have. The whole reason they have tent zones with committees I’m told – is so that everyone can watch out for everyone else.

The one thing they kept saying over and over again- God protected them.

What? You have nothing.

We have everything right here – all of my family survived – said an old little lady sitting on a bucket outside her tarp home.

The old lady showed me her tarp home. She has a blanket on the ground. “When it rains – it soaks my blanket. But there is nothing I can do. I have no where to go. Everything I own is right here,” she told me. She let me take a picture of her home. I asked her if I could take HER picture. She said when someone stops the hunger in her home – then her photo can be taken.

We prayed for God to lead our hearts today. We prayed for God to give us HIS eyes. The leader’s words – “no one sees us – though we’re in plain sight” – really hit me hard. We prayed with the leader and told him we don’t have a lot – but we will see what we can do to help their zone. Jose goes back and forth to PAP every other week to pick up groups. He can check in with them and make sure the food is being given out correctly. With those 50 families are 145 children. We are using our personal ministry money to help this zone. We don’t have enough to feed them every day but we will do what we can – knowing God will provide as He always does. Why? Because God gave me His eyes and whispered to focus on what is right in front of me – and in that moment –  it was little boy in a bright red shirt.

********

Amid the rubble – through His eyes –  I saw…Hope.

People were rebuilding. This is a picture of where a fallen school was. Everyone in the building died. I’m told around 200 children. They completely cleared it out. They will start rebuilding in April. Though there are tears….there is hope.

And we think we have a bad economy! We have no room to complain! Yet – Market is full of people. The apples are mounds and mounds high. People ARE buying. The paintings are back out for sale. People ARE trying to live again.

For the first time since I can remember – I see trucks actually cleaning the streets. Streets that were dirty way before the quake. There are trucks all over Port-au-Prince hauling away trash and debris.

The police are out in full force. I see American and Haitian troops EVERYWHERE. There is law and order here. Not the show – but you know what I mean! 🙂 These are all the theives they caught today. We talked to the policeman and he said when they steal they make the lie on the road so everyone can see them. Later they will be taken to jail.

Amid the rubble – through His eyes –  I saw…Life.

Though many churches have fallen – God’s word still breathes. It’s alive throughout every hillside. It rings loud even in the lowest of valleys. Everywhere we drove today – even though it’s Saturday – people were singing praises. We could hear the preachers on their megaphones. Every 15-20 minutes we passed by a church service in progress or getting ready to begin.

I thought I would leave here angry and with questions. The questions still remain but God has given me new life. He gave me His eyes today so that I could see. He gave me arms so that I could reach out to someone. He gave me His heart so that I could love on a few hungry children. He gave me a chance to be His Face….so that others could see Him.

AND – If they can give God glory – when that’s literally all they have to give – then at the very least – we can do the same.

Comments

  1. WOW Jody…Thank you for Sharing. I am praising God for the work He is doing in your life as he gives you His eyes, His love, His patience, His peace, His understanding NEEDED to be His hand and His feet in a country who is crying out in desperation for God’s love, peace, understanding, and most of all to be seen. I pray that God continues to give you His eyes to see each and every person and situation as He sees. That he gives you knowledge and wisdom on how to act and when to act as you live in the midst of soooo many who are in need…desperate need. God never gives us more than we can handle, and he never leaves our side….PRAISE GOD! Stay strong in the Lord Jody! I am praying for you and all my mission family in Haiti.

    your sister in Christ,
    Autumn

  2. Thank you for writing today. It would have been a tragedy for you not to share what God has laid on your heart. Being in the states it’s hard to even comprehend what is happening there. You have a way of writing that brings us right there with you. I feel as though I experienced some of this with you. Thank you for bringing me along on the journey.

  3. Love you. I swear you need to write a book. God is using you in a big way. Not too many people expose themselves like you do. You wear everything on your sleeve – good or bad!! LOL! Thanks for being so transparent and for giving old ladies like me something to look forward to every time you post.

