501(c)3 Non-Profit | Empowering Haitian Families

My wounded ramblings from the day…

Today was loaded. It started out as I was waiting for some of my hair appointments to show up and I asked a couple of the ladies if they would let me color their hair- just to get the experience. Their eyes lit up at the idea of having a relaxer and a couple foils thrown in, but quickly they reminded me that if they did that, they would not be allowed in the church. I try to bite my tongue as hard as I can in moments like this.
Despite all of the debauchery that goes on here, Haiti is a very conservative culture. I don’t even think that the people themselves are conservative as much as the institutions- churches, schools etc… So one must conform in order to be accepted. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard from street kids that they can’t go to church because they don’t have shoes, or suitable clothes. THANK YOU Missionaries (a hint of sarcasm) for teaching them the all important legalism that has kept all of us bound up in religion for years…. what Bible were you reading when you taught Haitians that they have to wear a doily on their head in order for God to hear them? This is in essence the most ANTI-christ thing that goes on in Haiti in my humble opinion. Didn’t he come to set us free from that? Wasn’t this the guy who didn’t reprimand his disciples from picking grain on saturday? What happened to the God of the broken, the poor, the ragged, the torn down. Is that not what Haiti needs? A God who scoops up the broken pieces and doesn’t turn his nose up at stinky street children? This is a no brainer and yet we are so far off of this undestanding of this tangible accepting God.. at least in my circles.
And yet I live and work in this culture that just isn’t fair. I can’t overthrow the system and so I bite my tongue.
Today Jaqueline showed up at my house sobbing. She had been picked up by the neck and thrown down on the ground repeatedly by her drunk husband because he forgot that she had indeed asked permission to go downtown to shop. She had taken a little longer than usual because she had ran into Makensia (my pregnant girl with twins) and had walked with her in order to help her. By the time they got home, Serlo- Makensia’s guy was in a rage because Makensia had gone downtown and had threatened to kill Jaqueline for going downtown with her. That is when Jaqueline’s husband beat her for embarrasing him and threatened to cut her arms off if she ever came home. Meanwhile the rest of the day, Makensia and Serlo ( about to have twins) were about the situation and the fact that Serlo had stolen Makensia’s money to buy tin for his mom’s roof.
How is any of this fair? How is it that they are forced to live out a shallow charade of Chrisitanity in order to be acceptable, and yet have such deep soul thirst for the living God that cannot find it’s fulfillment in legalism. How is it that I could go to their church in cut-off jeans, dyed hair, nose ring and sporting tattoos and they wouldn’t say boo, but a Haitian single mom living in the mud would be thrown out because her clothes aren’t clean enough.
How is it that women all over the world are in such a precarious position in life. YES! We American women have it SOOOOO good compared to 90% of the rest of the world. We are treated so much more fairly. I don’t even have words to go there.
How is it that a man has to steal money from his pregnant lady in order to put a roof over his aging mom’s head because of the terrible devestation in this country.
How is any of this fair? or right? or justifiable?
It’s not. It really isn’t.
I ponder these things regularly and can only find one place of hope…
My hope lies in a good king whose agenda is to turn the tables and take what is lowly and make it high, and put those who are last and make them first, and who sees the injustice of the world and cries alongside of us.. and has imparted in some small way, his heart to me. And that is where I get the motivation to do what I do. The king in me. The king who scoops up street children, and get scabies regularly from holding dirty babies, and walks and talks with the poor and would rather be outside the church with the people who don’t fit in than inside the church with the doily girls who think they are so noble, and who wants to see restoration and knows that it is only a miracle that can make any of this better.. but in the mean time will sit and cry and love alongside. That is my king and that is my hope.

  1. Well written. Powerful message. Truth. Thanks for sharing. I feel your heart on this, and agree with most everything.

    While we American women do have it so much better than women elsewhere in the world, there is still a huge elephant hanging in many of our organized religious buildings suggesting that only MEN are worth hearing, seeing, and respecting. Still a very unfortunate circumstance, but by no means a comparison to Haiti.

    Thanks again for sharing your heart on a truly troubling topic.

    CJ Lewis

  2. Shelley, thanks for sharing your heart and your struggles. It's certainly easier for those of us farther removed to forget (or close our eyes) to the injustice and pain occuring in our world. Your journey sheds light on the struggles and reality of life for the people of Haiti and invites us to participate. I'm thrilled to be hosting my very first "Party for a Cause" Apparent Jewelry party in two weeks. My friends, family and co-workers are excited as I've been talking about it for weeks and was ecstatic when I received the box of jewelry. Your bold faith is inspiring and I will continue to look for ways to cheer you and your family on! All the best, Alicia

  3. Shelley,
    Thank you for sharing your story and experience. I found myself feeling frustrated and angry for the same reasons as I read the post and thought about our recent experience in Haiti. Incidentally, our group found it strange that the congregants at one church we attended had to dress up in order to be welcomed in. Very sad. We will continue to sit, cry, love, pray and hope with you.
    –Andy Acton, associate pastor at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church, Duluth, GA

  4. It breaks my heart and warms my soul to hear your share the real life struggles of real people. Thank you for sharing your thoughts each and every one of them as you live out this life (some of us) can only imagine for a moment.

    "My hope lies in a good king…" and that is the strength of mighty warriors the hope that God can do all things, remove all things, revive all things, and minister through all things. Your words are are so important, I am so glad you share your thoughts.

  5. Oh forgot to add check out http://www.wherethestarsstillshine.org to see what we are doing in Seguin.

  6. Shelley awesome post, I really enjoy reading your information. I had the chance this summer to spend a week in Seguin and it changed my life forever. I did notice the doily on the head this really opens my eyes.

  7. Thank you for posting this! It's really inspirational for me. God bless.

  8. Amen Sister!

  9. Thank you for letting us in on your wounded ramblings. Thank God for his upside down kingdom.

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