We were just a group of twenty-somethings traveling through the lush Haitian countryside on our last day in country. In hopes we would find a village that could use our resources, we packed some clothes, food, and goodies that we could disperse as we trotted through the hills on a search for people that we heard were in desperate need. We knew we had arrived at the right place when children came running up wearing scraps if any clothes at all. We slowly walked deeper into the community of barely standing huts. Once we were spotted, Men, woman, and children flocked in a matter of seconds reaching their hands in to grab what left we had brought to give.
I leaned over to Fabie, my friend translating for us, to ask our fully engaged audience (who was still waiting around incase we had some more gifts to give them) if they knew Jesus. Expecting them to say yes or express what they heard of Jesus, our team awaited their response.
We got nothing but stares of confusion.
“Fabie, they are confused, Let’s try asking in a different way.”…Still nothing.
I looked to my left and saw a crushed Coca Cola can in the dirt, “Fabie, maybe they don’t know that you are asking them a question, Ask if they know Coca Cola.”
Faces lit up, heads nodded. I began to get nervous knowing that they probably thought we were going to give them all a coke.
Pointing at the deflated soccer ball that a little boy found in the dump and was currently playing with, “Fabie, ask them if they know Christiano Ronaldo?”
The villagers faces gleamed and little boys began to fake kick the soccer ball as if they were the soccer star himself taking the game winning shot.
I tried one more try, “Ask them if they have heard of Jesus”
Once again. Expressionless, confused, as if they were trying to figure out if they knew who we were talking about.
My jaw dropped and my heart began to race when I had realized that we have encountered a village that has never even heard of the name of Jesus Christ. Coca Cola and Christiano Ronaldo made it to the slums of Haiti but Jesus Christ had not. I began to wonder, how could this be? We are only 700 miles off the coast of Florida and there are people who have never heard the name of their savior. I mean, I have vacationed in the caribbean handfuls of times, yet had never taken the time to offer eternity to the people around the corner?
As I was still digesting the shock of the moment, my team stepped up and begin to express to a very hopeless neighborhood the love of Jesus and what he conquered on the cross for each of them. The faces of the men and woman began to fill with hope. There was an immediate gleam in their eyes. They were hanging on to every word in full eagerness longing to know the Jesus we talked about. When the moment arose our new friends unanimously accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Life that they had longed for was being breathed into their beings as a hopeless village received the hope of the world.
Although, the living conditions of the people in the village did not change overnight, their reason for living did and the promise of eternity gives them a daily hope to run to. I left that day wanting to stay behind and teach our excited learners more about Jesus, but we were on a schedule and had to head back. Hours later, as we were traveling home, we received word that miracles and healings spread through the village later that evening and the people we met were so grateful for the love and glory of their greatest gift, Jesus Christ.