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February 12, 2011

Proud to Be An American…in a small village in Haiti

I took my first trip up the coast of the island of La Gonave today.  It was a 20 mile trip that took two hours by truck…and I was in the back!  I was often bounced up in the air and slammed back against the wood seat even as I held on with both hands.  If this was “The Road Less Traveled” I can see why!  Thankfully, the abuse on my body was overshadowed by the beautiful scenery.  The color of the soil changed so many times I lost count as it went from deep red, white, brown, black, and back through again.

Fre Bonheur and I left part of our group in one village and headed for our destination of Gros Mangle.  A Haitian man had been hired to build a water distribution building on the site of a Compassion International school and I wanted to check out the finished product.  We arrived in the middle of a World Vision food distribution, but we proceeded past the crowd to the new building.  After taking several pictures of the building and talking a few minutes I looked closer at the food being distributed and noticed the bags said “USAID – From the American People.”  Pride (the good kind) began to swell up in me as I realized the hungry children, mothers, and fathers that would have food for a few days because of this gift from the USA.  I thought, “That is my tax dollars at work!”  I paused in front of the bags to take a picture, and was still feeling good until one of the Haitian workers from World Vision came up to me and said in a blunt, rude tone, “If you want to take pictures, you need to ask me first.”  I kindly (hopefully it came across that way) put my hand on his shoulder and said, “I’m here to help too!”  I wanted to say, “That food that YOU are giving out came from MY country!”  I wanted to say, “My tax dollars (I think) helped put that food here!”  I wanted to say a lot more, but I didn’t!  Before walking away with my “proud to be an American” moment ruined I asked him, “Is it okay if I take a picture?”  He said it was okay and I turned and went back to the truck.

As I bring this to a close I am reminded of standing in a little town in Nicaragua called Juigalpa in June 2009.  It would only be two months later that Heidi and I would contact Global Partners and begin the application process that eventually would lead us to Haiti.  I remember standing outside a school building where we handed out plates of rice and beans that would be the best meal these kids would get all week.  I broke down in tears and all I could say was, “Why was I born in America?  Why was it not me who was born here?”  Standing in that yard the thought came to me that I was born in America so I could do exactly what I’m doing now…reaching out and helping those less fortunate in the name of Jesus!  They don’t have to thank me.  They don’t have to let me take pictures.  It is not about how they respond to me or to the message I proclaim.  What matters is that I faithfully do what God has called me here to do in every way He says to do it for as long as He says to do it. 

Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

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1 comment so far

  1. Michelle Overcash on 02.12.2011 at 11:49 am | permalink
  2. It is a blessing to know that your family is doing what the Lord has called you to do, may he bless your bless your family

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