Our trip to Haiti was filled with new experiences, insights, and lessons of all types, but I found the children we met to have the strongest influence on me, and to be the most inspirational. I trust that God used us as a blessing to the kids who attend the Methodist School in Leon, but know with certainty that they were a blessing to me. We provided three-afternoon sessions modeled on VBS for the younger students. This included time for crafts, snacks, and Bible story readings and singing. We also gave each child a Polaroid photo of themselves. The kids were very well behaved and immersed themselves in what we offered.
The blessing they provided us included their gratitude for what we were there doing with them, but much more so in the lessons they taught us during our unstructured times together. While these children have very little in the way of material wealth, they radiate a warmth and happiness I seem to rarely see at home anymore. While their day may well already include carrying several gallons of water long distances uphill from the river to their very basic houses, they eagerly joined in to help us move rocks and gravel uphill to the construction site. One group of boys who didn’t even go to the school whose facilities we were improving, showed up on Saturday and spent the morning helping around the worksite. The kids happily played soccer with empty plastic water bottles as balls. They always greeted us with a smile, which exploded in mirth if you took a picture of them and showed it to them.
I could not help but feel that I was witnessing peace that passed at least my understanding. I can not see myself smiling, and offering to do extra manual labor in the Haitian heat if I found myself in their circumstances. Yet they were content, happy, and giving of themselves. Being with these children, brought new life and meaning to Jesus’ message in Matthew 18: 1-6 ‘At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,…’. I hope you all find a chance to share time with kids like our new friends in Leon.