Julianne greeted me like she always does, with a big smile and in a quiet, sweet voice, “Bonswa!” Then she grabbed my hand and led me down the dusty, dirt road to her school to play. She motioned for me to sit on the ground to play a traditional Haitian game similar to Jax, called Roslē, but you play with rocks.
We sat down in the dirt together and played for almost an hour. Julianne giggled when I couldn’t quite master this game, but would gently correct and teach me. When I finally could pick up all the rocks on the ground and catch the one in the air at the same time, she celebrated with me. In that moment we were just two girls having the time of our lives, sitting in the dirt together, playing with rocks.
It was time to leave so we walked back down the gravel road to her children’s home. She opened the gate for me. I followed her over to a bucket of water used to clean their feet from all the dust. Julianne took a rag dipped it into the water and began to wipe off her feet. I stood next to her waiting for her to finish so I could wash mine off. When she finished washing her feet I looked down to grab the rag, but before I had a chance, she started to wash my feet.
I almost stopped her. My mind immediately went to that of the disciples when Jesus washed their feet. Thinking, “I’m here to serve you! You don’t need to wash my feet. You need me to wash your feet!” I felt Jesus say to me in that moment, “Don’t you dare say that. You need her. Let her wash your feet.” Jesus was right. I need to be cared for and loved too. So, I watched as she so carefully washed my feet. When she was finished, there wasn’t one speck of dirt left.
Meeting the needs of others is kind, but not letting someone meet your needs sometimes sends the message “You need me, but I don’t need you.” And just like the disciples needed Jesus, I needed Julianne.
I needed to know that day that I am the girl who Jesus loves.
Here in Haiti, in the midst of where the enemy has taken aim, I see Jesus showing Himself in our children through the way they love each other. I see Jesus in the way they have loved me. I see our children being a witness to the heart of our loving creator.
Giving and receiving care is something we teach our children through our Trauma Competent Care and Nurture Groups, It is an expression of our common humanity. It teaches us we need each other and that even though we have a lot to offer and give, we also have a need to receive. And not just a need for care from others, but a need to receive God’s grace.
I’m not talking about the kind of grace we say around the dinner table. I am talking about the kind of grace that changes you. The kind of grace that motivates you to get off the couch and do something. The kind of grace that walks you into your calling and the best part is, there is nothing I can say or do to earn it. It’s free.
I might have more material possessions than Julianne, but we are both in desperate need for the love and grace of Jesus and each other.
We were meant for relationship.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven ~ Matthew 18:2-4
This is ministry. Sharing and inviting others to give love and receive love. This is what makes us family. This is where the healing takes place.
Thank you for being a part of the healing here in Haiti. I am still working out the details around my timeline to go to the Dominican Republic and what that will look like. As I nail down everything I will keep you posted. Please pray for me as I work through what’s next!