Monday, May 3, 2010


I have sat down at least four times to write a blog about our recent trip to Haiti. Each time I make an attempt, I go blank on what to say. When I try to organize my thoughts I find myself distracted with moments of trial and victory in Haiti, followed by feelings of violation with the home break-in, and ending with the overwhelmed reality of us moving in three weeks. My hands freeze up and my mind goes numb. Kind of like when your in the middle of a movie and the power goes out. Just a "bloop" and nothing. So here I am again, sitting at my computer, attempt to write something meaningful and thought provoking if for no other reason than to get my brain moving and processing again.

Our trip to Haiti is hard to explain. I find myself more and more frustrated each time someone asks, "So how was your trip?" I'm not frustrated with the person asking, I'm frustrated with my inability to come up with a sufficient answer. If it makes any sense, I don't even know that I know how the trip was. I do know that the Haitian people are amazingly resilient. I know that the earthquake destroyed their already damaged country. I know that every Haitian had someone close to them die. I know that 3 to 4 million Haitians are now homeless. I know that the only solution to the restoration of the country is Jesus. I know that the American news stations are no longer reporting on Haiti so people assume its all ok now. I know that Port au Prince still smells of decomposing bodies that are lying underneath the rubble. I know that God is at work in Haiti and that the number of new believers is astounding. I know that I want to go back soon.

We heard the earthquake stories of a few Haitian nationals and North American missionaries. Many of the scenes they described have put mental pictures in my mind that I wish I could erase because they are so terrible. I have done some traveling and have seen a lot of poverty and desperation. I could never have imagined the horribleness that I saw in Haiti. And yet God's presence was almost suffocating at times. He is there in that country and He is at work. We literally saw the fruit of His work each day we were there. It was like sitting back and watching a play. We were the stage hands moving the props and helping the Haitian actors while the Divine director/writer continued unveiling His work of art.

A very wise friend who knows me incredibly well gave me the book Dangerous Surrender, by Kay Warren, the day we got back from Haiti. I started to read it yesterday and was overwhelmed by the similarities between Kay's words and my unspoken thoughts. She writes about being "seriously disturbed" by the reality of our world. Not the temporary gripe about gas prices or republican/democrat stuff that so many people spend their time wrapped up in, but the really awful, evil, dark stuff that we skip over in the newspaper or mute on the television. She talks about not only allowing your self to be disturbed but then to figure out what God wants you to do with yourself once you have been.

I didn't expect to be so "disturbed" by Haiti. Like I said before, I've traveled a bit and have seen poverty. It always ends with a few prayers of thankfulness for all I have been given and the desire to sponsor another kid in a third world country. Within a few months I'm back to the outlet malls justifying my need to buy a headband or another cute purse. My prayer is that Haiti continues to disturb me deeply, so deeply that it changes how I live and look at the world in a dramatic way.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from Kay's book so far:

God in His sovereignty decided where you would be born and allowed you to live in a place that has almost everything anyone could ever desire, so there is no guilt that he has ordered our lives in such a way. The only guilt we bear is the guilt of ignoring the men, women, and children of this world who do not have what we have- the guilt of spending the majority of our time, money, and resources exclusively on ourselves and our families. That is legitimate guilt. (p 22)

We arrived home on Sunday afternoon to find our front door jam almost completely ripped off and our front window screen-free and open. They only took a few things from each of our dressers (my jewelry box with my wedding ring, heirloom family jewelry, pearls my dad gave me on my wedding day, necklaces and bracelets from anniversaries, etc.) but tossed our room up a bit. Walking into our home and seeing, first, all the stuff we have, and second, all the stuff that was stolen, created a mess of confusing emotions. I was angry and sad that many of my most precious things were gone but after just returning from Haiti, I was so thankful my husband and child were not lying crushed under a concrete building. How upset could I truly be that I now had less stuff then before?

Though I am upset about my stolen jewelry, each frustrated thought ends with the face of someone I saw in Haiti who has lost everything and now sleeps under a tattered sheet in one of the hundreds of tent-cities surrounding the capitol.

For now, I spend a lot of time praying for Haiti and asking God to continue to guide me in my processing of our trip and the week that followed. I have come to love and identify so well with this quote from Pastor Chambers:

"If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart." Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, November 1


  1. Beautifully written, Amber. Leaves me convicted and speechless.

  2. I hear you sister! - Great post and I couldn't agree more. It's sobering coming back from realities like that. I can relate with your passion to come back and live differently! I am reading a book called the Love Revolution which I absolutely love. In it the author talks about a message by Bill Hybels in which he says: "we must allow poverty to touch us, to involve us...that the smells and realities of survival become a sense we never conveniently forget, or even just send money to and feel like we've done our bit. But to be called to action by the great love of God - that we share His love and His life, and that we trust Him to make a way, well this is the journey we are called to walk."

    I pray that your life would be transformed by the things God is teaching you through this trip and even the experiences coming home and that He would help you to use those to bring Glory to His name.

  3. Amber, thanks for this. It speaks volumes. The Kay Warren quote is fabulous.

  4. Tears stream from eyes as I think of the words to thank you for sharing your insight. I happened upon your blog as I attempt to prepare for my trip to Haiti by following the Mission of Hope updates. Daily I witness broken bodies but am able able to walk away from their suffering; returning to the distraction from the realities that exist in our world. My hope was to learn something that I could use to help some the people I see here. Instead I think that I have found a profound guidance that eludes me yet.

  5. Thank you for sharing this, Amber. This is definitely something that we all need to be aware of and moved to action. It gives me a lot to think about.