Can Anything Good Come Out of Haiti? Part 1

I’ve been back from Haiti for four days now. It hasn’t been easy to get back into the swing of things, and I’m not sure that it is supposed to after the sights and sounds of being in a third world country.  I have been to numerous countries on short-term mission trips, but going to Haiti was unlike anything I had ever seen.

Restavecs (child slaves) carrying buckets of water on their heads before dawn at 4:30am, some of them looked to be under the age of six.

Tent cities that held twice as many people in a square block than my city does in a square mile. Not just one tent city, but literally everywhere from the mountainous foothills to directly next to the presidential palace.

Fifteen foot mounds of dirt stacked side by side for miles outside Port-au-Prince where 80,000 Haitian bodies were buried after the earthquake.

Families bathing in filth-infested creeks as the only means of hygiene and washing whatever garments they had (most children ran around completely naked).

Building after building pancaked and covered in the ash heap of crumbled concrete in what seems to be a new, permanent reality not only in Port-au-Prince but surrounding cities as well.

Very few smiles shared, even after a hearty wave and warm smile.  Children simply stared back with a hollow look, as though they did not know how to respond to something they rarely ever see.

A country (largely) with no running water, no electricity, no air conditioning, no bathrooms, no computers or internet, no television, and no fat people.

The streets are governed by a single rule of self-preservation (no cops, no speed limit, no lanes, etc.), whether you are a flock of goats running wild or a wild man behind the wheel of a four-wheel-drive truck.

You don’t find white flags of surrender hoisted up in Haiti, but you do regularly find tall poles with red, green, and blue flags–the place of satanic worship and voodoo sacrifices.

It is enough to witnesses these things in one city or village in Haiti to make you sleepless, stunned, and overwhelmed by the enormity of their situation. I happened to witnesses all this (and more) in ten cities in five days.

It has been incredibly hard for me to concentrate or have the desire to do much since I have been back.  It is almost as if my body is having random cathartic revolts whether it is an emotional breakdown or fits of fatigue.  In general, there is a melancholic disposition uncharacteristic of my personality that leaves me wondering what the heck just happened to me.

In any case, the question I know people have had about this trip to Haiti is the same question posed about Jesus hometown.  Can anything good come of out Haiti? With all that I mentioned above, with the imago dei being so diminished by a corrupt government and culture of poverty and despair, is there hope for Haiti?

In my next post, I will share with you why I believe the churches I witnessed in Haiti resemble more of NT Christianity than anything I think I have seen in my lifetime, and the reason I am full of hope.


About Timmy Brister

My name is Tim Brister. I am a pastor of Grace Baptist Church (Cape Coral, Florida), founder of the PLNTD Network, director of P2R and the Memory Moleskine, creator of The Haiti Collective, and director of Band of Bloggers. I am happily married to my wife Dusti and the proud father of two little boys.
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