Leaky Houses

Lecia Beck, a seminary student at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, created a blog to share about what she has learned and is learning from her experiences in Haiti.  The original blog can be found at http://soumonsa.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2016-01-27T07:57:00-08:00&max-results=7.

Kay koule twompe soley soley men li pa twompe lapil.
    A leaky house can fool the sun, but it can’t fool the rain.

While I live in a beautiful, luxurious residence hall with hot running water and climate-controlled comfort, there are ways in which I live in a leaky house.

We all do.

Our houses leak when what we believe about God is not true to God’s character.  While I discovered that there are many ideas about God that I do not agree with, I never had a great way to articulate that.  Taking Systematic Theology last fall helped, but it was in a conversation with someone who has no seminary degree that I learned a way to explain it to others.

“If it is not true for a poor single mom in Haiti, then it isn’t true.”

This simple lens was a gift from For the Love by Jen Hatmaker through Erin Murphy, executive director of the Haitian Timoun Foundation.

If we say that we believe something about God, is it something that is true for a Haitian mother struggling to raise her children?

Before I returned to Haiti, I spent a week interviewing many people who have seen their lives transformed after a trip to Haiti.  This made me ask the question: How has your time in Haiti changed how you see God?

Lauren, a young teacher, has been travelling to Haiti since she was a senior in high school.  In her time there, she has made many Haitian friends, getting to know people and care for them.  On the Sunday after the earthquake (January 12, 2010), she went to church with a friend.  While there, the pastor said that he was not going to talk all about the earthquake, but knew that it was a sign of God’s judgment on Haiti.  Lauren knew that was not how God worked.  While many find comfort to say that terrible things were God’s will, she knew that this was not the case.  For this pastor, Haitians were a nameless, faceless group, but for Lauren, these were her friends.  

For Karen, going to Haiti was like meeting family she did not know.  She felt so welcomed.  At church, she had heard that the gifts of “God are free” for all people and that “all means all.”  She loves her Haitian family because it helps her to remember who “all” includes and has widened God’s love.  

When I talked to Erin, we talked about how she liked the security of a schedule, which really represents control of her life.  In Haiti, it is important to learn to go with the flow as things do not always go according to schedule.  Perhaps giving up that bit of control in Haiti helps us also be able to give up some of need to control and trust God more.

My favorite program to visit is Chemen Lavi Miyò.  From Fonkoze’s website: Chemen Lavi Miyò (CLM), or “the pathway to a better life,” provides Haiti’s poorest women with the tools and support needed to pull themselves and their families from ultra poverty into self-sufficiency, with hope and vision for their futures.  For me, visiting with women, I see stories of resurrection and an invitation to join in God’s mission.  I can say, “The kingdom of God is near” and know that God does indeed bring about new life.

What has changed how you see God?  What is your filter?