Amazing things are happening here every day. Everything moves by so quickly that sometimes it is hard to remember all of the sights I see in one day, all of the people I meet in one day, and all of the things that I am learning. But sometimes, the things that we hear along the way stick out and have such a profound impact on our mindset and way of thinking that it is hard to forget. On Monday, we started our day with Dr. Steve James driving through Limbe to a clinic that he often works at to help the poorest of the poor in Haiti. As we drove in, I noticed the name of the clinic was "Eben-Ezer". As an American, seeing the name Eben-Ezer automatically makes you think of what? Eben-ezer Scrooge, right? But I had seen this name all over Haiti from the first day we arrived so I knew that it must have some meaning that I was not understanding. I asked Dr. Steve what Eben-Ezer means. He explained to me a verse in 1 Samuel 7 that says- "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer,[a]saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”" It was amazing to me that even going to church my whole life and reading the Bible, I had never once heard this verse. Dr. Steve then explained to me why this verse is so important to the Haitians in their faith and in their culture in general. In America, we have our credit cards, our bank accounts, our insurance, our mortgages, and many other signs of our wealth. Having the opportunity to be in such control of our fate, especially when it comes to our financial security, often leads us to believe that we are in control. If we have a problem, we have the resources and money to fix it. We have back-ups for every setback we could ever encounter in our life. So why do we need God? Why should we believe that "Thus far the Lord has helped us?" The story is not the same for the people of Haiti.
Families wake up in a hut made of stone and cement. Most have no electricity or clean running water. If both parents are still alive, they are out finding a way to make any bit of money they can so that they can feed their children that night. With lack of birth control and hygiene education, these families often are very large and could be suffering from very serious illnesses. To most of us Americans, financial struggles occur sporadically, not every day. These people do not live their lives with back-ups for their problems. They do not have an emergency bank account. They do not have access to receiving a loan. They do not have rich relatives to help them out. What do they have? They have faith in God. They have a trust so deep that no matter how long it has been since they ate a good meal and no matter how long it has been since they felt successful in any aspect of their lives, God will see them through. God has gotten them this far and taken them from one day to the next. All they can do is smile and believe that He will continue to get them through over and over again.
The trust that these people have in God's will for their lives is truly humbling. The issues that these people deal with day in and day out are something that I can only pray I will never have to endure. But this is life. So instead of choosing to back down after countless natural disasters, political struggles, and epidemics, they choose to stand strong. They choose to unite. They stand together, they dance and sing, and they are first to admit that "Thus far the Lord has helped us."
Thanks for reading,