No Facebook, email, text messages, Twitter, smart phones, or computers. Pastor Steve had asked that we “de-clutter” our lives while in Haiti.
Before our short-term team of 12 (from Compass Church in Naperville, IL) boarded the plane, Haiti-bound, he issued the challenge. Give up all electronic devices and communication during our mission trip. The only exception was the team blog.
Honestly, it’s been an excellent exercise. There have been few distractions, allowing an opportunity to grow our relationships with others on this trip. And it has helped us meld together as a group.
It has been a wonderful opportunity to listen… not only to God’s words and direction, but to everything else we encounter. My sense of hearing has improved on this trip along with all my other senses.
While serving with EFCA TouchGlobal in Haiti, I have heard…
- 125cc motor scooters whining through the streets and on the back roads. Many of these scooters sound like they need a quart of oil.
- Horns beeping… all the time, for any apparent reason. We are all from Chicago, so hearing horns is not uncommon. But the Haitians use their horns several times a minute while behind the wheel.
- Animals awakening. Cows, goats and roosters are everywhere. They all get up very early in the morning, making plenty of noise.
- Taps and reveille playing every evening and every morning from the Korean U.N. facility.
- Haitians singing – not only at church, but throughout the day as well. Interestingly enough, they know many Christian songs in English. While working on a church reconstruction project, the Haitians sing in English to us, and we join in when we know the words. Sometimes they know more verses to the songs than we do.
- Clans chanting at 5:30am in beautiful unison.
- Rain (and other things) falling on the tin roof. The men all sleep in an open air bunkhouse covered by a tin roof. With plenty of rain this week, we’ve found that, while the sound on the roof starts out loud, it quickly becomes a soothing sleep aid. Until a mango falls from the tree above the roof. Can anyone say “bombs away”?
- Rats fighting. It turns out that an open air bunkhouse is no place to store seeds. Late at night, these little gray animals get hungry, and they fight viciously (and loudly) for food.
- Haitians calling, “Hey you. Bonsoir.” It’s the Haitian way to say “Hello. Good morning/evening.” Creole is a difficult language, but fun to hear and learn.
- Ten 8-10 year old boys in the orphanage yelling, “I want to be next,” as they beg me to dump water from my water bottle into their mouths.
I’m experiencing Haiti with every sense, but especially my ears. I’m listening better without the electronic clutter in my life.
I pray this exercise in eliminating clutter flows into my life back home and that my now acute sense of hearing allows me to better hear God’s voice so that I may follow His direction in my life in total obedience.
Story adapted from a blog entry by J.P. Specht, short-term team member to Haiti in February 2011.
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Bring a short-term team to Haiti. Help build and distribute temporary shelters for those who, even after one year, are still without a safe place to sleep.
- That the Haitian people would place their hope in Jesus Christ.
- For the short-term teams serving in Haiti — that God would open their hearts and minds (and ears) to what He is doing and that He would use these teams to bring glory to His name.
Make an online donation to Haiti earthquake relief efforts.