Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Long and Short of It

See these faces?  This morning, we were preparing to leave Mellier and those with whom we shared, prayed, ate, danced, laughed, and cried.  The blue bags were filled with notes of appreciation for the gifts each of us brought to group -- our team from Foundry and seven of our Haitian friends.  The mix of emotions one may be able to make out in this picture capture a few of my own.  

Tonight, as I write this blog back in Port-au-Prince so tired and still with so much to process, I am first filled with gratitude.  Our theme was the body of Christ and, while construction of any sort was the least of our gifts, our diversity brought forth a full and amazing web of true human connection with the diverse community we were hoping to discover.  I felt we saw God everywhere -- in serious conversation with the teachers and their families, in the light of children's faces, in the sincerity of the community leaders, in personal connections such as mine with a bright and charming 17-year-old girl named Dona, and in a conga line, too.  Our prayers for discernment were answered, opening inside each of us a place to take in new, unexpected experience every day.

"Grangou" in Creole means "hungry."  We were surrounded by beautiful and hungry children.  Secondly, I am struggling with hunger myself.  It is a gnawing within.  We are part of the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM), a remarkable that works.  As Team #13 at Mellier, we accomplished the short-term mission of heart-felt connection in our brief experience (and we moved some dirt too).  The hunger is about how to strengthen and grow our connection over the long-term.  What is the most sustainable way for us to support Haiti?  To support Mellier?  The regional "circuit" ?  Education?  Agriculture? Health?  Capacity building?  We are determined to creatively and effectively do our part.  If our team struggles to work through this through prayerful discernment, bringing our diversity of perspectives and seeking to expand engagement, we can do our part.

But, if we don't remain hungry, the children will.

Signing off from Port-au-Prince,

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