It was another hot Saturday in Haiti and, per usual, I was sweating. I was working with four other adults from the B2B team. The B2B team was comprised of the Haiti Site Director, child psychologist and two of our Home Captains, who are on staff with Back2Back. The Haiti Site Director oversees the entire staff here in Haiti, the site, and each partnering children’s home. The Home Captains oversee one specific children’s home each and any staff that work directly with the home and in the home.
We were taking 30 of the older children from two of our four homes here in Haiti to serve at a community center operated by the government for about 100 boys who live on the street. The center receives very little funding from the government and the physical needs of the children are met on a first come, first serve basis.
Each year, we budget money for a service project our children can participate in – to model helping others. It’s often food and supplies for the center. This year the supplies were new mattresses.
Our kids were excited to serve and I was excited to see how God was going to move in us and through us.
I watched, like a proud big sister would, when I saw our kids, who each have their own hard story, advocating for justice in the world and in the lives of the boys they had just met.
Our children taught the boys, who had never heard of uno, how to play. The children also picked up trash around the playground, so the boys could have a clean and safe place to play. Then the children placed new mattresses in each room so the boys did not have to sleep on the ground at night.
We all gathered for lunch in a large cafeteria. Our kids began serving to the boys a traditional Haitian meal. Beans, rice, and chicken with all the creole spice, of course.
I walked around to make sure everyone had eaten, but some boys still did not have a plate of food. I thought that was weird because I thought for sure everyone had already been served at least one helping. That is when one of the Captains of our home told me the boys were hiding their food so it looked like they hadn’t gotten a meal yet.
My eyes welled up. I fought back tears because at that moment I knew what was happening. The boys, not knowing if they would eat again that day, were hiding the food served to them for later so it would look like they hadn’t eaten and could have seconds.
There were so many boys at this community center. Pain seemed triumphant and all signs of hope escaped me. I can’t fix this, I thought. It’s too much.
But then I looked back into the kitchen. I was immediately overwhelmed by the goodness and healing of Jesus. My perspective shifted as I saw our kids, who have also known what it feels like to go hungry and to go without, not just serving a meal, but showing off the depth of Christ’s love and restoration.
Feeding and serving as many boys as they could, I saw healing. I saw Jesus restoring what was broken in our children, and through them as they poured every bit of Jesus they had out into the hearts of these boys.
Needless to say, everyone was getting seconds.
Hope had the final word that day.
I am so glad that the kind of hope I can hold on to is not dependent on my feelings, the amount of faith I have, or the amount of coffee I had that day. I can hold on to hope because Christ is faithful and the blood of Jesus. I can hold on to hope because Christ demonstrated His faithfulness when He poured out His blood for us. Period.
Children, ambassadors for the Kingdom, are a part of the greatest thing happening in the world today: other children getting to know Jesus by the way we love and serve others.
Children getting to know a God who chooses them. Who died for them. This is the gospel and this is what hope looks like.
“Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since He who promised is faithful” ~ Hebrews 10:23
Thank you for being a part of bringing this hope to Haiti.
PS: My trip to the Dominican Republic was so fruitful. God is working on this island and it’s the blessing of my life to be a part of it. More to come on that… Thank you for the prayers.