The back door opens. Papo comes to play and my little boys’ English ramblings turn to Creole at the slam of a door. I smile. They play and we love Papo. We paint. Luke teaches him how to do a puzzle; Silas shows him how to flush the toilet.
Papo is eight. His mom: twenty-two. I do the math and my heart aches. The boys get to work making paper airplanes and I start on lunch. “Mama…” I look down at my compassionate four year-old. “Papo said he’s hungry and his mom isn’t making food for him today. Can he eat lunch with us?” I love his simplicity. “We’ll see bud, okay?” He returns to his paper airplane and I throw another cup of rice in the pot and cut the chicken a bit smaller. I quietly go about my work, my mind wrestling again with the complexities of poverty.
I wonder what is better, to feed the boy or teach his girl-mom to care for her son? And yet I know, that at the end of the day, at the end of the line of careless choices and irresponsible living, it’s poverty’s children who suffer its consequences. Even deeper down, I know that without the grace I have received, that girl-mom could have been me.
These are the tough questions we face each day. These are the questions we don’t always have answers to. But we continue to wrestle, think, pray, seek and learn. How do we love God and love our neighbor in this deeply rooted, tangling, thorny mess? How do I tell my neighbor about Jesus when her mind is preoccupied with survival? How can we give without destroying dignity and squelching desperation’s drive to find work?
We give ourselves. We roll up our sleeves and jump in. Their problems become our problems and their toils our toils. Together we push and we pull, we sweat and we hurt. And at the end of the day our heartbeat is to make disciples and our prayer is that this earthly toil will birth greater things, eternal things.
Development and discipleship: in the fabric of our lives here in Haiti, the two are so tightly interwoven. The kingdom of God to which we belong is both for today and for days to come—and for when our days are no longer. Christ our Redeemer is our hope for today as well as tomorrow. So through development, we pray that doors might be flung open wide to make disciples. And through discipleship, that we might develop followers of Christ who understand that the Gospel has everything to do with everything.
Side by side, we live and work together. And we pray that when the Savior beckons “Come”, they might leave it all to follow Him.