Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 NKJ
As my family waited in line Monday to enter the airport, we were surrounded by a mass of people trying to get inside. Many, I am assuming, trying to get out before Irene came into Haiti. The line was long and tensions were high. Amidst all this chaos, I saw a small, frail woman walking down the line, holding the usual necklaces and paintings that so many try to sell to people leaving. As I watched her come down the line, my attention was drawn to the people that she tried to sell to. For the first time I really paid attention to the reactions people had as she tried to sell her wares. Rude was the only way I could describe it. Short and angry retorts, angry looks, and physically turning away without a word. As she approached my family, I smiled at her and told her the things she was selling were beautiful. She looked at me surprised and said. “your not angry?” to which I replied “or course not, why would I be?”
This started a long conversation with her. We explained why we were there, how hard it was to leave, and how much we love the country and how much we appreciate her willingness to work, even in this tough situation. She proudly told us that she has four children, two boys and two girls, and she was selling to provide for them. After a while we parted with “God bless you’s” as a parting. As she walked away smiling, my eyes went back to the groups she had been to before. They were all looking our way with puzzled looks on their faces. Although it was obvious they did not understand the conversation, they saw the happiness of the lady after sharing a little love with her. I wondered where they came from and what their purpose was. If it was to be the “hands, feet, and mouth” of Jesus, they just failed miserably. Imagine what this lady must think of Americans if this is the way she is treated every day, then multiply that times....
For those of you who have been with Ebenezer since the beginning, you know why it was started. After years of seeing things done the wrong way, God moved in a group of us to do something.... different. With the model of mission powerhouse Gospel for Asia, and using Revolution in World Missions and Come let’s reach the world, two books I highly recommend, we implemented these principles in mission heavy Haiti. Sure, this works well in areas where the name of Jesus is not known, but how about a country where missionaries abound?
Over the summer we had some teams come with members who had been to Ebenezer last year, and then came back this year. All of them marveled at how different things were. Never, never, did we expect to see results like this SO quickly. People in the Ti Goave area and beyond have embraced this new concept with open arms, and even those who resisted at first are now totally on board and excited about what they are seeing. God is doing amazing things as you have seen. I have many more stories to tell.
God continues to show us things, helping us learn. Our purpose is not to say we know it all, or have all the answers. We don’t. What we do want to do is help educate from what we have learned. We believe we are on to something and hope that this spreads for the good of the people, and more importantly, the good of the Kingdom.
Many in the mission community are seeing things in new ways. Admitting that the status quo is just not working, so we need to adjust, change our thinking so that we can actually do some good. This relates to long term AND short term missions. As in the opening story, there are many things that happen, often without our knowledge, that actually do more harm than good to the country we are trying to help. There are many discussions on what to do about this, and some plans in the works. Just like Ebenezer has helped the indigenous people of Haiti think in a new way for the good of the people, we hope that Ebenezer can help Americans think in a new way for the good of the people they want to serve. Posts not to make people feel guilty. Trust me, I have screwed up MANY times. Instead to say that we CAN do a better job if we acknowledge that there are thing we are doing wrong. I believe with all my heart that it is a new day in missions. Not just Haiti, but wherever we are called. Will you join us in this learning adventure? Nate Yonker