Contemplating Good Friday
Happy Easter to you! I hope this day for you is filled with deep reflection, time with loved ones, and great gratitude to our Lord Jesus. I'll share with you some thoughts about Good Friday below, but first, let's cover some updates about Mission of Hope International in Haiti.
Port-au-Prince had a short week of school and finished up their third-period exams before heading out for their Easter Break.
The 7th grade class in Thozin is quite fond of their teacher, Mr. Enock.
While it's wonderful to see so many helped by the medical and dental clinics at MOHI, it's also hard to see so many people suffering. Our hearts went out to this little guy who had been suffering from a toothache for 2 weeks. When he was finally brought to the clinic, his face was so swollen that the dentist couldn't do anything about the tooth at the moment. He was sent home with an antibiotic to take. Hopefully, his caregiver gives it to him regularly, and returns to the clinic next week to resolve the problem.
Each day suffering people come to the dental clinic in hopes of eliminating their pain. Each day that is exactly what happens.
The medical clinic was super busy this past week. The staff puts so much effort into their work, treating patients and helping to assuage people's fears.
So many children throughout the country of Haiti are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. We are grateful for each child we are able to feed. These little ones are enjoying avocados, eggs, and bread.
This past week, leading up to Easter, the church in Thozin held special prayer and worship services each evening. The focus was on the final words of Jesus before He died.
Good Friday was a particularly meaningful day to me this year. In Haiti, businesses closed early on Thursday and stayed closed on Friday. The time of eating Pwason Gwo Sèl (Salty Fish) and visiting family had begun.
There are many Good Friday and Easter traditions all over the world depending, on the culture to which you have adapted yourself. Some traditions are fun (like coloring eggs). Some are enjoyable and comforting - especially eating particular foods that we associate with this season and spending time with loved ones. Some others are deeply meaningful. A few years ago we held a sunrise service with fellow missionaries alongside the ocean at the missionary compound. It was a special time of contemplation and celebration with some of our close spiritual family.
Having been raised in a Jewish home, I had no set traditions for celebrating any of the Christian Holidays. Neither did I have an accurate understanding of times like Christmas, Easter, Good Friday, and Lent. This week I kept thinking about what a big holiday Good Friday is in Haiti, but in my own culture, it's just another Friday - the end of the workweek - yayyyy!
I became introspective on Friday. I realized that I'm ready to rejoice and celebrate the Resurrection, but I shy away from confronting the pain and suffering associated with Good Friday. Our Father God resurrected His Son from the grave. Jesus, God in the form of a man, chose to lay His life down. He chose to allow mere men to humiliate, beat, and crucify Him. He could have called ten thousand angels to rescue and avenge Him. What kind of love is this? My husband, children, and grandchildren are the people in my life that I love the most. Could I make such a choice on their behalf? I didn't need the answer to the question. I just needed the contemplation it caused. Jesus wasn't forced to give His life for me. No, it was His choice by His own free will.
So, what is my choice today? And tomorrow? And the day after that? The Bible says that for the joy set before Him He endured... When I choose to lay aside my own fleshly or selfish desire to follow Jesus (and this is a moment-by-moment occurrence) there may be a slight discomfort for me at that moment. But following Jesus brings joy like nothing else can in this life. It brings fulfillment. It brings peace. It brings contentment. It brings satisfaction. It brings freedom. It brings a sense of purpose. It brings me a glimpse of what God said to Moses, "I Am that I Am." Following Christ is not a goal that I strive to accomplish. It is a state of being. I am hidden in Christ - the Great I Am.
Join in our Food Drive Effort!
I've shared with you previously how difficult it has become to locate food in bulk for our feeding programs. Violent crimes, kidnappings, robberies, political turbulence, gang violence, and the current pandemic have led to extreme instability in the country of Haiti. In Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas, many live in constant fear as they make their way to work, school, and the open markets. A friend recently recounted hiding under his bed with his family as gunfire rang out in his neighborhood. Somehow a stray bullet found its way into his leg. He's grateful to still be alive and fears even more for his family. More than ever our feeding programs are a major support for these families.
We have started collecting food to fill a container to ship to Haiti. We are gathering Rice, beans (dry or canned), oil, canned/dried protein sources (beef, chicken, fish, Vienna sausage, Spam, corned beef...), and peanut butter.
The container will be located in north-central Massachusetts. If you live in this area, would you consider asking your church or a local business to promote this food drive and/or be a dropoff location for us? If you live in the area and would like to drop off, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a location in your area.
For those of you who are not in the local area but would also like to help provide food for this container, we have created an Amazon Wish List for your convenience https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2KRF8RK3R54QK?ref_=wl_share. Anything purchased from this list will be shipped to us directly and we will pack it into the container.
If you have any great ideas for helping with this Food Drive, please do not hesitate to reach out with your ideas. Thank you!