Life on the mission field is excitingly unpredictable. Each day starts afresh and will typically include some specific, scheduled plans and activities. But those plans might quickly change or need to be adjusted to accommodate something else that pops up. At least that’s true in Haiti and I imagine that is the case on many other mission fields in the world as well. The one thing you can count on in Haiti is that you can’t count on your plans to unfold the way you envision that they could or should. These changes or alterations to plans and schedules are not necessarily bad… but they can be frustrating. These things that come up are usually minor but sometimes they are pretty major and at times can be quite disheartening. Just knowing that this is normal in Haiti is part of the cultural competence that is needed to navigate and endure these hiccups. Having the right perspective makes all the difference for keeping one’s sanity, and for not losing heart for the cause and mission.
My title for this blog might seem counter-productive to some as we are so used to focussing and planning for what’s ahead. We cast our vision(s) and we get to work. Onward and upwards if you will. But I believe that it is super important for those of us working in missions (and perhaps for all Christians regardless of profession or calling) to look back and see what God has already done. I know this is true for me and for all of us at Many Hands for Haiti (MH4H). Over the nearly 11-year history of MH4H there have been plenty of hardships and heartaches. Broken relationships and broken trust. Great loss and great emotional pain. But I don’t mean to look back and see only these things because there have also been many, many great things that have happened. What I want to encourage is that when we look back (knowing and not ignoring all of the bad things that have happened), we can see God’s hand and faithfulness in all of it. In spite of all of the bad, and maybe even because of some of the bad, MH4H is where it is today and is having the incredible impact it is having. God is so good!

Our Sylvain campus is a great example of this. Five years ago we were forced to leave a community in which we were serving. This was a hard and dark time for MH4H and many of you. Much work and investment (time & resources, relationally, and emotionally) had gone into establishing a campus in that small community. Good things were being done and lives were being transformed, and then just like that, it was gone. All of it. But as we look back today at where God has led us and what God has accomplished since that time, we can clearly see all the good that has come in spite of all the bad. It will be just four years this summer that we obtained the land for our new campus. Our campus is amazing and today we have so many beautiful and wonderful things: two schools, an equipping center, a dorm and house, an administration building, an Ag center, latrines, playgrounds, gardents, a prayer path, and a great well. Wow! To look back and see all that God has done in such a short time is incredible. Bless God for what he has done (and is doing)!!!

Sylvain Campus, May 2019

Maliarette Campus, May 2019

We have recently experienced some difficult community-based issues which have been challenging and somewhat disheartening. These issues are by no means over and we covet your prayers as we continue to walk with our neighbors in these trying times. We know that in these days we are discovering some things that we did not know or understand about Sylvain and about ourselves as an organization. This is good. These revelations are super important and we are confident that going forward we will become an even better organization and have an even greater impact on the little community in which we live and operate. I look forward to looking back someday (soon I hope) and seeing all of the good that will result after waking through this bad.

Romans 8:28 is a great reminder that; “…in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV) I love that verse but I truly believe that we see this good when we look back at all that has happened since whatever the bad thing was. We must also constantly be reminded that Satan does not like it that we are in Haiti bringing the light and truth to this dark and broken land. “..our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against…spiritual forces of evil… (Ephesians 6:12) (NIV) and we need to continue to walk in truth. John 3:21 is a great verse to help keep our focus and perspective on God alone and not our own efforts. “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen clearly that what he has done has been done by God.” (NIV)

So when discouraged or deflated I challenge us all to look for evidence of God’s presence and power in the present but also to be encouraged by looking back and being reminded of all that God has already done for us.

God is so good!

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