The following is a reflection by Kristin Brouwer, a trip member to Pignon, Haiti, on November 10 – 17. This was written upon her return from the trip.

The rich young man in Luke 10:17-31 came to Jesus wanting to know what he could do to receive eternal life. We know how the story ends, with the rich young man eventually walking away. Too many times in my life I have been the rich young man and walked away as well. I have the same drooping shoulders of that rich young man. Then there are other times I try to pull back my shoulders and do what it takes to follow. What I have found is neither is easy, and I need grace. We have all experienced both the roadblocks and joys of trying to follow– trying to make a difference for other people, instead of just turning away.

As we watch the news we can feel downcast in mind and soul.  We see so many charities, fundraisers and church announcements of things we can do and support.  We ask ourselves, “Should I, could I be doing something that really makes a difference?  God, what does that look like for my life? “

I don’t know all the names of the children in this picture but I do know three: Ankala, Davidson, and Julissa. To me, they stand there testing the truth of my love; there’s no sneaking past their situations if I want to follow Jesus. They stand there as Jesus does with arms outstretched– inviting me down a path where ideas of success are challenged and where God is present in the suffering, while at the same time wanting it to stop. Most importantly, they are simply little boys and girls. I love them!

They are vulnerable, but if you look deep, there is dignity in their poses. Their situation is grave indeed, with life on the edge and likely no education and not enough food. But I know they are nimble with soccer balls and jump ropes. They were quick to smile and come grab a hand as I walked through the street. If I followed the path to their home, their parents would probably sacrifice some chicken feet stew for dinner to feed me. They are simple but complex, demanding and meaningful, heavy but brimming with promise. A people full of spunk, spirit, and joy: that was Jesus’ invitation to me through the eye of the needle.

The invitation for me was to Haiti. I pray that Jesus invites me again! Whether it leads us around the world, around the corner from our houses, around town, around our families, or at work, Jesus is calling us through the eye of the needle. He is whispering in our ears- and it seems worth trying to squeeze through the needle’s eye so we can learn how to put all this love that Jesus gives us into practice on others.

Bondye se bon! (God is Good!)