Haitian Air Conditioning
I just returned from Haiti mission trip on Monday with a group of 15. So many things stick out to me from our experience - it is hard to pick what to write about!
If you've never been to Haiti, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: it's crazy hot. We're talking like a daily heat index of 115 degrees cooling off to a balmy 85 or 90 at night. As a person who lives in North Dakota, this war against the heat was an epic struggle. There was no air conditioning anywhere in sight and no cold water or ice to give us a break.
I managed to find the best air conditioning I've ever experienced at the Son of God orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti. This dingy orphanage is home to 124 children who have been abandoned by their families or left orphaned as their parents died in the earthquake. And as we walked in for the first time, a wave of emotion hit us Americans like a brick wall. We didnât get more than 3 feet before random orphans clung to us obsessively. There weren't enough Americans to go around as our group of 15 was vastly outnumbered by their 124. These beautiful children were starving for food, for love, for attention, and for hope.
The first Haitian to cling to me and not let go was an 8 year old named Jhon. I didn't understand a word he was saying and I certainly know that he had no clue what my words meant. It just didn't matter, though. Jhon and I were friends instantly. There was an unmistakable bond between us.
You'd think that these kids would desperately seek help from the Americans while we were there and that we would have to be protective of our possessions and we'd do all the ministering. That couldn't have been farther from the truth.
So imagine this: we all sit down and we start getting pampered. All the girls (and even one of
the guys) in our group start getting their hair braided and combed by the orphans. My little guy Jhon decides to comb the hair on my head...then comb the hair on my arms...then comb my beard...¦then comb my chest hair that was poking out of my shirt. For real. It was one of the most hilarious and awkward moments of my life!
And at this point the heat was almost unbearable. Us Americans sat in pools of our own sweat as the orphans poured out their love on us. As they noticed our sweat, Haitian Air Conditioning kicked in.
The air conditioning didn't come from any machine - it instead came from 124 Haitian orphans who have been left hopeless. They fanned us. They wiped the sweat off of us. They softly blew air onto our arms to try and cool us off.
I tried to fan Jhon and he wouldn't have it. He knew I was struggling and wanted to do everything in his power to help me. He cared more about my well-being than his own.
Their outpouring of love was relentless. I hope and pray that the lesson those kids taught me that day will stick with me forever. No matter the circumstance and no matter what life hands you - we are still servants.
In the midst of world where most people think of only themselves, 124 Haitian orphans showed me that we are called to serve. We are called to love. We are called to be joyful in all circumstances.
Jhon had no parents. He had no clue how long he had even been at the orphanage as it is all heâs ever known. Jhon had no food to eat on my last day in Haiti. Jhon has every right to be angry with this world and with God and yet he isn't. Jhon is a light in my life. Jhon is a servant. Jhon loves because he knows that Christ loves him.
Yes, it was crazy-hot in Haiti. But that Haitian Air Conditioning has forever changed me!