One Small Voice

"Even faraway islands will look to Me and take hope in My saving power."
Isaiah 51:5

Our church is a partner in New Life for Haiti, an organization founded in 2005 to help change lives in Marfranc, Haiti. Marfranc is in the Grande Anse River Valley on the southern peninsula of the country, south of the city of Jeremie.

More than 80% of Haitians live in abject poverty, with the annual income for a family of four averaging somewhere around the $300 USD mark. Three hundred dollars. Annually. Haiti is without question, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, perhaps in the world.

Many churches and other mission organizations do great good in areas of Haiti. What work teams from NLH have learned, however, is that Haitians are skeptical of "blancs", or "whites", which is what they call the typically lighter-skinned teams that come to help. While they are grateful for the help, very often it comes sporadically or one-time only. For any REAL change, that is, one that will last and be impactful, to occur, two things must be present: persistence and time. Or, to be more specific, persistence OVER time. Often, great persistence over a long period of time.

On Saturday, October 11th, New Life for Haiti will hold the 3rd Annual Chicagoland Gala. This is an amazing event, with a cocktail reception, served dinner, silent auction, raffle, and program. This gala, along with another in Mattoon, IL, serve as the primary fundraising events for the year. Monies raised at these events, along with a few other small events, make up the entire annual budget. If money for a projected activity (like refurbishing a school) isn't raised, then the project doesn't happen.

NLH is doing more than just making the physical surroundings of Marfranc better. When work teams go, they really get to know the people of Marfranc. They hold children. They play games. They teach Bible school and make crafts. They visit a local nursing home (an almost unheard-of institution in Haiti). They laugh with the men and help paint the women's fingernails. They drink strong Haitian coffee on the porch with the Pastor. For the length of the trip, they LIVE with the people. Interactions like this help to strengthen the bond between the "blancs" of NLH and the villagers of Marfranc. Community is built, and for one small village on the southern peninsula of Haiti, and a group of suburbanites from the USA, the chasm between is eliminated. We are all the same. We are all children of God.

I've not yet been privileged enough to have been a part of one of the work teams to Haiti, but I've "get it". I understand WHY we are there. I get it. God has called us to help the poorest of the poor, and Haitians, well, they are that. But they are rich in faith and joy. God has brought them "new life" and they do sing glory and praise to Him.

I've rambled a bit in this post, but I want to try and share with you. This is near and dear to my heart, and we're trying to "spread the word". To paraphrase Margaret Mead, a few small churches CAN change the world. If you have some time, and feel so called, please check out some of the links. If you feel God calling you to help, we'll take it! :) If you're in the Chicago area and would like a wonderful night out, we've got space for you and we'd love to have you as our guests. If you would pray for Haiti, and for the work that God is doing through NLH, we'd greatly appreciate it.

It's easy, with mission work, to feel like your one small voice isn't making much difference. My generation makes me a "street kid". Sesame Street, that is. Although this clip is a bit more my boys' generation, it says so much.

Every song the world sings, each was once unknown.
Somebody felt a song inside and wasn't afraid to sing alone.
If you feel the music and you sing it clear and true,
then the world can sing with you.
One small voice can teach the world a song.
Start with one small voice till another sings along.
And then you'll feel the music growing full and sure and strong.
One small voice can teach the world a song.
No tune is too simple. No voice can be wrong.
Music can come from any heart and anyone's voice can lead the song.
If you feel the music and if you believe the words, sing and you'll be heard.

Singing to Him...

No comments: