And it all started by reading a little book. In the spring of 2008, we were living in Jacksonville and both Diana and I read a book by Gary Haugen called Just Courage. The basic premise of the book (which we highly recommend) is that we are invited by God to live our lives in such a way that we require him to be faithful and for us to be dependent on him giving us courage. Every day. So we prayed that God would lead our lives to make us depend on him for that courage.
We had no idea where he would take us, and most of the time we didn’t even know (and often are still unaware) of just how much courage God provide our hearts with. And he does it for every one of his children.
Disclaimer: Reading the book mentioned above does not guarantee you have to live through an earthquake in Haiti.
As we look back on this past year since we moved to Haiti, and as we look forward to the days, weeks, and months ahead, we are grateful for the courage God promises us.
There have been times of great fear, and times of great unknown. The day after the earthquake was the worst and hardest day of our lives, with hopelessness and despair gripping this country. We experienced fear. I experienced it when we flew back to this island the week after the quake to drive in food and supplies, and Diana was afraid of her husband driving across the border where people had been shot for food. Diana was fearful when she flew back to Haiti that week to bring Mindylove to the US, and as her husband, I was afraid of my wife flying into the center of a capital city within a country in complete and utter chaos. Yet in all of this, there was indescribable, unimaginable courage – courage that we were largely unaware of, but that was gifted to us as God so led.
We love Haiti. And we love living here. We thank God he has opened the door for us to be here. And yet, often my mind races back to the hardest times living here. I recall the many tears we have cried. I think of the hopeless faces with have encountered. I think of the horror of earthquake aftermath and the car accident trauma in our hospital. I think of the sick people no human can heal, and the millions of hungry people we cannot feed. I recall the frequent injustices we see firsthand that make my heart sick. I think of the draining nature of all of it, and I wonder at how a human heart can survive pain like that.
In that wondering, I am brought back to thanking Jesus for giving us courage. He commands us to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9) but then he actually provides the courage for our hearts as well. And we know this is truly good news.
And we have witnessed truly great news play out. We have seen God rescue orphans, and have watched amputees walk again. We have been able to be a part of God feeding the hungry, and we have witnessed his protection. We have made lifelong friends, had hearts melted by countless children, learned a new strange sounding language (yon lang ak son dwol yo), laughed a lot, welcomed many dear visiting friends, and we have received a gift of real hope of seeing Haiti transformed.
Also, if you have a few hours free, order that book, Just Courage, and read it. I hope it will help you see the freedom we have been given ever more clearly.