Water truck days are the things that make missionaries, missionaries. They're amazing. They are heart wrenching. They go exactly as planned and then not at all.
Mornings in Haiti start with breakfast that puts most farm kitchens to shame (I know these things. I come from generations of farmers). Breakfast? Went according to plan. And then we prayed that God would take the day and run with it.... ten minutes in? Tom said that just when we tell God how things are going to go, we are inviting Him to bring an eraser. We had some erasing on the day.
Erase One: We were supposed to go to the water truck and deliver the first truck of water right away. First stop? Elder's school. We brought suckers for the kids, supplies for the school, and toured the school. I'm so amazed by the commitment to education here. Haitians are so intent on providing the best possible opportunity for their children... the kids walk from their tin shanties in Cite Soleil to school. It's humbling and exciting to see their continued hope for more and different that they would instill opportunity with their children through education.
Erase Two: The changed trip to Elder's School was supposed to be to use the time needed to fix a flat tire on the water truck. That time turned into additional time on the side of the road at the turn for the water fill station.... that turned to time waiting at the fill station. The time was spent essentially in team building- talking, exploring the water truck station, watching the fill on each truck as it came through. I had joked, without knowing, that it isn't a trip to Haiti without a flat tire. It can happen easily from the condition of the roads we find ourselves on. I had wished to be wrong because it can be a quick fix or a longer process.
Erase Three: This is where the word release originated. Cite 17 was our destination. I mentioned "my kids" yesterday. I have this one kid I saw my first trip, was surprised with on my second trip twice and in two different areas. I have named him Max. I made the declaration that I would continue coming for as long as God would show me Max. Well.... December came and went without a Max sighting- even on the other teams that were down the rest of the month, or the subsequent months. Friday? My friend sent me a picture of him on someone else's shoulders. I thought... Well... maybe God said- you came back without Max last time... I thought I had let it go until I took a picture of another Haitian boy that looked just like him hoping upon all hopes it was "my" Max. I don't know why I love him. I don't know why he's my kid. He's never said a word to me. He just hangs on like I'm his momma and clings like a little boy will. Release. Learning how to release this little boy that I've loved in my mother heart for the past three years.... knowing God may never have us cross paths... To be honest? Hurts. Release. Release of all the plans that I've told and bargained with God on.... we're all guilty of doing just that- the panicked prayer of God if you do this, I'll pray more/go to church/give more/etc. Specifically with Haiti, that was my bargain- you provide Max and I'll be willing to be obedient to you, God.
Erase Four: A second flat tire. A missed water stop because of the delay. Erase.
Erase. Release. Release of emotion. Hearing of a child that died and we were exposed to a fresh grave site. The hurt of walking on garbage, knowing it is the same place they live in a tin shanty. I had conversation with a few people and just gave a hug saying that of all the places? That was a place to cry and have God break their hearts. It's hard to willingly recognize the magnitude of our abundance when you are walking on garbage. And yet? They pray for us in our abundance, knowing their reliance on God to provide is not a perspective most of America understands. They have a joy- to sing Glory to God standing in the midst of all we were surrounded with today. Could I do the same? Maybe for a day, two, a week, maybe a month. For a lifetime? I know the answer is no.... I need their prayers for my distrust based on lack of faith due to my abundance.
Release of the plan. God had something else in mind. Release of the laughter at times. The joy in the Haitian children especially. God teaches me something different each time I come, and for today, the lesson was in letting go. Part of our time together as a group was in worship tonight and one of the songs we sang/listened to was "Help Me Find It" by Sidewalk Prophets. Part of the song says "I don't know where to go from here; As long as I know that You are near; I'm done fighting; I'm finally letting go....If there's a road I should walk; Help me find it..." Release. God... You have Your work cut out... but I promise I'm going to try real hard.