For all of the good that is accomplished during these missions to Haiti, I think the vast majority of it we don't even see or are even aware of. The poverty is so bad and the need so great it is natural that we focus so much on helping to improve the material situation of as many people as possible, and that's wonderful work to be involved in. It is also beautiful to visit, pray and get to know people, and most importantly evangelize. All of this makes the trip more than worthwhile.
But now after my third time in Haiti, I believe the Lord is pulling back the veil for me, and letting me see, paradoxically, that I see very little at all. The question that came to my mind frequently during our mission, and continues to be on my mind, is "What is God doing here?" - for myself and all others. The answer I find consoling is, "Much more than you can imagine or fathom." Having this in mind gave me great peace amidst everything and everyone we encountered. It has especially helped me to joyfully keep in mind specific people, especially the young folks we encountered during the "Winter Life" camp and various home visits. There were three boys whom I remembered from last year -Peter, Kinson and Louis and one I met for the first time, Kenny. They, like everyone else, needed so much and asked for more (give me my ball...bag...ticket...money...shoes) yet I know the Lord was showing me that I needed as much as they did and somehow these boys were giving it to me. Was it my need to be a father? Perhaps, but there's more I know, though don't really know what it is. It struck me that as bleak and poor as it was there, still there were all kinds of signs that pointed straight to heaven. Firstly that we really won't understand, but that it doesn't matter. Love overshadows everything. Beauty breaks through all the time. We marvel and are constantly amazed, simply pondering and waiting for the next revelation of God's infinite mystery, which increases our peace and joy. This goes on forever. This is all disjointed and may not make sense, but Haiti has shown me the most vivid picture of both hell and heaven that I have seen so far. And it gives me great hope filled with joy because the gates of hell do not prevail against the power of God, which is relentlessly pushing on.
Thank you, Charlie, once again for being a faithful soldier with one of the battering rams.
-Br.Shawn Conrad, CFR