Preparing for a group trip to Haiti can be a big undertaking. Planning a group trip to Haiti while preparing a summer camp that will employ 75 Haitians and teach 150 children about the love of Christ…is a monumental job. Along the way, there are countless things to buy, contingencies to consider, and tasks to accomplish.
Last week, I found myself haggling with a shop owner over the cost of 3 pieces of driftwood at a souvenir shop in St. Augustine Beach. We needed the driftwood to make a meaningful craft with the children during camp.
Attempts to buy wood pieces at various stores and construction centers had all proven to be too expensive. Stopping at the souvenir shop seemed like a desperate and last-ditch effort to me.
I entered with with some trepidation. The shop stank and the shop owner was initially less than pleasant, likely frustrated that we were asking him to open the gate to the fenced section of the “store” that was missing a key. After pointing to the scrap wood in question, we started telling him about FPSM and the vision for the wood. As soon as we mentioned Haiti, the shop owner’s features softened. He immediately muttered, “Hell’s got nothin’ on Haiti.” From that moment on, he ushered us into the fenced area and became incredibly accommodating.
After wrestling through the termite-infested wood, we walked up to the checkout counter to pay. He waved us off and insisted on giving us the wood for free. “Any person on welfare here in America should have to spend at least 3 months in Haiti. It would change everything,” he said. “I was there once and I’ve never seen anything like it. Anything going to help the people there is something I want to be a part of.”
All-told, the exchange saved us some money. When every cent is a treasure, that’s really significant. Possibly more significant to me, however, was the experience. In my heart, I know that God cares about small details. But my lived experience doesn’t always trust that to be true in a given moment. I entered the store feeling discouraged and frustrated, with a small sense of “where are you in this, God?” Sadly, that sense is often globalized on a much larger scale in my heart.
When I’m honest, I admit that I don’t like having to trust God to provide. I prefer to be able to get things done on my own. But Haiti has taught me that not wanting to trust God to provide says a lot more about my fear than Who He is. I’m afraid He’ll let me down or not do something the way that I want Him to. And that speaks to my own desire to self-protect and control.
Trust is hard because it calls for surrender. And surrender is terrifying.
The reality is that I can’t actually provide for myself AND that I’m afraid to trust God. Almost as soon as I surrender to that truth, I feel my own capacity to trust Him deepen. Then I bring to mind the faces of my friends in Haiti who trust Him in desperation as a way of life. If we align our hearts to Him in that way, perhaps we might have a better understanding of what it means to lean into the One who provides the only thing we truly need.
As it comes to mind, please join us in praying for this upcoming trip to Haiti. The team will have the opportunity to touch hundreds of people with the love of Christ through employment, teaching, creativity, and play. May we be drawn together in unity as we seek to surrender that which we foolishly treasure in order to glean that which we desperately need.