Thursday, June 8, 2017

Haiti Journal, Day 1

Yesterday was a day for choices: either to rant about challenges or to remember blessings.

There were several “I’ve never seen this before” kinds of moments, and not in a good way.  I’ve never seen the kind of traffic we encountered in Port-au-Prince.  It was a perfect storm of leaving the airport late in the afternoon and construction on the main road leading south out of the city, which took the road to one lane at rush hour.  We crawled for an hour to make it perhaps a mile; so with delays in the airport and the traffic, we were probably 90 minutes later than we’d hoped to be.

That was before the flat tire.  Just as we were beginning to clear the traffic jam, one of our two vehicles succumbed to the world of potholes that is the Haitian road system.  As the other vehicle went on its merry way, mine didn’t.

And then came the blessing.  As it happened, the tire went flat just before we passed a guy on our side of the road who fixes flats.  He had set up his shop here that day, with his few tools, his air compressor, and his patches.  So we pulled over, and there was the “garage.”

Now, a more cynical person could look at this and imagine the young man having put sharp objects in the road and set himself up for a quick $20.  If you know Haitian roads, you know that’s not necessary.  But what I saw in this situation was the grace of God – or, as the tap-taps proclaim it, painted in bright letters over their windshields, “La Grace de Dieu.”

And that’s only the start.  Every time I come here, I’m struck by these proclamations of faith emblazoned on trucks and buses.  Here are several (translated) that I had time to collect in the creeping traffic:  God Alone Judges.  Eternal Power.  With God, We Will Do Great Things.  The Love of God.  God Above All.  Thank You, Lord.  Divine Grace.

Along with these are the businesses that witness with their signage:  Infinite Grace Body Shop.  The Eternal Is Great Food Shop.  Son of God Convenience Store.  Thank You Jesus Pharmacy.  Of course, it becomes manipulative, too, at some point:  Eternal Father Lottery. 

But as always, finding God’s grace is, first and foremost, a matter of looking for it, which our youth and parents did beautifully.  May our work today at our partner school in Maniche give us the chance to see such grace abound.

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