Things I miss this week: Pandora, ice cream.
Favorite questions of the week: What is Zaxby's? and Do Southern belles really exist? (both from Texans that I'm currently living with)
It's the beginning of my second week here in Haiti. I feel like I'm a lot more settled than the last time I blogged, just a few days ago. I spent the rest of the week assessing kids based on developmental milestones. The parents who received these reports were so thankful for them, and it motivates me that I am doing something worthwhile. Yesterday we went to church- it was the first time I had seen that many Americans at once in a few weeks, and it was refreshing to worship with them. For those of you who want to send me mail- I'm working on that, but the mail system here is pretty unreliable, so right now I don't have an answer for you. But, if you want to send me something, and believe me, I would love to hear from you! -my email is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can always Facebook message me. I have been so encouraged by those of you who are already keeping me updated on your lives, and knowing that y'all are praying for me and with me is great.
The internet has been down for the past few days, so my free time has consisted of a lot of reading and thinking. I thought back to my recent trip to La Source. Oh, what a great trip it was. The last night as a team we stayed at Wahoo Bay, a beautiful resort outside of Port-au-Prince. There, vendors come to sell their creations. There are coral crosses, coffee bean necklaces, wooden carvings of elephants, turtles, trays, fish, and so much more. They have coconut necklaces, earrings, bracelets and belts, paintings, and tons of other stuff made by hand. Since I know a lot of these men and am familiar with the way they operate, my parents shopped for a while and then called me over so I could bargain with a vendor for them. I wanted to add a fish key chain to their collection of presents and trinkets. This key chain was very simple- a carved wooden fish and hand painted bright colors, with a keychain coming out of the fish's mouth. The fish I picked out was bright yellow with a beautiful design. It was the only one of its kind, but when I picked it up I realized that half of the tail fin was broken off. Now, knowing me, the tail fin would be broken within the first few months of use anyway, but that's not the point. So I named my price for the loot, and he said, "oh no, that is not nearly enough. See, this costs me blah blah blah and then this is blah blah blah.." and so on for all of it. When he got to the keychain, he says, "and this is $7." I said, "but look, it's broken." He replied, "no problem, $7." So I held up a brown fish keychain and said, "see, this one is normal, but the yellow one is broken." He looked at the brown fish, took the key chain part off of it and put it on the yellow fish. Then he held it up to me smiling and said, "no problem." I said, "No problem?? But it's still broken." He smiled and said, "no problem." So i held up the fish, pointed to the broken piece and said, "HOW is this not a problem?" I want to buy the fish, I just don't want to pay full price for it. It's not worth $7." He pointed to the key chain part of the fish, smiled and said, "no problem." Eventually, I got the keychain for about $3, but that's not the point. The point is that WE are broken fish. When someone points out sin in our lives, often we look at the outward appearance, and say, "oh I can fix that, no problem." So we beat an addiction. We join a Bible study. We do good things. But doing these things doesn't change the heart problem any more than putting a new keychain on that fish makes it grow a tail fin. Throwing on a skirt & Chacos and moving to a 3rd world country doesn't make me or my Christian walk any better than a wealthy CEO of the best company in New York. If my heart is sinful and I'm not allowing God to fix it, it's not "no problem." It's a HUGE problem. How often do we want to go on mission trips or help someone else because we want to feel good about ourselves, or become better people? So we throw on a new shirt, give our old one to a charity, and say, "no problem, I've got this." So often we miss out on the main issue- the issue of the heart. Yes, God has changed my heart to follow him. But this is a continual process- it's not just a one & done, "thanks Man, I've got it from here" change. It's a gradual, day by day, step by step process of sanctification- becoming more like Christ. We do this by recognizing our sin and not saying, "no problem," but saying, "thank you Lord that you have already forgiven me for this, and please keep making my heart more like Yours." Jesus didn't settle for half price for our broken selves- he paid the full $7. He saw us broken fish and said, "they're worth it." And if we truly, truly believe that, then as we change our key chains, our clothes, our lines of work, our attitudes, whatever it may be, we do it not because we are trying to cover up sin, but in response to God's grace and our repentance. Because Jesus, he's already paid for it, no problem.
Peace & Blessings, y'all, from PaP