A stormy day, riding through the streets of a busy crowded city, racing to our boat, we are late.
As we pull up to the dock, dark clouds are looming hanging low over the ocean, large waves crashing at the shore.
I see two boats tied to the dock bouncing on the waves. I look for our boat, it’s not here… have we missed it? We are told that the larger of the two is our ride. Though our boat is the larger one it looks way to small to hold all of us and our luggage.
I had imagined a big boat crossing a small body of calm water, instead I see this tiny, not very sea worthy looking ride, have they made a mistake? This boat is not big or strong enough to carry us all to the island in this stormy water, and by the way… where is the island? I gaze across the violent water and think I may see a shadow off in the distance. It’s to far away! Not one person voices what is inside my brain, though I know we are all thinking the same thing. I hear someone say, “I think this would be a good time for a prayer”. Some of us wrap our arms around each other’s shoulders, we stand together in a circle and we begin to talk to God…
Dear Lord, We are here to do what you have called us to do. We ask you to place your hand upon us, upon our boat and keep us safe as you guide us through these treacherous waters.
Get into the boat is a must if we are to do the task he has laid before us. We have came this far, there is no way we can turn back now, children are waiting for us across those waves. God is counting on us to go. We have given it to Him and now is the moment we must trust, we swallow our fear and put on our faith as we step into the boat…
The crew pulls up anchor and our boat starts moving across the waves. In front of us a dim shadow of an island is far off in the distance and the shore behind us disappearing into the foggy grey day. As the boat begins riding the swelling waves they come crashing over the edge of the boat drenching us from head to toe. We begin to laugh as our fear is forgotten. Feeling as if I am on some sort of amusement park ride, I laugh so hard my stomach hurts, salt water in my mouth and eyes. Still laughing now trying to not open my mouth but not being able to control the laughter that is forcing it to stay open. I see Marti spitting out the salt water managing to douse my leg, the look on her face when she realizes what she has done causes more laughter, our fearless leader Sean wipes his face with the sleeve of my dripping sweater and I catch a glimpse of Mark in his baby life vest, We are trying to duck under our already drenched jackets, water is by now pouring down the front windshield pouring down our backsides… We just keep laughing because there is so much to laugh about and this is so much fun!
God has given me peace and has taken away my fear. He is in control of our boat and we have nothing to worry about, all we have to do is experience the ride, experience the joy, experience the laughter. We laugh like children, because we are His children. Today we laugh because today he has taken our grownup selves away allowing us to be children again, trusting that our father has everything under control. Today as our Father is guiding our boat across a stormy sea to an island off the coast of Haiti.
I look ahead realizing we are closer now. The grey sky begins to part before us, the sun seems to only be shining on top of the island. Right here, right now, before my eyes is God’s magnificent art work of beautiful pink and white flowers flowing down the sides of the rocks. Palm trees sway in the breeze and it is all spotlighted by a sunbeam. God is saying to us here I am! I brought you through the storm! Here is your gift! Take it all in and let the beauty I have put before you fill you up! I remember the scripture from Psalm that says – Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. I know this is that moment, my moment of delight.
After drying off we set sail to the other side of the island to meet the children who are waiting for us riding a dingy to the shore, another boat ride…
we exit the boat and walk up a winding path through the trees,
we see goats, chickens and more spectacular views from atop of the hill.
As we walk we know we must be getting close because I our ears are treated to the sound of beautiful voices of children. We hear them singing songs of welcome, leading us to their little church on the hill, hidden in the trees at the end of this path.
We enter the church seeing a sea of smiling faces greeting us, as they sing with the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. I feel so unworthy and humbled by this gift of song. God is so good, He is just way too good, my heart is so full I’m not sure it can hold any more. I fear it may burst.
The children have a show of music and dancing planned for us. They give to us everything they have to give in their performance. If only I could love half this much. They do not have any material things, but yet they have so much to give in their gift of God’s love that they are giving to us today. Do I know how to love like they do? They share their love without holding anything back.
After the show we go outside to play. Though they live in this very primitive place they still behave the same as children do everywhere. They play jump rope, tag and ring around the rosy but they do it in a play yard of dirt. No swing sets or safety rubber just dirt and trees a few balls and large imaginations.
They love making silly faces and to have their pictures taken. They line up to pose for my camera excited to see the pictures of themselves
I peak into a beat up classroom to find a couple of teenage girls just hanging out like teenagers do.
I watch my husband playing soccer. His team barely touches the ball yet joy and laughter fill his face. His eyes seem to have a new light in them today.
Looking across the yard and see a few children in the corner of the yard with Lori. These are children in need of sponsors and she is trying to decide which one she will sponsor. I take their picture….
A little girl in a lime green dress reaches up and takes hold of my hand. Shyly she looks up at me and smiles. She never speaks a word with her mouth yet says everything with her eyes. I know that I have made a new friend. Her name is Rose. Rose never lets go of my hand the rest of the afternoon. She is quiet and seems very shy, can she talk? Rose pulls on my hand, leading me through the mud to a woman in front of a worn looking shack, a tired looking woman with kind eyes and a baby. Suddenly I realize this is Rose’s mother, Rose has brought me to meet her mother. She stands looking at her mother as if I am a lost puppy she has brought home, waiting for her approval to keep me. Though she never says a word somehow little Rose has climbed her way right into my heart and I know she has been waiting for me to get into that boat to come here to be her friend and her new sponsor. I know God has guided me to be right here today. This is exactly the place he wants me to be today in the moment in time, right here on an island named Ile a Vache, right here in Haiti.
Journal entry March 6, 2013 – Ile a Vache – Port Morgan, Haiti. Compassion Sponsor Tour