Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Six years ago when we arrived in Haiti they had just suffered the devastation of a massive earthquake that took out almost a quarter of a millions lives in a few split seconds. We had victims staying at the church property. We fed them for months, the number at one point grew to around 60. One young man came and really has never left. While we now have a place for him to stay off church property, for years his bed was one of our plywood church benches or the concrete floor at the back of the property. Our dear Armstrong has been a faithful boy, running sound and learning all kinds of things church related. He is a quiet and reserved soul, and every time I get to the property, he is there. He leaves to sleep, and then he's back. In April when the girls visited they felt prompted that now was the time to reach out and do something special for our young faithful champion. He has nothing, and unlike all those who now have a place and moved away our young Armstrong remains for the most part alone, no family to care for or to watch him. Through a God set of circumstances we got him shoes, clothes, dress clothes and undergarments. It equaled a small suitcase of provisions for him. Last night we had him over and fed him, it's difficult to get him away from the church property. We stood in a little side room and I affirmed his faithfulness and our deep love of him and what he is doing with his life. He was standing right between Beth and myself. I reached down and went quickly through his suitcase of supplies. As I stood up his arms went wide and swept around Beth and myself. He bowed his head and for a moment I thought he meant to pray, but then suddenly a great sob escaped him, huge tears of gratefulness washed down his cheeks, and you literally felt the burden and stress of the years wash away. I must confess something, in all my 52 years of life I have never experienced gratefulness from another human being like I did in that moment. A dam burst, and the flood gates opened, the freedom we witnessed was extraordinary. You would have thought he had just won some kind of golden ticket. This is a young man who has not asked me for a thing across the years. Not food, not money, not clothes, nothing for himself. In that moment I was afforded the opportunity of a lifetime, I was a partaker in the grace of gratefulness. I have never felt the vacuum that Armstrong has lived through, I'm not sure I could survive the force of that kind of draw on my life. It was perhaps one of my most beautiful moments in Haiti, one I will cherish for the rest of my life. In a country so ravaged by natural disasters, it's amazing to watch how people recover by not complaining but simply keeping faith and moving forward. It's all Armstrong could do, but he has done it well, and stands in my mind as a very tall and incredible young man. Blessings from St. Marc.
Posted by Pastor at 2:54 PM