When I tell people I live in Haiti I’m often asked one of these two questions:
1 – Do you feel safe?
2 – Do you feel secure?
The answer to both of those questions is YES! And although they sound like the same question – they couldn’t be more different.
When I was a 6th grader I snuck and watched a movie where someone was sleeping and they were stabbed in their back….literally a back-stabber!
This is SO embarrassing BUT…..when I sleep by myself I can’t face my back to the open. Yes I’m 34 years old and if my kids or husband aren’t beside me – then I sleep with my back against the headboard. Huh? Yes – I’m sleeping side-ways in my bed.
You’re thinking – well what if you need to rollover? Simple. I sit up and then take my pillow and move it to the other side. Then I lay back down – my back still to the headboard.
I know that sounds completely insane! That’s because IT IS. The odd thing is – I only do that when I’m in the States.
Maybe it’s all the Lifetime Movies I’ve watched – but I’m telling you RIGHT NOW – you will never find me taking a country road at night, I will not be investigating a noise that I heard in the middle of the night, and if I am attacked I will not believe that hitting the perpetrator with a blunt object is going to do the trick. I will not be checking for a pulse to see if they are alive or turning my back while I call 911. Just saying….
Now if you asked me – do you feel safe in Versailles, KY – a smaller, quiet – low crime rate city? I would tell you NO. Have you not seen Dateline? Seriously the town that never expects it…. is always the one that gets it.
Now if you asked me do you feel safe in Mole St Nicolas, Haiti? Why yes – I actually do. You don’t hear about Haitians sneaking into homes and knifing people or shooting entire families like you do here in the States.
For the most part – they are so relieved that someone is there to help them – they are protective of us more than anything. My neighbors watch out for us. They watch out for my children. And if you have met any of our 4 dogs – YOU KNOW they watch out for everyone on campus.
Now let’s look at question 2 – do you feel secure?
Sounds like the same thing right? Nope.
My safety lies in my circumstances – where I’m sleeping – what part of town I’m in – what’s going on AROUND me.
But my security has to do with what’s going on INSIDE me – where I find my peace – where I am with God.
I remember the coos that happened in Haiti and every American being told to leave the country. I remember the countless months that airlines didn’t fly, when our diesel supply that pumped water was incredibly low, when our orphans were being threatened, when the roads were blocked and no trucks could bring supplies.
I remember telling the Haitians – how can I tell you to trust God – and then immediately take off when bad things happen? What will my testimony be?
I remember when the gang of men with guns knocked on our gate. They wanted our diesel. The security guards were literally trembling. They were afraid to open the big black gate. I told them – give me your shotguns.
I am 100% honest in telling you that I strapped on a pistol with a belt to my waist, had a shotgun over each shoulder and I walked out the gate alone. As soon as the men looked at a fat white girl with 3 guns – they died laughing. I knew they would.
I told them: You take our diesel – we can’t pump water. We can’t pump water – the town can’t come with buckets anymore to get it. The town doesn’t have water – you better sleep with your eyes open because I’m going to tell them YOU are the reason.
Their response – – OHHHHH OKAY! I was just seeing if you had EXTRA diesel. No big deal.
Now – was it a safe time in Haiti when that happened? No. But did I feel secure? Yes.
Why is it that in Versailles I have to sleep with my back against the wall but in Haiti I’m packing heat and totally at peace?
Well you see when I am busy doing the Lord’s work – I’m concentrated more on what God is doing through me – – as opposed to what God is doing to me.
As I learn about ISIS and am often forced to watch the news since that’s all my parent’s watch – I’m starting to realize that Haiti is actually WAY safer than it is here.
I have to laugh (to myself so I don’t hurt your feelings) when people talk to me about the dangers of a mission trip in Haiti – when you’re at risk for being shot in a movie theater, Walmart, McDonalds, or taking your dog for a walk in the park.
I’m not saying that crime doesn’t happen in Haiti and there are parts of the country that are indeed very dangerous. But that’s like saying – hey there’s fighting in California– so don’t go visit Florida.
I don’t think it’s fair for something happening in Port-au-Prince to cause fear in visiting someone who lives 10 hours away by bus…… and that’s if the buses don’t breakdown and the rivers aren’t up!
The more news I watch the less safe I really feel. If we’re not careful – we can let it cripple us. Jose went to visit his mom in New York and I have to admit that I was praying a terrorist wasn’t taking over his plane. But what a shame if he wasn’t able to pour into his family because we let that fear take hold.
So I’m faced with a real dilemma now because I just ran my mouth and it’s 11:45pm and I’m the only one in my bed. Now what do I do? Maybe the bigger question is really- What will my testimony be?
Hmm….so do we sleep with our backs against the wall when the world around us feels unsafe……… or do we remember who we are in Christ and allow that security we have IN HIM – over-power the circumstances that surround us?
Psalm 3:5 New Living Translation (NLT): I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me.
Categories: Mission Stories
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