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Leaps of Faith

April 1, 2011

My decision to go to Haiti was a leap of faith.  I believed at the time that God was calling me to this work, and that belief has been absolutely unwavering.   I have at times struggled with some of the preparation, but at no time did I ever experience a scintilla of doubt that Haiti is where I am meant to be in this season of my life.

Someone asked me this week how I was so sure God wanted me to do this.  The question was difficult to answer, and I’m not sure I did a very good job of it.  Having given it some thought I will try again.  It is really very simple.

The Bible makes it absolutely clear to me that God has a special place in His heart for the poor.  In fact it contains over 300 verses on the poor, social justice and His deep concern for both.  This theme is continuous.  It’s in the Torah.  It’s in the Prophets and the Psalms.  It’s in the Gospels.  It’s in the Epistles.  God isn’t a conservative; he’s a revolutionary.  He not only takes the side of the poor; he puts himself in their place. In the very alarming parable of the sheep and the goats Jesus speaks of salvation as depending on how we treat the poorest and the most afflicted.  He obviously takes the issue of poverty very personally.

For me the message is very clear:  if my character is to reflect that of God, I am not only to have compassion on the poor, and I am to get down in the trenches and help those in need.   No caveats.  No excuses.  Moreover, God calls me to usher in his kingdom, to make the world a better place.  He does this so that He can transform me, make me His ambassador to bring love and joy, mercy and grace, wholeness and peace.  He calls us all to this.  So the general call is clearly there.

What convinces me that this particular call was specific to me rests on several factors.  The first is the circumstances of the call.   It came at a ladies’ luncheon.  Under normal circumstances I would never have been present.  I didn’t know that there was going to be a speaker, much less that Chris and Leslie would be presenting their ministry.  Neither did I have any idea that they were about to look for someone to assist them, someone with very specific personal characteristics and specialized skills and experience – characteristics, skills and experience that I possess.  And so I was presented with an opportunity to help in a very specific way, a way that is virtually tailor-made for me.

But what made me sure in my heart that this call was expressly for me was my personal response.  It was not a reasoned one.  It was not as a result of any planning on my part.  It was not a reaction to the fulfillment of any desire of mine.  One minute I was quite content to go on with my life as it was.  The next I knew instantly, without a shadow of a doubt, that I would go to Haiti to serve God by working with Chris and Leslie to help some of His poorest children.

It was as if I heard my Lord say to me, “Barry, I have a special job that I want you to do for me.”  I don’t know if I can explain the joy it gave me to answer, “Yes!”  At first, imagining that everyone, myself included, would think me totally insane (or at least more insane than I usually am), I kept it pretty much to myself, only dropping subtle hints.  But anyone from my church can attest to the fact that I couldn’t contain my joy for long.   It gushed from me like a well-shaken Coke from its bottle.  Leslie’s grandmother asked me a few days afterward, “Are your feet back on the ground yet?”

I also recognize that I have been prepared for this by the events of my life.  A very dear friend from Manitoba, who has known me for almost 30 years e-mailed me, “We also sense you have been going through years of ‘grooming’ to arrive at this time of life in going to Haiti.”  Everything happens for a reason.

Today I took another leap of faith.  Not knowing if I will be able to dispose of all my belongings in time or attend to everything on my “to do” list, I purchased my airline ticket to return to the land that has captivated me and the people with whom I instantly fell in love.  At the end of April I will visit with my family and friends in Winnipeg and leave from there for Port-au-Prince on May 2.  I was fortunate enough to get a flight that will have me there in under 8 hours with only a brief stop in Montreal.

I still have many things to do.  I would very much like to be able to sell the rest of my “stuff” but will be at peace if that does not happen.  Thank you Leslie for helping me with that.   I have made some of my needs known to many of you, and I appreciate your support.  If any others feel led to assist me with what I have left to do, I would very much appreciate that.  If you contact me I can provide you with specifics.   If you live in the Armstrong area, I will be having a yard sale the morning of April 9th and possibly the afternoon of April 8th if I can arrange to get the day off work.  In all these things I trust that God will take care of me.

I like The Message’s rendering of Luke 9:62:  Jesus said, “No procrastination.  No backward looks.  You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow.  Seize the day.”

Yesterday I heard a CBC interview with Catherine Goheen, a Kelowna optician who has for the last 16 years taken suitcases full of used eyeglasses to developing nations throughout the world.  When the interviewer praised her for what she does, she explained that the response she gets from those to whom she gives the glasses provides her with such fulfillment that she believes she gets the best of the deal.  “It’s probably the most selfish thing I do.”

I couldn’t agree with her more.

I came across this quote and loved it:

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”

Gilbert Keith Chesterson

One Comment leave one →
  1. laurence permalink
    April 3, 2011 6:39 am

    hey barry sounds like your direction to go is about as clear as it could be , and with that everything else will come together, maybe not as we would expect it to, but it will all work .i saw a quote from james ashdown about some of the things that he did for the city of winnipeg – i saw what needed to be done and i did it- pretty simple reply for having donated the cost of some huge projects , but certainly the right attitude, and the blessings came back to him .

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