Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Letter to Haiti on this Thanksgiving Weekend...

Dear Haiti,

Simmering on my stove top is a huge heavy pot of my grandma's signature dish, her braised pork hocks in soy-caramel sauce, which I am attempting to make for the first time today because my dad is missing his mama's home-cooked meals.

Holidays have their way of making one's heart miss departed loved ones. This weekend, it's Thanksgiving here in Canada.

Soon, my sisters and their families will arrive at my house with even more food... and we will gather around the table to feast.

So will many fellow Canadians throughout this entire weekend. We will eat and we will overeat and we will fill our stomachs... and come Tuesday, many of us will hit the gym to shed those excess calories gained over the weekend.

Because that's how we are in the first world. 

We have way more than what we know what to do with.

The entire house is starting to smell delicious with the salty-sweet liquid slowly braising and the aroma of star anise and garlic fills our nostrils. I think I've successfully made my grandma's signature dish! Soon, we will be eating to our hearts' content.

Yet, somehow... eating and feasting is the last thing on my mind on this Thanksgiving weekend.

Because, YOU ARE.

You see, just over a month ago... my family and I stood on your soil and found new friends. 

Today, my heart aches for them.














  


On this Thanksgiving weekend, news is just starting to trickle out about how you fared after Hurricane Matthew hit you with its full force earlier this week.

You... still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake... were the subject of Hurricane Matthew's wrath. 

Headlines read...
Hurricane Matthew: Haiti south '90% destroyed'
Hurricane Matthew: Food, Water Shortages Threaten Haiti Victims
Haiti Grapples With Cholera After Deadly Hurricane Matthew Hits
My heart aches as I await word on how our friends are, our family really: our Compassion sponsor children, Bradley and Linsey and their families; our host and translator Pastor Ephraim and his family.

How about George and Remy and Arnold who all live along the shoreline and peddle local crafts for a living? I wonder how they are?






On this Thanksgiving weekend, I am desperately wanting, more than ever, to turn my thanksgiving into thanks-living.
Thanksgiving for God’s love always seeks to become thanks-living – a living and giving of His love.
Christian hands never clasp and He doesn’t give gifts for gain because a gift can never stop being a gift — a gift is always meant to be given….
God calls me to do thanks. To give the thanks away. That thanks-giving might literally become thanks-living. That our lives become the very blessings we have received.
~ Ann Voskamp.
My dear Haiti, you see... those of us who live in this first world have been abundantly blessed with much materially. We have so much to be thankful for and it shouldn't, it cannot, end at merely mouthing our thanks.

If we call ourselves Christ-followers, the next step absolutely needs to be taken and that is the living out of this thanks...

Because to whom much is given, much will be required.

Because living out a sacrificial life of grateful holiness is the only appropriate response to grace.
Go through His gates, giving thanks; walk through His courts, giving praise. Offer Him your gratitude and praise His holy name. Because the Eternal is good, His loyal love and mercy will never end, and His truth will last throughout all generations. ~ Psalm 100:4-5.
Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship. ~ Romans 12:1.
I will not make an offering to the Eternal One, my True God, that has cost me nothing. ~ 2 Samuel 24:24.
My dear Haiti, on this Thanksgiving weekend... I am thankful for an organization called Compassion International, a ministry my family and I love. Compassion has been in Haiti since 1968. Today, they are partnering with more than 270 of your churches and together they take care of about 80,000 of your beautiful children and their families, including our Bradley and our Linsey!


They will rebuild Haiti again after Hurricane Matthew. I know they will. 

My dear Haiti, on this Thanksgiving weekend... my prayer is that, as fellow Christ-followers in this vast country of ours sit down to feast on their Thanksgiving meals, you will be forefront in their minds.

Just like you are in mine.








As I sit down shortly to enjoy those slow-braised pork hocks with its mouth-watering soy-caramel sauce... please know that you will not be far from my heart, my dear Haiti.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I am remembering you, my dear Haiti... because setting foot on your soil and finding friends there and seeing how beautiful you are in your brokennes has re-membered me in ways that are profound.
Because when we remember how He blesses and loves us, when we recollect His goodnesses to us — our broken places re-collect. We re-member. We heal. In the remembering to give thanks, our broken places are re-membered — made whole.
~ Ann Voskamp.
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