Imagine This…..

You live in a very poor “neighborhood” in a very poor country.

If you’re doing well, you make $3 a day selling things at the market.   What kind of things?   Pretty much anything you can think of –food, art, you name it.

You barely have enough money to feed your family and to have a 10 x 12 shack to live in.

You are fortunate enough to have been able to save up some money and buy a “moto” for you to get to the market.   But it’s hard to fit all of your family on a “moto.”  

The trip from your shack to the market usually uses a gallon of gas per day.  Between traffic, hills and poorly running engines, that’s a reasonable estimate.

And then, the government announces yesterday that they are raising the cost of gas (no longer subsidizing it) by $1.25 per gallon.   Suddenly another 40% of your income goes to buying gas so you can go to the market and try to sell the art and jewelry and stuff you’ve made.

So, which meals do you skip?   Lunch?  Nope, can’t skip that one- because you already are.   You and your family are already used to living on two meals a day.   That leaves a total of 14 meals left in a week.   You could barely make enough for that – and now your costs are going up. 

So, do you skip 5 meals a week?

Do you skip two days at the market?  That’s going to hurt your income even more.

Ugh, this is not fair.   Why does the government do this to me?

I don’t know how I’m going to feed my children.   I don’t know what to do!

That is why people in Haiti are rioting this weekend.   They were hanging on to life literally on the edge and suddenly their costs are going up substantially – and they don’t have the ability to absorb that increase.

As Martin Luther King said it:

“A Riot it the Language of the Unheard.”

Right now, literally as I’m writing this I’m talking to friends in Haiti who are saying this is some of the worst rioting they have ever seen and they are being told (I don’t know by whom) to expect it will be worse on Monday.

Please join me and pray for peace in Haiti.   Pray for protection – for all lives, but especially for the lives of children and those who care for them.

There are many people in Haiti who have reached the end of their proverbial rope and feel like this is the only way they can be heard.   Pray that God would open up other ways to resolve this.

Thanks for praying,

Tom

P.S. There is hope that a rainstorm that is predicted for Tuesday will help cool people down and reduce the rioting.   Tuesday is a long ways away.   Oh and that rain storm – might actually come in the form of a hurricane.

Which brings the potential for a whole additional set of problems – flooding, crop damage, house damage, job loss, sickness, and the list goes on.

As a friend of mine told me about an hour ago,  #lovinghaitiisexhausting

Broken

As some of you might know, my wife spent last week in Haiti.   She’s an RN and went down on a medical team to provide much lacking healthcare to the women and children involved with Haiti Foundation Against Poverty and the organizations they support.

Due to other “challenges” it’s been a couple of years since either one of us has been down to Haiti.    A lot has changed in that time, with us and with Haiti.    But a lot hasn’t.

Haiti is still part of our family.   40% of our children came from Haiti.   We have many friends and our kids have birth family who live there.

Our hearts still break over the poverty, the sickness, the corruption, the trauma, the lack of proper health care, the lack of education.   It’s hard seeing people you care about and a country you care about suffer and struggle.

But it’s not like all of the world’s problems are limited to a place like Haiti.   They aren’t.

There are struggles right here in the first world too.   My neighbor is at her father’s bedside as he battles what appears to be the final stages of lung disease.

My daughter’s classmate went to her 45 year old uncle’s funeral yesterday.

A friend is trying to find mental health services for her child and herself as they struggle – and before someone gets seriously hurt.

I could go on and on and on.

This weekend, and even yesterday, I spent a good bit of time wrestling with a one word question:’

“Why?”

Probably not “why?” in the way you’re thinking.    Not “why does God allow these bad things to happen.”

No, I was wrestling with the question of “Why?” as in “Why me?”   “Why my wife?”

Why did God push me out of banking (a relatively comfortable job) into working for an orphanage – and then out of that and into helping struggling adoptive families through AFSN?

Why did God give my wife the skills that are so desperately needed at medical clinics in Haiti?

Why do I care so much about kids I’ve never met?

Why do I want to help others – even when facing my and my family’s own struggles?  (If you think we’ve got it all together, then you don’t know us very well.)

Why didn’t God push me into a place where I could do a nice “ordinary” job and could not face these types of pains, heartaches and struggles?

But then two things happened in the last 48 hours that have “sort of” answered that question:

We attended the Tenebrae service at Calvin College Sunday night.   In it, we were able to experience, movingly, emotionally and physically the pain and brokenness that is part of this week and is part of what God has taken care through Good Friday and through Easter.   We learned again that God accepts us and chases us when we are broken with his love and his mercy.

And I listened to “Broken” by Casting Crowns again.   And again.   The part that kept hitting me over and over was:

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and Ill bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together

God hasn’t called us to be “perfect.”   He hasn’t called us to be “all together.”    God is totally fine with us coming to him broken.

Broken by pain.

Broken by illness.

Broken by an ache in our hearts for those who hurt.

Broken by a sense of injustice.

Broken by a desire to make His world a better place.

Broken by our own sins and struggles and heartache.

We don’t have to fix it all, we can’t fix it all, only God can.

But we can be broken together.

And if we’re broken together, healing can begin.

And that’s what makes Jesus smile.

TJV