Oh how important it is to have ‘em.
People that believe in you that is.
Today I had a friend buy me lunch. I know how much this man makes in a month. Surely he has better things to spend his hard earned cash on then me. At first I insisted that I wasn’t going to let him pay but then he asked, “Why not, am I not your friend?” He got me there. Of course. I have opportunities to buy lunch for people all the time, why wouldn’t he, with money in his pocket want to do the same for me.
We are constantly encouraged. By you from afar…yes!...but I’m talking about the encouragement which comes from the people that surround us here in Haiti.
A Haitian woman, turned Floridian, returned to Haiti six years ago to put her business degree to the test and fulfill her childhood dream: to build a supermarket and to run a business. Her children are grown and have left the nest. Now she’s back in Haiti making it happen. Her smile is contagious and her voice powerful and warm. And she seems to always be at her store, whose 5 short aisles make it the third largest supermarket in Cap Haitian. She says “hello” with a smile as she waits for you to say the first words. You see, while her English is flawless, if you choose to speak to her in Hatian Creole she is much obliged to cultivate the learner in you, never feeling the need to show off her own masterful acquisition of a foreign tongue. What a humble and gracious act! God’s like that isn’t he. Me on the other hand, I can think of numerous accounts where I’ve crushed the spirit of a Creole speaker fighting his way through complicated English grammar and thrilled for the chance to practice this language when, with impatience, I bring the conversation back to his native tongue, implying that I’m too good to speak English with someone that doesn’t know English. I disgust myself. But not her. She is what you could call a Developer. She sees people for their potential and doesn’t pass up the chance to invest in people with promise.
That’s probably why she shared so much of her story one day. She spoke for what seemed like forever. I was actually running late and in an effort not to be rude continued to nod and smile while giving myself silent pep talks about patience, listening, and being present in conversation. The more I listened the more I was inspired. The longer I stood there the more I knew that God was speaking to me through this interaction. She has no idea what we’re up to, but when it was time for us to leave the store this was her parting message: “Don’t let anybody get in the way of doing in Haiti what you came to do.” She added, “…while your young.” Coming from a woman who set off to bring hope and progress to Haiti while in her 50s, I don’t think the “young” part matters all that much.
She sees her mission as two fold. Not only is she dipping her toes in the Haitian economic pool she’s also bringing others along for a swim. The people she employed while building her store from the ground up have become successful entrepreneurs themselves. She can be seen carefully checking the math of the young woman she’s molding into a cash register clerk, likely someone who never had the opportunity to go to school. She even mentioned something about teaching business principles to poor people in rural areas.
I latched on to that one.
“Jenn,” I mentioned later, “I think I might know someone that could teach business classes to our women...” You never know.
That’s the thing about living day by day, you never know if God has a hidden message for you in the words or actions of someone else here on earth for the same purpose… Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly.
He has told you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.