If you do a google search for Haiti, recent events will lead you to believe the entire country is ablaze and self imploding. While it stands true that there have been demonstrations due to public disapproval of electoral results in the last round of presidential elections, it is all in an attempt for the country's government to listen and act on behalf of its people for once.
In my decision to remain positive, and completely realistic about recent occurrences, I have been accused of being blinded by clouded vision impaired by my rose colored glasses.
Here's the deal about that. Haiti does have very real, deep and frightening issues. There are constant threats to not only my safety, but the safety of all citizens and inhabitants due to tropical viruses, natural disasters, contaminated water and habitual civil unrest stemming from the people's consistent dissatisfaction with the competency of their government. In countless ways, it seems as though Haiti has constantly been dealt a series of unfortunate hands.
However there is a beauty here, a beauty so very deep, rich and true, that few hardly take the chance to see or share.
So, while my eyes are very much open and aware of the injustice, imbalances and suffering experienced on this dear island, I have been privy to far more unveilings of sheer wonder and extraordinary encounters of human strength, kindness, and bravery.
The true stories of Haiti, the ones which need to be told, yet rarely do are much like P's story.
P is 15 years old, and one of nine children. Her mother is busy trying to find the next man to take care of her, and figuring out how to feed her children, that P's schooling isn't a high priority. But that doesn't stop P. She wakes up far before the sun rises to get herself ready for school and walk miles, only to hide and sneak into class so she can learn.
Her determination to rise and become something more is deep and fierce. It pushes past the clutches of poverty and gives her the endurance to fly on the wings of hope.
Or the story of B.
B was a victim of severe abuse, resulting in her suffering major wounds on her neck and chest. In Haiti when you are injured or have any physical impairment, you are outcasted. People openly point out your ailments and scoff as you walk by. But that didn't stop B from searching high and low each day for 10 gourdes, the equivalent of roughly 17 U.S. cents, to take public transportation to our women's home to attend our classes. Her perseverance, and fearlessness to seek out this open door of possibility, inspire me every day. I tear up at times watching as this young girl defies the odds to pursue a chance to be more than a statistic – to rise above her misfortune.
People never fail to ask me if living in Haiti is safe. If I ever get afraid, or find myself fearful for my life.
They always seem to think my own personal safety is my number one concern. As if following the path God has led you on equals comfort and stability.
Here's the deal.
Jesus didn't promise us safety.
He didn't promise us comfort.
He told us that if we truly loved Him, to go and feed His sheep.
If we are sincerely surrendered to Him and His will, protecting ourselves in a bubble of safety and luxury doesn't fit into the plan.
We are called to go, to risk it all - even to the point of death; for the sake of the cross.
Feeding His sheep takes on a lot of different faces, forms and positions.
For some, feeding His sheep means volunteering at your local homeless shelter.
For others, feeding His sheep means moving halfway across the world to bring light and hope to the remotest of villages.
But mostly, feeding His sheep means loving unconditionally, recklessly, passionately and undyingly. It means going beyond personal limitations and fears, pushing past logic and reason to give your utmost for His highest.
There's an Oswald Chambers quote that I absolutely love. It perfectly sums up what it means to feed His sheep, and go beyond our shameful humanness.
So yes, while manifestations may rage in the streets, and political turmoil may provide for an extra measure of caution, it doesn't stop me from seeing the beauty all around me. It doesn't blind my eyes to truth, or my commitment to continue to discover how God is calling me to feed His sheep.
The question is not whether or not the sheep must be fed.
The question is who will be obedient, and go.