Trenton, one of our summer interns, recently learned first hand how God takes small offerings of kindness and builds relationships to further His kingdom…
Four years ago, my mom took her first trip to Haiti. While there, her group came across a young girl, Saint Louis, in Trouforban village who was severely ill. After speaking with the girl’s father, he allowed my mom to take her to a hospital. Because she was unable to walk, the team members had to carry Saint Louis down the hill to the truck. My mom and a few other women stayed with her in the hospital, and after running tests, the doctors discovered she had a severe Urinary Tract Infection. Tests, blood work, and treatments cost a total of $22. In the end, Saint Louis ran happily back up the hill to greet her family.
Fast-forward to present day…
I was helping a mission team from Georgia with construction in Trouforban. While building a house, I found myself trying to come up with ways to get the 4 Haitian men standing nearby involved. There were plenty of Americans to do the job, but I could tell the Haitian men who were watching wanted to help. Although we were there to build at house, that was not the end goal. Our goal was, and is, to build relationships to advance the Gospel of Christ.
I felt drawn to one man in particular, so I motioned him over and asked if he would like to help. After handing him a drill, he went straight to work. While it may have taken about 3x longer than it would have taken a practiced American, the team quickly remembered that the act of building the house wasn’t what actually mattered. It was forming those relationships through Christ.
During some down time, I decided to speak with the man whom I had handed the drill. But with my limited Creole, it didn’t take long to exhaust my small pool of vocabulary. Still, I continued to feel drawn to him throughout the project, trying to engage him as I could.
While we were cleaning up after the project, I saw a young woman nearby. Immediately I was reminded that a fellow intern mentioned seeing Saint Louis in the village we were in. She had even said to me, “If you talk to your mom tonight, tell her I saw Saint Louis today!”
I soon found myself walking towards her. “Do you know Saint Louis?” A blank stare. Then she realized that I had spoken Creole and started rattling off something that was FAR beyond my knowledge. I decided to try again. “Do you know Saint Louis? Do you know her?” Soon the local pastor heard the struggle and came to my rescue.
“Do you know Saint Louis?”, I asked him.
He nodded and called over the man that I had been drawn to the previous day. Oh great, now I get to try and explain myself again… I was beginning to feel discouraged and wondered if I should just give up. I decided to take a shot in the dark and ask this man as well. “Do you know Saint Louis?” He nodded and pointed to himself as he explained to me that he was Saint Louis.
With help from the pastor, I discovered that his name was ‘Jean Robert Saint Louis.’ My mind began racing. So if Saint Louis is his LAST name, then maybe he is the girl’s father! I couldn’t remember the word for daughter, so I just asked if he had any children.
“Yes!” he replied. And he proceeded to rattle off his children’s names. He first listed two names that were foreign to me, and then he said three that caught my attention: “… and Woody, Kindy, and Willie.” Wait, who did he just say?
“Repeat that please?” I asked him. Counting on his fingers as he listed his children, he again named the two that I couldn’t understand before I heard it again: “… Woody, Kindy, and Willie!” He smiled really big at me.
“I KNOW them!” At this point I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. So this man was the father of three kids in Alex’s House Orphanage! So maybe that means that Saint Louis is a sister to the three boys. She must be one of the names he listed. I decided to press further and see if he remembered my mom. “Was your little girl sick years ago? And some Americans had to take her to the hospital?”
“Yes!” He answered clearly. I couldn’t believe it!
“That was my mom that took your daughter to the hospital! Do you remember Misty?” He replied, “Yes!” I was really excited and then explained that I was her son.
Later, while we were working on another construction project in the same village, Mr. Saint Louis came and found me. He told me to follow him so he could show me his daughter. I followed him a short way, and then we stopped as he called for her and waited for her to come. She came walking up the hill and I immediately knew that this was the girl. I had never met her, nor had I seen a picture, but she looked just like her brother Kindy!
Her dad explained that the woman who took her to the hospital was my mother. She smiled at me and gave me a hug. I asked her if she remembered my mom, and she said yes!
“She loves you and asked about you!” I told her. She again smiled and gave me another big hug.
I turned to her father and said, “Thank you very much, you have made my heart happy.” He smiled and shook my hand, explaining that he was happy as well.
I walked away thinking about how much God had to orchestrate in order for this to occur the way that it did. I know that He was the one causing me to be drawn to Saint Louis’s father. If I hadn’t spoken with and worked alongside him, there never would have been trust established between the two of us. Had God not brought us together, I would have been a random American guy asking about his daughter that I’ve never met… that would have been a little weird!
Instead, through the relationship that my mom formed over four years ago I had a bond with this man and his family. THIS is what happens when one comes alongside Disciples’ Village and partners with a community. Relationships are formed that will carry on for years. And through these relationships, Christ’s love will be revealed in a mighty way.
That’s a God thing!