January 23, 2012

Treasures in Jars of Clay

January 23rd.  That’s one of those dates you spend so much time thinking about and anticipating.  And then it’s here.  This is the first time I’m in the air since my flight back from Haiti last July.  Except it’s so different this time.  I’ll be spending the next three months in Haiti, working with the Hope Alive Clinic.  The past week has been a blur and a mixture of emotions, mostly swaying between excitement and stress about getting everything ready in time.  Last night, I slept for two hours, said my goodbyes to ma famille, and made it through the airport and onto the plane.  After talking to Leslee about the trip, I am getting more and more excited, but I still don’t know what to expect.  I figure that if I go without expectations, but with an open heart to serve God and the people I am around, then I can’t be disappointed.

     I’ve been spending a lot of time praying about Haiti and and my time there.  The name for my blog, “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine” comes from a Switchfoot song, and I was thinking about how it relates to Haiti.  The song addresses the darkness in the world and even in our own hearts, but explains that God’s beauty and goodness is displayed all the more evidently in the midst of that.  Haiti has seen lots of shadowy, dark times, but even in the two times I’ve been here previously, I’ve seen so much beauty and God’s hand all over the country.  And I’m really hoping that in the midst of the shadows in me, and the flaws of my sinful nature, God’s light will able to shine through me.  

I just read a verse, 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, that says, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants, for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made this light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have these treasures in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not us.”  We’re not anything special, jars of clay... ordinary and unremarkable... but God can still use us to make a difference in people’s lives.  And I really want to do that while I’m here.

This country amazes me each time I go, and honestly, I can’t even imagine what it will show me in the next 100 days.  I’m going to try to research the history more, so I’ll write something up about that later.  But for now, I’ll explain what I do know.  Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and is actually considered a fourth-world country (which I had never heard of before).  The Haitians freed themselves from French rule in 1804.  They speak Creole, but are taught French in school.  We are in the same time zone as EST back home in Jersey, which is convenient.  The sun rises at six and sets at six all year round, and the climate is HOT.  It will be in the 90s each day, but since its January the mornings and evenings will actually be in the 70‘s and quite lovely.  

I’m staying at the Mariani clinic, which is about an hour drive from Port-Au-Prince.  Leslee Jacobs and her husband Frank started the Hope Alive Ministry about 20 years ago and now have 5 clinics throughout the country.  Leslee and I will be there for the full three months, and we have 8 or 9 teams coming at different points.  While we’re there, we will be finishing the guest house the 1st week, then working in the clinic and visiting different orphanages, helping people start up their own small businesses, and traveling to different parts of the country to visit the other clinics.  Right now the schedule is tentative so i’m not really forming many plans, except to just go with it!  I’ve come up with some challenges to work on while i’m there.  Spending time praying and reading the Bible every day is the first one.  Another is to maintain some form of exercise.  I want to learn as much French and Creole as I can while I’m there, and maybe pick up some soccer skills from the locals.  In the past, everyone I’ve played a pick-up game with there has been crazy good.  Alright, after I’ve arrived and get a chance to use internet, i’ll try to write about my first few experiences there.  
Au Revoir!

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