Peaks and ValleysRich Stigall
Early last April, Nate Krumsig, John Maynard and I were scouting a section of road in northwest Haiti between the mountain town of Mare Rouge and Jean Rabel. It was a fast, seven-mile descent down a wide, rock-strewn road, mostly traveled by the locals and their livestock. And never by mountain bike.
Down we went, whizzing past coconut and mango trees. Beneath us flowed loose gravel and rock with a narrow, eight-inch path that varied between a nine and fourteen percent gradient. For anyone who loves bike riding, this was an easy ride to fall in love with.
For me, these out of the way, out of control places are the ones I find the easiest to fall in love with. The landscape, though harsh, seems untouched. Flat tires open up unplanned opportunities to take a walk. The village elders delight in talking and sharing their lives. The children are sweet and unspoiled.
When we visit a place like Haiti, it’s normal to be excited by the opportunity to help. We imagine feeding hungry children, healing their illnesses, and building them churches and schools. The problems we see are both overwhelming and obvious. With a little money and training, we believe the solutions, while not simple, are at least clear. But are they?
Meanwhile, few things are more humbling than coming home. Our feeling of all-knowingness is reduced to paying the bills, doing the laundry and managing our work schedules. Any vision we may have experienced for loving and serving others can be quickly lost in the day-to-day routine of life.
For me, it’s easy to pinpoint problems and solutions in far away places. But it’s hard to identify them closer to home. In fact, the closer the problems are, the harder they are for me to figure out. Especially when it come to my own heart. I find myself excelling in getting things done, but forgetting how to love my family and friends.
If you have traveled with The Global Orphan Project, you can appreciate these peaks and valleys. You can step off a bike or a bus, hold the hand of a small child, and quickly experience what real love feels like. It changes you on the inside. Yet, we leave all that behind when we come home. Or do we?
The trick is to keep the window to our hearts, the one that leads us to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, open. It can be challenging and frustrating, but it is what we are designed to do. And how we are designed to be. This is how God transforms us from ordinary into something extraordinary.
Next month, the GO Adventures men’s retreat in Colorado Springs is a great opportunity to open that window back up. We hope you will consider joining us for a powerful three days and three nights in the mountains of Colorado. It may be the re-charge you have been waiting for—a look closer into your heart to remember how good it feels to love again and to re-experience our loving God.