Last night I went to visit Barb while Chris went to his Rotary meeting. I met a bunch of her students that come over in the evenings to get some food because most days they wouldn’t eat otherwise. She lives in quite a poor area. The kids that come to her school can’t afford to go to school anywhere else, so she’s really working with the poorest of the poor.
After a little while the first group of kids went home and we moved up onto her roof to enjoy the breeze coming off the ocean. A little while later Betany and Chrismene came by for a visit. Betany is 16 and has apparently been quite a hard boy to work with at times so Barb was really happy that he had come by just to visit. Chrismene just sat for a long time letting me hold her hands because they get so little love at home and she was like a sponge. About 20 minutes after they arrived Zuwami called from the gate to see if he could come in for a visit with Miss Babawa.
Zuwami is about 18-20 years old. It’s hard to tell and I didn’t ask. He had been over to visit with Barb earlier in the day and she had started reading the Bible to him and for the first time things started to make sense and he was so excited to see for himself the things that God wants for us. He speaks Creole, French, English and some Spanish so we started talking just for the sake of practicing – my Creole (which needs a lot of work) and his English. Barb asked him if he remembered what verses they had been reading earlier and they started talking about those.
I can easily push out of my mind how dark Haiti is spiritually. Last night I was reminded. God started doing some things in Zuwami, big things. There are several witch doctors in Barb’s neighborhood and people are easily drawn into voodoo as they are all over Haiti. As we visited with Zuwami it became very apparent that he wasn’t at peace. He told us that he wanted peace, that he wanted to know God. We started praying for him. God was telling Barb and I the same things – that Zuwami needed to trust that God wanted to protect him from the things in the world around him, the things that keep so many Haitians living in fear everyday, but Zuwami needed to take hold of that and trust God for it. Things like voodoo curses and spells. I shared with Zuwami that God loves him and that where Jesus lives there is no room for anyone or anything else so we can have peace knowing that nothing can harm us. I told him that God has a plan for us and wants us to see ourselves the way He sees us, as His children who have incredible value. Zuwami told us that he wanted liberasyon – freedom.
Zuwami started a journey with God last night. That’s the best way to describe it because everyday here is a battle over a soul. Zuwami is going to have to hand his heart over to God every single day here because growing in his faith won’t be an easy task. I’m feeling challenged over that because I grew up in a church culture that told me that saying the salvation prayer made it a done deal which I believe is true, BUT the Bible also talks about working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). Salvation is as much about a one time decision as it is about the process. The process is reminding ourselves over and over that we are saved, protected, loved, chosen, valued, and the children of God. The process is embracing that everyday and learning how to walk in that. Things that I need to remember and embrace everyday too. In principle Zuwami’s journey won’t be any different than any other person who makes a choice to commit their life to being a God follower. He will however deal with different daily battles than you and I will never understand. Please pray for him as he starts walking.