The Weather Report February 2017

  On the last day of our time in Haiti, the members of the work team from Immanuel Baptist toured the National Museum of Haiti in Port-au-Prince. Modest by most museum standards, it seeks to tell the story of the Haitian people. As I exited, my thinking about the future of Haiti was augmented.
  The German poet Friedrich Schiller observed that “All peoples that have a history have a paradise, a state of innocence, a golden age.” The 1492 landing of Columbus on the island that he named Hispaniola was the first section of the guided tour. The subsequent extermination of the Arawak Indians (Tainos) and occupation by the French and Spanish led to geographical partitioning. If there had been a “golden age” in Haiti, it ended long about here. A slave colony emerged.
  Our museum guide spoke with emphasis about the year 1804, the nascent of Haiti. The story since achieving independence is disconcerting. A wall of photographs of Haiti’s presidents tells this story. In a period stretching from 1843 to 1915, twenty-one of Haiti’s twenty-two presidents were assassinated or driven out of office. Political instability has eroded Haiti’s chances of flourishing. According to the human development index, an index “based on a combination of human lifespan and education and standard of living,” Haiti is the lowest in the world outside of Africa.
  A harrowing ride to the airport in Port-au-Prince shook the experience of the museum from my immediate concern. Another team member and I sat in the backseat and prayed as our driver forced his way into a stream of cars and trucks, all drivers following their own set of rules for the road. Safely on the other side of U.S. customs, Tim, Grover, Ellen, Tambi and I sat down in an airport restaurant. I realized the truth of V. S. Naipaul’s observation that the airplane is faster than the heart.2  Clearly we were all still in Haiti, despite having put our feet down in Atlanta.
  Meaningful testimony from the week was shared in worship on January 15 and a story in pictures was aired on Wednesday evening, January 25. This trip, the fifth in better than three years, built on the successes of the previous four trips. Evident to the fourteen different Immanuel members who have traveled to Haiti is the presence of God, in spite of the harsh conditions. God is no absentee ruler, but present, planning ahead, thinking ahead, and acting ahead in Haiti’s children, tomorrow’s Haitian leaders.
In the weeks ahead, Immanuel will prayerfully consider an extension of our previous three-year commitment to partner with The Joseph School in Haiti. Our footprint (and “heart-print”) can be found in Cabaret, Haiti. Many of her denizens know about Immanuel Baptist Church and believe that we are sincere in wanting to know about them. Seeds have been sown, have germinated, and are now emerging from the rocky ground. The grower in me wants see the young seedlings mature, and in time, yield their fruit. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity God has provided for us in Haiti.             —Steven
1 Diamond, Jared. Collapse – How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. P.338.
2 Naipaul, V. S. A Bend In The River. P.112.