You Make a Difference

You Make a Difference

Stepping outside of Toussaint Louverture airport into the parking lot, we made our way to the giant bus parked in the back as several men rushed over and offered to help with our bags. Each member of our group pulled at least two or three bags of luggage behind them full of food, clothing, and medical equipment for the week. As I looked around in the night, I could see all the thousands of tiny lights shimmering on the mountains that surround Port au Prince. These familiar people, sights, and sounds have been missed by those of us that have been here before – it’s good to be in Haiti again.

After traveling about three hours on the “Haitian highway” to our headquarters in Gonaives, we had the wonderful opportunity to worship together with the Poteaux church of Christ on Sunday morning. This is a Haitian led church that is closely connected with our organization and has had a tremendous impact on the surrounding community.

As we walked into the church building, we immediately noticed the signs and decorations that had been prepared for our arrival. To show their appreciation, the church had made signs that read “You make a difference to our lives. -The church of Christ of Poteaux.” As we prayed, sang, and had communion together that morning I was greatly encouraged; but perhaps the thing that stood out to me most was the writing on that sign – “You make a difference to our lives.”

Church Service Poteau copy

Worshipping on Sunday morning with the Church of Christ of Poteaux.

The rest of the week, we travelled from village to village setting up mobile clinics to serve the rural poor. An overwhelming majority of these people don’t have access to healthcare. Many of the weary or sick that come to receive care have been waiting for years for an opportunity to find relief. In each clinic, the optometrists, dentists, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists work a full day to see as many patients as they can, but there are always more than they can see. In addition to the clinics, several members of our work group spent the entire week putting a roof up on an earthbag building to serve as a vocational school and storage house for the farm.

As the week drew closer to the end, many of us were reminded that as we work in the midst of the materially poor, we ourselves often discover more about our own poverty; poverty of the heart. Whether it’s our own desires for wealth, or our lack of effort to care more for the suffering, we find ourselves challenged to be more like Christ when we leave. One t-shirt that members in our group purchased in a gift shop there read: “Dust in my eyes, now I can see.” As we left Haiti exhausted and worn down from a week of hard work in the sun, with dust in our eyes from the dirt roads and soccer fields, I thought back to that sign in Poteaux on Sunday morning and realized that maybe now I could see better. In my mind, the sign read “Church of Christ of Poteaux, you make a difference to our lives. -The 2016 medical work team.”