Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Deep Partnership Before Deep Waters…

IMG_8734I had the privilege of joining up with NewChurch, from Georgetown, TX, on their recent visit with their brothers and sisters in Abricot, Haiti.  The team had a great mix of veteran visitors, as well as first timers.  God brought that exact team together for a purpose.

picturesThe US team was fun to watch.  Their authentic passion for people, their contagious joy in celebrating God, their constant want to go beyond the external, and their desire to be who God intends his 1 body to be was on display at all times.  It wasn’t about appearances.  It was so much more than doing.  It was being.  It was about being together, in love, honoring and lifting up one another and the Lord in the process.  Encouraging one another. Together, worshipping the same Lord.  There was something unique in their smiles as I watched Haitians and Americans spend time together.  Smiles.  Laughter.  Tears.  Jumping.  Listening.  Holding hands.  Songs.  Dancing.  Hugs.  Looks.  Squeals.  Genuine relationship building.  Real care.  True partnership.

IMG_8616As I shared in conversations and I listened to both sides, it’s obvious that this partnership is about collaboration.  It’s about sharing and seeking understanding.  It’s a process.  It isn’t about a US church acting prematurely without the presence of understanding.  It wasn’t about being Santa Claus.  It was about being Jesus.  It was about mutual edification and service to one another, and with one another to the community at large.

I believe God was pleased and lives in Abricot, and lives from Georgetown, will never be the same again.

Of course, the Abricot visit did get cut slightly short.  The typical 6ish hour trip back to Cayes turned into a protracted 93 hour expedition/journey/adventure…  Instead of leaving Abricot on Wednesday morning like normal, we “pulled an audible” and took off early on Tuesday afternoon. We knew with the impending Hurricane Sandy, that we had many potential obstacles on our way out.  We didn’t want to leave.  We had to. We made the right decision! 

iPhone-13At 3pm, we reluctantly pulled away from our family in Abricot, leaving behind our sleeping and eating quarters, that would later be flooded with 4’ of water, covering our beds where we slept, and the tables where we ate.  We made it up out of an already muddy Abricot, on the road perched along a narrow step/ridge nestled high above the ocean on a steep mountain side that later would wash away in the storm.  We made it across the Jeremie bridges, that are now closed due to damage (Note: they should be open soon, our next team goes through there Saturday!).  We made it to the Ice River in Duchity.  But, that is where we sat, and sat, and sat, and sat.  We arrived at the Ice River at about 7pm Tuesday night, and immediately knew we were stuck.  We “slept” there in the RMI trucks at the rivers edge, taking in all the sights, hoping the water would recede.  It was an interesting night to say the least.  I think we all knew it would not recede, but we had to watch/hope.  Instead, it kept rising.  For days the river ravaged that narrow gorge.  We returned back out of the gorge at 3:45am, resigned to the fact that we weren’t going anywhere.  Sitting there at rivers edge, with the other frustrated crowds, seemed unwise and unproductive.  We backtracked about 5 minutes to the closest MEBSH church, in Duchity.  We “slept” on church benches above wet floors below a very leaky tin roof.  Some even “slept” standing up!  At about 6am, the pastor, who lives across the street came over to see what was happening.  Pastor and his wife immediately took action.  There wasn’t a question.  We were fellow members of The family.  Our team of 10 took over their house.  I’m not kidding.  For the next 3.5 days, we took over.  We filled their house, and they served us all day long.  There were 2 beds that the 4 ladies shared.  There was a back room where most of the guys slept on the floor.  Some slept in cars.  It was wet.  It was cold.  The food was a little scarce.  But, the team did AWESOME.  We persevered as we heard of additional mudslides that made the roads in front and behind impassable.  RMI worked every angle.  My phone and internet was more active than ever.  We considered every option.  Yet, there was only one option.  Wait for the water to recede. We had a roof over our heads and we were with people who cared.  The following statement is threaded with irony, but the Pastor shared with us that he can’t complain about his life. He was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and personal contentment when he saw the testimony on display by the team’s spirit through their great attitudes, laughter, willing sacrifice, spirit driven perseverance, confidence, hope, etc.  The NewChurch family back home should be proud of their team.  As we might say in the US, they were troopers!

All are home now, but we will never be the same due to the deep impact of this partnership, and from one deep river.

Pictures are available here.

Rob

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