Posted by: Ed | May 31, 2010

HOW DO YOU RETURN FROM A PLACE LIKE HAITI?

Great question! As I write this I’m somewhere between Miami and LA. I missed my connection because the plane was late coming from Haiti. Imagine that.

The best I can do is offer some random thoughts and throw in a few pictures.
• It’s hard in your quiet moments not to be moved. The team of people I was with were a riot. We laughed a lot! But this was in context of being struck in spirit by what breaks the heart of God. Because of the missed connection, I’m flying by myself. The couple next to me, looking like they are heading home from a cruise, has their headphones on so I’m enjoying quiet. But every so often I have to deliberately keep myself from crying. Being “Mr. In-Touch-With-His-Emotions” like I am this is an odd thing for me. But, I keep thinking about what we saw, smelled, sensed and absorbed.

• SIN IS SEPARATION – The first sin had the effect of separating, of isolating, of estranging, man from God, husband from wife, brother from brother. That’s why the gospel of Jesus, the good news of His victory over sin is about reconciliation, about bringing the separated together. When Jesus comes into someone’s life God does a reconciling work. But the devil wars against us and perpetuates separation and estrangement based on what he does best lie. So, the devil wants to keep us feeling separate and isolated from our fellow man, from our brothers and sisters in Christ. He wants us to take a “out of sight out of mind” approach to the suffering people in Haiti. He wants us to not be PRESENT. That leads this stream of consciousness to another bend…
• PRESENCE – there is no substitute. Can you even have a “gospel” without presence? I think we totally screw with the kingdom of darkness when we break down barriers and are authentically present with the lost, the outcast, even one another, but especially with the poor and maybe more especially with the poorest of the poor. I don’t have it all figured out, but Adventures In Missions (click here) has a strategy that is basically, PRAY, GIVE, GO… some of us need to go there. All of us need to go somewhere.
• WE NEED THIS – This isn’t just for “them”. Maybe it’s not even primarily for them. Yes we can bless this land and God’s church there. We have. We will! But if we think that there is even a chance that Jesus was right in constantly saying that the poor are closer to the kingdom and that the rich (let’s face it that’s us, that’s…gulp…me) are in a sketchy place in relationship to the kingdom of God, do we not need to be somehow present for the sake of OUR OWN SOULS?

• On a very practical note, WHAT WILL NEXT WEEKEND LOOK LIKE? I’m not sure how I’m going to get back into the message. I need to give you Journey peeps a report, but I’m not ready to lay out a plan. Primarily because I don’t have it figured out yet. People are going to get back to us; we got to get back to them…so say I share a 5-minute report and a few thoughts. Can I just turn the page and say, “alright, let’s get going on the message”? Here’s a word of warning, those of you who had your heart set on UP, may be disappointed… I’m just saying…
• THANKS for praying, for giving some seed money to CHURCH-TO-CHURCH. Thanks for encouraging me not just in this little trip, but encouraging me to lead us to do something. I LOVE your responses to this blog and on Facebook. I don’t at all feel like I’m pushing us into something. I feel like you are anxious to make a difference to somehow, someway be present YOURSELVES and as a body.
• Ed’s Creole quiz: If you can figure out what these means and how it would be pronounced you get a prize. Meaning and phonetic pronunciation here or on Facebook. (There should be accents, but I can’t type Creole).
Bon Dieu Beni ou
Coman ou ye neg lekai
Mwen bezwen bwe bie

Sorry for the random thoughts. Feel free to add your own!

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Responses

  1. I’m so excited to hear a ‘vision casting’ from you about how we can help in Haiti.
    I hear you re: seperation.
    I hear you re: presence but most of all I hear you re: this opportunity being just as much for OUR souls as for THEIR physical well being. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to be used of God. ::beaming::

    Creole Quiz
    Ummm…is the first one ‘God Bless You?’
    You’re on your own for the other ones, I’m afraid. ;o)

  2. It’s simply incomprehensible to many of us, at least it is to me. I was @ 10 miles from the epicenter for the MLK 1994 Northridge EQ. It was peanuts compared to this. Personally, at the time, the event itself was extremely traumatic but what really wore on me was coming back into the neighborhood each and every day to what looked, smelled and felt like a war zone. Living in the wake of destruction was devastating. Many people fled and I’ll never forget one home was boarded up and the owners had spray painted in huge green letters: “The Fat Lady Has Sung”. The citizens of Haiti are unable to flee. They can’t leave. There’s no mass exodus because there’s no where to go or no way to get there. Most, probably don’t want to go. Just about everything they have, which was so fragile to begin with, is gone. So many of their buildings, schools, government, jobs, markets, homes and in many cases…their entire families, communities and infrastructure no longer exist or are simply a smelly pile of rubble.Things we take for granted like basic shelter, food and sanitation…nada. But in the face of losing everything, they’ve kept their spirit and they’ve kept their faith. Their collective strength has to be a miracle. We’ll pray for God’s direction on how we may best be of service to the citizens of Haiti and we’ll pray that the answers may come in short order. Thanks for all the posts and pics and welcome home. It’s been a priviledge to follow you and your team (on fb) on this mission.

