29 August 2011

Running towards the storm

I have a new job. I'm scheduling all the planes for MAF Haiti. It's taken some getting used to, but I'm finally starting to get the hang of it and really enjoy it. (Don't tell the guy I replaced, or I might become permanent.)

Last week, I'd been e-mailing back and forth with Medical Teams International (Shameless hometown organization shout out! I remember back when they were NW Medical Teams.) about two paralyzed patients who needed to get home. They've been getting treatment here in PAP, but were both originally from northern Haiti. We'd worked out a flight that was about an hour and a half long to two different locations, Cap Haitian and Port-de-Paix. Collectively, they saved at least ten hours of driving. It felt really good to put them in that plane.

We'd made the manifest, filed the flight plan, tied down the baggage, loaded in one patient and were about to load the second one, when the guy from MTI stopped me. He covered the mouthpiece of his phone. "There's a problem," he said softly. Uh-oh. I know I have an official-looking clipboard, but I'm the new guy. No problems, please.

Apparently, somehow, another passenger had found out we were going to Port-de-Paix and wanted to get a seat. MTI wanted to bump the paramedic and put this guy on instead.

"Is he here?" I asked. "If he's not here, he can't go." He was here. Ready, waiting. Hopeful. I weighed him up and rushed him out, since the plane was already late leaving. He was over his weight allowance, so he gave his cheese to a pastor. (I'm not sure if that will make sense to you, but if you lived here, you'd know just what I mean.) As we're hurrying across the wide, open cement plain of the airport, he says to me: "You have no idea what a blessing this is. My wife had to go through the last hurricane by herself. This is great!"

And that's when it hit it me: this guy is running into Hurricane Irene. He's running towards the storm. He lived through Hurricanes Gustav, Hannah, and Ike--he knows what he's getting into. And he's still hurrying home...for his wife.

Oh, for a love that truly knows what "selfless" means.

25 August 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Found on the MAF hangar fridge...gee, I wonder why they don't advertise this more?

23 August 2011

Presence

As many can attest, I'm excitable. Well, excitable is the nice way to say it. My sister would probably say I "freak out" about things. It's probably true.

This is our third tropical storm since we've been here...her name is Irene. She's actually a hurricane, but the hurricane part of her won't be coming to Haiti, praise God. Weather websites like to put up scary pictures like the one below. Originally, Irene was forecast to come right across Port-au-Prince. As David put it this morning, "I'm starting to not trust those guys." I concur.



Her presence here has largely gone unnoticed, so far. She was supposed to hit us during the night, which I much prefer, because no one is out on the street without shelter. (Well, okay, some people are. We'll pray the prostitutes take the night off.) The airport has closed a few airstrips, mostly in the north.

But it's another presence I'm feeling right now. And it's probably unspiritual, but it's David's presence that's affecting me.

Last night, as I was folding laundry, I was reflecting on the fact that I'm not freaking out about Irene. I'm not worried about it, really. Trying to figure out why that was, it hit me: it's David. Usually, he goes off to work on days like this, and I sit around and speculate about how it's going down there. But now that I'm working at the hangar (a whole other blog post), I'm here...with him.

I've been a couple with this guy for ten years. That has an effect on a person. We just had our seventh wedding anniversary on Sunday, and with every one that goes by, I become more and more convinced that I'd be a lot worse off without him. So it's good to have him nearby today...and every day. And as much as it's been a challenge to be working in the same office together, it's also a blessing.

On the theme of presence, I've been thinking a lot about all the short-term missions teams here. I don't think they usually cause any harm. They come, they love, they leave. But as I was reflecting, I think what Haiti really needs is people to come and live their faith here in a normal, everyday way. It's not that most Haitians don't believe in God--He is constantly on their lips. "See you tomorrow, if God wills" is a common way to say goodbye. Their tap-taps write His name in big red letters. Church attendance is a badge of honor.

It's not that they don't believe--it's that they're not transformed by that belief. It changes nothing. As James writes, even demons believe in God, but they don't act accordingly. We all need to see believers who act accordingly, who let this good news stain every part of their lives. People for whom nothing is exempt from the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit, who convicts us concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.

People like my pastor, S. When I was teaching English, I got a "TA"...R sat in the back of the classroom and didn't say much, but he spoke great English and obviously enjoyed our classes. He was hoping to be hired for the next session. When the next session list came out, I was shocked to find out that R wasn't teaching. When I asked Pastor S, his answer humbled me: "He was a good teacher, but we weren't sure about his walk with God." R wouldn't have been teaching Bible study, but that was irrelevant to Pastor S. He didn't want any ungodly example in front of these students. He wanted leaders who could lead from the inside out. What humbled me is that he sensed that in me...I hope it's true.

May God keep changing us with His presence and may others be drawn to emulate that Presence in us. 

21 August 2011

Here comes Irene

Okay, people, you did a good job with Emily...let's see how you do with Irene.



 She's headed our way soon, they say...but they were wrong about Emily, so let's hope this is another false alarm. You may be thinking about the "weather phenomena" mentioned in the last post as something that could launch us into a season of famine...let's pray for that, too. Thanks, guys.