We have been back home on this little island now for a week and a half. We have had seven meetings already, eaten our fair share of missed Kreyol Mange (Haitian food), caught a stomach bug that was destructive, walked through the community center house and property again, killed a giant centipede, and shed a few tears for the injustices this nation, these people so often face.
We love this place so deeply. We find much joy here, everywhere, all around. We have learned more than we could possibly offer.
However there is a lot that comes with living in a place so full of desperation and trauma.
Currently there have been many kidnappings happening around Port au Prince. It seemed these are a new form of roadblock, of protest, a way to spread fear.
It's a fear that has become widespread throughout our Haiti home. Our staff travel in pairs. They walk their children to school. They ask us to not go to certain areas even though Americans have yet to be the targets of these kidnappings.
Yesterday while we were at the grocery store I was catching up with one of our favorite grocers. In Haiti it is common to greet with a kiss on the cheek and a light hug. But for some reason, overcome with much joy at seeing his face, I hugged him big and instantly felt the stress and weight shift. We stood and talked about his daughter (she is almost two years old now!) We talked about normal things like teething and fevers but he seemed so uneasy. And then he looked at my face and told me his country has a problem. He told me it has many problems. He began to ask me to be careful while we are out and told me someone was kidnapped by his house. And his face was grave as he told me how he does not want his daughter to grow up in his country. You could physically see the toll of a divided heart. On one hand, he is proud of his Haitian heritage, but on the other he knows there is danger and wants nothing more than to protect his baby girl.
The difficulty he was experiencing was not lost on me. I wrestled with it while waiting in the truck for Alex at the hardware store, while driving, while going to sleep, and when I woke up this morning. My heart is broken for the injustices my friends face.
Can I ask you to try to make this friend of mine your friend? Can I ask you to change his name to your "So & So" and imagine how you would feel hearing this news and seeing his face, physically feeling that stress through a hug. I have no doubt that hug was very intended for Mak right from Daddy God. Something so simple as a hug and a listener. God does not need elaborate or complex but can operate in the simplicity of sincerity. Will you be sincere in simply praying for this country right now? Pray against the fear that is gripping my friends, that is tugging at their confidence in their country, that is ripping apart their hopes, and stealing their dreams.
He just wants a safe place for his daughter to grow up in.
He is not asking for extravagant or excessive, he just wants his daughter to be able to be a child who grows up knowing she is loved, protected, and safe.
We are fighting what they are fighting.
"Justice is NOT a trend, it's the heart of our Father." -Ashley Abercrombie
We love this place deeply and her people so dearly. We want others to realize that justice is not something we do because it is trendy but because we are called to have a heart like the Father's.
Join us in our fight against injustice. Join us in our journey to see restoration happen in this nation. To see people reconciled to the heart of a Daddy God who loves them. To bring the Love of Christ to each and every person we encounter.
This starts with our community center initiative. This begins with obedience and a simple yes.
This is our call to action- please consider partnering with us financially and watching as God works through "The Dwelling Place" to move on the hearts of the people and disciple this nation.
Stay tuned for more blogs talking about the importance of community and having a community center.
If you gather nothing else from this blog but compassion for others being important or fighting injustice is crucial or even just realizing that hugs can be a big deal, then I have written well!
As always friends-
Abide in Love- a Love that does JUSTLY.
(**EDIT: Some have inquired about the kidnappings and I want to be clear that Alex nor I feel threatened or unsafe. We monitor many different reports and heed the advice of trusted sources. We have restricted our travel to certain parts of Haiti for now and do not travel at all at night. There are usually a lot of kidnappings happening around Haiti in a regular year but it seems that these can cause fear politically and act as yet another way to keep the people oppressed. It is extremely disheartening knowing our people are constantly having to be diligently aware of their surroundings. We are taking on this same practice- extra caution, extra awareness, and using roads that we know are safer while avoiding areas/roads/entire zones that we have heard from our sources are unsafe at this time. No Americans have been kidnapped or targeted as of now. And it seems these kidnappings started out politically motivated and maybe the many we are hearing about daily could even be rumors used to spread fear. It is hard to say what is true as far as the numbers. But we are definitely being bombarded with more than what is normal. It is also all over the Haitian media right now. The police have stepped up their checkpoints around Port au Prince and are capturing many gangsters. Be praying for the police force to be strengthened and to be blessed. Many of the photos of the men captured are YOUNG men. Some of them just barely adults- this confirms for us the need for youth programs to help young men find something better than the streets to keep them occupied. Thanks for your continued prayers for us and for Haiti- God heal this land.**)
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw