When I think about Haiti, the first thing that comes to my mind is a guy named Fred. I met Fred on my second trip to Port de Paix, Haiti. He’s around the same age as me with a wife, kids, and is very involved in a church plant in the far west. I never thought something Fred said would change the way I looked at and lived in this life.
Fred was our interpreter, guide, and most importantly, our guard. He was always there. He watched out for us day and night. As we slept, Fred stayed awake to make sure we were ok. To me, Fred was the reason we could be out there, and I soon realized why Fred was willing to do all this. Fred understood something in a much deeper way than I did. He really understood verses like James 1:27 and Matthew 25:45.
Late on our last evening there, Fred, a guy named Juaquez, and I were talking. They both looked at me and said, “We love you.” This doesn’t happen a lot were I’m from, especially between three guys who have known each other only a week. The statement completely blew me away. My immediate reaction was, “Why?” Fred and Jaquez proceeded to tell me how proud they were that we worked so hard on the church, and that they saw our team as family. Immediately my mind raced to Acts 2:42-47.
Fred and Juaquez understood something I had only read. They understood that having all things in common wasn’t about sports teams or jobs. We had all things in common through God. They understood what Jesus meant when he said love others as you love yourself, while I just knew how to use it in the context of a Sunday school or bible study. They lived it. They lived the Gospel.
I’ve had many amazing moments in Haiti, but that one made me realize how much responsibility I take on if I choose to claim to be a follower of Jesus. I have to look at every hungry child in the same way I look at my son at home. Every elderly lady who can’t care for themselves, I have to look at like my own grandparents. Every husband and wife who are struggling to offer a piece of bread or a sip of clean water, I have to look at as my wife and I providing for our family. Haiti helped to teach me that the Gospel is God’s story, not a story that revolves around me.