I was talking to my dear friend Els Vervloet whose family is part of Maxima SA that is providing the prefabbed houses for Haitians. She dropped a word that I had never heard before, but have since thought of a lot. The “businnary”…business with a mission (although I am not quite sure on the spelling.) In her time in Haiti ( going on upteen years) their company has employed, sheltered, and fed 100s of Haitians.
I went out to eat the other day and looked at the waiters and the cooks in a whole different light. These are the few and the priveledged to actually have jobs in Haiti. People at the gas station have jobs. I find myself thinking… wow.. that gas station owner is doing more for Haiti than I could ever dream or hope to. Grocery stores, clothing boutiques, airports, taptaps.. all providing income for desperate Haitians.. and giving them the dignity to work for their income instead of just live off of handouts like the other 90 percent of their peers. (Have you ever been poor enough that someone has to buy you groceries to “bless” you.. not the best feeling in the world!)
Our own efforts at the Apparent Project have lead to more than 50 jobs.
The longer we are here, the more it seems to be at the core of what Haiti needs… jobs and education.
Often times we are asked about our “bible studies” or what kind of evanglistic work that we do.
I have to laugh sometimes when asked this question. Have you been to Haiti? Have you not noticed how incredibly strong the faith of the people here is? Yes, they have problems with corruption, sex, lying etc… but don’t Americans too? Maybe in a different way, but BY far the faith of the people in Haiti far surpasses that of North America. Seriously.. we argue about nativity scenes being allowed on public property…
Just today I was sitting in our artisan studio and had not brought my ipod to work. The ladies took it upon themselves to provide the music. I was surrounded for hours by sweet soulful Carribean prayers sung at the top of their lungs. Heaven I tell you. Just the other day, a lady approached me with a dream God had given her for me, just the other week Chrislene told me she was going to a special prayer meeting at church with me in mind. My 15 year old Administrative Assistant is reading Bill Johnson and Heidi Baker. If I drop down into any of the ravine churches on a given night ( because they have church every day.. for hours) and listen to the preacher, I here him saying that our reliance on God is what sustains us. That even though we have nothing ( and they have nothing) that God is the provider and he will sustain them. I shudder chills when I hear this. How can they believe this? My own doubt and skepticism comes to the forefront. They have nothing. Their children are starving. And they acknowledge HIM. The creator. With love, respect, and honor.
I am not a missionary. I do what I can do.. which is try to help economically.. where I see the need. And I believe that is a mandate set out by all God-lovers. To help the poor in whatever way they can. But as for what I can offer spirtiually. I’d prefer to sit at the feet of Sonia as she sings her soulful prayers and soak that up. I recieve much more than I can give in this area.
My mother was just here last week and after being told once again something profoundly spiritual by one of the ladies, I looked at my mom and said, “you know, I am surrounded by angels here”. That is the side of Haiti that I want people to know about. That maybe they have something much more profound to offer us than we could offer them. That their reliance on Bondye.. the GOOD God boggles my mind when I look at the conditions they live in. That although (like us) their lives may not reflect it perfectly, they have a steady adherance and faithfulness to God as if he was and is so very REAL. I have never experienced this in North America – the simple trust in a God that loves and is good. So, whilst I go about my “businnary work” of trying to help in what way I can here in post-earthquake hell. Know that surrounding me, there are many many angels….and they sing beautifully.
Written by Shelley Clay