Last week I shared just a little bit about my last trip to Haiti. I didn’t tell nearly all of it, though, so I’m going to be writing a few posts here and there with a few stories I think are worth their very own article. So, let’s get to it then.
On our fist day of clinic, Monday, we went to Onaville. As I already said in my previous post, we set up in the church and spent the day treating patients. Once we were finished, Adam, the team coordinator and general Mr. Fix-It, came to meet us at the church. He then had us go on a little walk.
For a little background information, Haiti is divided into northern, central, and southern regions by two mountain ranges that run East to West. Onaville was built on the southern side of the northern mountain range as a result of the mass exodus from Port-Au-Prince (the capital city) after the earthquake. They fled to the place that is now Onaville and set up tents, hence the term tent city I used in my last post.
So, Adam had us go on a walk, and we walked all the way up to one of the peaks of Onaville. Now, I don’t mean the peaks of the whole mountain range, just the ones lower and in the city. We weren’t about to walk several miles up a steep mountain just for a good view. Anyways, we got to this peak and we saw all of Onaville from there. In fact we could see the entire central plain of Haiti. We could even see the mountains of the Dominican Republic, and the bay on the western side, from the spot on which we stood. It was stunning.
Then, Adam began to talk. He started out by saying,” This is not your mission field.” This just stunned me. He continued on to say, much more poetically than I will be able to repeat, that our mission field is not here. We came to Haiti to help out with someone else’s mission field, and the work we do will help them greatly, and our lives may be changed by it, but it is not our mission field. Our mission field is back in the States. Our mission field is our workplaces, and our schools, it’s our sports teams, homes, and our churches.
As if that all wasn’t enough to knock me to the ground, he ended with this question:”Do the poor know you by name?” The people we helped in Haiti would remember that we helped them, and maybe even saved their lives. They would remember that we loved them and cared for them, and they will probably love us back, but they won’t remember our names.
The poor in our own towns, do they know us by name? And by that I don’t just mean the physically poor, but also the morally poor, intellectually poor, and the spiritually poor. We are called to serve them in such a way so that years from now, they won’t just remember a face, or that we helped them, but they will know us by our names.