A blog post from Pastor Nathan Swenson-Reinhold from Florida. Nathan is currently leading an HTF immersion trip. The original blog is posted at http://opensourcejesus.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/legacy/.
I have the privilege of leading my third Haitian Immersion Trip through the Haitian Timoun Foundation this week. I am with eight individuals from St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Pastor Derek Hoven and three of his parishioners fromCalvary Lutheran Church in Apollo Beach, Florida, and Erin Murphy, Executive Director of the Haitian Timoun Foundation, from Epiphany Lutheran Church, Suwanee, Georgia. I never grow weary of this country and its sites and smells. To be sure, the whole affair is a shock to North American first-world senses, and I see the simultaneous joy, wonder, and fatigue in our first-time journeyers. But to be on this journey is to come face to face with the reality that we can, and we must, create a better human destiny for one another.
I hear frequently from people in the states, and often from people in my own congregation that Haiti seems like a horrible place to invest time and money. With a corrupt and ineffective government, little to no infrastructure, and a black whole of physical resources, any sort of turn around seems like an impossibility. If you were investing in the stock market and choosing your stocks wisely based upon historical performance and growth potential, Haiti would probably be at the bottom of the list, at least here in the West. But to make such a judgment would be to miss the deeper reality of the deep and rich wealth of a beautiful people, hungry for an alternate future, and responsive to challenge and opportunity.
The Haitian Timoun Foundation was founded and built around the idea that Haitians have the ability and desire to solve their own problems and seize their own opportunities for a future filled with hope rather than despair. Rather than dictating to Haitians what it sees or thinks Haiti needs, HTF comes in and listens, encourages, resources, supports, and when invited trains partners to take their lives to the places that were but a short time before, simply impossible.
So maybe Haiti isn’t such a bad place to invest time and money after all.
I come here and I see the fruit of Haitian and American leadership that have poured forth blessing after blessing in places full of cycles of cursing and despair, poverty and destruction. Not surprisingly, they are getting different results.
Human beings, so easily destroyed, demoralized, and dehumanized, can also be built up, invested in, challenged, encouraged, coached and mentored into futures that they have dreamed for themselves but thought impossible.
Here, where there are leaders who are willing to mentor and coach, fathers who are willing to stay and nurture, mothers who are willing to learn and grow, new destinies filled with real hope are not a pipe-dream, but a rapidly materializing reality.
What I see here in Haiti is true for us at home: you and I, in how we lead and invest in others, can create legacies of blessing in the lives of others that will be felt for generations.