The Greatest and the Least
I'd like to share some verses with you that have really been speaking to my heart this week and then I'll share some stories and pictures with you from Haiti.
In the Gospel of Matthew, it is recorded that a Pharisee (a lawyer) tested Jesus with a question, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40ESV)
I believe we have received this assignment: to love God and to love people. We know from 1 Corinthians 13 that no matter what we do if it is not done in love, it is useless. Why do you suppose Jesus responded with both commandments, rather than just the first one? Could it be that the two are actually inseparable?
"We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother." (1 John 4:19-21)
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God." (1 John 4:7)
As we follow Christ and grow in Him, we begin to love others because we are experiencing His love ourselves, personally. We realize that we could never do anything to deserve His love and yet, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We are not called to simply love the loveable, but to love all people - to care for all people.
I often wonder about this verse and who exactly Jesus is referring to as "...the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine..." Is He talking about the poor? The uneducated? The sick? The lost? The one who is spiritually bankrupt? Is it the one who thinks he stands strong? Who is the least? I'm not sure, but I see an example in the Gospel of Mark that shows a group of people who were perhaps seen as "the least" in that time and culture.
"And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, 'Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.' And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them." (Mark 10:13-16ESV)
We must preach, live out, and act upon the Gospel for the sake of the children. That is to love God and love people.
Pastor Lex loves to be with the children at our schools in Haiti. They greet him as he arrives...
...and they find him after school hoping he'll take some pictures of them. (Pastè, Fè foto! Fè foto!)
The mountains of Grand-Goave (and many other cities in Haiti) are filled with fruit orchards, coffee, bananas, plantains, potatoes, carrots, beans... all sorts of crops on small family farms. These farmers harvest crops and bring them down to the city - sometimes on beasts of burden and sometimes on their heads - on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the open market.
In Port-au-Prince, every day is market day. People travel from all over the country to bring their crops to the capital to sell them - or at least they did. For many months now, the route from the southern peninsula (where Grand-Goave is located) has been cut off from the capital. Bandits, robbers, kidnappers, and gangsters are controlling key areas, making it impossible to travel safely. So, the produce stays close to home and is either sold for an exorbitant amount of money or it rots. The imported items that normally come from Port-au-Prince are becoming more and more difficult to obtain, as well.
Instructing our patients is a critical aspect of the care they receive at the clinic.
15-year-old Francesca has a precious 2-month-old baby girl. She told us life is very difficult for her and the baby. She wants to thank everyone who helps keep the clinic going at MOHI - especially our partners at Bless Back Worldwide, who keep the pharmacy stocked so that Francesca and her baby don't have to pay for medications.
Mackencia's mom brought her to the clinic this week. She's been suffering from fevers and vomiting. Among other things, the doctor diagnosed her as being malnourished. She is one of many malnourished children from the village of Little Paradise.
We are so grateful to the Lord for bringing supporters to help us start a baby feeding program in Mackencia's neighborhood. We are signing children up right now and intend to begin feedings right away.
We were blessed this week with a large amount of rice, beans, and peanut butter to ship to Haiti to help feed the students at our Port-au-Prince campus.
Please consider making a donation to help offset the cost of shipping this food to Haiti. Thank you!
Students worked hard during this week of exams...
Exam days are shorter than regular school days. The children are excited when they're done testing...especially when they know they've done well. Here are some first and second graders with Professor Edras when they completed an exam period.
Soccer is always a favorite pastime for the kids!
Everyone loves a good book!
It seems we have some acrobats in school...
...and break dancing is still a thing!
There's even time for some teacher's meetings when the students are done for the day.
The big concrete pour happened this week in Port-au-Prince! Projects like this not only benefit the students, but they provide many jobs for local laborers, masons, carpenters, plumbers, etc.