I believe we were created by God to serve others. I also believe that if we all did what we were called to do, this world won’t be in the mess it is. The problem is illustrated in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan. The first two who passed by in the tale walked on the other side of the road and, in my interpretation, pretended not to see the problem. It is easier not to see. How many times do we, as Americans do that? We pretend the problems in this world don’t exist or at least they are not our problem. We don’t want to get close, don’t want to look at those hurting in the eye… I don’t want to do that. It is a battle I fight all the time. I don’t want to sit in my comfortable house watching my big screen TV, pretending there is no problems in the world. I want to see! I want to do whatever I can to help.
My work with CHOAIDS is not all that I do service wise, but it has made the most impact in the past year both to them and to me, my team. I have attached a picture of our first trip. I think the picture says it all… I felt total despair. I cried when we left overwhelmed by the conditions (physical and emotional) these kids (and I know many others) were living in. I had been praying for a place I/we (my team and community) could partner with so we could see the changes happen. This was it.
It is hard to even describe the changes we have seen in CHOAIDS. Since we meet them, we have moved them to a new (bigger and leaner house), improved their diet, enrolled them in a new school and, most importantly, gave them a family who loves them. These kids were abandoned, some beaten or thrown out with the trash by their families because they were sick. Providing for their needs showed them we care, not just when we are there but all the time. We went to celebrate World Aids Day with them in December 2011. The put on a program for us that included singing, dancing and poetry… all in Creole so none of us understood the words, but all of us understood them. They sang and danced with pride. They were no longer abandoned… they felt the love of a family. They had American mamas and papa’s watching them along with the Haitian staff. I don’t think there was one dry eye on our team. Some of us were crying just thinking of the huge change we saw in them, others who were on their first trip cried because we were it, we are their family.
Back to the story of the Good Samaritan… there are three things he did which I think we can all learn from. One, he saw. He choose not to walk on the other side of the road but to look at the problem, see the hurt in the eyes of the victim. Two, he physically cared for him. He touched him, carried him, spoke with him, and treated him like he mattered. Three, he paid for the man’s care when he could no longer be there. I am often asked why I don’t move to Haiti and run things there. The answer is simple. It is not what I feel called to do. If I didn’t work here, I wouldn’t be able to send money there. I think it is great for those who do leave everything here to go there (wherever there might be for them) but I also know they need money to do anything. I believe God has blessed me with a good job here so I can send money. It took money to move CHOAIDS, it takes money to feed them and provide clean water. I do however believe we are all called to do all three things the Good Samaritan did- see, touch, and give. I love taking people to see, to touch. Everyone who goes comes back changed and will give with a new sense of purpose. I love to go, to touch the kids – hug them, play with them, dance with them… and then I/we come home and pay for their care in our absence.
I was once asked why I give so much to these kids; they are not all my responsibility. Really, whose responsibility are they? Who is going to care for them if I/we don’t? The same person came on the next trip with me and by the end they understood. When you look them in the eye, how can you walk away? How can you not do what is in your power to do?
My motives in helping CHOAIDS along with everything else I do in life are simple, I want to honor God and live the way He asks me to. I plan to continue with CHOAIDS forever. To see those kids grow up and help them follow their dreams. I/we are also partnering with a couple local Haiti pastors who are serving their communities. We want to see their transformations – see people be able to care for themselves, feed their kids and provide them with education. We want to be part of the transformation in Haiti. I also run a local teen center here. I want to see them get a “Good Samaritan” vision for their life.