  4. You don’t know me but ever since the quake I’ve been following your blog. I saw you on the weather channel – well I guess I should say I heard you on the weather channel. I immediately looked up your website and was drawn to your blog immediately. I have been a little nervous to post. Not sure how all this works but wanted to let you know that my college group is doing the study of Daniel too. I print off your blogs every week and it’s part of our bible study. I was just thinking that you posted this last night – the same day it happened – and yet to write something like this it would take me several days. God has given you a talent and it’s truly an art the way you bring us in and make us feel like we’re apart of the family. You don’t know me and yet I feel like we’ve been friends for a long time. Here it goes….I’m submitting this comment.

  5. Jody – what can we do to help you an the tent city? Thank you for listening to the whispers from above. The little boy in the red shirt has no idea how he has changed the lives of those in his zone.

  6. If I were the “wordsmith” you are, I could tell you how profoundly your post touched my heart tonight — chills, tears and smiles — but since I’m not, I’ll just say “THANK YOU” one more time! God has blessed you with a special talent and I appreciate you using it to share your heart with the rest of us who are anxious to hear every thought that you can pass along! You bless us again and again! I am glad you got to go to PAP with Jose and that you had the time to really see the situation, do some processing, praying and that you found a way to help yet another group of Haitians! Your reward awaits in heaven, I’m sure!

  7. Jody you were the talk of the church today. I check your blog every night before I go to bed and I printed this out and brought it to church. This is the 3rd time in the last month I’ve posted on our buliten board. Your post about being the personal assistant to the Holy Spirit has changed the way I get up every morning. Please let us know what supplies you need for those precious little kids in that tent city. We’d love to help in whatever way we can. I love your passion for the people.

  8. Sweet Jody, your story has so touched our hearts here that we felt led to share it with all of our closest contacts around the country. This earthquake nor anything else could ever diminish the love that Haitians have for our Lord Jesus Christ; they are remarkable people. All our love to you and your huge extended family …

  9. Jody – this is really incredible. I have never been to the mission before but I feel like you all are apart of my family. After reading your blog the other day I started praying for God to give me His eyes too. I love that you listen to Him and that He is revealing His will in your life. I feel like you’re a real-day Esther.

  10. Thanks for sharing your heart with all of us. I know you’ve been overwhelmed since the quake but I really miss your writings. I feel like we get a small piece of you every time you share and I really miss that piece when you don’t! So keep it up! 🙂 Love you guys there and praying for you every day.

  11. castilloavektimoun says:

    Thank you all so much for your encouragement. I really appreciate all that you do for us. I am very excited about helping our tent city. WE DO NEED YOUR HELP – I just don’t exactly know where to start yet as far as how you can help. I talked to the leader today on the phone and we’re getting a list of names to start. I want to know exactly how many families/children there are in each tarp-home. We hope to deliver some food this Friday. It’s totally this thing that is bigger than us. But that’s how we know it’s from God. There’s no way we can do this without Him and without the support of many. We’re just answering the call that He laid out before us.

  12. Martha Marshall says:

    Jody your blog once again broke my heart for the suffering of the haitian people. It also made my heart sing for their praising of the Lord even in their hunger and great loss. Anger is also a part of my feelings as I hear how much is not being done with the millions of dollars donated to help the people. Where is it and why is there not more help. I know, enough God will use all things to his purpose. I am Autumn’s mom. I have been wanting to provide food in some form. We took the peanut butter, formula and various other supplies to the mission the other weekend. However, I understand that it wouldn’t get there for quite a while. I haven’t known what was best. Should we go with Feed My Hungry Children? Is there some way to get 50# bags of rice and beans there quickly? Hearing about the hunger in the tent city makes me want to provide something to help with that situation. Please let me know what the best way to help with your current needs are. I know you are very busy so I will just wait till you have time to respond. We will continue to pray for your family and for Haiti. Autumn can’t wait to get over there. She never talks about excitment over graduating. Only for coming to Haiti. She has definately left a large part of her heart there. She can’t wait to see “her kids.” Thanks for all you do.

  13. Karen Roberts says:

    Bless you Jody! Thank you for sharing on the current happenings in PAP. God really is using you in a magnificent way! How awesome it is that you recognize his presence “RIGHT NOW”….”Many are called, but few are chosen”,…you are extremely blessed! I’ll see you in April.

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