#changetheconversation

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

We got back from our most recent trip to Haiti about eight hours ago. I, and three very humble, gifted, generous, funny, faithful friends had a full day of travel and retrospection. As is true after pretty much every trip the conversations kept steering to what could we do to “fix Haiti.” We didn’t use those words but that is the bottom line.

There are many responses rolling in your mind right now.

“Heal thyself” might well be one of them.

I digress.

By “fix” we are pretty much skipping over some of the greater truth to chase an economic solution.

Economic change is greatly needed there.

That’s exactly the thing we cannot fix.

To dwell on that is to come to a level of frustration that leads to spiritual stagnation that leads to defeat.

There is a line in a Book I read fairly regularly that says “the One who began a good work in you will see it to completion…”

We aren’t called to finish the job. We don’t even have a good grasp of what the beautiful result should look like. We are simply called to be participants in the project.

If we lose sight of this we also lose sight of something very sweet.

The good work is exactly that.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Anderson for that matter) but there are over 600 children going to school through the work that was begun in us. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or Washington for that matter) but there is a young woman with new clothes going to college. New clothes and college weren’t even an option, not even a dream. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti (or even change one hair on my head) but there is a very bright young man who is back in classical (secondary) school who’d dropped out because he didn’t have the $250 for the annual tuition. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but I also can’t get the image out of my head of several people leaving our outdoor woodworking area with chairs, tables, stools, and HUGE smiles. That means something.

We can’t fix Haiti but there is a freshly painted building with new pews to sit on where people gather to praise and draw strength and find hope in a place where these things are as essential as air and food. That means something.

I can’t fix Haiti but I can believe in a Friend who is in the process of doing that very thing - and fixing me in the process.

I got to the church building here in Rogersville about 11 last night. I checked my messages and mail. There was a note from a sweet lady who had a serious injury and several surgeries last year. She had no money for food - or for Christmas gifts for her children. You gave generously to her. The note she sent included the words “you have no idea how much that meant to us.”

She’s right.

As our Friend and I were winding up a fairly brief stroll this morning I felt compelled to confess the part of my life that wants to see everything fixed. He smiled at me the way he does and said…

“I prefer to look at the fixers.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

#changetheconversation

I just came in from my morning walk.

My devotions led me to this.

Late Saturday afternoon I sent a message to my friend Joab.

For any newcomers who may stumble across this blog, Joab is pastor of Dufour Cumberland Presbyterian Church near Miragoane, Haiti.

Things are always challenging there but the level of instability now is beyond my comprehension. Joab shows amazing calm in the face of this raging storm.

I could go on but…

I try to message him a greeting every week as Sunday approaches. I assure him of my affection and my prayers. I ask him to pass on my love and admiration and hopes to the saints as they gather for worship.

Quickly there came a reply to my message.

“Can we do a video call?”

I pushed the green button.

And we talked. We talked about a Flood of Grace and the inspiration he has had about how to irrigate.

It is raining upstream and he wants to be ready.

For any newcomers who may have stumbled across this blog feel free to get in touch if your feet are wet.

But this isn’t about that.

He told me of living in a country with no government and all the insecurity that saturates every decision. He told me he dare not comment or “react” to a Facebook post that encourages him for concern someone will identify him as a potential victim.

He told me of there being no fuel so every need must be met on foot.

If you can walk.

And about food shortages and the resulting spike in costs. 60% of Haitians life on less than $2 a day.

How much spike can your budget absorb?

It was 6 p.m. and I was still trying to digest all the BREAKFAST I had eaten.

I am all about having fun but I can’t help wonder about paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a brief flight on a rocket whilst…well,you know.

Here’s the thing.

He was standing on the side of the mountain near his home. He’d walked up there to have enough reception to talk to me. In the background I could see Lake Miragoane. It was beautiful. I crave seeing it in person again.

Even more beautiful…

He was smiling.

The whole conversation he was smiling..

and patting his chest…

and smiling.

My appearance is always clownish but this was deeper than that.

The smile seemed to come from that place he was patting.

It seemed to be erupting from words of hope spoken and from faith being called up and from the need to know that you are not forgotten in your need.

It grew even greater when I told him “I love you.”

Then he told me that the saints at Dufour love me and always pray for me.

And I smiled.

And found myself patting my chest.

Because it felt so good to be remembered.

And not forgotten in my need.

And loved.

I was so very glad that I pushed the button.

Eh?

As our Friend walked me into a Sunday that has some challenges we were talking about giving and getting and receiving and sharing and the intense feeling I have about all God’s children when he smiled at me, smiled at me, smiled at me the way he does and said…

“Call me anytime.”

Your move.

Brother Pat

Posted 2 weeks ago