If yesterday was weird, today was bittersweet. I missed my wife fiercely, especially since she had been scheduled to come to Haiti with me; until a second rotator cuff surgery put the brakes on her mission. I had been unable to connect with her via email or Facebook during the sporadic Internet access moments available over the last couple of days. Looking out over the countryside during another incredible sunrise, I was struck again by the beauty of Haiti. Mission of Hope is situated between the mountains and the sea. From the roof, I could look west and see the sparkling blue-green waters; to the east rose the mountains I've posted photos of earlier in the week.
Why do we crave St. Croix or Antigua and not Haiti?
I thought I would use today's blog to highlight a couple of things that are awesome about MoH.
I know it sounds corporate, but...
One of the BIG issues I wrestled with earlier in the week was how corporate MoH comes off as at times. I live in a corporate world and there are a lot of things I just don't like about it. Arriving at MoH and getting vision briefings, films about the goals and objectives of MoH, etc. was initially somewhat of a turn-off; it just wasn't what my brain had been programmed to believe was a heart-felt mission.
However, as I worked in Haiti through the week, I thought about the MoH mission and about the core resolutions that accompany their vision statement.
- Relational Proclamation
- Evangelistic Saturation
- Indigenous Mobilization
- Holistic Transformation
- Excellent Implementation
For everyone who reads these, I'm sure there will be one or more that will either turn you off, make you scratch your head or just leave you saying, "What?"
My experiences led me to focus on number 3: Indigenous Mobilization.
I had been up close and personal to exactly why that one is in there. From the men at Bercy who stopped our truck and blocked the road because they were upset by the perception that a bunch of Blancos were taking away their work, to Mr. Evans in Guitton, wondering why he couldn't get a job as a driver at MoH.
Indigenous Mobilization means that MoH will do everything in their power to have each and every ministry and community service area staffed and managed by local Haitians. In a way, it's a little like home. These days we see a lot of immigrant labor working on construction sites. But it's the American residents, staff, leadership, etc. that take over when the facilities or homes are completed.
The Mission of Hope clinic
For example, pictured above is the MoH clinic on the main campus at Titanyen. The clinic is staffed and run 100% by Haitians - Haitian doctors, nurses, techs, etc. While there is more of a North American leadership presence on the construction and maintenance sides of the operation, it is very small when compared to the Haitian people who run the school, hospital, orphanages, etc. Even the Bible school that is run weekly throughout the summer is taught and led by young Haitian men and women.
Sure, the vision statement, mission statement and core resolutions sound way too corporate to be associated with a thriving ministry organization, but resolution number five may be the most important of all from a success standpoint: Excellent Implementation.
Sometime around 1150 AD, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux wrote, "L'enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs" or "Hell is full of good wishes and desires."
It is believed that this is the genesis of our modern proverb, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
How many well-meaning ministries, missions and organizational initiatives fail because they believe just because they're making a good go of it, things will be well?
Mission of Hope has not entered into Haiti lightly. They are there to make a lasting, meaningful impact on the lives of every man, woman and child in Haiti. They will not be successful merely because they have good intentions. Success requires excellence. It's easy to carry around the old, "Close enough," ethos in Haiti, but MoH does not measure itself and the impact on communities it serves by, "Good enough."
When we were digging trenches at Bercy and filling them with gravel and re-bar ahead of the Haitian workers pouring cement, we used the transit over and over again to ensure that the footers we were digging were exactly the right depth at each and every point. We had several instances of a trench being too shallow or too deep by just a couple of inches. We could have said, "That's close enough," but that's not how MoH does things. Imagine if we were haphazard in our approach to laying those building footers; how confident would we be in our work if, several years from now, the completed training center was full of Haitian men and women training to be Pastors and there was another earthquake or hurricane? How would we feel if that building collapsed because of a poorly laid foundation?
The sign above sits in front of the main MoH campus. L'espoir (the Hope) that so many Haitian men, women and children have in Titanyen, Leveque, Cabaret, Bercy, Guitton and other communities nearby is symbolized by the mission that MoH carries out each and every day - and by the way that mission is carried out.
Beyond the vision statements and core resolutions, beyond the vision film and the interns who can recite all the corporate tenets of MoH, is something larger than all of us. If you look closely at the bottom of the sign, you will see some words in French, which translate to:
How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God.
We were in Haiti to lay some new foundations, but every single thing that MoH does is based on the greatest foundation we have in this life, and the next.
God bless you, and God bless the people of Haiti.