Dramatic ContradictionsRich Stigall
by Jim Subers – Shelterwood CEO/Trip Leader
Today, we were reminded of the dramatic contradiction that is Haiti. We come to Haiti, in part because we encounter Jesus here in ways we seldom do back home.
On the way to church, we drove into one of the most poverty stricken areas of Port au Prince, with tin roof dwellings and garbage on the streets. Then we drove down a narrow alley and entered the courtyard of a large western style church with a band, sound system and video projection. Most of the folks we saw on the street were wearing clothes that were tattered and worn. Yet when we entered church, those in attendance were dressed in sharp and clean outfits. Men wore jackets in spite of the oppressive heat, and the women wore dresses with their hair freshly styled.
We left the service and traveled back past the poverty, the grim scenery, and hundreds of vendors on the street selling their wares. Slowly, the beautiful countryside began to come into view. We then drove along the coast with frequent glimpses of the beautiful Caribbean blue water. I have been struck today by the contrast of it all: “how can so much beauty and so much ugliness exist side by side?”
This is a metaphor for our lives. We have a beautiful savior who fills our lives with love, beauty, light, joy, and hope. And yet, we have been born into a world at war, and we have a mortal enemy who came to steal, kill and destroy not only our lives, but also to destroy everything good and everyone we love.
We have talked about this some this week. Last night, we talked as a team about God’s heart for the poor and the declaration in the Psalms that “He is a Father to the Fatherless.” (Ps 68:5) As a father myself, I know how I feel when my kids struggle. Haiti allows me to touch a bit of God’s heart that I am able to avoid in America. You can’t get away from it here. You have to either close your heart to the suffering and despair around you, or you can join God in what He wants to do for his kids.