The Bartow family recently led a
group of 30 people--mostly teenagers--from Miami, Florida to visit
Jeremie, Haiti. Of course, every team brings clothing, shoes, and
medical supplies for the neediest in the local churches. This team was
no exception, carrying almost 60 bags of supplies. But teenagers?
Really? What do they have to offer?
Besides bringing some stuff for
the poor, what can they do? They can’t speak the language. They are not
doctors. Paint a church, maybe?
plenty of mission trips geared to “painting walls.” This means that the
ministry creates some task for unskilled laborers so that they will
feel like they’ve accomplished something significant overseas. This is
not Full Life Crusade's philosophy. We would rather pay Haitian laborers
to “paint the wall,” since there is already an 80% unemployment rate
among the people.
shift is required. “Missions” are not a project. Missions are people.
We have chosen to be
people-oriented, rather than project-oriented, especially when it comes
time to introduce people to another culture. This can be a hard pill to
swallow for the American who wants to “do something.”
wall is pretty easy. Laying hands on the dying in hospitals is not
Building a church may be hard
work, but loving an orphaned child with HIV is harder. Because of this
“people” philosophy of ministry, the short-term missionaries that we
take to Haiti end up with a passion for people.
course of one short week, we had the privilege of introducing this
group of American kids to the people of Haiti. And it was wonderful.
The team prayed for the sick. They prayed for people in their homes.
They loved on orphans.
They ministered in church through song, testimony, and drama.
They took the gospel to the
streets, and yes…they played basketball.
people attended a Miami vs. Jeremie basketball game, which theAmericans lost with grace and even
joy. After the game, the audience converged on the court, dancing to
compa music and socializing with newfound friends. Yes, it seems like
an odd place for Haitian young people to receive Jesus. But they did.
Because for one week, the goal of the team was simple. To love.
And the Haitians responded. New
believers were given Creole Bibles if they could read, and mp3 players
with audio Bibles if they couldn’t read. And wedidn’t have enough.
many tears shed that last night in Jeremie as the Americans and
Haitians prayed for each other, encouraged each other, and sang
The Miami group returned home with a
new passion for the lost, more compassion for the needy, and anxious to
serve Jesus Christ in every area of their lives. We were blessed, as
always, to be a part of the transformation of lives, both American, and Haitian. Thank you so much for your
prayers and continued support.