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A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.*

February 17, 2011

Frequently when discussing going to Haiti, the question of safety arises.  Leslie posted this response from John McHoul of Heartline Ministries in Port-au-Prince who, as she points out, has lived in Haiti for 21 years and has earned the right to say a few things.

Yes, those of us who live here can be in great, grave danger. We can be in danger of:

  • Becoming numb to the cries of the poor.
  • Not being moved to anger and compassion at the conditions in which many people live.
  • Looking but not seeing.
  • Hearing but not listening.
  • Seeing what is but not what can be.
  • Thinking that we need to change the Haitian culture to look like our culture and that the people aren’t doing it right because they don’t do it like we do.
  • Thinking that living here is a sprint, when in reality, it’s a marathon.
  • Being so practical about what we need to live that we limit God in what we do.
  • Not totally depending on God for God’s work.
  • Thinking that doing is more important than being.

Yes, it is true Haiti can be a dangerous place, perhaps as dangerous as where you live.

Like John, I am not overly concerned with my personal safety.  Not that I am oblivious to the dangers that Haiti presents.  But I am confident that God is with me and will grant me the wisdom to avoid danger and the courage to face it head-on when necessary.  I love the truth of the quote from FDR’s first inaugural address, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

If we are going to see lives changed we cannot cling to safety.  Just as “safe mode” on our computers severely limits their usefulness, so it does with us.

We must remember that, as Mr. Beaver points out in his famous line about Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia, “’Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.”


I’m presently in Winnipeg awaiting (yes, still awaiting) the birth of my granddaughter.  Meaghan has just returned from seeing her doctor, and he has agreed to induce her Monday if nothing happens in the interim.  So in all likelihood I will be here for the birth.  Thanks to all who have been praying about this.

*Quote from John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928

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