As some of you may know, Haiti has become very dear to my heart. This did not begin with the earthquake (although I did not take much notice to Haiti before then), after the initial shock and a donation or two to "do my part", I returned Haiti's existence safely to the back of my mind. It wasn't until a few months after discovering the world of blogging last year (yes I am freakishly behind, I even came up with this idea a couple years ago and thought it was original! A little embarrassing...) when I found a few blogs written by families who lived in Haiti (before, during, and after the earthquake) that I began to see Haiti for what it is. Not just a far off land filled with disaster that we shake our heads and sigh about, not a country that "had it coming" because of it's lack of faith and idol worship (if that's how God works, we better watch our backs), but a country full of people in need of Christ's love, just like the rest of us.
A couple months ago a friend at church stood up and announced that he would be returning to Haiti and hoped others would join him on a trip to Mole St. Nicholas to build a fishing boat for the village and share the good news of Christ (the fisher of men!). Now Aaron and I have always been a tad bit skeptical of short term mission trips-- they usually either go really awesome or really awful. But even before Ryan finished his announcement, Aaron was whispering to me, "I want to do this..."
Fast forward two months: Aaron's busiest time of year, a lot of miscommunication, me offering to raise support (and then getting really depressed and not doing much of anything). And that brings us to last week. Thanks to some loving people, we made the November deadline with barely enough to buy Aaron's tickets. As weeks passed and no more money (or even much of a response at all) came, we were starting to get a little discouraged, with ourselves, and the lack of funding. Maybe it just isn't meant to be... I started to tell myself. We started talking about what would happen if we didn't have the rest of the money since Aaron's tickets have already been paid for. That same night we sat and prayed some simple, yet earnest prayers. God, provide... We decided not to worry ourselves and trust that He was capable.
Except, I don't know how not to worry. And I hate asking for money. Even for a "good cause", it feels so weird. I remember traveling the country as a kid, my dad preaching and then the churches taking up offerings for my parent's ministry and our family's livelihood. I felt so weird. So embarrassed. I also don't always know how I feel about spending thousands of dollars on short-term mission trips. Why not just raise that money and send it to the people in need? I've often argued. (In some cases, I would say that would definitely be a better idea). The other part of me trusts that God places short-term missions on people's hearts for very particular reasons. That He has placed this on Aaron's heart for a reason. I am beyond thrilled that he wants to go, and I believe whole-heartedly that God has plans both for the people who are going and the people they are going to serve.
I have heard it argued that when American groups go to poverty-stricken countries to serve, they are doing it for themselves, to make themselves thankful for what they have. That it just makes the locals feel bad that they don't have as much as the "missionaries", that they feel like charities, and there is bitterness. I am sure this happens. I am pretty sure I have witnessed this. But I think it greatly depends on the hearts of those going. If I learned anything while living overseas, people are not fooled by big whitened smiles and plump giving hands. No matter who you may convince in your own home town, the second you step outside, you become a clear plastic box. Your intentions are as bright and obvious as a sunlit sky. God's love in you will be over-flowingly evident, or lacking completely. There's not much room for in-between. He is there, or He is not. And they will see it. I have heard it said about people (even those who go bearing no good-willed gifts but the abiding love of God within them), "You came all this way... for me?" Because nothing speaks God's love like a heart over flowing with God's love.
The day after we prayed together, I got an email. Then a txt. Two people saying they wanted to give! God provides! I don't know yet how much closer we are to reaching the amount needed, but I do know: God provides. Each day I doubt myself. Others. Crumble inward. Reach up, only to realize I am still fallen. And God speaks. Even when I won't listen. Trust in Me, is never in vain.