Children on the street
Hello, hope ya’ll are doing good back home. This week has been a slower week for us, but a lot of fun. We have had the privilege to serve as hosts for the National Congress Conference for all of the Baptist Pastors in Haiti and go around to 6 local churches and visit and play with the kids at VBS.
On Monday we were on our way to lunch when we noticed a large group of people gathered around the door that leads to the kitchen in the guest house that we eat at. As we got close, we noticed an older man handing out U.S dollar bills with one hand and pushing people away with the other. Instead of bringing joy and thankfulness, this seemed like it was bringing out the worst in people. As a team we read the book When Helping Hurts to help prepare us how to effectively encourage people and repair the shame associated with poverty we might encounter. This man’s actions appeared to be the opposite of what we learned. Because of this I asked him to have dinner with us so that we could gain some perspective on why he was doing this and to let him know what we have been learning.
We went into the conversation feeling very defensive, and we could sense he was as well. When we asked him why he was handing out money he stood up and started preaching to us that there is such a need here and almost insinuating that we didn’t already know this. We see it every day and it is the reason why we are here. The conversation escalated quickly and it was apparent he felt attacked. Calmly, I started to speak and apologized if he felt criticized. I asked him if he could share his story with us. We then learned that as a boy, a pastor had given him fifty cents and this filled him with joy. He prayed that if given the opportunity he would do the same someday. I left the conversation still feeling like the money could be more effectively used in other ways. I also now understood his motives and was humbled by his testimony. He left thanking our team and said he would think more about the ideas we talked about.
James 1: 19-20 says “My dear brothers and sisters take note of this; everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” This is a reminder to listen before judging just based on something we see or hear. This experience has really made this verse come alive and real for me