Conflict. That is the word that keeps going through my head as we finish our first full day in Marfranc, Haiti.
We spent the morning painting a new building at the New Life for Haiti school here in Marfranc. In the afternoon we split up a list of chores to do around the house where we are staying. Some of us installed solar lights on the roof of the house, some installed tile in the shower of one of the bathrooms, and some cut up trees that were felled by the recent hurricane. Some went by motorcycle to investigate a possible spot to cross the river for our trip to the village of Plik (Pleek) tomorrow where the next school will be built.
It was a good day. We accomplished a lot and had good fellowship. The scenery here is beautiful, the weather is great, and the view of the stars from the roof of the house is amazing, even with an almost full moon.
My head is now telling my heart that after such a good day it should be satisfied, content, happy, and full. But my heart isn't convinced.
In Port Au Prince, the city we left just yesterday morning, there is a growing cholera outbreak and people are starting to riot in the streets. It is impossible for me to fool myself into thinking that we are going to leave Haiti a better place than it was when we got here. We are increasing the good, for sure, but the bad in the country is increasing so fast right now that we could never hope to keep pace.
And, in fact, that is sometimes the way the whole world feels. Even back home, things that should be easy are hard, relationships that should be supportive turn to poison, the things we want to accomplish are thwarted. It feels like evil can tear down faster than good can be built up.
So what should we do in difficult times, when the things we do don't have the impact we want them to have and there is conflict and strife surrounding us? There is a conflict inside of me between the part that wants to give up in frustration and feel sorry for myself that things are not as safe and easy as I want them to be and the other part that knows that all I need is to trust in Jesus and continue in the ways that he has called me.
My wife slipped a little diary into my luggage before I left. In it she and my daughter wrote notes for me to read, one for each day that I am gone. The notes from my daughter are full of stickers and colorful scribbles that make me smile. The notes from my wife are full of love and encouraging words that touch my heart. In her note from today she reminds me of Matthew 25:40
And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'
That is why I am glad I am here in spite of all conflict, internal or external.