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October 8, 2012

The reds and golds of fall are disappearing.  Winnipeg has already had a “white” day.  The days have cooled and the nights are getting cooler.  Canada Geese, harbingers of fall on the Prairies, are getting ready to leave.

It has been a wonderful summer in Canada; it truly has been a blessing.  I am grateful to all those who gave of themselves and their time to make my stay enjoyable.  But the time has come to return to Haiti.  I have already stretched my stay to accommodate some unplanned activities.

Over the summer I have been asked time and time again, “What happened to all the money?”   People talked about the media reports on Haiti that focus on how little has been accomplished.  Many voiced their disillusionment with aid.  My only advice to all is rather than hesitate in your giving, try your best to give wisely.  There are a lot of wonderful people out there who allow God to work through them.

The spotlight has shifted from Haiti; it has faded from the world’s consciousness.   The woes of other parts of the world, the wars and rumours of wars, divert our attention.  But although the dust has long settled and most of the cameras and microphones have left Haiti, life goes on.  The poverty and suffering are all too easy to forget.  Our attention span is short; we have become accustomed to living in sound bites.

For me, however, the watchwords are patience and longsuffering.   Little is accomplished quickly in Haiti.   But God does not forget about those in need, and He will keep his promises.

As Jesus spoke the Sermon on the Mount, he talked about blessings and the people He considered blessed—the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.  What strikes me is that in Haiti I have met all those Jesus mentioned.

There have been many interpretations of the sermon.   On a personal level, the Message puts the Beatitudes in language to which I can easily relate.

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.  With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

I frequently find myself at the end of my rope in Haiti.

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

Being in Haiti I sometimes feel I have lost very many things that are dear to me, family and friends foremost.  But I have also gained a great deal.

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

I believe I am content with who I am.  But I still struggle with being unhappy with my lack of “accomplishment”.

You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

Being in Haiti without God is unthinkable to me.

You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

I truly care for the people of Haiti.  I have also found myself very much cared for, by God and by my Haitian friends.

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

This one is a bit tricky for me.  I believe my heart is where it should be, in agreement with God.  But my mind…. I think too much.

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

I believe I have made headway in this area.

You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

I’ve even experienced a little bit of that.

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