Catching Up and Speaking Out

The last day or so has been a little different around here because of the passing hurricane. It’s basically been raining off and on since Tuesday night. I’m starting to see reports of flooding all over Haiti. Our area seems to be the only one that hasn’t really been affected in any major way. When the rain falls like this everything pretty much shuts down. Yesterday we didn’t work, and today we told our workers to come when the rain stopped so they could un-mold the filters that are there, and after that if the rain starts again, they can go home. I won’t lie, the hunkering down feeling around here has been much welcomed by all of us. We had a group in for the last week, thus the quiet on the blog, and the opportunity to rest and lay low has been taken advantage of.

I had a really cool opportunity that I haven’t been able to share about in this space yet. A few weeks ago I was asked to guest blog over at love is what you do for part of J. L. Goudreau’s month long focus on poverty and how we work with, look at, and speak about “the poor”. It was an honor to be part of the series and there are some fabulous posts coming from other people that I really want you to check out. It is so worth it to go and spend some time in that space to read through them. The post with the link to the blog post written by Sarah Bessey is worth following, and I would highly recommend reading through all of the comments because they’re really a conversation.

I think the reason I was so excited to be part of this whole conversation about the poor is that I’ve been so challenged in this area since moving to Haiti. I remember the images I would see, the way people were referred to, and even how we as the Church in North America chose to interact with those living in less than perfect circumstances. Since living here all of that has been challenged for me and I know for Chris too. The things that I never thought about before now grind against me. I see how we dehumanize people simply by telling ourselves that we’re trying to tell their stories so others will want to help. We take pictures so we can “share” with others, so they want to help. We can distance ourselves so we don’t have to let it in. And I worry about having those conversations on here because I worry about offending people.

But, those conversations need to be had.

I know they need to be had because I am a person. I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a believer in the God who told us to go be with the poor. I look at how I would feel if the shoe was on the other foot and some well meaning person came into my neighborhood and looked at me, took pictures of me, told stories about me, all with good intentions, but without enough forethought to really know what they were doing.

I know it takes a bit of time to read through the posts, but I can promise you it will be time well spent.

If you agree with the things that are shared there, it will be time well spent because you’ll be connected with other voices that you can connect people with. I love that I’ve been exposed to people I didn’t know that were out there, who are echoing the things in my mind and my heart. Sometimes others have a way of saying the things we can’t find the words for.

If you find things in the posts grind against you, then it will still be time well spent. Any time something grinds against us there is a reason, and usually at the root of it we know that it’s grinding because it doesn’t line up with what is right or what God has asked of us as his followers. It means we have to examine ourselves, our views, our thoughts, our words, how we interact with things… all of it. It means that sometimes things need to be broken down and then built back up again, but differently. Reading through things has helped me look at some of those things that maybe weren’t sitting right with me, but that I hadn’t been able to clarify yet.

I want to spend more time talking and writing about so many things connected with this whole issue and missions and development work. I know I need to. Hopefully time and space will allow my brain the ability to dump it out, and for my heart to not worry about whether someone doesn’t like what I have to say.

~Leslie

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This entry was posted in bigger picture, thinking out loud and tagged , , by Leslie. Bookmark the permalink.

About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

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