  3. Ed! I can relate somewhat to your culture shock coming from Haiti to the states. In 2003, on my way from Port Au Prince to Miami I experienced deep love and pain for the Haitian people whose faith is strong in the midst of poverty. I remember sitting in the miami airport eating $4 ice cream thinking, “we are so wealthy in America and our material things distract us from ‘The Main Thing.'” Thank you for the reminder to remember the poor among us. I feel like I’ve been too focused on myself lately instead of seeking first the Kingdom.
    BTW, I was in SD this weekend. Maybe next time we’ll make it to Journey. It would be great to see you.

    Candice

  4. It was Great getting to know you in Haiti. The people of your church are fortunate to have a pastor that is the real deal. If I didn’t live in Georgia, I would attend your church.

  5. I can only describe what you’re going through to others as something from The Matrix. You’ve swallowed the pill and seen the world from another perspective.

    I’m intrigued by what will happen at JCC this week. This was like the best teaser ever.

  6. So, I’m wondering…maybe the page doesn’t have to be turned on Sunday…”His Presence/Our Souls” Sounds like Selah. I didn’t see Avatar…but the clip with the outstretched hands brought me to prayer across the divide to Haiti. May God’s presence continue to cover you and unfold His plan. Thank You from the heart.

  7. this is so elemental. thanks for these blogs. amen to the points on “sin is separation” as well as “presence” – and we must have presence right where we our, in our own lives, a ministry of presence DAILY – and i can’t help but think the Whole point is “we need this.” we, the rich. we need poverty. AMEN

  8. Hi Pastor Ed,
    Glad you are back safely. Thank you so much for all your insightful blogs and pics. In a way, you took us along with you on your journey. This year due to health issues and other life situations, I’ve been drawn to read (or in most cases re-read) books by C.S Lewis: Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, A Grief Observed, The Problem of Pain, and The Great Divorce. As I’ve been reading your blogs this week, having just re-read these books, they have come together to remind me how the enemy of our soul works to distract us from God and separate us from what is really important. They also have helped remind me how to see pain, grief, and overwhelming sadness through God’s eyes. And to try (I emphasize the word try) to hope to see God’s plan in things we cannot understand and have the strength to climb the mountain that He’s asked to climb.
    I look forward to hearing from you next Sunday.
    Ana West

  9. I think my hardest part of returning from Haiti was stepping off the plane and in to the Miami airport. I wanted to go back immediately, but I knew I couldn’t, so I just wanted to stay around the Haitians that were on our plane with us. And I felt almost ashamed to leave the atmosphere we had feeling secure and being so challenged in my faith by our translators and how giving Pastor Christian was to let us use his house.
    I completely agree that anyone who goes to Haiti to help is going to be so much more blessed than we can bless the Haitians. We have a lot to learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in Haiti.

  10. Hi Ed, I dont know if you remember me, but I am the young lady who needed a Bible that was very easy to read. We chose the New Believer’s Bible from the bookstore. It’s outstanding! Jery introduced us, who works out at the fitness center. Well I have a website and I would like to know if the church has a giving website for Haiti donations that I can post on my website. I have a site pointing to the Haiti scroll, but I would like your permission to post one from Journey. I strayed from God since being in the military because I was made to go to a Holy Roly church when I was young. I didn’t enjoy it because I thought something was wrong with me because I never screamed and fell out at church with the Holy Spirit. Now that I am retiring and have come closer to God, I am blessed and see things more clearly. I love Journey, I will be retiring in New Jersey and I hope I will be able to find a Journey Church there! I have finally found a church that I am comfortable with and I really enjoy. I will be on travel 10- 17 June, so I hope you respond soon. Thank you and God Bless. Tamico

  11. Ed,
    I was once a VISTA VOLUNTEER and understand to some small degree how Haiti effected you and how difficult it is to be present here. However, I want you to know how much your messages effect me. Standing up front at Journey you can’t see the hurt, desperation, grief and need in front of you. Here in the USA it isn’t always apparent who is in real need. You answer an important calling every time you speak. I can feel the Holy Spirit in you…you are so needed here. I believe it might be more difficult to answer needs that you can’t see. God bless you for being there for us.


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