Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Guest Post: "Angel Wings!"

From April 22 through April 28, a group from Sardis traveled to Haiti. This was Sardis’ third mission trip to Bayonnais, a mountainous region of Haiti that is a three and a half hour drive north from Port au Prince. I am blessed to have been part of all three trips and with the third trip I again experienced the gracious hospitality of the people of Bayonnais and was again amazed by the eagerness of the children and youth to get an education. I was again struck by the way the high school students set their aspirations within the context of their faith – frequently I heard them say something like, “I want to be (fill in the blank) if that is the will of God,” or “God will show the way if this is God’s will.”  Once again I saw how participation in a mission trip transforms the respectable attitude of acquaintance between fellow church members into a genuine experience of unity and mutual affection.

There was one difference this year; I think I might have been the recipient of a miracle! One day, Pastor Actionnel Fleurisma led our mission team on a walk through the village. As with all walks through the village, children and younger youth joined us as we walked along. The “walk” became a hike up to a higher area of homes from which one could look down into the valley. On the second half of the hike, the path became very steep. At the midpoint of one stretch of the steep path, I had to stop and catch my breath. Quickly, one of the young boys came to my side, he took hold of my hand and said, “You go, you go!” I tried to explain I was just resting. The boy responded, “You go, I help…I push you.” I told him I was too heavy, he couldn’t push me. He didn’t listen to that. He put his hands in the small of my back and pushed – that’s when the miracle happened! I started walking and found his pushing really was helping. I felt an incredible sense of energy and strength – I wondered if I had sprouted angel wings!?! But it was a better miracle than that!

 I experienced what it is like to be in a place where “It takes a village” is more than a catchy phrase; it is a necessity in a place where resources are limited. They knew they needed each other and seemed to possess inner radar, always scanning for the one who needed help. It happened throughout that hike: other Sardis team members received those helpful pushes up the trail; when there were streams to cross on rocks, the middle school age boys (without being asked) took our hands and helped us across. The hike was one more time for me to be humbled by the generosity of spirit that was extended to us before we ever realized how much it was needed.

Thank you Sardis, for being a mission focused congregation. Thank you for the financial support you have given to the OFCB School and medical clinic. That support has been a channel through which God has wrought miracles in the opening of young minds to a world of possibilities and creating access to medical and dental healthcare for an improved quality of life. Thanks be to God for privilege of participating as partners in God’s holy work and miracles.

Jane is one of the Associate Pastors at Sardis. She is a native of Mecklenburg County, grew up on a farm and has milked a cow!  She is married to Mark, a Chicago native, who works for Bank of America.  They have two children; a  son, Peter, who has completed his Master’s degree in Structural Engineering and is working with a Structural Engineering firm (Arup) in Houston, TX, and a daughter, Lydia, graduated NC State this spring with a major in social work

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