For the first time in months, my ears are being drowned with the praise and worship music streaming from pandora, through the headphones and into my ears. My stomach is empty. I am hungry. I went to bed feeling sick and woke up and had to run to the bathroom several times in the middle of night and in the morning. Then I grabbed my stomach and asked Him to heal me. A couple hours later, I realized my stomach was calm. It has been the rest of the day. I guess it was that simple- just ask, just believe He can.
Today is the first time I've ever fasted in Haiti. Around lunch time I eyed the beans and rice and my mouth watered. Maybe fasting for the morning was enough. But no, I promised God a day, so I wanted to give him a day. The only reason I would stop fasting was because of my own cravings. I didn't want to do this. I prayed and asked God for strength. I thought about how last week Michelet went two days without any milk. Nothing to sooth his hunger pangs except for the tea his parents gave him in an attempt to get him to stop crying. I thought about the many other Haitians that are hungry, haven't eaten all day, and still do not know when their next meal will be. I know when mine will be. Tomorrow.
As my conviction for helping the poor boiled within me last night, this morning I had chance after chance to put it into action. The airport is always flooded with kids and adults begging. Begging for work, to clean the car for money, for food, for candy, etc. It always makes me tighten up. It makes me feel like people want to take advantage of me, like they are pulling on my pockets, like the only thing they want from me is my money and they aren't shy to show it. Then I thought about it in a new light today. It makes sense, really. I have a lot, they have nothing. I think it's fair to ask me to share, to ask for me to consider the thought of letting them enjoy some of the things I have in excess. Yeah, it really does make sense.
Opportunity #1: A boy with special needs comes to my window. His face is crooked and he has cerebral palsy in his arm and hand. His arm is fixed permanently like a hook. He talks weird and looks even weirder. He always comes to my window and I always ask him to go. Today I decided to talk to him. I asked him what he wanted and he said he was hungry. I asked him how much money he needed to buy food. He answered 50 gourdes. That's the equivalent to $1.25 USD. I can do that. I have it in my bag and I could probably do that 100 times today and I'd still have enough money for myself. I dished him out and watched him smile and then run around with glee. It made me laugh. He rushed around not knowing which vendor he wanted to go to. He came back to me and pointed down the road to the place he was going. He came back some time later and pointed at his belly and smiled. He had eaten. He thanked me and went away. And that was it. I wasn't attached for life, my hands didn't hurt from giving away my money..
Opportunity #2: Two little boys came to my window about 30 minutes after the first one. They had the same complaint- they were hungry. Where was their mom? At home. One said his mom was dead. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not. But from the looks of it, they didn't have someone taking care of them. Once again, I still had money in my pocket. They weren't asking me for an Ipod, a car, a house- something extravagant. They were asking for a plate of food for crying outloud. This time I got out of the car with them to go buy the food. I wanted the whole experience. We went to a local vendor and I handed her 50 gourdes ($1.25) and she heaped a pile of white rice on a plate. She loaded it up with black bean sauce and grabbed the largest piece of chicken she had and plopped in in the center of the rice. A few more little boys had gathered by this point. I handed the plate to them and asked them to share it among themselves. They were more than happy to share with each other.
I got back into my car to wait for the next team of volunteers to come in. I glanced nervously around wondering how many more kids would come to my window and ask for money for food. What had I started? But only one more person came to my window. He came to thank me for the cookie I gave him last week. He went on and on about how good it tasted. I felt a wave of guilt sweep over me. That cookie? You mean the ones that the ants swarmed over so that none of the volunteers would eat them anymore? The ones that I brushed the bugs off of and then handed them out on the streets because I couldn't imagine throwing them away. Yeah, that cookie.
There are many new epiphanies, new thoughts, new dreams, new convictions that I have felt in my heart lately. There are blog posts that still remain un posted- mostly out of fear of what I will be held accountable to if I'm willing to jump in the way I think God may be calling me to. So for now, it's today's experience, today's fast, today's baby steps at giving away what I have to the poor.