I believe Joy is an attribute of God, a celebration of love, and with its fruit comes the strength to overcome or suffer through any situation by ushering in His presence, allowing one to fully experience hope and a future. I also believe Joy is experienced when we allow God’s words and promises to take on flesh in our situations, whether they are Favorable or Unfavorable. Let me explain.
We must first become aware of some of the Un-situations that are all around us and are now full-strength in Haiti. You can see them at the street corners, in every city throughout the country! You see them wherever there’s an Unemployed Talent (knowledge, skills, abilities), an Undernourished Being (body, mind, spirit), an Unresolved Conflict (anger, blame, outrage), an Unsupported Life (health, education, welfare), and an Unbalance of Power (political, social, personal). Un-Situations can move order into chaos, plenty into lack, and hope into despair. In essence, their goal is to kill, steal and destroy life among the living.
For example, during this last trip to Haiti, Denny and Abby Bain’s (Founders of Loving Haiti) adopted Haitian daughters Rodeline & Misheleda gave me letters to give to a family member who still resides in Pignon. These letters included their school pictures and some money they had earned through babysitting and selling lemonade and cookies.
I asked Pastor Francois if he would call this family member to his campus, read their letters and present them with the rest of the goods. Well, all I can say is there wasn’t a dry eye on the grounds when Pastor translated their letters, showed their pictures, and gave their money.
Pastor Francois and this family member were so overtaken with Joy that Pastor himself said, “Brother Mark, you know living in Haiti can be very, very hard.” He then proceeded to tell me the story when Rodeline and Misheleda were brought to his Children’s Home at the ages of 2 and 4. They were so severely malnourished the doctor advised him not to take the girls in, for one could surely die within a couple of days.
Pastor agreed at that time not to take them in, but as this family member left his campus he later tracked them down and said, “I have to go to Cap Haitien today, but bring the girls back tomorrow and when I return I will take them.” Pastor said to me, “Now look at them …. I see the fruits of my ministry and I praise God for what these girls are becoming and just now have done. You know sometimes in Haiti we cry not because we’re sad, but because we’re over-joyed by God’s presence” … which is His gift of love.
Through their letters, pictures and currency, we all experienced love’s gift of joy wrapped and packaged in hope and a future. I first met Rodeline and Misheleda back in 2012 when they were just 6 and 4. Now they are 14 and 12 and we (my wife Jill and I) get to bear witness to these miracles of life and experience the fullness of joy as grandparents to now 10 grandchildren.