Wednesday, August 26, 2009

For me, I am so-so

Last week I was in Haiti. It was a personal journey for me. I went with a friend; she's now a dear friend. I didn't tell many people beforehand. We returned last Saturday.

While I was gone, I wrote emails every day. I've decided to share parts of them here, but now that I sit down to do so, I am reluctant. The part of me that did not want to talk about it ahead of time still does not want to talk about it afterward. I'm just a girl. I can't change the world. I was scared I would not succeed, but I did not know what success would be. I went with only one week to give, to do only what was in front of me. We stayed at an orphanage, Maison de Lumiere, which means The Lighthouse. We organized supplies in 'the depot' and my friend cleaned some rooms in preparation for them to be classrooms in the coming school year. We got to be a part of the neighborhood feeding progam three times. I saw kids who were rescued from the streets of Port Au Prince now serving other hungry, desperate kids. We played, made crafts, laughed, talked, and learned more about our amazing God. I also saw the orange hair that comes with malnutrition and heard the cries of a child being beaten. I saw the makeshift toys and the cramped cinderblock homes of the families that live in the ravine. I saw.

Knowing me, this may be the only time that I do share. So, if you'd like, if you really want to 'hear' what I had to say, I'll email the emails to you. Otherwise, be satisfied with this small part of what I wrote on Wednesday and after I got home.

...I helped in English class today. Their assignment was to write a letter to a friend or a sponsor in the US. Bethany, the English teacher, will mail the letters when she goes back to school at the beginning of Sept. It was fun to read the letters and help the kids with their grammar and spelling. I learned something of their phraseology. They don't begin their sentences with 'I'...and that's the way they talk, too. They would have said, "For me, I learned..." It was hard to make them change their wording since it was so conversational. Some of them were excellent letter writers. I should write more by hand, I think...

I've been thinking alot about the "For me..." that I read so much that day. One of the boys began his letter with:
How are you doing? For me, I am so-so...
I loved his honesty.

Home again
Bill and Susette asked us Friday night what we had learned from the trip, and someone else asked me nearly the same thing yesterday. I'm not sure yet that I know what it is that I was supposed to take with me. Maybe some big revelation will come later...maybe not.

I do know that I don't need nearly as much as I sometimes think I need. I can be content with the amount of stuff that fits in a carry on bag. Probably less. How does that apply in my 'real' life?

I know even better than before that people, especially kids, can change before your eyes when you smile, and touch, and engage them for even a moment.

I know that I will never look at rice and beans the same as I did before. I used to think of them as a cheap meal. Now I see them as the difference between malnourishment and health.

Twice when I was feeding the neighborhood children, they stopped eating and I could tell by their body language that they had seen the cups of water being served to the other children. They would not take another bite. They were desperate for the water. Both of them reached shakily for their cups, held on with both hands, buried their faces in the cups, and drank half of it without stopping. They took a deep breath and then drank more. In John 4, Jesus is at the well with the Samaritan woman and says, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." I'm reminded it's a desperate thirst people have for Jesus.

Many told me that I would be leaving part of my heart in Haiti. They were right. I'd go back tomorrow. Want to join me?

peace to you,

How am I doing? For me, I am so-so.


Rachel said...

Thank you for sharing, Stefanie. I have been curious to hear about your trip, but since you seemed to feel private about it I haven't asked. I've really wanted to hear, though, so am thankful that you shared even this little bit. I look forward to more if/when you feel you can, and pictures too!

Karen said...

All I can say is "Wow!" I, too, would love to hear/read more when/if you feel like sharing. Your story about the children reaching for the water was powerful. I can't imagine actually witnessing that.

You are so right about the little things that can affect and change a child. It does not have to big. I've learned a touch on the shoulder, a thumbs up, a smile, and especially just listening to a story means so much to them. I wish I had more time to listen to all of their stories!

My kids love it when I call them a "smarty pants", I can see their chests puff up and thinking, "Yes, I am smart!"

Deb said...

i'll go with you.

i am proud of you and inspired by you.

WheresMyAngels said...

Oh Stefanie, I'm so glad I saw a post on FB to lead me here. I would love to do something like this. Although I would be scared of what it would do to my heart.

I love how you worded your post and also love how real you are and that you are always putting others first in your life, following God.

Star Forbis said...

Thank you for sharing that with us. I looked at your pictures on Facebook earlier today. Would love to hear more about your trip. And I think you are far more than so-so! :)

flutter said...

i think that you truly changed the way I think, with this post