I sit enjoying Billy’s company on a wooden bench shaded from the hot Caribbean sun. He is eloquent. He is intelligent. His smile genuine. His joyful spirit contagious. He speaks excellent English with a beautiful accent. Dressed handsomely in navy blue pants and button-down shirt, he may as well be an old friend from back home.
In just one day, my Haitian brother has gripped my heart.
He did not choose poverty.
He did not choose hunger.
He did not choose life in Tent City.
He asks about my life. What can I say? I live in a 5 bedroom home, of which only 3 bedrooms are slept in on a regular basis. I have cupboards full of food and regularly toss uneaten leftovers down my garbage disposal. Clean drinking water flows from multiple faucets and ice pops out of my freezer with the push of a button.
My voice falters. I can’t verbalize the discrepancy between his life and mine. So I speak of things that don’t accentuate the contradiction that is my abundance and his scarcity.
Then he asks the question I can’t circumvent. The one that now drifts through my mind a dozen times a day.
“Have you for even one second in your life been hungry?”
It takes all I have to look into his eyes, but I owe him an honest answer.
“No, Billy. I have never known what it is to be hungry. Every day of my entire 37 years, I have had more than enough.”
And now as I am back home, my more than enough breaks my heart into pieces. Every bit of abundance causes an ache inside. But I trust that God breaks hearts so he can mold them into something new. So he can impart his perfect love into my imperfect being.
I know that as I sit here with my coffee and my laptop, my God – the one who is able to save little American girls and little Haitian boys – is working on the inside making me a new creation to do the work which he has prepared in advance for me to do.
And my friends, a new creation ever growing in the desire to serve and obey my God is exactly what I want to be.
(To learn more about the ministry Corey and I took part in while in Haiti, visit Mission to Haiti.)